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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, truly need your help here. About to purchase a used 2013 Pilot Touring 2WD with 60k miles on it.
Before purchasing I was reading up on it's common problems/issues on this forum and I came across 3 things which were a bit scary for me and wanted your input/help.

A) VCM
B) Something related to "shuddering issue" (not sure)
C) Torque converter issues.

1) Will my 2013 Pilot have the engine with the VCM?
2) If so, how do I diagnose if it has this issue when I'm test driving it?
3) I will be taking the Pilot into a pre-purchase inspection however can anyone give me a "specific" list I should add to the pre-purchase inspection that I should have them look at certain things more in depth on top of the normal stuff they check?

Would truly appreciate all your replies!

Thank you so much!
 

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1. Yes. The Pilot only came with 1 engine.
2. The process of shifting from 6 to 4 cylinders and back is not a smooth process. So feeling it depends on if you are a sensitive driver or not as some people feel it and others do not.
3. Someone else on here will have to provide.

If you muzzle the VCM, the issues like the torque converter issue, which is caused by the VCM should go away. The Pilot you are looking at has pretty low miles on it and most likely not a concern. I would however muzzle the VCM as soon as possible.
 

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Hey everyone, truly need your help here. About to purchase a used 2013 Pilot Touring 2WD with 60k miles on it.
Others might disagree, but I'd recommend instead to look for a Pilot with 4WD/AWD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Others might disagree, but I'd recommend instead to look for a Pilot with 4WD/AWD.
Possibly, but I'm just getting an incredible deal for this one so it makes sense + i live in an extremely hot climate so no snow/winter here pretty much.

1. Yes. The Pilot only came with 1 engine.
2. The process of shifting from 6 to 4 cylinders and back is not a smooth process. So feeling it depends on if you are a sensitive driver or not as some people feel it and others do not.
3. Someone else on here will have to provide.

If you muzzle the VCM, the issues like the torque converter issue, which is caused by the VCM should go away. The Pilot you are looking at has pretty low miles on it and most likely not a concern. I would however muzzle the VCM as soon as possible.
I'm very afraid that doing something not OEM will end up bad for me as there are many people here who say to not add the vcm disabler aswell so I'm confused what to do.
 

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Possibly, but I'm just getting an incredible deal for this one so it makes sense + i live in an extremely hot climate so no snow/winter here pretty much.



I'm very afraid that doing something not OEM will end up bad for me as there are many people here who say to not add the vcm disabler aswell so I'm confused what to do.
I have 2wd, wish I'd got the 4wd.

The people telling you NOT to disable it aren't typically familiar enough with what's going on. The key is to get a disable device that's "smart" and turns off should the engine overheat from other causes. S-VCM or VCM Tuner 2 would be my recommendations. They will NOT harm the car. You'll also likely want to do a timing belt due solely based on age. I just did mine last August on my 2013 with ~69k miles. The tensioner was leaking when I took it out. We bought the car brand new so it wasn't an aftermarket tensioner or anything. It's the weak spot on these. Secrets to success:

1) Disable VCM
2) Change the timing belt every 7 year OR 100k miles
3) Change the transmission fluid every 30k - Valvoline Maxlife is recommended - it's cheap and good
4) Expect brakes to shudder - pad deposits / warping... thankfully you can order brakes dirt cheap for these things off Rock Auto and make it go away for 20-30k miles. Some claim this doesn't happen to them and it's because people don't know how to drive. I'll just say these a prone to shaking brakes... they'll never wear out though. :)
5) Adjust the valves and replace spark plugs @ 100k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have 2wd, wish I'd got the 4wd.

The people telling you NOT to disable it aren't typically familiar enough with what's going on. The key is to get a disable device that's "smart" and turns off should the engine overheat from other causes. S-VCM or VCM Tuner 2 would be my recommendations. They will NOT harm the car. You'll also likely want to do a timing belt due solely based on age. I just did mine last August on my 2013 with ~69k miles. The tensioner was leaking when I took it out. We bought the car brand new so it wasn't an aftermarket tensioner or anything. It's the weak spot on these. Secrets to success:

1) Disable VCM
2) Change the timing belt every 7 year OR 100k miles
3) Change the transmission fluid every 30k - Valvoline Maxlife is recommended - it's cheap and good
4) Expect brakes to shudder - pad deposits / warping... thankfully you can order brakes dirt cheap for these things off Rock Auto and make it go away for 20-30k miles. Some claim this doesn't happen to them and it's because people don't know how to drive. I'll just say these a prone to shaking brakes... they'll never wear out though. :)
5) Adjust the valves and replace spark plugs @ 100k miles.
Makes sense, I'm grabbing the 2WD because I'm getting a great deal for it. Also, I live in a VERY hot climate, no winter or snow here so it's not a horrible choice for me.

