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2003 vs 2004 vs 2005 Pilot

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I have been studying all the different reviews and am torn between these 3 trucks.
Seems to be minor changes yr to yr to the eye but I know 2005 went to 255hp and maybe thats why CR show less gas mileage than the 2003 , but True Delta based on user data reports the opposite.
CR makes the comment 'standard side curtain airbags'....I dont think thats true but How do you tell?
I'm looking to tow a 2400 lb hybrid trailer with load leveling hitch...2005 had mods to gear ratios....would these improve or hamper towing?
Being a Canadian shopper I never seen so many USA cars!! Its actually hard to find CDN & there are advantages both ways to USA vehicle, key being no rust at all but risk of non claimed flood vehicle. To my point, I noticed the motor cover is different on the cdn truck on the 2005!! Why would honda do this? are there any other differences?

I have always been a GM man but other than full size trucks The last good vehicle they built was 1993 transport...mine went 340K before I got rid of it.....Montana is crap and crash test is rediculous....so here I am, getting my first Honda in 15 years....cant wait.!

Thanks!
Paul
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The VTM light with the warning lights is ONLY for a problem.

The VTM lock light in on the VTM lock button.
 

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Wow, this is some really helpful info you guys posted. Thanks.

I'm not really sure what he's doing. He said the "light came on". Perhaps he thinks he engaging it, perhaps there actually is an error light coming on. I'll dig into this deeper tomorrow when I talk to him. He should have taken it to his maintenance guy and received a report by tomorrow morning.

I ran a carfax report on the VIN earlier this morning. Looks like two owners. The first one from 2003-2009, then 2009-2011. The vehicle has been in NY the entire time. And there was an accident report back in 2004. There was no police report attached, which indicates that damage was less than $1000.

Annual safety checks and emissions checks were performed like clockwork. The last indication that the A/C was checked was in 2007, 42000 miles ago. So that's a minor concern. Another minor concern is I find no record of the transmission recall being fixed, but carfax shows no outstanding recalls and every annual check at the dealer says "recommended maintenance performed".

So, that's about all the info I have right now. I'll post more tomorrow.
 

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Just to add a little more regarding the VTM-4 operation (in order for you to check it out). In addition to the above, the VTM-4 4-wheel lock (ie pressing the VTM-4 button) can only be activated when the drive selector is in 1, 2 or R. As noted above, it will disengage when the vehicle exceeds 18mph. As noted above, no VTM-4 lights on the dash should be visible after the warning lights flash at startup.

The tranny recall for that period was an inspection followed by one of two actions. If the inspection showed transmission gear damage, the transmission was replaced. If not, a cooling oil line was added to route cooling oil up to the gear area. If this has not been performed on the vehicle, it can still be performed, I believe.

Also check for any front end clunks on a rough road. It is at the age when some of those types of rubber components are starting to go (ex: Stabilizer bar links).

I have 150k on my 2004. It is a great vehicle and I wish you well.
 

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Well, I talked to dealer again. His mechanic tried to run the codes. He got nothing. And he said the light no longer comes on. I'm guessing EGR, it's just going to take awhile for it to fully manifest.
Battery was dead too. I'm talking to him again tomorrow, so hopefully he'll know more.

I did find another 2003 EX, 88k miles, no accidents. $11500.

I'm going to try to check out both vehicles in person, and still keep an eye out for a 2004/2005 at a good price too.

Thanks for all the info you guys have given me. I appreciate it.
 

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Well, I finally pulled the trigger on that 2003 EX I found. I just couldn't rationalize going with the LX with more miles. The dealer selling it still has it in the shop.

So I put a downpayment on the EX for $10,400. 88,500 miles, it was a lease vehicle for the first half of it's life, then one other owner until now. Clean inside and out. A couple small superficial scratches here and there. The recall for the transmission has already been done. I still really wanted to find a 2004/2005 with sunroof and tow package, for a cargo carrier when camping in the mountain. But I wasn't willing to pay an extra $4k everyone was asking around here...

I'm essentially at 89k, any advice on maintenance? I have a 3k mile trip planned for late June/early July. I'm going to try and get the dealer maintenance logs if I can. But assuming I can't get the logs and/or no maintenance has been performed I'm thinking a coolant and transmission fluid flush is probably in order? Although I did see in another thread someone recommended not flushing the coolant but rather only change it?
:confused: :8:
 

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Coolant is 10 year, as long as it has not been contaminated. It will need to get done at 105K with the timing belt, so if it looks good, I would hold off.

Oil and Trans fluid are always good bets on a used car.

If the trans fluid is the least bit discolored I would have it changed 3X times (Honda version of a flush)
The Trans are the weak link in the pilot.

I would read up on the threads detailing the changing of the 3rd and 4th gear switches. IT is a easy, and might save the trans in the long run.

If you are going to tow at all, get the coolers (Trans and power steering).

If you are going to add a hitch read the threads on the proper way to clean out the mounting bolts.
 

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Alright, that helps.

