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I have strange problem I can't explain...


When I start my 2004 pilot after it's been sitting in the garage for a while (day or more) it starts perfectly.


Then when I return to the vehicle from grocery store, or lunch, or any short trip, it will start, although there is lots of delay and turn-over of the engine before it finally starts. Sometimes it takes a concerning long time to start.


I told my dealer, who thinks I am a car moron, and proceeded to keep it for 4 days (basically letting it sit and get cold) and then told me it started fine and they can't find any problem - which I already knew and told them.


Any ideas of what is gone wrong and/or how to correct?


P.S. Battery voltage and starter seem fine.


P.S.S. I also have the strange flashing D on occasion, but the vehicle has never had any serious issues, and has always worked like a champ.
 

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You mentioned the battery seems so fine so I’m guessing the dealer performed a load test and confirmed this. Did they also verify the alternator output?

I’ve seen a bunch of posts on this forum for the flashing D. Do a search on here and I’m sure you’ll find some more details to what the issue might be. Did the dealer read any diagnostic codes reported by the Pilot?
 

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I'm going to revive this thread rather than start a new one, but I've been experiencing the exact same thing with my 04 Pilot for the past few months since I bought it, so I'm wondering if there's a fix. The battery is less than a year old. The car starts up quick and easy first thing every morning (even below freezing) or anytime it's been sitting for more a few hours. But anytime I make a quick stop after driving awhile, like to get gas or groceries or something, it takes a good 3 or 4 seconds of constant cranking before it actually starts. I've got a battery voltage readout in the accessory port in the cabin so I can verify that the voltage before and after starting is normal, and alternator output voltage is also normal, so I don't think it's a battery or alternator problem. I know this probably isn't a serious problem, just wondering if it's a sign that I need to clean or adjust something before it gets worse?
 

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My '04 pilot used to belong to a family member until I bought it. I serviced that car much of its life. They complained about this when the car got about 150K miles on it but I never experienced it. I got the car in July last year at 198K and have drove it to 201K but I still haven't ever experienced this. The only things I can think of I might do differently is I always let the fuel pump run its priming before I start up and I hardly ever run below 1/2 tank. May seem strange but that's the only difference for me. I know on the '04 it is a return fuel system with hot fuel from the rail returning to tank, EVAP valves operating with key ON II, etc. It was also suggested to me to change the main fuel relay which is up under the driver dash, but I haven't changed that. Just my $.02
 

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I'm going to revive this thread rather than start a new one, but I've been experiencing the exact same thing with my 04 Pilot for the past few months since I bought it, so I'm wondering if there's a fix. The battery is less than a year old. The car starts up quick and easy first thing every morning (even below freezing) or anytime it's been sitting for more a few hours. But anytime I make a quick stop after driving awhile, like to get gas or groceries or something, it takes a good 3 or 4 seconds of constant cranking before it actually starts. I've got a battery voltage readout in the accessory port in the cabin so I can verify that the voltage before and after starting is normal, and alternator output voltage is also normal, so I don't think it's a battery or alternator problem. I know this probably isn't a serious problem, just wondering if it's a sign that I need to clean or adjust something before it gets worse?
Most likely the old injectors are leaky and not retaining the fuel when the engine is turned off. The fuel evaporates. Before cranking, turn your key to the on position and wait for the fuel pump to send fuel to the injectors, then crank. In some really bad cases you may need to do this twice, but too, because the injectors are leaky, you can cause a flooding condition if you do this to much and you'll have to wait for it to evaporate. Your nose will usually tell you if you flooded it.
 

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If suggestion that Nail Grease provided you does not work there is another option to consider, since this seems to be a heat related issue, is to check all you electrical connections. Heat causes expansion, different metals expand at different rates. A slightly loosen ground or other electrical connection caused by heat can result in the flow of electricity to the starter and/or the engine ignition system to be weak.

Also consider an issue with the other end of the fuel system. You may have a fuel pump that is starting to getting weak. To check it you will need to perform or have a shop perform a pressure test. With low pressure it can take a little longer to get the vehicle started at first. As the fuel pump fails and the pressure decreases further you will then experience less power as the engine is slowly starving for fuel.
 

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I think Nail Grease is correct about the old fuel injectors leaking after the ignition is shut off. There is enough residual pressure in the system to cause fuel to pool in the intake manifold, flooding the engine. My 2003 does the same thing. I hold the gas pedal down about 1/4 throttle as I crank a hot engine, and it starts much easier.
 

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Most likely the old injectors are leaky and not retaining the fuel when the engine is turned off. The fuel evaporates. Before cranking, turn your key to the on position and wait for the fuel pump to send fuel to the injectors, then crank. In some really bad cases you may need to do this twice, but too, because the injectors are leaky, you can cause a flooding condition if you do this to much and you'll have to wait for it to evaporate. Your nose will usually tell you if you flooded it.
So if my injectors are leaking, should I replace them, or try to clean them? I'm going to be way down in the engine next week when I remove the intake manifold and do the valve adjustment, so it seems like the right time to service the injectors. Should I just pull them out and try to clean them by actuating them with a 12v source and squirting some carb cleaner through them, or just pour a bottle of Techron in my tank tomorrow and see if that is enough. Or are 16-year old injectors due to be replaced with new ones?
 

