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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So last October I went to this place (terrible terrible terrible place in Fremont CA called Nippon Auto Repair, now called Howard's Auto Repair, but same bitchy lady Rose, Howard's mother, that handles the customer service - I'd rather get 10000 nicks while shaving than to deal with her again). I went because I was consistently getting P0303 and P0306 misfires, mostly with cylinder 3 on my 2006 MDX. The car had 210,000 miles at the time. So what was done was to change the spark plugs, replace the 2 valve cover gaskets and 6 spark plug seals and grouments, 2 new throttle body gaskets and platinum gaskets; and valve adjustment. They also swapped plugs, I believe #3 with #5, though it's not listed on the invoice.

The check engine light just came back on recently, with a misfire on cylinder 3 (P0303). I have also noticed that sometimes, when I turn on the engine, there's a lot of smoke coming from the rear exhaust. Not sure if there's any relation. I don't really want to go back to this Howard's place, even though they want to check it out again. Last time they kept the car for 9 days, and I don't want to have my car held hostage again.

My regular mechanic, Steve at Omega (I didn't go there last year because he was too busy at the time), has stated that the next step is to replace the fuel injector for #3. Does that sound right? Any other suggestions? The car now has 220,000 miles, wondering if it's time to buy a new MDX or not.

I'm not even sure what to do with the VTM-4 issue.
 

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A leaky injector can flood a cylinder with fuel overnight, causing that puff of black / blue smoke in the morning, and a potential misfire. It's a near certainty if you have to crank the engine for more than a couple seconds in the morning to get it to fire up. If that's the case, try turning the key to on without starting the engine, then off, then on for a few seconds, repeating 3-4 times. If it fires right up after sitting all night, you've almost certainly got a leaky injector. It could be the cylinder with the misfire, or potentially another though (you could check to see if that plug is wet after trying to start it in the morning).

If you're willing to DIY some more you could swap the suspect injector with another, and see if the misfire follows it, or stays in the same cylinder (that will tell you if the injector will help the misfire anyway).
 

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So... you have a '06 with 220,000 miles.

Has it ever overheated?

Since getting the P0303, have you done a coil-drop test?

What color is the smoke?

The VTM-4 issue is a result of your P0303 (misfire cylinder #3). First, resolve the misfire... then the VTM-4 light will stop coming on. In the interim, ALWAYS turn the VTM-4 light off before driving on paved roads!!!!
 
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