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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 04 Honda Pilot with 170k miles...I believe it's the EXL model. Leather, dvd, 3 row seats, etc..

About 6 months ago, the car would crank but no start. At the time, i knew nothing about an immobilizer or the significance of the green key icon. By chance/coincidence, i noticed that if i threw the tilt wheel up, the green key light would come on and the car would start.

I soon realized that if the green key light wasn't on when i go to start the car, that the car would only crank and not start. So, it seems that if i smack the steering wheel anywhere, the green key icon will come on and the car will start. Sometimes i'll hit the wheel and the green light will fash....hit it again and it will stay on.

After some research, i replaced the immobilizer with a new Honda piece, and same problem.

The issue had become more frequent. Once it died in the middle of an intersection while i was making a turn...very dangerous obviously. So i took it to a Honda dealer. $268 later for 'diagnostics', and they couldn't find the problem and gave the car back to me unfixed.

Common sense tells me it has to be a loose connection of sorts in the immediate area of the steering wheel, since hitting the wheel and causing a jarring or vibration, will cause the green key icon to come on and start.

My next move is to buy a used ECU with the corresponding key and immobilizer as a package from the same car.

Anything else i should try? Can't believe a Honda dealer couldn't find and fix this problem.
 

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Just wondering, what about the key itself? Is it the original? Do you have only the one or do you have another key that does the same thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Just wondering, what about the key itself? Is it the original? Do you have only the one or do you have another key that does the same thing?
THere is an issue with the key situation,, but i don't see how it is the cause of my problem.

I bought the car from the original owner. I have a separate single key for the ignition, and another key for the door locks. That tells me that the ignition lock itself was probably replaced with another Honda key since the ignition key doesn't unlock any of the doors.

This is only my daily driver for work, beater car of sorts. I don't carry the 'door' key with me, so it is a single ignition key that i leave in the car 24/7 basically. I don't carry valuables or leave anything in the car.

I asked the dealer about reprogramming the key and they said that it wasn't necessary? What could it hurt, right?

I also bought an 'XTOOL' key programmer for $200 on Amazon....but, i get an error msg when i plug it into my OBD port...."failure to connect'. That is what tends me to think that it's an ECU problem? I can get an ECU, immobilizer, and matching key for $150 from the same model year pilot.

So far i'm in for $500, and no fix. Check that....$600...I towed it to the dealer cause it died on me in a rainstorm 1/4 mile from my house. Got it started and took it home and called a wrecker.
 

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Ah, the plot thickens...

The reason I was asking about the key is when I had a similar problem a while back, it turned out the little immobilizer chip inside my new replacement flip-key had come loose inside it, and it was just enough for it not to connect with the magnetic immobilizer ring around where the hilt of the key is when it's inserted.

http://www.piloteers.org/forums/14-problems/118505-aw-nuts-cranks-but-doesn-t-turn-over.html

This may (or may not) be similar to your problem. Can you open the key and see if the immobilizer chip has perhaps come loose?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ah, the plot thickens...

The reason I was asking about the key is when I had a similar problem a while back, it turned out the little immobilizer chip inside my new replacement flip-key had come loose inside it, and it was just enough for it not to connect with the magnetic immobilizer ring around where the hilt of the key is when it's inserted.



This may (or may not) be similar to your problem. Can you open the key and see if the immobilizer chip has perhaps come loose?


Thanks for the insight...Do i really want to try and open the key as is shown on youtube?

The video shows, a vice, a cutoff wheel, hammer and chisel to get to the chip.
 

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If you're referring to this video, then no. Our OEM keys have a little screw you unscrew, then pry apart the two halves, as when you change the battery inside for the door remote fob. You should then see the immobilizer chip in there, too.

It's more like in this video:
 

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Have you taken a look at the wiring in the steering column to determine if there is a faulty connection?
Does your Pilot have an alarm system?
 

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My 04 key looks like the one in the first video
Oh, then that does complicate matters. Maybe try road2cycle's suggestions first, then.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Have you taken a look at the wiring in the steering column to determine if there is a faulty connection?
Does your Pilot have an alarm system?
I have. Dealer claimed to have taken all the wiring out and gave it a thorough inspection....4 hrs worth, and found nothing amiss.

I actually set the apptmnt at the dealer for the airbag recall, and decided while they were at it, to look at the key/immobilizer issue. They found nothing but of course charged me for it.

