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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I'll apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I think I need to get the whole story out there. Anyway, 2008 Pilot EX AWD, 115 k miles. About 2 years ago, battery light was coming on, battery tested good, so I put an alternator in it and it worked like a champ. As I drew closer to 100k miles, I started thinking about doing the timing belt myself, but ultimately I decided against that and I took it to the local garage that has done the inspections, tires, etc for me for years on this and everything else I have. I had the timing belt done, along with the water pump and thermostat. Picked the car up and it worked beautifully; started quickly and ran smoothly. I only live about 2 miles from this shop, so I drove it home and parked it. Went out about an hour later, it cranked 3-4 seconds before it started and the VSA, VTM-4, CEL, and triangle with the ! light were all on (looked like a Christmas tree, all the lights...lol). I took it right back to the garage; I thought (in my naivety) maybe the timing had jumped a tooth. They checked it out and told me that they must have cracked the crankshaft position sensor somehow and they ordered me a new one and installed it for free. Now I figured it was good. I thougth it took just a little more cranking to get it to start than it used to, but with the new sensor I didn't know if that was normal or not. I was good for about a week. The CEL came back on, and other than the incident before, this thing never came on. Anyway, I needed to drive to Philadelphia that weekend (about 3 1/2 hours) to move the kid into his dorm at Temple, so I stopped in at the same garage and asked them just to pull the code. It was P0420 code that mysteriously appears from time to time I'm told, so off I go. It ran well for that trip and for the next YEAR, all with the CEL on steady. That brings me up to the current issue I'm having. About a week before Christmas, my Temple Student (home for the break) wanted to go to his friend's house at the other end of town (a mile maybe) and he was parked in. My Pilot was in the way and I told him just to take it. He calls me a midnight; car wont start, battery is dead. Huh. well, the battery was 6 years old and it was about 15 degrees outside, so I take the wife's CRV up and hook up the jumper cables. It started right up and we went home. I get up the next morning, figuring I need a new battery. Just for kicks, I reached in and hit the key in the Pilot; started right up. I found this to be odd considering it was only driven a mile home and it sat outside all night. So I figured Zach must have left the lights on or something like that and didn't want to tell me so I smiled at my good fortune and didn't think much more about it. Business as usual the next few days, then one afternoon as I go wheeling into the driveway, all those same lights came back on. WTF. Anyway, I go out and start it after about 30 minutes; all of the lights (except CEL) are out. Drive it a few more times with them all out, then they pop on again. When they are all on, I can't rev the engine past 3K RPM; when they're off, it revs just fine. Did a little internet research and narrowed it down to a weak battery or alternator issue. I tested them both and they both checked out as good (12.4 V load test on the battery, 14.3 when the car was running). Due to the age of the battery and the fact that it had been killed about 2 weeks prior, I went ahead and replaced it. I started it up after installing the new battery and ALL the lights were off, even the CEL. Awesome. I had some errands to run so I took off and put about 30 miles on with no lights and no issues. About 5 miles from home, boom...they all come back on. Even though my inner common sense voice was telling me not to do it, I went ahead and replaced the alternator; no change. Now it seems as if the lights are on more than they are off, and sometimes I have to crank for 7-8 seconds in order to get it to start. I've read that it could be anything from the Computer begin fried to a bad ground wire. On the other hand, the fact that it is getting worse/more frequent leads to to wonder if that Crank sensor went bad again. I hate going to the garage to get stuff like that done, so I'm taking a chance that someone on here has one of those magic crystal balls with all the answers in it.
 

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You need to buy an inexpensive code read and pull these codes yourself, then report back. Going off the lights wont tell anyone anything.

You should not drive a vehicle with a CEL light on.... if P0420 is illuminated, it could be a sensor, a cat, or it could mean your valves are too tight and messing with your fuel trims, or your timing is one tooth off and you can damage things.

The battery replacement will reset the ECM, so no codes/CEL. Then, it takes a drive cycle for many systems to report in as "ready" or throw their code. Some codes will trigger other lights.... so that doesn't mean much.

Bottom line, we need the codes. You can buy a cheap code reader that will work with your phone and this will help a lot, especially as you continue to diagnose things over time.
 

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^^^^ What he said. But first and easy thing to check is all your cables and connections for looseness or corrosion.
 

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When those codes pop up go to the local auto parts stores like Advance or Autozone as they can scan for codes for free. Post them here for further discussion
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I need to buy a scanner. I can't in good conscience ask them to pull codes for me with no intention of buying the parts from them.
 

