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Dear Ody Club,

My name is Chris, I live in Western North Carolina, and I am new to the forum. I have been looking at and researching used minivans for the past 14 months. I am focused on the Odyssey, Sienna, or Caravan/Routan but leaning towards the Odyssey. My wife and I can not spend more than $5000. I have listed 3 questions and two comments below to help further explain our situation; any help in response and/or advice is welcomed and appreciated.

Realizing there are a lot of factors involved, maintenance record-how it was driven-mileage-etc; is there a year, between 2005-2010 that stands out or you would recommend? And why?

Are there specific things to look for with specific years?

Do you feel staying below 200K for the mileage would be more important than the year purchased?

After spending a couple of hours looking at other forum threads it seems timing belt and regular transmission fluid changes are the 2 most important maintenance items we need to verify have been completed... Do you agree, and are there any others that stand out?

Our planned use is: as a daily driver (approx 15-30miles), approximately 10, 300-mile trips and 3-4,1000-mile trips annually (both of which the van would be fully loaded, including a cargo box on the roof.

Reliability is the most important aspect for us to consider within this purchase. We live modestly and usually spend about $3K for our vehicles whilst putting away about $500 to $1000 per year for preventative maintenance and upkeep.

Again, any responses and advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Warmly,

Chris, a hopeful future and proud Odyssey owner from NC
 

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Transmission was improved in 2007. In my opinion, 2007 or newer is a good idea. 2008 was a facelift where the styling was freshened. You may get better value with a 2007 for that reason.

A LX model with cloth seats and minimal options will also probably be a better value. Some of the lower models did not have VCM as well... VCM is bad.

Motor mounts are a common and expensive problem, worse on VCM vans. Some VCM vans have oil burning problems.

These vans are not problem free. If you can DIY, this forum will help you and you will be ok.
 

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Hi Neighbor!

We're in Belmont, NC (hence the user name). Similar situation & sensibilities. Bought 2nd hand 2005 not quite 2 years ago for $3400, so expect you could get little cheaper now.

We put new (top shelf) tires on it ($600), but at the age & mileage (~200k, mostly in-town) the front end needed some love and it ate oil (seller, a friend, told me about it prior).
  • Struts, control arms, sway bar links, CV axles (and a half shaft), steering outer links, though not all at once, with parts from 1AAuto.com (except for half-shaft from Honda), all DIY, so parts ~$900. Drives like new now.
  • Oil burn... VCM is notorious, so replaced clogged PCV, added a VCMuzzler & that dropped at least 3/4. Splurged on VCMuzzler II & it dropped more! It uses maybe 10% of oil it consumed when we bought it. Go with the II model straight away. This was ~$200 for these parts; all DIY.
  • Transmission (in ours) had apparently not had fluid changes, so 3 sequential flushes (and filter) later, it's MUCH better. Maybe $200 for all the fluid & filter.
So, for adding not quite $2k (and not all at once!) to our $3400 van, it runs & handles like it's ≥10 years younger. If you're buying a van of this generation, best plan to either fix a few things or to take on the deep maintenance to make an old vehicle reliable.

Money well spent for us. Hope this info is useful for your decision.
 

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I would echo a 2007 or newer model if you can find it. Ideally single owner with regular maintenance. Around here in MN, I can find them easily on Craigslist in your price range. I purchased a used 2007 two years ago for $3200, had 208K on it. It had a couple of minor issues that I solved, but they stymied the previous owner. Mine is an EXL, but as noted, an EX or LX model gets rid of the VCM. I have a s-VCM module on mine to turn it off. It runs great, will easily go to 300K. If you are not in a rush, it is relatively easy to find a single owner van that has served a family well that they are getting rid of for a good price.
 

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There were a couple of years with bad paint, but I think those will be pretty obvious. I think they were in the dark blue and white vans. In my opinion, avoid anything with even a little bit of peeling paint because it will just get worse and worse. Unless you can live with that.

