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Service advisor put in "possible recall" as its initial diagnosis.
Not sure what this means. How old is the car? Is it still under warranty?

What can I do if engine block needs to replacement? How much will that cost me?
If you get a new official engine from Honda, it will likely be $10K or so, but Honda might be willing to step in and cover part of it. If the entire cost is coming out of your pocket, you can probably obtain a good used engine and have it installed for less than half this, perhaps as little as $3K or so. Lots of variables here.

Also, from the last oil change to this one, I only drove 4k miles. Is that a normal oil consumption?
Not normal, but Honda probably thinks it is "acceptable". The generally used guideline for oil consumption is a qt/1K miles, but on a new car Honda will usually step in and affect repairs before this.

On the engine vibration, do you think this just spark plug problems?
Not enough info. But given that the problems occurred simultaneously with the oil-level incident, it would be a remarkable coincidence if suddenly you had a separate problem. Has the mechanic given you an actual diagnosis?

- Mark
 

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Not sure what this means. How old is the car? Is it still under warranty?
I just read about Honda VCM problems from Accords, Crosstour etc which leads to the class action suit that was filed against Honda. Maybe that's the reason why he put "possible recall" on his diagnosis. mine is a 2010 Pilot 2wd EX-L. I bought a warranty at 60k miles when I first bought the car brand new. I bought another extended warranty 2 weeks ago.

If you get a new official engine from Honda, it will likely be $10K or so, but Honda might be willing to step in and cover part of it. If the entire cost is coming out of your pocket, you can probably obtain a good used engine and have it installed for less than half this, perhaps as little as $3K or so. Lots of variables here.
thanks for providing insight on this. Wouldn't want to shell out $10k and I'll be losing my job in a month's time.



Not normal, but Honda probably thinks it is "acceptable". The generally used guideline for oil consumption is a qt/1K miles, but on a new car Honda will usually step in and affect repairs before this.


Not enough info. But given that the problems occurred simultaneously with the oil-level incident, it would be a remarkable coincidence if suddenly you had a separate problem. Has the mechanic given you an actual diagnosis?

- Mark
I just spoke to my advisor and he said they will change the engine pistons. a big costly job around 4k-5k he said. Warranty will cover the cost of repair and the parts.
 

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I just spoke to my advisor and he said they will change the engine pistons. a big costly job around 4k-5k he said. Warranty will cover the cost of repair and the parts.
Glad they're covering it. I don't really understand how they can diagnose that only the pistons need replacing as there are tens of other related things that might be damaged too, but it sounds like they're going to take care of it regardless. I hope they have a good mechanic on staff and access to a good machine shop.... this is a huge job and I'm surprised they aren't just replacing the short block as most dealerships don't have the technical expertise on staff to do engine rebuilds.

- Mark
 

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I just spoke to my advisor and he said they will change the engine pistons. a big costly job around 4k-5k he said. Warranty will cover the cost of repair and the parts.
Wow, glad to hear it's covered under warranty. My guess is they know it's related to the VCM issue in the warranty extension bulletin. The fact that they didn't argue at all makes me think they know exactly why this happened.

And yet people still say VCM doesn't hurt your engine.
 

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Wow, glad to hear it's covered under warranty. My guess is they know it's related to the VCM issue in the warranty extension bulletin. The fact that they didn't argue at all makes me think they know exactly why this happened.
Huge stretch to blame running an engine out of oil on VCM.

- Mark
 

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Huge stretch to blame running an engine out of oil on VCM.

- Mark
Whats else to blame it on?
Wake up!
A new healthy engine shouldnt really need top up between oil changes.

Only old engines with worn pistons normally need top-ups.
 

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Whats else to blame it on?
Well, an owner who goes 4K miles without checking on the oil level might be a good place to start. Beyond this, there are tens of things that can cause high oil consumption.... VCM is on this list, but without further information, you can't pin the blame solely on this. The problem with boards like this is the whatever is the main topic of the hour gets blamed for everything. Battery won't hold charge? Maybe it is the timing belt!

