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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. Been cruising the forums for a bit and learned alot to look for and have to give a props to everyone for the amazing content on the forum.

I just recently test drove an 11 with 125k miles, 205k Canadian. I asked to see the maintenance records and came across some of the common issues that have plauged this year from the vcm. New piston rings 1-3 have been replaced about 10k ago and new plugs 1-4 during the same service.

20k they replaced alternator, timing belt, water pump and tensioner belt. Had to replaced the v-tec spool valve, adjusted front and back valves and replaced all seals.

Finally had the left axel shaft replaced and ball joints front and rear done. 4 wheel alignment etc...

I'm asking if anyone would advise against this as it seems like its been a hefty money pit to the previous owner...

The stealership is asking 12,850 cdn.
 

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Sounds like everything a 2011 with 125k would have needed in that time. If the price is good, muzzle the VCM, make sure the trans fluid has been changed and change it regularly going forward.
 

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Seems like the complete 105K mile maintenance was done... full timing belt job with water pump and tensioner, spool valve leaking onto alternator is a common problem, valve adjustment, spark plugs. If you put on a Muzzler with the new rings, you should be good to go.

The only thing I might keep at the back of my mind is whether the old rings had caused so much oil burning that the engine had been run low on oil at some point. I haven't read of many instances where the oil level had gotten that low, but I'd dig up any records I could find and see if that was mentioned somewhere. I think it's fine, though. If everything else checked out, I wouldn't be concerned.

Regardless... $10K+ USD for a 10 year old Odyssey with over 100K is too much.
 

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Any chance there be anything left that would need to get done? The price fits my budget but I'm not against a car payment to getting something newer... After reading through all these posts I'm starting to get cold feet and now I'm reading about Sienna's.. lol

The trans issues and all the vcm talk is really putting me off..
 

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Any chance there be anything left that would need to get done? The price fits my budget but I'm not against a car payment to getting something newer... After reading through all these posts I'm starting to get cold feet and now I'm reading about Sienna's.. lol

The trans issues and all the vcm talk is really putting me off..
I always budget $1K or so to put into a used car right away. It sounds like all the maintenance was done, but you might have a random repair or two that shouldn't cost much --- after all, the car IS 10 years old.

Regarding the Sienna... they're generally more reliable, yes, but they're not perfect. All else equal, same price, same maintenance history, same condition, same options, I'd probably choose the Sienna, since I'm partial to Toyota reliability. But, I think the Odyssey is a nicer car. The maintenance on the Sienna isn't cheap either. It's difficult to change the transmission fluid since there isn't a dipstick, and the spark plugs cost a few hours worth of labor to get done. They use timing chains, but timing chains can get expensive if they ever need repair, and some of the Toyota water pumps don't last much past 150K miles anyway, and changing the water pump on a Toyota V6 isn't that much cheaper than doing a whole timing belt job on a Honda V6.

You should be good to go with VCM with new piston rings and installing a VCM disabler. Also, the 5 speed transmission used on 2007-2010 and 2011-2013 LX/EX/EX-L models was the most reliable transmission put on a V6 Odyssey. The one that came before (pre-06) was undersized and the 6 speed that came after the 5 speed has more complaints that you're probably seeing on this forum.
 

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Great info so far! Thanks @jiantao

What's steering me away from the Toyota is the lack of inventory finding an 8 seater. We have 3 kids under the age of 5 and it would be super helpful to be able to have them in arms reach.. at least for now..

I've also been considering a 15 touring or EX-L with 60 or less miles (100k) it's about 10k more but would a muzzler be ineffective at this point? Has the damage already been done? I realize this isn't comparing apples to apples but I'm weighing all my options.

I'm fully aware of maintenance for either but aside from 'regular' maintenance I don't want to be left with massive repair bills for things beyond standard....
 

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Regardless... $10K+ USD for a 10 year old Odyssey with over 100K is too much.
I can't find much else out there in these years with these repairs done. I've read that some happen but I'm a believer that more would have and people don't disclose this stuff... Leaving me with the lemon..

They're asking 13k cdn plus tax so I'm trying to get them down a bit and getting them to replace the wireless headphones and re cutting a new second key..
 

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Great info so far! Thanks @jiantao

What's steering me away from the Toyota is the lack of inventory finding an 8 seater. We have 3 kids under the age of 5 and it would be super helpful to be able to have them in arms reach.. at least for now..

I've also been considering a 15 touring or EX-L with 60 or less miles (100k) it's about 10k more but would a muzzler be ineffective at this point? Has the damage already been done? I realize this isn't comparing apples to apples but I'm weighing all my options.