I'm thinking i'll have the key re-pregrammed. If that doesn't fix it, then new/used ecu with matching key to that ecu.

One other thing i'm gonna try is, inserting the key the same way each time. Maybe the rotation of the key is an issue. idk. Can't hurt to think outside the box sometimes.

Not sure if it has an alarm system. Nothing aftermarket for sure. I've never triggered an alarm? Don't know if there is one built in from the factory or not. Like i said, i don't lock the doors, key stays in the console. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sooooo, i bought another ECU, ignition lock, immobilizer and key from another '04 Pilot.

I'm going to switch this out tomorrow. This swap should narrow it down to either an issue with the ECU/ignition lock/immobilizer/key or an electrical problem/short in the steering column.

Sound about right? thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Had a locksmith try to re-program my key today....PCM 'failed to connect'.

And the green key icon won't come on at all now...no flashing, no intermittent blink when i jar the steering wheel. Cranks and no start.

If a honda dealer couuldn't fix this issue, where's that leave me? Scrapyard bound with the pilot and say to hell with it?

I go out this morning, and green key icon came on and it started right up. Shut it off, green key flashes, won't re-start. Smack the steering wheel and green key icon stays on and car starts. It's gotta be a short of sorts in the steering wheel area.
 

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If a honda dealer couuldn't fix this issue, where's that leave me? Scrapyard bound with the pilot and say to hell with it?
A fate more ignominious than the scrapyard... the dealership. :surprise:

Seriously, though, I can't imagine a truly competent dealer couldn't get this to work. Seems absurd to throw away a car for an issue like that. The question is how much it would cost and is it worth it?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A fate more ignominious than the scrapyard... the dealership. :surprise:

Seriously, though, I can't imagine a truly competent dealer couldn't get this to work. Seems absurd to throw away a car for an issue like that. The question is how much it would cost and is it worth it?
I'm in it for $700 and still no fix..

$300 for dealer not to fix the issue.
$120 tow to dealer
$150 for used PCM/ignition lock/immobilizer/key
$70 for new Honda immobilizer
$60 for locksmith to re-program key but couldn't connect to PCM

It's a great daily driver for my 90 mile trip. Ice cold AC, smooth, roomy, quiet, decent gas mileage, comfortable.

Bought it over a year ago from a one owner retired navy gentleman.....170k miles....timing belt recently done, new Firestones, all Honda service records since new, etc....IT's beat up on all 4 corners because the Pilot was shipped all around the world where the Navy guy was stationed.
 

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I'm curious if the stealership actually checked the wires. You replaced the key, ECU, and the immobilizer. I think by immobilizer, are you referring to the key reader in the steering wheel?

I'll have to pull a diagram, but I think the wiring is under suspicion at this point, everything else has been replaced.

Out of curiosity, does the Key-in-ignition beeper work?
Place key in ignition and turn on lights, lock the door while ajar. I'm not the most familiar with Honda. Does it rely on a Key-in-ignition sensor?

What about starting in neutral vs Park? If the starter motor is cranking and the engine doesn't fire, that probably eliminates the "starter cut relay".


Perhaps check power and ground going to the ignition coil(s).

However, you stated that if you smacked the column a few times, it would start sometimes. So perhaps checking the coils is a waste of time.


I'm not one to recommend chopping up factory wiring. That stated, I wonder if you got a pig tail with your used immobilizer,and if you had a pig tail for the PCM. You could fashion a by-pass harness from the immobilizer to the PCM. Just release the pins from the connectors and slot in new. No cutting. You could also check both ends for continuity.

On the immobilizer, Check that the yellow/black wire has 12v in Run/start, and brown/yellow has ground always. Pins 2-3 actually go to the PCM. If hot and ground are working, you would only need two PCM pins to bypass.

Read through this tsb. Perhaps it may help you understand the system a bit better.
http://www.revbase.com/BBBMotor/TSb/DownloadPdf?id=178204


Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I'm curious if the stealership actually checked the wires. You replaced the key, ECU, and the immobilizer. I think by immobilizer, are you referring to the key reader in the steering wheel?

I'll have to pull a diagram, but I think the wiring is under suspicion at this point, everything else has been replaced.

Out of curiosity, does the Key-in-ignition beeper work?
Place key in ignition and turn on lights, lock the door while ajar. I'm not the most familiar with Honda. Does it rely on a Key-in-ignition sensor?

