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First of all I don't think Honda would let the dealer pull the engine before they know what the problem is. They are probably saying that in case they are wrong and Honda won't cover the repair. The only time I have seen Honda not cover a repair is when the bike has excessive mileage, I know it's a 3 year unlimited mileage warranty but if you have 100,000 miles on an 08 Honda would say it's excessive, but with that low of mileage on an 03 there should be no problem with it being covered by Honda. Could be the alternator bearing, they have been known to go out and cause vibration. And the motor has to be removed to replace it, have your friend take pictures of every panel on the bike if he drops it off at the shop. If it's that big of a repair the hole bike has to be torn apart and pictures would be his only hope in getting damage to the bike done by the dealer repaired. A friend had this happen to his 05 and it was all scratched when he got it back, the pictures saved him and the dealer had to replace a bunch of plastic on the bike.
Here is the number for Honda America if your friend wants to talk to someone there for help on this situation. 1-800-999-1009
 
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