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Vibration Defect in 2006 4WD Honda Pilots

ksayersksayers Posts: 59
edited January 2014 in Honda
I have a 2006 Pilot with a vibration defect at 70MPH. This is not steering wheel shake, rather, a very noticable shudder.

Apparently this issue is well know with Pilot 4WD owners. Tire changes/balancing does not help. Neither do other "simple" fixes like alignment.

Does anyone have an answer to this product defect ? If everyone has tried and failed, is the only answer to raise heck with American Honda ? Or ???

Thanks !


  • I was just mentioning to my wife today, while driving our new Pilot, that it felt like there could be a tire/balancing/shudder in the front end of this truck. I owned a 2004 Pilot and never had anything like this in feel or shake. I was going to take it in for balancing or have tires checked but now that I know this I am not filling out my survey and sending it in til I have this issue dealt with. I will definitely be pursuing this!
  • If you do find something out please let me know. I have about 1500 miles on our Pilot. I have heard horror stories about the stock tires and will be flushing them at the earliest opportunity. However, reading other posts, it appears others have tried tires, balancing, alignment, air pressure, etc., all with no luck. What is odd is that if this was a simple fix Honda should readily have an answer. Every service manager should know "the fix". Apparently, they don't. That leads one to believe that it is more than just a simple fix and, potentially, a design defect.

    One person has "solved" the problem by removing the front drive shaft. I find that an inexcusable solution for a vehicle owner.

    If I find anything out I will post. Let me know how it goes.

    thanks !
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    I haven't noticed any vibration in our '06 Pilot EX so I'm happy. But the way the roads are in PA, you wouldn't be able to tell anyway. Plus none of the roads in PA are higher than 65 MPH anywhoo. :P

    Odie's Carspace
  • vtm4vtm4 Posts: 3
    OK, here's the deal. The vibration at 70mph impacts a number of pilots regardless of the year they were built. Mine is a 2003 and had had the vibration since it was new (it actually vibrates at 72 and 76mph). I've followed the forums closely and nothing really seems to resolve the vibration. I've heard stories that removing the drive shaft resolves it or precision balancing will fix it. What's weird is that I just test drove 3 different 2007 CRV's and all 3 of them have a vibration at 65mph and at 75mph. It seems to be that there's an engineering problem with Honda's drive system that they either haven't fixed or can't fix. I'm staying away from Honda for the time being because of this. Looking at the Toyota Camry SE as an option although my wife likes the RAV 4 with the V6. BTW, we test drove the RAV 4 and it was perfectly smooth between 60 and 80 mph. Go figure.
  • solosolo Posts: 48
    I said this in a 2004 forum and was ridiculed. I saw the problem surface again 2 months ago and got no "heat" at all. I will say it again. My service manager was honest with me! ALL pilots vibrate. The source is the drive shaft to the rear differential. It can not be fixed. Honda feels most people who buy their cars won't don't notice. Drove me crazy! By removing the shaft (8 bolts) the problem is GONE. I'M in Chicago, so this week the shaft goes back on for the winter. It sucks but I got nowhere with honda. :sick:
  • I am thinking about getting a 2007 Pilot 4WD. This vibration problem makes me curious. I had an old GMC truck with a two-pieces drive shaft and balacing took care of a vibration. Has anyone had the balance checked on the shaft? Any more specifics on the what inside the differential is causing this?
  • master1master1 Posts: 340
    I have been following this issue for a VERY long time. This is the story :
    HONDA KNOWS ABOUT THIS but is playing dum because they either don't know what causes the problem, OR they don't want to issue such a big recall.

    I have written a letter to American Honda headquarters, and Honda Motor Company headquarters in Japan. They responded trying to cover up the problem and saying it is "a characteristic" of the vehicle! I recently got rid of my Pilot because I could no longer deal with this flaw; very unexecptebale for a $29,000 vehicle.

    Don't take the risk in purchasing this vehicle; you may want to consider the upcoming redesigned Highlander, or you can wait for the new redesigned Pilot.
    Otherwise, the Pilot is an EXCELLENT vehicle.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    well I checked for the TSB's and recalls on the pilot (any year) and now you need to subscribe to get them. So much for them being free any longer. I guess it's true Honda hides all their recalls and bulletins from public eye.

    Odie's Carspace
  • It must have been a pretty bad vibration if you had to get rid of the car. I find it diappointing that Honda can't figure the out how to remedy the problem. Do you beleive that all Pilots have the same severlty of vibration and the other owners are just willing to put up with it, or don't drive 70 mph very often? Did your vibration get worse with time?

