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Like the others have said, if you plan to keep it, get the timing belt/water pump/spark plugs/Serpentine Belt changed soon. Be prepared to have the Spark Plug gaskets replaced as well as these are probably leaking at this point. My 2007 LX is about to hit 125K and I replaced all of these items at 100K. You will eventually need Suspension parts replaced too (Front Struts/Tie Rod Ends/Ball Joints/Rear Shocks/etc). The other big items that I had to get replaced was the AC Compressor, Fuel Pump (self-installed) and the Motor Mounts...but I still have my original front CV axles. I installed a VCM Tuner ~2 years ago. I tend to put on 10K per year and will re-evaluate as it approaches 200K if nothing catastrophic happens first. Good luck...
If i keep using my ody the same way I'm doing now I may have the opportunity to take both of my 5 years old twins on their respective weddings. Jejeje..we bought it with 63k miles on feb 2014 right now has about 97,800. About 35k in six years - 5.800 per years. That's with almost three trips from South Florida to Birmingham AL. Taking those out...it should have been 93k-95k...but hey..still love the Ody.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
You are definitely past due on the spark plugs and timing belt. I would take care of it or get rid of it soon depending on your decision - if the timing belt breaks the engine will be trashed.

I disabled VCM using VCMTUNER II around 130K miles, which was 10 months and 12K miles ago. I like the way it drives and the install and forget aspect of it. Here is a thread I started which may be helpful:


One thing that people have noted in VCM threads is that oil consumption was high for some before disabling VCM and afterward was not an issue.

I'd also check for leaks. I had a leak by the oil pump a few months back which was pretty involved to fix - the mechanic said they would have recommended changing the timing belt if I was closer to needing the next one.

Does your EX-L have the entertainment system? If so, you can get an inexpensive Bluetooth adapter and wire it back to the Audio input in the compartment next to the third row seat on the driver's side. I paid $10 for one from TaoTronics on Amazon, and had the necessary cables to extend it back to the third row, and it works great. I can stream from my phone and place calls when the AUX position is selected on the sound system. If I'm playing the radio, CD, or DVD, I have a separate visor mount Bluetooth speaker phone to use for calls.
Thanks, that is a great tip. I was resigned to taking it to an auto stereo place to upgrade the entertainment system.
 

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I went through all the service records to see what was done when and good thing I did. For starters, my husband took the van to a different dealership than we normally use to take advantage of a maintenance special and got the timing belt along with tensioners etc. replaced about 20,000 miles ago. I happened to be traveling at the time and had totally forgotten plus our regular dealership has no record of it. So that has been done.

Transmission fluid has only been replaced twice, so will do that and the spark plugs etc and whatever is required to fix the shudder. Did have the tie rods/struts replaced about 20,000 miles ago.

But thanks to the advice and feedback here I am feeling a lot more confident about keeping the rig. It is cosmetically in excellent condition and for the most part drives very well. I did go check out the new Odyssey as well as the competition, and while there were some very nice features, nothing compelled me to take the plunge.

I have had a little trouble grasping when VCM actually kicks in. I thought it was signalled by the eco mode light, but read that is not necessarily the case? Is it in operation all the time, or only during stop and go, or at free way speeds?
 

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I have had a little trouble grasping when VCM actually kicks in. I thought it was signalled by the eco mode light, but read that is not necessarily the case? Is it in operation all the time, or only during stop and go, or at free way speeds?
That i know everytime the ECO light comes on it means the VCM is on...I believe what u are saying is referring to the newest models...I believe those don't have the indicator like 05-10.
 

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Like the others have said, if you plan to keep it, get the timing belt/water pump/spark plugs/Serpentine Belt changed soon. Be prepared to have the Spark Plug gaskets replaced as well as these are probably leaking at this point. My 2007 LX is about to hit 125K and I replaced all of these items at 100K. You will eventually need Suspension parts replaced too (Front Struts/Tie Rod Ends/Ball Joints/Rear Shocks/etc). The other big items that I had to get replaced was the AC Compressor, Fuel Pump (self-installed) and the Motor Mounts...but I still have my original front CV axles. I installed a VCM Tuner ~2 years ago. I tend to put on 10K per year and will re-evaluate as it approaches 200K if nothing catastrophic happens first. Good luck...
I installed a S-VCM muzzler and changed the PCV valve. My van went from 1 Quart to NO oil per oil usage per change. I would buy the the S-VCM is a chip that has been programmed like a computer. I have been told heat affects resistors value. do a search on the web and read about it.
 

