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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All - New to the forum. I recently purchased a 2013 Touring. I’ve done a ton of reading on this forum and the web in general and still have VCM questions.

I feel like I get a barely detectable vibration through the steering wheel at times, typically under part throttle conditions. It feels pretty subtle, more like tread vibration from a noisy tire than a wheel balance issue as I have seen it described. I have not been able to link it exactly with when eco flashes on the dash, but from the reading I have done it’s hard for me not to associate it VCM vibe.

To the questions;

Once you have it, is it fatal?
I know there are disablers, does that prevent it from becoming worse even if you already have it?
Do people just live with it as a casual annoyance?

Unrelated to the VCM questions, there is a silver toggle switch under dash on pax side that I am assuming is aftermarket since it looks like a $2 switch from Napa. Any thoughts on what this might be?

Any responses appreciated.
 

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VCM is active once the engine warms up, at even or trailing throttle only. The ECO light pretty much follows the VCM activity. While active, it may disable different numbers of cylinders depending on driving conditions. There are adaptive motor mounts intended to mask the unbalanced operation of the engine, but they may not do that completely. So, watch the ECO light as you feel the vibration, and decide if there's correlation.

Is VCM fatal? Not for all, but for enough owners to merit an extended engine warranty program for VCM-related damage from Honda. It's not a forever warranty, though, and that's the rub. Will your engine be a victim? Will damage happen while Honda is willing to replace rings and fix collateral damage? Or will you have the luck of Edsel Murphy, where the damage accumulates until the extended warranty is gone, then manifests itself as fouled plugs and carbon-jammed piston rings on your dime? We are getting too close to the latter to play the odds, in my opinion.

When I first got the car, I drove carefully, looking to see how much I could do to keep that ECO light on as much as possible. Then, as I learned more and listened to the experiences of others, the decision was made to install the VCMuzzler to eliminate the problem completely. In that learning period, my biggest negative experience was the hunting at steady cruising throttle. It was worst when using the cruise control, causing excessive gear changes as the VCM came in and dropped out with gentle grades or even wind changes. Since then, a couple 'smarter' VCM defeat devices have hit the market. They claim to eliminate a possible issue with the temp gauge reading during an actual engine overheat situation. I've watched and logged the engine data on extended trips to get a real feel for things that have changed. So far nothing in any of the temp sensor readings has told me that the simple version I have already is worth replacing with one of the 'smart' versions. Were I shopping from scratch as you are, I'd get one of the smart ones.

The decision process for you should be which one, not whether or not to do anything. Once the rings get gummed up and packed with carbon from blow-by, the damage is done and you are doomed to a teardown for repairs. The VCM disablers are prophylactic, not remedial. Do it now, and avoid the potential for a failure that's inconvenient at best, expensive at worst. Very cheap insurance, IMHO.

And... Welcome to Piloteers!
 
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Once you have it, is it fatal?
Not necessarily. It's relative to how long you own the vehicle. The VCM shortens the life of the engine and in some cases, the transmission. It is the eventual cause of many engine problems that can prevent passing inspection without major repairs.
I know there are disablers, does that prevent it from becoming worse even if you already have it?
Keeping in mind that your engine must be running well in the first place, a VCM disabling device will stop the vibrations associated with the cylinders that it shuts down. Disabling the VCM can help an engine recover from oil deposits that have built up in those cylinders and stop further damage to the exhaust system (catalytic converters).
Do people just live with it as a casual annoyance?
Some do, until the engine codes have to be addressed. Out of necessity, to cure my excessive oil consumption and emission codes, I have chose to disable the VCM on all 3 of my Hondas with V6 engines. I use S-VCM.
Be aware too that transmission shudder can be an issue if the ATF has not been drained and filled. For you 5-speed transmission, I highly recommend Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. It not only cures transmission shudder, but also sticking shift solenoids cause by blended factory ATF.
 
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Hello All - New to the forum. I recently purchased a 2013 Touring. I’ve done a ton of reading on this forum and the web in general and still have VCM questions.

I feel like I get a barely detectable vibration through the steering wheel at times, typically under part throttle conditions. It feels pretty subtle, more like tread vibration from a noisy tire than a wheel balance issue as I have seen it described. I have not been able to link it exactly with when eco flashes on the dash, but from the reading I have done it’s hard for me not to associate it VCM vibe.