Although the higher-level vans have more chances for things to go wrong, and the problematic VCM, they also have some features that may or may not be important to you. For example, the LX vans do not have roof racks (or at least may not be standard), so you won't be able to put the cargo carrier on top. LX (and Touring!) also only gives 7-passenger seating. That 8th seat was important to us. There are a lot of other features, like power doors and leather seats that you may or may not want. For us, the features are worth the risk of repair (and I have the forum here to help me when things go bad).

Many of the Touring (top level) vans came with run-flat tires, but I think most of them have aftermarket wheels by now because run-flats are kind of a bad deal.
 

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From what I've gleaned from the forum is that the 2007-10 have a better transmission than the '05 and '06.

If you want an EX-L or Touring trim, and don't know if VCM was disabled, it is probably safer to go with and '05 - '07 which had the VCM1 which seems less problematic than VCM2 introduced in '08. In any case disable VCM right away after you buy one. I like the VCMTUNER II which I've been using 10 months since you can just install it and forget about it.

As was mentioned, if you look at a Touring make sure it has been Depaxed, or be prepared to do so the next time it needs a new set of tires. I finally did it 1 year ago and it cost around $1100 for everything (4 wheels, tires, TPMS, installation, taxes, spare, etc.).

Overall I've been very happy with my '07 Touring, with the exception of the PAX run flat tires, and VCM, both of which are now rectified.

Good luck with the search.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Transmission was improved in 2007. In my opinion, 2007 or newer is a good idea. 2008 was a facelift where the styling was freshened. You may get better value with a 2007 for that reason.

A LX model with cloth seats and minimal options will also probably be a better value. Some of the lower models did not have VCM as well... VCM is bad.

Motor mounts are a common and expensive problem, worse on VCM vans. Some VCM vans have oil burning problems.

These vans are not problem free. If you can DIY, this forum will help you and you will be ok.
BBrages, many thanks for the response . I am more a carpenter than a mechanic but I have completed a fair amount of automotive DIY, however, all on pre-2000 vehicles; the forum support is comforting. One question, if I buy a 2007 or later, that seems to have no mechanical issues, and the VCM has not previously been disabled; could I disable it and mitigate future problems?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
There were a couple of years with bad paint, but I think those will be pretty obvious. I think they were in the dark blue and white vans. In my opinion, avoid anything with even a little bit of peeling paint because it will just get worse and worse. Unless you can live with that.

Although the higher-level vans have more chances for things to go wrong, and the problematic VCM, they also have some features that may or may not be important to you. For example, the LX vans do not have roof racks (or at least may not be standard), so you won't be able to put the cargo carrier on top. LX (and Touring!) also only gives 7-passenger seating. That 8th seat was important to us. There are a lot of other features, like power doors and leather seats that you may or may not want. For us, the features are worth the risk of repair (and I have the forum here to help me when things go bad).

Many of the Touring (top level) vans came with run-flat tires, but I think most of them have aftermarket wheels by now because run-flats are kind of a bad deal.
Thanks again BBrages, we like the features too - feels a bit decadent but fun too. Will be on the lookout for run flats....
 

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Hi Neighbor!

We're in Belmont, NC (hence the user name). Similar situation & sensibilities. Bought 2nd hand 2005 not quite 2 years ago for $3400, so expect you could get little cheaper now.

We put new (top shelf) tires on it ($600), but at the age & mileage (~200k, mostly in-town) the front end needed some love and it ate oil (seller, a friend, told me about it prior).
  • Struts, control arms, sway bar links, CV axles (and a half shaft), steering outer links, though not all at once, with parts from 1AAuto.com (except for half-shaft from Honda), all DIY, so parts ~$900. Drives like new now.
  • Oil burn... VCM is notorious, so replaced clogged PCV, added a VCMuzzler & that dropped at least 3/4. Splurged on VCMuzzler II & it dropped more! It uses maybe 10% of oil it consumed when we bought it. Go with the II model straight away. This was ~$200 for these parts; all DIY.
  • Transmission (in ours) had apparently not had fluid changes, so 3 sequential flushes (and filter) later, it's MUCH better. Maybe $200 for all the fluid & filter.
So, for adding not quite $2k (and not all at once!) to our $3400 van, it runs & handles like it's ≥10 years younger. If you're buying a van of this generation, best plan to either fix a few things or to take on the deep maintenance to make an old vehicle reliable.

