VCM disable - a new and better way - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
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post #1 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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VCM disable - a new and better way

relatively new to this forum, but not new to reading the threads here. I have read almost all the posts on the VCM vibration issue and for those that aren't familiar with it, please do a search and do some reading as I don't plan to recap everything.

My opinions and experience are this: I don't like VCM at all. I am one of those that are experiencing vibrations and that's why I came to this forum in the first place. I have always been of the opinion that equipment is meant to be run, and when it's not, bad things happen. Cylinders in an engine are meant to be firing at all times and when they're not, you get oil bypassing, plug fouling, misfiring, vibration, and all the bad things that each of these conditions leads to. Adding active engine mounts and noise cancelling technology is just adding more crap to try and hide a bad condition. It is an initiative to help save 1 mpg and is more of a gimmick to satisfy EPA regulations etc. It's bad for engines as can be seen by all the complaints here and with every automaker that tries this.

My original intent was to try everything people here do to get rid of the vibration, pcm updates, engine mounts, spark plugs, etc etc... then I realized I needed to focus on disabling this B.S. system instead.

I tried disconnecting the rear bank oil pressure switch as is recommended by many. It did indeed disable VCM, however it was accompanied by the CEL indications, DTC's. As well, I live in a cold, snowy, icy climate and when I did this, after a short time of driving, the VTM-4 light came on in the dash and I noticed immediately that I had much less traction. The vehicle became a 2wd vehicle. At every start from a stop on a slippery surface, the front end slid to the side and there was not the usual amount of traction. It was painfully obvious that VTM-4 was also disabled. this was unacceptable to me. I need 4wd and I couldn't live with the CEL codes. If you like a 2WD vehicle and warnings all over your dash, by all means use this method. If you want something better, read on.

As most of you know, VCM doesn't engage until the engine is up to operating temperature. According to my OBD II device, it kicks in at around 167 degrees. This is where I decided to focus my attention. After doing some research on the ECT sensor, I went out and bought a 1K potentiometer. I drove my pilot until it was at operating temp and then I stopped and pulled ECT 1 sensor wire. I put the pot inline with the sensor, then started the engine and using the OBD II reader, I dialed the pot until the engine temp read 165 degrees. I went for a test drive and there were no CEL lights and the VCM never engaged. It was heavenly to drive the vehicle with VTM working, no CEL codes, and no VCM. It was how this vehicle should drive.

Now know what some of you are thinking. What if the engine overheats? I'll never know. Well, my plan is this. I'm going to install a switch and an aftermarket digital coolant gauge with audible alarm. So, what I'll do is run the vehicle up to operating temperature in the normal position so that if the engine needs the ECT reading to adjust anything, it can. then \I'll flick the switch and VCM will be off and the potentiometer will be sending a signal that the engine is at 165F to the PCM. that's less than ten degrees below operating temp and shouldn't cause any problems. I certainly didn't see any when I was driving. I also will have the aftermarket sensor monitoring engine temp, and giving an alarm if it overheats.

The only thing I'm unsure of at this point is whether the radiator fans will come on in hot weather as usual. I believe they will because I'm pretty sure they use ECT 2 as the input for this. I'll find out I guess.

I plan on making it look like a very professional installation, using one of the blank spots next to the DTS switch to install my switch. Not sure exactly where the aftermarket gauge will go yet. I've ordered the OEM female connector to make a harness so that I don't have to cut any wires and I can put it back to original with no evidence. The male half of the connector is going to be a bit more difficult as it isn't sold individually and so I'm going to try to hack apart an IAT sensor to make one.

For those that are interested in this, I will post updates of my progress with pictures. I just thought I'd share what I found so far.

Cheers,
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post #2 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 05:21 PM
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This sounds great, but if the engine is thinking it's not up to operating temperature, won't it also make the engine run richer than needed, and we all know a rich mixture will also cause all kinds of fouling of plugs, gunk buildup, etc.
Also, having to monitor your coolant temp on the side is basically a wash with having to check your CEL constantly for real fault codes with the other method.
Seems like both methods have their pluses and minuses.

I wish someone can just figure out a firmware hack or Honda would release an official disabled VCM firmware (even if only to Honda techs at dealers!).
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post #3 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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The pcm doesn't use engine temp it uses IAT. Even if it does, I am only changing the temp by about 8 degrees F which wouldn't matter that much to any adjustment to A/F rAtio if it even adjusts it all.
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post #4 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Honda will never issue a PCM fix that disables VCM so everyone can stop hoping. That would violate the emissions and EPA rating it currently has and so they would face fines and lawsuits. I Have contacted range technologies and they are interested in trying. They asked me if I had anything I could share for info. They are listening at least
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post #5 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Oh and the aftermarket sensors come with an audible alarm that you can set at any temp so you don't have to constantly look at the readout. And you can switch back to normal mode anytime if you want the pcm temp.
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post #6 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verbatim View Post
Honda will never issue a PCM fix that disables VCM so everyone can stop hoping. That would violate the emissions and EPA rating it currently has and so they would face fines and lawsuits. I Have contacted range technologies and they are interested in trying. They asked me if I had anything I could share for info. They are listening at least
I know they will never do it for the general public. I was just hoping they would add an option like this to the diagnostic tools in the Honda HDS tool so that maybe at least a Honda tech can disable it for testing purposes (and accidentally forget it was left disabled!).
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post #7 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 07:54 PM
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Best override of VCM I've seen to date.

