VCM pros and cons 2014 EL-X
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Thread: VCM pros and cons 2014 EL-X

  1. #1
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    VCM pros and cons 2014 EL-X

    Hi. I recently bought a used 2014 EX-L with 53k miles on it.

    As of now the engine and everything seem fine. I've read a lot of threads about the VCM killing engines and mounts. I've got a lot of stuff jumbled in my head and could use some straightening out.

    I have a few questions before I pull the trigger:

    1. Has anyone had any negative things happen because of this (I'd seen concerns over different things, but nothing bad actually reported other than slightly worse gas mileage)
    2. I read that for the model year 2014 and newer they changed the piston rings. Is disabling the VCM necessary on a 2014?
    3. Are there certain serial numbers of engines that are better than others? How do I check?
    4. Has there been any kind of an extension to the class action lawsuit for the 2013s and older since they basically kept the engine the same?
    5. Are there any reasons I may be missing to not install a muzzler?
    6. Which one should I use? I know the person that sells VCMuzzler is here on the forum, but are there any others that I should look at?

    Other than the VCM and timing belt at 100k is there any other maintenance that I need to be sure to not miss doing? Obviously oil/brake/etc changes.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigz View Post
    Hi. I recently bought a used 2014 EX-L with 53k miles on it.

    As of now the engine and everything seem fine. I've read a lot of threads about the VCM killing engines and mounts. I've got a lot of stuff jumbled in my head and could use some straightening out.

    I have a few questions before I pull the trigger:

    1. Has anyone had any negative things happen because of this (I'd seen concerns over different things, but nothing bad actually reported other than slightly worse gas mileage)
    2. I read that for the model year 2014 and newer they changed the piston rings. Is disabling the VCM necessary on a 2014?
    3. Are there certain serial numbers of engines that are better than others? How do I check?
    4. Has there been any kind of an extension to the class action lawsuit for the 2013s and older since they basically kept the engine the same?
    5. Are there any reasons I may be missing to not install a muzzler?
    6. Which one should I use? I know the person that sells VCMuzzler is here on the forum, but are there any others that I should look at?

    Other than the VCM and timing belt at 100k is there any other maintenance that I need to be sure to not miss doing? Obviously oil/brake/etc changes.

    Thanks!
    For a 2014 Odyssey,

    VCM pros: there aren't any.
    VCM cons: spark plugs, active engine mounts, piston rings, time out of service, stress, possibly money out of pocket (depending on how lucky you are)

    There is no official extension to the warranty that came from the class-action lawsuit to include models newer than 2013. But for the people who have run into trouble with newer vans, Honda has been fairly forthcoming with help in the form of covering a percentage of the repair bill (sometimes up to 90% of it). But it seems like it is discretionary - I'm not aware of any document that actually obliges Honda to help owners of 2014-2017 Odysseys if they run into VCM-related engine trouble. It's possible you could be told by Honda to go pound sand.

    You don't need to chase serial numbers or anything like that. Honda introduced a revised set of piston rings starting with production for the 2014 model year, so it really comes down to the year of the van. There aren't any 2013 Odysseys that came off the assembly line with the new rings and there aren't any 2014 Odysseys that came out of the factory with the old rings. Even if the rings are improved for 2014 - 2017 models (which is debatable), the active engine mounts are not - they take the same beating from normal VCM function as ever. They are expensive to replace (like pushing a grand expensive) and rarely warrantied.

    For this specific generation of Odyssey and this specific version of VCM (which is VCM2) I believe there is no good reason to not install a VCM disable device of some type. We've got a great knowledgeable member here (Jrprock79) who has talked about how the engine was broken in from new can have an impact on the likelihood of VCM problems later. Of course, since you bought your Ody used, you likely haven't the foggiest idea how the van was driven from new. So betting on a good break-in by the previous owner is risky for you. Disabling VCM makes all of that basically irrelevant.