The oil is being changed by the dealer. I'll look into changing the transmission fluid and this "3rd and 4th gear switch" of which you speak...just as a preventative measure.

Early June my dad and I will probably tear into it a bit just so I can familiarize myself with the vehicle. I might try to do the transmission fluid change myself - unless you would recommend against that.
I'll try to check the timing belt at the same time. Perhaps I'll plan on replacing it and the water pump sometime next year? Mainly because I don't have a real clear record of the work done on the vehicle.
I don't mind spending a little extra to do preventative work and play it safe. I figure it's cheaper than a major failure while on the road a thousand miles from home.

We average 6500-9000 miles a year on the main vehicle. I intend to get 7-10 good years out of this vehicle.

Again, thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.
 

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'03 and '04 were pretty close in terms of features and drivetrain - mostly little things.

'05 made a significant change to the drivetrain on the EX-L models - added VSA, retuned the tranny, and added a sunroof. I think drive-by-wire was added as well. The reason for the lowered gas mileage was because of the modified shift points with the upgraded tranny/motor tuning package. This carried over to the '06 redesign.

We had an '04 EX-L and an '06 LX (both 4WD), and the driving difference and MPG difference were noticible - easier to get higher MPG's on the '04 than the '06, but the response on the '06 was much "peppier" than the '04.

So, if you can find an '04 with decent features and low miles, you'd have a very solid car that would tend towards higher MPG's. But you'd lack VSA and sunroof on the EX-L models since the '05 added those...

andy

Hi Andy, I am trying to reach out to you about a posting you had on piloteers.org on 5-8-08. If you receive this message, I would appreciate a call back here in Pueblo, Colorado. I know this method of trying to reach you may not be appropriate but I was hoping you can make an exception. I am trying to put a transmission from a 2004 honda pilot into a 2003 honda pilot. Your posting made reference to a 03 and '04 being pretty close in terms of features and drivetrain - mostly little things. Again, I only have a few questions and sure would appreciate your help. Thanks.....If Andy is no longer associated with piloteer.org, I would appreciate a response from anyone else familiar with a 2003 and 2004 honda pilot.

P.S. My name is Ray
 

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Alright, that helps.

The oil is being changed by the dealer. I'll look into changing the transmission fluid and this "3rd and 4th gear switch" of which you speak...just as a preventative measure.

Early June my dad and I will probably tear into it a bit just so I can familiarize myself with the vehicle. I might try to do the transmission fluid change myself - unless you would recommend against that.
I'll try to check the timing belt at the same time. Perhaps I'll plan on replacing it and the water pump sometime next year? Mainly because I don't have a real clear record of the work done on the vehicle.
I don't mind spending a little extra to do preventative work and play it safe. I figure it's cheaper than a major failure while on the road a thousand miles from home.

We average 6500-9000 miles a year on the main vehicle. I intend to get 7-10 good years out of this vehicle.

Again, thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.
It's probably pretty obvious that I don't post much...and yeah, I'm necro'ing this thread. But I just wanted to add a bit of a postscript. I stumbled upon it again when I was looking for info on the '03 Pilots. So attached are all the major costs for maintenance and repairs on my '03 Pilot since we bought it. It's now just a few weeks short of ten years later.

We've gone from 88k to just under 170k. It still has the original engine and transmission. I've religiously done oil changes every 3k miles, or had a shop do it if I was too busy. And then once a year I change the transmission fluid too.

I think the only real noteworthy item is that the rear main seal has had an on again/off again leak for about three years. The local mechanic told me if I'm not seeing it hit the garage floor and then keep an eye on the oil level, and don't worry too much about it. Between oil changes I have to add about 1 qt. He also recommended that I also switched to Mobil1, 5-20 'High Mileage' and that actually seemed to refresh the seals enough that the leak only reoccurs in cold weather, if at all.
 

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It's probably pretty obvious that I don't post much...and yeah, I'm necro'ing this thread. But I just wanted to add a bit of a postscript. I stumbled upon it again when I was looking for info on the '03 Pilots. So attached are all the major costs for maintenance and repairs on my '03 Pilot since we bought it. It's now just a few weeks short of ten years later.

We've gone from 88k to just under 170k. It still has the original engine and transmission. I've religiously done oil changes every 3k miles, or had a shop do it if I was too busy. And then once a year I change the transmission fluid too.

I think the only real noteworthy item is that the rear main seal has had an on again/off again leak for about three years. The local mechanic told me if I'm not seeing it hit the garage floor and then keep an eye on the oil level, and don't worry too much about it. Between oil changes I have to add about 1 qt. He also recommended that I also switched to Mobil1, 5-20 'High Mileage' and that actually seemed to refresh the seals enough that the leak only reoccurs in cold weather, if at all.
Would love to hear how you dealt with the transmission issue you had. Looks like you didn't have to replace it after all. Looks like you had the trans fluid done at Midas. That is scary. Do you know if they used Honda fluid, or just any trans fluid. That could have been a root of your trans problems. They did your brake fluid as well. Did you develop any leaks?
 
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