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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got the dreaded P0303 on the way back from Florida last week. Honda will help with the repair. My question is, should I have cylinders 4 - 6 done while they are working on Bank 1? Or if it ain't broke, don't fix it. They want 1350 to do the front 3 cylinders (4 hrs labor + parts).
Thanks,
Tim
 

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I got the dreaded P0303 on the way back from Florida last week. Honda will help with the repair. My question is, should I have cylinders 4 - 6 done while they are working on Bank 1? Or if it ain't broke, don't fix it. They want 1350 to do the front 3 cylinders (4 hrs labor + parts).
Thanks,
Tim
I wouldn't let them tear into my engine just yet.
What is your milage?
Has the timing belt been replaced?
If the right steps are taken, most of the time, this can correct itself without a major repair.
1. Disable the VCM. The VCM shuts down certain cylinders when coasting, maintaining speed or in cruise. The eco light illuminates on the instrument panel. It is a known fact that these dormant cylinders can form oil deposits making rings and valves stick, fouled spark plugs dirty injectors. By disabling the VCM your engine will run on all 6 cylinders 100% of the time. I use S-VCM.
2. New Air Filter
3. Clean the MAF. Remove sensor from the intake hose. Use CRC Electronic Cleaner or MAF Cleaner. With a few short bursts, spray directly into the electrodes. Let dry thoroughly before re-installing.
4. Air intake tube should be crack free, clamps tight.
5. New NGK Laser Iridiums Spark Plugs.
6. Inspect spark plug tubes and coils for oil (especially check cylinder 3 where your misfire code is). Replace spark plug tube seals if needed.
7. Replace PCV valve.
8. Use Full Synthetic 0w20 oil (no blends, semi synthetic or Extended Performance oils).
9. Use a Top Tier 87 octane fuel (best). Or fuel injector cleaner with unbranded gasoline.
10. (Italian tune up) Take your vehicle out on the Highway for some long extended periods of highway speed driving. This will clean the cylinders that were laying dormant with an active VCM.
 
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IIRC, only one of the front cylinders (#4) is involved in VCM operations. If you were to focus your repair efforts on one bank, it might be better to look at the rear first, where all three get possible VCM activation.

Spark plugs are your first guide on this decision. Got oil/coke showing?


But first, follow Nail Grease's steps listed above.

For others playing along at home, consider that a good synthetic oil doesn't coke and is much less likely to cause detonation and ring/piston damage than any conventional oil or "synthetic blend". The combination of that good synthetic oil and a VCM eliminator should be mandatory for anyone who wants to avoid this symptom completely. Catch it early enough, and there's a chance that these steps might help reverse early symptoms of the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I have 112k miles on the Pilot. I've had the timing belt service along with water pump and plugs done at 97k miles. All oil changes have been done using Honda service. I did have the code back in 2017 and they replace the plug in cyl 3 (p0303). The dealer just called and said #4 looks clean, so I think I'm leaning towards just repairing bank 1.
 

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Thanks, I have 112k miles on the Pilot. I've had the timing belt service along with water pump and plugs done at 97k miles. All oil changes have been done using Honda service. I did have the code back in 2017 and they replace the plug in cyl 3 (p0303). The dealer just called and said #4 looks clean, so I think I'm leaning towards just repairing bank 1.
Makes sense cause the P0303 is a cylinder#3 misfire. What do the sparkplugs look like as that is a good indicator of engine conditions? 112k is still low mileage for these engines and it is pretty unlikely that it needs rings at this point. I would put in a new set of plugs and disable the VCM before I resort to an expensive rebuild.
 

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Thanks, I have 112k miles on the Pilot. I've had the timing belt service along with water pump and plugs done at 97k miles. All oil changes have been done using Honda service. I did have the code back in 2017 and they replace the plug in cyl 3 (p0303). The dealer just called and said #4 looks clean, so I think I'm leaning towards just repairing bank 1.
I'll make one last plea..., I'd wait and do the above. You already have the spark plugs.
S-VCM cost $95. The MAF cleaning takes a Phillips screwdriver and a can of CRC Electronic Cleaner is $5 at Wal-Mart. A full synthetic oil change done at a reputable establishment could be around $100. I'd have Honda change my PCV valve and and get out before it cost you more than the quote. You can always take it back later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Plugs had 16k miles on them and # 3 was fouled and I was down a quart of oil since the last oil change with 40% oil life. Use 1/2 quart on way to FLA 350 miles.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and support. I appreciate it.
 

