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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking at buying a pilot that is in this age range so I understand it may have some miles on it. What should I look for to ensure I don't have major difficulties with the VCM issues that I've read about on this forum? Or is this just a gamble either way?

my understanding is that on top of this the only thing I really need to look for is whether or not the timing belt has been done if the vehicle is approaching 100,000 mi.

I found a local 2012 pilot ex with 105k that has had regular maintenance for $13500. It's a one owner. I'm interested but concerned about the VCM problem and pistons, etc. Thoughts?

Thank you
 

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I'm looking at buying a pilot that is in this age range so I understand it may have some miles on it. What should I look for to ensure I don't have major difficulties with the VCM issues that I've read about on this forum? Or is this just a gamble either way?

my understanding is that on top of this the only thing I really need to look for is whether or not the timing belt has been done if the vehicle is approaching 100,000 mi.

I found a local 2012 pilot ex with 105k that has had regular maintenance for $13500. It's a one owner. I'm interested but concerned about the VCM problem and pistons, etc. Thoughts?

Thank you
Plug a scanner in and see if there any engine codes or pending codes.
Is the engine idling smoothly?
 

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2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
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There are pending codes? That haven't tripped yet, are did already?

Look at the ATF dipstick, and the oil dipstick.

I now vote yes, if it has no VCM and you get it, put one on it.

Has it had the Timing Belt/Water pump done? That's at least a grand right there unless you DIY it.
 

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2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
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Have the Pilot inspected by a trusted mechanic. While there isn't a way to tell if damage has been done, typically problems with the pistons start with higher mileage. If it "passes" the inspection, buy it and muzzle the VCM as soon as you can. I personally think at that mileage it'll be fine.
Also if I recall correctly, most of the VCM related engine problems were for 2011-2013 Pilots (or at least the warranty was extended for those model years). So the newer the better.
 

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Have the Pilot inspected by a trusted mechanic. While there isn't a way to tell if damage has been done, typically problems with the pistons start with higher mileage. If it "passes" the inspection, buy it and muzzle the VCM as soon as you can. I personally think at that mileage it'll be fine.
Also if I recall correctly, most of the VCM related engine problems were for 2011-2013 Pilots (or at least the warranty was extended for those model years). So the newer the better.
He mentioned a 2012 model.
 

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I wouldn't let the year prevent you from buying the car. Just look for maintenance history and regular oil changes.
 

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Buy a VCM muzzler from verbatim on ebay. He's the one that came with the first VCM muzzler device and has really good reviews. I just installed one on my 2013 pilot and it is unbelievable the difference it makes a much smoother ride. The millage difference so far is 1 mpg. I suggest changing brake fluid, transmission fluid, belt and pump, and spark plugs. Routine stuff for a vehicle with 100k miles. Good luck, we still love our pilot at 121K miles and look forward to at least another 80K
 

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Buy a VCM muzzler from verbatim on ebay. He's the one that came with the first VCM muzzler device and has really good reviews.
I wish I could feel comfortable with this recommendation and I've love verbatim to get the sales.... I just can't. Simply put the VCM Muzzler while a GREAT idea has been outclassed in safety by the newer options like the SVCM and VCM Tuner 2. The VCM Muzzler could allow the temperatures to get hot without realizing it. The values are not linear and if something goes wrong you could overheat without seeing it. The newer options have a bypass mode to prevent this.
 

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I wish I could feel comfortable with this recommendation and I've love verbatim to get the sales.... I just can't. Simply put the VCM Muzzler while a GREAT idea has been outclassed in safety by the newer options like the SVCM and VCM Tuner 2. The VCM Muzzler could allow the temperatures to get hot without realizing it. The values are not linear and if something goes wrong you could overheat without seeing it. The newer options have a bypass mode to prevent this.
That's not entirely true, and I'm not affiliated with any VCM disabler ... the VCMuzzler has a number of resistors that come with it, and unless you are using the highest values, there is an indication things are hotter than normal either by the temperature gauge or the ECO light coming on. True, with the higher values to prevent the ECO light from ever coming on, there is a point at a very high temperature where the ETC1 sensor can have almost zero resistance and you'll still have that higher value resistor inline giving an entirely false reading on the gauge and probably no ECO light. But, that only happens when using the higher or highest value resistor and things have reached the point you will have other indications of an overheated condition, i.e., smell of burning paint/rubber/insulation, steam coming out the engine compartment, etc.

Now, the smarter devices are designed to keep the VCM off until ECT1 reaches 230F, so you probably won't get an attention grabbing ECO light if things start to get hotter than normal. A feature I actually like since I'm not always looking at the temp gauge.

So neither/any current design is without drawbacks. I currently have the VCMuzzler II in my Pilot and I have kept the lowest value resistor in it despite the fact the ECO light comes on occasionally after waiting at a long red light and it goes off after about 10 seconds of moving again. For the rare times it comes on (and it's never come on while under way at any speed or load), it's nice to know the ECU, cam oil solenoid and other VCM things are working and getting lubed/exercised, based on no codes.

I just ordered and installed a S-VCM and want to see what if anything I get in the way of the gauge telling me ECT is above normal such as after idling a long time with no forward movement. I have no idea if it was reaching 230F before. So I haven't made a decision yet on which to keep in the car. I'm keeping both for now until I decide. Having the ECO light come on when things get above normal temp with the low value resistor is a big plus for the VCMuzzler in my opinion. How soon I would see the meter going up after 230F is reached on the smart devices, I do not know. But from pilot training (the flying kind), I've gotten into the habit of scanning gauges regularly and often. So unless I'm distracted by something going on through the windshield, like an accident when we have to stop or slow down, I should be ok with the S-VCM if I remember my training.
 