I'm fully aware of maintenance for either but aside from 'regular' maintenance I don't want to be left with massive repair bills for things beyond standard....
The 2011-2020 Sienna LEs and XLEs are all standard 8 seaters. Only the rare base L model was 7 seat only, along with the top trim Limited. The Sienna's 8th center seat (2nd row middle) is smaller than the Odyssey's, though, so if you want 3 car seats in the middle row, I think the 2011-2017 Odyssey is better suited for that.

I too wanted an 8 seater, and the 2004-2010 Siennas are difficult to find as an 8 seater since it was an option only on the base CE and LE models, and not available as an option on the XLEs or Limiteds. It looks to me like most new car buyers at the time didn't opt for the 8 seat option, so it's not that easy to find one of that generation.

VCM is ultimately the root cause of all the misfiring/oil burning issues you read about, but low-friction piston rings used from 2008-2013 exacerbated the issue. When Honda replaced the piston rings in the 2011 you're looking at, they should have used normal piston rings. VCM is still wreaking havoc in the background, but the normal piston rings will withstand the abuse a little longer. The 2014-2017 models have these better piston rings from the factory. The Muzzler would still be effective, and in many cases, actually helps clean up the piston rings and reduces the oil burning significantly by not allowing cylinders to shut off.
 

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The 2011-2020 Sienna LEs and XLEs are all standard 8 seaters. Only the rare base L model was 7 seat only, along with the top trim Limited. The Sienna's 8th center seat (2nd row middle) is smaller than the Odyssey's, though, so if you want 3 car seats in the middle row, I think the 2011-2017 Odyssey is better suited for that.

I too wanted an 8 seater, and the 2004-2010 Siennas are difficult to find as an 8 seater since it was an option only on the base CE and LE models, and not available as an option on the XLEs or Limiteds. It looks to me like most new car buyers at the time didn't opt for the 8 seat option, so it's not that easy to find one of that generation.

VCM is ultimately the root cause of all the misfiring/oil burning issues you read about, but low-friction piston rings used from 2008-2013 exacerbated the issue. When Honda replaced the piston rings in the 2011 you're looking at, they should have used normal piston rings. VCM is still wreaking havoc in the background, but the normal piston rings will withstand the abuse a little longer. The 2014-2017 models have these better piston rings from the factory. The Muzzler would still be effective, and in many cases, actually helps clean up the piston rings and reduces the oil burning significantly by not allowing cylinders to shut off.
I read that you can't just add an 8th seat to the sienna unless it was factory equiped with it.. is that true?

And so a 14-17 with some 60k miles could still be ok if you muzzle it? You've helped me understand the transmission issues and happy to hear that the 5 speed in the 11 are pretty good. Most of what I read seems to imply that you owners make sure you do your regular flushes and just keep an eye on it.. what exactly was the issue with the 6 speeds? Ive read some problems but nothing as extreme as the oil ring/vcm problem in the previous gen...

You've eased a bit of my anxiety so far, I guess I'll just play the games and see if I can get a better deal on the 11 while keeping an eye out for a great deal on a 15. I do like the extra upgrades on the mid cycle refresh and the safety upgrades are pretty snazzy.. oh and that stupid vac. Kinda a sweet feature.. hahaha

Any insight on what a good deal is?
 

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I think the EX-L and above models had the 6 speed transmission in 2011. The mid cycle refresh started in 2014. Push start, proximity unlocking, dual screens.

About the transmissions: all Honda automatics have required regular fluid changes since they were introduced in the 1970s. The real problems started when Honda tried to adapt their unique design to a much larger vehicle. That first (well second generation actually) Odyssey was very popular, sold in record numbers to folks who had never had a Honda (or any Japanese) vehicle. They never changed the fluid. Failures were common. That trans did keep getting better, especially once Honda made their truck, the Ridgeline. It had to be better.
The 6 speed needed a software update to help it not use up the fluid so quickly. Folks still do not have fluid changes on their radar. A normal service, done at 30k intervals, replaces 1/3 of the fluid. A "flush"** (never use that term anywhere but a Honda dealer) involves doing that 1/3 change 3 times. The trans must be run through all the gears, with torque converter lock up, to throughly mix the fresh fluid. (If DYI, just around the block is not enough) those of us who have had Odysseys (or Pilots, Ridglines, Acura MDXs & other Honda products that use this drivetrain) have been doing fluid changes every 15k, or every other oil change. Just because the van has had the service bulletin done, with the newest software and fresh fluid, does not mean it will not still need regular changes. Not a full "flush" but the regular service.

It is regular advise around here to have folks with VCM issues, out of even the extended warranty, to just install fresh plugs and a Muzzler device and drive on. Adding a device at any mileage will stop the damage.

**There are quick lube and other auto service places that have transmission flush machines. Using one on a Honda transmission is fatal. Also, Honda trans fluid is particular. Use only OEM or a replacement that you have throughly researched as compatible.
 

