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Honda Pilot Transmission Problems



  • You must complain all over: Attorney General, NHSTA, all over the place...document. There was a recall only for certain years and certain vin numbers. If Honda recalled everybody, they would be bankrupt. Apparently, even after rebuilt trans on Honda's - problem eventually happens again and again. Honda has a contract they cannot get out of - with their transmission vendor. They are stuck, so we the consumers have to pay and pay...for the continuous rebuilding of our tranny's. NOT FAIR OR RIGHT Honda needs to recall and this is a safety issue. Had I been on the main highway...I would have caused an accident at rush hour...I was so close to the road. My trans comes with only a one year warranty...that says it all. But hey, you can buy a two year or three year warranty. This is not right! I'm dumping the car as soon as I find a replacement. I am waiting right now for the Attorney General who is in communication with Honda to letter was received by them - maybe a good week ago. Waiting....mine was repaired locally, since I wasn't about to tow the car and pay for it - to Honda for their $5,000 dollar repair of rebuilding my tranny. Took locally for about $2,300 for a years warranty. Sent them at Honda the bills and documentation...waiting. Diane
  • 138K: Just replaced my transmission from my local Honda Dealer. They said I was very lucky have a transmission that longer 138K miles. Why would they be surprised? I suspect Honda is aware of a transmission problem in their Pilots but not telling the consumers of the possible problems.

    If I know there was ticking time bomb in my Pilot, I would have traded it in about 30K ago.
  • Is there a problem with Pilot transmissions regardless of the year?
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    It seems as though there is. Someone on a post had said that Honda had a contract with a transmission compnay for a specified period of time and could not break it-not sure when that would be up?
  • gregoryorgregoryor Posts: 1
    Just started having transmission problems. 2003 Pilot EX with only 112K miles, just started slipping. Going 65MPH on the freeway and suddenly it feels like I slammed on the brakes, and engine revs without changing speed, like, I just shifted into neutral. Haven't taken it in yet. Wondering if I should go to a dealer and try to get Honda to cover some of the bill, or my usual guy who's a lot cheaper and does good work, but won't be able to work with Honda for some kind of coverage. 112K miles is WAY too early for transmission probs. Add that to the broken engine mounts and EGR valve, both "known" problems for this model, and the word "lemon" comes to mind.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited June 2011
    That doesn't ring true to me JT.

    Honda owns at least one transmission factory and even if they relied solely on suppliers with long term contracts, they wouldn't be locked into design specs. They may have to renegotiate price a bit, but suppliers are always tweaking parts for the manufacturers.

    Just found another Honda transmission plant - this one is in Ohio.
  • Just got the Flashing "D" on my 2004 Pilot. From what I can tell by searching here, this is a common problem and Honda doesn't do much about it. Just seeing if I am correct since I don't have time to read every single message on this. But it shouldn't happen as often as it seems by the postings. guess I need to call the dealer in the morning and then start calling transmission places
  • spamman66spamman66 Posts: 6
    Same thing is happening to me. I replaced my trans 1 1/2 years ago, but still get the Flasjing D and the VTM-4 light. Weird thing is that is happened every 2-4 weeks and goes away. My trans mech says he thinks it is a communcation problem and wants to search for the bad connection. I'd be happy if it was just an ERG valve replacement. I can do that!!

