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AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 3:15 p.m.

This is something I literally thought I may never do but I've decided it is what makes the most sense.

When Acura re-designed the TL for this generation, I fell in love. They paraded around a Mayan Bronze over Umber 6spd car to all of the shows and it seemed to me to be the perfect daily driver. I told myself that if I were ever in a position to buy one, I would do it. About 5 years ago I was tired of driving my lowered Cooper S convertible all year long in Cleveland. I realized that these cars were in my price range so I started looking for a super clean Mayan Bronze, Umber 6spd car... I eventually found this one in Indianapolis. It was the original owner (I'm 99% sure, I'll detail why later), with a complete service history and it was listed with about 67k miles. We settled on a price. A friend and I had one of the best mini roadtrips to get the car, stopping in Columbus for a night. When we got to Indy, slightly hungover, the car was better than I could have imagined. 

Cut to the chase, Andrew, why are you selling it? Probably 6 months into my ownership I noticed that it was a little low on oil. High within the range, but low. I researched the problem and saw that a number of the J37s in these cars were replaced early, early on in their lives due excessive to oil consumption. I figured since this was such a slow burn rate, my car wasn't affected. I continued to keep an eye on it, religiously filling it when it was low. This past fall, I decided that I had had enough and the consumption had gotten to a ridiculous level. I started an oil consumption test with local Acura Dealer A. I really didn't like the vibe I got from the service guy there so on my way home I called Acura Dealer B to see if I could finish an already started test with them. They said yes. Great. 1,400 miles later I return to that dealer, they check the consumption and it's definitely excessive. They say, however, that I'll need to start a new test with them to have it all at one place. Ugh. They send me on my way and I drive to Detroit for the weekend. On the way back from Detroit I start noticing a tick from the valvetrain. I park in my garage that night and then call Acura in the morning. While on the phone with Acura, I check my oil to see that the dealer never refilled the oil. It was still in the "acceptable" range but not at a level that I ever would have driven 5 hours on the highway. To be fair, I don't think that the dealer leaving the oil low is 100% what caused this noise but I do contend that the noise is low-oil related and having it low during that trip highlighted the issue causing me to be able to hear it. The valvetrain in these engines, from the ones I've heard always seem to make some noise but this is now more than some.

Once I got the good news that Acura was going to replace the pistons and rings, I asked that the valvetrain be looked into to determine the noise. Acura will only consider covering a repair related to oil-consumption if there is a diagnosis done by an Acura dealer. Fair. And since the labor to remove the heads would already be done, it seemed to make perfect sense that they could check while they were in there. All parties agreed.

About 4 days into the dealer having my car, I get a call from the service manager. He tells me, good news, it just needs a valve adjustment. It'll be X cost. I say, awesome, I really appreciate you checking into it, go ahead and do the adjustment. 3(ish) days later I go to pick up my car. The service manager tells me everything is great so I happily grab my keys and go to my car. I leave the door open while I start it to hear a tick-free start. What happens? It's ticking. What else happens? The low-oil light comes on. I immediately shut the engine off and walk back to give them the news. They check and there is oil in the car. "The low-oil pressure switch must have gone bad". It was not bad before taking it in. I ask him what (if any) damage they found in the heads. Essentially, they didn't look telling me it would have been too expensive and taken too much time. So they found that the valves needed adjustment and just figured that was the issue. Not usually how a mechanic tackles a job, I'd say.

Problem is, Acura stands by what was done and says they can't force a dealership to spend time looking into this for me. The dealer has agreed to cover the labor for taking the heads off but I would be responsible for any time spent looking into the actual problem. That time will easily cost $1,200 and that wouldn't include the cost to repair what's wrong if Acura decides it's not their problem. Which definitely seems to be the case. I can't get myself onboard with the potential of spending thousands of dollars to find an issue that I have a high conviction I didn't cause and have to pay to fix it in the end.

Although I love this car, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth now every time I look at it.

So. The car runs and drives perfectly well and has no symptoms other than a rather noisy valvetrain. Because I rely on this vehicle for work and I have too many other projects there unfortunately cannot be a legendary Mazdeuce-style teardown to find and fix the issue. It kills me but I can't hit the road with no concern, so I have to cut ties.

I know this has been wordy, but I want to be 100% upfront and give potential buyers the full background.