Your assertion that a healthy engine doesn't need top offs between 7.5K oil changes is simply false. Very high oil consumption is a indicator of a problem, but oil consumption of a qt every few thousand miles, even on a new engine, is quite within normal bounds and no cause for concern. I'd guess that 25% of new engines that roll off the assembly line have enough oil consumption that makeup oil between changes is required to keep the level above the add mark. It's just part of the normal variance in engine tolerances. Honda puts a dipstick in their cars for a reason - they're not sealed units that you can completely ignore between maintenance intervals.

I'm pleased that Honda is stepping in and covering this person's problem, and high oil consumption is certainly a contributing factor, but the main reason the engine is failing in this case is simply owner neglect.

- Mark
 

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My 2003 Honda Pilot gets a 15,000 mile oil change interval and never had to check the oil level unless I see something dripping or just pure curiosity. Btw it has 217k miles.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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I have had the oil consumption issue on my 2009 Honda Pilot (EX-L) for about two years now. It may have been longer but I had a much shorter commute (20 miles) and then jumped to 75 miles a day. A few months after the longer commute, the check engine light came on. I suspected the oil was low due to the letters I received about the class action lawsuit. I checked the oil level and it was extremely low, barely registering on the dipstick. I took into a Honda Dealership and mentioned the low oil level, check engine light, and class action lawsuit with extended warranty. The first time, they said it was a software issue and updated the ECM. The check engine light came on again about 2 months after and has consistently been coming on at about 30% oil life. This last time, they did an oil consumption tests and found that the engine was burning an good amount of oil (DUH!). The Honda Area Rep finally authorized the piston ring replacement. After taking apart the engine, they found that the cylinders were scored after opening the engine and are now replacing the block. All of the repairs up until this point has been covered under the extended powertrain warranty as the result of the class action lawsuit. I hope this resolves my issues. I should have the car back this week.
 

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If there is a way for Honda to shut down the VCM without negatively effecting the engine wouldn't it be best for them to do so? I have a 2010 Pilot, does the 2015 Pilot have this VCM system? If so why?
 

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Originally Posted by whizmo View Post
Install a ring upside down and the problems are a lot more severe than using a qt of oil every 6K miles. Like the engine not running at all or if it does, fogging the neighborhood with oil smoke so thick you couldn't see 10'. This sounds like urban legend to me.


Nah! Upside-down rings cause a little more oil consumption, but on a well built engine not so bad to as you describe.
No whizmo is correct. The three piece oil control ring set consists of an upper and lower oil ring and a corrugated spacer that looks like an edge view of cardboard that all fit into the lower land of the piston, the compression rings being fit on the upper two lands.

The edge of the oil control rings are not flat but tapered so they are both able to flex and act like a squeegee to remove any excess oil, but only on the downward motion of the piston. AFM/VCM oil burning related problems occur when the set clogs with burned oil/sludge and can no longer flex.......the frozen rings then wear losing their taper and ring to wall tolerance and permit oil to bypass and remain on the cylinder wall and burn in the combustion chamber on the power stroke causing more deposits in the oil ring set on an ever increasing death spiral. Put in the oil control ring set upside-down and you'll squeegee the oil right into the combustion chamber and you'll be smoking out the neighborhood and destroying the CAT converters. And, any engine that has it's oil rings installed upside down is not a sign of a well built engine and will burn oil like a pig from day one out the door.


GM stood by their problem and has had some luck on using a special solvent process to clean up and unclog the oil rings ontheir AFM engines which have the same variable cylinder operation related oil consumption issues ......failing that rings and pistons are replaced.under their extended warranty.
 

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If there is a way for Honda to shut down the VCM without negatively effecting the engine wouldn't it be best for them to do so? I have a 2010 Pilot, does the 2015 Pilot have this VCM system? If so why?
According to Honda, it adds 1-2 mpg which is significant in this segment and to CAFE - if Honda didn't have the VCM and was rated 18 mpg combined rather than 20 (AWD), then they could probably expect 10K-20K less sales. That's really the only reason for it. In this class of SUVs, the Honda is class-leading when it comes to EPA mileage. VCM is a big reason why. (Whether it's worth the tradeoffs is, of course, a different question.)