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I bought a van with the S-VCM already installed... I'm a fan.

Anyway, I vote for "stay" -- the cash value of your 07 isn't great, but it sounds like it's in good condition and has a lot more miles ahead of it.
 

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Another vote to keep it. My 06 touring has 286k and still going. It won't get many more miles though since my wife recently decided that she wanted a new SUV. We are keeping the Ody because its not worth much.
 

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Thanks, that is a great tip. I was resigned to taking it to an auto stereo place to upgrade the entertainment system.
Here is a link to a good thread on the topic. Starting at post #10 it discusses the TaoTronics and a few down talks about the cabling I used to connect it.

 

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I went through all the service records to see what was done when and good thing I did. For starters, my husband took the van to a different dealership than we normally use to take advantage of a maintenance special and got the timing belt along with tensioners etc. replaced about 20,000 miles ago. I happened to be traveling at the time and had totally forgotten plus our regular dealership has no record of it. So that has been done.

Transmission fluid has only been replaced twice, so will do that and the spark plugs etc and whatever is required to fix the shudder. Did have the tie rods/struts replaced about 20,000 miles ago.

But thanks to the advice and feedback here I am feeling a lot more confident about keeping the rig. It is cosmetically in excellent condition and for the most part drives very well. I did go check out the new Odyssey as well as the competition, and while there were some very nice features, nothing compelled me to take the plunge.

I have had a little trouble grasping when VCM actually kicks in. I thought it was signalled by the eco mode light, but read that is not necessarily the case? Is it in operation all the time, or only during stop and go, or at free way speeds?
Hopefully they replaced the water pump when the timing belt was replaced. It is driven by the timing belt, and if it were to cease it could cause problems.

As far as VCM it will kick in once the coolant temperature warms up above 167F and will deactivate cylinders if the computer determines they aren't needed. When this happens the ECO light turns on. The different muzzler devices trick the computer to believe the car hasn't warmed up fully and so cylinders are never deactivated - all 6 cylinders fire all the time and the ECO light doesn't turn on.

The S-VCM and VCMTUNER II are active devices and ensure VCM never turns on under normal conditions and also have the benefit that the computer will know the actual coolant temperature if it is in an overheating condition. VCMTUNER II is a bit more advanced in that it has some capabilities that are helpful for maintenance procedures.

Other devices are passive resistor based devices, and there are instances when you may need to change the resistance if the ECO light starts coming on more regularly. Because of the fixed resistance, the computer will always get coolant temperature data which is less than actual and since the temperature gauge on the dash isn't linear the actual coolant temperature would be higher before you would know there is an overheating condition from the dash gauge. I've personally seen no movement in the needle on my Odyssey when the temperature registered through the OBD port on my scan tool jumped from 162F to 198F when the VCMTUNER II entered maintenance mode.

I'm a big fan of VCMTUNER II as an install and forget solution - don't even need to remember to disable it for certain service and maintenance procedures like you would with the other devices.
 

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It is always cheaper in the long run to keep your car as the repairs on our Odyssey are very inexpensive. But I understand the frustrations of the unknown and all the little problems that may have developed over the years. My Ody was reliable for the first 7 years and since then little problems have arisen every couple of years: starter, side door rollers, alternator, power steering hose (high pressures side) the o-ring on the low pressure power steering pump inlet, driver side rear wheel bearing hub, and both side driveshafts. I think over the years I have spent less than $1,000 on parts to repair with my own labor and help from YouTube. Reading this forum these are all the common failures of these Odys and in this order. I can't complain in 14 years it has never left me on the side of the road.
But I don't understand the fixation to disable VCM. This summer I went on a 2,000 trip to the congested northeast with my old Ody and got 26.5 mpg, which is not bad gas mileage for a 14 year old minivan. I am an automotive engineer and drove hundreds of cars and the VCM on all Odys I've ever driven are smooth and hardly notice it engaging and disengaging. I think there are other issues going on with the engine that lead people to fear the VCM.
 

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The fixation with disabling VCM is because it causes piston rings to fail, misfires, excessive oil consumption, and premature failure of engine mounts. Doesn’t happen to everyone with VCM but it does happen enough that Honda issued an extended warranty to cover the piston ring replacement. There is no reason not to disable VCM. Everyone should do it. Even if it is working fine.
 