I don't see any adverse affects here. The odds of your engine over heating are as good as getting hit by lightening. Its extremely rare. (I question if warning lights would still illuminate...I have a feeling they would) And while the ECU does use engine temp as one of many closed loop parameters, its high enough to keep you in closed loop function. Other sensors will adjust the fuel mix, no worries there.

I've been intently watching all these threads since 2008 when I bought a 2009 Ody. I never liked the oil pressure switch disconnect, and I cant believe anyone actually drives long term with it disconnected. You found all the issues it can cause. If anything, it should only be used for a quick determination that VCM is indeed the drone/vibes people are feeling.

Cant wait to see a more detailed write up with pics. Nice work!
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post #8 of 1074 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 08:20 PM
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It would be a great idea to post pictures of what you have done and are doing.
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post #9 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 11:12 PM
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If the Pilot is a cluster-hump to this degree because of VCM.... and they refuse to do anything about it then I will have to scratch the 2016 off my list.... which is truly a shame. Was hoping to ditch my 2014 Highlander, which has vibration issues of it's own for a stylish new Pilot.... but the first several threads and 'stickys' in this forum have scared the devil out of me.

I cannot imagine 'tinkering' around with a brand new vehicle to circumvent a poorly implemented - (shall we call it what it is: DESIGN FLAW) which may come back to haunt you if something happens to the vehicle and they discover the engine has been jury-rigged.

Darn it...... I was really exited to see the new Pilot...... there are fewer viable options now..... 2015 Murano can only tow 1,500 lbs..... Highlander has it's own issues with vibrations and poorly implemented less concerning items, Ford Explorer has tiny seat bottoms, Hyundai Santa Fe LWB feels 'cheap' and isn't all that quiet and smooth on the road, Kia Sorento is too small......GM's can't get out of their own way - underpowered, Mazda CX9 is a gas hog and outdated...... this sort of leaves me with two options: Dodge Durango (which is being phased out in 2017) and the upcoming new Ford Edge... released this spring.

Last edited by JoeFriday; 02-02-2015 at 11:19 PM.
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post #10 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeFriday View Post
If the Pilot is a cluster-hump to this degree because of VCM.... and they refuse to do anything about it then I will have to scratch the 2016 off my list.... which is truly a shame. Was hoping to ditch my 2014 Highlander, which has vibration issues of it's own for a stylish new Pilot.... but the first several threads and 'stickys' in this forum have scared the devil out of me.

I cannot imagine 'tinkering' around with a brand new vehicle to circumvent a poorly implemented - (shall we call it what it is: DESIGN FLAW) which may come back to haunt you if something happens to the vehicle and they discover the engine has been jury-rigged.

Darn it...... I was really exited to see the new Pilot...... there are fewer viable options now..... 2015 Murano can only tow 1,500 lbs..... Highlander has it's own issues with vibrations and poorly implemented less concerning items, Ford Explorer has tiny seat bottoms, Hyundai Santa Fe LWB feels 'cheap' and isn't all that quiet and smooth on the road, Kia Sorento is too small......GM's can't get out of their own way - underpowered, Mazda CX9 is a gas hog and outdated...... this sort of leaves me with two options: Dodge Durango (which is being phased out in 2017) and the upcoming new Ford Edge... released this spring.
I am as much against having a VCM engine as any other Honda VCM owner with issues, but I would hold off on ruling it out until we see the 2016 Pilot. That will surely be a new generation of engine and even with VCM, it seems like the newer ones like the ones in the new Acura RLX and TLX are more problem free (or maybe they just aren't old enough yet to show the problems). I'm a loyal Honda lover, so I am seriously hoping they have ironed out the issues with VCM since it doesn't appear they are abandoning it.
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post #11 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Solved!!!

Okay folks, my apologies for the delay, a bit busy lately and took some time off to fly to L.A., watch an awesome King's Hawks game. I've turned by thoughts back to this problem and done some more testing and I have the solution to your problems.

After spending a lot of time thinking about how I was going to do everything I posted in the OP above, I realized that it would be too complicated for most to implement and too hard to strip out when required, so I concentrated on simplifying and came up with a brilliant, but ridiculously obvious and simpler idea.

