Is variable cylinder management from Honda a sound technology… , will it create service problems for us in the future. We had a very dependable 1999 Honda Odyssey Van and just upgraded it with a new 2008 EX-L for a bit more luxury but still love Honda’s vans.

We have an engineer friend who agrees that Honda has the better van on the market but not the model with the variable cylinder management system. Sounds like it’s been on the Odysseys since 2005. What do you think, all comments appreciated. Thanks

I ma just curious. What makes you think that an engineer is any more qualified to give car advice than anyone else?

What’s his field of expertise? If he’s a mechanical engineer and a member of the Society of Autmotive Engineers, I’d give his advice some weight, but if he’s a computer systems engineer like me (according to my business card) who dropped out of an engineering program in college his freshman year, well then no, not necessarily. We technical guys call it “false authority syndrome”.

The Honda VCM system is very well thought out. They have a lot of experience of managing the valvetrain on their engines with their VTEC systems- a very mature technology, which has been around about 20 years- and basically their VCM system is an extension of VTEC. It’s a far cry from the old Cadillac 4-6-8 system, which is widely misunderstood and got a very bad rap from mechanics who didn’t trust this newfangled fuel injection thing.

Having worked in the automotive industry, selling auto parts during the mid-late '80s, it was an interesting time. Old school mechanics hated fuel injection because they didn’t understand it or want to improve their skillsets, the newer mechanics were sorely lacking in vocational training, and the tools available at the time were poor from an electronic diagnosis standpoint. The nightmares I heard about “fuel infection” as they called it, and the dreaded 4-6-8 (I never saw one, because whenever I got a car with a VIN that said it should have it, invariably someone stuck a carburetor on the damned thing and called it a day).

It was a good time for me, though, as I worked on commission and most mechanics just threw parts at a problem until they found the right module. And those things were expensive at the time- they cost more then, both in today’s dollars and actual dollars.