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Old 05-25-2015, 12:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Honda Pilot where to start?

New to the forum and signed up, finally, after lurking for years. Thanks to all for this service.

I have a nice, reliable Pilot that I can't sell (wo selling at a steep loss) but I despise the MPG. (FWIW, when I bought it, I lived in the snowbelt, like several hours north of Green Bay, needed the seats, needed the (small) towing capability, and replaced a gas guzzling Expedition... though I thought the MPG for the Pilot would be higher.) I know a more fuel efficient vehicle would be the best mod, but it's not in the cards at the moment.

If I could bump up the mpg a few, maybe it's like driving a Subaru? I know. Not really. 27, like reported on the "Super Pilot" thread, would be hard to imagine. I drive with a light foot, but average around 17. Also gaining three to ten mpg would be a huge gain percentage wise for this vehicle.

My first step will probably be removing the roof rack and some seats.

Next will be getting sorely needed new tires. In the meantime, I'm bumping up the tire pressure to max tire pressure for now. I may get narrower 215/75/16 to replace the 235/70/16 currently on the truck. Taller tires were considered also but tires like the 235/85/16s are about twice as heavy. I'm guessing the weight will offset the increase in effective gearing. I'm also not sure I have room in the fenderwell.

I'm thinking about LRRs. Worth it? Or just get a highway tread all-season that seem to wear twice as long? How about LRR 235s vs regular 215s (as I don't see LRR 215/75/16s)?

I'm just learning about these cheap air dams and underbelly panels, and saw the "super pilot" thread. Those might be next. It will have to be very modest. My wife won't drive anything too strange. Luckily the black garden edging will hide well beneath that vehicle.

Down the road, I'm considering removing the AWD, primarily bc it's making noise occasionally (propeller/drive shaft), and I never need it now that we've moved farther south. People on honda suv forums report several mpg gain from this despite low reported penalty per EPA. (Doesn't make sense to me. The epa course must not engage the awd at all.)

Comments from those with experience?

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Old 05-25-2015, 02:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!

Just to start: how many miles are you driving per month? If selling at a loss isn't doable, is adding an efficient beater to the fleet doable?

My brother's 2009 Ridgeline was written off a year ago. Its replacement, an AWD Nissan with manual transmission is saving him about $2k a year based on his typical usage. (He "needs" AWD because he lives on an unserviced road.)
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Multiple issues at play here. I too live on an unserviced road. So there is a need for at least something with decent ground clearance when the snow is deep.... which isn't that often admittedly, maybe four weeks a year. (When I bought the Pilot, before we moved, we had deep snow and or ice from Nov til mid Apr.)

I won't put many miles on the Pilot, I'd guess 5,000 or so. Im not sure that the numbers make sense to add a vehicle, taxes, insurance and maintenance at that amount of mileage.

Last edited by nemobuscaptain; 05-25-2015 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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5k miles a year? With so little driving, keeping mods cheap will be necessary to break even within a reasonable time/before they wear out. Doing a lot of work might require you to think of this as more of a hobby than a means to spend the least amount of money. As for tires, I would go with the cheapest ones that will fulfill your needs. Spending extra for tires with 60 or 70k warranties won't matter much because they'll likely dry rot before wearing out.

Your light foot may actually be hurting you when it comes to accelerating, but it can be hard to tell. Does the car have any kind of mileage instrumentation that shows instant or average MPG? If not, a Scangauge or Ultragauge (I personally would recommend the Ultragauge) would be a good first mod.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Agreed with vskid3: I don't know about your Pilot (what year?), but my brother's Ridgeline had no fuel economy display. If it doesn't, getting a "game gauge" is step 1.
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah... we need more details on the car ... and agreed about the light foot possibly being counterproductive. Not that a lead foot is better, but a well-calibrated throttle position is what a gauge is designed to help you accomplish. Since you drive so little, you might just use a good paid torque app on a smartphone if you already have one (can be much cheaper than a dedicated gauge). more deets please...
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses, folks. Is there a place where I can find acronyms like ABA or DFCO? (I found the latter.) Some of this is confusing.

It is an 07 Pilot.

I like the idea of a Scanguage/Ultragauge. It can be moved to any odb2 vehicle right? I wouldn't mind spending it.

Yes, I have it on the "backline" so to speak. I have a work vehicle which bears most of my driving. The Pilot doesn't move much right now, as I said.

I was going to sell the Pilot, but figured out the value has fallen precipitously... at about the same time that our 4 cyl Honda was wrecked. That car was actually doing the lion's share of the commuting and the winter work. The wreck brought tears to my eyes because it was capable of going many many years.

My wife has a new Sienna. (Wife's choice, couldn't get her in a Mazda 5 manual or 4 cyl Mitsu that I wanted. The Pilot was hers also fwiw.) I want to keep the miles off the Sienna but it does get better mpg than the Pilot. The Sienna moves a lot, like 25k. Some of that is long distance trips to visit family, some of it is around town.

If I could get the Pilot to get better MPG, it could fill that role winter/around town role while I squeeze more miles out of it. Maybe I could also entice my wife into an interest in hypermiling even if it's just the "beginner" level stuff. She would never EOC or do other "advanced" stuff.