The Good:

  • Mayan Bronze over Umber - perfection
  • 6spd manual
  • SH-AWD system - stupid name but is fantastic
  • 114k miles
  • Pistons and rings replaced under extended warranty
    • This was about 500 miles ago and it does not seem to be burning any more
  • Recent valve adjustment
  • Timing belt done
  • Service history from new
    • It has been meticulously maintained by both me and the previous owner
  • Technology package
  • Awesome sound system
  • Extremely comfortable seats
  • Very nicely done DARK tint
  • I 100% feel that this is the perfect all-around car. I've even auto-xed it once and it was a blast.

The Bad and Not-so-good:

  • The aforementioned ticking. For all I know, the next owner could dig into this and it becomes a non-issue, leaving me the real loser. Since I don't know what the problem is, I've just assumed it's bad.
  • Bumps and bruises
    • The first owner had a TV stolen from his garage and they dropped it on his trunk. Scratches and some little dents
    • The first owner was backed into and the FL fender was painted
      • I have the paperwork for this
    • I was run into while driving in the left lane by a car pulling out of a stopped right-hand lane
      • The FL fender, and bother driver-side doors were painted
    • I was hit last fall backing out of a parking spot by lady who was flying and I never saw
      • Technically this was my fault as I was the one backing out but she obviously felt at fault because she scrambled to get insurance...which was obviously rejected
        • I have not had this repaired yet because I was waiting for spring but will certainly do that if the buyer wants. It'll cost me my $500 deductible.
    • Various scratches that a daily-driven car will get
      • Pictured these as best I could
    • The paint could generally use a good detail. Typically at this point in the year I would have done this already but can't get myself to do it... I would be HAPPY to pay for a full detailing should that help this car go to a great new owner.
  • Driver's seat bolster
    • This is a common area of failure on these cars. I've seen a number of TLs with the vinyl (it's either vinyl or a MUCH thinner leather) completely missing. I've been able to keep the vinyl in-place by gluing from behind. Hard to explain but there is no gluey or hard texture. This same failure is in it's beginning stages on the passenger seat as well as the rear headrests.
  • Some very minor interior scratches
  • The low-oil light comes on every time you start the car now. The oil is not low. I'll get this replaced.
  • It could use front brakes. I have the parts and will get this done before selling.
  • I planned to put new tires on it before winter.

I've got two sets of floor mats as well as the rubber trunk mat, a perfect-fit rear seat cover that has been on the car for almost all of my ownership and, as mentioned, the service history since it's first oil change. This is why I'm fairly confident in my claim that the guy I bought it from was the original owner - his name is on the paperwork.

There really isn't enough good that I can say about this car which, considering the circumstances, seems strange. I think without the valvetrain noise, this would be an $10,000-12,000 car all day especially because of the color combination and manual trans. I'm asking $7,500. This is the top end of the KBB Trade-In range in "Good" condition. There is a price at which I'll just keep it, stick it in a storage unit somewhere and come back to it once I have time but don't tell my wife...

On to pictures. Since Flickr is increasingly difficult to deal with I'm going to upload here in multiple posts.

All pictures taken this afternoon. 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 3:22 p.m.

Interior

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 3:24 p.m.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 3:30 p.m.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
6/7/19 4:50 p.m.

That's a strange name for purple. Great looking car! GLWS!

old_
old_ HalfDork
6/7/19 6:04 p.m.

Woah, I didn't know you could get sh-awd with a manual transmission. I figured manual was FWD only. Love the color too

grover
grover HalfDork
6/7/19 6:18 p.m.

Great car! The seats are just a honda thing, our odyssey did the same thing.  GLWS. 

slomaro2
slomaro2 New Reader
6/7/19 7:18 p.m.

Very interested. Could you shoot me your number? Mine is 832.971.8101. 

Thanks! 

BJ 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 9:08 p.m.
slomaro2 said:

Very interested. Could you shoot me your number? Mine is 832.971.8101. 

Thanks! 

BJ 

I suppose having a way to contact the seller would be a good idea! I'll send you a text but for everyone else...

two one six five four four eight two one five

awgrannis at gmail

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/7/19 9:13 p.m.
old_ said:

Woah, I didn't know you could get sh-awd with a manual transmission. I figured manual was FWD only. Love the color too

I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure that in this generation TL you had to get the SH-AWD and the 3.7 to get a manual. It's a pretty cool thing.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
6/7/19 9:27 p.m.

Having seen this car in person, it’s sharp

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/9/19 8:23 p.m.

Thanks, Patrick.

One nibble, possibly a bite so far. 

Rodulrich
Rodulrich New Reader
6/9/19 8:39 p.m.

Beautiful car! If I lived closer I'd be very tempted. GLWS.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
6/10/19 10:58 a.m.

