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No previous tranny issues, 140K miles, otherwise good condition. We have a steep & rocky driveway. I always crawl up. Day 1, I had to stop three times to place a bucket of sand for winter prep. Each time, the tranny gave a strong clunck upon putting back into Drive. Day 2, returning from church, crawl up the drive as usual and loses power at the steep spot. I immediately put in nuetral and drift backwards to flat part of driveway. Engine sounded fine, it shifted gears from neutral to D-Low fine, started the hill again (total distance of about 40 feet). Again, it lost power and this time the engine began to rev as if was in neutral. Drifted back down, found that it dropped oily stuff at the point of fail and then trailed with the pilot as i drifted back. The fluid looked blue... Then later when I check drips they appeared red... No milkshake in reservoir nor, in fact resevoir is almost empty but only has little blue coolant left. (probably cause of primary radiator fail, huh). No milkshake in either tranny dipstick, nor radiator/cap. tranny dipstick seems empty. Im making assumption that i had a hard break in a tranny coolant line and dropped both red ATV & blue Coolant.

Question: 1. I want to deduce if i have tranny damage (if so, i hear its game over for the tranny, any coolant in the transmission = critical future fail) 2. Ideas on how to find a leak without turning over engine? ( i fear turning engine could make and push milkshake). Thanks for your ideas!
 

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One way to find out is to drain both fluids. When I had a major tranny leak after the tranny line broke just outside where it met the radiator (this gave me hope, btw), I drained both before I made the decision to replace the radiator (and deduced that my tranny had a chance of surviving the leak). As in your case, there was no observable mixing of coolant and tranny fluid in the radiator/cap. Dipstick was also empty. I thought that if after draining it and coolant showed any trace of tranny fluid (coolant will clearly show even small quantity of oily substance), then my decision to replace the radiator or not would have been made clearer. The tranny fluid (after the leak) only left me with about a quart of tranny fluid in the pan. Still, this would also have showed mixing with coolant clearly. Fortunately for me, both showed no sign of mixing! IMHO, this will be a good start to deduce things. Thanks.
 

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ill try it and let the group know. thanks!
This appears to be another Honda failed radiator at the fittings.You should be perfectly fine, once you get the new radiator in. I would still drain and fill the transmission fluid at least once. I had the exact thing happened on my 2008 Acura TL Type S( 360 miles)
 

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OP, did you ever take a look under the Pilot to determine where the leak is coming from? My first guess is the tranny cooler fittings at the radiator. If it’s not coming from there look for telltale drips/wet spots and follow them up to the highest point.

On the radiator and hoses look for blue crusty material (assuming you’re using Honda OEM coolant).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It appears to be fitting that connects ATV fluid to the radiator base. Im having the radiator changed and tranny flushed. In my case of was the short hose that came loose, Ill see if i can figure out how to upload a pic. The fitting had come completely loose. Im not sure how both fluids leaved out... not sure if additional leaks occured inside the radiator. Ill know more once radiator is out.
 

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After replacing the radiator, I still changed the tranny fluid x 3. Just to be sure! I'm paranoid like that, lol!
 

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OP, you mentioned having the tranny flushed. Honda’s recommendation, at least on my 2005, is 3x drain and fill versus a flush.
 

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I drain and fill 1x every 15k miles. Maintenance schedule says once every 30k miles but in my opinion the tranny is the weak link on a Honda’s power train. I do this myself so I’m only out the cost of 4 quarts of DW-1 once every other year.
 
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Myself, I drain & fill the ATF every second oil change. With Valvoline Maxlife ATF, it's been cheap and effective peace of mind, plus I like the way it shifts better than OEM ATF. YMMV, void where prohibited, member FDIC. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found that the short of the two hoses was the compromised. The radiator was about dry. When my guy drained the transmission, found it full of strawberry chocolate milk shake. Decided to replace the transmission at that point...
 

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2005 Pilot currently with 175k miles...I noticed the strawberry milkshake fluid one day dripping from the coolant reservoir. I immediatly had my pilot towed home and drained the tranny, complete mix of coolant and ATF. After replacing the radiator I flushed about 12 quarters of fluid through the tranny (with hoses off i'd fill with ATF and have a helper start the car, wait for a couple quarts to shoot out, then repeat until the fluid looked good). Then with all the hoses attached I filled drove around the block and changed, repeated that a few times, with slightly longer drives in between until I'd gone through about 8 x 4qt max life jugs. So far I have about 15k on the tranny and it's running fine. IF YOU HAVEN'T REPLACED YOUR ORIGINAL RADIATOR DO IT NOW!!!!!!!
 

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2005 Pilot currently with 175k miles...I noticed the strawberry milkshake fluid one day dripping from the coolant reservoir. I immediatly had my pilot towed home and drained the tranny, complete mix of coolant and ATF. After replacing the radiator I flushed about 12 quarters of fluid through the tranny (with hoses off i'd fill with ATF and have a helper start the car, wait for a couple quarts to shoot out, then repeat until the fluid looked good). Then with all the hoses attached I filled drove around the block and changed, repeated that a few times, with slightly longer drives in between until I'd gone through about 8 x 4qt max life jugs. So far I have about 15k on the tranny and it's running fine. IF YOU HAVEN'T REPLACED YOUR ORIGINAL RADIATOR DO IT NOW!!!!!!!
My 05 Pilot at about the same mileage at 180K suffered the same fate.

This happened last week while driving on the highway and noticed some abnormal drive-train noises, then saw the temp gauged pegged all the way to HOT.
I was about 5 miles out so I decided to push it an get it home so I can take a look. It was a mess! Smoke everywhere and the smell of tranny fluid and coolant mixed was terrible.

I replaced the radiator over the weekend. I've flushed the ATF that got mixed in. I'm about 3 gallons of coolant in and I think I have gotten most of it out.

As for the transmission...I've used 10 gallons of ATF and the strawberry milkshake color has turned to normal tranny red.
 

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10 gallons of ATF. Wow, that’s over three cases of tranny fluid. If that doesn’t flush the coolant out of there nothing will. Hopefully it’s shifting smoothly now.
 

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10 gallons of ATF. Wow, that’s over three cases of tranny fluid. If that doesn’t flush the coolant out of there nothing will. Hopefully it’s shifting smoothly now.
Yeah. I really thought the 3-5 gal would be enough...but every time I check the fluid, it was still milky red.

I might be getting a little paranoid now and think that I'm hearing or feeling things differently from the way it shifted before. I guess time will tell if there was permanent damage on the tranny.
 

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Yeah. I really thought the 3-5 gal would be enough...but every time I check the fluid, it was still milky red.

I might be getting a little paranoid now and think that I'm hearing or feeling things differently from the way it shifted before. I guess time will tell if there was permanent damage on the tranny.
[/QUOTE
To flush- were you filling and draining from the plugs at the case or did you drive around a little then drain? I don’t have the shop manual so don’t know what is best way
 

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To flush- were you filling and draining from the plugs at the case or did you drive around a little then drain? I don’t have the shop manual so don’t know what is best way
I filled from the filler bolt (17 mm) up top and drained the usual way on the side from the 3/8" drain/plug bolt.

I drove about 10 miles every time I drained and filled. From my neighborhood...I go through all the gears manually (RNDD321). Then drove off to the highway at higher speeds and get to the passing gear.
 

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Here's a progression photos after draining from 1, 5 and 10 gal

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IMG_2895.jpg IMG_2896.jpg IMG_2897.jpg
 
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Thanks for the detailed information!!!!! Does anyone have an educated guess as to when knhellnesky should be out of the concern stage for his transmission? (30000 miles?)
 
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