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Honda Pilot Transmission Problems



  • Please read #177 & #179 above. It has been well documented in many forums (such as this one) that the 2002 through 2006 model years for both the Honda Pilot and the Acura MDX (same transmission) have exceptionally high instance of torque converter failure in the transmission. If you have the grinding/vibration/shuddering noise while accelerating between 30 to 40 mph, it is probably your torque converter. Even though Honda did not issue a Service Bulletin for the Pilot, there was one issued for the Acura MDX (basically the same vehicle) for model years 2003 & 2004. You can read the document at the following link:

    The document describes the problem, how the dealer should repair and also mentions a "goodwill consideration" for vehicles that are out of warranty. I would open a case with Honda America and push this issue as far as you can up the ladder. Good luck!
  • My 2004 pilot started doing that also and then it started having transmission issues!I just recently (in November) purchased a 2004 Honda Pilot. The transmission starting causing shifting problems. The first time it was like I slammed the brakes on but thankfully I was just going up our drive way and not driving fast. I started driving again and it kept messing up. Then the green light started flashing on the D when I was driving and parked. I took it in and they plugged it into the computer and it was a transmission code. There was also a 2-3 shift malfunction. They said my transmission needed replaced. I looked up recalls and my car had a recall for the transmission and it was """fixed""" in May 2006. However, they did not change the transmission, just installed an oil jet kit to keep it lubricated! Apparently that did not help especially if there are chips of metal in the fluid! Everyone I talk to just tells me my car, being at 104,000 miles, is out of warrenty and they have to draw the line somewhere! No crap people! But if you would have fixed the darn thing properly when it had a recall it would not need replaced already! Honda has been horrible through this and refuse to help me. I am a single mother of 3 children and I can not afford a new tansmission at $4,000 especially when it is their screw up and they should have to FIX their recall! I am so angry and will NEVER buy another honda as long as I live and I will tell anyone I know about their horrible transmissions and their bad customer service. They are just trying to cover their butts on this one. It is time they start helping their customers rather than basically saying "its your problem now". From what I see this is an ongoing problem with Honda and I think something needs to be done!
  • Mine started flashing also on my 04 Honda Pilot. Now my transmission needs replaced and they will not help me...I checked the recall and they told me that it was not related to the recall because they fixed it with a new oil jet kit. It DID NOT fix it. It now needs replaced and there are chips of metal in the trans fluid! I'm ticked at honda right now!
  • My problem in my 04 pilot started the same way...could not shift below D. Then started having more serious problems and the green light started flashing on D. When I took it is he noticed a snaped transmission gear shifter cable and also the transmission needs replaced! I have my story on here about my car too. I am so mad...will never own another honda after this!
  • Yup, that is how mine transmission has to be replaced!
  • Thank you for the post. Unfortunately, I have already taken my vehicle to a reputable transmission repair technician. I think it is funny that Honda first tells us they can't replace the torque converter without swapping out the whole thing, until you read the service bulletin. Now suddenly that is accepted practice. Until Honda admits that they screwed up, no progress gets made with their customer service people. They place no value in these forums. Dozens of people describe the same problem, but to Honda, See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Honda lost me and will never get me back.
  • A few weeks ago, the "D" light on my 2003 Pilot started flashing. It has 120k miles on it. I stopped by a Honda dealer, who said it was nothing urgent. A few days ago, it slipped out of gear while upshifting on a hill. My mechanic said the transmission would have to be replaced and that it would cost around $4k. I phoned Honda America and they said there was no assistance they could/would provide for a car of that age and milage. When I bought the car used in 2004, it was definitely not my expectation that the transmission would fall apart at 120k. You pay for a Honda because it lasts. Given what I have read on this and other blogs about these transmissions, is there any talk of a class action lawsuit?
  • bogiejimbogiejim Posts: 51
    I have a 2006 Pilot that has just hit 50K miles. Yesterday I noticed that there is a whining noise when the vehicle is running, either in park or in gear. As the vehicle accelerates the whining becomes more high pitched, and at idle drops down in pitch, but is still noticeable. Any thoughts?
  • franklwfranklw Posts: 44
    edited August 2010
    I had the same problem with my 2005 Pilot starting around 75K miles, I had my tranny replaced under Honda Care extended warranty. You can read my story here.
  • bogiejimbogiejim Posts: 51
    Well it it's the transmission failing I am SOL, because I never took an extended warranty. I suppose I could take one out now and then report the problem, seems to me that 50K is not a very usefull life for a transmission. I also noticed last night (first time I had driven in the dark since noticing the problem) that the headlights flicked most noticeably when accelerating. I am now wondering if this could be some type of voltage regulator or electrical problem. Probably best for me to bring it tot he dealer and let them troubleshoot the problem. Thanks for your input.
  • franklwfranklw Posts: 44
    Is your car under warranty? 2006 Honda Pilot has 5 years, 60K powertrain warranty. If yours is out of warranty, I have seen posts that people were successfully received assistance from Honda ranging from zero cost to owner paid for dealer installation and Honda provides free rebuilt transmission. The key is you have to act asap and take it different dealers if you don't get the answers that address all of your concerns. Good luck.
  • bogiejimbogiejim Posts: 51
    I had completely forgotten that the drivetrain coverage was longer than the rest of the vehicle. You are correct is is 5 years and 60K. I am going to get in just under the wire as I purchased the vehicle 5 years ago this coming October. Calling the dealer this morning. I would like to think that I would have uncovered the drivetrain warranty on my own but nevertheless Thank You!
  • Vehicle went into the dealership today. Diagnosis alternator is gone and has fried a fusebox. Total cost for alternator, electronic fusebox, labor, and $100.00 diagnostic fee is $925.00. Am I being overcharged???
  • My 2011 pilot 2wd has 7000 miles and does not shift smoothly between 40 and 60 when accelerating or decelerating. Honda tech took a test drive with me and agreed things were not right, he said feels like torque converter problem and he would contact honda re possible transmssion replacement. Scheduled service for following week.