Woof, probably a good thing for me I got the Volt. This car is sweet! But I don't need another borderline project in my life. Good luck, wish I could be its new home.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/10/19 11:43 a.m.
dculberson said:

Woof, probably a good thing for me I got the Volt. This car is sweet! But I don't need another borderline project in my life. Good luck, wish I could be its new home.

Ooo! I wish you could be too because I could visit it! yes

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
6/10/19 12:34 p.m.

Nice car, but is it just me, or would it look better if this whole nose piece was painted body color?

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/10/19 1:01 p.m.

If you're seeing a flashing oil light and it's got valve tick, there's an extremely high likelihood this car needs a whole motor. 

 

The price sounds to be in the right neighborhood though. GLWS man! 

Car-part shows junkyard motors running $1100-$1600... 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/10/19 1:22 p.m.
spacecadet said:

If you're seeing a flashing oil light and it's got valve tick, there's an extremely high likelihood this car needs a whole motor. 

 

The price sounds to be in the right neighborhood though. GLWS man! 

Car-part shows junkyard motors running $1100-$1600... 

I am working under the assumption that the oil light is because of a failed sensor or damaged plug. Sensors on these motors have a tendency to fail (it's an Acura TSB) and I think the tech working on the car must have damaged it or the plug. The sensor was not solid on or flashing before the warranty work to replace the pistons and rings. It's also not flashing now. Just comes on and stays on at initial start up. There's also a chance that it is just unplugged. Haven't crawled under to check.

That being said, I'm also working under the assumption that one or both heads are trashed. I've seen rebuilt heads for ~$900 as well (for whatever that's worth). Problem with a junkyard motor vs. what's in the car now is that a prospective buyer knows that the oil consumption on this one has been quelled*. *At least the Acura warranty fix has been done by Acura and it doesn't seem to burn any more.

I legitimately appreciate your vote of confidence in my pricing. 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/10/19 1:24 p.m.
jstein77 said:

Nice car, but is it just me, or would it look better if this whole nose piece was painted body color?

People have done that so you're not alone in your thinking.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/10/19 1:54 p.m.
AxeHealey said:
spacecadet said:

If you're seeing a flashing oil light and it's got valve tick, there's an extremely high likelihood this car needs a whole motor. 

 

The price sounds to be in the right neighborhood though. GLWS man! 

Car-part shows junkyard motors running $1100-$1600... 

I am working under the assumption that the oil light is because of a failed sensor or damaged plug. Sensors on these motors have a tendency to fail (it's an Acura TSB) and I think the tech working on the car must have damaged it or the plug. The sensor was not solid on or flashing before the warranty work to replace the pistons and rings. It's also not flashing now. Just comes on and stays on at initial start up. There's also a chance that it is just unplugged. Haven't crawled under to check.

That being said, I'm also working under the assumption that one or both heads are trashed. I've seen rebuilt heads for ~$900 as well (for whatever that's worth). Problem with a junkyard motor vs. what's in the car now is that a prospective buyer knows that the oil consumption on this one has been quelled*. *At least the Acura warranty fix has been done by Acura and it doesn't seem to burn any more.

I legitimately appreciate your vote of confidence in my pricing. 

everything about your ad is upfront and it's just at the point now where you have to find someone in the position to be able to run the dice roll. but if it's only ticking and not burning oil anymore.. you might want to find a performance shop who specializes in tHonda's to look at your valve lash and look at the sensor. that would probably greatly increase your ability to sell the car and get much closer to retail bucks for it! 

if i though you weren't being genuine I would have called you on it. certainly didn't and stil don't feel that way. 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/10/19 2:52 p.m.

If it's not simply unplugged, I definitely will have a shop look at and/or replace the sensor. No doubt.

As for the valves, I think I have to just trust that the dealer adjusted them correctly. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask the shop how much it would cost to take a second look...

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/13/19 8:44 a.m.

Not anything scientific here but I've noticed over the past 5+ times I've driven the car that the ticking is effectively not there before the engine is up to operating temp. I'm hoping to get the car to a shop next week to have the oil sensor checked/replaced, front brakes put on and see what they think about the noise.

I'm thinking the fate of this car may be an auction either on BAT (if they'll offer it there) or eBay and just throw my bottom bottom number in as the reserve and see what happens. 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/13/19 11:05 a.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

Have the shop look at it. 

But with the rarity of the car. It's definitely worth seeing if BAT will list it as is. 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
6/13/19 12:20 p.m.

Rejected from BAT in less time than it took to fill out the form.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/13/19 12:56 p.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

Wow, they're a super fickle bunch. 

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