To the questions;

Once you have it, is it fatal?
I know there are disablers, does that prevent it from becoming worse even if you already have it?
Do people just live with it as a casual annoyance?

Unrelated to the VCM questions, there is a silver toggle switch under dash on pax side that I am assuming is aftermarket since it looks like a $2 switch from Napa. Any thoughts on what this might be?

Any responses appreciated.
Welcome and congratulations!

The barely detectable vibration at light throttle sounds exactly like VCM. My advice is to ditch it ASAP. It’s super easy with the latest disablers and has no downside except MAYBE a 1 mpg loss. If you put a disabler on it will get rid of vcm related vibration issues unless there is already some vcm related damage like motor mounts, cv axles, or whatever.


This is the one I have, works perfect and will “bypass” should the car start to overheat due to an unrelated to vcm issue:



This one should also be a great choice if you want more bells and whistles (not really needed, though):




Not sure on the switch...
 

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That switch could be literally anything. If nothing obvious happens when you toggle it, and you can't reach prior owner, only solution is to try and trace the wires.
 

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I guess it is possible to wire to a toggle switch.
144509
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
VCM is active once the engine warms up, at even or trailing throttle only. The ECO light pretty much follows the VCM activity. While active, it may disable different numbers of cylinders depending on driving conditions. There are adaptive motor mounts intended to mask the unbalanced operation of the engine, but they may not do that completely. So, watch the ECO light as you feel the vibration, and decide if there's correlation.

Is VCM fatal? Not for all, but for enough owners to merit an extended engine warranty program for VCM-related damage from Honda. It's not a forever warranty, though, and that's the rub. Will your engine be a victim? Will damage happen while Honda is willing to replace rings and fix collateral damage? Or will you have the luck of Edsel Murphy, where the damage accumulates until the extended warranty is gone, then manifests itself as fouled plugs and carbon-jammed piston rings on your dime? We are getting too close to the latter to play the odds, in my opinion.

When I first got the car, I drove carefully, looking to see how much I could do to keep that ECO light on as much as possible. Then, as I learned more and listened to the experiences of others, the decision was made to install the VCMuzzler to eliminate the problem completely. In that learning period, my biggest negative experience was the hunting at steady cruising throttle. It was worst when using the cruise control, causing excessive gear changes as the VCM came in and dropped out with gentle grades or even wind changes. Since then, a couple 'smarter' VCM defeat devices have hit the market. They claim to eliminate a possible issue with the temp gauge reading during an actual engine overheat situation. I've watched and logged the engine data on extended trips to get a real feel for things that have changed. So far nothing in any of the temp sensor readings has told me that the simple version I have already is worth replacing with one of the 'smart' versions. Were I shopping from scratch as you are, I'd get one of the smart ones.

The decision process for you should be which one, not whether or not to do anything. Once the rings get gummed up and packed with carbon from blow-by, the damage is done and you are doomed to a teardown for repairs. The VCM disablers are prophylactic, not remedial. Do it now, and avoid the potential for a failure that's inconvenient at best, expensive at worst. Very cheap insurance, IMHO.

And... Welcome to Piloteers!
Thanks for the welcome and thoughtful reply. Looks like I will need to make a decision shortly on which unit to go with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not necessarily. It's relative to how long you own the vehicle. The VCM shortens the life of the engine and in some cases, the transmission. It is the eventual cause of many engine problems that can prevent passing inspection without major repairs.

Keeping in mind that your engine must be running well in the first place, a VCM disabling device will stop the vibrations associated with the cylinders that it shuts down. Disabling the VCM can help an engine recover from oil deposits that have built up in those cylinders and stop further damage to the exhaust system (catalytic converters).

Some do, until the engine codes have to be addressed. Out of necessity, to cure my excessive oil consumption and emission codes, I have chose to disable the VCM on all 3 of my Hondas with V6 engines. I use S-VCM.
Be aware too that transmission shudder can be an issue if the ATF has not been drained and filled. For you 5-speed transmission, I highly recommend Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. It not only cures transmission shudder, but also sticking shift solenoids cause by blended factory ATF.
I plan to pull the plugs this weekend to inspect. The tailpipe was not what I would consider overly gross when I swabbed it to see how bad residue was, but I won’t put too much faith in that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome and congratulations!

The barely detectable vibration at light throttle sounds exactly like VCM. My advice is to ditch it ASAP. It’s super easy with the latest disablers and has no downside except MAYBE a 1 mpg loss. If you put a disabler on it will get rid of vcm related vibration issues unless there is already some vcm related damage like motor mounts, cv axles, or whatever.