    The current state of the art are the S-VCM controller and VCMTuner II which use microprocessors to feed the ECT1 sensor little white lies about the coolant temperature for as long as it is safe to do so. If they detect that the actual temperature is getting too high and an overheat is imminent, they turn themselves off and send the actual temperature to the PCM and temperature gauge so that the driver and the van itself can do whatever is necessary to keep everything safe. Other very good options are the VCMuzzler II and MaxMuzzler, both of which are made by Odyclub members (verbatim makes the VCMuzzler II and maxud makes the MaxMuzzler and they are both awesome to deal with; very knowledgeable and very supportive).

    The powertrain component that is probably the most susceptible to problems actually isn't the engine, despite how big a deal we make about VCM. It's the transmission. The 6-speed transmission in these vans is very very solid IF the fluid maintenance is rigidly kept up. And it matters - these vans are heavy, they work the ATF hard, and Honda's OEM DW-1 is prone to thermal breakdown sooner than Honda had at first predicted. Honda's suggestion used to be to do a single drain-and-fill every 50,000 miles or so, but that got revised down to 30,000 miles a few years ago. Many of the active members around here do it more frequently, like every 15,000 - 20,000 miles, and this is based on a used oil analysis of the ATF; it's not just a random number. The common piece of advice is to do a drain-and-fill every second oil change and that really seems to work very well. If you have the motivation to DIY, doing a drain-and-fill of the ATF is even easier than an oil change - you don't even have to raise the front of the van to do it. It's super cheap and super satisfying DIY maintenance, and your van will thank you noticeably.
    Last edited by CroMath; 05-14-2019 at 05:44 PM.
    2015 EX - Shear Comfort seat covers, Husky Liners floor liners, OEM cargo liner, S-VCM, Street Guardian dashcam, Lubegard Red

    There is no contradiction in having a soft heart and a hard mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CroMath View Post
    For a 2014 Odyssey,

    VCM pros: there aren't any.
    To be fair, we should answer the question fairly.

    VCM Pros: Excellent MPG. With VCM, I can get 31 MPG without trying on the hwy, with 2 adults, 3 kids and luggage.

    With VCM Muzzler, I get no higher than 26 MPG hwy.

    The Ody tells me that so I'm comparing apples to apples, on the same trip, same roads, etc.

    Yes, I do miss the MPG, but I'm not taking off my Muzzler. I did debate taking it off when gas was $4+ a gallon and our trips are 800-1300 miles one way, across state(s). We travel 2X a year.

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  6. #4
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    The ONLY practical disadvantage to disabling VCM is the hit to your fuel economy (unless you drive like me ). While this can vary widely depending on your type/location/style/aggressiveness/etc. of driving, and roadways, you can assume (in general) that if you are a suburban or urban warrior, that cost will be minimized (think 1-2mpg). If you do most of your driving on country highways, with long stretches of uninterrupted road, that cost is going to be maximized (3-4mpg) - I personally average a difference of ~3.3mpg between when VCM is enabled vs. disabled. I live in the country though, and a 55mph highway is my van commute (though I don't commute in it )... Personally, I installed an S-VCM with a cabin switch, so I can enable/disable it sitting in the drivers seat. This makes it easy to switch it on and off, and easy to calculate fuel economy differences.

    I did not install it for the sake of 'preserving' the engine - afterall, it is there to be destroyed by use. Frankly, should my VCM ever start causing problems, I can just leave it disabled, and all the associated problems disappear with the flip of a switch. I did it to give improved throttle response.
    While a 1-4mpg is not a huge increase in fuel expenses in the short term (unless you drive a LOT), it adds up over the life of the car. By my estimation that can easily add $2.5k+ to the cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle.


    Do NOT put off doing D&Fs on the Trans (due at 60k) - or 3x (if you notice any problems). A failure here is MUCH more likely than a VCM fault in a 2014.
    Life is worth living - but not too stupidly please.

