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First of all, thanks for developing such a great community to discuss these cars. I was super-impressed to find a wealth of information about Pilots here...

I've never owned a Honda before at all, so fair disclosure, total newb here. We're looking at a 2009 Pilot with 130K on it at a Honda dealer. They said they went through it all and it should be good to go. I quickly found the details about the troubles the VCM system can cause and asked the sales guy about them. He said his service advisor has never had a problem with these cars and they go well into the 200K's regularly. The ECO light is coming on, indicating the VCM system is still enabled.

Core question: After 130K miles of VCM, what are the chances that the engine has suffered most of the damage already and I'll be on the hook for a block before long?

I checked the dipstick and the oil was freshly changed, and was not low, but obviously cannot say anything substantive about it's oil consumption.
 

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YO Steve just bought a 2009 pilot with 150000 my pilot ran good and breaked great and a good price close to home,on your question I dont know ,It was a one owner which may have helped?Um also buying from a dealer might help ya if anything arises? I got mine home and started noticing the eco coming on going off Isaid sht maybe the transmission shot!did some research and you know honda had a recallblah blah blah ,I was like you if it needed something big it already would of happened.,Getting back to eco mode Icouldnt take it it might not bother or be less noticeable incar you might buy?,Anyways I ordered the vcmtunerII after the research and installed it yesterday and oh yea the eco is GONE still feel alittle gear changes in Trans but 100% better without it, Id recommend you install one and get vcmtuner II about 120$ bucks it easy install Idont like half of my cylinders shutting down for gas mileage and spark plug foul look it up youll see..Now that being said you might be just fine as is if you dont feel any noticable difference car running in eco but i eliminated it immediately just to safe and I like it!Honda had a good idea but im not a big fan of that other then that I love the Pilot ! oh yea with the new vcmtuner you can install a toggle switch in pilot to put eco on or off manually ,I havent done that yet since installed yesterday.So that what I did hope this helps ya CHEER PRESSON PJ
 

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First of all, thanks for developing such a great community to discuss these cars. I was super-impressed to find a wealth of information about Pilots here...

I've never owned a Honda before at all, so fair disclosure, total newb here. We're looking at a 2009 Pilot with 130K on it at a Honda dealer. They said they went through it all and it should be good to go. I quickly found the details about the troubles the VCM system can cause and asked the sales guy about them. He said his service advisor has never had a problem with these cars and they go well into the 200K's regularly. The ECO light is coming on, indicating the VCM system is still enabled.

Core question: After 130K miles of VCM, what are the chances that the engine has suffered most of the damage already and I'll be on the hook for a block before long?

I checked the dipstick and the oil was freshly changed, and was not low, but obviously cannot say anything substantive about it's oil consumption.
First of all, thanks for developing such a great community to discuss these cars. I was super-impressed to find a wealth of information about Pilots here...

I've never owned a Honda before at all, so fair disclosure, total newb here. We're looking at a 2009 Pilot with 130K on it at a Honda dealer. They said they went through it all and it should be good to go. I quickly found the details about the troubles the VCM system can cause and asked the sales guy about them. He said his service advisor has never had a problem with these cars and they go well into the 200K's regularly. The ECO light is coming on, indicating the VCM system is still enabled.

Core question: After 130K miles of VCM, what are the chances that the engine has suffered most of the damage already and I'll be on the hook for a block before long?

I checked the dipstick and the oil was freshly changed, and was not low, but obviously cannot say anything substantive about it's oil consumption.
Hey let me know what ya decide PJ
 

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Sales/Service managers are paid liars. That's what they do. Knowing that up front just helps you deal with them. Saying they regularly go into the 200k's is absolutely true. Saying "his service manager has never had a problem with these cars" is an outright lie. Of course Honda will defend it... they still use VCM today, albeit with fewer issues.

You cannot really know for sure. The BEST way to evaluate the condition of the engine is to pull and inspect the spark plugs, to run a full compression test on each cylinder, to evaluate the oil consumption over a period of 5000 miles, and to send an oil sample off the Blackstone.

The reality is, that some of these engines will go 200k and never throw a misfire code. Some cannot make it to 60k miles before throwing the misfire code. (With VCM operation enabled)

Or, you can just disable the VCM ASAP to stop any more damage, check/change the spark plugs, evaluate your oil consumption, and just drive and enjoy it. They rarely ever fail or need a long block.... what happens is that they will just consume oil and foul plugs more regularly the worse off they are. If you have to change your plugs every 30k-40k miles, and add a quart of oil every 4000 miles, that's not like the vehicle is unuseable....
 

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At 225k on my 2012 Honda Crosstour, I am installing S-VCM when it comes in this week regardless of any damage that has been done. Here's what the front head looked like when I replaced the VVT solenoid and spool just a few weeks ago. Cylinder #4 shows the darkness of burnt oil caused by the valve remaining open when the VCM is active. Going to try and get 300k out of this vehicle.
134318
 
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yea yull like it!
Yes, already liking it. Installed on my 98k mile (other) 2012 Crosstour and my 22k mile 2017 Pilot. Highly recommend.
 
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Here was your question: "Core question: After 130K miles of VCM, what are the chances that the engine has suffered most of the damage already and I'll be on the hook for a block before long?"

You'll never know how badly the engine is damaged until you know for sure. I have a 2009, and I do not recommend that you buy one. As well as having the VCM problem, which can cause a host of other issues, the vehicle has a timing belt with an interference engine. It doesn't have a timing chain. This golden nugget of knowledge didn't occur to me until after I had bought it.

My advice as an owner of one myself, get a vehicle whose cylinders run all the time as an engine's should, not just when it's under a load. Get something with a timing chain, not a timing belt. You never know when the belt is going to break and then you'll have a 4400-pound paperweight. If you want a Japanese auto, get one that was made in Japan.

