2009 Honda Accord Consumer Review: VCM (variable cylinder managme

2009 Honda Accord - Consumer Review

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EX V-6 Sedan (3.5L V6 5-speed Automatic)

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful
VCM (variable cylinder managment) misfire, engine light flashing
By jarred on


2009 Honda Accord EX V-6 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)


I'm posting this review for those who had problems with the VCM/engine misfire. It happened to us last week. Without a warning the car started stuttering and the flashing engine light came on. It sounded to me like a timing/sparkplugs problem. We found some scary info about class action suit against Honda due to the engine design problem. Took it to Honda dealer. They replaced 4 out of 6 sparkplugs and updated the car software. I talked to the shop foreman (yes, you have to insist on it, though the reception girl will first tell you that mechanics don't talk to customers, WHY??). This is what the foreman told me:

Best Features

1. this happens when you do a lot of highway driving (true, we recently came from 1000 mile road trip through MT, ID and BC). As you drive on a highway (as opposed to city) the car stays in ECO mode a lot. That is "unbalanced stress on the cylinders" (my wording) when 4 cylinders do all the work and 2 are resting. Yes ECO is 4, not 3 cylinders he told me. 2. The updated software takes care of that by periodically turning on all of the cylinders (even if they don't have to work) to keep things balanced, or as he put it: to give the cylinders a chance to clear. BTW, there is no problem with VSA. it's just when engine misfires VSA cannot work. so the VSA sign flashes on dashboard too.

Worst Features

3. sparkplugs in 2009 accord V6 need to be changed every 100,000 miles anyways, we were coming on to 70,000 miles. So our sparkplugs failed a little early, due to the extra stress of the ECO mode. 4. Coils were fine. I'm considering carrying and couple of sparkplugs with us on long trips, since once the flashing engine light comes on you shouldn't drive or the catalytic convertor could get damaged-although I trust that the software updated takes care of the issue. However I'm also intending on "helping the engine" by putting occasional stepping on the gas and then breaking, to take it out of the ECO mode on long highway stretches. ok, I hope this helps somebody.
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By jedi84
on 10/24/14 07:49 AM (PDT)

Jarred- thanks for the info- could you tell me if the dealer charged you anything for this repair?? thanks

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By plymouthma
on 01/04/15 15:19 PM (PST)

there is a class action lawsuit that was settled on this matter in fall 2013, Honda should pay for all of this, ( spark plug replacement, software update, and if needed, small block replacement)

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By jarred
on 05/31/15 17:35 PM (PDT)

answer to jedi84, sorry it took so long, but I dont come here too often. yes we paid for the repairs (basically putting in new sparkplugs) it was about $500 canadian. we have no warranty to fall back on because we bought the car in the US. in canada there was no action suit, the shop mechanic said he never heard of any settlement, suprising but I think it's true; I couldnt find anything about a lawsuit against Honda here in Canada. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS NOW, ALMOST A YEAR LATER OUR CAR IS RUNNING FINE. NO MORE PROBLEMS. So I guess the software upgrade worked!

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By jedi007
on 07/12/15 14:44 PM (PDT)

OMG- this JUST happened to me the other day! I just hope based on these symptoms, it is what is unvolved in the lawsuit, otherwise, I will have to pay for the repairs- car is stranded off of a desolate Hwy & exit here in GA and I am broke :( But heres what happened- after informing the Honda dealership over an hour away, they said it sounds as though it is related- any input/advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated because they are supposed to pick my car up tomorrow to tow to dealership-- 7-10-15 I purchased my '09 Accord EXL V6 (3.8) last August- has about 92K on it now- kept oil changed, etc-- (last oil change was 2 weeks ago done by Honda dealership using Mobile1 Synthetic & Mobile1 filter) ANYWAYS- I didn't find out about these dang bulletins regarding the spark plug fowling, pistons, etc. until a few months ago- I haven't had ANY problems with it until the other day and Im stressed out horribly over this! I was driving it on the hwy for a 3-4 hour trip- I had the cruise control set at about 70- (made many similar trips as this, no problems)-after about an hour of driving, someone cut me off and I kinda goosed it to get around them- nothing I havent done before- but this time, upon acceleration, it started "bucking", the engine light came on, started flashing- no other lights came on, engine temp was normal- so I pulled over and turned it off- this is a desolate hwy- so after about 10 mins of sitting inside of a 200+ degree car, I checked the oil- very strong smell of gas on stick! (water & oil levels were normal)- So I started it up again and the engine light was off & stayed off -drove/ran just fine for the remaining 2 hours -I even drove it around town for 2 days, no problem- but I was worried so I took it to the Honda dealership to inquire as to WTH was going on with it-- and this is what I was told: That it sounded like the plugs are misfiring & the piston rings were messing up! and that it was very "unusual" how it "reset itself"- he then explained to me about the "bulletins": "The piston rings on certain cylinders may rotate and align which can lead to spark plug fouling. This can set DTC's P0301 and cause the MIL to come on" & that they would have to do a diagnostic test on it to find out for sure, if the test(s) came back saying that the problem didn't involve the issues stated in the bulletin, then I would have to pay a $90 service charge- if it was related to the problems listed in the bulletin, it would take 4-5 days to fix- I am pretty broke right now & I had to leave that evening; he told me that I should take it to the Honda dealership once I returned, since it hadn't acted up anymore.. WELL, low and behold, about 2 hours into my trip home, it started bucking AGAIN, engine light flashing, this time, I was just cruising at 70-- luckily I was within a mile of a desolate exit & parked at the only gas station there- I turned it off, waited 30 mins and when I cranked it again, the engine light still flashing & engine idling really bad-(rumbling)- water, temp, oil levels were still normal-- my daughter had to pick me, it was about midnight-this really SUX- I paid cash for this beast as well-- Should I sell it and take the loss since I have made MANY upgrades to it? new tires, tinting, chrome, etc-- Has this happened to any of you other owners and what was your experience?? Please help me out! I need to get this taken care of ASAP- I feel as though Honda should have to pay for this mess

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