    DD: '16 T350 LWB EHR - The least 'fun to drive' TwinTurbo. Ever. Also... Best service van. EVER.
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    '03 Outback
    '98 9000 CSE (70mph + Deer = broken headlight (It's a Saab, whaddaya expect?))
    '89 Si DOHC ZC (4th Engine, 5th will be a K20/24)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoLowDrew View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CroMath View Post
    For a 2014 Odyssey,

    VCM pros: there aren't any.
    To be fair, we should answer the question fairly.
    You're right - I may have been a little flip with my response. But not much, based on my own experience.

    I can easily get 30 mpg (hand-calculated, not trip computer) on the highway when the weather is nice with the S-VCM installed and 27 mpg on the same trip in the dead of winter. That is just about what I was getting before installing a Muzzler. We really haven't experienced a dropoff in mileage.
    Last edited by CroMath; 05-14-2019 at 06:30 PM.
    2015 EX - Shear Comfort seat covers, Husky Liners floor liners, OEM cargo liner, S-VCM, Street Guardian dashcam, Lubegard Red

    There is no contradiction in having a soft heart and a hard mind.

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    Yes, that's right the improved throttle response was also another benefit - that I now recall. It's nice to feel all 6 cylinders responding at the same time. Maybe it's "imaginary" or faction of a second, but I did recall feeling that difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoLowDrew View Post
    Yes, that's right the improved throttle response was also another benefit - that I now recall. It's nice to feel all 6 cylinders responding at the same time. Maybe it's "imaginary" or faction of a second, but I did recall feeling that difference.
    Definitely not imaginary. I thought of my van as stumbling and bumbling pre-muzzle. If VCM were on, punching the gas caused a slight hesitation before the engine fired up like it should. Now its responsive 100% of the time \

    If my wife noticed a difference, anybody would (trust me). She thought I was crazy for spending money on a homemade electronic device to put on a brand new van. By the end of her first week driving with VCM disabled, she begrudgingly told me she liked the van better afterwards.

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    Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I'm still open to anyone else's opinion.

    I've read the you should drive it like you stole it for the first gas tank after installing VCMuzzler or any kind of disabler. Is this true?

    Also, I'll definitely change the ATF when I change the oil next month. Is the Honda DW1 the best stuff to use?
    Last edited by thebigz; 05-15-2019 at 03:14 AM.

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    Another reason to Muzzle is related to the trans. if you have upshifts or downshifts that coincide with the VCM kicking in or out it can seem like the trans is having shifting issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigz View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I'm still open to anyone else's opinion.

    I've read the you should drive it like you stole it for the first gas tank after installing VCMuzzler or any kind of disabler. Is this true?

    Also, I'll definitely change the ATF when I change the oil next month. Is the Honda DW1 the best stuff to use?
    I don't think it matters how you drive right after installing a VCM disable device - the van will be running better regardless. You'll WANT to drive it harder because it will feel so much more responsive. If the VCM disable coincides with having the piston rings replaced, then yes, you should not be afraid to give 'er the beans. But that's because of the new rings, not so much for VCM.

    For the ATF, Honda's OEM DW-1 is a good choice but it is absolutely not the only good choice. Amsoil's Fuel Efficient ATF (either regular or Signature Series) is universally regarded as extremely good quality and a good match for these transmissions. Valvoline MaxLife is also very popular - it works well in the majority of cases and is very well priced. We occasionally hear from people who aren't satisfied with the performance they get from MaxLife, but those seem to be pretty rare cases. Red Line D6 is also excellent stuff and Castrol Transmax Dexron VI has its fans too. My impression is that most people on Odyclub tend to use OEM, MaxLife or Amsoil. I myself use OEM and haven't had a lick of trouble.
    2015 EX - Shear Comfort seat covers, Husky Liners floor liners, OEM cargo liner, S-VCM, Street Guardian dashcam, Lubegard Red

    There is no contradiction in having a soft heart and a hard mind.

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    I think the main point with respect to trans fluid is: You can use OEM or better. You cannot use anything that costs less. (unless you get a deal)

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