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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

This is is my first time posting on this forum and I have used the search function a lot before making this post. I have a 2003 Honda Pilot EX with around 289,000 miles and I bought it brand new back in 2003. I have noticed this past couple months that the transmission feels like it is slipping between the 2nd gear to 3rd gear and this usually happens when the car is warmed up. Even on the highway if I am braking, I can feel the downshift very rough and it feels like I slammed on the brakes (which I don't). Also when I put it into reverse, it takes a couple seconds to go into gear. The flashing D happened a couple times the past summer, but haven't appeared recently. The check engine light is on though. I have had the car parked for awhile and it is now winter and when I drove it this week there was barely any issues with the gear shifting unless I drove it far.

After researching on google, I came upon this forum and found that many people have this issue with this transmission. So I took it to Aamco today and they came back with the list of codes that popped up. It was P0700, P0845, P0740, P0730, P0780. They also took a sample of the transmission fluid which had some metal flakes in it (attached to the post).

I was hoping it was just a pressure switch failure and that it would be a simple fix, but the other codes are making me feel like this transmission is toast. It had lasted such a long time without any problems and I am very happy for that, but it would be nice to have this car last a bit longer. Is this something I can fix? Any input on this would be great.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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When’s the last time you did a drain and fill? As others on here would surely recommend, I’d start with 3 or 4 drain and fills using valvoline maxlife atf. Good luck!
(y) Exactly, and then try the pressure switches.

You've checked under your radiator cap that you don't have the Strawberry Milkshake of Death, haven't you? What color is your coolant there?

Otherwise, either I'm having a stroke or I'm smelling your transmission is toast. :(
 

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Not sure about AAMCO today but the reputation from the past was not very positive. Did they perform a drain+fill and use the correct ATF? The ATF in the pic appears to be due for a drain+fill as the color is not the usual ruby-reddish. After the AAMCO transmission service was there any improvement? Did AAMCO condemn the transmission or give it few months to run or suggest pressure switches etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
(y) Exactly, and then try the pressure switches.

You've checked under your radiator cap that you don't have the Strawberry Milkshake of Death, haven't you? What color is your coolant there?

Otherwise, either I'm having a stroke or I'm smelling your transmission is toast. :(
I have not checked under the radiator cap. Will check tomorrow. Also the technicians did say that the coolant color was not great and had a burnt smell to it. I was not physically there to see or smell it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When’s the last time you did a drain and fill? As others on here would surely recommend, I’d start with 3 or 4 drain and fills using valvoline maxlife atf. Good luck!
Last time I did a drain and a fill was probably 30,000 miles ago. How do I go about this? Do I just drain all the fluid and fill it with brand new fluid and repeat this process 3 times?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not sure about AAMCO today but the reputation from the past was not very positive. Did they perform a drain+fill and use the correct ATF? The ATF in the pic appears to be due for a drain+fill as the color is not the usual ruby-reddish. After the AAMCO transmission service was there any improvement? Did AAMCO condemn the transmission or give it few months to run or suggest pressure switches etc?
No they did not do any servicing for this, I just went there to get it checked out and the codes scanned. They said that I needed to replace the transmission completely, but this is not a daily driver so I do not want to put too much money into it.
 

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Hello all!

This is is my first time posting on this forum and I have used the search function a lot before making this post. I have a 2003 Honda Pilot EX with around 289,000 miles and I bought it brand new back in 2003. I have noticed this past couple months that the transmission feels like it is slipping between the 2nd gear to 3rd gear and this usually happens when the car is warmed up. Even on the highway if I am braking, I can feel the downshift very rough and it feels like I slammed on the brakes (which I don't). Also when I put it into reverse, it takes a couple seconds to go into gear. The flashing D happened a couple times the past summer, but haven't appeared recently. The check engine light is on though. I have had the car parked for awhile and it is now winter and when I drove it this week there was barely any issues with the gear shifting unless I drove it far.

After researching on google, I came upon this forum and found that many people have this issue with this transmission. So I took it to Aamco today and they came back with the list of codes that popped up. It was P0700, P0845, P0740, P0730, P0780. They also took a sample of the transmission fluid which had some metal flakes in it (attached to the post).

I was hoping it was just a pressure switch failure and that it would be a simple fix, but the other codes are making me feel like this transmission is toast. It had lasted such a long time without any problems and I am very happy for that, but it would be nice to have this car last a bit longer. Is this something I can fix? Any input on this would be great.
Wow, first owner, that is great. So how many transmission flush and drains have you done in the 289,000 (17 years)?
 
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Last time I did a drain and a fill was probably 30,000 miles ago. How do I go about this? Do I just drain all the fluid and fill it with brand new fluid and repeat this process 3 times?
Yes, driving it a few miles between each. And preferably with a full synthetic like Valvoline Maxlife ATF, readily available at Walmart, for example.
 

