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Thread: CEL, VTM-4, VSA Lights, RPM Limited

  1. #1

    Default CEL, VTM-4, VSA Lights, RPM Limited

    Yesterday evening I start my 2008 Pilot, ~45k miles. The CEL and VSA lights come on, along with the warning triangle. I think, okay, I'll take it to the dealer tomorrow. However, when I pull out of the parking lot the accelerator is generally non-responsive. As soon as I touch the accelerator the VTM-4 light comes on as well. I can only get up to just below 2000 rpm, and the car won't get above around 15 mph, mostly (it seems) as a result of the idle power of the engine.

    All the above symptoms repeat again this morning (I waited to see if it would maybe drive so I wouldn't need a tow) and the symptoms persist regardless of whether the vehicle is in park or in gear.

    Yesterday morning the car drove fine. There are no funny sounds, and the engine idles without problem.

    I have an appointment with the dealer but I'm curious what the forum has to say. Anyone seen this before or have any ideas what it might be?

  2. #2
    FFNC Site AdminHondaSUV Elder Racoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    A cornfield near Music City...


    The ECU has a 'limp mode' it goes into when it identifies certain problems, which sounds like has happened to your Pilot. It restricts the RPM range of the engine.

    If you disconnect the battery it would erase the codes that caused the CEL and other warning lights to come on, and would probably take it out of the limp mode. But by erasing the codes your dealer wouldn't be able to diagnose the problem.

    And even disconnecting the battery might not work, as the codes might just be set again as soon as you start the engine, putting you back into limp mode.

    The Racoon

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  3. #3


    Did not know about the limp mode, thanks.

    Interestingly, I just started it up when the tow truck arrived and it works now (three hours after checking it). The CEL is still on but the others have gone away. I had it towed regardless in case it decided to go limp while I was on the highway.

  4. #4
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sleeksilver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Vienna/Fairfax/Warrenton, VA


    Good call on getting it towed! Better to be safe than sorry...

    Let us know what they find!
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  5. #5

    Default Resolution?

    So I get the call back from the dealer, the CEL is throwing back a few codes: bad battery, and complete powertrain failure (I can only assume that this was several failures). They run a battery load test, which it fails, and they replace the battery, under warranty, then retest. All is well. They think that as a result of the battery failure it started throwing other codes (misread).

    It's only going to cost me the towing charge, but what happened to the good old days when a bad battery meant you just needed jumper cables and a helpful soul? Now the car renders itself non-drivable?

    A good ending considering how bad it could have been, but frustrating nonetheless.

  6. #6
    Senior Member HondaSUV Elder 'Curly Q Links''s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Alberta, Canada


    Could have been worse...The tow truck could have transported the vehicle wrong.

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