One day you may find that the VCM has indirectly caused your cats to go bad.
VCM ---> excessive oil consumption ---> pre-mature plug failure (mainly plug #1) ---> damage to catalytic converters. If you have to replace both converters at the same time, it will cost you $1500-$2000.
 

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First of all, thanks for developing such a great community to discuss these cars. I was super-impressed to find a wealth of information about Pilots here...

I've never owned a Honda before at all, so fair disclosure, total newb here. We're looking at a 2009 Pilot with 130K on it at a Honda dealer. They said they went through it all and it should be good to go. I quickly found the details about the troubles the VCM system can cause and asked the sales guy about them. He said his service advisor has never had a problem with these cars and they go well into the 200K's regularly. The ECO light is coming on, indicating the VCM system is still enabled.

Core question: After 130K miles of VCM, what are the chances that the engine has suffered most of the damage already and I'll be on the hook for a block before long?

I checked the dipstick and the oil was freshly changed, and was not low, but obviously cannot say anything substantive about it's oil consumption.
I bought a used 2013 Pilot 2 years ago. I didn't even know VCM existed. Once I figured out what the letters on the plastic engine cover meant, I discovered this forum, ordered the solution, and haven't looked back. VCM is a government imposed solution to a problem that doesn't exist. It reduces longevity, and in turn increases the overall expense to the individual that has to keep a vehicle in running condition. To hell with them.
 

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You'll never know how badly the engine is damaged until you know for sure. I have a 2009, and I do not recommend that you buy one. As well as having the VCM problem, which can cause a host of other issues, the vehicle has a timing belt with an interference engine. It doesn't have a timing chain. This golden nugget of knowledge didn't occur to me until after I had bought it.

My advice as an owner of one myself, get a vehicle whose cylinders run all the time as an engine's should, not just when it's under a load. Get something with a timing chain, not a timing belt. You never know when the belt is going to break and then you'll have a 4400-pound paperweight. If you want a Japanese auto, get one that was made in Japan.
Have you seen all the problems with worn out timing chains and guides on many newer cars? Fixing those is actually a much bigger job than just replacing a belt that was designed to be serviced every 100k miles or 7 years.

Frankly if I was buying another car I wouldn't buy a Pilot again, but it has nothing to do with the engine... it's because they're boring to drive. I'm pretty much in the "German car drama is worth it" buyer category. However if you're looking for something reliable, maintain a Honda Pilot on schedule for the belt, change the transmission fluid more often than you think you should, and disable VCM... or buy a Toyota and do the same stuff minus VCM.
 

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Have you seen all the problems with worn out timing chains and guides on many newer cars? Fixing those is actually a much bigger job than just replacing a belt that was designed to be serviced every 100k miles or 7 years.
Apples to oranges. Those are not part of the design. Those are a defect. MOST vehicles made with a timing chain never had any issues and can go hundreds of thousands of miles on the original chain. In the case of the Honda J35 engine, this is a design CHOICE they made, an interference engine with a belt. That is the complaint.

I own a F150 with a 5.4 3-valve. Those have a DEFECT in the timing chain tensioners, which don't allow enough oil pressure to reach the cam phasers and head, which causes wear to the phaser, and eventually the chain guides. They need a new chain, phasers, updated tensioners, guides, etc, around 100 to 200k miles. However, the problem is resolved for good once the updated parts go in.

The truth is, unless there is a defect, when you buy an engine with a timing chain, the only "major" preventative maintenance bill you can expect is spark plugs. A quality chain design is superior to a belt, especially on an interference engine. The J engine is a 25 year old design. It's time to go.
 

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Apples to oranges. Those are not part of the design. Those are a defect. MOST vehicles made with a timing chain never had any issues and can go hundreds of thousands of miles on the original chain. In the case of the Honda J35 engine, this is a design CHOICE they made, an interference engine with a belt. That is the complaint.

I own a F150 with a 5.4 3-valve. Those have a DEFECT in the timing chain tensioners, which don't allow enough oil pressure to reach the cam phasers and head, which causes wear to the phaser, and eventually the chain guides. They need a new chain, phasers, updated tensioners, guides, etc, around 100 to 200k miles. However, the problem is resolved for good once the updated parts go in.

The truth is, unless there is a defect, when you buy an engine with a timing chain, the only "major" preventative maintenance bill you can expect is spark plugs. A quality chain design is superior to a belt, especially on an interference engine. The J engine is a 25 year old design. It's time to go.
Lots of modern cars and engine designs have some pretty significant defects. You're missing the point that ALL systems require some maintenance and despite best efforts many require more than a Honda with a timing belt. Just because the timing chain doesn't fail doesn't mean the rest of it won't... and the timing chain WILL wear too no matter what. If you want to compare apples to apples you have to look at total cost of ownership. When you do that, I suspect you'll find that Honda's design isn't all that bad, especially if you're capable of replacing the belt yourself.

A side effect of the belt is that I think it encourages owners to actually go in and replace things like the water pump and coolant before it leaves them stranded.
 

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Stevecho,
The discussion got off track from your original question.
Copy/Paste below of my comment from another discussion. FYI, in case you haven't pulled the trigger on some device to disable your engine VCM system, I paid $89 for the seller I reference below.....

Installed the VCM Muzzler II/Eliminator on my '09 Pilot on Sunday, 2/16/20. Piece of cake! The CEL light came on and stayed on initially. I drove it for a bit running some errands and the CEL light eventually went out. No issues, easy install. So far, works as advertised. I purchased it from "vcmelimin" on eBay. SUPER fast shipping, great install directions, great personal service when the CEL light was on, quite happy with the seller and product.
 
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