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Honda Pilot Transmission Problems



  • bdp1bdp1 Posts: 6
    So, today they (Honda) checked out the car. Thought trans fluid looked strange. Then they drove it. When it overheated, they discovered the coolant also looked strange. No theories from them. I called my "neutral party" transmission shop. With no hesitation the guy identified the likely problem. Seems the trans fluid has a coil in the radiator. If that fails, both coolant and trans fluid cross contaminate. Coolant strips facing off of plates in transmission yielding slipping, trans fluid fouls cooling system. Honda tech impressed with explanation. Replace radiator and trans quoted around $4200. Would prefer a generous trade-in for a low mileage 06 on lot, but not forth-coming. Did I mention that the trans shop with the diagnosis was an AAMCO in Columbus, OH? A very competent individual. Wish the car wasn't 150 miles away from him.
  • It isn't looking good folks... I have a 2005 Pilot. I started having trouble with violent shaking and shimming while trying to accelerate going uphill around 75K. I am now at 120K and I am now unable to down shift( yes I know how..) and my D light is flashing on the transmission indicator... It looks like a new transmission. I wrote a complaint to the NHTSA. I suggest everyone do the same. Honda obviously has not taken care of us by fixing their transmissions. I bought my 05 because I was under the impression that Honda fixed their transmissions after lawsuit. Boy was I mis-informed (by the dealer). My maintenance has been impeccable with Honda fluids. I'll be calling Honda Corp. next. Good luck to everyone in a Pilot.
  • How do you file a complaint with the NHTSA? Also is there a class action law suite yet?
    Is honda going to help you out at all on the cost?
  • bdp1bdp1 Posts: 6
    The conclusion to this story is that American Honda would not help. The dealer allowed $6500 as a trade in on a 2006 Pilot with 34,000 miles. Could not get any participation from the dealer, either. Didn't wish to drag the proceedings out any longer.
  • carollee3carollee3 Posts: 10
    Shortly after beginning my commute I see the flashing D, what does it mean? Several months ago this was also happening then it went away and stopped. Now most of the time the D begins to flash and does not stop. Does anyone know why?
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    A flashing D is a not a sign that you should keep driving. You need to have your transmission serviced. It could be a computer thing but it could be something else.
    Do you also have other lights on, like check engine light?
    Do post your current miles and transmission maintenance history

    Good luck
  • My Gear Shift Drive ("D") Light is blinking intermittently. Does anyone know what this may be? The manual says to just take it to your dealer. I have an appointment to have this looked at by my dealer, but he said it will cost $130 just to hook up the computer. I didn't want to spend this kind of money if it could just potentially be something simple like "top off the differential fluid". My transmission is due to be serviced. Should I just have them do that first before I spend hundreds on an expensive diagnostic?
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    try autoparts store Autozone ... they will scan the code for you FREE.
  • kijam99kijam99 Posts: 4
    If your transmission is due, then have it done. When they examine the car they will see the problem anyway, so you can save. According to what I was told, the D light is a serious problem requiring a gear repair/replacement which can be costly and you need to take the car to the dealer ASAP. But at times, it was just the Honda Z trans fluid.
  • danm125danm125 Posts: 1
    Same thing happened to me two weeks ago. Honda is blaming goodyear because they did a flush of the trans fluid over a year ago. I'm going to goodyear dealer to see what they say. lot's of bs from the Honda Zone people. only 55k on car. dealer offered 5k on trade-in. HAS ANYONE HAD HONDA COVER WORK ON OUT OF WARRENTY VEHICLE OR ARE THEY TOTALLY WORTHLESS? I HAVE 3 OF THEIR CARS AT THE MOMENT. AND NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THEIR STONEWALLING, also looking for more people who have same experience with trans fluid in the radiator. seems like poor design if this can happen - with no waring lights to tip you off eiter, HELP!!
  • All is well with the D" flashing. the problem was the 4th gear switch/valve in the transmission. they replaced the part for $265 and flushed the trans for $159 and the Pilot is running great.