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I got the dreaded P0303 on the way back from Florida last week. Honda will help with the repair. My question is, should I have cylinders 4 - 6 done while they are working on Bank 1? Or if it ain't broke, don't fix it. They want 1350 to do the front 3 cylinders (4 hrs labor + parts).
Thanks,
Tim
I had the same thing at 165,000 miles, I just replaced all the plugs and drove it. Problem never came back I am currently at 214,000 and running great. I would follow NailGrease's guidance.
 

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I had the same thing at 165,000 miles, I just replaced all the plugs and drove it. Problem never came back I am currently at 214,000 and running great. I would follow NailGrease's guidance.
Even as bad as OPs situation, rings can unstick. Worse case I'd do a piston soak on the problem cylinder.
But even after OPs fix, my above suggestions will help prevent it from occurring again.
I'ts been documented that dealerships are slipping their customers synthetic blend oil. The only way to know is to search the item number for the oil their using. It's really bad for this engines condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They will do bank 1 with a $250 deductible. They checked #4 and that plug looked like new. I told them to just repair #1-3. I have done all of the oil changes and factory specified maintenance at the dealer and they said that factored into the response from the DPSM and HA.
 

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I would do the one bank and then put a muzzler on it. It seems like a reasonable compromise to me. I would not do the other bank if there is no discount. If, after they do the work, you still have a problem I think you are in a good position to ask for more consideration from Honda.

I would wait a little bit to see if the repair resolves the issue before you put the muzzler on it so they can't say that the problem was caused by unauthorized modifications.
 

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Get it done, the chances of 100% unsticking the rings is almost zero, and Honda will not make the offer again. You either take it now, or never. I've done well over 100 of these and you normally have to use a screw driver and a small tap tap to get the oil control rings unstuck to remove them from the piston.
 

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I'll make one last plea..., I'd wait and do the above. You already have the spark plugs.
S-VCM cost $95. The MAF cleaning takes a Phillips screwdriver and a can of CRC Electronic Cleaner is $5 at Wal-Mart. A full synthetic oil change done at a reputable establishment could be around $100. I'd have Honda change my PCV valve and and get out before it cost you more than the quote. You can always take it back later.
For $250 why would you plea to try to have the owner not do this? Unsticking the oil control rings is very unlikely with any sort of off the shelf top end product. I could understand giving it the old college try it if there was no consideration from Honda but that is not the case here. Also, for those who also enjoy disparaging Honda, note that the car has a Honda service history and is well out of warranty but the owner is not being told to go pound sand. $250 for a ring job is pretty reasonable. This is consistent with our experience with the 20+ years we have owned Hondas.
 

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For $250 why would you plea to try to have the owner not do this? Unsticking the oil control rings is very unlikely with any sort of off the shelf top end product. I could understand giving it the old college try it if there was no consideration from Honda but that is not the case here. Also, for those who also enjoy disparaging Honda, note that the car has a Honda service history and is well out of warranty but the owner is not being told to go pound sand. $250 for a ring job is pretty reasonable. This is consistent with our experience with the 20+ years we have owned Hondas.
Post #1 the charge was $1350. It usually ends up being quite a bit more when they call you later saying it needs this and that. Next thing you know your pushing $2000. My plea was the before mention of a 1/2 quart oil loss in 350k miles. I'm standing down a little, but everyone knows I lean towards the DIY side. #3 cylinder is dormant when the VCM is active. Oil is being pumped in and burned. Fouled plug is the proof. I'm looking for a long term solution. Not just a temporary fix. I'd disable the VCM and see how it goes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone. I'm good. Appreciate all of the good comments and will look into a muzzle after the 12 month warranty expires. the oil loss was on a 350 mile drive not 350k. It was also down a quart before we left home. so we burned another quart in 800 miles round trip. I held off on doing bank 2.

Again, thanks to all for the comments. I'll let you all know how everything works out.
 

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A friend of mine has a Carbontek distributorship. While I do recognize he's going to say things to stir up business, he says even Port injected engines will have carbon build up after 30K miles. I think that's way too soon to do it on a non DI engine, but I'm thinking about having him do it at 90k miles, which I'll probably have by summer. Evidently he comes to you.

Thoughts?
 
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