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Honda Pilot Transmission Problems



  • Us as well: We have a 2004 Pilot with the same transmission slipping problem (with about 110k miles). It started about 3 or 4 months ago. Right now, we have to figure out how to fix it . . .

    Any advice as to whether we should to to an independent garage to rebuild the transmission with 1 year warranty (at $2,400) -- or, go to the dealership and have it completely replaced (at over $4,000)? And with a 3 year warranty.
  • We have a 2004 Pilot with the same transmission slipping problem (with about 110k miles) -- that seems to be starting to occur with others as well. It started about 3 or 4 months ago. Right now, however, we have to figure out how to fix it . . .

    Any advice as to whether we should to to an independent garage to rebuild the transmission with 1 year warranty (at $2,400) -- or, go to the dealership and have it completely replaced (at over $4,000)? -- With a 3 year warranty.
  • diygentdiygent Posts: 1
    I had this very same vibration problem with my 2003 Pilot and spent a lot of money trying to chase it down including the Honda dealer and three shops. I found the trouble by accident. Strange as it may sound, change the transmission fluid to Honda's very expensive $10.00 per qt. magic oil. My problem left about 80% of the time. I drove it 1000 miles and spent another $40. for 4 more qts. and changed the oil again. Presto, problem gone. I think if you let this go too long an oil change might not do the trick.
    The 60k miles is too far, and pulling a boat will make the interval shorter for sure.
  • I own a 2004 Pilot with 62k miles on it. We take excellent care of the vehicle, oil changes, every mile check up (15, 30, 60 etc), new tires, brakes, battery etc.

    We noticed that when driving it, it would slow down and revv and then buck like kicking into gear. It got really bad really fast. Come to find out the trasmission oil was leaking into the radiator. We had to get a new radiator and had to have it flushed out several times. Came very close to needing a new transmission for $3500. I find this completely unacceptable for a car that only has 62k on it.

    I just wanted to share our frustration.....
  • Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but, as you've probably read, those are the exact indications of failure. Unfortunately, not many have escaped a new tranny after the fact. I would do everything in your power to get a gaurantee from the service manager that this is all the maintenance you required to keep running 4.0. Use this forum and the myriad other strings on the web to support your inquiry.

    Save all your receipts and log it in your manual. I am confident this will be a class action someday. I am going to forward this and the other Honda/Acura V6 tranny failure threads to Consumer Reports - again. They still rate the early pilot very well and if you trust them, like I always have, its important they realize the problem.

    Good Luck. When the dealer replaces your pressure sensors next, have the tow truck # handy...
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    That is exactly how my problems started...replaced the radiator at around those same miles and then did a complete tranny @106k. I think flushing helped prolong the envitable.
  • Wow, if only I had read this forum a few weeks ago...

    I am an owner of a 2003 Honda Pilot and my transmission needs replacing at 139,000 miles. Actually, I'm not sure if that is accurate, if I recall correctly there was a recall on this vehicle due to a defect that affected the speedometer and mileage readout. Regardless, the car has been serviced at the dealership according to the Honda maintenance schedule since day 1. Actually, this is my third Honda, purchased new from the same dealership, all 4 have had all scheduled maintenance at this dealership. This vehicle was a part of the recall, and some other class action related to the invalid mileage which ended up extending my warranty. Nonetheless it is now out of warranty.

    Only problem with the vehicle has been a motor mount and rear main seal needing to be replaced last November. No noticeable shifting problems. Wife was driving when the vehicle "stalled", check engine light. Had it towed into the dealership expecting something along the lines of a sensor or valve needing replacing. Got the call that the transmission fluid was dark and my transmission needed to be replaced. Say what!

    Was quoted $2890 for a rebuilt transmission with a warranty of 12 months, or $4000 for a new transmission with a 3 year warranty. I couldn't freaking believe I was getting a caller telling me a HONDA transmission needed replacing at 139,000 miles. I googled, found this forum, called the service manager the next day and asked about a goodwill repair.

    I got a call back, the district and dealership offered to pay 15% each for a new transmission with a 3 year warranty for $2896. $6 more than the original minimum hit I would be taking. I felt defeated at this point and told them to go ahead and install the new transmission at 30% off.

    I called the number posted here for American Honda to ask for more help. They took my contact information and told me they would be calling me back. They called me back today and basically told me they owed me nothing, the transmission was beyond its warranty, it was a mechanical failure, yadda yadda yadda. I told them I would no longer be a customer of Honda Motor Corporation. She then proceeded to tell me that the offer of a 30% discount could be rescinded by the dealership and regional director. They expected me to be happy paying almost $3K for a transmission that was recalled, incorrectly fixed, and probably known to be defective.

    Once she started basically threatening me I got so pissed I probably said quite a few things I shouldn't have, involving lawyers, verbal contracts, the BBB, the state Attorney General, and so on.

    There have been Honda's in my family since the late 70's, none, not a single one before this Pilot, had a powertrain failure in 200,000+ miles of use. Honda has obviously lost their way, a shame, really.

    So now the American Honda rep is calling the district manager and dealership, possibly getting them to rescind the offer of a 30% discount after I already told them to go ahead with the work, and then the rep is supposed to call me back.

    My advice, DON'T BUY A HONDA. If they are willing to treat a life-long loyal customer like me this way, what will happen the next time they drop a ball on YOU? If you own a Pilot that is anywhere near the end of its warranty period, GET RID OF IT, immediately.