  • Can I simply drain and fill the rear diferential fluid myself. I watched a mechanic do it on a lift years ago and thought that was all he did. Does the fluid need to be hot, is the plug the size of the end of a 3/8" rachet or extention and will the rear differential hold the entire gallon of Honda fluid?
  • We've had our 03 Pilot since new in Nov of 02. The car has been wonderful and the best car we've owned EXCEPT the auto trans. It's a piece of junk. Poor shifting, flashing lights, axles and seals broken and leaking, tranny replaced with rebuilt at 60K (Honda did pick that up however to their credit), then recalled for tranny fix, an axle support broken, and now....this replaced rebuilt transmission, at 116K, is leaking and dead also! The dealer is scratching his head and will call Honda tomorrow about anything they can do, but I'm extremely unhappy with the Honda Motor Company. I've had it with this car, and I will be VERY hard pressed to buy another new car from them. The RAV4 and Forrester are on my list to check out, no question. My advice is to unload your 03 Pilot if it's over 75K, so you don't face a killer tranny repair!
  • skc1962skc1962 Posts: 1
    Have a 2003 Pilot in my driveway now with 94K on it. Sale contingent upon hubby and mechanic's approval. CarFax says trans replaced by Honda dealership at 84K. Was covered under Honda certified warranty. That owner traded in 6 months later. Mechanic drove all weekend and didn't notice any transmission problems. Thought I'd done well, especially with brand new rebuilt transmission, but now am wondering. Will new trans take care of the problems you others are reporting? Once it's new, shouldn't I get another 100K out of it? Seeing post by jetrocker scares the heck outta me. Had started to rethink the purchase and look at spending another 4K on 2005 cause I want rear airbags, but looks like Pilot trans not 'Honda reliable" in any year, so maybe I'm better off with one I know has been replaced? And sucking up another 4K IF if goes out on the 2003. I HATE buying a car!!! Consumer reports says nothing about these difficulties!
  • Sorry to rain on your great find. I am only a data point of one so I can't say for sure what you may find with yours. However, my judgement...again just based on what I have, and have heard, is that the tranny replaced in your car should be good for another 60K or so minimum. I think that you are taking some risk by assuming it will be good for another 100K. Again, based on me only! Also, keep in mind that most likely the replacement put in your Pilot was a "rebuilt" or "reconditioned" transmission and not a brand spanking new one. It surely has the recall fix as well, but's not like it never ran in a car before. When they replaced mine at Honda at 60K, that's exactly what it was. Bottom line is I think this transmission has an inherent design deficiency. It may have been fixed in later years, but I have no idea.
  • bob11bob11 Posts: 18
    Hi my Honda pilot 2003 has 185000 miles. It's having problems starting. A few months back it had transmission replaced. After a few weeks of that the break switch died. Car had to be towed cost me 500 overall in rental car charges and repairs. Here are some questions

    Is it worth it persisting with this car?
    The dealer said starter might need replacing. It's about 600$
    it needs timing belt replaced. That's another 500$
    do you think the starting problem and break switch failure have anything to do with the transmission change.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Same old Honda tranny but rebuilt ... probably won't last longer than the first one.
    I would trade it in around its 48K mi service before it acts up again. So far we are hearing tranny problem reports from 2003 and 2004 models.
  • MY 2003 Pilot gave me the flashing "D" light last week. After replacing the battery[needed one], the computer reset and cleared the flashing light. Upon a very quick test drive the check engine light and flashing D came on again. Our Pilot has about 79,000 miles and is still under our certified used Honda power train warranty. We had it towed to our Honda Dealer this past Saturday.

    UPDATE: Received word today that Honda will be replacing the transmission with a "REMAN'd" transmission, on Honda's dime.
  • My Pilot is a 2004 with 115,000 km (71,000 miles) on it and the orange maintenance light is on, most times I can't shift into D3, D2, D1 and several times (but not consistently), the green "D" has been flashing. My non-Honda mechanic suggests the transmission is about to go and I'm taking it to Honda to check, first. Otherwise, driving it, I have no problems with the transmission or anything else.
    Can anyone else shed some info on this, please?
  • Are you located in Canada or the U.S.?
