Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

[2014 thread bumped in 2020 --admin LadyGeek]

This has come up in a couple forum threads regarding Honda vehicles with the V-6 engine, since Honda starting using the VCM (variable cylinder management) technology in these engines. Affected vehicles include Accord, Odyssey, and Pilot with the V-6 VCM engine. VCM improves gas mileage my shutting down some cylinders at cruising speeds to use less fuel.

There is chatter on various websites that suggests that some owners of these vehicles have experienced noise, vibration or shudder, and also engine sludge and abnormal oil consumption. This is apparently due to defects in the VCM system in which these symptoms occur due to the cylinders that kick on and off at certain speeds. All kinds of "fixes" seem to have been applied but unknown if problem has been resolved.

I'm a long term Honda guy and have been contemplating purchase of a new Honda or Acura with this V-6 engine, so I'm rather concerned about the issue. So far, I've only seen it mentioned on the internet but I've not heard from anyone personally that they've experienced this problem. Only personal feedback I have is from a relative who has owned a couple Odysseys with that engine and he says he's never noticed anything. He just spent $56K for a new 2014 Acura MDX that has that engine and has about 4,000 miles without noticing anything.

Would like to hear from anyone with one of these vehicles whether they've had any problems of this nature. Really want to buy a new Honda or Acura but afraid to move ahead until I have more information on this issue.
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Busting Myths
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Busting Myths »

No personal experience to contribute but you will get a better response at http://www.piloteers.org/ which is the Honda Pilot Forum.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Gary »

I own a 2008 Accord with a V6 engine and I’ve been very happy with it. I really haven’t encountered any abnormal noises, vibrations, or shudders. Oil consumption has been normal. Gas mileage is okay, but not great.

However, two weeks ago the engine had a fouled spark plug caused by oil leaking into one of the cylinders. There was a factory notice on this and Honda fixed it free of charge. The solution was to replace four piston rings for the variable cylinders.

--Gary
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

Browser, I've read a lot on this topic, and I'm concerned as well. I have yet to see an Acura with VCM-2 have a significant issue. I'm concerned, however, that it's just because there are fewer Acuras with VCM. The drive train has a 7 year, 100k mile warranty. If you buy one, make certain to document the service history well.

As concerned as I am about the problem itself, I'm disappointed by the way Honda has handled some of the complaints. Really, it had to come to a class action suit??? They should be ashamed. I think they should push the warranty out to 10 years/120k miles on anything VCM related, or they should allow programming to shut it off. The mileage gain isn't that significant, but it may be on a fleet basis.

Having said that, I have little doubt that some people don't check their engine oil enough, relying on the Maintenance Minder, which exacerbated the problem. There's a reason owner's manuals advise to check the oil level at EVERY fill-up; apparently that reason is to allow car manufacturers to slither out of their warranties.

If I were in the market for a new MDX, I'd wait for a 2015, and allow the Alabama plant to do their minor model tweaks--there is usually a big quality up with the 2nd model year, with most engineering changes going unnoticed to the average buyer.

If I had to buy an RDX right now, or any other VCM-2 Acura, as I said, I'd make certain I well documented all service work, oh, and check the oil frequently.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by yatesd »

I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey with a V6 VCM engine (about 120K on odo)

Good: No engine issues whatsoever (sliding doors, power steering pump, brakes, air conditioning, and PAX tires are issues)

Bad: No discernible gas mileage benefit.

That being said, my engine was first gen VCM. Essentially it works as either a 3 cylinder or 6 cylinder. It rarely helps above 60MPH on the highway. Since I drive 65-80MPH it does me no good. In fact, my Honda is the worst car I have ever owned for actual gas mileage vs real world. At the time it was rated 20/27. I believe we average around 17.5MPG.

The newer versions are more sophisticated and switch between 3-4-6 cylinders. For this reason, they probably actually help in real world driving (not just theoretical).

So to summarize. No reliability issues with VCM and really haven't seen any issues on http://www.odyclub.org It may not help much with gas mileage.