    Is that the fix for this? I've tried to search for a fix, but no clear answers on this site.
  • I just had the same problem and I was driving about 50 on the highway and was almost hit by another car. I had to drive through 3 lanes and stop on the side of the highway. I cannot believe Honda is not doing anything about this. Toyota manned up the last couple years for recalls and Honda should do the same. I understand our vehicles have more than 100k on them but from what I have read, this whole issue has been caused by other faulty parts which has caused our transmissions to fail. I am definitely in to be part of a class action law suit. I'm not trying to make money off this but I would like Honda to pay for the full repair rather than just part. I too purchased Honda because I wanted a car that would last at least 200 to 250k. Let me know if you have heard anything about Honda providing a fix or if you would like to start a class action lawsuit.
  • I too have recently had the same problem and was wondering if you had pursued a class action law suit. I am frustrated and don't have an extra 4k to shell out.
  • after reading about this same problem i guess i'm in for some expense on my 2004 honda pilot. yesterday my d started flashing. had mechanic check it out. put new transmission fluid in. the light has not flashed again and i have not noticed any other problem. is there anything proactive that i can do to save my transmission before it totally goes out on me?
  • spamman66spamman66 Posts: 6
    It seems that I can stop and turn off my Pilot (2003 with a rebuilt trans at 172K, and now at 210K) and restart it and the Flashing D stops. Sometime it stops for days/weeks, sometimes for a few miles. I wonder if it is just an electrical failure for a short instance and it trips the diagnostics. It runs fine with and without the Flashing D. It's been happening for me for 6 months. It's annoying, but the car seems to run fine. AAMCO and my local repairman cannot find error codes and they think it is a corroded connection somewhere. I'm paying them to find it, though either.
  • It sounds as if you are tricking the engine...I have heard of this before...not sure what the remedy would the internet. Diane
  • I'm the latest victim of a failed '03 Honda Pilot Transmission failure. I've known for years now this day was probably coming and this past Thursday I effectively lost 3rd and 4th gear as the trans simply slammed in/out, revved, etc. which forced me to limp to a transmission shop in 2nd gear.

    Though I've NEVER serviced this transmission (other than having the factory recall to install the oil cooler kit several years ago), I believe in modern vehicles that failing at even 156K miles is unacceptable.

    Anyway, as expected, $3800 - $4300 (estimate provided this morning) for the repair. I just spent $1250 a month ago repair the AC (Compressor failure). Aside from these two very expensive failures, this Pilot has been a rock.

    I'm concerned about the trans failing again in the future, as the warranty I get with this rebuilt is 1-year or 12K miles.
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    I went with a Jasper remanufactured tranny for roughky 1k more...and a 3yr warranty! away from Honda altogether and I can say that since then I have driven 2k miles- included was 1 long trip I have had no problems at all. It's been perfect. Still need to file my paperwork with Honda & Atty General to see if I can get reimbursed at all. They should recall the darn Pilots for that reason since so many people have had that probelm.
  • I've had similar vibration/noise issues around 40 mph with very light pressure on accelerator with slight rise in the road. I'm wondering if we should be looking at a motor mount or transmission mount. Here's the theory:
    While in top gear, transmission pressure probably builds as load on engine increases until it downshifts. I've noted accelerating forces a downshift, or I can manually shift to D3. Either action gets rid of the problem. So, perhaps it's tied to light engine load with high vacuum transitioning gradually to lower vacuum and creating a vibration that is amplified by a cracked or broken motor mount (essentially a temporary harmonic??). I've heard Honda's motor mounts are pretty weak. I think there are three for the engine and two for the transmission on a 2003/04 model.

    I'm new to this site and haven't tried to find engine mount complaints.
  • Well, the cracked engine mounts combined with the double replacement of my transmission fluid (I was overdue at the time) has at least fixed my problem temporarily. I have now put 8k-10k additional miles in all types of driving and though I still think I feel a little shudder, it is nowhere close to the loud vibration that I was getting earlier. I had 2/3 engine mounts cracked at one time. If I wasn't looking for the vibration I certainly would not notice it, that's how different it is now.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed with all the other tranny complaints here, but you have to believe that we with issues are a very low % of all the Pilots Honda cranks out. It has had 0 other issues in 7 years...
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    I haven't heard anything about the mounts...the vibration/shudder @40mph I was told is a defective torque converter. I ran mine for quite a while with that problem by changing out the tranny fluid a few times. As I noted before, replaced the whole thing at 106k with Jasper remanufactured and I've had no problems since. I did file a complaint with NHTSA-everyone else with issues should too & maybe Honda will step up!
  • fish8mefish8me Posts: 1
    I just read your post. Very similar to our Pilot w/ 84k. miles... I have been thinking about changing the tranny oil since it's never been done, but I think there's a bigger problem bruin. What is the cost of that defective torque converter replacement?
  • jtsibesjtsibes Posts: 19
    I guess in order to get to the torque converter, you need to take out the transmission? My whole tranny went but it stemmed from the torque converter I believe. It was 4k.
  • 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: 569
    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.
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