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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Searching for honest Pilot advice...
Being told to sell and buy a new car,
but I don’t wanna lol
I have a 03 Honda Pilot, 111,000 miles
-had issues with the D light blinking, took it in to Honda and had 4th clutch pressure switch replaced.
Need to give my suspension some TLC but being told it’s not worth it.
Anyone out there said F it to being told that and have any recommendations for me on that?
 

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Searching for honest Pilot advice...
Being told to sell and buy a new car,
but I don’t wanna lol
I have a 03 Honda Pilot, 111,000 miles
-had issues with the D light blinking, took it in to Honda and had 4th clutch pressure switch replaced.
Need to give my suspension some TLC but being told it’s not worth it.
Anyone out there said F it to being told that and have any recommendations for me on that?
Are you in the snowbelt and, if so, are there any corrosion issues with the chassis that might make any suspension work essentially pointless?
How close are you to the next timing belt replacement?
Going forward, what do expect that your annual mileage will be?
Can you afford to buy a new vehicle?

I had the timing belt job done for the second time a year-and-a-half ago.
My Pilot is still in decent condition and no new vehicle has me desperate to spend $30K+, so I spent $1500 on some preventative maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I’ve asked about my timing belt, they said it’s all good, and won’t need to worry about for a while. I am a newbie and am trying my best to learn so any tips or recommendations on that I will gladly take.
I don’t live in the snow belt, but do live on an island so probably should check for corrosion due to island salty air?
(So sorry if that’s a stupid question)
My annual mileage is pretty average, it’s my daily driver and car camp mobile.
Can not afford a new vehicle at the moment and really love the Pilot for my son and I, would rather go the route of maintaining this vehicle for as long as I can.
Was thinking of buying suspension parts online and finding a mechanic to install, then align at a shop.
Any recommendations for best places to buy parts ?
Mahalo for all the help and information


Are you in the snowbelt and, if so, are there any corrosion issues with the chassis that might make any suspension work essentially pointless?
How close are you to the next timing belt replacement?
Going forward, what do expect that your annual mileage will be?
Can you afford to buy a new vehicle?

I had the timing belt job done for the second time a year-and-a-half ago.
My Pilot is still in decent condition and no new vehicle has me desperate to spend $30K+, so I spent $1500 on some preventative maintenance.
 

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When I’ve asked about my timing belt, they said it’s all good, and won’t need to worry about for a while. I am a newbie and am trying my best to learn so any tips or recommendations on that I will gladly take.
I don’t live in the snow belt, but do live on an island so probably should check for corrosion due to island salty air?
Check out the new “sticky” thread on what to look for on a first gen Pilot exclusively on Piloteers in the first gen section. There you will find nearly anything you need to keep that Pilot rolling for a long time.
The TB is too important of a maintenance item to ignore nor accept the “it’s all good” brush off unless it’s documented somewhere that it has been done. Break the TB and it’s bye bye Pilot....sounds like a 60s song.
Yes please inspect the rear subframe support for extensive rust. Post pics for Internet analysis. We luv pics 😂
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Here's that long-wished for Sticky: First-Gen Pilot Buyer's Guide Checklist - The Final...

Note that not everything is going to be perfect on a Pilot that age, but one of the nice features of that Sticky is that it categorizes issues in terms of seriousness.


Surface rust is something you can live with if you choose, since it's mainly esthetic, but subframe mount rust is structural and therefore more serious. Look for it up between the rear left wheel and the VTM-4 rear clutchpack, and post pictures. Hope it doesn't look like some of these bad cases:

04 pilot Rusted Rear Subframe Mount - with Pics

Fixed Rusted Rear Subframe Mount - with Pics

Rear subframe mount rust



All that said, I suspect whoever told you you should sell it and buy something new, wants it for himself to keep or sell at a profit, and/or buy something new from him.
146527
 

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There's not much to add to this good advice, but here's a few minor points...

1. Honda dealers want to sell cars. If you're not planning to do much work yourself, find a good independent mechanic who works on Hondas regularly. You'll get better advice and spend less.

2. The easiest way to decide whether to keep it or sell it is to run the numbers. If your transmission is OK, but you need the whole timing belt / spark plugs / suspension refresh, you're looking at around $2,250. If your motor mounts are shot, that goes up to $2,750.

That's a lot to spend on an old car, but you won't get much in another car for that amount. Others here may disagree, but I would say that you could spend up to $6,000 on a decent '03 and have a very good chance of coming out ahead.

3. The only real weak spots in an '03 Pilot are the rear subframe rust and the transmission. If you're doing OK on both of those, your car has a lot of life left in it if you get on top of the deferred maintenance.

4. As others have mentioned, if your timing belt is original, get it done ASAP. If that fails, it's lights out for an '03. The suspension work is less important. The Aisin kit from Rock Auto includes a water pump (you need that too) and is what most people on this forum prefer. Any independent mechanic who knows Hondas can put it in for you.

Good luck!
 

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When I’ve asked about my timing belt, they said it’s all good, and won’t need to worry about for a while. I am a newbie and am trying my best to learn so any tips or recommendations on that I will gladly take.
I don’t live in the snow belt, but do live on an island so probably should check for corrosion due to island salty air?
My annual mileage is pretty average, it’s my daily driver and car camp mobile.
Can not afford a new vehicle at the moment and really love the Pilot for my son and I, would rather go the route of maintaining this vehicle for as long as I can.
Was thinking of buying suspension parts online and finding a mechanic to install, then align at a shop.
Any recommendations for best places to buy parts ?
The timing belt is due for replacement every 7-years or 105K-miles, whichever comes first.
How long has it been since it was last done?

Exposure to salt air is not ideal, so do check for any structural issues.

Which suspension parts are you considering replacing?
Just the shocks/struts, or some more extensive work?

One source for original Honda parts is this dealer:
OEM Honda Parts at Majestic Honda | Majestic Honda Automotive Parts
A popular source for aftermarket parts is: 2003 HONDA PILOT Parts | RockAuto
Depending upon the actual seller, Amazon may be another option.
Probably wise to check shipping charges to your island location and compare the total price to those at any local dealers and parts stores - especially if there's a problem with a part and it needs to be returned or exchanged.

One downside of bringing your own parts to an installer is, if there is any problem with the part, you could get stuck paying to have the bad new part removed and the replacement reinstalled - so triple the labor charge. This happened to me once a long time ago. If you're doing the work yourself, then you're just out the extra time and inconvenience.
 

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You can drive a car with worn suspension parts and motor mounts, but you can't drive a car with a shot transmission and I certainly wouldn't recommend pushing your luck with the timing belt (if it hasn't been replaced recently).

You can defer everything else except the timing belt for a while until you have the money or just can't take it any more.

Is the transmission working well? It is old, but not super high mileage. The 2003s had lots of transmission issues so it's not unbelievable that it would fail randomly. Have you been keeping up with regular fluid changes?

I drove a 1996 Accord that had a completely worn suspension for 2 years and still never replaced any parts. It popped, clicked and vibrated but never actually failed.
 
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