    I'd like to be able to use your post as leverage with my dealer (Canada) if necessary.
  • Dealer said they'd replace the tranny again (2nd one dead at 116K), but only pick up 25% of cost. I pushed on them and had the service mgr talk to the zone rep several they've agreed to 50%. Having it done of course (no choice), but I'm pretty sure we will move to a new car soon after. Looks like the Forrester is our pick.....7 yr/100K drive train warranty and the 4 wheel system is fully mechanical instead of electronic system like Honda. I'm sadly dissillusioned with the Honda Motor Company now. Never thought it would happen.
  • xx123xx123 Posts: 1
    There seems to be a littany of problems with the transmission in the 2003 Pilot from what I read. I am in the process of getting a rebuilt transmission in my 03 Pilot at 95000 kms (about 60000 miles) but just after the 5 year warranty has expired at a cost of $4500. Honda must be aware of the problem by now but will do nothing. I suggest anyone with an 03 Pilot get an extended warranty or get rid of it before the warranty expires.
  • I also have a 2003 Honda pilot EX-L and the check engine light turned on. I took to a mechanic and have it diagnose. There is a code P0730 Incorrect gear ratio, Is this a sign of bad tranmission also? I was driving one time and the rpm went up for some reason I push on the gas pedal but the rpm keeps on going up for about 5 minutes, this happen about 3 to 4 times now, is this like a transmission shifting problem. I bought this new and it only has 93,0000 miles. Please help
  • The same thing is happening to my 03 Honda Pilot, did you find anything out?
  • I purchased a 2003 Pilot a year ago and now I'm having all of the same problems that are being talked about on here. Downshifting to 1st and 2nd gear at different speed limits, green drive light flashing, now it's acting as if it jumps into first gear when you slow down. We've already put a $1000.00 into it and now we don't know what to do with it. I still owe double what the car is worth because I was screwed when I bought it (my mistake)! Now I have a car that I can't drive because I'm not putting my kids into something that unsafe to drive. On another post I read that Honda has replaced some of these transmissions, but what do they do when you buy a used one and are unaware of this defect and you don't have every single documentation they are requiring showing that's it's been to a Honda dealership 10 thousand times???? Please Help!!!
  • How do you get them to replace the transmission because I took mine in and they denied knowing anything about the transmissions being defective. Please give me some ideas...
  • That happened to me , then I started having problems with shifting, and now my transmission needs to be replaced. It will cost me $3526.96 to get this done (refurbished transmission from Honda). I have $160,000 miles on the vehicle. The service guy also told me that since I didn't get the transmission fluid replaced at the Honda dealership, (at Jiffy Lube) that this would have invalidated my warranty if it had not already expired. I think he is lying , but I need to research this some more.
  • honhon Posts: 34
    What do you think happens when a car has 185,000 miles on it? It won't run for ever. That's alot of miles for anything. TIME FOR COMPLETE REBUILD: Engine, Trans., Brakes, Rear end, Front end, actually, :sick: :cry: :( everything.
  • Sorry, hon.........but you're wrong. My 2003 Pilot has 221,000 miles and it doesn't need an engine rebuild.......or any of the other things you posted. I put Amsoil full synthetic in a few days after I purchase the vehicle, and have used nothing else since. I burn a bit of oil, but it's not visible while I drive. The transmissions in this car ARE bad, as mine had to be replaced at 138,000 mi. And, I've had some problems with it since. The rest of the car is well maintained, and as such will be expected to last me until 350,000 which time I plan to use it as a backup vehicle to my hopefully new Masarati Gran Turismo.
  • Transmission failed @ 113,000 miles on 2003 Pilot. My mechanic suggested I take it to the local Honda dealer and then call Honda of America to seek good will assistance. After being assigned a case number, was asked to provide service records. Since I am the 3rd owner, I decided to pay $30 and get a report from a big name company that rhymes with "Bar Snacks". With the report I was able to direct HOA to Honda dealer who performed scheduled maintenance on the Pilot before I owned it and, after 1 week, was offered $785 reduction off of $3245.37 replacement transmission cost. Not the best deal ever but I'll take it.
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