I don't recall the exact timing when the system became standard - it was first on the 2WD models, then migrated to all models.

- Mark
 

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According to Honda, it adds 1-2 mpg which is significant in this segment and to CAFE - if Honda didn't have the VCM and was rated 18 mpg combined rather than 20 (AWD), then they could probably expect 10K-20K less sales. That's really the only reason for it. In this class of SUVs, the Honda is class-leading when it comes to EPA mileage. VCM is a big reason why.
Yet the AWD/4WD Highlander (with a 6-speed transmission and without VCM) has EPA ratings of 18/24 vs. 17/24 for the AWD/4WD Pilot (with a 5-speed transmission and with VCM).
 

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Just found this thread. My 09 Pilot has around 130,000 on the clock. Just found out yesterday that after about 3500 miles, it has burned up ALL of the oil. Literally no oil left in the pan. I have no leaks. Is there any way to diagnose what could be wrong without taking it to the stealership? Driving is about 50/50 city/highway.
 

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Just found this thread. My 09 Pilot has around 130,000 on the clock. Just found out yesterday that after about 3500 miles, it has burned up ALL of the oil. Literally no oil left in the pan. I have no leaks. Is there any way to diagnose what could be wrong without taking it to the stealership? Driving is about 50/50 city/highway.

I have a 2002 V8 Mountaineer with same Issue. 205k miles on the Odometer. No leaks but burns up all the oil by 3000 miles between oil changes.

Interesting to hear suggestions from the forums.
 

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This is gonna be a long post, sorry....

Yet the AWD/4WD Highlander (with a 6-speed transmission and without VCM) has EPA ratings of 18/24 vs. 17/24 for the AWD/4WD Pilot (with a 5-speed transmission and with VCM).
Not sure what that has to do with oil consumption.....

1st.. EPA mileage ratings are a joke. One would think that the EPA would actually drive cars to get the mileage ratings, but they do not, it is a mathematical formula based on many factors, a big factor being emissions. 2 cars that get the exact same real life mileage will not be rated the same by the EPA if one has less emissions.

2nd..since this is a forum for 09-12 Pilots, you are comparing to a 08-11 Highlander right, and not a newer one? As someone who owned a 08 Highlander base 2wd, I can assure you, you will NEVER get 24mpg with a awd highlander, my 2wd barely got 23 on the highway @70mph....usually 21-22mpg.

3rd..the 2nd gen Highlander is smaller than the 2nd gen Pilot (width and height is smaller, they are similar length) the Pilot is heavier, with considerably worse aerodynamics. The Highlander has a MUCH newer engine design, as well as.....

4th. Transmission. The Highlander has a 6spd, the Pilot a 5sp. This makes quite a bit of difference. Car manufactures and transmission manufacturers don't spend big time money making 7/8/9 speed transmissions to say they can, they have to so they can hit the mileage numbers.

Basically, we should be thankful for the mileage we get in the Pilot, it could be worse. Could it be better? Sure, a more modern engine design coupled with a 6spd would have helped, but then the Pilot would have been more expensive.

On to VCM...
Also, to answer a side question. This is important for the next part about why they use VCM at all..... Will Honda deactivate VCM? No way. Has to do with emissions, fuel economy, and money. Car manufacturers are required by US law to hit a certain level of emissions and fuel economy for their entire product line as a whole.(as in the entire fleet of vehicles they sell, its not broken down per model) If they go over these #'s (no I don't know what they are) the manufacturer gets to pay taxes for that. Basically, I have a good feeling that the addition of VCM had more to do with taxation, than it did with hitting a certain # that makes consumers happy. Honda disables VCM and the Gov finds out? Honda gets the pleasure of paying money in fines.