Net-Net: Non-issue
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

Gary wrote:However, two weeks ago the engine had a fouled spark plug caused by oil leaking into one of the cylinders. There was a factory notice on this and Honda fixed it free of charge. The solution was to replace four piston rings for the variable cylinders.
Gary, if you don't mind, how many miles are on your Accord? I'm concerned the VCM problem is really going to cast a pall over resale prices in the used car market. Like the automatic transmission problem, once the class action was in place, Honda serviced the original buyer fairly well, but many used buyers took it on the chin. The class action remedy is only good for 8 years after original purchase.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

yatesd wrote:Net-Net: Non-issue
Good to hear. There is some speculation that the VCM issue manifests itself more with those who drive many shorter trips, in which the engine often does not get to normal operating temperature. Whether it is due to ring seal in the colder cylinders, I have no idea, and I doubt if Honda does either. That could be why the problem isn't more prevalent.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by TheOscarGuy »

Frugal Al wrote:.

If I were in the market for a new MDX, I'd wait for a 2015, and allow the Alabama plant to do their minor model tweaks--there is usually a big quality up with the 2nd model year, with most engineering changes going unnoticed to the average buyer.
This has been a Honda Pilot problem, and RDX problem. It does not generally apply to Accura, and certainly this is the first time I have heard someone mention MDX and VCM (and ofcourse problem!) in the same sentence.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

TheOscarGuy wrote:This has been a Honda Pilot problem, and RDX problem. It does not generally apply to Accura, and certainly this is the first time I have heard someone mention MDX and VCM (and ofcourse problem!) in the same sentence.
There have been some complaints about the MDX and RDX as well, but not to the extent of the Honda branded products. Perhaps I read too much into Browser's post, but I know he's been considering the RDX.

The American market Honda V-6s come out of the Anna, Ohio engine plant, with the VCM models being versions of J35 engine. VCM-2 is VCM-2, be it Honda or Acura. If there is any tweaking done on the Acura's to make them more reliable, Honda has been mum about it, and I doubt there has been any tweaking. If the problem somehow does NOT involve the Acura line, Honda really needs to point that out.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

Seems like auto manufacturers are adopting various technologies to goose mileage figures. There's VCM, CVT, 9-speed transmissions that I'm aware of. I'm concerned that this stuff depends on more complex mechanical/electronic designs and configurations, and have concerns about the durability and performance with wear and tear as autos age. Stuff that might work OK when vehicles are new might not hold up very well with wear, increased tolerances, etc. While CVT is being increasingly adopted, Honda is the only manufacturer using VCM - why is that? They've got a strong reputation for reliability and dependability and an awful lot of cars on the road with VCM engines in them, so the whole future of the Honda brand is literally riding on this technology. Not very likely they'll have much to say publically. I'd sure like to see a mainstream press article or two on this by maybe one of the big auto magazines. I hate the thought that new vehicles easily cost $30K, $40K and above, which seem like a rather huge sum to me, and we don't really seem to have very good information on which to base buying decisions. Frankly, I'm still driving a 2002 CRV that runs like a tank and now I'm thinking I'd be better off just driving this thing into the ground and forgetting about a new vehicle.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

I take it back. Apparently, GM and Chrysler have both been using cylinder deactivation technology for years also. Here's an interesting piece I ran across pertaining to the oil use problems associated with it:
The Active Fuel Management system that GMC/Chevy has used for years, is well known to excessively use oil. For years, GM has touted the AFM system as their way to save consumers fuel. It basically shuts down cylinders when not in use. It isn’t a new techology and has been around since the end of WWII. Yet, for the last several years that GM has used it, owners have complained about excessive oil use.

The reason seems to be that when the engine deactivates a cylinder, the oil doesn’t simply sit in the head, it either gets pushed out of the shaft or soaks into the rings. This then causes a loss of oil.

