I have a 2014 Honda CR-V with an engine error code indicating the timing is out of synch. After talking to my mechanic for as long as he could spare and reading info online, it appears there could be a stretched timing chain, a faulty tensioner, and/or a bad variable timing control (VTC) actuator. The vehicle performs well despite the “check engine” light. However, it is concerning for a failure would be catastrophic. Alternatively, it could be that only the onboard computer is out of synch and the engine is fine.
a) I suspect my VTC actuator may be bad, a common complaint on this vehicle - denoted by a signature rattling noise (ie: metal on metal) for about 2 seconds while turning the key. The complaints are always at cold start-up and typically in cold weather. Recently, however, I hear a similar short-lived rattle when I accelerate at times. Since this is a variable timing control device…wouldn’t one expect this device to be problematic at various operating points beyond start-up? (What does this device do, anyway? …make an engine perform without a jerkiness as engine rpms vary?)
b) Some say the timing chain cannot stretch since it has such a high, tensile yield strength. Others state they have witnessed a chain skipping 1-3 teeth (of the cam, I wager?) due to a stretched timing chain. (No, I do not mean a belt.) It does seem hard to imagine a timing chain yielding when car makers claim the timing chain to last the life of the engine. What do the SDopers have to say about this?
c) If the issue is the computer, is there a way to re-calibrate the sensors and put things back in synch? If not, will living with an out of synch computer keep trying to adjust the engine when adjustment is really not necessary? Could this be catastrophic, as well?