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But I don't understand the fixation to disable VCM. This summer I went on a 2,000 trip to the congested northeast with my old Ody and got 26.5 mpg, which is not bad gas mileage for a 14 year old minivan. I am an automotive engineer and drove hundreds of cars and the VCM on all Odys I've ever driven are smooth and hardly notice it engaging and disengaging. I think there are other issues going on with the engine that lead people to fear the VCM.
I never had an issue with it myself but decided to disable VCM as a cheap insurance.

In my own experience I never received that great of fuel economy over the 12 years I had VCM enabled, in fact it was worse than what I got with my previous van, a 2001 Town & Country which had a larger 3.8L engine and no VCM. I find now that my fuel economy in highway driving is no worse, and in many cases has been noticeably better. I suspect it might be due to the speed I drive that cylinders weren't deactivated for very long with VCM enabled, and there was frequent switching between 3 and 6 cylinders which might have been counterproductive.
 

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I have an 2007 Ody with about 175K on it and it seems to be going strong . I bought it with 125k and did not need to do anything until the last 10K miles or so . I have replaced the alternator , trans cooler lines, power steering pump and res. , rear shocks,and timing belt tensioner .I think all of those parts beside the power steering pump are all regular service items once a car gets up there. I regularly change my oil with synthetic and change the transmission oil every third oil change . To be truthful I told my wife we could get a newer one at 200k but I am having a trouble justifying getting rid of it ha.
 

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I have done a lot of research on how this happened. Honda TSB suggests it is caused by piston rings rotation on some cars such that all ring gaps aligned and allows excessive oil blow-by. But how exactly VCM would cause piston rings to rotate in the first place?

Also, on 2007 EXL (J35A7 engine), which cylinder(s) get disabled when VCM kicks in?

But I don't understand the fixation to disable VCM.
 

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I have done a lot of research on how this happened. Honda TSB suggests it is caused by piston rings rotation on some cars such that all ring gaps aligned and allows excessive oil blow-by. But how exactly VCM would cause piston rings to rotate in the first place?

Also, on 2007 EXL (J35A7 engine), which cylinder(s) get disabled when VCM kicks in?
It is normal for the piston rings to rotate around the piston - they follow the crosshatching pattern machined into the cylinder wall at the time of its manufacture. They're supposed to move. If they didn't, they'd wear a groove into the cylinder wall because the ends of the rings would be rubbing the exact same spot tens of millions of times. Even if the gaps in the piston rings line up for a moment, it's not a big deal because they just keep on rotating and the opening past the rings closes quickly.

VCM causes troubles because when a cylinder is shut down, there isn't enough pressure in the combustion chamber to force the piston rings to seal fully against the cylinder wall. So oil can blow by the rings and collect in the combustion chamber. When the cylinder eventually fires back up, there is too much oil for it to burn off cleanly and carbon deposits and sludge start to form on the valves, spark plug, cylinder head and piston rings. The more the cylinder turns off and on, the more of this oily gunk forms and stays in the combustion chamber.

If enough of this gunk collects around the piston rings, it sticks them in place and they no longer rotate freely as the engine runs. If the piston rings get stuck so that their gaps line up, oil has a straight shot past the rings and into the combustion chamber. When this happens, people will notice that their van seems to very suddenly start using lots of oil and run like a badly tuned Yugoslavian tractor. The engine will misfire, the PCM will throw a code or five and you'll get a bunch of warning lights telling you that the end times are nigh. Now, it isn't really the end of the world, but you are facing some very expensive engine repairs and multiple days without your van. And that's not good either.

All of this is avoidable by not allowing VCM to shut any of the cylinders down. We know this is true because on an engine equipped with VCM2, cylinders 5 and 6 are never deactivated - VCM2 only acts on cylinders 1-4. And as it happens, cylinders 5 and 6 never (and I mean NEVER) get gummed up. They stay as clean as any other engine that runs on all cylinders all the time. So if VCM is deactivated, then cylinders 1-4 get the same kind of life as cylinders 5 and 6. A good clean one.
 

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Thanks CroMath. Excellent explanation that makes sense. So it seems no easy way for Honda to address this issue. I also have a 2016 MDX with a J35Y5 Direct Inject. Not sure if VCM is equipped on this engine. I don't see a ECO light as my Ody has. I would certainly consider disable the VCM on both after reading your post.