Lastly, and worth noting, Honda owners are having similar issues with their Variable Cylinder Management (otherwise known as cylinder deactivation).
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Frugal Al wrote:
Gary wrote:However, two weeks ago the engine had a fouled spark plug caused by oil leaking into one of the cylinders. There was a factory notice on this and Honda fixed it free of charge. The solution was to replace four piston rings for the variable cylinders.
Gary, if you don't mind, how many miles are on your Accord? I'm concerned the VCM problem is really going to cast a pall over resale prices in the used car market. Like the automatic transmission problem, once the class action was in place, Honda serviced the original buyer fairly well, but many used buyers took it on the chin. The class action remedy is only good for 8 years after original purchase.
My Accord has 96,000 miles on it. I also had a fouled spark plug two years ago at around 60,000 miles. The symptoms back then were exactly the same as what I just experienced. The Honda dealership replaced the plug that time and I had no other issues until now.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the Accord and if I had to do it over again, I’d still buy it. Of course, if I had to pay for the major engine work I would probably have a different opinion. But there is a simple alternative. I would just replace the spark plugs every 25,000 miles and not do the repair.

Hope this helps.

--Gary
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Stonebr »

Consumer Reports latest Auto issue has negative things to say about the V6 Accord reliability. They love the Accord, of course, but not the EX-LV6.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

If it were just a matter of fouled plugs, I don't think I'd be too concerned. However, in some Honda vehicles with that V-6 there are reports of high oil consumption, plug and valve fouling, shudder or vibration and noise apparently related to the engine running on just 3 or 4 cylinders. I would be pretty unhappy if I were experiencing more than one of these issues. Being under warranty isn't much solace because you have to take it in for service and then wrangle with the service department. In many instances I'm sure they dismiss the shudder and vibration and noise issues as subjective on your part unless they are pretty extreme (and they may not be, but still bug you), or else get into a bunch of different maintenance fixes that might not remedy the symptoms because they don't address the real cause.
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Consumer Reports

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Browser:

I just received the April New Car Issue of Consumer Reports. They do not recommend the "Honda Accord EX_L(V6)" primarily because of "Predicted reliability."

The Honda LX (4-cyl) is recommended--topped only by the Toyota Camry in the "midsized sedans" category.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by arsenalfan »

Have 2006 Honda Odyssey, 86k miles now - same as yatesd above. VCM has been fine, no issues, pretty much normal mpg.
I guess you're paying more attention to the newer VCM engines, though...
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Re: Consumer Reports

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Taylor Larimore wrote:Browser:

I just received the April New Car Issue of Consumer Reports. They do not recommend the "Honda Accord EX_L(V6)" primarily because of "Predicted reliability."

The Honda LX (4-cyl) is recommended--topped only by the Toyota Camry in the "midsized sedans" category.

Best wishes.
Taylor
I saw that too Taylor. They didn't really give any details about the below average reliability rating but since the 4 cyl version has a high rating I guess you have to assume it's the engine. But they don't give any specifics, and I wish they had.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

OCTOBER 22, 2013 UPDATE: American Honda has agreed to a class-action lawsuit which accuses the manufacturer of producing 1,593,755 vehicles that excessively burn oil and need frequent spark plug changes.

As part of the settlement, Honda will extend the powertrain warranty on these models for eight yers from the time of purchase or lease with no lileage limits. Honda will also reimburse customers who had to pay out-of-pocket expenses for related repairs such as spark plugs, pistons or even entirely new engines (with limitations).

The settlement covers the following vehicles equipped with six-cylinder engines (U.S. models only):

2008-12 Accord
2008-13 Odyssey
2009-13 Pilot
2010-11 Accord Crosstour
2012 Crosstour
http://www.hondaproblems.com/problems/e ... tion.shtml
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Re: Consumer Reports

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Browser wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:Browser:

I just received the April New Car Issue of Consumer Reports. They do not recommend the "Honda Accord EX_L(V6)" primarily because of "Predicted reliability."

The Honda LX (4-cyl) is recommended--topped only by the Toyota Camry in the "midsized sedans" category.

Best wishes.
Taylor
I saw that too Taylor. They didn't really give any details about the below average reliability rating but since the 4 cyl version has a high rating I guess you have to assume it's the engine. But they don't give any specifics, and I wish they had.
Browser:

I am glad you read the Consumer Report car issue. I always try to use Consumer Reports when I don't know much about a product (which is most of the time).