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YMMV but my local stores offer that service with little to no push to buy. I've used them for confirming my diagnosis on batteries + alternator + starter ETC
 

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I think anyone who is a DIY car person should buy their own code reader. They are so useful if you drive a car with OBD2. I would spend the extra money to get one that will show live data. I bought my first one probably more that 20 years ago and still use it. It is the one I loan people.

Reading the codes is useful but looking at the live data stream has helped me solve really odd problems on more than one occasion even with no code set by the ECU
 

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I think anyone who is a DIY car person should buy their own code reader. They are so useful if you drive a car with OBD2. I would spend the extra money to get one that will show live data. I bought my first one probably more that 20 years ago and still use it. It is the one I loan people.
Reading the codes is useful but looking at the live data stream has helped me solve really odd problems on more than one occasion even with no code set by the ECU
Agreed! That's what I tell the LOML that I need another tool if only I can squeeze it in the garage. Servicing my sons car before track day...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I made an appointment for Friday at the garage. I know it's definitely related to the charging system; for a while I was trying to minimize usage of anything that would draw a lot of current (heater, wipers, etc.) and I was getting the lights all the time. I've driven it now over 2 days probably 50 miles with the fan on all the time and the lights haven't come on once. I think it's going to have something to do with the ELD.
 

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I have a reader identical to this one I bought over 10 years ago for less than $15.

Lets me get the codes, clear them and then I simply look them up on line. Eyesight's not good enough for those little screens anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well the garage is stumped...they verified the timing was dead on, replaced the cam sensor and the crank sensor, will no luck. They didn't tell me the codes, but they said that they got codes, both engine and transmission, indicating no communication uninterrupted communication from the PCM.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, back from San Diego and picked the Pilot up. They left a note on the car with the codes:
P0340 computer sensor A malfunction
P0344 computer sensor A intermittent-lost communication with PCM
ABS- ECM relation failure
VTM-4 code:. 77-1 Power train system failure
 

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P0340 and P0344 are both Camshaft position sensor.

P0340 Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensor No Signal
P0344 Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensor Circuit Intermittent Interruption


The fact they "broke it" and replaced it is suspect. Bad readings will cause no-crank, and slow starts. I have had HELL in life using sensors of any kind other than OEM. I'd bet they installed a non-OEM sensor. OR - you have a wiring issue with that sensor, at the connector or nearby. If you ever had a valve cover oil leak, or especially a power steering pump fluid leak, that can wreak havoc on connectors.

This is located in the front cam (which is actually bank b)
134227


I'd first go find your sensor connector, take it apart, and spray everything with a can of electrical contact cleaner (or brake parts cleaner if you don't have anything else, then blow this off real good with compressed air, and inspect everything using a bright flashlight. I believe it is 4 wires. Look for cracks, shorts, or bad crimps at the connectors. Then re-assemble.

The next place I'd be looking would be wiring harness on the way to the ECU, and connections at the ECU. There are 4 pages of troubleshooting steps in the factory service manual for this. I am attaching those pages.

If you want to swap it out - the book says you have to remove the timing belt, cam pulley, and pulley plate, but this guy disagrees ans says it can be pulled from behind with time and patience.



 

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Discussion Starter #15
I found this while on my internet quest today...any thoughts?
 

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4. Remove the timing belt.
Not only does this look like a big job, but I remain suspicious that the place you got your timing belt done and maintains it's OK messed something up while they were in there and won't step up. I'd look for a second and third opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Oh I have no issue with the way they have handled themselves. They replaced the timing belt/water pump/thermostat as requested by me a year ago. They owned up to cracking the crankshaft sensor and replaced it at no charge to me at that time as well. They pulled the codes, chased down potential wiring issues, checked the timing and replaced not only the crank sensor again but the camshaft sensor as well trying to rectify the issue. Again, at no charge to me. When they couldn't solve the issue, they gave me all the codes they had pulled and apologized that they (potentially) have to send me to the dealer. I have dealt with these guys for 20+ years now and they have always been honest and overly fair with me. They know I work on my own stuff a lot and have accommodated me with al of that and more through the years. Even with this letdown, I am a huge fan of these guys and will continue to use them as much as possible for as long as they're there.
 

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Yeah that sounds super fair to me... more than most shops would ever do. I'd give the dealer a crack at this. Changing the crank sensor requires removing the lower timing cover, which is a lot of labor.
 

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I found this while on my internet quest today...any thoughts?
I assume you mean performing the crankshaft re-learn procedure. I have never heard of that throwing a code, although replacing the CKP sensor is pretty rare.... so it certainly can't hurt. It is recommended when doing any timing belt job, but nobody (DIY) does it and never seen an issue. I am guessing this is more important if the CKP is removed/replaced.
 

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It rarely but does happen that fuses develop intermittent cracks and they can play all kinds of dirty tricks.
 
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