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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been Honda owner for YEARS. From 2009-2015 I owned a 2006 Pilot that I LOVED (but it didn’t have some features I really do need like Bluetooth). So I traded it in after nearly 6 years of a perfect experience in every way. Currently I own a 2012 CRV that just doesn’t quite give me everything I’m looking for in a car. So I’m looking to go back to a pilot. I know I prefer the 2012-2015 body style over all others.

Recently I found (on CARMAX) a 2013 Honda Pilot Touring with 108,000 miles. This is one that has EVERYTHING I want in a pilot. It’s the exact color interior/exterior I want. It’s got the multi angle backup cam which I love (must have living in the city for parallel parking). It’s got Bluetooth (must have for my music as it’s what I do for a living). It’s got the DVD player for the kids. Etc etc. Etc. It’s EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. It’s priced at $18,500.

I found the full service record going all the way back to the date it was first sold. One owner. VERY WELL TAKEN CARE OF. But....it hasn’t had the 105,000 mile scheduled maintenance done yet (including timing belt/water pump). So altogether, a roughly $2200 maintenance when all is said and done. But I know that usually once this scheduled maintenance is done, my pilot will be good for a long time (sparing the normal stuff).

i just don’t know if I should pull the trigger on this. It is literally everything I’ve ever wanted in a pilot. My only hang up is this scheduled maintenance costs that I’ll incur literally the day I buy the vehicle. .

HELP!!! What should I do?
 

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Check pricing on other pilots in your area with the same spec, compare prices, negotiate the price down $2k or so on the one you want using the pricing from the other models and drive into the sunset.

Timing belt won’t be $2k at the dealer. Maybe $1200.
 

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That's not exactly a bargain price, but the used vehicle market has everything selling on the high side. If they won't cut the price can you do any wrenching yourself? There are a lot of videos on how to do it. The Aisin Timing Belt Water Pump kit sells for about $180. Then you need a couple of jugs of antifreeze and a set of spark plugs. $250 for parts.
 

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yeah I just did this kit on my pilot, set aside one weekend to give myself ample time because I knew I would be doing more cleaning than parts replacing! 2 gallons of blue coolant back in and I'm ready to push it to 300k
 

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No need to DIY it if you’re not comfortable with it. You can pay someone but $2,200 is absurd.
 

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Just use it as a negotiation point. It needs to be done ASAP. It’s a time consuming job with a lot of labor. 2200 is insane. My local dealer wanted 1200 and I thought that was high. I DIYd it, but I’ve done 10+ before. The Pilot isn’t the easiest “first timing belt job” car, but certainly not the hardest either. If you’re not comfortable find a reputable independent shop and let them do it.
 

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Just use it as a negotiation point. It needs to be done ASAP. It’s a time consuming job with a lot of labor. 2200 is insane. My local dealer wanted 1200 and I thought that was high. I DIYd it, but I’ve done 10+ before. The Pilot isn’t the easiest “first timing belt job” car, but certainly not the hardest either. If you’re not comfortable find a reputable independent shop and let them do it.
I'd try to get them to knock of $1500 for the timing belt, then (learn to) do it myself anyway. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the feedback. I talked them down about $1000. Plus there’s a 30 day no questions asked return policy. I’m going to use that time to do some tests on the other systems.

I should specify, when I said the 105,000 maintenance would cost me around $2200...that’s timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, valve adjustment, trans fluid, and replaces any hoses that are corroded or looking worn. I’ve done some research and while this is expensive, my mechanic friends say this is the one scheduled maintenance that I should definitely do ASAP and it’s best to do at the dealer.

Does anyone have any further advice on what systems/parts tend to fail with the 2013 pilots specifically?

Thanks again Pilot fam!
 

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I'd try to get them to knock of $1500 for the timing belt, then (learn to) do it myself anyway. :p
Exactly. Been there, done that. My BMW had a $900 valve cover leak. I fixed it for under $50 and under an hour of time by just replacing the bolts.
 

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Thanks for all the feedback. I talked them down about $1000. Plus there’s a 30 day no questions asked return policy. I’m going to use that time to do some tests on the other systems.

Dies anyone have any further advice on what systems/parts tend to fail with the 2013 specifically?

Thanks again Pilot fam!
Sounds like a good deal. Issues:

Compliance bushings which got an extended warranty from Honda. They leak when they are bad.

Brakes rotors get deposits and shudder / vibrate

The vcm system can also cause damage to the engine driving up oil consumption and potentially needing partial replacement of the rings on 3 of the 6 cylinders. BUY AN S-VCM NOW to prevent this. It’s only 100 bux and will also make it drive better.

Change the trans fluid frequently- every 30k to keep it shifting its best. These are very sensitive to worn out fluid but the trans is reliable.

In short, disable VCM and they are pretty solid.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sounds like a good deal. Issues:

Compliance bushings which got an extended warranty from Honda. They leak when they are bad.

Brakes rotors get deposits and shudder / vibrate

The vcm system can also cause damage to the engine driving up oil consumption and potentially needing partial replacement of the rings on 3 of the 6 cylinders. BUY AN S-VCM NOW to prevent this. It’s only 100 bux and will also make it drive better.

Change the trans fluid frequently- every 30k to keep it shifting its best. These are very sensitive to worn out fluid but the trans is reliable.

In short, disable VCM and they are pretty solid.

I’ve heard of all this except the s-vcm. I read your shared link (thanks btw). I’d like to learn more about it. Do you have any other links to learn more about it? Or possibly is there already a thread in this site with people who’ve used this discussing their experience?

thanks again for the info!!!
 

