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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Honda Pilot EX with about 116,000 miles on it. Since purchasing the vehicle at 100k miles, I've replaced the timing belt and spark plugs along with other normal maintenace items such as oil changes, new brakes, brake fluid change, transmission fluid change, differential fluid change, etc.

I've been having a problem starting the vehicle and it's been going on for about a year now. Sometimes I put the key in the ignition and crank it and the vehicle immediately starts. But most times, I crank the ignition the normal amount and release and it does not start. So I turn the key and continue to crank while listening closely to hear it turn over. It oftentimes takes 5-10 seconds to turn over. And even when it does turn over, it seems to barely start.

I do not understand what is going on! I did not change brands of gasoline, I don't think I have any electrical problems, and there is NO check engine light on. I took it to the Honda dealer and (of course) he could not replicate the problem. He told me to keep driving it until the check engine light comes on. But do you know how embarassing it is to have to open the driver's side car door while trying to listen to your vehicle crank & crank & crank then barely start? It sucks!

I've been reading forums and it appears that this is a common problem with Pilots. Here is is a list of items that I've looked into which may be causing the problem:

1) bad gasoline - no change. I use BP 87 octane.
2) bad fuel pump
3) bad fuel pump relay - I found the relay and all solder joints look good
4) bad spark plugs - replaced recently with OEM NGK plugs
5) bad coils

Have any of you experienced the problem I've described? What did you find was the problem?

Thanks!
 

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Check battery, cables and grounds.

If not that probably a marginal fuel pump not holding pressure and allowing fuel to drain back to the tank.

Leaky injectors can (but usually don't) cause this issues also.
 

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Mines been doing this since I bought it too, it seems to get worse the cooler it is outside. It's completely random too, sometimes it happens other times it doesn't. I can say it always starts though.
 

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Does it start any more readily if you leave the key in the 'ON' or 'II' position for a few seconds (to let the fuel pump run) before trying to start the car?

Do you have any other keys on the same ring as the one for the Pilot?
If so, remove them and see if there's an improvement.
Extra keys can sometimes interfere with the operation of the ignition immobilizer.
 

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Does it start any more readily if you leave the key in the 'ON' or 'II' position for a few seconds (to let the fuel pump run) before trying to start the car?

Do you have any other keys on the same ring as the one for the Pilot?
If so, remove them and see if there's an improvement.
Extra keys can sometimes interfere with the operation of the ignition immobilizer.
As for me, I have tried leaving the key in the II position for a few seconds and that didn't work, and I keep all of my house keys and things on a separate key chain.
 

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Mine fires right up with 75,000 mi... original plugs. What you can do is test your spark ... that will eliminate the ignition theory.
I would change the fuel filter to start , if that does not help then I would find a fuel pump at the wrecker and change it out. While you are at it clean your throttle body but I don't think it is the main problem (although if really dirty).

The nature of how it sometimes fires right up , is there a pattern to that?
 

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There's no pattern to it at all, always random. I can tell you mine has nothing to do with spark plugs, because they are brand new. It's a problem that many people have with their 2003 Pilots, there are multiple threads with many pages of people complaining about it, but to my knowledge no solution was ever found.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Battery cannot be the problem - I keep it well charged and use a Battery Tender when not driving it for several days.

Before cranking it, I wait 4-5 seconds to allow the fuel pump to pressurize the system. I cannot hear the fuel pump running amid the other beeps and clicks when inserting the key and turning to position 2.

What else is there to check?
 

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Are you touching the gas peddle at all?

Time the cranking. Most people feel lie 2 or 3 seconds are "forever".

IIRC up to 5 seconds is acceptable.

We just get spoiled by the 1/4 second normal start.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't touch the pedal at all while cranking. Usually, you start the car automatically (and don't think about it). But with this problem, I'm forced to listen to the engine and time it so that I release the key when the engine starts. Sometimes the start is very weak.

