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Are there any warning signs to distinguish if VCM is causing damage vs doesn't seem to be bothering my vehicle?

Have a 2013 EX-L with 113k, had it since 100k. Timing belt service was recently performed including new spark plugs.
No known engine issues including oil loss. Everything seems really smooth.

Also, what is the relationship between the ECO light and the VCM causing damage that everyone seems so emphatic about?

Feel free to link to other threads and not retype info that may already be out there.
Thanks
Here's a technical explanation of what is happening.


Please forgive the snark in this post. The information is correct.

 
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How lucky do you feel? You have a van from the era that Honda recognized the problem was frequent enough that they extended the warranty to 8 years/120K miles if the problem should develop. Because the VCM II system operates based on parameters that mean the amount of activation time varies widely from one van to the next, how much yours has been activated is anybody's guess, but the bottom line is a year from now or less Honda will have wiped their hands of responsibility for your van and it's all on you. If you are about done with it then don't bother, but if you plan to keep it another 5-10 years and 100K+ miles do you want to take the chance that you need major engine work when it could be prevented?
I have a 2012 do I need one of these VCM ??
 

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I have a 2012 do I need one of these VCM ??
It would be highly suggested, yes. Read CroMath's linked posts above. The 2011-2013 models are especially prone to VCM issues.
 

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It would be highly suggested, yes. Read CroMath's linked posts above. The 2011-2013 models are especially prone to VCM issues.
It should be correct. There is one connector plug for 2005-2006 models, and another for all 2007+ models.
I just ordered a VCMuzzler 2 on eBay. Is that something completely different than the VCM tuner being talked about here?
 

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I just ordered a VCMuzzler 2 on eBay. Is that something completely different than the VCM tuner being talked about here?
Yes. The VCMTuner II is an active device, it makes all adjustments for you, so essentially it is a set it and forget it type of device. The VCMuzzler II will disable VCM, but it requires adjustment for the seasons and doesn't disable it 100% of the time, you might see VCM enable a few times in stop and go traffic.
 

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Here's a technical explanation of what is happening.


Please forgive the snark in this post. The information is correct.

Thanks CroMath.

2013 Ody is VCM2 or VCM3?

I still feel like I haven't read anything that indicates if vcm inflicted damage is progressing or not, short of oil loss, ie too late. I have a hard time believing that it just goes from everything's fine to oil loss (ie need expensive cylinder repairs). I'm expecting to get a reply of "just buy the insurance" (the muzzler), but wondering what are the warning signs along the way? If 90% of vehicles never are affected, it seems fairly imprecise/inefficient to buy a muzzler for 100% of them (90% waste). But on the other hand, that's how safety features are, 99.9% of the time you don't need them, they are there for the 0.1% catastrophic times.
 

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Also, what is the relationship between the ECO light and the VCM causing damage that everyone seems so emphatic about?
In the simplest of terms, the more often you see the ECO light the higher the chance that VCM is causing damage.

It's pretty simple equation:

x = The ECO light is telling the driver that the VCM system has engaged
y = If the VCM system engages, there is a chance that it is damaging your engine

x = y
2x = 2y
3x = 3y

If 90% of vehicles never are affected, it seems fairly imprecise/inefficient to buy a muzzler for 100% of them (90% waste).
Don't discount the improvement in driving performance with the VCM muzzled. Even if the odds are that VCM will never damage your engine, why give up the chance to enhance your driving experience at the slight cost of maybe a mile per gallon in efficiency?
 

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Thanks CroMath.

2013 Ody is VCM2 or VCM3?

I still feel like I haven't read anything that indicates if vcm inflicted damage is progressing or not, short of oil loss, ie too late. I have a hard time believing that it just goes from everything's fine to oil loss (ie need expensive cylinder repairs). I'm expecting to get a reply of "just buy the insurance" (the muzzler), but wondering what are the warning signs along the way? If 90% of vehicles never are affected, it seems fairly imprecise/inefficient to buy a muzzler for 100% of them (90% waste). But on the other hand, that's how safety features are, 99.9% of the time you don't need them, they are there for the 0.1% catastrophic times.
VCM3 appeared in the Odyssey for the first time in 2018 with the latest fifth generation. Every Odyssey equipped with VCM between model years 2008 - 2017 has VCM2.