Should I get the S-VCM or the VCM Tuner 2? Any reason to buy 1 over the other?

What are some KEY POINTS I should mention to the pre-purchase inspection mechanic? He'll do the normal checks I'm sure but things that we WANT him to MAKE SURE he checks very thoroughly?
 

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Makes sense, I'm grabbing the 2WD because I'm getting a great deal for it. Also, I live in a VERY hot climate, no winter or snow here so it's not a horrible choice for me.

Should I get the S-VCM or the VCM Tuner 2? Any reason to buy 1 over the other?

What are some KEY POINTS I should mention to the pre-purchase inspection mechanic? He'll do the normal checks I'm sure but things that we WANT him to MAKE SURE he checks very thoroughly?
2wd is fine, it just isn’t ideal. It’s asking a lot of that right front tire pulling out in traffic, especially if it’s wet. With that said it’s not a deal breaker but going back in time I wish I’d had my dealer get me a 4wd model instead for the 2k difference or whatever it was.

On the VCM disabled the Tuner 2 has the most features but either will work totally fine. I have an s-vcm on ours. It works great.

Nothing really too special to look for. It’s a pretty standard vehicle. Spool valves can leak oil around the gaskets, white paint can peel in front of the sunroof, make sure no one broke off the dipstick getting it stuck (easy to break), make sure it doesn’t shake at interstate speeds (we had a bad cv axle that started shaking at 70), overall it’s a pretty straightforward car which is what a lot of people find desirable about it. It’s one of the last simple cars before everything went 9 speed automatic, push button shifters, direct injection, etc. Its kinda the last of the old school Honda’s. With that said, it isn’t anything special to drive. It performs a utilitarian function and does it well, so don’t expect it to be the same as a new CX9 or something like that.

Happy to answer any other questions you may have.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
2wd is fine, it just isn’t ideal. It’s asking a lot of that right front tire pulling out in traffic, especially if it’s wet. With that said it’s not a deal breaker but going back in time I wish I’d had my dealer get me a 4wd model instead for the 2k difference or whatever it was.

On the VCM disabled the Tuner 2 has the most features but either will work totally fine. I have an s-vcm on ours. It works great.

Nothing really too special to look for. It’s a pretty standard vehicle. Spool valves can leak oil around the gaskets, white paint can peel in front of the sunroof, make sure no one broke off the dipstick getting it stuck (easy to break), make sure it doesn’t shake at interstate speeds (we had a bad cv axle that started shaking at 70), overall it’s a pretty straightforward car which is what a lot of people find desirable about it. It’s one of the last simple cars before everything went 9 speed automatic, push button shifters, direct injection, etc. Its kinda the last of the old school Honda’s. With that said, it isn’t anything special to drive. It performs a utilitarian function and does it well, so don’t expect it to be the same as a new CX9 or something like that.

Happy to answer any other questions you may have.
I just drive it to work and back. 30miles each way 5x a week in a very warm and hot climate.
So hopefully it suffices.

I'm coming from a 2012 GMC Acadia SLT-1 to the 2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Hopefully the Pilot is more comfortable and reliable on the daily compared to the GMC Acadia.

I'll be test driving it on Saturday. Going 70mph for a good 5minutes is officially on the list now.

Also, have you added some sort of phone mirror-ing functionality to your pilot or is there a thread for that? I was hoping I can add a double-din dash but there isn't a dash kit for it however i've heard about this item that makes the OEM screen have apple carplay or phone mirroring.

Thank-you for that!
 

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Personally I would want to know some history on the vehicle if possible. I recently bought a 2014 Touring 4WD with 180,000 km on it. I had no history sadly. I got the dealership to pay my local Honda dealership for a timing belt, water pump, spark plug and valve adjustment thankfully. I had all the fluids replaced so that I would know they were clean. I also replaced the rear shocks and springs as they were all OEM. But just make sure he checks the steering rack well and front control arms as I heard from my dealer that they can be an issue.
 

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I just drive it to work and back. 30miles each way 5x a week in a very warm and hot climate.
So hopefully it suffices.

