The Honda J series of engines, the company’s fourth generation of V6s, made an immediate impact on the global automotive market. The value of these lightweight V6 engines was immediately recognized, as Honda continued to upgrade and design different adaptations of the J30 engines for various applications. The first Honda J engine was introduced in 1996. However, the largest variant, the J37 was eventually introduced in 2007 to match the standards of Acura’s newer gen models. In fact, the entirety of Honda J37 engines is applied to Acura models produced from 2007 through 2014. Throughout this guide, we will focus specifically on the Honda J37 engine, examining and discussing its overall value.
Generally, V6 engines from Honda balance out durability, power, and performance well for an economical value. The J37 engine comes with substantial stock horsepower and torque. Yet, does the Honda J37 engine sustain good standards of reliability and overall value compared to Honda’s other V6 systems?
First, let’s examine some of the J37’s basic engine specs and associated applications. After establishing a more concrete understanding of the Honda J37’s usage, we will dive further into the engine’s reliability. Before discussing some of the Honda J37’s most common problems and weaknesses, let’s jump into some of the strengths. Starting off with the J37’s engine specs and which cars use the Honda J37 engine in the following sections below.
Honda J37 Engine Specs
Basic engine specs for the Honda J37 engine are as follows below:
|Displacement||3664 cc (3.7L)|
|Bore x Stroke||90mm x 96mm|
|Compression ratio||11.0:1 & 11.2:1|
|Valvetrain||SOHC (4 valves per cylinder)|
|Torque||270-275 lb. ft. of torque|
The Honda J37 utilizes a die-cast aluminum block with cylinder aluminum liners, helping it maintain a lighter overall structure. Additionally, the intakes for all J37 engine systems are constructed of high-quality cast magnesium alloy. The power output of the Honda J37 engine ranges from 295-305 horsepower with 270 to 275 lb-ft of torque. Therefore, these J37 V6s offer a strong foundation of power and high-performance capabilities. The entirety of Honda J37 engines come with the commonly applied SOHC valvetrain and are naturally aspirated by design. Since VTEC was applied to every Honda J37 engine, they have the tendency to be more fuel-efficient.
Regardless of the Honda J37 being initially introduced in 2007, certain J37 modifications remained in production until 2014. Interestingly though, this final variant within the J30 engine series was never applied to any Honda models. As previously stated, the Honda J37 engine was only used in Acura models produced between 2007 and 2014. Finally, let’s take a look at the complete collection of models that utilized the J37 engine in the following section below.
What Cars Use the Honda J37 Engine?
The Honda J37 engine was produced in a total of four different variations. Each application of the J37 engine can be found in Acura models with ranging outputs of power and size. With that said, the following models below each utilized the Honda J37 engine system:
- 2007-2013 Acura MDX
- 2009-2012 Acura RL
- 2009-2014 Acura TL
- 2010-2013 Acura ZDX
The four adaptations of the J37 engine, are applied to four different Acura configurations. The MDX is a mid-sized SUV, and the following models are all small to mid-size Acura sedans. However, the J37 is considered to be a high-quality engine system with exceptional power and performance. Regardless, no engine is entirely bulletproof or perfect. Therefore, let’s jump into a more detailed look at the Honda J37’s overall reliability and most common problems.
Honda J37 Overall Reliability
The Honda J37 engine has made Ward’s top 10 list of best engines for its exceptional design and reliability throughout its lifespan. Many J37 drivers anticipate reaching the 180,000 – 200,000 mile mark without experiencing any severe repairs. However, reaching these higher mileages is dependent on oil filter changes, and sustaining other proper maintenance methods. Certain components, such as the multi-point fuel injection system seem to be optimal for longevity and a longer engine lifespan.
The cylinder block is aluminum, which will require complete replacement after extensive wear and tear. Yet, many engine systems utilize aluminum cylinder blocks and still maintain great longevity. Therefore, the overall value of durability of the J37 engine is highly respected by many drivers.
With that said, let’s now take a look at the most common problems associated with the Honda J37 engine, and explain our verdict on the J37’s overall reliability in further detail.