In my opinion, unless you will be driving on very hilly or mountainous roads, today's 4-cylinder engines are more than adequate--and usually cheaper to buy and maintain.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

Gary wrote: ...if I had to pay for the major engine work I would probably have a different opinion. But there is a simple alternative. I would just replace the spark plugs every 25,000 miles and not do the repair.
It would be great if it were that easy, and for some owners it may be. For others the VCM problem has caused collateral damage, including failed motor mounts and fouled catalytic converter.

I agree with Taylor, the 4 cylinder Hondas are adequate for most. They are great engines for the most part, other than engine block cracking problem on the Civic a few years back. I believe that problem is out of the system now.

The perfect manufacturer doesn't exist. It's how they handle issues that differentiates the good from the bad. Sadly, I'm beginning to think they're all bad.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Frugal Al wrote:
Gary wrote: ...if I had to pay for the major engine work I would probably have a different opinion. But there is a simple alternative. I would just replace the spark plugs every 25,000 miles and not do the repair.
It would be great if it were that easy, and for some owners it may be. For others the VCM problem has caused collateral damage, including failed motor mounts and fouled catalytic converter.

I agree with Taylor, the 4 cylinder Hondas are adequate for most. They are great engines for the most part, other than engine block cracking problem on the Civic a few years back. I believe that problem is out of the system now.

The perfect manufacturer doesn't exist. It's how they handle issues that differentiates the good from the bad. Sadly, I'm beginning to think they're all bad.
Yeh. I've always had a lot of confidence in Honda but now my bubble is bursting. I think you have to assume you're going to have some sticky problems with anything you buy these days and plan accordingly. I'm not sure what that means exactly, except that you might be wanting to get rid of your new car sooner than you thought so maybe you ought to buy with that in mind.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by coffeehubcap »

Here's a great website where you can get info on recalls, problems, complaints etc.

www.safercar.gov
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Browser wrote: Yeh. I've always had a lot of confidence in Honda but now my bubble is bursting. I think you have to assume you're going to have some sticky problems with anything you buy these days and plan accordingly. I'm not sure what that means exactly, except that you might be wanting to get rid of your new car sooner than you thought so maybe you ought to buy with that in mind.
You mean just Honda Pilots, correct? Again, the VCM problem has not been an issue with any other models but Pilot and RDX. If a particular vehicle has an issue, its perfectly fine to stay away from it. But extrapolating that the brand in general has issues will make you quickly reject almost all vehicles ever produced.

Every single car company is going to oppose recalls as much as possible:
1. unintended acceleration (Toyota)
2. VCM problem (Honda) and more recently,
3. "something went wrong" per GM CEO (GM)

With Toyota's legal issues and the size of settlement, maybe its going to push car companies to address issues more proactively and issue recalls just to be on the safer side.

In general, Honda has pretty reliable vehicles overall. If you want to wait till they come up with 2015 models, you can. Its likely they'll address VCM issue.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by dpc »

I have a 2012 Pilot with VCM. I have not had any issues yet. You can sometimes feel a slight shudder or vibration when it switches, but it's never been a concern. I've had an odd issue with the Check Engine light coming on intermittently, but that seems to have resolved itself. The code for that was related to the fuel system, not VCM. I did learn that when the Check Engine light is on, the VCM is disabled. The VCM results in really good highway mileage for a vehicle of this size and weight. When driving on the freeway, I get between 25 and 27 mpg. Better than I got in my Ford Escape that weighed 1000 pounds less. So far, so good.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

TheOscarGuy wrote:You mean just Honda Pilots, correct? Again, the VCM problem has not been an issue with any other models but Pilot and RDX.
OscarGuy, a US District Court says otherwise:
http://www.autonews.com/article/2013102 ... ning-claim
http://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA913971022.PDF
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Frugal Al wrote:
TheOscarGuy wrote:You mean just Honda Pilots, correct? Again, the VCM problem has not been an issue with any other models but Pilot and RDX.
OscarGuy, a US District Court says otherwise:
http://www.autonews.com/article/2013102 ... ning-claim
http://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA913971022.PDF
Interesting. Thanks for sharing the links.
The problem just manifests differently in Honda vehicles I suppose. Ask a Subaru owner, I am sure they will say that that much oil burning is pretty standard :wink:

This doesn't sway me from Hondas though. I bought a CRV recently and it remains to be seen if its as good reliability-wise as my Nissan Altima. But I have confidence that it will be.

