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2014 Pilot AWD-Touring with J37A4-swapped engine
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT- It's been quite the long and winding road, but there's a happy ending! If you don't have time to review 100+ posts, skip to page 6 and digest posts 105 through 109, where I've summarized under the following categories:

Post 105: "NO, you don't REALLY have VTEC on your Pilot!"
Post 106: Build Sheet & Budget
Post 107: Swapped motor control options and wiring
Post 108: Mechanical swap itself, lessons learned & instructions
Post 109: Tuning, end results, and possible way ahead.

Reader's Digest version: I put a 3.7L dual-VTEC Acura TL motor into my 2014 Pilot 4WD Touring. It cost about $7,500 in parts and labor, but could have been done for around $3,000 if I'd done ALL the work myself and not done some of the extra parts upgrades. She makes at least 70 HP and 13 ft-lbs more torque than stock at the crank on 93 octane, and there's probably more still to be had (though I'm not going to go chasing it). It was sometimes frustrating and sometimes fun, but mostly I'm glad it's done and running like it came this way from the factory. GOBS of torque down low, and she'll cruise up a long hill at well above the speed limit in 5th gear without batting an eye.

-------- TL: DR version follows... buckle up, buttercup!--------
Well, the wifemobile (bone stock 2014 AWD Touring) threw a timing belt at 110k, just about 5k miles after having all those components changed with brand new OEM parts. Sheesh.

I'm always looking for an opportunity to make lemons out of lemonade, so since a used 3.7L J37A4 is within a few hundred bucks of a stock 3.5L replacement, let's make simple shit hard and see if we can squeeze a few more ponies out of Princess the Pilot, shall we?

Following a similar swap over on the Ridgeline forums as a guide, it won't be easy but it won't be impossible, either. Mechanically speaking, they're practically identical. EVERYTHING will have to move over from the stock 3.5L, down to the engine mounting points. All accessories and wiring harness. The wiring harness will have to be modified as follows:
1) Injector plugs are different from the 3.7 to the 3.5 so those will have to be moved over from the donor harness.
2) 3.7 has the VTEC solenoid and oil pressure sensor down on the block by the filter as opposed to on the heads like the 3.5, so the harness will have to be extended/modified accordingly.

While we're at it, I'll add a few goodies such as intake manifold spacer & thermal gaskets, throttle body spacer & thermal gaskets, High Flow Pre Cats, equal-length J-pipe, and ported lower intake manifold runners. If Princess has to undergo open heart surgery, we might as well do some touching-up while we're in there, after all!

My biggest concern is CONTROL. Fuel trims are likely to be way off as the 3.5's PCM tries to control an engine with larger displacement and larger injectors than it's expecting. I've got two options: 1) Swap in a Ridgeline PCM, which can be tuned with kTuner, or 2) Try a piggyback ECU (I'm eyeing the AEM F/IC 6). I'm leaning towards the latter.

Anyways, the block is on the way to the installer and all the other ancillary goodies are on order. We expect to start tearing into this around the beginning of September. I'll keep the forum posted, especially considering the dearth of info out there about performance modifications for our beloved Pilots!

-Jon

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Well, the wifemobile (bone stock 2014 AWD Touring) threw a timing belt at 110k, just about 5k miles after having all those components changed with brand new OEM parts. Sheesh.

I'm always looking for an opportunity to make lemons out of lemonade, so since a used 3.7L J37A4 is within a few hundred bucks of a stock 3.5L replacement, let's make simple shit hard and see if we can squeeze a few more ponies out of Princess the Pilot, shall we?

Following a similar swap over on the Ridgeline forums as a guide, it won't be easy but it won't be impossible, either. Mechanically speaking, they're practically identical. EVERYTHING will have to move over from the stock 3.5L, down to the engine mounting points. All accessories and wiring harness. The wiring harness will have to be modified as follows:
1) Injector plugs are different from the 3.7 to the 3.5 so those will have to be moved over from the donor harness.
2) 3.7 has the VTEC solenoid and oil pressure sensor down on the block by the filter as opposed to on the heads like the 3.5, so the harness will have to be extended/modified accordingly.

While we're at it, I'll add a few goodies such as intake manifold spacer & thermal gaskets, throttle body spacer & thermal gasket, High Flow Pre Cats, equal-length J-pipe, and ported lower intake manifold runners. If Princess has to undergo open heart surgery, we might as well do some touching-up while we're in there, after all!