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I took it to Aamco today and they came back with the list of codes ...
P0700, P0845, P0740, P0730, P0780.
Comparison with 2006 AT DTC codes. If there is no 1-1 match, next closest number is used.
P0700 - AT issue
P0731 - 1st clutch and 1st clutch circuit. Internal part. If bad, open AT to repair 1st clutch
P0741 - torque converter clutch hydraulic circuit stuck OFF. Internal; to repair TC mechanism, circuit, or valve.
P0780 - problem in shift control. Internal; to repair shift valve D in the valve body.
P0847 - 3rd clutch pressure switch stuck ON. External; replace 3rd clutch trans fluid pressure switch

Let hope these are ghost codes and cleared off after D&Fs.
 

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Last time I did a drain and a fill was probably 30,000 miles ago. How do I go about this? Do I just drain all the fluid and fill it with brand new fluid and repeat this process 3 times?
Correct. As others have recommended. Valvoline MaxLife ATF.
Do you know what type of fluid has been used?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Comparison with 2006 AT DTC codes. If there is no 1-1 match, next closest number is used.
P0700 - AT issue
P0731 - 1st clutch and 1st clutch circuit. Internal part. If bad, open AT to repair 1st clutch
P0741 - torque converter clutch hydraulic circuit stuck OFF. Internal; to repair TC mechanism, circuit, or valve.
P0780 - problem in shift control. Internal; to repair shift valve D in the valve body.
P0847 - 3rd clutch pressure switch stuck ON. External; replace 3rd clutch trans fluid pressure switch

Let hope these are ghost codes and cleared off after D&Fs.
Should I just replace the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switch since these are cheap and also take a look at the solenoids? I can try to clean those up and do the drain and fills. I hope this works
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow, first owner, that is great. So how many transmission flush and drains have you done in the 289,000 (17 years)?
Every 30,000 miles I had the fluids drained and refilled. I'm not sure if they did the 3x drains and flush, but I always made sure to maintain it. Compared to most other pilots, I'm surprised mine didn't crap out at 150,000 miles haha. We took this car everywhere!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, driving it a few miles between each. And preferably with a full synthetic like Valvoline Maxlife ATF, readily available at Walmart, for example.
I saw that some people would also put some Dr. Tranny Instant Shudder Fixx into it as well? At this point I would like to maximize the longevity of this vehicle, especially since we don't drive it daily and use it for local use only.
 

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Should I just replace the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switch since these are cheap and also take a look at the solenoids? I can try to clean those up and do the drain and fills. I hope this works
These would be my preliminary steps with OEM solenoids as the expense is relatively minor along with a few drain+fill with MaxLife locally available @ Walmart. Keeping the Pilot rolling at minimum expense is a great goal.
 

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I took it too a honda mechanic to get serviced, so I believe it was all OEM fluids.
Ok. Good to know.
The reason we suggest trying Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF is this thinner fluid can help dissolve some of the old non-synthetic Honda DW-1 that can gun things up. Most noticeable in cold weather. I'd do a total of 3 drain and fills. After the first, drive a few miles ensuring the engine and transmission have warmed up to full operating temperature. Then do a 2nd. Then after a 100 miles or so, do the 3rd. If MaxLife has not been able to correct the symptoms, then replacing solenoids may need to be done.
 

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These would be my preliminary steps with OEM solenoids as the expense is relatively minor along with a few drain+fill with MaxLife locally available @ Walmart. Keeping the Pilot rolling at minimum expense is a great goal.
I am second to @aggrex on minimum expense.

Should I just replace the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switch since these are cheap and also take a look at the solenoids? I can try to clean those up and do the drain and fills. I hope this works
Engine power is sent to AT sequentially, first to TC then 1st gear, 2nd gear, ...You have codes on TC and 1st clutch/circuit. If these worn out, power won't reach your new 3rd/4th clutch pressure switches. Save those later until you confirm TC is still good.

Honda diagnostic procedure is: pull and record the codes, erase all codes, then perform specific driving pattern (per sm) to see if the code re-appears.

As other already suggested, D&F AT fluid n-time, then drive test the TC. If it passes, test 1st clutch/circuit, and carry on. Devise your own plan to minimize your cost and effort in case your AT needs rebuild.

Thanks for sharing. Good luck!
 

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With that many miles I’d say any “repair” less than a full rebuild is temporary. At 289,000 miles the transmission is worn out and I wouldn’t expect anything more out of it.

I’d be considering a new car at that point. Things are going to continue wearing out at that age.
 

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No they did not do any servicing for this, I just went there to get it checked out and the codes scanned. They said that I needed to replace the transmission completely, but this is not a daily driver so I do not want to put too much money into it.
So, WHERE did they get that fluid they showed you? They drained some, or sucked some out of the filler port- or easier to get to dipstick tube?

Not a good reputation, for sure.

Listen to the advice here, don't go buying a burial plot for that tranny yet!
 
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