I'm coming from a 2012 GMC Acadia SLT-1 to the 2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Hopefully the Pilot is more comfortable and reliable on the daily compared to the GMC Acadia.

I'll be test driving it on Saturday. Going 70mph for a good 5minutes is officially on the list now.

Also, have you added some sort of phone mirror-ing functionality to your pilot or is there a thread for that? I was hoping I can add a double-din dash but there isn't a dash kit for it however i've heard about this item that makes the OEM screen have apple carplay or phone mirroring.

Thank-you for that!
On ours the vibration with the cv axle showed up at 70 and was throttle dependent. Going down hill there was no vibration, a little on flat ground, and a good bit going uphill. Drove me nuts. It’s not a super common problem but a few on here have had it and no one ever confirmed a fix. Thankfully you can order a new OEM passenger cv axle assembly for about $250 so it’s not outrageous.

Ive never driven an Acadia so can’t really compare them unfortunately. I’d heard too many transmission horror stories so we never even drove it when we were shopping. We did test drive the Pathfinder with the cvt so we dodged one bullet there. :) Did yours do alright or did you struggle with major problems?

While I wouldn’t call the Pilot plush by any stretch I’ve never been uncomfortable in ours even on long drives and with vcm disabled the Pilot should be quite reliable. There aren’t a lot of expensive items that are known to break frequently assuming you kill vcm and keep the transmission fluid reasonably fresh. You can expect high teens and low 20s (interstate) on fuel economy and thankfully it’s happy on the cheap stuff.

Ive never looked into any options for mirroring the phone like Apple CarPlay / AA. Hopefully someone else can come along and provide some insight on that for ya. Ours is a Touring as well and it has the rear entertainment system and navigation. The nav is no where near google maps but with a more recent map update it’s not terrible either - it’s just annoying trying to input street names. It’ll also play music over Bluetooth and the steering wheel controls can skip songs, etc. Our kids still like the DVD player for road trips. For what we need it’s been good enough.

Please if you get a chance update us on how the test drive goes. Will be curious how it compares to the Acadia.
 
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I'm coming from a 2012 GMC Acadia SLT-1 to the 2013 Honda Pilot Touring. Hopefully the Pilot is more comfortable and reliable on the daily compared to the GMC Acadia.
Heh, my '15 Pilot replaced a '10 Traverse. BIG difference in reliability. That Traverse was easily one of the most problematic vehicles I've ever had. That's especially sad considering I also own a 1977 MG Midget. Guess which one had more electrical problems over 3 years?

The 2WD is fine if you don't need the snow or towing. The 4WD adds the transmission oil cooler that increases the towing capacity (at least, that's how it is on a '15). Haven't had any problems with VCM myself. Whichever VCM disabler I bought caused checked engine lights. It was one of the simple ones that just adds resistance to the coolant temperature sensor.
 

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Whichever VCM disabler I bought caused checked engine lights. It was one of the simple ones that just adds resistance to the coolant temperature sensor.
That <should> only happen if you installed it while the engine was still hot. Also they should go away if you just give it a few drive cycles. The computer controlled setups are by far better and safer. Never had a CEL with the S-VCM and never had VCM come on after either... and no, I don't miss the weird rumble, the delayed throttle response, or the potential engine damage that VCM brings. :)
 

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That <should> only happen if you installed it while the engine was still hot. Also they should go away if you just give it a few drive cycles. The computer controlled setups are by far better and safer. Never had a CEL with the S-VCM and never had VCM come on after either... and no, I don't miss the weird rumble, the delayed throttle response, or the potential engine damage that VCM brings. :)
I installed it cold. The CEL came on a couple days later with "engine too cold", or something to that effect. I've been thinking about trying it again and just ignore the CEL until it's time to e-check. Perhaps it will go away again on its own eventually. I did like that it didn't make the odd gearshift-like shudders.
 

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I installed it cold. The CEL came on a couple days later with "engine too cold", or something to that effect. I've been thinking about trying it again and just ignore the CEL until it's time to e-check. Perhaps it will go away again on its own eventually. I did like that it didn't make the odd gearshift-like shudders.
Odd - maybe it had way too much resistance then. Can you adjust it down? If installed cold you shouldn't have a CEL ever. If I were you I'd just get an S-VCM and be done with it.
 

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I have the duplicate of the car you are looking at. Mine is silver...

-- Inspect/replace the spark plugs as part of your detailed PPI. Oily/coked plugs may be cause for concern. Follow with a compression test if you find those plugs.

