The 3 Most Common Honda 2.4L Engine Problems

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The Honda K24 remains one of the most popular K-series engines even after over two decades of its introduction. Despite the engine’s reliability, it has common problems associated with it, which can shut it down without immediate attention. They include:

  1. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
  2. Main Seal Leaks
  3. Camshaft Wears Out

Despite these problems, this engine provides reliability to its users and continues to have an increasing number of users. However, these problems do not mean the engine isn’t reliable. Each engine has its varying problems, just like the Honda 2.4L K24A/ K24Z/K24W engine.

Engines usually degrade by showing certain problems, including Honda 2.4L K24A/ K24Z/K24W engines. Read along with me this article to know the most common problems of these engines, symptoms, and what to do when this problem occurs, to help you keep the engine in a good shape.

What Are The Most Common Honda 2.4 Liter (K24) Engine Issues?

1. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

The timing chain tensioner became an issue when Honda switched the timing belt to connect the crankshaft and camshaft. Although there is a solution to this problem, it may not be a long-lasting one.

By closing the piston’s gap by bringing it closer to the chain by a single tooth is a simple way to fix the timing chain sensor.

Timing chains are durable and there is always a need to replace them often. Usually, it is not common for a vehicle not to change or replace its timing chain throughout its lifetime. The timing chain is responsible for controlling the valve timing.

The k24a2 specs, including their timing chain, are generally great. There is, however, a problem that lies within its Tensioner’s responsibility is to keep tension on the timing chain’s exhaust side to ensure it doesn’t slap around. Springing the timing chain tensioner is a major problem.

All K24 engines are prone to this problem and it is even more common with the earlier version of the K24 engines.

What Causes Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

By design, the timing chain is responsible for controlling the opening and closing of the valves in your car engine. As an integral component of the auto engine, therefore, the timing chain must keep working. If it fails, the car engine can be in a pretty precarious situation.

Here are the possible causes of timing chain tensioner failure:

  • Excessive Or Low Tension: One of the reasons a tensioner can fail or break is tension overstretch or lack of tension. Once this happens, the chain will slacken or become loose, leading to what we call ‘chain slapping’.
    Tensioner overstretching can also cause premature fatigue in the chain because the latter is subject to excessive stress. Also, tension increases heat and friction in the chain.
  • Engine Seizure: Engine seizure is also a trigger for timing chain tension failure. Troubled by low oil levels or overheating, the car engine can cause the cylinder-bound pistons’ to seize. A sudden seizure of the engine while running at high speeds can cause the timing chain tension to fail.
  • Mileage And Age: This is a no-brainer. As car components age, chances are higher that it will reduce in performance. The chain will become weak due to wear and tear the more miles your automobile parts cover, the higher the chance of them failing and wearing down.

What Symptoms To Watch Out For

Now that you know what causes the timing chain tensioner problems in k24 engines, let’s discuss briefly the symptoms you will notice.

  • Start Difficulty: It can sometimes be difficult to start the engine when there is a problem with the timing chain tensioner. This problem occurs when there is a failure in proper controlling of the valve timing. It may also cause the car to stall at times.
  • Clunking Sound: Whenever there is a failure of the tensioner, the timing chain becomes slack and will not be able to regulate the valve timing properly and will result in producing various strange sounds, like rumbling or rattling sounds.
  • Check Engine Light: The engine light usually comes up when the timing chain tensioner is about to get worse. When the light comes up, it indicates there is a failing timing chain.

What Fix To Apply

While this issue may not happen, I do not mean to scare you that this can be dangerous and mean further harm to the engine if the symptoms are ignored.

The best solution I recommend for the replacement of the timing chain tensioner, regardless of the model, components, K24a1 specs, and k24a2 specs, is to change it entirely.

The replacement can sometimes be labor-intensive and may cost about $100-$400 and can be a fairly straightforward task for DIY’ers. Replacing this part in a shop could amount to a ballpark of $700-$1200.

2. Main Seal Leaks

Most people also know the front main seal as a crankshaft seal. The front crank seal in the Honda 2.4L engine helps to seal the crankshaft’s end with the timing cover. The front main seal is for preventing oil from leaking away from the crankshaft’s front. Due to age and mileage, the rubber can, however, degrade.