Rather than create a separate circuit that I would switch to when the engine is close to operating temperature, I spent some time using my OBD tool, determining the extra resistance needed in the ECT circuit to drop the temperature at the high end from 172-175 degrees F down to 162-165. The beauty of this new method is the following:

1. Pure plug and play solution, no switches necessary.
2. Temp gauge still works and shows engine temperature, the only difference is that it reads about half a mark less at operating temperature.
3. Warnings will still occur if the engine overheats.
4. The ECT sensor works on a logarithmic scale, which means that at colder engine temperatures, the temperature shift becomes virtually nothing as far as the PCM is concerned, so cold engine operation is unchanged.
5. Easy disconnect to revert back to OEM configuration if desired for EPA inspection, work at the dealership, or long trips in nice weather when VCM would be beneficial at high speeds and summer temps.
6. No CEL warnings that masks other warnings that come along.
7. No other systems disabled, like VTM when you pull the pressure sensor

I've been testing this new solution for a few days now and I can tell you with complete honesty that this is the ****! No warning lights, no disabling of VTM or other desirable functions. The vehicle thinks it hasn't quite reached operating temperature, so VCM never kicks in. It drives like it should, no vibration, no hesitations during VCM transitions, it's beautiful. The only thing that happens is that when you plug in or unplug the add-in harness, the PCM reads a shift in the ECT sensor reading and throws a code saying that ECT 1 appears faulty. After about three drives, the PCM is fooled into thinking that the new condition is the norm and the fault clears itself and no more errors.

I have not cut any wiring, I found the OEM female connector and created a harness. The male connector is much harder to get and although I've finally found it, it's going to require me to buy a large quantity of them from overseas. The harness I'm going to create is going to consist of the male and female connector, and the added resistance in between. Harness will consist of OEM male and female Connectors, properly sealed etc along with the resistance, also properly sealed with shrink tubing. The harness will appear OEM.

Because I have to buy large quantities of the male connector, I plan on making and selling the entire harness to everyone that wants one. I'll be setting myself up on ebay with my paypal account to make it easy for everyone to order one. The price will be about $30-35 Canadian (USD 24-28) plus shipping. I'm not sure how long it will take for the connectors to come once I order them, but it shouldn't be more than a month or so from overseas.

I am certain that this isn't having a detrimental effect on the engine or A/F ratios or anything of the sort. The difference is so small that the PCM doesn't even read it as an error once it recognizes the new range on the sensor. It drives like a dream, with no error codes and even though the one connector right now is just wrapped with tape with the wires poking into the female connector, I don't plan on undoing it while I wait for the male connectors to arrive.

For all of you that hate the VCM vibration issues, or just hate the fact that VCM is destroying your engine by fouling plugs, causing vibration, excessive oil consumption and the like, this is definitely for you. I've tried to keep the price reasonable considering the time and effort this is going to take on my part to get the parts, put them together and take orders, ship out etc. I hate the whole concept of VCM as stated in my OP and I'm so excited by these results. Even if a few of you would like to try it once it's available and report back to the others, that would be great. I'm not doing this to make tons of money, I just want to help everyone here.

I'm back to loving my Pilot again and I'm so happy to be VCM free, I hate that ****.

Let me know your feedback and interest in having one made.
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post #12 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 01:01 PM
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I am interested in the watertight harness but I'd like to understand in detail exactly how you are connecting it into the system. Can you send a logic diagram showing the resistor value and connectors + pin numbers that it connects to? I'd like to try it out myself here.

2004 EXL 4WD, 2012 EXL+NAV 4WD
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post #13 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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the diagram is simple and I'm not drawing it out. 40 ohm resistor in series with the ECT 1 circuit. doesn't matter which of the two wires you place it on since it's a simple voltage divider circuit. The harness will go between the ECT 1 sensor and the connector that goes to it. One male and one female connector of the same type that's there.
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Last edited by verbatim; 02-11-2015 at 01:14 PM.
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post #14 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Incidentally, all that I've posted pertains to 2012-2015 pilots. I have not tested it on other model year series, however it has a good probability of working on them too. The ECT sensor itself hasn't changed much for many years from what I can tell online. The issue will be if the PCM programming, operating temps etc. on other model years will be the same, giving the same results.

As well, the 2012-2015 use a relatively new design of connector on the ECT. When I went to the pick-n-pull to try and find connectors from another vehicle to use, all of the older hondas use a different series of connector that's not compatible. That's why I had to locate and buy the female connector, pins, retainer and wire seals myself to try this. Without the female connector, or a hacked wire harness from a donor vehicle, you won't be able to try this unless you want to cut a wire and splice it into your oem harness.

I'd be willing to make up something for older vehicles, but I'd need help since I don't have one. Someone would have to take close up detailed pictures of the connector so that I could get one from somewhere to match. I could let someone locally here in Edmonton try it, if I can find someone, or I could send it to someone somewhere else to try. This would be a lot of work on my part, however, so if someone wants to take the initiative to try it on the older series themselves first, that would be great. once I know it works, I could locate the connectors I need and make the harnesses for those as well.
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post #15 of 1074 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 03:55 PM
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With the A/C off, do the cooling fans come on correctly?
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