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Discussion Starter #1
Hey! I just joined the site because I recently came in ownership of my parents 2003 Honda Pilot EX-L. He has 218,000 miles on him and unfortunately has been sitting in my garage for THREE years. It hadn’t been started till recently when I decided I wanted to fix it up. I’m 16, and my parents put me in charge or fixing it so I can have it for the rest of high school and College if I want.

Anyways, that’s the background. It was put in our garage because it had a bunch of problems. The car has always been taken care of too.

here’s what I’ve done so far:
-oil change
-new oil filter
-all 6 spark plugs replaced
-brand new battery

Although the car is running slightly better, here is what I’m experiencing:
-loud high pitch squeal from the engine bay (probably power steering related because the steering is extremely heavy)
-very prominent fuel smell (no leaks under the vehicle though
-runs very rough at idle especially
-there’s a belt squeal aswell.
-immense amount of rust in the engine bay but not anywhere else (surprising cause I’m in Michigan haha)
-very low mpg
-leaking oil from somewhere in the front of the engine (seems to be near oil drain plug)

I don’t exactly know what’s wrong. I am thinking to replace the timing belt + water pump, but I want to see what anyone on here thinks it is aswell.

by some miracle this car ran after sitting for three years and still runs okay enough to drive down the street. Tires are bald, broken mirror, stains EVERYWHERE. This car was bought by my family in 2002 and is one of the 4000th pilots built. I just want to fix this thing up and keep it running!
 

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Based on what you described here is my first impression of things you need. (the short list)

Power steering pump. (Make sure the current one has fluid in it)
New injectors and possibly rails.
New head gaskets
Timing belt and water pump
serpentine belt and tensioner
I suspect your going to need main seals
Drain transmission, new tranny filter and fluid
Drain differential and new fluid
Tires
At least drain brake lines and refill with new fluid. Better to rebuild the calipers or do a full job if needed.
oil pan gasket, probably a tranny pan gasket.

This would be just a starter list. Once you get it running a bit better then a good fuel system treatment would be in order. My guess is that engine has enough carbon build up to form a 6 carrot diamond.

Just our of curiosity, by chance is your name Jeremy and is your dad a Dentist?

136867


I do applaud your resolve to try and get this vehicle road worthy again.
 

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The good part of your story is the initial zero expense for the Pilot that is in need of some major TLC. Most of the issues you presented are DIY repairable but there may be some yet to be discovered that will need professional help. What is your planned budget? Since you were only 12-13 yr old when the Pilot was parked try to find out more detailed information of the type of maintenance performed in the past and problems that put the Pilot in storage. On a different topic upon closer inspection you may find additional rust areas that will need to be addressed. If you're committed to the project Pilot you will find a great resource here with the Piloteers.
 

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Yes, I think it's a great learning experience and I wish I had had that opportunity when I was 16. I only got it when I was 17 and with a hand-me-down 1974 Fiat 128 linked to in my signature. Talk about getting off to a rough start. You're much better off with a Pilot.

If you're on a budget (I sure was at that age), start with everything @Daltongang suggests above, but for the following big ticket items...

  • Power steering pump. (Make sure the current one has fluid in it)
  • New injectors and possibly rails.
  • New head gaskets
  • oil pan gasket, probably a tranny pan gasket
...maybe first try adding a bottle each of some AT-205 to the oil, transmission and power steering fluids, and run a couple of bottles of Seafoam along with as many gas tank fill ups.

Then see if those items still need to be done or if that solves them.



Power steering pump leak


If your power steering squeals or whines when you turn the wheel, it may be as simple as replacing this o-ring:

If it's whining that's coming from the power steering, check out the O-ring first. It's part number 91345-RDA-A01 - the new and improved orange Power Steering Inlet Joint O-Ring which replaces the troublesome black one.

Here's a how-to with pics from the Accord forum: DIY Power Steering Pump O-Ring TSB - Drive Accord Honda Forums

Here's my favorite Youtube how-to, where you can hear the guy say "pukin'":


I've also attached a PDF how-to.
Power Steering Moans or Whines During Cold Start-Up.pdf

Also relatively inexpensive and worth doing are:
  • spool valve gasket
  • new PCV valve
  • cleaning EGR passages
 

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Welcome to the forum. I hope you are able to get your Pilot road worthy since these are great vehicles.

For the rough idle you might also:
1) Check the engine air filter.
2) Clean the EGR valve. You will need a new EGR valve gasket when you do this.
3) I believe 2003 and 2004 Pilots allow for some adjustment on the IAC valve.
4) If the old fuel sat in the tank for three years perhaps this could also be contributing to the rough idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys. I will try to start small and update you guys on what happens. My mom absolutely loved this car and also wants to see it road worthy again. We also have a 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L, but my mom definitely loves the ‘03 better—even though she garaged it for three years. They did regular maintenance every year. One weird thing was that at one point they had to replace the water pump three times in five months back in 2012. Also, another quick question. The lock actuator in one of the rear doors is broken and needs to be replaced, but for some odd reason when I unlock the door from the drivers side it never unlocks the passenger, the non-broken rear door, or the rear hatch—but will unlock the rear hatch and unbroken door if I unlock the passenger door. Is that normal? Anyway. I’ll post hopefully next week with an update of what I’ve done. Thanks!
 