It is normal for the piston rings to rotate around the piston - they follow the crosshatching pattern machined into the cylinder wall at the time of its manufacture. They're supposed to move. If they didn't, they'd wear a groove into the cylinder wall because the ends of the rings would be rubbing the exact same spot tens of millions of times. Even if the gaps in the piston rings line up for a moment, it's not a big deal because they just keep on rotating and the opening past the rings closes quickly.

VCM causes troubles because when a cylinder is shut down, there isn't enough pressure in the combustion chamber to force the piston rings to seal fully against the cylinder wall. So oil can blow by the rings and collect in the combustion chamber. When the cylinder eventually fires back up, there is too much oil for it to burn off cleanly and carbon deposits and sludge start to form on the valves, spark plug, cylinder head and piston rings. The more the cylinder turns off and on, the more of this oily gunk forms and stays in the combustion chamber.

If enough of this gunk collects around the piston rings, it sticks them in place and they no longer rotate freely as the engine runs. If the piston rings get stuck so that their gaps line up, oil has a straight shot past the rings and into the combustion chamber. When this happens, people will notice that their van seems to very suddenly start using lots of oil and run like a badly tuned Yugoslavian tractor. The engine will misfire, the PCM will throw a code or five and you'll get a bunch of warning lights telling you that the end times are nigh. Now, it isn't really the end of the world, but you are facing some very expensive engine repairs and multiple days without your van. And that's not good either.

All of this is avoidable by not allowing VCM to shut any of the cylinders down. We know this is true because on an engine equipped with VCM2, cylinders 5 and 6 are never deactivated - VCM2 only acts on cylinders 1-4. And as it happens, cylinders 5 and 6 never (and I mean NEVER) get gummed up. They stay as clean as any other engine that runs on all cylinders all the time. So if VCM is deactivated, then cylinders 1-4 get the same kind of life as cylinders 5 and 6. A good clean one.
 

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I will keep it. The engine on my 2007 EX-L is very durable speaking from my own experience. I had to take my rear bank head off to perform a valve job due to my own stupidity while doing my TB as I was slightly drunk:).

While doing my valve job, I dissembled the entire head including all valves, springs, camshaft and rocker arm assemblies to measure valve stem to guide clearance, valve seat width on ALL valves, camshaft lobe, and endplay, rocker arm wear etc... they are all squarely in spec and some are still at the "near new" end! Head and deck warpage is none... This is an engine with 115k miles. I figured if I just change oil regularly, it will just keep running.

However, I am prepared for some expensive repairs such as the two cats, AF sensors and downstream O2 sensors, and the active engine mounts. They are still good now but will fail before the engine.
 

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Thanks CroMath. Excellent explanation that makes sense. So it seems no easy way for Honda to address this issue. I also have a 2016 MDX with a J35Y5 Direct Inject. Not sure if VCM is equipped on this engine. I don't see a ECO light as my Ody has. I would certainly consider disable the VCM on both after reading your post.
The J35Y5 is equipped with VCM. I think on most Honda and Acura vehicles that have it, a VCM logo is stamped into the engine cover. That's usually the easiest way to tell if you have it.

* Edit * a quick Google search showed me that the engine cover on a 2016 Acura MDX only has an Acura logo on it. So much for that theory. But the Honda J35 Wikipedia page says the Y5 engine is a VCM engine.

It's my understanding that Honda started to implement the latest version of the VCM system (VCM3) on engines with direct injection so that they could cycle different groupings of cylinders off and on more frequently and easily, so that any wear and tear that comes from cylinder deactivation is spread more evenly across all 6 cylinders. It's easier for the PCM to change which cylinders are shut down when their fuel supplies are fully individualized. Partly because of this, and partly because Honda seems to have learned a lot from VCM2's problems in terms of manufacturing and materials and programming, VCM3 seems to be far, far better than VCM2. The feedback from gen 5 Odyssey owners, as well as newer Pilot and Ridgeline owners is that VCM isn't a very serious issue for them anymore.

Some people seem to still have some troubles with VCM but it doesn't look like they are anywhere near as common or as damaging as they used to be. I don't think disabling VCM3 should be considered urgent but if your van has VCM2 you should definitely do it.
 

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* Edit * a quick Google search showed me that the engine cover on a 2016 Acura MDX only has an Acura logo on it. So much for that theory. But the Honda J35 Wikipedia page says the Y5 engine is a VCM engine.
I certainly hope that Honda has learned enough to get it nearly right so that I don't have to do it for the MDX.

I'm an engineer. In general, I would like to keep stuff working as it's designed and tested by other engineers unless I'm also competent in the that discipline.
 
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