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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

2009 Pilot EX-L with ~ 134k at the time.

TL : DR summary.
1) Check spool valve for oil leaks otherwise expensive repairs could be forthcoming.
2) Hope new plugs cure misfire. Changing plugs tough on middle aged frame.
3) There are too many scumbags in this world.
4) I can't wait for autonomous electric cars to get said scumbags away from the wheel of an automobile.

The details:

A month and half or so ago I was being picked by wife and kid driver from work as car no 2 was getting some work done on it. A noticeable whine was coming from the front. Once home (about 12.30am - this was shift work) I took a quick look and thought that's probably the alternator.

Next morning call the indie we've used for the last few years - they're full up that Thursday and the following Friday. Ok, the local garage around the corner might be able to help. Drop car off Thursday and wife picked it up while I am at work. Local guy thinks it's the power steering pump. Google search suggests this may be a simple O-ring that's deteriorated. Friday, head to local Honda dealer and buy $4 O-ring. Heading out car dies, battery etc light on - yeah that's the alternator. Limp into the Subaru dealer next door and hope they've got a connecting path that I can limp back over to the Honda dealer (Honda dealer are next to Subaru on a major arterial road - anyone want to guess where?) - nope, no connection, gotta get a tow (yay for AAA).

Dealer can at least look at it that day (Friday) and wife and kids are heading away on short, much needed, vacation in these difficult times, on Sunday. Call comes in: "your spool valve has leaked oil into the alternator - both need replacement - that'll be "$$ a major upgrade to the owner's 4th holiday home kitchen" in cost (over $2k in reality).

I had no idea about this spool valve and Its potential to wreck havoc on the alternator. I saw no signs of oil leaking.

So those of you with similar age and mileage Pilots check it out before it costs you stealership prices. Someone can chime in here about how one might inspect this spool valve area. Then again maybe I got taken for a ride.

Minor woe 2. I hope.

A couple days ago Pilot throws a check engine light etc (why do all these additional lights show up in Pilots such as VTM et. al. when there's a problem?). Trusty code reader says misfire cylinder 1. Ok plugs got changed on the recall at about 90k miles about 3 years ago, so maybe they need doing again. Also I still have VCM running. Could be oil fouling here too. At at the time of plug change the dealer's paperwork said changed 4 plugs, nah that's got to be a mistake - why would you only change 4 plugs on a V6? Well maybe they did as I just read about VCM working only on cylinders 1-4.

Plug change on 2009 Honda Pilot. Googled and checked the forum. DIY doable, albeit the rear bank a bit tricky. Bought 6 Denso plugs - couldn't decide between Denso and NGK and went Denso as they're usually OEM.
Took about 2 hours. Rear bank back breaking and quite hard to get a torque wrench (Quality HF 3/8 inch version) onto plugs 2 and especially 3. Some wobble extenders helped.
I had cleared the code ealier when reading and it had not come back so will see if this is the solution.

Meanwhile here's the big reveal. Plugs after about 45k on them on a 135.5k Pilot:

139770


Left bottom to top 4-6 and right bottom to top 1-3. Interesting difference. These are all NGK so I'm thinking all 6 were changed around 90k.

Woe #3. Car 2 is a 2011 Mini Cooper S 6MT. Owned just under one year and bought, with many known risks, to teach teenage drivers how to drive stick and maybe, just maybe, become a better driver. Was to be second car and not used for commuting but I have been commuting for nearly 6 months in it (Kid #2 has somewhat mastered stick shift, kid #1 won't get permit, wife still work in progress)

Meanwhile while sitting at red light, white SUV (maybe a Nissan Rogue) pulls up behind me and then about 10 seconds later slams into me. I get out expecting that someone has slammed into her pushing her into me but no it's just par-for-the -course appalling incompetent drivers that abound in MA. She promptly diverts right and takes off. I try to follow but she's gone. Oh well, hit and run - that's a felony, right?, slightly sore neck, but otherwise I should be grateful that I'm otherwise uninjured. Mini's hatch is crumpled and bumper cracked, probably going to run out to ~$3k in repairs I guess. Car's only worth $7k

I'd been looking at different types of dash cams too....

grumpily
SunnyGL
 

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Did the Honda dealership actually replace your entire V-tec (VVT) assembly and spool? I ask, because some have charged for the full job and only replaced just the v-tec (VVT) solenoid assembly which takes 10 minutes. To replace the actual spool, the intake manifold, valve cover and rocker arm assembly must be removed to replace the spool. I helped get a fellow Piloteer a nice refund when it was discovered (by photos) the dealership kept half the part sold to him. Check this thread out.
 

