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Discussion Starter #1
I've read the manual and the threads here but still don't know that I could explain to someone how VTM-4 lock works or when to use it. One Honda dealer blog said, "By simply pushing the Lock button, you can fully engage four-wheel drive to gain momentum, putting all of your power to the rear axle. This feature will stay manually locked in up to speeds of 18 miles per hour on the trail." - All of your power to the rear axle? Sounds like 2WD to me.

So, for any of you Piloteers who have actually used VTM-4 lock with success, how would you describe what it actually does and under what conditions would you suggest it be used?
 

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In everyday mode, you are FWD under most conditions where there is no slippage. When there is slip detected at the front wheels, power is transferred to the rear up to a max of 50F/50R but can be 70F/30R depending on what the computer thinks you need.

When locked, you are 50/50 front to rear. There's still transfer of power side to side based on slippage as the diffs are still open, however, you experience less lag since there's no front to rear transfer.

Locking is useful under extremely slippery conditions like being stuck in deep snow or sand to get moving. Once you are moving, auto mode will keep you tracking without slip much more effectively.

Check out this video:

Another one where up to the 1 min mark it was in auto mode and after it was locked:
 

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I see it as an escape tool for use when you find yourself stuck and wheels are slipping. It transmits full power to the rear (as well as the front), locking the front and rear drives together. VTM stands for Variable Traction Management, Honda's version of a system that is primarily front wheel drive. It selectively engages the center coupling when wheel speed, steering angle, throttle, brake, and yaw sensors detect that some drive from the rear tires will help. By selecting the VTM-4 lock, you are taking the sensors and computers out of the decision process, telling them you are smarter and that you need more rear wheel help than they are ready to share. Since the system is only for getting unstuck, it automatically disables when it detects that you are no longer stuck.

Consider that a "real" 4WD system works to drive the front and rear wheels at the same speed. When you go around any kind of corner, the rear wheels cut a tighter circle than the fronts, so need to roll at a slightly lower speed than the fronts. Try this in 4WD on dry pavement, and the drive line will tell you about with noise and windup that only relaxes when a wheel finally slips. Or something breaks. Honda selectively couples the rear wheels on demand, and relaxes that coupling to prevent that windup damage. For most situations, letting the computers and sensors do their thing is pretty transparent. Bu once in a while, you may want that little extra help getting unstuck.

Be sure to stay current on your VTM-4 fluid services.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
In everyday mode, you are FWD under most conditions where there is no slippage. When there is slip detected at the front wheels, power is transferred to the rear up to a max of 50F/50R but can be 70F/30R depending on what the computer thinks you need.

When locked, you are 50/50 front to rear. There's still transfer of power side to side based on slippage as the diffs are still open, however, you experience less lag since there's no front to rear transfer.

Locking is useful under extremely slippery conditions like being stuck in deep snow or sand to get moving. Once you are moving, auto mode will keep you tracking without slip much more effectively.

Check out this video:

Another one where up to the 1 min mark it was in auto mode and after it was locked:
PilotVlad - Thanks for the explanation and for the links to the great videos. Both were very well done and enlightening.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see it as an escape tool for use when you find yourself stuck and wheels are slipping. It transmits full power to the rear (as well as the front), locking the front and rear drives together. VTM stands for Variable Traction Management, Honda's version of a system that is primarily front wheel drive. It selectively engages the center coupling when wheel speed, steering angle, throttle, brake, and yaw sensors detect that some drive from the rear tires will help. By selecting the VTM-4 lock, you are taking the sensors and computers out of the decision process, telling them you are smarter and that you need more rear wheel help than they are ready to share. Since the system is only for getting unstuck, it automatically disables when it detects that you are no longer stuck.

Consider that a "real" 4WD system works to drive the front and rear wheels at the same speed. When you go around any kind of corner, the rear wheels cut a tighter circle than the fronts, so need to roll at a slightly lower speed than the fronts. Try this in 4WD on dry pavement, and the drive line will tell you about with noise and windup that only relaxes when a wheel finally slips. Or something breaks. Honda selectively couples the rear wheels on demand, and relaxes that coupling to prevent that windup damage. For most situations, letting the computers and sensors do their thing is pretty transparent. Bu once in a while, you may want that little extra help getting unstuck.

Be sure to stay current on your VTM-4 fluid services.
Thanks for the great info. Forums like this, and people like you, are what make the Internet great.
Just for your interest, today I needed to drive through 10 to 12" of fresh powder snow (Pilot belly dragging a bit) up a 300 foot 12% incline. It took five attempts, backing down each time to get a run at it and going a little further each time - not much of run, though, because there's a sharp turn at the bottom approach of the incline . I alternated between auto VTM-4 and locked. In this case auto worked the best and got me to the top. Seems like when in locked mode the rear wheels slipped and spun more. I think you're right about the Pilot computer being smarter than the pilot (but that's about a close as I ever want to be to a self-driving car . . . ).
 

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Yeah, I forgot to mention that I was in 1 when lock was engaged - I don't think it would lock in D.
If you're trying to drive through ":10-12" of fresh powder snow going up a 300 foot 12% incline" then you ought to have winter tires.

VTM-4 Lock only works in 1, 2 or reverse.
I've only had to engage it occasionally when the town snowplow leaves a big ridge of snow at the end of my driveway, either before I've returned home or am just about to leave for the office and don't want to drag out the snowblower again.
 

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I've read the manual and the threads here but still don't know that I could explain to someone how VTM-4 lock works or when to use it. One Honda dealer blog said, "By simply pushing the Lock button, you can fully engage four-wheel drive to gain momentum, putting all of your power to the rear axle. This feature will stay manually locked in up to speeds of 18 miles per hour on the trail." - All of your power to the rear axle? Sounds like 2WD to me.

So, for any of you Piloteers who have actually used VTM-4 lock with success, how would you describe what it actually does and under what conditions would you suggest it be used?
VTM Lock doesn't actually lock anything like a Ford or GM, it activates 4 wheel drive clutches to help you get unstuck.
A U-tube Video I watched showed that a guy testing the effectiveness couldn't get unstuck in one situation. You don't drive with it on except maybe in deep snow or mud at slow speeds. It Resets when you shut the engine off back to normally off to protect the system. I forget if you can reset it with just the button.
 

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