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I’ve heard of all this except the s-vcm. I read your shared link (thanks btw). I’d like to learn more about it. Do you have any other links to learn more about it? Or possibly is there already a thread in this site with people who’ve used this discussing their experience?

thanks again for the info!!!
I recommend buying and installing the part immediately. Save the reading for those bouts with late-night insomnia. Honda has a warranty program for piston and ring damage that result from VCM. It's limited by age, and 2013 will fall out of the window based on actual date originally sold. Save yourself that aggravation by installing the S-VCM immediately. Swap to a good full-synthetic oil and change it often, so there's a chance that the baked oil crust on the pistons and rings will get flushed out a little before the situation is critical/fail.

While you have the car in that thirty-day no-questions-asked window, perform a real compression test while you change the plugs, as the first part of your TB/WP/Tensioner project. Stuck rings will show up then with lower numbers. If so, carefully put the old plugs back in and find a better example, before you spend on the rest of the service.
 

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I’ve heard of all this except the s-vcm. I read your shared link (thanks btw). I’d like to learn more about it. Do you have any other links to learn more about it? Or possibly is there already a thread in this site with people who’ve used this discussing their experience?

thanks again for the info!!!
If you just do a search you’ll find a ton of information on it. But in short Honda thought it was a good idea to shut down cylinders in certain situations to save gas. In practice it fails miserably at saving gas, causes weird vibrations and drivability problems, and most importantly it causes damage to the shut down cylinders. The first signs of damage are misfires and high oil consumption.

Dr. Bobs advice is spot on. Just buy the device to keep it vcm shut off. The device works well, fuel economy doesn’t really change much if any, and the car doesn’t suck to drive. Legitimately as the original owner on mine when I got my Honda survey (before someone on this forum figured out the secret to disabling vcm) “Would you buy another Honda?”. My answer: ”Probably not. I will never buy another car with VCM and I wish Honda would allow it to be disabled”.
 

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I'm a rookie here, that owns 2 pilots. An 08 SE we've had since brand ass-spankin new that has 185K miles, and we recently bought a 2015 LX, w/back up camera, 4WD, trailer towing- that had 64K miles on it, for 15K!

Neither have had the VXM disabled- yet anyways.

It seems from what I've read that it's the Gen 3's that actually have real problems with the VCM?

Now that we have the 15, I'm driving the 08 more.
After reading everything thus far about this VCM issue, I have been SUPER hyper-sensitive to how the pilot w/ over 185K dirves; especially, before and after the VCM enables tiself and kicks in, etc.
For instance, for the first few minutes, city or highway the ECO light/VCM will not come on until the engine temp gets high enough. (This is the system most all of them use to disable it coming on, the ECU thinks it's not warmed up yet)
So I've been paying extra attention to it, how it feels, drives, vibrations, etc.
Before, and after it warms up enough and the ECO light/VCM enabled comes on and off, I honestly can't feel any difference in the ride, smoothness, etc.

For instgance, cruising 65-70mph w/ cruise on on the highway. When it comes to a light incline, the ECO light goes out, if it's steep enough it will even downshift a gear.
When it levels out or down hill, the light comes back on/VCM enabled.

I want to feel a difference and when it won't come on yet, or when it goes off and on like it's supposed to- sorry- for me and our pilots- it's not there!

I know this is a real thing, no one is making this up, etc. I'm merely saying that it seems it doesn't play much of a role on ALL Pilots, that's all.
Yet it seems, every time a new person comes here for advice on a normal running Pilot, the advice is to often disable the VCM, including advice given to me.

I'm still on the fence, actually still looking at the fence and not even climbing up to be on the fence yet. LOL

Time will tell, but I'd think I'd already be having problems with my 08 w/ 185K if this happens and is 'a thing' on ALL Pilots.

Rant over, carry on
 

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Discussion Starter #18
While you have the car in that thirty-day no-questions-asked window, perform a real compression test while you change the plugs, as the first part of your TB/WP/Tensioner project. Stuck rings will show up then with lower numbers. If so, carefully put the old plugs back in and find a better example, before you spend on the rest of the service.
This is great advice. Thanks. I’m definitely going to do a compression test. I don’t have all the necessary peices for this. But I found a vid from Scotty Kilmer showing how to do a relative compression test with a multimeter and some other parts. What are your thoughts? Here’s the vid: skip to 3:25.
 

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I want to feel a difference and when it won't come on yet, or when it goes off and on like it's supposed to- sorry- for me and our pilots- it's not there!

I know this is a real thing, no one is making this up, etc. I'm merely saying that it seems it doesn't play much of a role on ALL Pilots, that's all.
Some are for sure better / worse than others. To me it showed up a steady speeds in the 45-55mph range. It’s almost like it’s going over some minor rumble strips in sound but very very muted and not really felt. Transitioning to gentle hills it felt gutless until the other cylinders came back on. I never had reliability issues with it, but the driveline feel drove me nuts. You maybe surprised at how much more responsive the engine is.

My wife never noticed it at all. It was enough to make me borderline insane. I’m also the guy that finds engine noises and rattles on a brand new Mercedes that no one else could hear either so I maybe more sensitive.
 

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This is great advice. Thanks. I’m definitely going to do a compression test. I don’t have all the necessary peices for this. But I found a vid from Scotty Kilmer showing how to do a relative compression test with a multimeter and some other parts. What are your thoughts? Here’s the vid: skip to 3:25.

Most parts stores will "free-rent" tools like that for you to use. Give them a deposit, use it, bring it back and get your deposit back. Buy your plugs there to help keep your Karma good, and keep tools like that available.

As far as the dynamic kill-a-cylinder and see if the idle speed changes methods, they are not applicable to cars with electronic throttles and idle stabilization. The compression gauge method is tried and true, and painless while you have the plugs out for replacement. Borrow or buy a starter pushbutton to use to run the starter. Then no need to disable ignition and injection while you test.
 
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