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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For the last 6 or 8 months my 2011 with 195K miles cranks 5-10 seconds before catching under certain very specific conditions. It only happens when it's been driven some distance and then parked for an hour or more. The long cranking gets progressively worse, peaking around 4 hours and then tapering off after around 7-8 hours. Hot start fires right up. Cold start fires right up. I haven't noticed much difference related to ambient temperature, but it's been a generally mild winter. It is very consistent. Happens every single time, and it hasn't gotten better or worse since I first experienced it. My local mechanic (not a dealer) found no codes and has no idea. His Hail Mary was injector cleaner, which had no effect.

Any suggestions?
 

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Do you have the ability to look at data? What's your coolant temp both etc #1 and #2, your iat, and your map under the no start conditions? What is your reading at a fully warmed up idle, in park, a/c off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the response Slvr7, but I'm afraid you're talking a bit over my head. I do not have the ability to pull operating data myself, and I'm not entirely clear what data points you're recommending I check. Hoping for something specific I could take to my mechanic. It's tough because the condition only lasts for a few seconds, and if you turn it off and restart it immediately, it fires up normally. The only way to repeat the hard start condition is to drive it a while, and then park it for a few hours.

Once the event happens, is all the relevant data stored or do you have to pull it off in real time?

Would it be worth trying a dealer? I have hesitated because the condition, though consistent, is difficult to duplicate at exactly the right time to allow a mechanic to observe it, and the nearest dealer is 3 hours away.
 

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Has all the general maintenance been done?
Have the spark plugs ever been changed?
Just prefer all is in order before trying to pinpoint a more serious cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yes, it's fully up to date on all routine maintenance. It's had 5K oil changes and the full timing belt service at 110K. Spark plugs were a little late, at 140K. I have never done a valve adjustment because (in my mechanic's judgment) it was not indicated. Runs smooth and quiet when warm. Negligible oil consumption between changes. 95% highway driving and still on the factory brake pads.
 

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At 195k miles, I've never had leaking injectors or fuel pump trouble. Have you tried turning the key on a couple of times for the fuel to be pumped up to the engine, then attempt to start?
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nope, but I'll certainly give that a try. So.. turn the key to on (dash lights up) for a few seconds, then off, then on for a few more seconds, then start... that the idea?
 

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Nope, but I'll certainly give that a try. So.. turn the key to on (dash lights up) for a few seconds, then off, then on for a few more seconds, then start... that the idea?
Yes, to the position just before it cranks. You should hear the fuel pump buzz for a moment.
 

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For the last 6 or 8 months my 2011 with 195K miles cranks 5-10 seconds before catching under certain very specific conditions. It only happens when it's been driven some distance and then parked for an hour or more. The long cranking gets progressively worse, peaking around 4 hours and then tapering off after around 7-8 hours. Hot start fires right up. Cold start fires right up. I haven't noticed much difference related to ambient temperature, but it's been a generally mild winter. It is very consistent. Happens every single time, and it hasn't gotten better or worse since I first experienced it. My local mechanic (not a dealer) found no codes and has no idea. His Hail Mary was injector cleaner, which had no effect.

Any suggestions?
Symptoms seem like a vapor lock in the fuel system. Have you had any work done on the fuel lines, filter, injectors, gas tank, or catalytic converters/exhaust system/tail pipes/heat shields?
 

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I have never done a valve adjustment because (in my mechanic's judgment) it was not indicated. Runs smooth and quiet when warm.
Valves that are to tight don't make noise, fyi, instead they don't seal loosing power, mileage, and eventually burning. I have never had a customer say their veh didn't run better after valve adjustment.
Your mechanic really needs to be looking at data when the condition is present. Although I have never had a Honda with leaky injectors, a good first step would be to use Techron injector cleaner. Don't waste your time or $ with any other brand.
 

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I'd also disable the VCM.
I second the Chevron Techron Fuel Injector Cleaner. Good stuff.
 