    I'm still holding out hope Honda will take me up on my offer of keeping a life-long customer by making this right. Will post here when I find out what happens next...
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 549
    I am curious. What action did you expect Honda to take? Your Pilot is 8 years old. It has way more miles than the original powertrain warranty covered. Did you expect Honda to guarantee it for life? Warranties are for a specific time frame and mileage. If you had been just over your limit, I could understand your concern, but not in your case.
  • rbettrbett Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    I have 82,000 miles on my 2005 Pilot. Started getting the A/T light. I decided to pull off the highway and waited for the transmission to cool down. Decided to get it towed since the car would not shifting to D and when it did, the engine would rev without moving forward. Had the car towed to the dealer, and got a call from the dealer that the antifreeze had leaked into the transmission via the radiator and I need a new radiator and a transmission. I have found similar complaints online. Any suggestions on my options to fix this for less than 5K quoted by the dealer?
  • I didn't expect anything. I wanted them to show the customer service and quality I have previously experienced from Honda. In my opinion the transmission is defective. The recall did just enough to get it beyond their warranty coverage and then left me hanging. They could have at least warned me the transmission wouldn't last as long as normal Honda transmissions do so I wouldn't have been left holding the bag. I didn't buy my 3rd honda from them for a warranty, I bought it expecting not to have to replace entire power train components for at least 150-160000 miles, as every other Honda I have ever owned has done, and every Honda members of my family have owned since the late 70's. I would have bought a Toyota or Kia with a 100000 mile warranty if it was the warranty that mattered so much.

    And I have had other problems that cost me over $1000 to repair which I gladly paid. I understand the difference between normal wear and tear and something that was defective and improperly fixed.

    What it all boils down to for me is this, does Honda want to keep a loyal life-long customer, or not? It will cost them approximately $2000 to $3000 to do that. I have spent in the range of $60-80,000 at this dealership in the last 15 years. I will continue to spend my money there if I am happy with the quality of the product and service, up until this point I have been. It has little to do with specific warranty coverage periods or number of miles. No perfectly maintained, non-abused, single owner, modern automatic transmission for a passenger vehicle should need a complete replacement within 140000 miles. No one would buy a vehicle, new or used, with that expectation, unless the $3000-$4000 was taken off of the front-end cost.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 549
    Well, I wish you luck, but I doubt that Honda or any other auto company will honour your request, due to mileage and years in service. Your best bet is probably a discount from your local dealer.
  • I went and had the transmission & radiator replaced an a local shop I know & trust. I haven't had any probelems since- and it's been a couple thousand miles. I opted for a Jasper transmission since Honda has been known to have problems. I don't regret it- Just wish Honda would increase the recall that they did for the previous years to apply to the 05 since it's the same issue.
  • jlaw79jlaw79 Posts: 1
    No warning at all...just started overheating and then there was a huge puddle of nastiness on the ground. Same problem as described above: transmission cooler inside the radiator gave out and got antifreeze inside the tranny.

    Only have 90,000 miles on it, and now they want $5000 for a new transmission. Ouch.

    This is by far the worst and most expensive incident that has ever happened to any of the vehicles I've owned (Mazda, BMW, Nissan...)

    And I thought Honda's were supposed to be solid....
  • From reading these posts, it sounds like the problem originates with the trans. oil cooler inside the radiator. Has anyone either replaced the radiator early and avoided the trans failure or bypassed the internal trans cooler with an external trans cooler? Seems crazy for Honda to allow 3k tranny to be destroyed because of a $300 radiator.
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    I replaced the radiator earlier on and still had the transmission problem. I don't think you could bypass but I'm not a mechanic.....
  • hil7hil7 Posts: 2
    edited November 2011
    My 2003 Honda Pilot has had seat belt recalls, air bag recalls, and has been serviced regularly. In fact, it had a scheduled service yesterday. Today ( with 122,000 miles on the clock, ) it decided to only reach 20 mph on the interstate, with me driving in the rain and dark, with my 11 year old son, coming home from swimming practice. That was a trip from hell. It took me two hours to drive 15 miles. I wish I never bought the Honda Pilot new from the dealership. I should have kept my 9 year old GMC Suburban that never gave me a bit of trouble. I miss " old Reliable" now . It just goes to show that new Honda vehicles are not built with quality if they show they are LESS reliable when brand new, than the 9 year old vehicle that was traded in. I'm very disappointed with my Honda Pilot. I would never purchase another. I think this one was fabricated out of old soda bottles. I only purchased it after researching vehicles on Consumer Reports. Huh. I will take their recommendations with a pinch of salt next time. I'll rely on friends and family reports when I choose my next new car !
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,744
    You think it's a piece of junk after 8-9 years??
  • My only advice is to get rid of it immediately, or it might start costing you an arm and a leg to do things like I had to, like replacing the transmission, motor mounts, rear seals, etc... Honda is definitely not the quality they used to be, they will only make cars that last the warranty period and then leave the owners exposed to thousands of dollars in repair bills, like they did me.
  • Well, the expectation these days is that when you pay $40k for a vehicle, it will last 200k before having major issues. I don't mind the miscellaneous stuff, but there is no way a transmission should crap out at 100k any more. As much as I love the pilot for it's overall value, I'm not happy with the tranny issue. After my last post and another 5k miles, I am starting to feel the vibrations again, guess I'll take another look at the one engine mount that didn't get replaced and then figure out what to do.

    My wife bought an Acura TL and I'm so disappointed with the stereo and nav system in it - basically the technology is at least 10 years old and sucks. Ok maybe the Ford Fusion isn't having the best review with the new MyTouch system, but at least they are going out on a limb and innovating, Honda's still resting on its success from 10 years ago...
  • 2005 pilot, with 55k. No transmission problems YET. Can I do anything to PREVENT this???
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