I own a 2004 Honda Odyssey with 115,000miles. I bought it new. I had the timing belt replaced at 110,000 miles. Shortly after the replacement of the belt, I heard a noise that seemed to come from the front left side of the vehicle. It sounded like I was dragging a small tree branch. I checked and nothing was there. The sound lasted about three seconds. I can go for days with no sound and then the sound returns, three or four times in succession.

QUESTION: I own a 2004 Honda Odyssey with 115,000miles. I bought it new. I had the timing belt replaced at 110,000 miles. Shortly after the replacement of the belt, I heard a noise that seemed to come from the front left side of the vehicle. It sounded like I was dragging a small tree branch. I checked and nothing was there. The sound lasted about three seconds. I can go for days with no sound and then the sound returns, three or four times in succession. This happens driving a few short miles or after 80 miles of driving. I can go days without it happening at all. The sound seems to be coming from the left side of the engine compartment. My mechanic drove it to his house and back to the service station (about 40 miles) and could not duplicate the sound. They checked for a code but could find none. The Honda dealership said they were not aware of this problem with any other vehicle. The only way I can describe the sound is that it sounds like quickly driving through a large puddle or driving on the edge of the highway. My concern is that although my vehicle, according to my mechanic, is in great shape, that something major may occur when I go on a long trip, i.e., vacation. Do you have any suggestion of what it might be?


ANSWER: The answer you do not want to hear is that unless the noise can be reproduced, there is no way to tell you what it is and where to look for it. I suggest you leave the van with the technician for a few days so he can drive it back and forth to work.


 


QUESTION: I have a 2010 Honda Pilot LX. It does not have the outside ambient temperature readout. However, I can see on the LCD display of the dash cluster where it would read if it were hooked up. Could I just get the ambient air sensor and plug it in? Or will it take more than that? I have called many Honda dealers and they do not seem to know for sure. I would really like this feature to work.


ANSWER: This is a loaded question, and no one has been able to answer it for me. I can tell you that the outside temperature sensor is inexpensive and it’s just a simple plug-in sensor. I would gamble the small price for the sensor. There is the possibility that the body control module may need to be programmed for the additional sensor.


 


QUESTION: I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT that just underwent a complete transmission overhaul by a transmission company in the area. Shortly after the repair, a fast blinking red overdrive light would appear on the dashboard after I drove the car. It would disappear after I turned the car off, but would appear again after I drove the car. It would appear, most times after five minutes of driving. The transmission shifts quietly and I don’t feel any difference with the car’s performance on the road. I brought it back to the repair shop, immediately, and was told by the shop owner that the problem was not with the transmission, but by a short somewhere else in the vehicle, that he could try to find out where in the vehicle the problem was and repair it at an additional charge. Internet searches suggest a problem with the torque converter, but this was replaced in the complete overhaul. Was it coincidence that a short just showed up within a week after the repair and displays itself as a transmission-related item, overdrive light on dash?


ANSWER: You’re not going to like this answer. The electronics in your transmission have a high failure rate. Most good transmission shops will install the upgrades when the transmission is out of the vehicle and on the bench. I suggest you take the SUV to your local shop and let them scan the computer for fault codes and you will see the fault lies in the transmission, not the computer or wiring. As for Internet information, some is good and some very bad.


 


QUESTION: I am 55 years old and going to retire soon. My wife and I saw a 2011 Jaguar XK, and loved the look. I talked with a few friends, and they said they are full of trouble. What are your thoughts on these cars?


ANSWER: In the old days the Jags did have some issues. In fact I owned two XJR sedans over the past five years and both were trouble free. I spent a week in a 2011 XK coupe and it was a joy to drive, with everything from the 385 HP V8 to the six-speed automatic. The power is seamless through all the gears. There is a very muscular and pleasant exhaust note when the gas pedal is depressed. The fit and finish were perfect, the design of the car brought people over to admire it. The only complaint I have is the center information screen does take some time to get used to. If you plan to drive the car during winter storms, snow tires are a must. Personally, I would leave it in the garage during the snow. Enjoy your retirement.


 


Junior Damato writes weekly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.