Honda's New 3.5-Liter V-6 Goes DOHC, Drops VTEC
Honda's latest 3.5-liter V-6 that powers the new Pilot switches to a dual-overhead-cam design, the first naturally aspirated DOHC V-6 in any Honda or Acura since the first-generation NSX.
Bore, stroke, and compression ratio carry over, while peak power is up by 5 hp to 285 hp and torque holds steady at 262 lb-ft.
This new V-6 is dramatically cleaner, with some pollutants reduced by 40 to 50 percent, which should keep it compliant until at least 2030.
Hiding in the heads of the 2023 Honda Pilot's new V-6, code name J35Y8, is a dramatic change: an additional camshaft for each bank. Every previous naturally aspirated V-6 from either Honda or Acura except for the first-generation NSX has instead been a single-overhead-cam (SOHC) design. Bore and stroke carry over (and therefore its 3471cc displacement), as do a 60-degree bank angle, and a 11.5:1 compression ratio. But this new engine that powers the Pilot (and almost certainly any future V-6–powered vehicles, such as the Odyssey and Ridgeline) gets the compact DOHC heads from the turbocharged Type S-variants of the Acura TLX and MDX, where the cam bearing caps are incorporated into the valve cover, shrinking the head height by 1.2 inches.
Peak power is up by 5 hp to 285 hp at 6100 rpm, while peak torque is identical at 262 pound-feet at 5000 rpm; those peaks occur at slightly higher engine speeds, 100 rpm and 300 rpm, respectively. Hydraulic lifters are also new, which means no more valve-lash adjustments, and depressurizing them keeps the valves closed during three-cylinder mode. The DOHC V-6 continues to use a timing belt, which has the same 100,000-mile replacement interval as the SOHC engine before it.
Emissions-wise, this latest V-6 jumps to a SULEV30 rating, which amounts to a reduction of 40- to 50-percent in particulate and NOx output. Fuel control is more precise, with direct-injection-system pressure up by 50 percent to 30 MPa (or 4351 psi), along with smaller injector holes and an ability to do up to three squirts per combustion cycle. Another key enabler is using cam phasers to continually adjust both intake and exhaust timing rather than the high-lift and longer-duration intake lobes on the previous V-6. But that means this new engine doesn't have VTEC, and a smooth and linear pull to redline replaces the manic switchover point that helped give VTEC a cult following. Based on today's rules, these changes will keep the V-6 compliant until at least 2030.
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