Although you will always notice crankshaft seal oil leak in this engine, it is, however, most common when the engine has covered about one hundred and twenty thousand miles. On the other hand, certain low-mileage K24 can experience this issue sooner. This is because age can toughly affect mileage on seals.

The Honda 2.4L engine has a front main crankshaft seal. There’s also a rear main crankshaft seal which can develop leaks with time. However, this problem is not mostly associated with the rear seal, unlike the front main seal.

What Causes Main Seal To Leak

You’ve got a problem on your hand if your rear main seal isn’t performing its function in the car due to a seal leak. Don’t forget, seals are fragile accessories.

Here are a few reasons your rear main seal may fail to do its job:

  • Worn Main Bearings: As the seals get older, they tend to move away from the mating surface. The result is that excessive space will be created between the shaft and the seal, leading to oil escaping from the bay.
    The shaft can also wobble, resulting in a seal leak. Aging causes wear and tear and so results in the engine and drivetrain bearings gradually loosening.
  • Excessive Heat: Another main reason your main seal will start to leak is driving the car with an overheated engine. Overheating is a consequence of a number of things, including excessive fluid. When the fluid is too high it will cause overheating, leading to the seal blowing out on transmission.
  • Low Engine Oil Level: If you consistently run the engine at a low oil level, there’s a higher chance that the seal will become dry and hot. As a result, the seal will warp and start to leak. Make sure you top the engine oil to maintain a normal level and replace it when it starts to change color.
  • Negligence And Improper Installation: The main seal can also easily get ruined by a slip of a tool or due to wrong mounting on the recess.
    Ham-handed mechanics often do shoddy work by not setting up the seal in the proper recess. The consequence is that the seal becomes exposed to blurs and dirt. The seal puller used should be the one meant for the seal as well.

What Symptoms To Watch Out For

Now, let’s take a look at some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for since you have understood the front main seal oil leak as one of the most common Honda 2.4 engine issues.

  • Burning Oil Smell: Burning oil smell is a result of leaking oils from seals. Even without inspecting your engine, a burning smell could mean you have a leaking oil seal. When oil drops on a heated part of the engine, it burns and produces this smell.
  • Visible Oil Leak: This symptom is just the result of a leaking front or rear main seal and is the foremost symptom to notice. However, different seals and gaskets may also be responsible for leaks. Sometimes, visible leaks do not mean the engine has a leaking front main seal.
  • Low Engine Oil: A badly leaked K24 front main seal will cause you to have a continuous dripping oil level which will require topping up within a shorter time. This may indicate a leaking front main seal or other gaskets.

What Fix to Apply

Thankfully, the general replacement for Honda is cost-friendly, including the k24’s front main seal, and regardless of your K24a1 specs, you may need to budget a few dollars, maybe 10-30 if you are a DIY enthusiast.

However, costs may be as high as $200-$400 when you visit a repair shop, and prices may range due to location. Fixing this issue sometimes requires you to find the leaking spot to fix it.

3. Camshaft Wears Out

Another Honda 2.4L engine problem is the camshaft warring out easily, coupled with a rough idle at times. Cams, as people often call them, lie in the cylinder head and their responsibility is to open and close the intake and exhaust valves. The valve intake and exhaust valve lift are regulated by the camshaft lobes.

K24 engines are fairly prone to exhaust cam love galling and this issue is usually a result of too much friction between the engine’s cam lobes.

Excessive friction in the engine may lead to welding or the connection of materials to the contact point the friction takes place. Excessive friction can also degenerate into cracking or surface roughening.

Low oil quality or thin oil can also make this problem worse, and this is why the issue remains a common one with this engine. However, while this issue seems common with this engine, many users may not experience it until they cover about a hundred thousand miles.