I should be in the market for another SUV in 2-3 years and will look at Honda and Acura offerings closely. The mid-sized SUVs particularly have ballooned in terms of pricing, and Honda maintains the edge in the price Dept. at least for now.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

TheOscarGuy wrote:
Frugal Al wrote:
TheOscarGuy wrote:You mean just Honda Pilots, correct? Again, the VCM problem has not been an issue with any other models but Pilot and RDX.
OscarGuy, a US District Court says otherwise:
http://www.autonews.com/article/2013102 ... ning-claim
http://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA913971022.PDF
Interesting. Thanks for sharing the links.
The problem just manifests differently in Honda vehicles I suppose. Ask a Subaru owner, I am sure they will say that that much oil burning is pretty standard :wink:

This doesn't sway me from Hondas though. I bought a CRV recently and it remains to be seen if its as good reliability-wise as my Nissan Altima. But I have confidence that it will be.

I should be in the market for another SUV in 2-3 years and will look at Honda and Acura offerings closely. The mid-sized SUVs particularly have ballooned in terms of pricing, and Honda maintains the edge in the price Dept. at least for now.
CRV is probably OK, as it has the 4-cyl engine. If it's anywhere near as good as my 2002 you should be driving it a long time.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Kenkat »

Having just purchased a 2014 Odyssey with the V-6 VCM last week, this is all just a bit disconcerting. I haven't been able to determine if there were any changes made by Honda to address this issue for the 2014 models.

I was shocked by how much they were discounting the Odyssey - almost $5000 off MSRP - which is unheard of for Honda. I wonder if this issue was the reason.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by DTSC »

I personally had a problem with it. 2008 Odyssey. Spark plug fouled up after about 25,000 miles and got replaced. Had problem with it again at about 45,000 miles. Fortunately, dealer got Honda to replace part of the engine at no cost to me.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by yatesd »

kenschmidt wrote:Having just purchased a 2014 Odyssey with the V-6 VCM last week, this is all just a bit disconcerting. I haven't been able to determine if there were any changes made by Honda to address this issue for the 2014 models.

I was shocked by how much they were discounting the Odyssey - almost $5000 off MSRP - which is unheard of for Honda. I wonder if this issue was the reason.
I wouldn't be concerned. Honda minivan prices have crept up the last few years and they probably found out that not too many people want to pay over $40K for a minivan.

This engine has been around for a while and should be bulletproof. Around 2007-2008 is when the VCM was enhanced with the 3-4-6 capability, so even this version has been around for over 6 years.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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kenschmidt wrote:Having just purchased a 2014 Odyssey with the V-6 VCM last week, this is all just a bit disconcerting. I haven't been able to determine if there were any changes made by Honda to address this issue for the 2014 models.

I was shocked by how much they were discounting the Odyssey - almost $5000 off MSRP - which is unheard of for Honda. I wonder if this issue was the reason.
Which model? Edmunds True Market Value price shows as about $3,000 off the Touring with MSRP of $42,700. $5K seems like a lot.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

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Browser wrote:
kenschmidt wrote:Having just purchased a 2014 Odyssey with the V-6 VCM last week, this is all just a bit disconcerting. I haven't been able to determine if there were any changes made by Honda to address this issue for the 2014 models.

I was shocked by how much they were discounting the Odyssey - almost $5000 off MSRP - which is unheard of for Honda. I wonder if this issue was the reason.
Which model? Edmunds True Market Value price shows as about $3,000 off the Touring with MSRP of $42,700. $5K seems like a lot.
It is an Odyssey EX. MSRP is $32,995. I used Truecar which gave me a price of $29,500 or so. Carsdirect gave an almost identical price. When I went to one of the dealers to test drive, he mentioned he could do better than Truecar. I said ok, let us think about it. A week or so later, I emailed the three dealers who contacted me through Truecar and asked for pricing. They all came back around $1,000 lower than Truecar. One other dealer we contacted came back at $1,300 under Truecar. The original dealer I test drove with said "let me know how my pricing looks - we really want your business". So I went back with the $1,300 below Truecar offer and they beat it by another $100. After that price, nobody would put a price in email, saying "come in and we will work a deal for you". So I took the original dealer's offer - they had the exact vehicle we wanted. $28,106.