Money well spent for us. Hope this info is useful for your decision.
Hello Neighbor! We have family in Matthews and are in fact looking over the Charlotte Craigslist a lot for vans - trying to avoid the rust and hard driving you find a lot up here in the mountains.
And you're right on point with your thinking... We're thinking one path is go with an '05 or later, deal with the higher miles, but be well within our budget so as to be able to sink some solid $ into preventive maintenance. Option B, blow our budget and try and get an '09 that has been well maintained. I read on the Cartalk site that the '05's had the least maintenance complaints up until the '09's and '10's... You all still driving your '05?
 

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I would echo a 2007 or newer model if you can find it. Ideally single owner with regular maintenance. Around here in MN, I can find them easily on Craigslist in your price range. I purchased a used 2007 two years ago for $3200, had 208K on it. It had a couple of minor issues that I solved, but they stymied the previous owner. Mine is an EXL, but as noted, an EX or LX model gets rid of the VCM. I have a s-VCM module on mine to turn it off. It runs great, will easily go to 300K. If you are not in a rush, it is relatively easy to find a single owner van that has served a family well that they are getting rid of for a good price.
Thanks Cahaak. I think what you are saying is the ticket. I had found 2 really nice "single owner- maintenance records" a couple of months ago but did not have the cash to make a move at that time. If possible I would like to wait for another opportunity like that... Looking at Craigslist almost daily.
Do think putting the s-VCM module on mitigated any potential problems incurred in the 208k miles leading up to your purchasing and solving of problems? In other words, I am trying to get a better sense of the VCM problems, are they irreversible, thus possibly making a wise decision to purchase an earlier model, with more miles but no VCM?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
From what I've gleaned from the forum is that the 2007-10 have a better transmission than the '05 and '06.

If you want an EX-L or Touring trim, and don't know if VCM was disabled, it is probably safer to go with and '05 - '07 which had the VCM1 which seems less problematic than VCM2 introduced in '08. In any case disable VCM right away after you buy one. I like the VCMTUNER II which I've been using 10 months since you can just install it and forget about it.

As was mentioned, if you look at a Touring make sure it has been Depaxed, or be prepared to do so the next time it needs a new set of tires. I finally did it 1 year ago and it cost around $1100 for everything (4 wheels, tires, TPMS, installation, taxes, spare, etc.).

Overall I've been very happy with my '07 Touring, with the exception of the PAX run flat tires, and VCM, both of which are now rectified.

Good luck with the search.
Thanks a lot BertS. Right now I am seeing a lot of '07's and after reading your post the VCM problems are less intimidating and seem totally manageable. I will definitely use the depaxing as bargaining point if I run into still paxed wheels - so helpful. I am curious, how long after buying yours did you drive on the pax tires before depaxing a year ago?
 

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Just quick but sincere thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. The community of this forum alone makes me more confident to buy an Odyssey and face any gremlins that may surface. Cheers!
 

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Thanks a lot BertS. Right now I am seeing a lot of '07's and after reading your post the VCM problems are less intimidating and seem totally manageable. I will definitely use the depaxing as bargaining point if I run into still paxed wheels - so helpful. I am curious, how long after buying yours did you drive on the pax tires before depaxing a year ago?
I obtained my Ody when it was less than 1 year old from a family member and it had an 8 year Honda extended warranty. As such, I didn't Depax during this 8 years and ended up putting on 2 new sets of PAX tires over this time. I pushed it a bit but was able to average about 43K miles per set before I Depaxed - I think it helped many of the miles were highway.

