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Discussion Starter #1
Hoping for some assistance...have a 2011 Pilot with 88000 miles on it. In early January, I got the check engine light on with VTM-4 and VSA lights illuminated also. Ran the code and it came back "Cylinder 3 misfire". Found out about the TSB with the extended warranty for issues similar to this with the 2 part process for repair under warranty(change plugs first and then rings in part 1 is unsuccessful). So I brought it to the dealer and part 1 was done as they confirmed the issue was related to the TSB...I should note that car drove fine while the lights illuminated on the dash.
Fast forward to today...accelerating up a hill around 50-55, noticed shuddering during acceleration. CEL came back on but this time was flashing...VTM-4 and VSA lights both came on again and I "limped home". Car ran rough while stopped. Started car up in driveway and ran smoother while in park until I started to drive it a short distance at which point symptoms popped up again..checked codes and now have a Cylinder 1 and Cylinder 4 misfire.
My question to you guys is: given the difference in symptoms between the January occurrence and today, could I be experiencing the same issue as before where the problem has now escalated to involve replacing the rings or does it sound like another issue altogether? The fact that I do regular maintenance and other than the January issue the car has been problem free since I owned it, I guess I'm wondering if it's related to the January issue but I also know the cylinder misfires can be a whole other source of problems to check. Any ideas or leads would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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The shuddering, rough running, or lack of power feeling is common with misfires. Doesn't matter if you didn't have the exact same symptoms as before. Maybe it is worse this time since 2 cylinders are misfiring instead of 1. At any rate, you really shouldn't drive it much while misfiring if you can avoid it.

The real issue is what is causing the misfires. The misfires are likely the result of fouled plugs again; this time in cylinders 1 and 4. The plugs are probably getting fouled because of the VCM issue, given that you are already getting misfires in such a short time with fresh plugs.

How has your oil consumption, if any, been this past year between oil changes?

For the dealer to diagnose, it's really all about the codes they see when you bring it in. So be sure not to clear them. IIRC the codes for misfires in cylinders 1 and 4 are also covered by the TSB, just like the misfire in cylinder 3 was a year ago for you. So they should cover under the extended warranty for you since you were covered for part 1 of that. I would expect them to perform part 2 (piston rings) which is pretty extensive so be prepared to be without the car for a couple of days or more. Then you will see after that if everything is fine.

When you got part 1 done in January, you mention they changed the plugs but didn't mentioned the PCM software update. Did they also update the PCM software that is part of the TSB? They probably did if they were following the TSB but it should be noted on your invoice. Just checking...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot for your reply. Yes, the software update was done along with the spark plug replacement. Oil consumption seems normal. Since the first issue back in February until now, it's been about 10,000 miles and it appears that oil consumption is normal
 

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Thanks a lot for your reply. Yes, the software update was done along with the spark plug replacement. Oil consumption seems normal. Since the first issue back in February until now, it's been about 10,000 miles and it appears that oil consumption is normal
Sounds like you are due for the ring replacement on 1-4. My first occurrence on my 2011 was around 60K and the second almost 100K after that. The second time mine did this I was towing a trailer from Wichita to Boston and I ended up stopping at a dealership in Columbia MO. They were quick to say it was covered by the PCM update. When they saw it had been done, they changed out the fouled plugs, cleared the codes and documented that it needed a ring replacement in the system. Once I got back from Boston a few days later I took it in to my local dealer in Ohio who did the work. No more issues with fouled plugs or oil consumption. I dropped mine off on a Monday and had it back that Wednesday. Sucks to lose it for 3 days but Honda covered the cost of the repair.
 

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Sounds like you are due for the ring replacement on 1-4. My first occurrence on my 2011 was around 60K and the second almost 100K after that. The second time mine did this I was towing a trailer from Wichita to Boston and I ended up stopping at a dealership in Columbia MO. They were quick to say it was covered by the PCM update. When they saw it had been done, they changed out the fouled plugs, cleared the codes and documented that it needed a ring replacement in the system. Once I got back from Boston a few days later I took it in to my local dealer in Ohio who did the work. No more issues with fouled plugs or oil consumption. I dropped mine off on a Monday and had it back that Wednesday. Sucks to lose it for 3 days but Honda covered the cost of the repair.
Interesting data points on mileage between first and second occurrences. OP Tony had first occurrence at 88k miles and second 10k miles later. John had his first at 60k and second almost 100k after that. That is a pretty big range of mileage between first and second occurrences.

I didn't have my first misfire code (cylinder 1 in rear bank) until about 135k miles. But not sure if it was VCM related since there was oil getting past tube seals (which were replaced at 105k during valve adjustment). And back when plugs were replaced at 105k, there was some fouling on original plugs from rear bank but not enough to cause misfires. Those new plugs from 105k service were replaced at 135k when tube seals were replaced for good measure. Dealer also did PCM udpate (step 1) just in case at 135k.

So not really sure if VCM issue will be a problem for me or not since I didn't have my first misfire until 135k and it could have just been the tube seal issue. But whenever I read these threads I always look up prices on the VCM disable add-ons like the latest VCM Tuner II.
 

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I personally would not own one of these engines without disabling the VCM/ECO. It is almost guaranteed you will eventually reach a point of ring damage that you will foul plugs even with VCM disabled. When VCM is enabled, you are just creating more ring damage. For any of these vehicles, I'd disable the VCM, install new NGK plugs, and drive it. If it then throws a misfire code, install new plugs again and sell/trade it in. If I could get the rings replaced for free, I'd go that route, then install a VCM disabler.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, the story has turned a little with my situation. The car was "evaluated" yesterday at the dealership and they (like myself) were virtually certain that the issue was related to the piston ring problem. Apparently, it was not. Their diagnosis after a day of tearing apart the engine to find the cause was a burned out cylinder valve that had developed a hole at the bottom of the valve. They said the plugs were good and the rings were good but they have no idea as to why the valve developed this problem when all the other valves look normal. They said in the last year and a half they've only seen this problem 2 (maybe 3) times. Which, of course, doesn't bode well for my wallet. So, I'm wondering if it's worth opening up a case with American Honda wondering about the workmanship of this particular valve and whether they would be able to do something (given that the other valves are apparently good and they seemed to be calling it more of a fluke that it happened given only 87000 miles on the car). Thanks again for everyone's assistance. I thought for sure the symptoms were piston ring related.
 
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