The onset of problems feels sudden because the PCM compensates for the beginning of the problems, for things like minor misfires. But the accumulation of oil and carbon eventually gets to be more than the PCM can handle by itself, at which point it basically gives up, throws up its hands and says "I can't manage this anymore." And owners will perceive this through sudden rough running, Check Engine lights and loss of power because the engine is in limp mode. The person behind the wheel will think "What just happened?" but the problem has actually been building for a long time.

There are warning signs along the way but it's not a normal part of daily driving to look where they are - the spark plugs. If you pull out the spark plugs and the tip and electrode are coated in an oily carbon sludge, you are heading for trouble. But practically no one pulls spark plugs just to look at them in a daily driver van. So again, the warning gets missed.

A question for you: what benefits do you think VCM is providing for you? What is your motivation to keep it running? Because really, deciding on whether to disable VCM or not is about risk management - how much do you want to take on in exchange for a certain benefit? You don't have to muzzle the VCM. Lots of people don't and are basically fine. They change the oily spark plugs early and don't care about why they are like that.

I can tell you my experience is that VCM2 saves practically no fuel in my real life which means it offers no benefit. I choose to not accept any risk without the possibility of a reward. But everyone has to decide for themselves.
 

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I also find it somewhat hard to believe that anybody's VCM works flawlessly. It's not one of those things, like a camshaft oil seal, that you didn't replace when doing the timing belt, taking the chance that it wouldn't start leaking in the next 105K miles. The camshaft oil seal either works or it doesn't. The VCM is kind of like, you know the camshaft oil seal is leaking, but you're not going to replace it hoping that the leak doesn't get so bad in the next 105K miles that it shreds the timing belt. There's a big difference between something that either works or doesn't work, and something that doesn't work but you're hoping won't become a big problem.

I have a VCM-1 engine that was never covered under Honda's recall and not nearly as many people report piston ring problems with VCM-1 than VCM-2. When I changed my spark plugs around 84K miles, the rear 3 were noticeably more worn than the front 3, particularly the rear center plug. On VCM-1, the rear 3 are what shuts off when VCM is activated. If VCM was working flawlessly, all 6 spark plugs should have worn at the same rate. Just because your car's VCM might not wear your spark plugs down to a level that causes a misfire, doesn't mean that your spark plugs aren't being worn down disproportionately fast on VCM cylinders.
 

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VCM3 appeared in the Odyssey for the first time in 2018 with the latest fifth generation. Every Odyssey equipped with VCM between model years 2008 - 2017 has VCM2.

The onset of problems feels sudden because the PCM compensates for the beginning of the problems, for things like minor misfires. But the accumulation of oil and carbon eventually gets to be more than the PCM can handle by itself, at which point it basically gives up, throws up its hands and says "I can't manage this anymore." And owners will perceive this through sudden rough running, Check Engine lights and loss of power because the engine is in limp mode. The person behind the wheel will think "What just happened?" but the problem has actually been building for a long time.

There are warning signs along the way but it's not a normal part of daily driving to look where they are - the spark plugs. If you pull out the spark plugs and the tip and electrode are coated in an oily carbon sludge, you are heading for trouble. But practically no one pulls spark plugs just to look at them in a daily driver van. So again, the warning gets missed.

A question for you: what benefits do you think VCM is providing for you? What is your motivation to keep it running? Because really, deciding on whether to disable VCM or not is about risk management - how much do you want to take on in exchange for a certain benefit? You don't have to muzzle the VCM. Lots of people don't and are basically fine. They change the oily spark plugs early and don't care about why they are like that.

I can tell you my experience is that VCM2 saves practically no fuel in my real life which means it offers no benefit. I choose to not accept any risk without the possibility of a reward. But everyone has to decide for themselves.
Well said! This should be a sticky.
 
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The VCM is kind of like, you know the camshaft oil seal is leaking, but you're not going to replace it hoping that the leak doesn't get so bad in the next 105K miles that it shreds the timing belt.
Good argument - but TONS of people just top of a fluid instead of fixing a leak... Then again, the metaphor is still valid in that case, I suppose.

-Charlie
 
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Thanks for responses.