What Causes Cam To Fail

You may be wondering why a camshaft would fail. More often, the issue is not that the camshaft system fails. There are a number of things that can cause the component to give way. On the contrary, when you hear camshaft failure, what most drivers and technicians mean is one of the following:

  • Broken Dowel Pin/Key: When the dowel key or pin -which helps to align the gear on the shaft -breaks away from the terminals of the camshaft, the camshaft won’t function. The key is located close to where the timing gear is sitting.

    The key could break if any of the following things have happened:

    1. Lack of thread locking compound.
    2. Improper torquing of mounting bolts.
    3. Bolts can also compress or extend.
    4. Loose or too-tight bolts.
    5. Not suitable hardware.
    6. Camshaft not spinning.

  • Cracks: Although very rare, the camshaft can also crack or slip. When this happens, you will see that the camshaft becomes defective. In addition, the connecting rod will start to strike the cam as it becomes loose. The crack may occur due to the rough handling of the cam during installation.
  • Mechanical Interference: Mechanical interference can be responsible for the camshaft not spinning. By mechanical interference, we mean that some moving parts in the engine, certain unseen damage can start to cause the camshaft to also break, crack or wear.
    One of such issues is the lack of adequate clearance for components. Restricted range of motion and excessive heat build-up can also cause mechanical interference. Other parts may also start to collide with each other, thereby causing the camshaft not to spin properly.
  • Excessive Wear: Excessive wear of the camshaft results from improper camshaft break-in.

What Symptoms To Watch Out For

Before we blow things out of proportion about cam wear out, let’s take a look at the signs to watch out for.

  • Power Loss: The k24 engine will lose power once the cam begins to wear out and this will affect the overall performance of the engine. Power loss happens when there is a badly affected valve lift as a result of extreme wear of the cam.
  • Clicking Sound: A wearing cam will cause the engine to produce a clicking sound from the valve cover area.
  • Cylinder Misfire: A bad camshaft can cause engine performance to reduce. This is due largely to a cylinder misfire. In this instance, the car may start to jerk, stutter, shake aggressively, or lose power. Increased fuel consumption is another symptom of a misfiring engine.
  • Visible Damage Signs: The Honda 2.4L is built with an OHC (overhead camshaft engine). So, it’s easy to lift the cam cover and see visible signs of damage, including score journals, failing lobes, and more.

What Fix To Apply

Replacement of the K24 engine is the best approach to fix this problem. Although it can be labor-intensive, it is, however, a reliable option to the engine back to its best state. Opting for a repair shop can cost you about $800-$1500 while an experienced DIY’er may spend a few dollars less.


1. How Long Can The Honda 2.4L Timing Chain Last?

Typically, the engine comes with a pretty strong timing chain and chain tensioner. On average, the engine’s timing chain can last 60,000 miles.

However, a number of factors is responsible for how long a timing chain can last on your Honda 2.4L. If the car lacks proper maintenance, even the most durable component will neither serve you well nor live up to its life.

If your k24 engine timing chain tensioner is failing, it’ll show symptoms such as check engine light, difficulties in starting, and clucking sound after the start. Once you see that the timing chain isn’t doing its job, it’s an indication that it needs replacement.

2. What Are The Specs Of The Honda 2.4L Engines?

Features: Specs:
Power, Horsepower 160-206 hp (119-154 kW)/5,500-7,000
Torque lb-ft 160-182 lb-ft (217-247 Nm)/3,600-4,500
Cylinder Head Material Aluminum
Type Of Internal Combustion Engine Four-Stroke, Naturally Aspirated
Fueling System Multi-Point Fuel Injection, Direct Injection
Valvetrain Layout DOHC

3. Is The K24 Engine A Reliable One?

Yes. Every engine is prone to breaking down at some point in its lifetime. However, you can rely on the K24 engine if you provide regular maintenance and inspection for it.

Final Thoughts

Not many Honda 2.4 engine problems require you to spend excessively. However, if you are replacing any part of this car part, it is not the best option to opt for after-market parts, including timing chain tensioner, front main seal, or camshaft.

The originality and effectiveness of counterfeit replacement parts may be doubtful. From experience, some will cause the engine to shut down indefinitely. To solve the k24 engine issues and arrest the symptoms, Honda’s customer team is always on hand for the right call.