This experience made me re-think Truecar, Edmunds, Carsdirect, etc. I'm not sure you want to go into a dealer with your Truecar certificate and say here's what I am willing to pay.

I just wonder if some of the quality issues are slowing sales. Or maybe it was just a hard winter. I know car sales have been pretty bad overall.
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

Thanks for that information about Truecar pricing. You say you originally contacted these dealers through Truecar and they came in with lower prices? That might be a good way to get the bidding going. Good luck with your Odyssey. My cousin has owned a couple post-2008 Odysseys and has never had problems. However, he only holds onto his cars for a couple years so maybe he's traded out before any trouble. The plug fouling thing apparently tends to show up after 25K or so, which would be a couple years driving. The shake, rattle, and roll symptoms apparently happen to some people but not the majority. I've been looking hard at an Acura RDX but this VCM thing has me bugged, so I'm trying to get some reassurance before buying one.
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Frugal Al
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Frugal Al »

TheOscarGuy wrote:The problem just manifests differently in Honda vehicles I suppose. Ask a Subaru owner, I am sure they will say that that much oil burning is pretty standard :wink:

This doesn't sway me from Hondas though. I bought a CRV recently and it remains to be seen if its as good reliability-wise as my Nissan Altima. But I have confidence that it will be.
The oil burning issue is interesting; expectations as to what is considered normal and what people have experienced in other vehicles can obviously play a role. As you point out, people with boxer engined vehicles know their cars often burn more oil than a more conventional engine, and usually think little of it.

One of the issues brought up in the many threads on the VCM problems, is that it's possible some Honda owners only check their oil when the MM tell them it's time to change it, and that has contributed to the problem, since the oil loss can come on rather suddenly. Well, if I've owned a vehicle for 3 or 4 years and it only burns a half liter in 7000 miles, why should I check it at EVERY fill-up? Honda's position: Well it's because our owner's manual says to (it says that in virtually all mfrr's manuals), and you didn't follow the owner's manual did you? Me: Uh, no.

I'm not at all trying to impugn Honda, but I want them to solve their issues properly. BTW, I currently also own a CR-V, and an Acura with the dreaded transmission problem. Although I haven't experienced any issues with the transmission, I certainly would never trust the car on a cross country trip. Other than that, it's been a great car. Still, I wish I could trust it. Why would anyone that keeps their vehicles for a long time want to buy one of the vehicles with VCM issues. Does the fact that the engine might fail and throw a code that Honda will deem "claim worthy" matter if you're in the middle of Death Valley? Not much to me.
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Browser
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Browser »

Why would anyone that keeps their vehicles for a long time want to buy one of the vehicles with VCM issues. Does the fact that the engine might fail and throw a code that Honda will deem "claim worthy" matter if you're in the middle of Death Valley? Not much to me
Exactly. Why would anyone buy a Honda-build vehicle unless they wanted to keep it awhile? If I traded every 2-3 years, I wouldn't be so picky. That aside, I'm concerned about what the warranty does and does not cover on vehicles. If you have a loose motor mount, for example, are they going to say that is normal wear-and-tear and not subject to warranty coverage? Are they going to say that burning a quart of oil every 1000 miles is normal for that vehicle and not cover any repairs? Are they going to say that a vibration or noise at certain speeds or driving conditions is normal? Not to mention the hassle of taking the vehicle in for diagnosis and repair, perhaps repeatedly. I want a hassle-free vehicle that only needs routine scheduled maintenance, at least while it's less than a few years old and under 100K miles. Honda engines are not scheduled for spark plug changes until 100,000 miles. I don't want to have to change them before then if that's what the maintenance schedule says. My CRV plugs were changed at about 100K when the valve clearances were adjusted as well. Had a small valve cover gasket leak at 160K and had that done and for some reason decided to change the plugs at the same time just in case. They were fine, but it cost over $10 per plug plus the labor charge to change them out.
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dpc
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by dpc »