I needed new tires, the van was well out of any warranty, and I no longer take it to a Honda dealer for service so it made sense to Depax last fall saving $300 over just another set of PAX tires with advantages of longer tread life and much less expensive tires when needed in the future. Also, no worry should I need a tire repair when on a road trip (it always worried me a bit if you have a flat you might not be within 100 miles of a Honda dealer having the specialized equipment to service PAX tires or at a time when they are open).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I obtained my Ody when it was less than 1 year old from a family member and it had an 8 year Honda extended warranty. As such, I didn't Depax during this 8 years and ended up putting on 2 new sets of PAX tires over this time. I pushed it a bit but was able to average about 43K miles per set before I Depaxed - I think it helped many of the miles were highway.

I needed new tires, the van was well out of any warranty, and I no longer take it to a Honda dealer for service so it made sense to Depax last fall saving $300 over just another set of PAX tires with advantages of longer tread life and much less expensive tires when needed in the future. Also, no worry should I need a tire repair when on a road trip (it always worried me a bit if you have a flat you might not be within 100 miles of a Honda dealer having the specialized equipment to service PAX tires or at a time when they are open).
Thanks a lot. Is it obvious to be able discern whether the vehicle has pax on it by looking at the wheel/tire?
 

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From what I can gather, 2009-2010 LX is what you want, if you want an Odyssey. I say 09 not 08 for no other reason than it's the last 2 years of this generation. I have greatly enjoyed my Ody...so far :)

Earlier generations had tranission issues. LX avoids the VCM. 2009-2010 are the last years of this generation, so they've had time to work out the kinks. LX has fewer power options to break (i.e. no power sliding door, etc.).

My 2010 LX had 2 previous owners and came with 47k miles; we got it for $15k in 2014 with no reported accidents that we were aware of. We're about to crack 170,000 miles, God willing, and we've had the following: both side sliding door brackets replaced, front driver CV axle (wife hit an animal), tires every 50k miles or so, new o-ring for power steering to fix a leak ($1 DIY), batteries every 2 years, brakes every 2-3 years, rear shocks, and we're averaging 19-21 mpg with 4-5 people in the van 90% of the time. I've done one timing belt change using the Asin kit at 90k miles.
 

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From what I can gather, 2009-2010 LX is what you want, if you want an Odyssey. I say 09 not 08 for no other reason than it's the last 2 years of this generation. I have greatly enjoyed my Ody...so far :)

Earlier generations had tranission issues. LX avoids the VCM. 2009-2010 are the last years of this generation, so they've had time to work out the kinks. LX has fewer power options to break (i.e. no power sliding door, etc.).

My 2010 LX had 2 previous owners and came with 47k miles; we got it for $15k in 2014 with no reported accidents that we were aware of. We're about to crack 170,000 miles, God willing, and we've had the following: both side sliding door brackets replaced, front driver CV axle (wife hit an animal), tires every 50k miles or so, new o-ring for power steering to fix a leak ($1 DIY), batteries every 2 years, brakes every 2-3 years, rear shocks, and we're averaging 19-21 mpg with 4-5 people in the van 90% of the time. I've done one timing belt change using the Asin kit at 90k miles.
Great information! Really appreciate the maintenance schedule breakdown. Like the '09-'10 idea too, just need to find the right one in our price range. Thanks again.
 

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NC, go to Consumer Reports for reliability reports. Don't know about AWD, but do you really need it?

Again, LX or EX don't have the VCM, which can be a big, big, big headache, on EX-L and Touring models.

Carfax report, which you can buy on ebay for $5 or so.

Get a pre-purchase inspection, but get the carfax first. Why mechanically inspect a vehicle that has been totaled or has been in a bad accident.
 

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Thanks a lot. Is it obvious to be able discern whether the vehicle has pax on it by looking at the wheel/tire?
Yes, they have a unique 10 spoke wheel. The inside edge of the tire actually sits over the outside of the wheel. The tires have a unique all metric sizing: 235-710/r460a and I'm pretty sure it says PAX on the sidewall.

Just do a image browser search with "Honda Odyssey PAX Wheels" to see what they look like.
 
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