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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep reading about VCM / other engine issues; I own Accord 2015 and have clocked 70K miles and its running good. I have not looked into Sienna as I like Odyssey's look better. So, please as owners, I would like to hear your unbiased opinion on whether I should get Odyssey (2013, 2014 or 2015). ? Or should I look into Sienna because of the transmission issues ? I am just looking for a reliable car and I am ok with boring driving dynamics.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion. Do you own a Odyssey ? Faced any transmission issues ?
yup... 9 year old one. get used to DIY repairs or get used to handing your money to repair shops.

you're in the clear for the first 100k miles on any major repairs, then need to drop 3-4k (high side) in maintenance before youre good for another 100k.

the transmissions in these gen 4s are not plagued with catastrophic failure like the gen 2's, so no worries there.

yoyotas come with good warranties, and overall better quality.
at a premium...
 

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Yep. Someone traded in their odyssey when the engine needed repair. Dealer replaced the rings rear shocks Tb wp and an axle and some other minor things.

Bought it, had to replace the rear tailgate arm, two of the motor mounts.

Ps pump is weeping and noisy, one of the sliding door motors is failing. Probably needs new shocks.

Disabled vcm and changed the tranny fluid.

It’s more interesting to drive than the sienna. I was able to afford an ex-l with RES when comparable priced siennas were only LE trim.


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Yep. Someone traded in their odyssey when the engine needed repair. Dealer replaced the rings rear shocks Tb wp and an axle and some other minor things.

Bought it, had to replace the rear tailgate arm, two of the motor mounts.

Ps pump is weeping and noisy, one of the sliding door motors is failing. Probably needs new shocks.

Disabled vcm and changed the tranny fluid.

It’s more interesting to drive than the sienna. I was able to afford an ex-l with RES when comparable priced siennas were only LE trim.


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the worst of these vans appears to be taken care of with what you listed above.

muzzle the vcm that caused the ring and motor mount issues, and keep up with the trans fluid changes and usual scheduled maintenance.

these vehicles are not made for buyers who expect monthly payments, gas and insurance and years of trouble free motoring.
the average buyer will get lucky, but not all.

Honda has failed miserably on maintaining its quality reputation on this one, and one can hope the product engineers actually give a shit and read these forums.

looking at the gen 5 quality. my guess is NO they don't give a shit.
 

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Yeah. Pretty much all the major issues were/are fixed on the van, so it makes no sense but to drive it into the ground.

I wish I had a 2014+ facelift instead of my 2012 for all the improvements that were made, but at this point it’d be hard to find another van with all this work done that I know would be as reliable.


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Sienna and done.

A "known" maintained Odyssey with some age, maybe. If the transmission fluid wasn't changed routinely throughout it's life there could be trouble. Let alone the VCM! If the older vans you're looking at are in the 50-70k mileage range then you can probably Muzzle the VCM check (and swap!) the plugs and do a trans fluid update and be okay. 100-125k, hard pass. 2014s, seriously hard pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sienna and done.

A "known" maintained Odyssey with some age, maybe. If the transmission fluid wasn't changed routinely throughout it's life there could be trouble. Let alone the VCM! If the older vans you're looking at are in the 50-70k mileage range then you can probably Muzzle the VCM check (and swap!) the plugs and do a trans fluid update and be okay. 100-125k, hard pass. 2014s, seriously hard pass.
Thanks ! yes, I am looking at Odyssey in 40-70k mile range and do you suggest Sienna over Odyssey in that range ? Its just that I like the exterior styling of the Odyssey better and I am wondering if that's worth it.
 

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I am in the same boat and looking at this gen of Ody. However, the 2009-2010 holds a higher value than this gen (private sale from around my area ). Most of the 2009 are going for $9-10k while the 2012 goes for a little around $8k+.

But seeing some of your suggestion going to Sienna is a better idea and better value?
 

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Not sure why there are so many "Sienna is better" people on here... They should be buying Siennas and living on those forums! (and that is coming from a lifelong Toyota owner).

There are a couple weaknesses in the gen4 Odyssey, but they are easily fixable/solvable (VCM disabler and regular trans fluid changes). Other random issues are possible on all modern vehicle makes/models.

We went with an Odyssey because of the second row seating configuration (3 kids close in age, needing 3-across LATCH in the second row). The Sienna in similar years would not work for us... Better driving dynamics and looks are a bonus, even if I wanted the Sienna to be a better option (AWD would have been nice).

-Charlie
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not sure why there are so many "Sienna is better" people on here... They should be buying Siennas and living on those forums! (and that is coming from a lifelong Toyota owner).

There are a couple weaknesses in the gen4 Odyssey, but they are easily fixable/solvable (VCM disabler and regular trans fluid changes). Other random issues are possible on all modern vehicle makes/models.

We went with an Odyssey because of the second row seating configuration (3 kids close in age, needing 3-across LATCH in the second row). The Sienna in similar years would not work for us... Better driving dynamics and looks are a bonus, even if I wanted the Sienna to be a better option (AWD would have been nice).

