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Folks,
I am writing just to share my experience with many issues I have run in the past year, including:
  • Sporadic ABS and/or SRS lights staying on for a while and coming off on their own without an apparent cause
  • Gear handle not releasing from Park position when pushing the brakes and giving me a hard time in the worst of places (drive-thrus, parking lots, etc) or at inconvenient times. This was the cause of much stress. I checked the fuses and I know there is a fix for this via replacing the switch behind the brake pedal, which was going to be my next move in addressing this particular problem.
  • Hard/erratic shifting: I replaced the transmission 12K miles ago and never thought I would stress about transmission failures again before I sell it in a few years.
  • Sporadic rough starts

The above issues were aggravating enough to contemplate getting rid of the car.

The last straw was when the car would move forward gradually when in Drive position giving the appearance the transmission was not engaging. The next day after that incident the car would not start and I had to jump start it. I thought it was weird given the battery was about a year old so I took it to O'Reilly to get it checked. They did their battery's stress test on the machine and it came back as "Good", which made me think about the alternator. I re-installed the battery and had the guys check the alternator voltage just to make sure it was doing its job. The alternator voltage readings were in the ~10 Volt range, which is not what the car needs (12V minimum) to run all of its electronics in an optimal manner. I am not a mechanic but I am pretty handy, so I immediately decided to try to address the problem myself and purchased O'Reillys aftermarket alternator (Ultima brand). I also rented their belt tensioner to do the job. I figured I'd try to save hundreds of dollars by attempting to do the job myself.

Once I got home, I checked a bunch of youtube videos on how to replace the Pilot alternator. It took me about 3 hours to do the job but I did it well. I know an experienced person would have done it in 30 mins. Full disclosure: I am not a mechanic or a car expert by any means. I am a computer professional with some experience fixing most basic things on my cars. I am just a diy'er and this job was not out my league.

The results: ALL problems mentioned above went away immediately. I took the car back to O'Reilly to check the alternator voltage and it read over 14 volts. It's been 2 months since I did the job without any issues at all. The car rides like a DREAM and transmission shifting (up and down) is very smooth. This was definitely a game changer and I am keeping it. :)

I guess the obvious lesson here is the right voltage must be provided by the alternator in order for the car to run optimally, especially these cars that have so many electronics controlling vital car functions.

Some basic facts about my Pilot: I am the third owner and it has ~169K. I bought it with 128K miles on it.

I am new to this Forum and I hope this helps someone experiencing similar problems.
 

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Glorificatus Oleum Mutante
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12,420 Posts
Folks,
I am writing just to share my experience with many issues I have run in the past year, including:
  • Sporadic ABS and/or SRS lights staying on for a while and coming off on their own without an apparent cause
  • Gear handle not releasing from Park position when pushing the brakes and giving me a hard time in the worst of places (drive-thrus, parking lots, etc) or at inconvenient times. This was the cause of much stress. I checked the fuses and I know there is a fix for this via replacing the switch behind the brake pedal, which was going to be my next move in addressing this particular problem.
  • Hard/erratic shifting: I replaced the transmission 12K miles ago and never thought I would stress about transmission failures again before I sell it in a few years.
  • Sporadic rough starts
The above issues were aggravating enough to contemplate getting rid of the car.

The last straw was when the car would move forward gradually when in Drive position giving the appearance the transmission was not engaging. The next day after that incident the car would not start and I had to jump start it. I thought it was weird given the battery was about a year old so I took it to O'Reilly to get it checked. They did their battery's stress test on the machine and it came back as "Good", which made me think about the alternator. I re-installed the battery and had the guys check the alternator voltage just to make sure it was doing its job. The alternator voltage readings were in the ~10 Volt range, which is not what the car needs (12V minimum) to run all of its electronics in an optimal manner. I am not a mechanic but I am pretty handy, so I immediately decided to try to address the problem myself and purchased O'Reillys aftermarket alternator (Ultima brand). I also rented their belt tensioner to do the job. I figured I'd try to save hundreds of dollars by attempting to do the job myself.

Once I got home, I checked a bunch of youtube videos on how to replace the Pilot alternator. It took me about 3 hours to do the job but I did it well. I know an experienced person would have done it in 30 mins. Full disclosure: I am not a mechanic or a car expert by any means. I am a computer professional with some experience fixing most basic things on my cars. I am just a diy'er and this job was not out my league.

The results: ALL problems mentioned above went away immediately. I took the car back to O'Reilly to check the alternator voltage and it read over 14 volts. It's been 2 months since I did the job without any issues at all. The car rides like a DREAM and transmission shifting (up and down) is very smooth. This was definitely a game changer and I am keeping it. :)

I guess the obvious lesson here is the right voltage must be provided by the alternator in order for the car to run optimally, especially these cars that have so many electronics controlling vital car functions.

Some basic facts about my Pilot: I am the third owner and it has ~169K. I bought it with 128K miles on it.

I am new to this Forum and I hope this helps someone experiencing similar problems.
That's quite an experience. Glad you figured it out.
Thanks for posting about it.
 

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I am new to this Forum and I hope this helps someone experiencing similar problems.
Thanks for sharing your alternator experience. Keep up with the regular and recommended maintenance found throughout this forum to keep that '03 Pilot rolling along. Can you share your transmission story from maintenance to symptoms then trans replacement?
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Great first post. Welcome to the forum.

It's good to share that experience, since as you've discovered, low juice can manifest itself in all manner of poltergeist symptoms. When such weirdness is experienced, a good plan of action to begin with the battery, the alternator and their cables and connections.

Glad you figured it out and are now a happy and running new Piloteer.
 
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