Honda Variable Cylinder Management engines

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by bandman, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I have noticed that many of the people on this board are as detailed oriented as I am, in fact, some of you appear to me to be a little extreme compared to me when it comes to details. It is for this reason that I’m asking for your advice concerning a vehicle I’m considering buying this month.

    Honda and Toyota are in my opinion the Yamaha Trumpet of the automobile industry. Whereas it can be argued that they are not the very best, they are very consistent, and they make wonderful vehicles (That sounds like a Yamaha Trumpet to me!!!) I will admit that I’m a minivan guy because they are so practical. I currently drive a Toyota Sienna (which has been amazing) but I’m leaning toward the Honda Odyssey.

    My question is concerning the Honda Variable Cylinder Management 255-hp, 3.5 Liter, 24-valve, SOHC I-VTEC V-6 Engine. The concept as I understand it is that the rear 3 cylinders of the engine cut in and out automatically depending on the demands placed on the engine by the driver. This means you have 3-cylinders in use when you are cruising down the interstate, using less fuel than a normal 6-cylinder engine. All 6-cylinders cut in when you are climbing a hill, accelerating, or while driving in a city.

    I love the concept of the engine, and I really love the idea of getting 28-MPG in a van while on the road. Most of my highway driving is between Louisiana and Texas or Louisiana and Florida – that means long straight flat roads! I would probably use the 3-cylinder mode on the engine pretty much!

    My question for you is does anyone have experience owning or working on one of these Variable Cylinder Management Engines? They sound great, but they also sound like they could be a potentially expensive engine to work on because it will probably take a special mechanic to fix any problems I might have.

    By the way, Cadillac apparently over produced the SRX version of their SUV line for 2004. I drove one today and it is fantastic, but it just does not meet the needs I have right now. My family is at the point where I’m carrying friends of my daughter around. A 6-7 passenger van is important to us at this time and the SRX just doesn’t carry that many kids. The SRX stickers for about $54,000 and they are going off the lot at about $34,000 right now (with discount and rebates). If you want a fantastic mid-size SUV, and you have $34,000 to put into a new car, you might want to make a trip to your Cadillac dealer this week!
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    This idea has been around for a while now and I believe there are many American cars coming out with similar designs. I wouldn't worry about finding someone to work on one of these cars. Look at the Mazdas with the rotary engines. Now that must be a pain to fix if something goes wrong. That new Honda will be under warranty for a long time and Hondas don't break down. Just change the oil and fluids and you should be fine. I drive and Acura with a DOHC VTEC motor and I think it is fantastic!
  3. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Bleh, gone are the days when your dad and you could just go out and figure out the problem.

    Cars today are jumbles of WAY too much crap. The car companies have made it to where only their mechanics can work on the vehicles, for prices UNGODLY (Several hundred dollars an HOUR? Do those bastards use gilded tools?).

    I would suggest asking your shadetree mechanics in the area if they know how to work with those engines (Great time to make a friend while doing that!). Also, there are car review sites around the net that will give you a good idea about how it will be after a couple thousand miles.

    Hell, I wish Geos were still around. I missed those awesome cars by a generation....

  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    There is no need to take your brand new Honda to the shadetree mechanic. If anything major went wrong it would be under warranty. And I doubt anything major is going to go wrong on a new Honda.


    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    There is a good reason for that. It is called warranty work. A good friend of mine is a GM/Subaru dealer. The warranty book says they can charge 3 hours for a 5 hour job. This is to cut the costs of the warranty to the manufacturer. Also, they cannot charge a different rate for warranty work than the regular work.

    This is a big headache for most dealers. The high repair prices at the dealer are caused by the manufacturer wanting to spend less on the warranty periods.

    I bought a new VW Beetle Turbo Diesel right after 9/11 because my car was totaled in the accident that ripped up my back. I drove it off the lot and the check engine light came on. I was 50 miles away. They said as long as the light doesn't flash, it was OK to drive. I drove it back to the dealer. The turbo was not working. It took them 8 days to get the parts and fix it. In the meantime I was driving a rental car at their expense.

    Warranty covered it -- but wow, the company must have lost money on me. If you want reasonably priced repairs, find a good mechanic outside the dealership. The manufacturers can no longer withhold information about their cars from independents (they tried to). So you local mechanic can even go to Honda or GM's schools if they want.

    I have one here that works on my Mazda (I sold the VW for top dollar when gas was over $2.00 a gallon -- the car was rated at 50 mpg) that does great work for less than half of the dealership.

  6. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    So let's change the questions a little. I have decided that I'll buy the 6-year, 120,000 extended warranty to calm my fears about expensive repairs. This engine is still new to teh market, so do you think it will have more problems than an normal engine? It's still going to be a pain in the tail if if leaves us stranded.
  7. laurie

    laurie Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2005
    Gday Bandman
    I have been lurking here for a few days as I am new to this site. I dont think you will have any need for shade tree mechanics or extended warranties. Hondas are an exceptionally well engineered vehicle and their build quality is second to none. I have worked and taught in the auto trade(panel and paint) for a long time and can tell you that Hondas have an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity. The auto engineers I teach with believe them to be the best on the market bar none! I have a Honda 1100cc bike with 200,000ks on the clock and it still runs beautifully.
    Now, if only would build trumpets...............
  8. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I'll add myself to the list of those who say "don't sweat it too much". Cars are so much more reliable today than they used to be that it's actually hurting car sales. New cars aren't selling because older cars are lasting so much longer. Used cars are demanding premium prices because they are still in good condition. I remember when 100,000 miles was exceptional; now I'm driving a '95 Bonneville with 327,000 km (just over 200,000 miles) on the clock and ONLY THREE TUNEUPS! It still starts when it's been "cold soaked" at 20 or 30 below overnight, still gets mileage as good as when it was new, and still is capable of burying the needle. The oil pressure was starting to drop a bit at hot idle but a simple switch from 5W30 to 10W30 cured that. By the time I'll be replacing it they probably won't be making them any longer (I can already see the G6 becoming their "big" model).

    We have the Japanese auto industry to thank for that kind of reliability... Toyota and Honda most particularly. They forced North American makers into building better cars. I only wish someone would find a way to make a rubber door weatherstrip that wouldn't slowly shrink and pull away at the corners!!!! After all, man has been in space.

    (horrible image.... Boeing 747 flying over the Atlantic Ocean with air whistling through a gap in the door where the seal pulled away....UGH!)
  9. jpkaminga

    jpkaminga Pianissimo User

    Jul 1, 2004
    I wouldn't worry about the vtec engine, it has been around for over ten years, and honda engineering has one of the best reputations in the world.
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    Oct 21, 2003
    It is not going to have any problems. Show me a Honda engine that has "problems". I don't know of any.

    I think you would be wasting your money on an extended warranty. Accords and Civics will go 200,000 miles plus easily on fluid changes and a timing belt at 100,000. VTEC has been around forever and this new feature that shuts down a couple of cylinders has been in development for a long time and is not specific to Honda. There are other cars on the market with similar features. Just buy the Honda and change the oil.


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