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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Hoping someone has some insight on this issue.

2003 Pilot EXL
125,000 miles


The VTM-4 light on the instrumental dash (not the VTM-4 Switch button light) came on today all of a suddent. It goes off if I shut off the car but comes back after about a mile of driving. Scanned for fault codes with 2 scanners (BlueDriver and FOXWELL NT630 Pro) but both did NOT find any fault codes. Scanned it while the car was running with the VTM-4 light still on and scanned it when the car was off but in the ON position. Both cases showed 0 fault codes. Also, the drive D light is NOT flashing and there are no other visual fault lights either. Car seems to drive fine but I want to resolve the problem properly before driving it again.

Read several fo the VTM-4 postings in this forum but didn't really find any that closely relate to my issue. Some mentioned EGR valve replacement. Some mentioned they took the car to the dealer said to replace the speed sensor but didn't resolve the issue. Another said it's possible the rear send sensor may be faulty - anyone know where can I locate this sensor? Is this the same as the speed sensor?

Differential / VTM-4 fluid changed about 5,000 miles ago (used Honda fluid).
EGR valve replaced under recall when it first published (don't recall exactly when but likely at least 10 years ago)
Spark Plugs (Iridium NGK) changed 40,000 miles ago.

Anyone have any idea as to what may be the true culprit or faulty part?

Someone in a post hinted the car may be in "limp mode" to minimize damage. I would figure if it was in limp mode, speed would've been limited and probably would not be able to shift to higher gears. That does not seem to be a problem as I can get up to higher gears and high speed on the highway. Can anyone explain how else I can confirm if the car is in "limp mode"?

Thanks in advance for any help.

-2Hs
 

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FOXWELL NT630 Pro
Are you sure it reads Honda-specific codes out of the box?

 

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If you have an issue with the EGR (or valves, etc.), then both the CEL and VTM4 lights will display. In essence, the vehicle's computer disables the traction management system when power isn't 100%. You don't have a CEL and don't have any stored codes, so I wouldn't even mess with the engine - my guess is you have a direct issue with the VTM4 system in the rear-end of the vehicle.

If the fluids were changed about 5000 miles ago, the first thing I would do is check the drain and fill plugs in the rear end - you could simply have some minor fluid loss. I know from experience that it only needs to lose about 4oz of VTM fluid before the sensor triggers it. Low fluid is somewhat also supported by your findings - the light goes off after you drive it - the fluid warms up and expands (or sloshes) just enough to turn off the sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are you sure it reads Honda-specific codes out of the box?

Hi plplplpl,

My NT630 Pro is brand new (got it for ABS Modulator bleeding on my 2010 Civic) but I've updated it with Honda info before I ran the scan. So, assumingly it has the latest Honda codes. Same with the BlueDriver scanner. Ran the latest update and no fault codes stored or pending.

I will do the paperclip manual code read to confirm. However, I am trying to figure out the exact pins I need to jump on the OBDII port. I've read a few posts that some people jumped the wrong pins and blew fuses. I would like to avoid that from happening.

94eg! in the "VTM light on 2003 Pilot" post (reply #15) stated that it's pins 8 & 13 and has been since 1996 for all cars. At least, my interpretation of the reply is pins 8 & 13 are the correct pins to jump but I am not 100% clear. Hence, I would like to know for certain that they are the right pins.

If you or anyone can confirm pins 8 & 13, that would be great.

Thanks

-2Hs
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you have an issue with the EGR (or valves, etc.), then both the CEL and VTM4 lights will display. In essence, the vehicle's computer disables the traction management system when power isn't 100%. You don't have a CEL and don't have any stored codes, so I wouldn't even mess with the engine - my guess is you have a direct issue with the VTM4 system in the rear-end of the vehicle.

If the fluids were changed about 5000 miles ago, the first thing I would do is check the drain and fill plugs in the rear end - you could simply have some minor fluid loss. I know from experience that it only needs to lose about 4oz of VTM fluid before the sensor triggers it. Low fluid is somewhat also supported by your findings - the light goes off after you drive it - the fluid warms up and expands (or sloshes) just enough to turn off the sensor.
Hi ckeater,

Thanks for your reply.
  • If the computer disabled the traction management system, is it still safe to drive the car?
  • "the light goes off after you drive it" - this is not what is happening. The light goes off when I shut off the car. It comes back on after driving for about a mile. I should also mention when it came on, I pulled over and rested the car for about an hour+ before headed back on the road again. That's when it came back on after about a mile or so.
  • "my guess is you have a direct issue with the VTM4 system in the rear-end of the vehicle" - can you elaborate on what you mean? Are you referring to the differential trany, axles/shafts, speed sensors, etc.?
The VTM-4 light came on yesterday, so I've not crawled under the car to check things so I don't know what kind of sensors are under there (besides the speed sensors at each wheel). Anything specific I should look for and where / location of the sensor?