Maybe I'm just going to have to put thousands of dollars into it until I find the problem??? New fuel pump, fuel filter, battery, etc.
 

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As long at it starts, don't worry about it.

If you want to put a few thousand into your Pilot, put it in a savings account for the next one (or the trans replacement)
 

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Mines been doing this since I bought it too, it seems to get worse the cooler it is outside. It's completely random too, sometimes it happens other times it doesn't. I can say it always starts though.
I'm having this excess cranking issue now as well. Brought it in, they charged a fortune to replace the fuel pump. One week later it's as if they did nothing....Oh yeah, my gas mileage has taken a dive since they touched it....was getting 19.5-20 consistently over a long time. Now it's 15-17 mpg.

My issue is that is starts fine when cold, like first thing in the AM. But when it has been running and warm, then it's hard to restart. Yes it cranks excessively but will always get around to starting and once I touch the gas, all is fine. When cranking excessively I get a gas smell in through the ventilation, so it sure doesn't seem to be a fuel issue.

At 185K miles, I'm starting to get that crap from the service guys about "time to buy a new car".

Going in again and informed the service mgr than I'm #%$#&*$ed off....Thousand bucks for fuel pump and install and still have the same damn problem.

Well, they stung me for fuel injectors and valve timing to the tune of another 800.....boy am I ticked off. It starts...it always eventually starts, but it cranks for 6 to 8 seconds when it's warm. Cold in the AM? Starts like it used to always start.

I doubt that I'll be buying another Honda after this....a real shame, as I've owned one non-stop since 1975. Last two purchases were Toyotas.
 

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I'm having this excess cranking issue now as well. Brought it in, they charged a fortune to replace the fuel pump. One week later it's as if they did nothing....Oh yeah, my gas mileage has taken a dive since they touched it....was getting 19.5-20 consistently over a long time. Now it's 15-17 mpg.

My issue is that is starts fine when cold, like first thing in the AM. But when it has been running and warm, then it's hard to restart. Yes it cranks excessively but will always get around to starting and once I touch the gas, all is fine. When cranking excessively I get a gas smell in through the ventilation, so it sure doesn't seem to be a fuel issue.

At 185K miles, I'm starting to get that crap from the service guys about "time to buy a new car".

Going in again and informed the service mgr than I'm #%$#&*$ed off....Thousand bucks for fuel pump and install and still have the same damn problem.

Wish me luck.
Now they suspect the Key Immobilizer....electrical makes more sense given the gas fumes when it cranks long.
 

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Do you have other keys on the same chain with immobiliser?
Yes...I'm gathering that's a bad thing to do apparently.

They've had it all day and I'm still hearing nada from them.

At least they sprang for the rental.
 

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Here is the latest scoop....they claim that I have MAP sensor reading that indicates loss of fuel pressure.

Recommended course: new fuel injectors and an expensive valve adjustment. (Valves are not closing properly)

Any reaction to this?
 

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Here is the latest scoop....they claim that I have MAP sensor reading that indicates loss of fuel pressure.

Recommended course: new fuel injectors and an expensive valve adjustment. (Valves are not closing properly)

Any reaction to this?
Injectors makles soem sense, but valve adjustmnet does not.
(Maybe someone mentioned teh injectors (valves) not closing and someone misunderstood?)
 

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You never get all the injectors failing at the same time as they are suggesting.
I don't think the shop has a clue what's wrong or how to fix.
 

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If the valves have not been adjusted yet I would go ahead and have them done and see how it runs. You can always troubleshoot the fuel system later.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Demartin, thank you for substantiating my claims of a long cranking time with my Honda Pilot. I was beginning to think I was going crazy or something.

I took my vehicle to the shop on Monday for a state inspection and (thankfully) my repair facility was able to replicate the long cranking time to start. They suggested that I have a complete throttle body cleansing along with mixing an additive in my fuel tank. I am going back to the shop on Thursday to have the repairs done. Hopefully this will fix the problem.
 
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