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Honda Pilot Transmission Problems



  • Most of the dealerships in the area where the car was originally registered only kept records for 3 years, including the one I'm positive told me my tranny had recently been done. Carfax only shows the service I did after buying it.
  • Heisman from AHC on assistance with my transmission failure (03 Pilot with 112K). I'm going through the dealer to see if their regional rep can get anywhere but I just moved here and have only been to this dealer to diagnose the failure.

    the writing is on the wall...
  • I never win anything but took a shot at going through a dealer that I've never spent one dime at, minus the diagnostic fee. The service manager, J. Horst, was very accommodating and he said he'd give it a shot. I faxed him all my receipts and service manual showing where I had done the maintenance myself with Honda fluids/parts receipts. To my surprise, got a call back a couple days later and they agreed to do the $4300 transmission swap for $2575. Now, I know there's some markup involved and that's not the cheapest initial quote but, it's worth it for the 3 yr/36K mile warranty that comes with it.

    So, screw American Honda and score local dealership. I'll be writing Honda a nasty letter of what they consider "reliability" and "customer service" and I strongly encourage anyone with similar problems to visit the NHTSA ODI site and file a report of your failure.

    Keep those receipts because I smell a class action brewing. Oh, we were two steps away from buying one of the Japanese competitors that offers a 10yr/100K mile warranty...
  • albert72albert72 Posts: 141
    Am thinking of buying a certified 07 or 08 Pilot. While this protects me financially (at least in theory) from transmission issues, what I really want to know is if Honda has changed the transmissions in the 07 & 08 Pilots so they do not have the same problems as the older units.

    From reading this board, most of the problems reported are from 03-06 and not much reported for 07-08 models. Not sure if this is because the older units have higher mileage or because the transmissions have been fixed on later models.

    Any comments and feedback are appreciated.
  • 07's are different, although probably related fundamentally. But, as the displacement and power has grown, so does towing rating and you would assume that the transmission would be beefier.

    Problem is you probably won't find many, if any, 07's with 100K miles, the average failure point of 03/04's with this problem.

    If you really want an MDX, I would recommend a Cert Pre-Owned. They come with extended factory warranty. You might be able to negotiate an extended powertain warranty if you voice concern about the trans and the salesman sees its the only thing blocking a sale.
  • albert72albert72 Posts: 141
    Thanks for your response. You make some good points. The certified Hondas have the 7 yr/100k warranty on the drivetrain. I would only keep the Pilot up to 100k and then sell or trade it. My concern is the hassle of the car braking down and the time to get it fixed. Time for me is almost as valuable as money.

    I like the MDX, it is a nicer vehicle but am not in a position to spend that kind of money they are asking for them. Typically they could knock $5k off the price of used and still make a profit based on residuals, reconditioning and certification but with the new car business hurting, they are trying to make up their losses with used vehicles.
  • jensadjensad Posts: 388
    Dear Albert72

    I offer this which assisted me in buying an new 08 Acura RL. I looked at the sticker prices at my local dealer, then I went to Consumer Rports and paid about $ 20 for one of their new car buying rpts.

    Then I sent out emails to every dealer in the Bay Area CA. I asked them for their best price. I got a variety of prices within two days.

    I remembered an old friend that was also a BMW sales manager who told me that their dealership played with about 20 % mark up.

    So long story short, after haggling with the Acura sales person/his manager and threatening to walk out, my wife an I purchased a RL with tech package, sticker price $ 52000 for $ 42500 plus tax. And I realize that there are posters here who probably got a better price, however for two days of work sending out bids, and two hours "negociating", we saved SOME money.

    Also my wife bought a 06 Pilot and we negociated a discounted price of $ 30000 for a EXL which had a sticker price of $ 35000 plus taxes.

    When my bride of 45 years finally wants another new vehicle, and if she wanted an MDX, I would probaby sell private party her 06 Pilot and then purchase the MDX. And I will do the same procedure plan to purchase it at a discount.