My biggest concern is CONTROL. Fuel trims are likely to be way off as the 3.5's ECU tries to control an engine with larger displacement and larger injectors than it's expecting. I've got two options: 1) Swap in a Ridgeline ECU, which can be tuned with kTuner, or 2) Try a piggyback ECU (I'm eyeing the AEM F/IC 6). I'm leaning towards the latter.

Anyways, the block is on the way to the installer and all the other ancillary goodies are on order. We expect to start tearing into this around the beginning of September. I'll keep the forum posted, especially considering the dearth of info out there about performance modifications for our beloved Pilots!

-Jon

View attachment 139099

View attachment 139100

View attachment 139101
Wow!
Looking forward to the update.
 

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Awesome!

So this would give you real VTEC, meaning VTEC on intake and exhaust instead of just on the intake?
 

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2014 Pilot AWD-Touring with J37A4-swapped engine
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@cintocrunch, that's correct. Another 0.2L of displacement, higher CR, better flowing heads/intake, and VTEC on intake and exhaust cams. Plus, whatever we gain from the bolt-on mods.
 

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Having had a Civic Si with real VTEC, you are in for a treat... it will probably feel pretty similar below VTEC but it will be like a whole different vehicle above... I'm jealous for sure!

I'm assuming you've talked with Hondata to make sure their tuner can't be used with the Pilot's ECU and that engine to get a proper tune? I thought some people have posted that their tuner does work with the 2nd gen Pilot ECU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here's the build sheet so far (keeping track here for the benefit of others seeking a relatively comprehensive list / price check, as well as my own recordkeeping purposes):

BLOCK - eBay:
Used long block with 96k miles, complete from oil pan to throttle body, some minor damage to harness (that's okay, we're swapping over the 3.5L harness). $1300+$200 shipping & $80 tax

PLUGS - ngk.com:
6x NGK 93175 LKR7DIX-11S Iridium IX Plugs, $50

TIMING COMPONENTS, GASKETS, SEALS, O-RINGS - HondaPartsConnection.com:
14520-RCA-A01​
Tensioner, Timing Belt Auto​
$125.93​
1​
$125.93​
14550-RCA-A01​
Idler, Timing Belt (Koyo Seiko)​
$46.46​
1​
$46.46​
14551-RCA-A01​
Bolt, Timing Belt Idler​
$6.01​
1​
$6.01​
14510-RCA-A01​
Adjuster, Timing Belt​
$101.49​
1​
$101.49​
14513-RCA-A01​
Bolt, Timing Belt Adjuster​
$7.62​
1​
$7.62​
14530-P13-000​
Collar, Auto Adjuster​
$26.29​
1​
$26.29​
90441-PK4-000 Washer, Sealing (24MM) 1 $1.90
94109-20000 Washer, Drain Plug (20MM) 3 $2.49
15400-PLM-A02 Filter, Oil (Honeywell) 1 $5.69
19222-R70-A11 Gasket, Water Pump (Magna Powertrain) 1 $4.59 (I am reusing the water pump, it was new 5k miles ago)
91214-RKG-003 Oil Seal (80X98X8) (Nok) 1 $16.84 (rear crank seal)
91212-5MR-A01 Oil Seal (41X56X7) (Nok) 1 $7.44 (front crank seal)
91213-RKG-003 Oil Seal (39X53X8) (Nok) 2 $14.62 (cam seals)
91307-RTA-005 O-Ring (Denso) 1 $2.38 (on water passage assy)
91314-PH7-003 O-Ring (31.2X4.1) (Nok) 2 $5.04 (water passage pipe)
19411-P8A-A03 Gasket, Front Water Passage (Nippon Leakless) 1 $4.42
18715-PB2-000 Gasket, Egr Valve (Ishino Gasket) 1 $8.45
19301-P8E-A10 Thermostat Assembly w/ gasket (Nippon Thermostat) 1 $45.79 (also changed when I did timing belt 5k miles ago... could probably reuse but I'm being lazy)
19412-P8A-A02 Gasket, Rear Water Passage (Nippon Leakless) 1 $2.38
08200-9014 Fluid (Hgo-1), One Quart $13.99

MORE FLUIDS - eBay:
4 quarts DW-1 ATF $40 shipped
Power steering pump kit (2 pints fluid & 2 o-rings) $20 shipped
6 quarts Royal Purple 5W20 full synthetic $70 shipped (I don't run this oil continuously, but have used it as a "cleanout" oil with good success in the past on swapped-in used blocks)
3 gallons Long Life Type 2 coolant $70 shipped

Total of $1580 + $50 + $340 + $210 + $165 = $2345

Notice the timing and accessory belts are also NOT on this list... they are part of the "upgraded parts" bill of materials still to come. Bottom line... if you were just going for a 3.7L swap without more bolt-on fun on top of it, you could do it for around $2,500 in parts plus whatever labor.
 