Most Common Problems for the Honda J37 Engine
Due to the fact that the Honda J37 engine is considered to be an exceptionally reliable older engine type, common problems for this engine may be difficult to identify. However, there are still some commonly reported problems by J37 Acura drivers that are noteworthy. With that said, let’s jump into our list of the top 3 most commonly reported problems for the Honda J37 engine.
1) Prematurely Worn Timing Belts
Starting off, it’s essential that we mention that many models utilizing the Honda J37 engine experience prematurely worn timing belts. Unfortunately, many drivers report timing belts worn beyond repair, requiring replacement, before the 80,000-mile mark. This issue may cause one of our further listed problems, which is irregular engine ticking or knocking noises. Furthermore, worn timing belts may produce various symptoms including:
- Engine won’t start/turn over
- Oil leaks from the engine bay
- Exhaust system issues
- Irregular revving/unstable rpm
It is important to recognize that misalignment is one of the most common causes of prematurely worn timing belts. Furthermore, dry arid weather can also contribute to timing belt wear and lead to wear sooner than anticipated. On average, many drivers expect a timing belt to last at least 60,000 miles. Yet, the Honda J37 engine system
Due to the fact that the timing belt in most J37 engine systems is comparably weaker than other similar models of its era, it’s imperative to keep an eye out for timing belt wear and replace a belt in a prompt manner. This issue seems to be one of the more prominent design flaws for the Honda J37 engine, definitely noteworthy considering the engine’s exceptional overall reliability.
2) High Oil Consumption
One of the most commonly reported issues found throughout online forums for the Honda J37 is their propensity to consume abnormally high amounts of oil. Sure, this issue may be deterred by timely oil changes and the usage of high-quality oil. However, many drivers report that the Honda J37 engine is prone to consume and leak oil at higher rates regardless of proper maintenance and upkeep.
This issue is especially prominent for older J37s with high mileage and wear. Regardless, the Honda J37 engine systems are renowned for their issues surrounding high-oil consumption. Therefore, it’s essential to diagnose and identify any faulty engine components or catalysts for oil leaks and abnormal oil consumption before they progress into more severe problems for your J37. Just a reminder, changing oil filters frequently, and using high-quality oil, is one of the best ways to deter any reoccurring high oil consumption issues.
3) Engine Knocking
Certain Honda J37 engine systems sporadically experience abnormal knocking or ticking sounds emitting from the engine bay. This may not be an extremely concerning issue for some, yet might be a pertinent nagging problem for others. Engine knock sensors may be the culprit of this problem. However, other more severe issues may be the catalyst for engine knock as well. For example, carbon buildup and faulty spark plugs can also contribute to irregular engine noises and rattling.
Additionally, failing tensioners and pullies, as well as improper fuel to air mixture, may also be culprits for this problem. Diagnosing this problem may be one of the most time-consuming repair due to the variety of different issues that create engine knocking.
Honda J37 Engine Guide Summary
Since we have now outlined the above-average reliability of the Honda J37 engine, let’s summarize some of its strengths and weaknesses. These engines offer 295 to 305 horsepower with 275 lb-ft of torque. All of which were only applied to Acura models, and never actually utilized within any Honda applications. Needless to say, the J37 engine was dynamically impactful for the Acura brand throughout the late 2000s.
Sure, we mentioned prematurely how prematurely worn timing belts are a commonly occurring problem for the J37 engine. Fortunately, these engine systems utilize a single timing belt, minimizing overall repair costs. Some may say that these engines have too little of an oil capacity (4.3 liters total). Like many smaller 4-cylinder engines, that means that once the oil levels drop that the engine is in danger. Specifically, after around the 150,000-mile mark, the engine is prone to high oil consumption. Therefore, it’s imperative to repair any oil consumption issues before they cause severe costly engine damage. Fortunately, many of these problems can be deterred with proper maintenance and timely oil filter replacements. VTEC problems may also arise for some drivers, especially at higher mileage. These issues are known to be expensive repairs.
With 4 valves per cylinder, 6 cylinders, and 3.7 liters of displacement, the Honda J37 engine system was respected for its versatility throughout Acura applications. Regardless of our listed problems, these engines made the Wards Top 10 list for their respected reliability. Let us know in the comments below your experience with the Honda J37 engine, and any opinions you have about the Honda J30 engine series! You can also read in depth about J32 V6 Series in Honda.