    Took car to dealer at 0700. They gave me a loaner. At 4 pm the called and said there is no problem that all 2011 Pilots have same shift pattern.
    I think I am getting a runaround. Anyone having similar issues? Car shudders and hesitates when shifting gears between 40 and 60. I also notice a "burbling" sound from exhaust when egine is idling when I stand at rear of car
  • I am having the same problems w/ my 2011. Same thing on dealer. They basically are telling me they all do this. I have it at all speeds and the ECO mode in and out is very noticble. The lead service tech drove with me and felt all of what I described but said they see no problem. I am very frustarted.
  • i just bought a 2011 honda pilot EX-L 2wd yesterday, there is something defintly wrong with the ECO or the VCM system! i never noticed it during my test drive, but on my 70 mile journey back home from the dealership it sure took the new car thrill away, it is either one or both of these honda fuel savers that is the culprit! shame on you honda you should put a switch on the dash or steering wheel so we could disengauge this. if i wanted to save fuel i would have bought a fit!! common sense tells me that if you shut down 3 cylinder it is going to feel like a missfire or a up or down shift when they reengage, this is a serious problem and i sure don't like it! my last honda!! going back to chevy or ford!!
  • It sounds like the ECO system is doing what it is supposed to do. What is "wrong" with it? Not sure how something that you know exists "feels" like a misfire, and how that is a serious problem? A serious problem is a dropped transmission.
  • its a serious problem if its your $30+ thousand! if you had any mechanical expertise you would realize that when these cylinders shut down that the pressure from the the compression builds up its going to act as a misfire when they rein-gauge! how can this be good for the engine! cant! my problem is i have nobody to blame but my self for not checking into this ECO PROBLEM before i let my wife talk me out of a ridgeline with no ECO! thanks for the lesson on a dropped transmission! cute!
  • Sorry, I wasn't being cute. I just find your complaint strange. If your mechanical explanation were true, seems like there would be a lot of Honda owners making the same claim. But I don't see any. It sounds more like there is something *you* don't like about the SUV, not that the SUV has something wrong with it. These forums are very helpful when they are about problems we share, but are less so when people just vent.
  • its defiantly a consumer issue! if you don't think people or not complaining just pickup the phone and call your local honda dealership and speak to the lead technician! i live in the southeast and today i called 4 different honda dealers in 3 different states all say this is an issue you just got to live with! no fix! do you even own a 2011 honda pilot? if not then my guess is you got some kind of stake in the honda corporation! why else would you defend these folks!
  • We own a 2010 Honda Pilot, bought 10 months ago. We had a 2005 Odyssey with ECO before that. So far, we have not noticed the problem you have stated, or at least thought anything we noticed like that was a problem. But I watch these forums for useful information just in case.
  • I took my 2011 pilot for an inspection, i bought it less than 1 month ago and have 370 miles. The mechanic put it up on a lift and told me that my transmission is leaking. I took a pic and called the honda dealer to get it serviced.
    The mechanic said that he noticed this issue on the new honda pilots and the more you drive it the worse the problem (leak) will get.