What about starting in neutral vs Park? If the starter motor is cranking and the engine doesn't fire, that probably eliminates the "starter cut relay".


Perhaps check power and ground going to the ignition coil(s).

However, you stated that if you smacked the column a few times, it would start sometimes. So perhaps checking the coils is a waste of time.


I'm not one to recommend chopping up factory wiring. That stated, I wonder if you got a pig tail with your used immobilizer,and if you had a pig tail for the PCM. You could fashion a by-pass harness from the immobilizer to the PCM. Just release the pins from the connectors and slot in new. No cutting. You could also check both ends for continuity.

On the immobilizer, Check that the yellow/black wire has 12v in Run/start, and brown/yellow has ground always. Pins 2-3 actually go to the PCM. If hot and ground are working, you would only need two PCM pins to bypass.

Read through this tsb. Perhaps it may help you understand the system a bit better.
Download Rate Exceeded


Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


Thank you for taking the time to make this great reply. It is however, waaaay above my pay grade. I don't/can't/won't do electrical investigating, unless it simply consists of replacing a fuse or a bare wire.
Continuity and such is not for me.

"key in ignition beeper' does work.

I haven't replaced the new/used PCM, igntion lock w/corresonding key, and immobilizer. That is my next move, and then it's the junkyard if that doesn't fix it.

I did notice that the current ignition lock has definitely been replaced because the bolts that clamp the igniton lock assembly to the steering column, still hve the hex head nuts on them...they haven't been snapped off like they are from the factory.

Once i figure out how to disassemble the console, i'm going to take the PCM out and put in the new/used one.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
so i'm ouut in the pilot trying to tap of areas of the steering column, harnesses, looking for bare wires, etc...

At one point, with the key in the ignition and not starting, i was able to 'flick' the key and the green key icon came on and it started.

I tried to re-create the same scenario and couuldn't.

Then once i smacked the wheel and the green key came on and started, i lightly tapped the bottom of the igniton assembly on the left side where the 4 wires are soldered onto the end piece i'll call the ignition 'actuator', the car died. I was able to recreate this scenario a few times.

And right now as i type this, with the car running, i removed the immobilizer and the key and brought them into house. The car is still running. How is that possible? :)

I'm going to go out and tap on the ignition assembly and see if it dies without the key and immobilizer in the ignition.
 

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so i'm ouut in the pilot trying to tap of areas of the steering column, harnesses, looking for bare wires, etc...

At one point, with the key in the ignition and not starting, i was able to 'flick' the key and the green key icon came on and it started.

I tried to re-create the same scenario and couuldn't.

Then once i smacked the wheel and the green key came on and started, i lightly tapped the bottom of the igniton assembly on the left side where the 4 wires are soldered onto the end piece i'll call the ignition 'actuator', the car died. I was able to recreate this scenario a few times.

And right now as i type this, with the car running, i removed the immobilizer and the key and brought them into house. The car is still running. How is that possible? :)

I'm going to go out and tap on the ignition assembly and see if it dies without the key and immobilizer in the ignition.
Well. I'm confused.

Can you provide pictures of the areas you tapped and "flicked"?

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
This is where i was tapping that would kill the engine.



I can start the car without the key in the ignition like this but immobilizer and key need to be connected and close by for it to start. Once it starts, i can completely remove the immobilizer and key from vehicle and it will continue to run.





In this picture, i could not figure out what the green unplugged connector does. It plugs in just below the other green connector in the pic, to a circuit board of sorts that sits under the immobilizer. It doesn't seem to affect whether or not the green key light comes on/off, and doesn't prevent it from starting.

 

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This is where i was tapping that would kill the engine.



I can start the car without the key in the ignition like this but immobilizer and key need to be connected and close by for it to start. Once it starts, i can completely remove the immobilizer and key from vehicle and it will continue to run.





In this picture, i could not figure out what the green unplugged connector does. It plugs in just below the other green connector in the pic, to a circuit board of sorts that sits under the immobilizer. It doesn't seem to affect whether or not the green key light comes on/off, and doesn't prevent it from starting.

Looks like the ignition switch in the first picture.

It makes sense that it's the ignition switch. Most anti theft doesn't continue to check the key after a successful interrogation.


Can you post another picture of the socket the extra green connector plugs into? Is it on the immobilizer?

I guess it could be for a factory remote start. I'll check the diagrams tonight.

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