It's pretty simple equation:

x = The ECO light is telling the driver that the VCM system has engaged
That's what I always thought, but awhile back someone stated on this forum that VCM is engaging more than just when the ECO light is on

Don't discount the improvement in driving performance with the VCM muzzled. Even if the odds are that VCM will never damage your engine, why give up the chance to enhance your driving experience at the slight cost of maybe a mile per gallon in efficiency?
How would VCM muzzler affect performance since VCM is only engaging when speed is at a steady state anyway? Maybe its responsiveness to accelerate from that steady speed.

A question for you: what benefits do you think VCM is providing for you? What is your motivation to keep it running? Because really, deciding on whether to disable VCM or not is about risk management - how much do you want to take on in exchange for a certain benefit? You don't have to muzzle the VCM. Lots of people don't and are basically fine. They change the oily spark plugs early and don't care about why they are like that.
My goal is to have my EX-L last to at least 220k (and naturally, with least amount of maintenance and repair $$). If VCM operating normally means I'm a lot more likely to have to replace engine before then, then I'm concerned. Aside from that, my feeling is to let it be, I have no issue with how its performing, and would prefer to let it run as the OEM intended.
 

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How would VCM muzzler affect performance since VCM is only engaging when speed is at a steady state anyway? Maybe its responsiveness to accelerate from that steady speed.

My goal is to have my EX-L last to at least 220k (and naturally, with least amount of maintenance and repair $$). If VCM operating normally means I'm a lot more likely to have to replace engine before then, then I'm concerned. Aside from that, my feeling is to let it be, I have no issue with how its performing, and would prefer to let it run as the OEM intended.
When VCM activates on my car, I can feel a slight jerk. I can feel the engaging/disengaging of the system, which is not very smooth. IMO, it doesn't really affect acceleration, since once you hit the gas, all the cylinders fire up again.

If you want the car to last to 220K, you're not only looking at the potential for engine damage, but also a MUCH higher probability that you might need to change the very expensive active motor mounts once (or maybe twice) during your ownership, which are stressed whenever VCM is on.

I understand your desire to let the car run as Honda engineers designed it to. But, also understand that Honda has different incentives than you do. Manufacturers will tell you that their cars are so well designed that they don't need transmission fluid changes or 15K interval oil changes. "Look, our cars cost very little to maintain!" Their suggestions often don't correspond with your best interests.
 

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I also installed the S-VCM several years ago on my 08 EX-L and it performed flawlessly--until yesterday. On 650 mile trip the ECO light came on randomly for most of the trip. Didn't seem to make sense why it came on sometimes when descending gentle hills and other times not. I may contact the seller to see if they have any thoughts. If not, I'll probably replace with the VCM-II.
There are hundreds of reasons a check engine light could come on that have absolutely nothing to do with your S-VCM or the cooling system at all. Rather than contact the seller or replace it, you should get a scanner and read the codes. You can also drop into an Autozone and have the codes read...just don't take their advice when they try and sell you the magic part to fix your code. Codes don't tell you what part to change.
 

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Having your fourth generation Odyssey run the way that Honda intended it to is setting a pretty low standard. It is very much within the reach of Joe Q Public Odyssey owner to make their van run better than Honda intended. It's not difficult to do, nor is it expensive to do. Here's how you do it - ready?

1. Disable VCM2. You will save your engine mounts, spark plugs and piston rings a lot of grief. You will have a more responsive engine. You will have a smoother engine. You will almost certainly not suffer a fuel economy penalty. Like I said before, if VCM is not saving you any fuel, IT SERVES NO OTHER PURPOSE. It becomes an unnecessary complication in the engine's operation. Even if it saves you some small amount of fuel, that needs to be balanced against the cost replacing the active engine mounts (assuming you get lucky and don't suffer from the stuck rings and fouled spark plugs). Changing spark plugs early becomes as laughable as it sounds.

One-time cost = roughly $100.

2. Drain and fill the automatic transmission fluid regularly. Honda originally intended for the ATF to be serviced every 50,000 miles. The results of that recommendation were so wonderful that Honda changed it to every 30,000 miles, and will even do it for you for free if you complain about it the right way. But it's an easy job to DIY.

Total cost = about $30 a year

That's it. That's the entire list. Over ten years, you're in for $400. For forty bucks a year, you alone can make your Odyssey better than what Honda gave you when you drove it off the showroom floor. Easy peasy. And believe me, I do understand and sympathize with how hard it can be to wrap your head around the idea that your shiny new vehicle was not the best it could possibly be on the day it rolled off the assembly line. But it's true - every single gen 4 Odyssey ever produced was not realizing its full potential when it was brand new.