    Does anyone else have this issue?
  • Having the same identical issues Same Vehicle ... Identified the issues shortly after driving it off the lot. The dealer has been very accomodating and if fact replaced the Torque Converter which has not corrected the problem still .. All updates welcome
  • Same deal with my 2003 Pilot. Only it started to fail at 65K miles. I did all the scheduled maintenance and never towed. Never drove it hard. Honda is the next Toyota, only worse. Big cover up. They are no longer reputable. They won't admit a major design and safety flaw with these transmissions. Where's the lawsuit and big law firms. This is easy money for them. Never buy a Honda again. They've lost it!!!!!
  • I had a 03 that was recalled for the Tranny to install a larger line or something, and never had a problem with it for 5 years. Bought a 09 with the cylinder shut-off and never noticed really when it was running on 3 or 6 cylinders. It was transparent, I got rid of the vehicle after 6 months because I did not care for all of the cheap plastic parts, and the worst looking dash board in the history of Honda. There were other issues, but the drive train was great.
  • As the investogation has continued, the Toyota problem has turned out to be poor drivers (see link). I view that whole situation as a buying opportunity, because Toyota has been offering incentices that we haven't seen from them for years. html
  • pudgeypudgey Posts: 3
    My 2003 honda pilot had a transmission failure and there was a recall on the trany that honda claimed they fixed????? Now my pilot has 110,000 miles with a rebuilt trany , honda claims it was my fault and wanted to charge me 5,500 to fix the problem??? I fixed it myself with a local dealer for 4,000. Can anyone help with information on how to hold honda responsible? I have read my complaints about honda on this site is there any legal action or help like a boycott or the press that is willing to help???

  • We had the SAME thing happen with our 2003 Honda Pilot ! The transmission failed while my daughter and I were on the highway and we were lucky we did not get into an accident. The dealer we got it from refuses to do anything to help us look into the matter and wanted to charge us over $7000 to fix it. We ended up having our mechanic do it and still had to spend $5400. It only had 115,000 km on it. We have all the parts that they took out and are trying to reach a "local" Honda rep as the customer service center in Canada is of NO HELP when we call. We have found that our VIN did have a tranny recall and the dealer will not provide us with any info. UGH. WILL NEVER BUY A HONDA AGAIN. EVER !
  • Your lucky your transmission lasted that long. They replaced my transmission for the same cost. The rebuilt transmission lasted 2 weeks and less than two hundred miles before the drive light started to flash. No kidding here. The service code came up with torque converter failure. At least the replacement was under warranty. Cover it up Honda. Won't buy your cars again!
  • Please check into the recent history of Toyota recalls over the last few years. The accelerator issue is only one of many recalls and problems with Toyota's vehicles. I took a look at the 4Runner a couple of months ago. This model is one of the worst selling models in the last few years and there wasn't anything attractive being offered as far as incentives go.

    Point is that Toyota has admittedly been slow to fess up to problems and Honda is doing with these transmission FAILURES! Yes, failure of the transmission is a big deal.
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