FWIW, I have no idea how the older models work, but with the 2012, the VCM does not engage until the engine is warmed up. Around town in the winter, it generally doesn't come on until just before i get to work. It also switches off at a slight push of the accelerator pedal.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers
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Kenkat
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by Kenkat »

Browser wrote:Thanks for that information about Truecar pricing. You say you originally contacted these dealers through Truecar and they came in with lower prices?
Yes, exactly. I just sort of ignored the Truecar price and asked for pricing on the particular model I was interested in. That would not have necessarily occurred to me if the first dealer hadn't mentioned it - although I might have eventually gotten to that point eventually.
Browser wrote:I want a hassle-free vehicle that only needs routine scheduled maintenance, at least while it's less than a few years old and under 100K miles.
Totally agree. That's the expectation.
bsn321
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by bsn321 »

Hi all -

I have a 2012 Odyssey with 49k miles, code P0303 showing. Will investigate a misfire issue covered under extended warranty. However, the lawsuit specifically states those vehicles equipped with a "VCM-2" motor. My Odyssey motor is labeled "VCM", not "VCM-2".

Is there a difference?

Many thanks -
Brad
2009odyvcm
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by 2009odyvcm »

I had a problem. thankfully my dealer service called the honda regional and pleaded my case. Honda replaced my short block, but I paid a thousand for rebuilding my cylinder heads. The class action suit names the vehile models and years the vcm engine problems are covered until the eight year no mileage limit powertrain warranty.

I suspect a small percentage of Engines built in Georgia had this problem. Mine burnt oil from the start. Assume oil lost through the rings or exhaust gasket. Honda will tell u it is within normal range to lose a quart every thousand miles. I think they hope u lose the vehicle before the motor fails. The check engine light will start to come on with a misfire, normally on cylinder 1, code 0301. Under the class action suit, Honda will pay to replace the plug and clear the error. Finally at 165k miles, my extended warranty expired, and almost six years from when I bought it, they could not get rid of the check engine code and determined the engine had a problem.

I assume they have corrected the issue since 2013. Lots of owners didnt have a problem, but I was not lucky, except that my service agent got Honda to pay for the block and labor. A compression test did no good to determine the problem. I hate those that assume I did something wrong. I had oil changes at the dealer every two months since i wanted to maintain my extended warranty. I now dont want to buy a vehicle that loses oil and want to test drive to check the dipstick. Hopefully Honda breaks in the engines and checks for oil loss before they put them into vehicle.
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deanbrew
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by deanbrew »

yatesd wrote:I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey with a V6 VCM engine (about 120K on odo)

Good: No engine issues whatsoever (sliding doors, power steering pump, brakes, air conditioning, and PAX tires are issues)

Bad: No discernible gas mileage benefit.

That being said, my engine was first gen VCM. Essentially it works as either a 3 cylinder or 6 cylinder. It rarely helps above 60MPH on the highway. Since I drive 65-80MPH it does me no good. In fact, my Honda is the worst car I have ever owned for actual gas mileage vs real world. At the time it was rated 20/27. I believe we average around 17.5MPG.

The newer versions are more sophisticated and switch between 3-4-6 cylinders. For this reason, they probably actually help in real world driving (not just theoretical).

So to summarize. No reliability issues with VCM and really haven't seen any issues on http://www.odyclub.org It may not help much with gas mileage.

Net-Net: Non-issue
We owned a 2008 Odyssey and now a 2014 Odyssey, both with VCM. In the old van, I could notice a slight shudder which was probably the VCM disabling some cylinders. The transmission was generally a bit jerky, however, overall. Our new Odyssey is much smoother to drive, with no jerkiness shifting between gears or when the VCM works. I can't even tell when the cylinders are disabled (according to the Odyssey forum I visit, the "ECO" light is not an indication of VCM working - I don't know that for sure, though), and there is no hesitation or jerking when the ECO light comes on.