    I guess I will have to take some more test drives.
  • rekhrekh Posts: 47
    Hi everybody, I bought my Pilot EX 4WD in October. Since then I have followed the posts closely. I didn't have any problem till last week when I found the vibration(2500 miles). Both my house and work are so close to highway, so when I am in the highway in the mornings the car is still cold. I have vibration for the first 2-4 miles then it disappears. I wonder if it can be related to cold weather and clod tires?!!! Since In the afternoons the vibration is minimal or there is not any at all. Or other possibility is that the vibration comes after a while and gets worse with time?!!! Any idea? (I live in MA.)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I thought Alldata always charged for anything more than summary info, but Honda (and BMW) TSB info was always hard to come by there. The NHTSA has 7 TSBs (summary info only) for the '06 Pilot, but nothing that seems related to vibrations.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    No, now they charge for everything. It really sucks, and started when they merged with Autozone.

    Odie's Carspace
  • I have a 2006 with about 6000 miles. Change the tires. Integritys are junk. Problem solved.
  • I am quite glad your problem is solved. You are lucky.

    I dumped the Integritys for Michelins. The problem persists. If you review other sections of Edmunds boards you will see that others have had no success with changing tires. Some appear to have slightly lessened the problem with very, very precise balancing, however, most have not. And... then there is the individual who has removed the front drive shaft on a 4WD to "solve" the problem.

    Glad you have had success. However, Honda has a major defect and, to date, has not come forward with a solution.
  • I purchased an 06 as well in April of this year and we are experiencing a type of "resonate frequency" in our Pilot. Mainly at very low speeds or when we are stopped and this is very strange. It sounds like a very deep BASS from the Stereo system, although I do not believe it is coming from the speakers. But it elevates slowly and is almost deafening. Here are a few things I have noticed. If I open any door to the vehicle, the noise subsides. Once I close the door again, the noise starts back. My wife stayed inside the Pilot one time when we were parked at a stop sign. I wanted to hear the sound from outside of the vehicle as I thought it may be coming from the engine. Guess What? I could not hear anything outside the car and my wife would Nod her head from inside the vehicle that the inside of the car had the deep vibration (Stereo Bass Like) noise inside. We also told the dealership about it, but could not reproduce it at the time. It is very annoying and happens at least every 2 - 3 days. If I hear it now, I usually just open the door until I start moving again and it goes away.

    Other than that, and the fact that my cell phone makes the stereo act wacky, I really like the vehicle.

    Has anyone experienced this with their Pilot?
  • bcoolbcool Posts: 59
    I'm wondering how real this vibration problem is. I didn't notice it on the test drive, but I just canceled my purchase of a '07 Pilot AWD EX-L after reading this bulletin board. It was a great deal and a beautiful SUV. I think that I'll hold off until I find out what's going on, or find something else. Would the Acura MDX have the same problem? I'm guessing that the AWD drive train is similar. There are no vibration issues on the Acura bulletin board. :confuse:
  • It is real, however, it is not always exhibited in every vehicle. Take a test drive on a smooth highway and vary your speed between 67 and 73 MPH. Avoid police. Be safe.

    If your vehicle has "the disease" it will appear to have significant wind buffeting. The steering wheel doesn't shake, rather, it feels/sounds like... well.... wind buffeting. If you have the stereo turned up you will notice it less, therefore, always demo drive with the radio off.

    This problem has been reported on multiple Honda 4WD models, including Acura's. It is not simply a "tire balance issue", although that may lessen it to some degree. One person reported that the problem went away when they removed a drive shaft. Tires still rotate but the problem was gone.

    If you have a vehicle without the disease and at a good price, enjoy.

    The problem is real, just not universally applied to every vehicle. And, apparently, Honda denies it.
  • jim70jim70 Posts: 27
    Hi darrickh,

    I have read similar comments elsewhere about low frequency sound at slow speed. In some cases it was indicated that it may have to do with the Active Noise Cancellation system that is found on the Pilots with VCM. You might want to check the site under "forums", "problems", then "deep thrumming sound". There is also an extensive section there regarding the vibration issue.
  • I have been doing a fair amount of research on these topics and there seem to be two distinctly different issues:

    Vibration: An apparently serious vibration that is most prominent around 70 MPH. This seems to affect a significant number of AWD Pilots going back at least to the 2005 model year. There are many comments, complaints and theories but the common thread seems to be that, for the people who have this problem, Honda has been unable to fix it.

    Noise: There are many complaints about road noise, as well as a more recent surge in complaints about a strange low pitched noise on new Pilots with VCM. It appears that Honda is utilizing some sort of active noise cancellation which comes through the speakers of the stereo. Unfortunately, it looks like that may have created some problems of it's own.
  • Actually, 3 problems:

    - 70MPH vibration/shudder design defect, ignored or at
    least not acknowledged by Honda. They probably don't
    want a national recall, including the expense and

    - Road noise, makes having a radio totally useless.

