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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks-
I have an '04 Pilot with 250K on it. Reliable, trusty, almost maintenance free (not pretty to look at)....I will not get rid of it.
Now, it's time to look for a used car for my daughter (college bound far away) and working on a farm so I would like to look for
a Pilot. First gens. are few and far between and I would like something newer as far as safety and tech in it.
It is the engine debate that is concerning me.....

Being a member of this forum. I have seen that the 2nd gens. (09-11) have had some issues with the VCM and some people think the 3rd gens.
are better. I have no intention of disabling the VCM but I'm also looking for the reliability that my Pilot has given me. Obviously price is another issue
and I know used car $ are premium now....
So what is the deal here with the engines.....and which generation should I focus on: 2nd or 3rd...
Thanks
 

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Hello folks-
I have an '04 Pilot with 250K on it. Reliable, trusty, almost maintenance free (not pretty to look at)....I will not get rid of it.
Now, it's time to look for a used car for my daughter (college bound far away) and working on a farm so I would like to look for
a Pilot. First gens. are few and far between and I would like something newer as far as safety and tech in it.
It is the engine debate that is concerning me.....

Being a member of this forum. I have seen that the 2nd gens. (09-11) have had some issues with the VCM and some people think the 3rd gens.
are better. I have no intention of disabling the VCM but I'm also looking for the reliability that my Pilot has given me. Obviously price is another issue
and I know used car $ are premium now....
So what is the deal here with the engines.....and which generation should I focus on: 2nd or 3rd...
Thanks
If you were asking me to pick which poison I would want to drink, it be neither. A VCM disabling device increases what you want. Reliability.
If you made me choose, a 2nd gen.
 

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2007 Pilot EXL, 2012 Civic LX, 2007 VTX1300C
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if you want to get your daughter a safe reliable used car that isn't too expensive look at the 9th gen civics and pass on the Pilots all together. Pretty soon a lot of people might not be able to afford to fill up the fuel tank on their Pilots
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice. I'm partial to the Pilots for a few reasons. First, the space. Move back and forth to college AND working at a farm will require her to move some bulky stuff.
Second, my previous experience with my Pilot. I know that may not make much sense since it will be another model year and individual attention to maintenance will differ but from reading all the posts on Pilots (regardless of year), most are very happy with their Pilot.

Again, my big question involves the engine and VCM. Most are saying its OK. I really do think my Vtec from the '03-'08 models is almost bulletproof and once they moved to the VCM engine, things changed as far as efficiency. I do not hear much about engines failing and/or excessive oil consumption so I guess the VCM engine is fine?
Filling up a tank will be pricey but I want safety, security, and reliability.
It sounds like whether you go with a 2nd or 3rd gen,. we'll be fine...we just need to do our due diligence in finding the used Pilot with right mileage, condition, and $$

any thoughts?
 

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Thanks for the advice. I'm partial to the Pilots for a few reasons. First, the space. Move back and forth to college AND working at a farm will require her to move some bulky stuff.
Second, my previous experience with my Pilot. I know that may not make much sense since it will be another model year and individual attention to maintenance will differ but from reading all the posts on Pilots (regardless of year), most are very happy with their Pilot.

Again, my big question involves the engine and VCM. Most are saying its OK. I really do think my Vtec from the '03-'08 models is almost bulletproof and once they moved to the VCM engine, things changed as far as efficiency. I do not hear much about engines failing and/or excessive oil consumption so I guess the VCM engine is fine?
Filling up a tank will be pricey but I want safety, security, and reliability.
It sounds like whether you go with a 2nd or 3rd gen,. we'll be fine...we just need to do our due diligence in finding the used Pilot with right mileage, condition, and $$

any thoughts?
I know a non Direct Injection 2nd gen. can be made less problematic than a 3rd gen. It's even more reliable without AWD.
My 1st priority would be to disable the VCM.
2nd would be to do a 3 x drain and fill with Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF.
Then depending where the maintenance was on the timing belt water pump (coolant service), I'd do the basic run through the engine bay replacing all fluids and checking brakes. Then the things to make the engine pur...
  • Disable the VCM
  • Air Filter New/Clean
  • Clean MAF every air filter replacement.
  • Air intake tube leak free air tight
  • Spark plugs New/Clean NGK Laser Iridium
  • Has the VCM been disabled yet?
  • Coils engine oil free, no oil in spark plug tubes
  • Replace PCV if never done
  • Replace EGR valve (if high milage with unexplained rough idle)
  • Use recomended weight, full synthetic oil. No semi blends or extended performance oil.
  • Use Top Tier 87 octane fuel or use injector cleaner regularly.
  • Really need to disable the VCM if it hasn't been done yet.
If you have plenty of wealth and buy a new 3rd gen Pilot with a Honda Care warranty, that sounds good too.
 
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no matter what you end up with, stay away from the buy here pay here used car lot !
ask for maintenance records from the owner and/or have it inspected by your mechanic or do yourself a good once over inspection. most problems can be noticed almost immediately by the noises, scents, or just looking at it and saying hmm that doesn't look quite right.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I'm partial to the Pilots for a few reasons. First, the space. Move back and forth to college AND working at a farm will require her to move some bulky stuff.
Second, my previous experience with my Pilot. I know that may not make much sense since it will be another model year and individual attention to maintenance will differ but from reading all the posts on Pilots (regardless of year), most are very happy with their Pilot.