Thanks again

-2Hs
 

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I had the ABS and VTM lights come on in my 08 a couple years ago. I brought it in to a mechanic thinking it was an ABS sensor or something like that, but it turned out that my battery was getting weak and was messing up the computer. A new battery made that problem go away. I have no idea if you have the same problem, but it's easy enough to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi cc102bob,

I will check the battery condition but it's fairly new and <2 years old. My ABS light does not come on with the VTM light. The VTM-4 light is the ONLY one that is lit.

-2Hs
 

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  • If the computer disabled the traction management system, is it still safe to drive the car?
Yes, perfectly fine to drive. In effect, when the VTM is disabled, the car disables the automatic VTM on-demand system, effectively transforming your AWD Pilot into a 2WD (front-wheel drive) vehicle. If the PCM disables VTM, you also can't manually engage VTM with the switch in the lower gears.

  • "the light goes off after you drive it" - this is not what is happening. The light goes off when I shut off the car. It comes back on after driving for about a mile. I should also mention when it came on, I pulled over and rested the car for about an hour+ before headed back on the road again. That's when it came back on after about a mile or so.
The fluid sloshing on the sensor when you drive momentarily disrupts the problem (the sensor detects adequate fluid), but then the fluid settles and it the low level re-triggers the light. This would be the easiest thing to check - just pull the top fill plug and if the fluid doesn't run out, add some more.

  • "my guess is you have a direct issue with the VTM4 system in the rear-end of the vehicle" - can you elaborate on what you mean? Are you referring to the differential trany, axles/shafts, speed sensors, etc.?
I can't really elaborate on what's wrong - and I'm no Honda Tech - but the most common problems I've found reported with the VTM4 are related to the age of the fluid, the fluid level or the pressure sensor. These were also the 3 main things my local Honda dealer told me to look at when I had some issues with my '03 - mine was simply low fluid, only about 4oz.

Heres a YouTube video that shows you where the sensor is located:
.

There are also several reports (on this forum) that the wiring harness to the sensor can get damaged, and this disruption will also trigger the idiot light.

Note that if you get your scanner to read a code and it says 'pressure sensor', that bad or low fluid will give you the same reading - the code merely tells you that the problem is either with the sensor or the sensor is detecting the problem.

A few questions that may help other people:

1) Do you by chance park on a slight incline?
2) Does the light come on after 1 mile or at a certain speed?
3) Have you visually inspected for leaks from the rear differential?
4) Condition of your rear tires?
 

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Check out this Ridgeline thread for a list of DTCs associated with the VTM light.


A few other questions:
5) Any noice - humming or squealing - from the rear-end?
6) Did you potentially hit something, including a large speed bump or pothole, just before the light appeared?

Also - my local OReilly and AutoZone have OBDII scanners that read Honda specific codes including SRS and VTM. If you can't get your scanner to work, take it to one of them and see if they can pull a specific code. My understanding is if the VTM light goes on there will a code.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi ckeator,

Thank you for the detail.

I will be checking all that you've suggested.

See my inline comments to your questions:

1) Do you by chance park on a slight incline?
[2Hs] So happen there is a slight incline. I just went out to check the battery as cc102bob suggested above and found that the VTM-4 light is now LIT/ON without being driven. Car has been sitting in driveway overnight. FWIW, battery test with multimeter looks good. After draining with headlight on for about 2 minutes, before starting, voltage was 12.7V and 14+ after starting.
2) Does the light come on after 1 mile or at a certain speed?
[2Hs] First appearance was after driven for about 1+ hours and pulled into a rest stop while idling (running AC in 95 F heat) for about <5 mins, the VTM-4 light came on. Shut off the car for about 15 mins, started back on the road, the light came back on after a few hundred feet of pulling away from the rest stop. Drove to destination and rested for about 1-2 hours, started on the road again. Light came on within about 1 mile of driving.
3) Have you visually inspected for leaks from the rear differential?
[2Hs] Yes, no oil spot is seen. Ground is bone dry.
4) Condition of your rear tires?
[2Hs] Brand new tires.

Thanks,

-2Hs
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Check out this Ridgeline thread for a list of DTCs associated with the VTM light.


A few other questions:
5) Any noice - humming or squealing - from the rear-end?
6) Did you potentially hit something, including a large speed bump or pothole, just before the light appeared?

Also - my local OReilly and AutoZone have OBDII scanners that read Honda specific codes including SRS and VTM. If you can't get your scanner to work, take it to one of them and see if they can pull a specific code. My understanding is if the VTM light goes on there will a code.
Hi ckeator,

No abnormal noise I can hear but will pay closer attention.
No, I did not hit any potholes or speed bumps that I can recall. Then again, the roads are not always smooth so there are rough patches somewhere. But as far as big pot holes that would resonate in memory, I don't recall such.

