Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a used 2010 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD with 144,000 miles on it from a Toyota dealer close to where I live. Everything went great on the test drive and I was very happy with my purchase. A few days later I started noticing a very pronounced ticking coming from the engine bay at anything over 2,050 RPM. I started diagnosing with a stethoscope and couldn't pinpoint anything. After pulling the serpentine and running it to rule out accessories, and verifying that my timing belt tensioner and idler weren't the offenders I turned to the valve train. I finally got around to tearing it all apart last night to have a look. I found an extreme amount of oil varnish under the front valve cover and everything under the rear valve cover looks brand new. I then proceeded to pull the rocker bridge on both to inspect the cams. The rear is in immaculate shape but the front not so much. One lobe is very pitted. So it seems I found my issue.

My question: What is the deal with all of the varnish under the front oil cover and how can I stop it? Some people say it from the PCV system, some say that the VCM is causing it. Has anyone done anything that actually fixed the huge amount of oil varnish? I hope to keep this car at least to 400,000 miles but i certainly would rather not replace cams every 150,000 miles. Thanks for any light anyone can shed on this!

Front:
136838
136839


Rear:
136841
136840
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,279 Posts
I just bought a used 2010 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD with 144,000 miles on it from a Toyota dealer close to where I live. Everything went great on the test drive and I was very happy with my purchase. A few days later I started noticing a very pronounced ticking coming from the engine bay at anything over 2,050 RPM. I started diagnosing with a stethoscope and couldn't pinpoint anything. After pulling the serpentine and running it to rule out accessories, and verifying that my timing belt tensioner and idler weren't the offenders I turned to the valve train. I finally got around to tearing it all apart last night to have a look. I found an extreme amount of oil varnish under the front valve cover and everything under the rear valve cover looks brand new. I then proceeded to pull the rocker bridge on both to inspect the cams. The rear is in immaculate shape but the front not so much. One lobe is very pitted. So it seems I found my issue.

My question: What is the deal with all of the varnish under the front oil cover and how can I stop it? Some people say it from the PCV system, some say that the VCM is causing it. Has anyone done anything that actually fixed the huge amount of oil varnish? I hope to keep this car at least to 400,000 miles but i certainly would rather not replace cams every 150,000 miles. Thanks for any light anyone can shed on this!

Front:
View attachment 136838 View attachment 136839

Rear:
View attachment 136841 View attachment 136840
To me, It's quite obvious that the back head has been replaced in the past. Both front and back of my heads are tarnished as your front one is. This is from my 2012 Crosstour with 201k miles at the time this was taken.
136854
136857
More tarnish is noticeable on cylinder #4. I blame the VCM function for this. It's now disabled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Honestly the varnish is not that bad; could it be less, sure. The VCM system is total rubbish and does contribute to engine wear.. I would offer 4 things to help you sleep easier about your purchase. 1. Install a vcmtuner device (vcmtuner.com). I did it on my 2010 EXL 50,000 miles ago and you immediately notice improved performance, less engine shaking and it saves your engine from carbon sludging caused by the VCM system. Best $80 I have spent on this car and I only noticed 1 mpg decrease in gas mileage. 2. Make sure you adjust your valves when reassembling the cam followers (rocker arms). That probably will help the ticking issue. 3. Start a mild combustion chamber de-carbon procedure by running Techron fuel treatment in the gas, but wait after you install the VCMtuner. Do this at fill up for as long as your wallet can stand it. 4. Since your oil varnish is mild, you can start a mild de-sludge procedure by adding Marvel Mystery oil to the engine oil 500 miles before a oil change. Use 5W-30 oil and make your oil change interval no more than 5000 miles. Your engine will love it. Its important to note that steps 3 and 4 will offer gradual improvements over time, nothing quick.

Prof


.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks all for your help. Although not impossible, I somewhat doubt that the cylinder head has ever been replaced as this Pilot has complete service records from a Honda dealer which indidcate nothing of the sort. Also, 4,000 miles before I purchased it it had a valve adjustment done. My guess would be that it started ticking and so the valves were adjusted. When that didn't fix the problem (and it wouldn't because the root cause is the very damaged camshaft) the previous owner then decided to trade it off rather than pay the $1,400+ to have the cam replaced at the Honda dealer. So now it's my problem. Not too bad of a problem though. My new OEM Honda parts are on the way for $280 shipped. Based on how long it took me to do the disassembly and reassembly for diagnosis I'd estimate the entire job will be about 8 hours for me to do it. Not a big deal. Also, I have the VCM muzzler on the way to deal with the multitude of issues that it can cause. After I replace the cam next week I will perform the first oil change under my ownership with Schaffers oil and some MMO with 3k mile OCI's to clear up some of the varnish. I will try to update on my progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
That was all done at 96,000 miles by the Honda dealer. I thought about that but since I still have 50,000 miles to go I'll probably wait unless someone convinces me otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
The front head having deposites is very common, see it on almost every v6 I take apart. I belive it's because it runs cooler then the back head due to airflow. It does seem worse on customers that run longer oci's, bad cams too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I think the rear on yours may have been replaced too. Here's a couple of shots of my '04 Pilot with 201K. Runs like a champ.

Front
front.JPG

Rear
rear.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Your doing nothing wrong but since you plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time, I would lean towards replacing at least the timing belt since you are going to have the belt off and its 50% thru its useful life according to Honda. Ultra conservative is to replace the belt, tensioner, water pump and pulleys, essentially zero timing that area for another 100,000 miles. Food for thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
I doubt too that the rear head has been replaced. My 09 looks just like yours. I have pitting on the forward cam but I have just been riding it out from 100k valve adjustment when I noticed it and at the moment I have 170k with oil analysis sent off at various times to check for metals. So at this point its just ticking. It was against every bone in my body to leave that cam in but at the time our 16yr old could have totaled it the next day so I thought I would monitor it and when I started to get a misfire I will change the cam myself.

Vcm muzzler will take care of the oil coking and cam destruction. I talked to honda America about the cams and they denied that there were problems on 09-10 j35s.

Good job and good call on the timing belt looks no reason to do it.The rear head and that bridge system make work much more difficult.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top