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2014 Pilot AWD-Touring with J37A4-swapped engine
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm assuming you've talked with Hondata to make sure their tuner can't be used with the Pilot's ECU and that engine to get a proper tune? I thought some people have posted that their tuner does work with the 2nd gen Pilot ECU.
No, I actually have NOT talked to Hondata yet... I didn't see the Pilot on their list of applications, so I figured it was a no-go. If people have used their products with success on a stock Honda ECU, then I'd definitely prefer that to swapping ECUs or piggybacking. Thanks for the tip!

-Jon
 

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No, I actually have NOT talked to Hondata yet... I didn't see the Pilot on their list of applications, so I figured it was a no-go. If people have used their products with success on a stock Honda ECU, then I'd definitely prefer that to swapping ECUs or piggybacking. Thanks for the tip!

-Jon
Give them a call for sure... have your VIN and if you can find the ECU part number/model number they should be able to give you the correct info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Give them a call for sure... have your VIN and if you can find the ECU part number/model number they should be able to give you the correct info.
Called but got no answer. Shot an email to their support address. Fingers crossed that I hear back quickly with good news! It would be AWESOME to not have to wire in a piggyback ECU.
-Jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
From Matt at Hondata (via email reply):

“I’m sorry, we don’t offer any applications for the Pilot.”

Womp womp...

-Jon
 

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From Matt at Hondata (via email reply):

“I’m sorry, we don’t offer any applications for the Pilot.”

Womp womp...

-Jon
Hmmm... Ok I did some searching because I know I saw (and responded) to a thread about tuning...

Turns out KTuner has compatibility with a 2nd gen Pilot. Definitely give them a call and describe the situation, they may be able to help...

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I actually went to kTuner first (since the closest I could find to what I'm trying to do was a swap done on a Ridgeline, and he used kTuner) but they said that the engine doesn't have VTEC and they don't support it. He asked me the part number on the PCM and I just got lazy and searched one on eBay (similar year/trim); then he told me that kTuner didn't support it. Funny enough, that was practically on the same day that the info about "09-15 Pilot now supported" popped up on their site, so who knows? The part number I provided IS on the list of "supported" PCMs on that thread you linked above. There's hope!!!

Again, I'd LOVE to be wrong here. I'll go out to the driveway tonight and look at the part # on my actual PCM, then I'll re-engage with kTuner to confirm they do actually support.

-Jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
"Upgrade" parts build sheet. I went through HeelToeAuto rather than going directly to each supplier. They cut a decent deal (between 5-10% off what's listed on their site) and it was one-stop shopping.

SKUProductQuantityTotal
GAT.T329RB​
Gates Racing Performance Timing Belt, Honda J-series V6 (Single Exhaust Port Gen-2), T329RB
1​
$​
UNO.TS6121​
Unorthodox Racing Billet Tensioner Pulley, J-Series Honda V6 (Gen 2 single-port heads), TS6121
1​
$​
UNO.CU6141|​
Unorthodox Racing Underdrive Crank Pulley w/ Belt Option, Honda V6 J-Series J30/J32/J35/J37 (w/ single exhaust port heads), CU6141
Add a Belt
1 - Bando Drive Belt, 2009-14 Acura TL (ALL 3.5/3.7L Base & SH-AWD), w/ UR Underdrive Pulley, 6PK1120B
1​
$​
KNN.33-2309|​
K&N Performance OE Drop-In Replacement Air Filter, 2009-15 Honda Pilot, 33-2309
1​
$​
RV6.JP_PIT-1215|2389​
RV6 Performance Long Tube J-Pipe, 2012-15 Honda Pilot
1​
$​
RV6.HFPC_PIT-1215|G2|2389​
RV6 Performance GEN2 HFPCs (High Flow Precats) Kit, 2012-15 Honda Pilot
1​
$​
P2R.P392.2P145​
P2R Intake Manifold Spacer, Gen 2/2.5 Honda J30/J32/J35/J37 (w/ Single Exhaust Port Head & Port Injection), P392
Options:
Add thermal gasket:Yes, 2x P2R P145
1​
$​
P2R.P326.2P149​
P2R Throttle Body Spacer, Silver, Honda V6 J35Y4/5/6 J37A4/5 (SH-AWD TL/ZDX/TLX/RLX/Ody/Pilot/Ridgeline), P326
Options:
Add P2R Gasket?:Yes, add 2 P149
1​
$​
P2R.P321​
P2R CNC Ported Lower Intake Manifold Runners, Honda J Series V6, P321
Options:
Engine Code:J37A4
1​
$​