-- Your phone will easily pair with the 'handsfree link" to give you both call and wireless music via bluetooth.

-- The Touring comes with a pretty nice sound system in it already. Take a test disk of your favorite test tunes to try it out. The integration with other functions in the car, like the rear entertainment, NAV, satellite radio and climate control, ANC, backup camera, parking alert, etc., plus the physical limitations on fitting a new head unit, will all help you decide that you don't really need more than what comes in the car.

After all that:

Disable the VCM with whatever device suits your fancy. The engine will love you for it, the transmission and motor mounts will love you for it, and your sensitive tush will love you for it. Our cars are getting to the end of any Honda warranty participation in VCM-related piston and ring warranty coverage. Avoid VCM by disabling the VCM, simple as that. You get to buy and install it, beyond which there is nothing but upside.

In the sticky section at the top, there's a thread called "Advice for test driving a used Pilot". It's what to look for when test driving a used Pilot. Your good sense will guide you.

The Owner's Manual set is a long read, maybe a cure for insomnia. Read it anyway when you get the car. Tons of not-so-obvious tips and features on the high-trim model that would otherwise get missed. I had some surplus airplane seat time to use up, and added a fully-linked PDF set of the manuals to my travel tablet. Available from Honda's support website IIRC. Might find it now if you are serious about the purchase.

Get the service records and Carfax to review before purchase. Like any other car investment.


And... Welcome to Piloteers! Lots of friends here who have wandered the path before you. All are ready to help you along the way. Your success is our success!

Bob
 

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Wow, a lot of negativity towards the 2013. As an owner of a '13 EX-L, I literally had no idea. We don't use the Pilot as much anymore, but at 105k miles I have no reason to believe major problems are forthcoming. Sure, lots of drama from brakes and yes, I still need to replace the rear rotors and pads on the rear (for the first time I might add) and maybe the fronts again sometime but overall it's been a great vehicle. Other than the eco mode, it's a very "classic" model with a clean non-touchscreen, basic white dials, etc... and does a great job of providing us with family trips, home depot runs, etc. We only had one issue which was a cylinder 1 misfire which we had fixed under extended warranty (although it wouldn't have been an expensive repair). Did other items like spark plugs at the recommended 100k or whatever and no CELs before or afterwards. No oil consumption.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'm bet I'm not. Yes, the shuttering is annoying, but not THAT bad. I'll look into getting it reprogrammed just because, why not.

I'm betting the 13s have fewer problems than a lot of the newer ones...
 

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I don't read any of this as "negativity" towards the 2013 or the other years of this generation. Since purchase, we've shared/learned some things that can help maintain the great owner experience. We see a skewed sample set of owner and their experiences here; I'm sure the vast majority of owners fly along fine, dealers take care of everything for them, and they have a great experience. The vocal minority might come here to ask about something they are experiencing. mostly to get some guidance on possible options and cures. Sharing the experiences is not negativity. I'll be the first to share that my ownership experience with this car is better than excellent. I've needed to do nothing beyond services and replace tires.

I did choose to add a VCMuzzler early on, in response to some "hunting" on cruise control. The group here made the recommendation, part was purchased and installed, and the symptom disappeared. No negativity -- a known symptom, a creative cure was available, Solved.

In my spare time, I'm a serial maintainer and planner. Others here share their experiences, and that gets some things penciled into the "take a look" or "plan a PM to avoid this experience" lists. We discuss those things here, not to scare owners off or present the car poorly, but to allow everyone to reap the benefits of the collective experiences and knowledge. Not saying that everybody has problems, but... if you have a particular symptom, folks here will make a recommendation based on those collective experiences and knowledge.

It's friends helping friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
-- Your phone will easily pair with the 'handsfree link" to give you both call and wireless music via bluetooth.

-- The Touring comes with a pretty nice sound system in it already. Take a test disk of your favorite test tunes to try it out. The integration with other functions in the car, like the rear entertainment, NAV, satellite radio and climate control, ANC, backup camera, parking alert, etc., plus the physical limitations on fitting a new head unit, will all help you decide that you don't really need more than what comes in the car.

And... Welcome to Piloteers! Lots of friends here who have wandered the path before you. All are ready to help you along the way. Your success is our success!

Bob
Thanks Bob for all that information. As for the phone being linked to the infotainment system .... are there no Honda pilot's here who have purchased the Apple Carplay modification for theirs?
Would love to hear more about that.

Thank-you for the warm welcome!
Appreciate it tons!
 
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