    I posted this to help other buyers, and I didnot puff up prices ect, and no I don't work in the industry. Good luck to all and I wish all of you well.

  • kcoskcos Posts: 1
    I own a 2003 Honda Pilot EX. Somewhere over 120K miles, the transmisson began slipping. As soon as I took off from a stop, the engine would start to rev and it would not shift into second gear. This only happened a few isolated times at first, and no lights came on, so I didn't think much of it. Over time, it happened more often, then finally my engine light came on. I took it to my certified Honda mechanic and was told they were getting transmission codes. I was told it was rare to be able to repair a transmission, they usually had to be replaced, to the tune of $4k!!!!! We've owned Honda's for over 20 years because they were supposed to be reliable cars. We've always maintained our Honda's meticulously, with certified Honda mechanics, so I was shocked to need a 4 thousand dollar repair at 125K miles.

    We don't know yet if we are going to get any help from Honda, but I can say we as a family wil be extremely disappointed if the don't take care of the problelm, and they will lose us as loyal customers. Obviously from what I've read there have been other consistent Honda Pilot transmission problems. They also have a track record with Honda Odyssey transmissions failing from 1999 - 2001 years, and Honda ended up extending the warranty's to cover their transmissions. We'll see what happens.
  • I wouldn't spend $4k to fix a car with 120k miles -- just trade it in for a new / certified used vehicle. I just traded my 2002 Audi A6 with 120k miles for a new '10 Pilot 4WD Navi -- the dealer gave me a very good price ($5k), considering the car needed about $4,800 of repairs for emissions / torque converter issues.
  • Just got back from my dealer. P0730 Incorrect Gear Ratio. $4500 to replace. Called American Honda, was told that because my car was nearly 100,000 miles over the 3yr/36,000 mile warranty that there wasn't anything they could do for me. Car has 126,600 miles on it and other than the transmission the thing is good to go. Dealer offered me $2500 trade-in for it. I'm gonna take it to AAMCO and see what they say. I'd like to get it under 2k, doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but we'll see.
    Private -party sale with disclosures may be the way out for me.
  • Be careful with AAMCO. I would have been better off having the dealer replace my tranny when it went up at 138 k miles. It ended up costing me closer to 5 thousand, and within a short time I had to repace the torque converter TWICE. Ended up having to fork over another 1200.00 for that. If you do choose AAMCO, I recommende checking with the BBB about the particular one you select. They're not all the same in quality, which I found out the hard way.

    Good luck.
  • albert72albert72 Posts: 141
    edited February 2010
    My quest for a car continues. Looking at the Car Fax reports on some of the used Pilots at Honda dealers, some seem to have had their differential fluid changed at 10k or 20k. I have not read the owners manual (not sure it would even be listed in there) but it seems that differential fluid should have a life similar to tranny fluid and not need to be replaced at such a low mileage.

    When I see the differential fluid changed at these intervals, it gives me pause for concern. Am wondering if this is a tell tale sign of future problems and even more concerned that the differential fluid changes may not be showing up in the car fax reports of all the vehicles.

    Still thinking of biting the bullet and getting a new '10 Pilot but the leases stink right now. One dealer said they will get better when the new programs come out March 3 but who knows.

    If anyone can comment on my concerns regarding differential fluid I would appreciate it.
  • You actually SHOULD be looking for a Pilot with a differential (VTM-4) change within 15,000 miles. That's what the recommendation is for severe service, in my case, ours is operated under Normal conditions but I have always changed it within 15,'s cheap insurance...too bad there wasn't a way to have prevented the transmissions from going bad though.
  • albert72albert72 Posts: 141
    Thanks 12b

    Did not realize that it needed to be changed that frequently so now I look for that info on the CarFax report.

    Any guess as to how much a Honda dealer would charge to change the diff fluid?

    Is it every 15k? One posting said first change should be at 7500 because of the new differential, metal shavings etc and then every 30k thereafter.