Again, my big question involves the engine and VCM. Most are saying its OK. I really do think my Vtec from the '03-'08 models is almost bulletproof and once they moved to the VCM engine, things changed as far as efficiency. I do not hear much about engines failing and/or excessive oil consumption so I guess the VCM engine is fine?
Filling up a tank will be pricey but I want safety, security, and reliability.
It sounds like whether you go with a 2nd or 3rd gen,. we'll be fine...we just need to do our due diligence in finding the used Pilot with right mileage, condition, and $$

any thoughts?
I got the VCMtunerII and it's really easy, no maintenance and it automatically adapts. Also it has expansion ports for future updates. That being said. Check out my mpg. It's better than it ever was before by a bunch! Increase of 4-6 mpg. This is combined highway and around town. No trade off whatsoever.
149389
149390
 

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Wow......kinda the opposite for me ('17 Ridgeline). I lost about 1 mpg (all in-town stop-n-go) after the disabler install....others have reported about the same. For me, it's a small price to pay for the virtual elimination of the abrupt downshifting when coming to a stop.:)
 

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Our mileage stayed the same for our around town driving. Highway between the VCMuzzler and roof rack/cross bars I lost 1-2 mpg. Not even a concern for me.

Go with the disabler, freshen the fluids, know when to do the timing belt and it will easily last her through college and beyond.
 
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2020 Highlander XLE 2012 Honda Pilot EX-L
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You can't rely on those vehicle computer readouts-total miles driven divided by gallons added at fill up tell no lies. I only get around 18.5 mpg mixed driving with my 2012, and neither myself nor my wife have heavy feet.
 

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Interesting-I just fueled up my V6 Highlander and I get an average of about 23.5 MPG vs 18.5 for the Pilot. Obviously weight, aerodynamics and the 8 speed auto in the Highlander are all factors.
 

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Interesting-I just fueled up my V6 Highlander and I get an average of about 23.5 MPG vs 18.5 for the Pilot. Obviously weight, aerodynamics and the 8 speed auto in the Highlander are all factors.
I think it's unfair to compare a current generation 3 row to the last generation. It seems like all of them made a 3-5 mpg combined jump. Our neighbor with a new Traverse gets at least 5 mpg better than mine (I get 22-24 on the highway) and my cousin with a 3rd gen Pilot is getting around 3 mpg better than our '15. Pretty amazing how efficient the new 3 row crossovers can be.
 

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Pretty amazing how efficient the new 3 row crossovers can be.
That was my main point, that's some pretty incredible mileage IMO. My last "GM" was a 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 2.4, it also had a 5 speed auto like the Pilot and I think it got no better than the Highlander-23ish combined. BTW, I know that vehicle was really a Toyota hence the quotes around GM.
 

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I thought VCM was a means by which auto manufacturers are able to slightly increase mpg numbers, no? So, if VCM is disabled, how can mpg go up?🤷‍♂️
 

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That was my main point, that's some pretty incredible mileage IMO. My last "GM" was a 2009 Pontiac Vibe GT 2.4, it also had a 5 speed auto like the Pilot and I think it got no better than the Highlander-23ish combined. BTW, I know that vehicle was really a Toyota hence the quotes around GM.
But did you really know? Just kidding, had to give the gentle prod there. My dad's Silverado an Sierra regularly get 24-25 on the highway with the 5.3 V8 and 4WD. Diesel Yukons and Suburbans are getting well over 30 mpg. It's absolutely amazing! I remember our V10 Excursion that barely cracked 10 haha.

I thought VCM was a means by which auto manufacturers are able to slightly increase mpg numbers, no? So, if VCM is disabled, how can mpg go up?🤷‍♂️
Some claim to see that, I personally saw a slight decrease but not enough to make me think the benefits of the system outweigh the potential costs.
 
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Yep......if VCM is not to increase mpg, then what is it for?
 

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But did you really know? Just kidding, had to give the gentle prod there. My dad's Silverado an Sierra regularly get 24-25 on the highway with the 5.3 V8 and 4WD. Diesel Yukons and Suburbans are getting well over 30 mpg. It's absolutely amazing! I remember our V10 Excursion that barely cracked 10 haha.

When it's time to replace the Pilot I may look at a GM truck-probably a Colorado/Canyon. I know no vehicle manufacturer is fault free. I would absolutely buy an extended warranty on it. The Colorado has decent towing capability and gas mileage and is a real truck unlike the Ridgeline. GM's full size trucks scare the crap out of me with DFM and are expensive as hell.

Some claim to see that, I personally saw a slight decrease but not enough to make me think the benefits of the system outweigh the potential costs.
I didn't buy either one of these units for gas mileage, but good gas mileage is gravy on the biscuit.
 

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Yep......if VCM is not to increase mpg, then what is it for?
That's pretty much what it was for. But it does help slightly in ideal/laboratory conditions. Longer term, it does WAY more harm than good though.
 
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