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If it were me, I'd probably replace if I were going to pull them anyway. Or, at least pull the rail, prime and wait for a leak. I always like fuel pressure tests because the tell a lot about how the fuel system is operating. The prime pressure, the starting pressure, the run pressure, and the leak down. I do check mine on occasion by hook up similar to this video, but I don't have pressure leaking down rapidly after warm and primed and the pressures looked good. But my car supposedly had this issue as well.
 

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Wow, useful thread. Over the last month, my 2004 EX (115,000 mi) has become hard to start after a short drive/when warm. Every morning it starts perfectly. The first couple of times it wouldn't start, it smelled flooded, and sure enough, 15 minutes later it would start. But last couple of times, even several hours later it wouldn't start. Took it to my crack mechanic and he did pretty much everything described above and in another thread here, except the ECR clean-out. He went above and beyond as much as he could during the day to try to catch it when it would fail. Frustrated, he came in on Sunday and concentrated on this issue, and it obliged. He identified a problem in the fuel injection control relay (OEM price about $98) and replaced it. It's running fine now. He cautions that it's hard to say if it's truly fixed, but for those of you with the same issues, it's a place to start.
 

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So if my injectors are leaking, should I replace them, or try to clean them? I'm going to be way down in the engine next week when I remove the intake manifold and do the valve adjustment, so it seems like the right time to service the injectors. Should I just pull them out and try to clean them by actuating them with a 12v source and squirting some carb cleaner through them, or just pour a bottle of Techron in my tank tomorrow and see if that is enough. Or are 16-year old injectors due to be replaced with new ones?
I can only say what I've ever done, in order to keep my vehicles out of the shop. I start throwing new parts at it when vehicles are high milage and old age. I like the $98 fix mentioned by @geilerts. Except I'd pay the $40 on RockAuto.
136863
I'd go down the list of parts under Fuel and Air and research. But yes, the inevitable is injector replacement or rebuild. Has anyone had success with replacing O ring seals in a working injector as a fix for this issue?
 

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I think I'll try a bottle or two of Techron in my gas and see if that makes a difference and push back my planned valve adjustment until I know whether it really needs new injectors or not. Don't want to spend $200 on new injectors to find out it was just a fouling issue or the relay mentioned above.
 

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Another possible cause of flooding is the fuel pressure regulator on the early Pilots. It's mounted on the intake manifold, and if the internal diaphragm ruptures, raw gas leaks into the intake manifold, causing a flooded hard start. In later years (not sure when Honda changed this), the pressure regulator was moved to inside the fuel tank.

Both leaky injectors and ruptured regulator diaphragm would show up as a loss of fuel pressure at the rails. The rails should be able to hold design pressure for quite a while after key-off. If this reading drops, suspect the two issues I just flagged.
 

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That's actually an easy job too on the '04. The regulator is on a block with the injection pulse damper on driver side of the engine. I think you can get to it and replace without even removing the intake plenum fairly easily. Just take the plastic engine cover off.
 

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That's actually an easy job too on the '04. The regulator is on a block with the injection pulse damper on driver side of the engine. I think you can get to it and replace without even removing the intake plenum fairly easily. Just take the plastic engine cover off.
136879
 

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I wanted to raise this question again.
Does replacing O ring seals fix a leaky injector?
Note that there are 6 O rings in the Beck/Arnley kit.
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That would solve an external leak like where it plugs in to the rail and on the engine but not if the armature pintle isn't seating fully. Beck Arnley sells a lot of multi model kits so it wouldn't surprise me if additional seals are there.
 

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The curious thing about this is the "only when it's warm" part. Before you start replacing a bunch of parts, even cheap ones I would do two things. Check all the electrical connections and make sure there is no corrosion and they are all real tight. Also check any and all vacuum line connections, as the heat could cause them to develop a leak as well from different expansion rates.

The second thing I would do is get a fuel system pressure test. If it's good then the leaking theory pretty much goes down the tubes.

This definitely seems to be a heat related issue and the confusing thing to me on the fuel system is that when you park the car and come back 10 minutes later it doesn't want to start because it is warm, yet it sounds like if you park the same hot car and come back 10 hours later it starts fine as it is now a cold engine. If it has a fuel leak, I find it highly improbable that the fuel leaked out when it was hot and then leaked back in when it got cold.
 

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That would solve an external leak like where it plugs in to the rail and on the engine but not if the armature pintle isn't seating fully. Beck Arnley sells a lot of multi model kits so it wouldn't surprise me if additional seals are there.
So if I'm reading between the lines correctly here, if your injectors are not holding preasure after your engine is turned off, then your only solution is to replace them.
 

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The likely cause is debris/buildup at the tiny seat so a cleaner may help. The debris could have impacted so much over time there is no hope for the seat. You could try pulling them to a bench and operate them while pushing cleaner through then check the pressure holding for a science experiment. Just replacing them seems easiest.

This has got to be a real problem for the direct injected engines running higher pressures all the way around and higher temps too.
 
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