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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just de-greased and washed the engine on my 2003 Pilot (took the engine covers off first) because during the last oil change I noticed the bottom of the engine and tranny covered in engine oil. The oil change yielded much less than the 4+ quarts it should have had. Anyway, after the wash (high pressure - I know, I know) the engine surprisingly started right up, no problem and I started driving back home. At the first light, it died, so I shut off the engine and it restarted right away, so I continued on my way. The stalls became more frequent until I finally got home. Along the way I noticed it threw a code (don't know which ones - no code reader) because the check engine and VTM-4 lights came on. After multiple stalls, I finally got home and did some experimenting. What I noticed is - the trouble lights came on immediately upon starting, but I was able to get the car to move forward. As long as I kept accelerating, no problem, but as soon as I tried to cruise or slow down, the engine dies. The funny thing is, if I start it up and keep in in Park, it idles just fine -- no rough idle, no missing, no nothing.

My best guess is that I either a) knocked a connection loose, b) got too much water down inside some connectors causing a short that threw the codes, c) got the coils wet.

I am a fairly good DIY-er, working on my other cars (Odyssey, Escape and Subaru Impreza) but don't know my way around this engine that well. What I don't know, I look up on Google or YouTube.

Anyone have thoughts as to the potential problem or possible solutions?
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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If as you say you just did it, let it dry out a day or two in the sun if possible, maybe even pointing a good fan at the engine bay, to see if it is just something you got wet you shouldn't have.

If it doesn't improve after that, you may have jostled a sensor or wet the coils with that high pressure, and then you might truly experience the meaning of the word trouble in troubleshooting because it may be a painstaking hunt for what is fouled up.

But do try to get a code reader and see what codes it may be throwing.


Here's (the clean version of) a flowchart to help you grin and bear it. :)

 

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Banned from wife’s 2005 Pilot LX
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Unplug each engine bay electrical connector one by one. Check for moisture; dry accordingly. Verify connector clicks into place when mated.

Or buy a Honda specific code reader to help diagnose which sensor is causing a diagnostic code to be thrown. You could start with a generic code reader, but given the VTM light turned on it’s unlikely a generic reader will decipher the code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
plplplpl and road2cycle -- Thank you both!

I opened up the hood (engine cover off) and put a large fan on it for about an hour. After finally locating my can of Electronic Parts Cleaner, I removed all 6 coil connectors, the Cam Sensor connector and a few located on the other side of the engine, mostly connected to the air intake system. I squirted the EPC in all connecting ports and with cotton swabs, cleaned each one until it was dry, put the fan back on for another 30 minutes, and finally reconnected them all. My first test spin was successful! It seemed to balk at low speed acceleration for a bit, but it finally cleared itself up and got up to speed pretty well after that. The Check Engine light is still on, but the VTM light never came on, so I suspect the CE light will cycle off in 50 miles or so.

Let me know if there is another way I should clear it, PLEASE.

Also, I am curious about code readers. I looked into one that is highly advertised on Social Media, then looked into the top 5 on Google, but never pulled the trigger on one. I was not aware of a Honda Specific one, but I am open to suggestions.

Do those also read other vehicles?
Is there a Thread on this forum that discusses them to which you could refer me?
Do these code readers also have a "dashboard' function where you can monitor engine performance on a tablet while driving?

Again -- Thanks a million for your suggestions. They were encouraging and sparked my thinking.
 

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To clear the check engine light disconnect battery negative for a few minutes then reconnect it. The Pilot will run a bit rough after this as it goes through the idle relearn procedure. Be sure you know your stereo code, if applicable, before you do this.

I have the Foxwell NT520 Pro reader. It supports codes from five manufacturer groups (Honda/Acura is considered one group). The unit costs ~$180 USD with one manufacturer group; additional ones cost $70 each. It supports live data.

When I searched this forum a couple years back there were a few folks who had tried various code readers. Search under code reader, scan tool, or OBD reader. At that time the Foxwell seemed the best choice. Since then, better scanners which read Honda codes may have become available.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Also, I am curious about code readers. I looked into one that is highly advertised on Social Media, then looked into the top 5 on Google, but never pulled the trigger on one. I was not aware of a Honda Specific one, but I am open to suggestions.

Do those also read other vehicles?
Is there a Thread on this forum that discusses them to which you could refer me?
Do these code readers also have a "dashboard' function where you can monitor engine performance on a tablet while driving?
I have the Foxwell NT520 Pro reader.
That one is probably one of the better Honda code-specific capable ones you can get. I should maybe get one myself.

For now, I only have this one, which does have "dashboard" function and was good enough to save my bacon by throwing the correct code for an oxygen sensor that was failing. Not bad for the price. It works with the Torque app on your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Mini ELM327 OBD2 II Auto Car OBD2 Diagnostic Interface Scanner Tool | eBay

So glad to hear you got your Pilot spinning again. (y)
 

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2005 Pilot EXL- 227,700 Miles
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If as you say you just did it, let it dry out a day or two in the sun if possible, maybe even pointing a good fan at the engine bay, to see if it is just something you got wet you shouldn't have.

If it doesn't improve after that, you may have jostled a sensor or wet the coils with that high pressure, and then you might truly experience the meaning of the word trouble in troubleshooting because it may be a painstaking hunt for what is fouled up.

But do try to get a code reader and see what codes it may be throwing.


Here's (the clean version of) a flowchart to help you grin and bear it. :)

Thanks for the chuckle!! That is Funny stuff 😀👍
 

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Had a similar issue this week. Pulled the engine cover to clean out the mud under it and afterward got a crank sensor number one error. with the VTM-4 light. I let things dry and reset the code with my Harbor Freight reader and everything has been fine since.
 
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