Honda 3.5 liter V6 oil choices

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Aug 17, 2016
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Maybe band aid was not the best term. But they implemented something that was obviously going to unbalance the engine and cause problems and then they have to engineer multiple solutions to lessen (but not totally eliminate) those problems. I actually used the VCM Tuner II, not the Muzzler.
What would you use to disable the VCM if you were going to do it?
I am not familiar with the VCM Tuner II. How does it work? Does it manipulate the cooling system temperature like the Muzzler? If I was to do it, I would do an ECU Flash.
 

harrydog

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The VCM Tuner doesn't change engine temps but shows the ECU a temp just below the threshold that allows VCM to start working. It also has safeguards that will sho the ECU the real temp is it goes above a certain point to prevent overheating and will also enable VCM if that happens. It's easily removable as well.
I'm not aware of anyone who does ECU flashes that will eliminate the VCM function but that would be the way to go, other than it would void the warranty if you had any engine problems.
 

JHZR2

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You can and should go up a grade for towing. My opinion.
This is really it. It’s common sense that operating at higher loading will result in higher sustained temperatures. High speed operations can do the same (power increases as the cube of speed).

Most routine operations are neither of these.

So it’s obvious that if the use profile will truly be long-term hard use, stepping up would be valid. For “routine” use, it’s not needed.
 

harrydog

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For anyone interested, here is how the VCM Tuner 2 works. Others are very similar but this one is the most advanced.

Before VCM is allowed to kick in and ECO mode is enabled, certain parameters must be met by the computer in your car - one of which is engine temperature.
The vcmtuner unit will override the ECT resistance value above the 160F mark. Your normal reported operating temperature is between 177-182F. That is unchanged, we are just modifying what is reported. The actual operating temperature is controlled by the vehicle thermostat.
When the engine has reached approximately 167 F the ECU will allow VCM to work and ECO mode to engage.

Upon full warmup the vcmtuner will report between 161-165F.
The vehicle goes out of warmup mode at 158F. After this the vehicle will use the o2 sensor and air intake sensor to regulate the air to fuel ratios to the 14.7:1 stoichoimetric ratio. Our modification only changes the ECT sensor values so air fuel ratios are not affected.
When out of warmup mode the ECU's will attempt to maintain a 14.7:1 ratio as close as possible after the 158F temperature.

If the vcmtuner sees a 212F temperature or higher, it will remove the override and the real temperature will be reported. The risk point for head gaskets is about 250F when operating for more than 10 minutes.
 
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I've been around here for a long time and I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I still have to wonder about the following:
All Honda engines specify 0w-20 oil. In particular, the current Honda Ridgeline, Passport, etc. with the 3.5 V6 specify 0w-20 regardless of ambient temperatures, and regardless of vehicle use. What if you're towing a 5000 lb. trailer in scorching heat and hilly terrain? I find it hard to believe that a 0w-20 would do as well in those conditions as would a heavier oil. Honda's only stipulation, other than 0w-20 weight, is that the oil must be energy conserving. That's their only concern apparently.
So, my inclination is to use a heavier oil, in the summer at least, but are these engines really designed so that heavier oil could cause problems? I think there used to be Honda websites from Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world that specified heavier oil for use in these same engines but I couldn't find any of them. I don't think there is a consensus of opinion on this website but I still would like to hear some educated opinions on the subject.
I'd appreciate it if the condescending, sarcastic comments didn't show up here, but I know some people just can't resist.:)
it's simply your choice, what ifs are just so what, if you are concerned DO IT, having hauled a boat with a ford taurus back in the day, transmissions are much more of a concern than engines. the comment is not sarcasm heavier, really is some what misleading with todays oils, don't be fooled it's 20w at operating, why would 30w be BETTER, you are assuming that 20w would suffer heat related viscosity failure, not really the case. JUST as long as the oil film is present lube is fine. I have built several hot rod engines, never had oil issues, except with an Edelbrock cam, and soft lobes were a known problem. I believe you could retain 20w if you research engine oil coolers, in the aftermarket. If the cooler is more than you want to take on, there are a multitude of euro formula oils to pick from.
 
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As others suggested the VCM Tuner II (or S-VCM) is a good idea. I've had the predecessor model (original VCM Tuner) on my Odyssey for the past 6 years and 80k+ miles. The engine still runs like new at 120k and i avoided the vibration and oil consumption issues associated with VCM activation.

Regarding which oil to use, I won't attempt to contribute to the thick vs thin discussion but I have been using various 0w20 and 5w20 synthetics interchangeably since buying it new in 2012. Even with frequent towing in hot weather (2700 lb trailer), the oil seems to hold up well and I have no reason to use a thicker oil. Besides, the owner's manual says to use 0W20 for all conditions, and that is good enough for me!

The trans fluid should be changed more frequently with towing (as others suggested). The non-towing service interval for my Ody is 30k miles, so I generally change it every 15k with full synthetic ATF. I found DW1 to degrade a little sooner than I wanted when towing, and the syn seems to last a little longer before the shifts become harsh...not really bad, but just not as smooth as they are with fresh ATF. YMMV.
 

harrydog

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I acknowledge that I haven't heard of anyone having engine problems using 20 weight oil if that's what is specified. On the other hand I don't recall ever hearing of engine problems caused by using a heavier weight than specified. Also it makes me wonder why heavier weight oils are specified in other parts of the world where there are no CAFE standards to be met. If a somewhat higher HTHS oil will do no harm I would prefer to use it, if for no other reason than peace of mind. But if using a thicker oil will actually cause problems or more wear I do want to know about it and will change my mind for sure.
 
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If I was towing 5,000 lbs in a Ridgeline or Passport on hilly terrain and scorching heat, I'd worry more about the transmission.

If a Passport or Pilot is equipped with the 5000 pound tow package a part of that package is a transmission cooler, this is a standard feature on the Ridgeline.

I plan on using up my stash of Valvoline Modern Engine 0w20, that has a KV100 of 8.8cSt, in a J35Y6 engine in a 2021 Passport Elite. I have had nothing but good results using this oil in my Subaru and Hyundai engines that are both GDI.
 
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If a Passport or Pilot is equipped with the 5000 pound tow package a part of that package is a transmission cooler, this is a standard feature on the Ridgeline.

I plan on using up my stash of Valvoline Modern Engine 0w20, that has a KV100 of 8.8cSt, in a J35Y6 engine in a 2021 Passport Elite. I have had nothing but good results using this oil in my Subaru and Hyundai engines that are both GDI.
The 3rd Generation Pilots (2016-2021) do not offer a factory tow package. It is only dealer or owner installed. Each component is a separate item such as the tow hitch, the wire harness, and the transmission cooler. If the transmission cooler is not installed, then the vehicle is not rated for 5000 lbs. The 2wd vehicles are not rated for 5000 lbs either even with the cooler added.

Along with the purchased of the transmission cooler, Honda did include a sticker to place on the vehicle showing a 5000 lb rating for towing. Not sure if they are still doing that.
 
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