    - Low pitched noise from ???? source.
  • I bought a 2006 AWD EX-L Pilot 6 weeks ago and I am beside myself with this vibration.

    I have had the tires road forced balanced and it helped "a little" but ONLY a little.

    It's still there at 60-70. It's a very fast type of vibration.

    If only I had felt it before I bought it. I assure you that I would NOT have bought the Pilot !

    It's horrible and extremely distracting... so much so that I feel it's dangerous.

    I drive my brand new Pilot very little now because of it and drive my Sebring instead.

    How's THAT for a testimonial !

  • Can any new 2007 Honda EX-L 4WD owners comment on this vibration? Am ramping up to purchase one end of year or early next year but this has caught my attention. Especially since I want a relatively quiet vehicle so I can utilize bluetooth cell phone within. Thanks.
  • I don't notice any vibrations in my 2007 except for the first hundred feet after it has been parked for a few days. I am sure that that is from flat spots on the tires from being parked so long, I can feel that in my other vehicle also. If you want a real quiet vehicle you should consider a sedan. Pushing a big box like the Pilot through the air at 60 mph will produce quite a bit of turbulence and wind noise.
  • It's not wind noise. If you drive on very smooth asphalt
    the noise is minimal. If you drive on anything OTHER than
    very smooth asphalt (rough asphalt, concrete of any sort,
    etc.) it is very noisy. Same speed. Same air. Honda
    has a serious issue with road isolation, specifically,
    picking up the noise through the suspension to the passenger
    interior. And... doesn't matter whether it is the original
    Integrity tires or new Michelin's.

    Most people don't take a test drive for any extended time
    on a freeway. If they did, Honda sales would suffer.
  • It's strange I have read these forums for a while and have always been concerned with this topic but have been lucky not to experience the problem at all. I now have a little over 5,000 miles on my 06 AWD/EXL and haven't experienced any problem with vibration other than a small vibration at 42 MPH. As far as higher speeds, our speed limit on the highways here in Arizona is 75 and I frequently drive at 80-85. Road noise has also been an issue in the forum and I find my Pilot very quiet and can easily listen to the stereo at speed. As far as road noise and wind the Pilot is much quieter than the Subaru WRX/STI that I traded in against it. I wonder if the noise and vibration started immediately and if it didn't show up in your initial test drive of the vehicle.
  • As a matter of fact, I drive from old asphalt to brand new asphalt everyday (65 mph speed limit) and I am aware of that difference, which is significant. Since I also drive a Buick sedan over the same route, I have compared the differences between those vehicles. The Honda does produce more noise on both surfaces. But it's better than the Chevy Blazer that it replaced. I test drove the Highlander also but didn't sense a significant improvement vs. the Honda.
  • kabillkabill Posts: 35
    I know this thread is supposed to be about vibrations in the PILOTs, but since you mentioned wind noise, I have to say that I've not driven a PILOT (10-15 of them) that didn't have excessive wind noise. It's a problem that's been thoroughly discussed throughout these forums, as well as readily admitted to by my local Honda dealer.

    As far as the vibration, I've experienced it on a few Pilots, and road noise is a given on most Hondas.

    I'm hoping these issues get addressed for the 2008 model, but I'm not very optimistic considering they haven't been yet.
  • jph123jph123 Posts: 3
    I have a 2004 Pilot with 59000+ miles. Replaced tires with Michelin® Cross Terrain recently. The vibration is finally gone.
  • kabatekabate Posts: 1
    This sounds EXACTLY like my Pilot. I purchased my Pilot in Sept. 06 and the vibration appeared the day after I picked it up. It has been back to different dealers 4 times. After five sets of tires and rims, five rotations, 4 wheel alignments, a "special road balance" and 2 disconnections of the drive train, the problem still exists. Honda does acknowledge that there is a problem with the car - the regional service rep has driven it and agrees - but they have no idea what the problem is or how to fix it. They also can't confirm or deny that the problem makes the vehicle unsafe. Comforting thought when you have a 3 year old in the car everyday. I want my '03 Pilot back.

    Also, any thoughts on what to tell the dealer to fix the window noise - rattling kind of "styrofoam" noise. Repair attempts on this is four times as well.
  • ksayersksayers Posts: 59
    As you have gone through plenty with the dealer, I would suggest requesting a meeting with the regional manager and go in with the assumption that the defect IS a safety hazard and if Honda wants to PROVE otherwise, do so. There is no reason to buy into the concept that they define whether its a hazard or not. I would default to "it is a hazard and once you figure out what it is, then you can try to convince me otherwise". After that, offer the 15 cents a mile for what you have for mileage minus your time/effort for all the repairs and have them buy the vehicle back.
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