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I think the EX-L and above models had the 6 speed transmission in 2011. The mid cycle refresh started in 2014. Push start, proximity unlocking, dual screens.

About the transmissions: all Honda automatics have required regular fluid changes since they were introduced in the 1970s. The real problems started when Honda tried to adapt their unique design to a much larger vehicle. That first (well second generation actually) Odyssey was very popular, sold in record numbers to folks who had never had a Honda (or any Japanese) vehicle. They never changed the fluid. Failures were common. That trans did keep getting better, especially once Honda made their truck, the Ridgeline. It had to be better.
The 6 speed needed a software update to help it not use up the fluid so quickly. Folks still do not have fluid changes on their radar. A normal service, done at 30k intervals, replaces 1/3 of the fluid. A "flush"** (never use that term anywhere but a Honda dealer) involves doing that 1/3 change 3 times. The trans must be run through all the gears, with torque converter lock up, to throughly mix the fresh fluid. (If DYI, just around the block is not enough) those of us who have had Odysseys (or Pilots, Ridglines, Acura MDXs & other Honda products that use this drivetrain) have been doing fluid changes every 15k, or every other oil change. Just because the van has had the service bulletin done, with the newest software and fresh fluid, does not mean it will not still need regular changes. Not a full "flush" but the regular service.

It is regular advise around here to have folks with VCM issues, out of even the extended warranty, to just install fresh plugs and a Muzzler device and drive on. Adding a device at any mileage will stop the damage.

**There are quick lube and other auto service places that have transmission flush machines. Using one on a Honda transmission is fatal. Also, Honda trans fluid is particular. Use only OEM or a replacement that you have throughly researched as compatible.
Thanks for this bit of info. I read on wiki that 11-13 are 5 speed unless you have the touring. What are your thoughts on the 5speeds? Do they still follow your suggestions on changing 1/3 of the fluid ever other oil change?
 

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You are right about the 6 speeds:


Yes on fluid changes. I only this year replaced my 2002 that had its original transmission. Every other oil change fluid changes. In the vans of that generation, that was not optional. For me it worked like this: Instead of paying the dealer for a "service" that at the time cost about $125.00 I would ask for an oil change and trans fluid change. Same price. And they still "looked over the van" The tire rotations were free at the tire store I got tires from. It was also down the street from the dealer. Most of this changed after I moved and my daughter married a guy who managed a tire store that did service.
 

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I read that you can't just add an 8th seat to the sienna unless it was factory equiped with it.. is that true?

And so a 14-17 with some 60k miles could still be ok if you muzzle it? You've helped me understand the transmission issues and happy to hear that the 5 speed in the 11 are pretty good. Most of what I read seems to imply that you owners make sure you do your regular flushes and just keep an eye on it.. what exactly was the issue with the 6 speeds? Ive read some problems but nothing as extreme as the oil ring/vcm problem in the previous gen...

You've eased a bit of my anxiety so far, I guess I'll just play the games and see if I can get a better deal on the 11 while keeping an eye out for a great deal on a 15. I do like the extra upgrades on the mid cycle refresh and the safety upgrades are pretty snazzy.. oh and that stupid vac. Kinda a sweet feature.. hahaha

Any insight on what a good deal is?
Sorry for the late reply! Yes, you cannot add the 8th seat on the Sienna afterwards. The floor pan is different.

The 2014-2017 with 60K or so miles should be fine, if you put the Muzzler on right away. As long as the car wasn't showing signs of misfires or other severe VCM troubles, I think I'd be comfortable buying one with up to 100K or 120K or so miles, changing the plugs right away, and putting a Muzzler on it.

The 6 speed issues are mostly hard shifting and jerky shifting that was partially remedied by a software reflash, although you need to pay for the reflash if your van is out of warranty. There are quite a few complaints about the way it shifts and degrades fluid, but we haven't heard of too many outright failures, which is good.

The one safety feature that I think could come in handy is the forward collision warning, that was standard on the 2014-2017 EX-L.

I tend to buy used cars from private sellers, so most dealer listings are expensive to me. Used cars generally have 3 values (and different valuation guides will have different valuations for each of these values)... but you have trade-in value (low end, what the dealer will give you), and retail value (high end, what the dealer will charge you). Private sale is generally somewhere around the middle. For example, the trade-in value of my '07 is something like $3K, retail value is something like $8K. Private sale value is generally $5-6K. If you're buying from a dealer, I would try to get the price as close to the private sale vicinity as possible.
 