As for how much life it has, I don't know. However, I know that two of the people who drove to see my Pilot when it was for sale were driving Pilots themselves. One had close to 300k and one had over 300. I take pretty good care of my cars and regularly take them to 180-200k before I sell them. So, I don't mind putting tires on the truck. I also prefer to sell them in good shape also. It's a conscience thing with me. Vehicles that are maintained better don't go to junkyards. That's an eco thing too, in my mind. It takes a lot of new oil, plastic, metal, and paint/solvents to make a new car.

Also, the for sale sign is still in the Pilot. I just saw a sweet little Echo that my wife thought was cute. That is a huge step for her. She hasn't had a small car since we had a Del Sol. That would obviously be the best move if I could get rid of the Pilot, but it hasn't sold in six months.

So, as for tires, do you think narrower all seasons (215/75/16) would do better MPG wise than slightly wider LRRs (235/70/16). Edit: I'm also seeing some LRR 215/70/16, 225/70/16 and 225/75/16. This first two are smaller. LRR vs. narrow vs taller/smaller? What is the order of importance?

Last edited by nemobuscaptain; 05-26-2015 at 08:24 PM..
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemobuscaptain View Post
Thanks for the responses, folks. Is there a place where I can find acronyms like ABA or DFCO? (I found the latter.) Some of this is confusing.

I like the idea of a Scanguage/Ultragauge. It can be moved to any odb2 vehicle right? I wouldn't mind spending it.

Yes, I have it on the "backline" so to speak. I have a work vehicle which bears most of my driving. The Pilot doesn't move much right now, as I said.

I was going to sell the Pilot, but figured out the value has fallen precipitously... at about the same time that our 4 cyl Honda was wrecked. That car was actually doing the lion's share of the commuting and the winter work. The wreck brought tears to my eyes because it was capable of going many many years.

My wife has a new Sienna. (Wife's choice, couldn't get her in a Mazda 5 manual or 4 cyl Mitsu that I wanted. The Pilot was hers also fwiw.) I want to keep the miles off the Sienna but it does get better mpg than the Pilot. The Sienna moves a lot, like 25k. Some of that is long distance trips to visit family, some of it is around town.

If I could get the Pilot to get better MPG, it could fill that role winter/around town role while I squeeze more miles out of it. Maybe I could also entice my wife into an interest in hypermiling even if it's just the "beginner" level stuff. She would never EOC or do other "advanced" stuff.

As for how much life it has, I don't know. However, I know that two of the people who drove to see my Pilot when it was for sale were driving Pilots themselves. One had close to 300k and one had over 300. I take pretty good care of my cars and regularly take them to 180-200k before I sell them. So, I don't mind putting tires on the truck. I also prefer to sell them in good shape also. It's a conscience thing with me. Vehicles that are maintained better don't go to junkyards. That's an eco thing too, in my mind. It takes a lot of new oil, plastic, metal, and paint/solvents to make a new car.

Also, the for sale sign is still in the Pilot. I just saw a sweet little Echo that my wife thought was cute. That is a huge step for her. She hasn't had a small car since we had a Del Sol. That would obviously be the best move if I could get rid of the Pilot, but it hasn't sold in six months.

So, as for tires, do you think narrower all seasons (215/75/16) would do better MPG wise than slightly wider LRRs (235/70/16). Edit: I'm also seeing some LRR 215/70/16, 225/70/16 and 225/75/16. This first two are smaller. LRR vs. narrow vs taller/smaller? What is the order of importance?
Here is the Ecomodder Glossary. All of our acronyms are located within this place of wonder

Yes, a ScanGauge and UltraGauge can be moved to any vehicle that is OBD2

Would your wife consider letting you mod the Sienna? Some hidden aero mods could give a few more miles to the gallon and not look awkward

GO for that Echo if possible. They are good little cars from what I have seen other members post about them. One is getting close to 70 mpg but he is pretty advanced. 40 is likely with driving technique alone.

If you are wanting a tire with good snow traction that will perform on the unserviced roads and is LRR, how about a 215/85R16 Michelin? Granted, they are pricey and can last 100,000 if well maintained. A 235/75R16 LRR would drop your rpms at a given speed, which usually translates to better economy.
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link. That is exactly what I needed.

I don't know about the Sienna. They have to be non permanent. It's a new car. (First in 25 year I might add.)

I like the Echo well enough. A ZX2 was also on the list. A few others. It will depend on the condition of the car more than anything else. But I would have to get rid of the Pilot first. The market for SUVs gets soft in the summer (and the market for vans gets soft in the winter).

I like that 215/85/16 LRR. It's about 1.5 inches taller though. I'll have to check to see if I have room. They are also 10lbs heavier. hmmmm.... Unserviced may be pushing it. We have a guy who plows but it's not that often and no salt. Most of the people out my road have 4wd but I'm sure I could get by with FWD. Heck I drove a RWD up in the Great White North my first year there.

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Old 05-27-2015, 09:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We had a Pilot for many years. It was a faithful steed, but drank heavily at the pump. Always coasted well for me. Got rid of it with about 180K on the clock. The transmission needed attention.

To echo the crowd, you definitely want to add a real time fuel economy display. Cheapest route is an OBD dongle and a smartphone app. If you want to go plug 'n play, AutoMeter EcoMeter is a solid little gauge, more intuitive (but less data) than the alternatives.

I'd go with a quality tire in the OEM size. I've driven a lot of LRRs on test cars over the years. Continentals and Michelins are among the best. TireRack is running a closeout on Pirelli Scorpion Verde (I've never driven the SV, but have considered it for an Explorer project).

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