-Charlie
Thanks for your response. Fluid changes and VCM sounds like a small price to pay. Based on your experience, is it possible for an adult to sit in center the center seat with a rear facing infant seat on one side and a forward facing car seat (for toddler) on the other side ?
 

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Based on your experience, is it possible for an adult to sit in center the center seat with a rear facing infant seat on one side and a forward facing car seat (for toddler) on the other side ?
There is space, assuming the adult is pretty slim and doesn't mind squeezing in there. When we've done 2 car seats + 1 adult in the middle row we've put the car seats together (one on a side, and one in the middle) and left the seated passenger in one of the outboard seats. This gives the adult a little extra room and leaves easy access to the 3rd row by tilting & sliding that outboard seat.
 

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I'll tell you why we're suggesting a Sienna, because "used" you less likely to find issues. Especially on higher mileage examples. Do you disagree with that assessment?

As I noted in my message above; a used Odyssey of whatever age at 50-70k (40k even better!) I think you're probably going to be okay. You still have time to Muzzle, do the transmission fluid updates, etc. But when someone posts they're looking at 2012 Odyssey with no mileage specified, based on what we see around here are examples that are being sold right when the big maintenance is coming due and it's more than likely you have no history on the transmission, VCM, etc. So yes, in that case, SIENNA!

And you're going to need to check the VIN to see what warranty work (if any) has been done. All kinds of TSB's and issues in this time frame; all of which may not effect your specific example, or...

To each their own, I wouldn't buy this generation Odyssey used with more than 70k on the clock. I wouldn't even consider one with 90-120k, not a chance.
 

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Im driving every mile out of this one...

There are a fair bit of TSB's for the 3rd generation Sienna, yet all the Sienna owners I know, have had no complaints that Toyota didn't promptly address at no cost.
customer satisfaction is high with Toyota.

That hardly be said about the gen 4 odyssey, or the runaround many get from their local dealers or Honda America when addressing product defects or flaws.

something anyone in the market for a new van should factor in.
 

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I will jump in here to point out how few responders have disclosed what year Odyssey they have. It kind of matters.
In this generation, the mid cycle refresh was in 2014. The 2011-2013 vans have piston rings that were not up to the
task of VCM. They almost assuredly caused failures. In the new ones, the piston rings are supposed to be better, but we do have reports of folks having fouled plugs. The main issue is, there is no extended warranty for those model years.
You must muzzle the VCM to cover your ass. But do it just for the better driving experience.

The transmission does require a software update to operate better. The original software made the fluid deteriorate prematurely. That is why the service bulletin has the dealer replace the fluid 3 times to replace all of it.
What some of these Honda newbies may not realize is that all Honda automatics since they introduced one in the mid 1970s have required regular fluid changes. Vans of this vintage have a 30k fluid change (1/3) interval. Most manufacturers (Toyota included) have a much longer fluid change interval. Or none at all. Honda uses a unique design
all their own. It was difficult to make that design work when they started making bigger vehicles. Those of us who have or had the 1999-2004 vans had real issues. Some with multiple failures. I had a 2002 I just sold with it's original trans at over 256K. Changed the fluid every other oil change the whole time I had it. I knew to do that because I was a regular here.

I am going to suggest you look up at the "stickies" at the service bulletins for any model year you might be interested in.
The 2014-2017 vans are all the same mechanically. The 2014s did have more issues because it was the first year after the refresh. Keep in mind that a place like this can skew your perception because folks come here when they have problems. Few ever start threads about how much they love their vans. Also, check out a Sienna forum.
 

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There is space, assuming the adult is pretty slim and doesn't mind squeezing in there. When we've done 2 car seats + 1 adult in the middle row we've put the car seats together (one on a side, and one in the middle) and left the seated passenger in one of the outboard seats. This gives the adult a little extra room and leaves easy access to the 3rd row by tilting & sliding that outboard seat.
This is basically how we do it too. Our "daily driver" setup is two adjacent rear-facing in the second row (center and passenger side) for the twins and a front facing in the 3rd row passenger side for the 3 year old. The driver's side seat in the second row is sometimes removed for easier access. That setup also allows 2/3 of the 3rd row to fold for intermediately large items to fit in the van. The second row is always set in "wide" mode for maximum room.

We move the front-facing seat to the second row for road trips. Time will tell how 3-accross is tolerated as the kids get older. We were able to fit 8 passengers - 2 full-sized adults, 2 small adults, 1 8 year old and the 3 car seats for a multi-hour trip without too many complaints. That required some creative cargo capacity:



The Sienna 2nd row center seat is basically useless for all but short trips, and can't really be used for a car seat - at least for similar years to the 4th gen Odyssey.

-Charlie
 

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I am sold on the Odyssey. 1st one(2nd generation) had transmission problems x2, but were replaced free of charge and traded in with 180k miles to get one with side airbages. Had a 2013 which needed piston repair (also free) and it protected me very well when rear-ended by truck at 150k miles. Now have a 2019 and like it, especially the safety features. One reason I picked it over the Toyota was because it is wider; you can sit 3 accross in the 2nd and 3rd row.
 
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