Whatever mileage goal you've got, you'll get there if you do these two things.
 

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1. Disable VCM2.

One-time cost = roughly $100.
If you are comfortable with a soldering iron, you can do this for <$0.50... (I am, but I still bought and installed an SVCM...)

-Charlie
 
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I gotta say that I am a believer in the muzzling of the VCM. I may have already shared this, but my car had issues somewhere around 95k miles. Turns out it was piston rings and fouled plugs. They replaced plugs only b/c my 2013 didn't qualify for the extended class action warranty. 4-5k miles later, same thing happened. This time, and after educating myself on this forum, I installed the S-VCM and replaced the plugs on my own. Cylinder 2 plug was covered in oil. For the last 12k miles or so, the car has been trouble-free. I checked the plugs a couple of months ago and they were still clean, including problem cylinder 2.

The transmission also was a little jerky, so I did the drain-fill routine with Valvoline MaxLife recently and it's nice and smooth now.

All that to say that I am a strong proponent of CroMath's recommendation. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, in this case, $400 of prevention is worth $4000 of cure.
 

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That's what I always thought, but awhile back someone stated on this forum that VCM is engaging more than just when the ECO light is on
OK, then that makes the equations not only simpler, but worse. The fact remains that this statement is true: "The ECO light is telling the driver that the VCM system has engaged".

IOW, you are only going to see an ECO light when VCM is engaged. However, VCM might be engaged even if the ECO is not on. Therefore, there is the possibility that your engine is being damaged even when you don't know that the culprit is at work.

So, to answer this question more accurately:

"What is the relationship between the ECO light and the VCM causing damage that everyone seems so emphatic about? "

x = The ECO light is telling the driver that the VCM system has engaged
y = VCM system engaged, therefore there is a chance that it is damaging your engine

y > x

How would VCM muzzler affect performance since VCM is only engaging when speed is at a steady state anyway? Maybe its responsiveness to accelerate from that steady speed.
In my experience, VCM does not engage only when speed is at a steady state. It engages whenever it feels that is does not need all cylinders activated. Let's say you are driving on a congested highway where you are accelerating, braking, coasting, accelerating, coasting, braking, coasting, etc. VCM (according to the ECO light) will engage just about every time you take you foot off of the accelerator, even as you are slowing down (not steady state). Once I muzzled my 06, that sort of driving felt much smoother since there were no longer these shorts bursts of VCM - No VCM - VCM - No VCM, etc. Due to Covid, I have not really experienced that type of driving with my 17, but that's not really why I muzzled my new Ody anyway. I consider the smoother ride to be a bonus.

My goal is to have my EX-L last to at least 220k (and naturally, with least amount of maintenance and repair $$). If VCM operating normally means I'm a lot more likely to have to replace engine before then, then I'm concerned. Aside from that, my feeling is to let it be, I have no issue with how its performing, and would prefer to let it run as the OEM intended.
And that's fine. Obviously it's your choice to "believe the hype" related to the muzzler or not. Many of us have chosen to embrace it, others have not, still others (probably more than the previous 2 groups combined) have never even heard of the Muzzler.

On a final note: there is one more comment I feel I must make:

In the same post you both asked "How would VCM muzzler affect performance" and also stated "I have no issue with how its performing".

Of course you have no issue with how it's performing because that is only experience you've ever had. No one ever said that the Ody's perform poorly without a muzzler, only that they feel it performs better with it. Consider this situation: My son and I both love cold brew coffee. He had no issue with the taste of the cold brew that he always made until I offered him some of mine. His is pretty good. Mine is better. Once he experienced a cold brew that was a step above his already good cold brew, his feelings about the "performance" of his cold brew changed.

Granted, some driving habits may never reveal the differences between a muzzled and an unmuzzled Ody. That's leaves us with only the possibility of damage due to the VCM system. That is an individual risk assessment that we each have to make on our own.
 

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If you are comfortable with a soldering iron, you can do this for <$0.50... (I am, but I still bought and installed an SVCM...)

-Charlie
Please don't misunderstand me here - I mean no disrespect. Quite the opposite actually. But someone who possesses your skills, knowledge and experience is not who I envisioned when I said "Joe Q Public Odyssey owner". 🙂

People with far less skill than you (or even me) can do these things for themselves.
 
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