As for fuel efficiency, there is no comparison between the two vans. The new Odyssey is larger, but we are getting significantly better fuel mileage. In our old van, we got about 18 around town and 20-21 on trips. With the new van, we get about 20 around town and a surprising 24 to 27 on highway trips. Our 2014 van has a 6-speed tranny, as compared to a 5-speed one in the 2008 model.

Overall, I don't know that the VCM is a better solution than adding another gear to the transmission. But I'm also not scared about it. I've had no issues with it, and if it weren't for some very vocal people on some internet forums, I doubt many people would know/think/believe/suspect there were any issues with it. New vehicles are terrifically complex and costly, and worrying about VCM strikes me as a bit anal. With any vehicle purchase, you assume certain unknowns and risks.
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danjoe22
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by danjoe22 »

2010 Honda Accord 6cyl vcm. At 53300 miles driving on high way, engine light goes on, engine starts misfiring and running rough. Pull over and AAA tows car to nearest service center. They run the code and it is a fouled plug in cylinder 3. They advise me there is a recall on this problem. When home take it to a Honda dealer. They replace plugs 1,2,and 4 but tell me I cannot be reimbursed because the service station erased the code. I call Honda of America, they give me a case number and promise reimbursement. It has been 3 months and no reimbursement. I sent them an email asking what the status of my claim is and no response. Sounds like they were not really as concerned as I understood them to be. Is Honda just another car company that does not care about their customers? Beginning to look like it to me. What do forum members think? What would you do next?
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munemaker
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by munemaker »

Frugal Al wrote:
TheOscarGuy wrote:The problem just manifests differently in Honda vehicles I suppose. Ask a Subaru owner, I am sure they will say that that much oil burning is pretty standard :wink:

This doesn't sway me from Hondas though. I bought a CRV recently and it remains to be seen if its as good reliability-wise as my Nissan Altima. But I have confidence that it will be.
The oil burning issue is interesting; expectations as to what is considered normal and what people have experienced in other vehicles can obviously play a role. As you point out, people with boxer engined vehicles know their cars often burn more oil than a more conventional engine, and usually think little of it.

One of the issues brought up in the many threads on the VCM problems, is that it's possible some Honda owners only check their oil when the MM tell them it's time to change it, and that has contributed to the problem, since the oil loss can come on rather suddenly. Well, if I've owned a vehicle for 3 or 4 years and it only burns a half liter in 7000 miles, why should I check it at EVERY fill-up? Honda's position: Well it's because our owner's manual says to (it says that in virtually all mfrr's manuals), and you didn't follow the owner's manual did you? Me: Uh, no.

I'm not at all trying to impugn Honda, but I want them to solve their issues properly. BTW, I currently also own a CR-V, and an Acura with the dreaded transmission problem. Although I haven't experienced any issues with the transmission, I certainly would never trust the car on a cross country trip. Other than that, it's been a great car. Still, I wish I could trust it. Why would anyone that keeps their vehicles for a long time want to buy one of the vehicles with VCM issues. Does the fact that the engine might fail and throw a code that Honda will deem "claim worthy" matter if you're in the middle of Death Valley? Not much to me.
I have owned a number of Hondas, and they all seem to use a little oil. In the case of my current car, a 2009 Honda CRV, the Maintenance Minder says to change the oil around 12,000 miles. I don't think you can expect to go 12,000 miles without adding a little oil along the way. It says to change the oil filter at every other oil change, but I change it every time...overkill perhaps, but it makes me feel better.

Oh, another thing. I have 155,000 miles on it with the original spark plugs. Twice I asked the dealer to change the plugs when I had it in for service. Both times they told me not to have them changed if the car is running well. Seems odd for a dealer to not want to perform the service recommended by the manufacturer, as it is in the owner's manual and service manual. My guess is the recommended spark plug change must be for emission purposes, and we don't check emissions where I live.

You are not alone in not checking the oil at each fill up. I notice that a lot of people don't, especially in the winter.
leguan44
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by leguan44 »

yes im having the vcm problems, not sure how to fix it , don't want to goto a dealer any advise
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Re: Anyone experienced problems with Honda V-6 VCM engines?

Post by LadyGeek »

leguan44, Welcome!

FYI - You are bumping a 2014 thread.
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