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At 195k miles, I've never had leaking injectors or fuel pump trouble. Have you tried turning the key on a couple of times for the fuel to be pumped up to the engine, then attempt to start?
This is a great suggestion - we've had a hard start on occasion so it's been difficult to pin down the exact underlying cause. But we were starting the car by turning the key from 0 to crank in one motion. Sometimes we would hear the start crank for 4-5 seconds before the engine would fire up as opposed to normal which was right away. Now we pause at position II for 2 or 3 'beeps' and the car has been starting fine. Figured that something is starting to show its age at 180k, but until it fails or consistently causes hard starts, it's hard to know what the issue is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
At 195k miles, I've never had leaking injectors or fuel pump trouble. Have you tried turning the key on a couple of times for the fuel to be pumped up to the engine, then attempt to start?
Bingo! Drove it this morning and let it sit 3.5 hours. Held the key in the "on" position for 3 dings before starting. Fired right up. I will take your advice and try another round of Chevron fuel injector cleaner. I keep it on hand.

As suggested by Slvr7 I will also do a valve adjustment soon. Based on some additional reading it seems the exhaust valves can become the silent killers. Is there any way to assess whether the VCM is causing any actual harm during the valve adjustment, anything you can see, I mean?

I'm gunning for 300K with this car, so trying to keep things from piling up. Thanks for the help, all!
 

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Bingo! Held the key in the "on" position for 3 dings before starting. Fired right up. I will take your advice and try another round of Chevron fuel injector cleaner. I keep it on hand.

As suggested by Slvr7 I will also do a valve adjustment soon. Based on some additional reading it seems the exhaust valves can become the silent killers.

I'm gunning for 300K with this car, so trying to keep things from piling up. Thanks for the help!
Hopefully the fuel injector cleaner will help. Certainly a symptom of leaky fuel injectors. They may need to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hopefully the fuel injector cleaner will help. Certainly a symptom of leaky fuel injectors. They may need to be replaced.
In your experience, should that be investigated now, or wait to see if the problem gets gradually worse? Can I assume "leaking" means a small amount of raw fuel is getting into the cylinder(s) when parked, and the fuel pressure has to be "recharged" before starting?

I'm a cheapskate at heart, but I understand some things get more expensive if deferred.
 

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In your experience, should that be investigated now, or wait to see if the problem gets gradually worse? Can I assume "leaking" means a small amount of raw fuel is getting into the cylinder(s) when parked, and the fuel pressure has to be "recharged" before starting?

I'm a cheapskate at heart, but I understand some things get more expensive if deferred.
When the engine is turned off the remaining fuel pressure is being bleed off through the leaking injector(s). You probably smell unburned fuel after the engine is turned off.
My step would be to disable the VCM and try the injector cleaner in hope of it fixing itself. Dirty injectors is a real problem. Having all 6 cylinders firing all the time will clean things up, hopefully. That might include a leaky fuel injector or 2. It's worth a try.
 

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In your experience, should that be investigated now, or wait to see if the problem gets gradually worse? Can I assume "leaking" means a small amount of raw fuel is getting into the cylinder(s) when parked, and the fuel pressure has to be "recharged" before starting?

I'm a cheapskate at heart, but I understand some things get more expensive if deferred.
Hi! I also have a 2011 Pilot and I'm have the exact same issue. Your description was identical to mine. Did you ever get a full resolve? The the fuel injection cleaner work?
 

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Milage?
Has the basic maintenance been done?
 

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I didn't contribute to the the thread prior, but if the symptoms are as repeatable as the OP claimed (or you have experienced), then it wouldn't take much of a mechanic to determine what was missing during the long crank; system-wide loss of fuel (my guess), spark (missing crank or cam signal), air (least likely).

I wouldn't go after injectors, as it's highly unlikely all 6 failed concurrently and in the same manner. More likely fuel pump, pump check valve, fuel pump relay...
 
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Long crank but eventually starting can be a fuel pump going bad. It's usually a high mileage problem. Some earlier than others. Since I DIY, I replaced my injectors first, still had issues so I replaced my fuel pump. Things are working better now. Replacing parts is still much better than a car payment.
 
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