Subtotal:~$2250
Insurance:$
Standard Shipping (Ground):$
Total:~$2300

EDIT - 6PK1120B was the WRONG BELT! See later on in the thread for the correct part number. You can still get it from HeelToe, and I recommend you do.
 

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I actually went to kTuner first (since the closest I could find to what I'm trying to do was a swap done on a Ridgeline, and he used kTuner) but they said that the engine doesn't have VTEC and they don't support it. He asked me the part number on the PCM and I just got lazy and searched one on eBay (similar year/trim); then he told me that kTuner didn't support it. Funny enough, that was practically on the same day that the info about "09-15 Pilot now supported" popped up on their site, so who knows? The part number I provided IS on the list of "supported" PCMs on that thread you linked above. There's hope!!!

Again, I'd LOVE to be wrong here. I'll go out to the driveway tonight and look at the part # on my actual PCM, then I'll re-engage with kTuner to confirm they do actually support.

-Jon
The Pilot sure as hell has VTEC, it's only on the intake side though. It also has VCM which is the subject of many debates. I don't think it has a cam phasing/timing technology though I could be wrong. I don't think any J series has ever not had VTEC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Pilot sure as hell has VTEC, it's only on the intake side though. It also has VCM which is the subject of many debates. I don't think it has a cam phasing/timing technology though I could be wrong. I don't think any J series has ever not had VTEC.
You are preaching to the choir.
It’s the kTuner support POC (whose name I STILL do not know after about 20 back-and-forth emails) who I’m trying to convince. At least (s)he is responsive via email... writes back within minutes (at the moment). I just sent wiring diagrams and some photos of the heads to try to prove the point. We’ll see where it goes. I won’t post all the back-and-forth here, but suffice it to say that there are few things more difficult than trying to convince an “expert” that (s)he may yet still have a thing or two to learn.

-Jon

PS- no cam phasing for us. That’s the other, “cool” kind of iVTEC :)
 

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You are preaching to the choir.
It’s the kTuner support POC (whose name I STILL do not know after about 20 back-and-forth emails) who I’m trying to convince. At least (s)he is responsive via email... writes back within minutes (at the moment). I just sent wiring diagrams and some photos of the heads to try to prove the point. We’ll see where it goes. I won’t post all the back-and-forth here, but suffice it to say that there are few things more difficult than trying to convince an “expert” that (s)he may yet still have a thing or two to learn.

-Jon

PS- no cam phasing for us. That’s the other, “cool” kind of iVTEC :)
Well good luck... when you are trying to do something innovative oftentimes everyone you are dealing with has to learn at the same time... I'm all on board for the results of the swap and if you ever get it done and have any reason to come through MD I'd love to see and experience the finished product. Trade a couple crab cakes for a test drive!

That's right, that's what made the iVTEC thing special... I couldn't remember for the life of me but didn't think we had it. Now Hyundai has a variable duration technology for the camshafts in the new 1.6T and future 2.5T for the Sonata, K5, etc. So we have valve lift, valve timing and now valve duration that can all be adjusted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Apparently I have some more research to do. I didn't realize that there were variants of VCM on the J-series engine. Sometimes they drop a whole bank of cylinders (and that's all they can do), sometimes they can do a "two-stage" version where they either drop one cylinder off of each bank (making a V-4) or they can drop a whole bank (making an I-3).

More to follow.

-Jon
 

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Apparently I have some more research to do. I didn't realize that there were variants of VCM on the J-series engine. Sometimes they drop a whole bank of cylinders (and that's all they can do), sometimes they can do a "two-stage" version where they either drop one cylinder off of each bank (making a V-4) or they can drop a whole bank (making an I-3).

More to follow.

-Jon
Ours only drops the rear bank of cylinders. Pull the valve covers and it's evident. with all of the buildup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
From the 2012 manual. Something does not compute, here.

-Jon

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