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I looked for almost 2 years. There were very few private party sales and most of those folks thought their vans were worth more than they were. One thing I do like about buying from dealers is that there is no emotional connection to the vehicle. To them it is just another one. I also find that they rarely charge much of a premium for upper models. I definitely got my EX-L for the EX price. It even had navigation that they seemed to miss in their ads. (and that I would not have wanted to pay extra for) But that feature does include the internal hard drive that keeps a copy of any cd you slip in. I have even entered a few addresses for complicated places to get to. But entering addresses is painfully stupid.
 

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The good private party vans in my area go fast. I surf Craigslist from time to time and see some pretty good prices on good condition, well maintained vans sometimes, but the ads are often pulled within a day or two. Sometimes, within a few hours.

The only car I've ever bought from a dealer was a brand new Toyota Camry, 20 years ago, that I'm still driving. I personally would be very reluctant to buy a used car from a dealer, unless it was an off-lease, relatively new car, since dealers often get cars as trade-ins from people trying to dump them for whatever reason, or from auction, where their histories are not known. I like to talk to the people who are selling their cars, and buy from people who have owned their car for a long time and which I can have reasonable confidence they took decent care of it (at a minimum, changing the oil on a regular basis). The previous owner of my other Camry had owned the car for 12 years before me, since 3 years old, and the previous owner of my Odyssey had owned it for 11 years, since 2 years old. Mostly, these sellers are happy or at least content getting a little bit more than what the dealer offered as a trade-in for a quick sale. In my experience, I've found some private sellers to be extremely negotiable (especially those willing to sell at the lower range of the private sale spectrum, closer to trade-in valuation), and others who way overvalue their cars and are willing to take the time to find the right buyer.

I usually try buy cars that need some maintenance soon, and use that as a negotiation tactic. For example, timing belt needs to be done soon, and that way I pay to have it done myself knowing the right parts were replaced and with good quality parts.

Many other people I know refuse to buy private party, since sales are "as-is" and that scares them. They'd rather buy from a dealer where they get a short-term warranty. Nothing wrong with that either.
 
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I'm kinda of in the spectrum where a dealership has a bit of mechanical requirement to ensure the car is road worthy... Yes they are going to spend the least amount to get it there but it's something better than nothing.. add a clear Carfax with some maintenance records and I'm hopeful that I can come our with a decent ride...

Still playing games with this dealership... They took this ody on trade over 60 days ago and spent 2.5k on repairs for all the small shit that wasn't important to the old owner. Ie wiper blade motor and some other electrical stuff..

Just going to wait it out... Already waited most of 2020 lol... This pandemic really hasn't made it necessary to have 2 cars. But the end is near...
 

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Here in California at least, a dealer cannot sell any car with brake pads below a certain amount, the tires have to have at least a given tread depth. If the vehicle is of the same make as the dealership, they have to perform any open recalls. That is a federal law I think. Like I said, often dealers sell used cars pretty cheap. Carfax is what I was using to look at vehicles. I had a good idea of what they were asking, how long a vehicle would sit based on that price. Good deals don't last. Like a good partner, the best ones aren't single for long, you have to pounce. I found my van as a recent price drop & submitted an offer through Trucar with my Costco membership. It only got me an extra $100. off. Honda had finance deals, The first Covid surge was still raging. The dealer had just been able to reopen. Social distancing negotiations are really fun. The most important thing is being willing to walk.
 

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Here in California at least, a dealer cannot sell any car with brake pads below a certain amount, the tires have to have at least a given tread depth. If the vehicle is of the same make as the dealership, they have to perform any open recalls. That is a federal law I think. Like I said, often dealers sell used cars pretty cheap. Carfax is what I was using to look at vehicles. I had a good idea of what they were asking, how long a vehicle would sit based on that price. Good deals don't last. Like a good partner, the best ones aren't single for long, you have to pounce. I found my van as a recent price drop & submitted an offer through Trucar with my Costco membership. It only got me an extra $100. off. Honda had finance deals, The first Covid surge was still raging. The dealer had just been able to reopen. Social distancing negotiations are really fun. The most important thing is being willing to walk.
So true. I left the dealership Tues and just said I'd keep an eye out for the price drops to happen. They wouldn't negotiate and I wasn't going to pay their advertised price. Cargurus listed the car for sale for 60+ days and on the website for 90... Felt like it was a fairly uninterested van. Who's really looking to buy an 11 with 125k miles?.... Lol
 

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I had a friend who was a jeweler. His price, and what he could or would ultimately sell something for was directly tied to how much he had into it. If he got it cheap, he could sell it cheap. So there are deals. You just have to wait for them.
 

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I can never trust when a dealership says they're not making any money. Or that they're below cost. So far I've been to 3 different spots and all of the sales guys have said the same pitch.. you'd think coming in right after Christmas would be a good indicator that i was prepared to buy....
 
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