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That's not entirely true, and I'm not affiliated with any VCM disabler ... the VCMuzzler has a number of resistors that come with it, and unless you are using the highest values, there is an indication things are hotter than normal either by the temperature gauge or the ECO light coming on.

Now, the smarter devices are designed to keep the VCM off until ECT1 reaches 230F, so you probably won't get an attention grabbing ECO light if things start to get hotter than normal. A feature I actually like since I'm not always looking at the temp gauge.

I just ordered and installed a S-VCM and want to see what if anything I get in the way of the gauge telling me ECT is above normal such as after idling a long time with no forward movement. I have no idea if it was reaching 230F before. So I haven't made a decision yet on which to keep in the car. I'm keeping both for now until I decide. Having the ECO light come on when things get above normal temp with the low value resistor is a big plus for the VCMuzzler in my opinion. How soon I would see the meter going up after 230F is reached on the smart devices, I do not know. But from pilot training (the flying kind), I've gotten into the habit of scanning gauges regularly and often. So unless I'm distracted by something going on through the windshield, like an accident when we have to stop or slow down, I should be ok with the S-VCM if I remember my training.
You're not wrong, but I'd still argue you assume that most people will know what an eco light coming on means in regards to coolant temperature. For someone who's paying attention and understands this stuff you're right... it maybe a better solution. When my wife or someone else who just knows that it either "runs or doesn't" and could potentially (but not likely) need help from someone totally unfamiliar with the Muzzler having the gauges work as documented in the book could be advantageous.
 

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You're not wrong, but I'd still argue you assume that most people will know what an eco light coming on means in regards to coolant temperature. For someone who's paying attention and understands this stuff you're right... it maybe a better solution. When my wife or someone else who just knows that it either "runs or doesn't" and could potentially (but not likely) need help from someone totally unfamiliar with the Muzzler having the gauges work as documented in the book could be advantageous.
I don't disagree. Fortunately, for me, my wife and daughter don't like to drive the Pilot. They prefer their Rogues. My wife totalled a Mazda she had by continuing to drive it home after steam was spewing out of the engine compartment. I asked her why she didn't stop. She said because the steam stopped after a while and she wanted to get home. Made perfect sense to me.
 

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Just skip all this nonsense and get a highlander. I own a 2009, 2013 pilot and a 2017 highlander. Wish I could roll back time and start with a toyota.
 

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I don't disagree. Fortunately, for me, my wife and daughter don't like to drive the Pilot. They prefer their Rogues. My wife totalled a Mazda she had by continuing to drive it home after steam was spewing out of the engine compartment. I asked her why she didn't stop. She said because the steam stopped after a while and she wanted to get home. Made perfect sense to me.
Ouch! That’s really really bad. My wife would have stopped for that. She has failed to notice significant shuddering (like shake the dashboard) as “normal” on her old Civic with about 150k miles on the original transmission fluid. I got brave and finally just changed it a few times and was good as new. I knew something was wrong when she complained about a loud rattling on it later... cat fell apart and it was wake the neighborhood loud.

The Pilot is her car, I just have to drive it a bunch since it’s the family mobile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies. From what I'm hearing the VCM situation needs to be tended to. I can't just buy a well maintained Pilot and go with it as-is without concerns. It's a big turn off honestly, so I'll likely move on. Is it true the 2014-15 reduced or eliminated this issue? I'd prefer to drive the vehicle stock.
 

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Thanks for the replies. From what I'm hearing the VCM situation needs to be tended to. I can't just buy a well maintained Pilot and go with it as-is without concerns. It's a big turn off honestly, so I'll likely move on. Is it true the 2014-15 reduced or eliminated this issue? I'd prefer to drive the vehicle stock.
The installation of these solutions is quick and easy, and transparent while driving. Except that the ECO light doesn't come on and you lose the gear hunting while cruising. The cars are wonderful, and shouldn't be discounted for the VCM. I suspect that a majority of Pilots cruise through life with no issues. We hear more from owners who have problems than happy ones, meaning you shouldn't draw a large conclusion from a small skewed sampling of owners here. I added the VCMuzzler after driving the same section of I-5 every day between Glendale and Grapevine for a few weeks early in my stewardship period. I didn't like the gear hunting while cruise control was engaged going up and down the various hills there. Without that little annoyance, I probably wouldn't have discovered the group here and learned of the solution to that symptom. As time has gone on, there have been enough damage cases that Honda has extended the warranty coverage on the engine for VCM-related damage in some years. I look at the Muzzler or any of the other options as a bit of comfort insurance. The car drives noticeably better in my estimation, and the risk of future VCM-related piston and ring damage from oil blowby is also all but eliminated. It's been a great bargain for me.
 

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Thanks for the replies. From what I'm hearing the VCM situation needs to be tended to. I can't just buy a well maintained Pilot and go with it as-is without concerns. It's a big turn off honestly, so I'll likely move on. Is it true the 2014-15 reduced or eliminated this issue? I'd prefer to drive the vehicle stock.
It is true that the VCM needs to be addressed. But it’s not a major issue to do so. If you’re truly worried about whether the pilot has had damage as a result to the vcm. One way to tell is a valve pressure test. That’s what I did on mine just before I bought it. All the valves tested well and with little variance. So I purchased the pilot, did all maintenance that hadn’t been done yet, and installed an S-VCM (couldn’t be easier to install). Now I’m smooth sailing and love my 2013 touring model AWD
 
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