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Discussion Starter #1
03 with 165K. Daughters car, she tells me 3 weeks ago the temp gauge is spiking, so we add about 1 gallon of coolant. no leaks anywhere to be found under the vehicle, heater core does not seem to be leaking. Have had to fill about 1/3 of a gallon once a week since then, but no physical signs of leaking.

Drove it today about 90 miles and the temp gauge never moved from the "center" position between C and H. No loss of coolant over that drive either.

We do hear a slight "slosh" sound in the dash like the system has an air pocket near the heater core. Have others had this issue and not been able to find a leak? Thinking of taking it to my mechanic to do a pressure test with dye to see if there is a leak. Also, i just changed the oil and no signs of coolant in the oil. Can't imagine that blow-by would be losing 1 gallon over a 3 week/500 mile interval.

Suggestions on what to check next would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
BB
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Really? a new cap? It's not that i doubt you, but the area around the cap is bone dry. I guess if it's original (i believe it is) it's possible. Would be a cheap fix that's for sure.

Thanks,
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What color is your exhaust smoke if any?
What does the engine oil dipstick look like?
Two gallons of coolant does not just disappear so it has to be going somewhere.
 

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Scratch what I said about checking the engine oil since you said you just changed the oil,
 

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You didn’t mention any strange shifting behavior so I’m guessing you don’t have the pink milkshake where tranny fluid and coolant mix. But might check the tranny dipstick just to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Seems to be shifting fine, but will check the tranny fluid in the AM. How would that be mixing together though?

Thanks,
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Discussion Starter #9
I'm with you road2cycle, where the heck is 2 gallons of coolant going if no visable leaks? Can't be that much blow by at this mileage one would think?
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If the radiator fails internally coolant and tranny fluid could mix together since the tranny fluid goes through the radiator on stock Pilots. But if 2 gallons went into the tranny you’d probably notice something.
My guess at this point is it’s either burning or evaporating away. If that much coolant was leaking and not vaporizing you’d expect a puddle under the Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Additional information from this morning:
1. Tried to start the Pilot and 3 times in a row did not want to start but did on the 4th. It felt/sounded like it was in hydrolock with a slight rumble trying to start then fail. Once it did start there was a lot of white smoke from the tailpipe. It is only 39 degrees F here in Michigan, but the smoke seemed more than normal, and did quit after a minute and while taking off to drive.

2. Noticed the check engine light was on

3. The VTM-4 light was on as well.

4. Drove about 10 miles and stopped and checked the transmission fluid while running and in park. The fluid is pink like it should be, not frothy but was up about 4 inches on the dipstick (about 3 inches above the second hash mark) so that seems a bit high.

5. Ran the codes using an Actron scanner and came up with the following: P0300, P0301,P0302, P0304, P0305, P0306, P1399 and a tranny code of P0706. The misfire codes make sense, and the 0706 would appear to be related to the VTM-4 light being on but not sure why other than if there are misfire codes it would also affect the trans performance and default to the VTM-4 light being on.

6. Cleared all codes and restarted and ran just fine with no check engine light or VTM-4 light and pressing the VTM-4 button while in D1 did engage so that appears to be working.

Not sure where this coolant is going, but appears to be internal at this point. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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4. Drove about 10 miles and stopped and checked the transmission fluid while running and in park. The fluid is pink like it should be, not frothy but was up about 4 inches on the dipstick (about 3 inches above the second hash mark) so that seems a bit high.

BB
Pink or Red? It should NOT be pink, it should be a deep red.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Tranny fluid appears more red than pink. I'm unfortunately leaning towards a head gasket issue. Having my local mechanic that works on all my vehicles do a test on Monday to check for head gasket leak. If that's the culprit, it's most likely not worth fixing.

I will post more once i know.
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"4. Drove about 10 miles and stopped and checked the transmission fluid while running and in park. The fluid is pink like it should be, not frothy but was up about 4 inches on the dipstick (about 3 inches above the second hash mark) so that seems a bit high."

Really?? That sounds like your issue. If the fluid is anything other than translucent red you have an issue. if it is pink and opaque, it's mixing with coolant. Please search strawberry milkshake or radiator failure on the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well the verdict is in on this issue. It's the head gaskets. Took it to my mechanic and they did a head gasket combustion check and it failed. Also, inside of the oil fill cap has the white sludge build up.

So, talking to that shop and 2 others the cost is anywhere from $1800-$2500 and in my opinion and all 3 shops say it isn't worth fixing. Blue book on this is only about $2500-$3500.

Looking for suggestions or thoughts on what you guys might do.

Sell it as is and tell people the head gasket needs to be replaced?
Try a sealer like Blue Devil or another and drive it until it dies?

Thanks!
 

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Well the verdict is in on this issue. It's the head gaskets. Took it to my mechanic and they did a head gasket combustion check and it failed. Also, inside of the oil fill cap has the white sludge build up.

So, talking to that shop and 2 others the cost is anywhere from $1800-$2500 and in my opinion and all 3 shops say it isn't worth fixing. Blue book on this is only about $2500-$3500.

Looking for suggestions or thoughts on what you guys might do.

Sell it as is and tell people the head gasket needs to be replaced?
Try a sealer like Blue Devil or another and drive it until it dies?

Thanks!
That is a tough decision. I guess it all depends on how the rest of the truck is in terms of condition. If the truck is decent, it might be worth spending the investment to fix the truck.
 

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I noticed that you are located in Michigan. An 03 probably has some rust starting in vulnerable areas, like the rear suspension. It's probably time to get a different car, the head gasket repair would most likely be just the start of a deep money pit forming around your Pilot.
 
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