Maybe I will take it to Autozone and have them read and see if they can pick up any code. I was going to do the paperclip method and see if any would come up but I am not clear as to which pins to jump on the OBDII port. I found in a post that pins 8 & 13 are the correct pins. I am hoping someone with more knowledge can confirm before I attempt that to avoid blowing fuses.

Thanks

-2Hs
 

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New tires? How long after you got tires did the problem start? Perhaps the tires are unbalanced (threw a weight?). I suspect you verified they installed the correct size?

Improperly balanced tires may cause rotational problems with the rear axles. Poorly balanced tires causes big issues with most AWD vehicles. I don’t know if this will throw a VTM code in a Honda, but I suspect it might if the balance is badly ‘out of whack’
 

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Discussion Starter #13
New tires? How long after you got tires did the problem start? Perhaps the tires are unbalanced (threw a weight?). I suspect you verified they installed the correct size?

Improperly balanced tires may cause rotational problems with the rear axles. Poorly balanced tires causes big issues with most AWD vehicles. I don’t know if this will throw a VTM code in a Honda, but I suspect it might if the balance is badly ‘out of whack’
Sorry ckeator. I didn't mean to make it sound like they were installed yesterday. They are about 7 months old and about 5000 miles. Pressures normal at about 32 psi. I will take it back to Costco and have them rebalanced at some point.

I just watched the video you posted above with the fluid pressure sensor in the rear differential. Definitely worth a check and I will do that when my VTM-4 fluid arrives in the next couple of days. Do you or Anyone here know how to check the sensor to see if it's still good? Hate to drain the differential fluid without replacing it if it turns out to be bad and have to replace later and waste the fluid... quite expensive to be wasting. At the same time, also hate to be replacing expensive parts if they are still good.

Thanks,

-2Hs
 

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The easiest way to find out is getting the Honda specific VTM code. If the light is on there is a code stored somewhere...
 

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Ahh...I found something for the Ridgeline you may find useful:


My understanding is the Ridgeline and Pilot are almost identical in the VTM systems, and the Pilot was originally considered a 'truck'.

I also stand corrected, because there are a few (but very limited) problems where the light comes on and there is no code. Did you do the obvious and check the fuse and relay?

And I personally don't know how you would test the VTM pressure switch - however, if that's the problem you will get a code, and most people either change the fluid (hoping that's the easy fix) or they change the sensor and fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi ckeator, thanks for the PDF link... great amount of info there.

I've not begun to do any under the car or deep dive troubleshooting (it's Monday and have work unfortunately - but it's a blessing to have a job these days.)

Will check fuses and relays after work.

Thanks,

-2Hs
 

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I was going to do the paperclip method and see if any would come up but I am not clear as to which pins to jump on the OBDII port. I found in a post that pins 8 & 13 are the correct pins. I am hoping someone with more knowledge can confirm before I attempt that to avoid blowing fuses.
Yes, but remember you may be looking at your port upside down, which is where some of the disoriented mistakes stem from. Double-check you have the right orientation for those pins.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, but remember you may be looking at your port upside down, which is where some of the disoriented mistakes stem from. Double-check you have the right orientation for those pins.
So you are confirming it is pins 8 & 13, as in the attached picture pin out sequence, correct?

138233
 

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So you are confirming it is pins 8 & 13, as in the attached picture pin out sequence, correct?

View attachment 138233
Actually, I suggest you get a second and and third diagnosis, like when the proctologist tells you you have to have your whoopee gland removed.

"Paging all Dr, Piloteers. We've got a patient coding here."

Here's some reading material to help you pass the time in the waiting room. There's even a TV.

Traction control light causing VSA system light 2007 Pilot




 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks plplplpl.

Went to Autozone to get scanned and no codes found, even with the VTM-4 light on. The guy at the counter did a quick KB search and one of the things came up was possible bad alternator. He tested my alternator and came up fine... so back to square 1.

Back to jumping pins on the connector with the paperclip. In the video you posted, it shows the guy jumped pins 4 & 9. In another post, it was said to be pins 8 & 13. Hence the unclarity and my repeated questions. Nonetheless, just as reference, in this case, both sets of pins are correct physically, depending on how the pins are numbered.

138262


Here are the codes I can extrapolated from the flashes (see video) but I am not certain if I got them all correct. Hoping you or someone can confirm in the video and codes below? Code 77 sounds pretty bad and expensive to replace and others I have yet to find any on the web. Thoughts?

21 - ?
26 - ?
43 - Faulty Temp Sensor?
77 - Faulty Powertrain Control Module (PCM)?

Thanks

-2Hs
 
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