This is the one I have, works perfect and will “bypass” should the car start to overheat due to an unrelated to vcm issue:



This one should also be a great choice if you want more bells and whistles (not really needed, though):




Not sure on the switch...
The Tuner II was the one I had read about that seems to cover everything. Assuming installation is reasonably easy for the mechanically inclined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That switch could be literally anything. If nothing obvious happens when you toggle it, and you can't reach prior owner, only solution is to try and trace the wires.
I have been afraid to toggle it thus far. Will try it when the wife gets back from skiing. The cheapness of the part is so out of character with the rest of the interior. Will see if I can post a pic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have been afraid to toggle it thus far. Will try it when the wife gets back from skiing. The cheapness of the part is so out of character with the rest of the interior. Will see if I can post a pic.
144522
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9E101F87-2AC1-425F-8075-F209A226B461.jpeg
B7E30E83-FE94-4AF6-BEA7-0BEF799C533D.jpeg
 

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I plan to pull the plugs this weekend to inspect. The tailpipe was not what I would consider overly gross when I swabbed it to see how bad residue was, but I won’t put too much faith in that.
In reading, you may have come across my simple tune up tips for an engine to run smoothly. This list of course has disabling the VCM as a high priority.
1. Disable VCM.
2. A clean air filter.
3. Air tight intake hose, inspect for cracks, clamps tight.
4. Clean Mass Airflow Sensor(MAF), Remove sensor and spray a few short bursts of CRC Electronic Cleaner directly into the electrodes. Let dry thoroughly before re-installing.
5. NGK Laser Iridium Spark plugs new or under 100k.
6. No oil in spark plug tubes.
7. All coils firing.
8. Replace PCV valve.
9. By 150k, clean or replace EGR valve.
10. Use a full synthetic engine oil (no Extended Performance oil).
11. Use Top Tier 87 octane fuel or treat unbranded gasoline with injector cleaner.
12. City drivers need to take their vehicles out on the highway for some sustained periods of highway driving. The more often the better.
 
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Also do the timing belt on a 2013 if it’s never been done - it’s due.
 

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The Tuner II was the one I had read about that seems to cover everything. Assuming installation is reasonably easy for the mechanically inclined.
Yeah they are both 5 minute plug and play deals just do it when the engine is cold. It’ll save you from burning your knuckles on something stupid hot in there (I think egr) and in some cases could cause a cel that will eventually go away.
 

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Personally I'd trace the wires on the switch to determine what it is, but I can understand not wanting to take apart parts of the dashboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah they are both 5 minute plug and play deals just do it when the engine is cold. It’ll save you from burning your knuckles on something stupid hot in there (I think egr) and in some cases could cause a cel that will eventually go away.
Good to know
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also do the timing belt on a 2013 if it’s never been done - it’s due.
This is on my short list. Amazing how many pilots are available at 100k-104k. What are people typically paying for timing belt, pulleys, water pump?
 

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This is on my short list. Amazing how many pilots are available at 100k-104k. What are people typically paying for timing belt, pulleys, water pump?
Depends. I did it myself and it cost me about $200 maybe $250 using the Aisin kit. I’ve done a good number of them before and the Pilot is pretty average in difficulty.

If you’re paying a shop, try to find a great independent mechanic that specializes in Honda’s. They’ll probably use the Aisin kit and should be under $700 - $900 (guessing). You don’t want the Gates kit. Aisin is by far the most solid and is all OEM parts without the branding or OEM quality. Dealer will probably be $1200 - $1500 depending on market using OEM Honda parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Depends. I did it myself and it cost me about $200 maybe $250 using the Aisin kit. I’ve done a good number of them before and the Pilot is pretty average in difficulty.

If you’re paying a shop, try to find a great independent mechanic that specializes in Honda’s. They’ll probably use the Aisin kit and should be under $700 - $900 (guessing). You don’t want the Gates kit. Aisin is by far the most solid and is all OEM parts without the branding or OEM quality. Dealer will probably be $1200 - $1500 depending on market using OEM Honda parts.
I used to be that ambitious and have done it on a previous vehicle but those days have passed me by. Thanks for tip on Aisin kit. I think I have a line on a father/son duo who are lifer Honda indy mechs and did a friends pilot. Will see where that takes me.
 
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