Now, on to VCM related oil consumption.
The 2 manufacturers that have embraced VCM (GM and Honda) have both had issues with oil consumption of VCM engines. Coincidence? I don't think so. Do I think it has anything to do with upside down oil control rings? No, as someone else expertly stated, if the rings were upside down they would be scraping the oil off the cylinder walls INTO the combustion chamber, the engine would smoke badly, and it never would have passed break-in at the factory. I think the problem is 2 fold..lack of backpressure behind the oil control ring on cylinders that are deactivated, and thermal dynamics. Oil control rings in production engines need some amount of combustion back pressure (ie..pressure from combustion gasses BEHIND the ring pushing it outwards into the cylinder wall) to work properly. They do not need nearly as much back pressure as the compression rings, but they do need some. Needless to say, a deactivated cylinder is not going to have a lot of backpressure. Next, thermals. To the naked eye, a cylinder bore looks perfectly round, and when its first bored and honed, and nothing is bolted to the block, it basically is. Problem is, once everything is attached to the engine, and hot coolant is flowing through the engine, the bores are pulled out of round. All engines have this issue, and lots of research has been done to mitigate it. The more the cylinder is pulled out of round, the less power the cylinder makes, the emissions go up, and the oil consumption goes up. The problem is this....engines are inherently designed to have equal temps from all cylinders, and (as much as possible) equal temps throughout the block. When you start to deactivate cylinders, the portions of the block around said cylinders start to cool, and contract, while other parts of the block are not cool, or contracting, this pulls the cylinder bores that much more out of round. To help with this, here is what they did (I know GM does this, not sure about Honda, but they probably both do this)...to help control this, they do not shut down the same cylinders constantly, instead they bounce around which cylinders are deactivated at any given time, and do not let a particular cylinder stay deactivated for very long. It helps, but is not perfect. Notice that the TSB from Honda address PGM-FI programming, and I got money that says the changes reduced the amount of time a given cylinder is deactivated, and to increase the hysteresis between VCM and non VCM modes in light load condition's. In other words, I think they reduced the amount of time the engine spends in VCM mode without actually eliminating it, keeping the gov happy.

Now at this point, you might be thinking..."ok, seems kinda logical, how is it you know this and they do not". Answer...they do, did, and always knew it. Here is the part I suspect some people are not going to like. No engine was ever designed from the beginning to be VCM, it was added on later for reasons I stated above. Basically, the term for this (and you wont like it) is Band-Aid engineering.

To sum this all up..IMHO all VCM engines will have more oil consumption than a non VCM engine. Just the way it is, and unless a engine is designed from scratch for VCM (and it would be vastly different) VCM engines will always have this issue to some degree or another.
 

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This is gonna be a long post, sorry....

Not sure what that has to do with oil consumption.....
The point was that Honda implemented the VCM system to improve fuel economy.
In practice, VCM seem to have a negative impact upon oil consumption.
Yet, Toyota, with its competing vehicle, manages to achieve equal or better EPA ratings without resorting to cylinder deactivation and its attendant side effects.

1st.. EPA mileage ratings are a joke. One would think that the EPA would actually drive cars to get the mileage ratings, but they do not, it is a mathematical formula based on many factors, a big factor being emissions.
Are you sure about that?
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fe_test_schedules.shtml

2nd..since this is a forum for 09-12 Pilots, you are comparing to a 08-11 Highlander right, and not a newer one? As someone who owned a 08 Highlander base 2wd, I can assure you, you will NEVER get 24mpg with a awd highlander, my 2wd barely got 23 on the highway @70mph....usually 21-22mpg.

3rd..the 2nd gen Highlander is smaller than the 2nd gen Pilot (width and height is smaller, they are similar length) the Pilot is heavier, with considerably worse aerodynamics. The Highlander has a MUCH newer engine design, as well as.....

4th. Transmission. The Highlander has a 6spd, the Pilot a 5sp. This makes quite a bit of difference. Car manufactures and transmission manufacturers don't spend big time money making 7/8/9 speed transmissions to say they can, they have to so they can hit the mileage numbers.

Now, on to VCM related oil consumption. ...
See above.
 
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