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I’m not sure if it’s the angle of the photo, but the spark plug in the upper right doesn’t look quite right.
Bummer that you were involved in a hit and run. It’s sad that some folks cannot just fess up to their mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m not sure if it’s the angle of the photo, but the spark plug in the upper right doesn’t look quite right.
Bummer that you were involved in a hit and run. It’s sad that some folks cannot just fess up to their mistakes.
I think it's just the angle, but it is noticeable how 1-3 are a bit blacker than 4-6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Did the Honda dealership actually replace your entire V-tec (VVT) assembly and spool? I ask, because some have charged for the full job and only replaced just the v-tec (VVT) solenoid assembly which takes 10 minutes. To replace the actual spool, the intake manifold, valve cover and rocker arm assembly must be removed to replace the spool. I helped get a fellow Piloteer a nice refund when it was discovered (by photos) the dealership kept half the part sold to him. Check this thread out.
I hope they did the whole thing! It was $998 for that bit. I'll take a look when I get a chance. I think the part was just over $300 (I found it online for about half of that). Yes, I read through that thread you mentioned very interesting.

I also think I got screwed on the time charged to replace the alternator as I suspect that it was more readily accessible with the spool valve replacement (someone correct me if wrong). Also I looked at the youtube video of a DIY alternator replcement and it looked like an amateur could do it in under the time I was charged.

cheers
SunnyGL
 

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I hope they did the whole thing! It was $998 for that bit. I'll take a look when I get a chance. I think the part was just over $300 (I found it online for about half of that). Yes, I read through that thread you mentioned very interesting.

I also think I got screwed on the time charged to replace the alternator as I suspect that it was more readily accessible with the spool valve replacement (someone correct me if wrong). Also I looked at the youtube video of a DIY alternator replcement and it looked like an amateur could do it in under the time I was charged.

cheers
SunnyGL
We would love to see some photos of the work they performed. Did they they supposedly do the vtec assembly and spool on the front passenger side or the one on the back drivers side?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's a couple pics I tried with my phone. Some shiny new bits at the top but the cover looks old. I'll go mback through Mr. Grease's earlier thread and see if I can make sense of this.

Thanks
SunnyGL

140136
140137
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It took me a while to locate the receipt as I misfiled it. Doing my best with my phone camera. Here we go:

140461

140462


cheers
SunnyGL
 

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@SunnyGL
I think just the Vtec assembly was replaced but not the spool, looks like they tried to shine up your old spool and there is signs that the dipstick tube is not new. In my opinion, they kept the new spool, and charged you $677.56 labor on something they did in 20 mins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you Mr Grease. So if I confront them and say they have charged me for services not performed and parts not fitted my best evidence is the dipstick tube. I went back and looked at the pic of the whole spool valve part and now see that there's the dipstick tube on it. Given that the upper assembly is still shiny after a bit over 2 months one would expect a new tube to be the same.
The Pilot is due an oil change so I will ask the independent place we usually use their opinion. I'm not great at confrontations and these dealerships deal with it all the time so we'll see how it goes.

Thanks again
SunnyGL
 

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Thank you Mr Grease. So if I confront them and say they have charged me for services not performed and parts not fitted my best evidence is the dipstick tube. I went back and looked at the pic of the whole spool valve part and now see that there's the dipstick tube on it. Given that the upper assembly is still shiny after a bit over 2 months one would expect a new tube to be the same.
The Pilot is due an oil change so I will ask the independent place we usually use their opinion. I'm not great at confrontations and these dealerships deal with it all the time so we'll see how it goes.

Thanks again
SunnyGL
Sorry, looks like I was mistaken.
 

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I just went back and examined the 1st photo. I made a mistake by circling in yellow dirt on the head. The next level up is shiny. So there is a chance they did the job unless you can determine if you dipstick tube is old or not. It's has grime around it.
 

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140504

If that is blue ink in the yellow circle then I was wrong. They did the job. Sorry for my mistake. Always best to look twice 3 times. 😕
 
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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Sorry for my mistake. Always best to look twice 3 times. 😕
That's more than a lot of places do. Have I mentioned I'd invite "Mr. Grease" up here for really good beer to do my next timing belt?
 

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That's more than a lot of places do. Have I mentioned I'd invite "Mr. Grease" up here for really good beer to do my next timing belt?
Are you sure he would like 50, it takes getting used to, and only good when at room temperature.
At least break him in slow and start him with Export.
 

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Are you sure he would like 50, it takes getting used to, and only good when at room temperature.
At least break him in slow and start him with Export.
I'm cold just thinking about it.
 

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Just to clarify, you do know I am talking about Labatt 50, and Molson Export.
No, obviously not. 🍻
 
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