    Do you know if the maintenance minder system would tell me when the change is needed?

    Appreciate your comments & knowledge sharing.
  • damon8damon8 Posts: 2
    edited February 2010
    So in addition to my incorrect gear ration I had a P0505 error. So I cleaned the rotary control valve. Before I dismantled the RCV I unplugged the battery. Once I got everything cleaned and back together, all my codes cleared. Even went to the smog station in CA and had the smog test done for registration. No codes, no errors, passed with flying colors. Didn't end up taking it to AAMCO, cause now there is no code and if there is no code, how do they know that there is a problem in the first place? Unless I drive it and try to force the tranny to slip, which is not something I am willing to do. Private party sale is looking like the best option now.
    200 miles + and still no codes or lights indicating failure.
  • On the normal schedule, the first change is at 15k, the second at 30k and then each subsequent is 30k apart.

    On the severe schedule, the first change is at 7500k, the next is at 15k, and then it is at every 15k after that. If you live in a snowy/icy climate where the VTM-4 is going to engage, it is probably advisable to lean towards the severe schedule. I have changed mine about every 20k.

    Here is a link to a 2004 Pilot Owners Manual, that may help as you look at the vehicle.

    Honda Dealers charge about $60 to $80 to perform it in Minneapolis. If you have someone else change it STRESS and get in writing that they will only use VTM-4 fluid from Honda and not ATF fluid in it. Bad news otherwise.

    I understand it is actually very easy to do yourself, but I have no desire, it's my wife's car and I'd rather spend the time with our kid. It comes in 1 gallon containers and the capacity is about 3 quarts.

    Good luck with your search. Other than the transmission, it is a fine automobile. We just put 97000 on ours and really the only other stuff I had done was shocks, struts, tie rod ends and a few other suspension parts at 90k and then of course tires at about 60k.
  • kcos, your story is a duplicate of mine, only my mileage is 107K. Did you receive any help from Honda? Obviously, the transmission is a dud with these vehicles. I was a big Honda fan until now. If Honda doesn't fess up, I'll never buy another one!
  • Unfortunately I too have had my transmission fail at just over 107 K on my 04 Honda Pilot. I wish I could say this has been my only problem. I have owned many vehicles over the years and have never had the problems that I have had with my Honda. Just before the extended warranty expired, the oil pan gasket failed, the rear main seal failed and the AC went out. Now I am being told that I need to pay $4400 for a new transmission. I contacted Honda after my dealership offered to take a whopping $600 off of the price. I am still waiting to hear back from Honda but can already tell you that this will be the LAST Honda I ever buy. I purchased a Honda based on their reputation as a reliable vehicle but have had just the opposite experience. Has anyone had much luck with contacting Honda? The woman I spoke with basically gave me a scripted speech and said not to look for Honda to pay much if anything at all.
  • gatdammitgatdammit Posts: 17
    American Honda was no help to me either. I asked her if she though 100K miles was considered the useful life of their drive train and she went right back to the script of "sir, this vehicle is out of warranty and American Honda is not inclined to assist..."; that's when I hung up.

    I got very lucky through a dealership that I hadn't spend a dime at. Push through the service department up to the regional manager. If you've taken care of it, especially at their service department, they usually cut you a deal.
  • We just got a new transmission and torque converter for our '03 Pilot with 79K miles. Thanks to reading this discussion...I mentioned to the dealer (quoting us $5200) that we would like to see what Honda can do for us. They said the goodwill credit usually only applies up to 7 years or 75K miles. They ended up working out a credit through their Honda representative and we paid $1800. Also, we had all our work and maintenance done through that dealership. We also called Honda ourselves but the service dept ended up helping us more.
    The new transmission is only warranteed for 36K miles which isn't something we wanted to pay $5200 for. At least now it may be worth something as a trade-in. If I would have known about this common problem, I would have traded it in last year as soon as I noticed the transmission slipping in 2nd gear (but before the engine light came on).
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