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I’d recommend getting a factory service manual, too.

I bought a PDF copy off of eBay for about $10 - $15. It wasn’t perfect, but was adequate. Some of the diagrams weren’t real clear.
 

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Here's a thread on this site where you can find a lot of manuals:

 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE!: So I decided I wanted to get an inspection, and he found out that it was 1: misfiring on cylinders 3, 5, and 6 (all closest to the EGR valve). 2: the EGR valve in general was barely working and was clogged and stuck open. Makes sense because it was the original EGR that came with the car haha. We replaced the EGR valve and gasket, but theres still a misfire in cylinders 3 and 5...just not 6 anymore. I’m not sure what to do at this point. He also concluded from scanning codes that the VTM-4 is literally just dead. The light has been on for about 6 years now and my parents ignored it. It’s not a mechanical problem, so I’ll check the fuse, but I just hope it’s not expensive. Power steering is definitely still heavy so I think I’ll try something with that after I rid of this misfire.

i think my next move will be to clean the EGR ports. Does anyone have any tips with that? I also am getting a new PCV valve hopefully.

One other thing, although not the biggest feat, I unclogged both my windshield washer spray nozzles the other day!

also I bought a Haynes manual about half a year ago so I’ve been using that + YouTube videos.
 

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Nice progress. (y)

Here's a helpful video I've posted before for cleaning your EGR ports.

 

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When the EGR valve was replaced, do you know if the two ports it’s connected to on the engine block were also cleaned? There could be some crud built up on those two ports.

For the PCV valve if it’s been on there for a significant amount of time, be careful as the plastic gets brittle. Some on this forum have had to tap out the portion which got left behind and/or remove the valve cover to get to it.

For the VTM-4 issue also check electrical connections at the rear differential. Look for loose connectors, loose wiring, and corrosion at the electrical contacts.
 
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For the PCV valve if it’s been on there for a significant amount of time, be careful as the plastic gets brittle. Some on this forum have had to tap out the portion which got left behind and/or remove the valve cover to get to it.
Here's the PCV valve cautionary thread, which includes fixes I hope you won't need.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
The EGR valve, where it went on, was not cleaned. Should I take off the new one and clean it? I also bought a second gasket by accident so I can replace that again if I have to. Also, for cleaning the EGR ports, did you just use the metal wire brush and scrap it all out? Or did you use other things aswell?
 

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Also, for cleaning the EGR ports, did you just use the metal wire brush and scrap it all out? Or did you use other things aswell?
You can use throttle body cleaner or carb cleaner, along with a good brush.
 

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I used carb cleaner and some higher density (blue) paper towels. But the two ports on my block weren’t that clogged. That was enough to get the small amount that was stuck to the sides. If it was more clogged I would have soaked it with carb cleaner then used a stiff kids size toothbrush along with the shop vac running while scraping away.
That was a good idea buying the spare gasket. Mine crumbled, but then again it was also 15 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey guys. Recently had a friend over to help me clean the EGR ports, install a new PCV, and see if the coil packs were bad. So here’s the good news:

-the EGR ports are clean
-there’s a new PCV valve

yes. That’s about it.

the bad news:

-the misfires in cylinders 3 and 5 are still there (even after switching cylinders 1 and 3, but I never tried switching 5 yet) PLUS, cylinder 4 just started missing after the ports and the PCV were replaced. The engine sounds the same as it did when it was misfiring with just two cylinders so I’m confused about that.
-I checked the fuse for the VTM (inside drivers door fuse, not the one in the engine bay because I’m unsure of how to check if it’s good, anyone know a way?) the fuse inside is good, and I haven’t gotten a chance to look under the back yet.

Help!! We’re trying to put tires on it next week, but my parents want me to fix the misfire before they put anymore money into it.

heres some footage of the engine, starting, idling, Revving, and clips of the exhaust, and near the end I show how the car is shaking but that’s not gonna do much haha.

Here’s also a photo of it for you guys :)

DD3066C7-56AA-453D-8C34-A62338CF1BD0.jpeg
Here’s where it sat for three years^
 

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Discussion Starter #19
C861D40C-17C3-4FC2-B0F7-CB06397E6DB7.png
Here’s the codes it’s throwing by the way. My top tier BlueDriver should give me accurate readings! (Partially sarcasm...)
 

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I see no reason to do the head gaskets, it runs fine. For the squeals you want to look at the serpentine belt tensioner, you can get a continental brand one pretty cheap, but fix the misfires first. I would look into a valve adjustment now. lots of videos online with how to do it and it’s not that hard just time consuming. It needs done anyways on a car with this many miles to ensure it’s longevity.

Where did your spark plugs come from and are they oem? If you Bought them from amazon or eBay you need to replace them with advance auto or autozone plugs as yours could be counterfeit. I battled a misfire for years and it was counterfeit plugs from amazon! The plugs must be oem ngk plugs. You’re getting random misfire codes because the car can’t really detect where the misfires are coming from, you just need to fix the main problem, what that is isn’t clear yet. Don’t listen to the code scanner for exact cylinder identification because it will probably change on every start up. These pilots are very sensitive to valve clearance so that would be my next step to take. Replace the valve cover gaskets and spark plug tube gaskets when you do the valves.
 
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