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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just bought my 2006 Pilot. I had the local Honda dealer check it out. They reported some seepage on the lower radiator. They may have said lower "reservoir". I can't quite remember. I asked them if I should immediately replace the radiator and they said no, we'll just watch it at oil changes.

Ok, I'm little skeptical of watching a radiator that is leaking or seeping. Any thoughts?

With the known transmission/radiator issues, it seems that I should just go for a new radiator now. Right?
 

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See if you can see the seepage for yourself. If not....why did they say that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll take a look but unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a cold snowy winter and don't have a garage. In 3 weeks though, I will have a garage and could inspect it more easily.

The dealer didn't seem too concerned about it at all.

I'm inclined to DIY a new radiator in the spring when it warms up a bit since a new radiator is pretty cheap. And I'll be doing all the fluids anyway since this car is new to me. Unless, of course, people think "seepage" could lead to dire consequences.
 

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You should do a quick search on "radiator...replacement". There were numerous cases of leakage/seepage on 1st gen Pilots. One telltale indication is the smell of antifreeze when one pulls into the garage. I have an '06 with that symptom for several years. The coolant level in the reservoir would slowly go down with time, but no catastrophic failure. I finally decided to replace the radiator a couple of years ago and found greenish stain in an area covered by the shroud. You can take a chance and put off fixing it, or go ahead with a new radiator for peace of mind.
 

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I'd want to see it myself before deciding whether to "watch" it or not. It only takes one overheat event to kill your head gaskets.
 

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The dealer is hoping that you will show up for a tranny replacement one day. Just replace the rad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the comments. I will definitely install a new radiator. I have years of experience fixings cars so a radiator is not a particular challenge. The only challenge is that I'm in the middle of an exceptionally snowy winter in Spokane without a garage for the next 3-4 weeks. Does it seem reasonable to watch the coolant level and then get under it and inspect it in 3 weeks when I have a garage? And then replace it in the spring when it warms up? Or take it to an independent Honda mechanic asap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Related question -

Are the 2006 Pilots susceptible to the coolant and transmission fluid mixing like the early cars? Since I'll be doing a radiator, should I just go for an external transmission cooler at the same time? Or, does a new radiator provide enough protection from that scenario for a good long time?
 

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Here's the gist: radiators are made of aluminum and they crimp the plastic on top and bottom using the small tabs or petals. The OEM radiator is crimped up to about 2" from the hoses and repeated heating and cooling eventually warps the unsupported plastic around the hose connections.
The good quality aftermarket radiators are crimped all the way to the hoses and are not susceptible to warping.

I do not know what process leads to mixing of antifreeze with ATF in the 2005 Pilots and if it exists in 2006.
It could be cracking of the ATF cooler line inside the plastic part, but I am going out on a limb. I am sure Rocky and other more knowledgeable members can chime in with an explanation.

When I bought my Pilot, it had a small leak from the bottom crimp which did not even drip on the driveway, but there was a telltale smell of antifreeze under the hood. My mechanic replaced the leaking Honda rad with aftermarket and we both looked at the difference in crimping and of course the leak was right where Honda's skipped the crimp. The tabs are all there, just not crimped on Honda's and crimped on aftermarket. He said he installs a dozen of these every year and the customers never come back with a rad leak again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you know what brand radiator he installs or which brand people generally recommend over Honda?
 

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The OEM brand is Denso. At least one member used Spectra and had good things to say about it.

From what I remember reading in the radiator posts there are two failure mechanisms:
1) Complete coolant leak (not catastrophic to transmission since coolant and ATF don't mix)
2) Something inside radiator cracks leading to ATF and coolant mixing (you'll end up with a pink slushie in your coolant reservior; transmission will need to be drained and filled multiple times)

The Denso is also susceptible to corrosion where the AFT lines mate with the radiator. I believe this was due to use of dissimilar metals. Look for corrosion at that point when you perform your visual inspection, especially if you live in an area where the roads are salted.

There are a few threads on this site related to radiator failures. There is a another one (I think named "Replace your radiator at 100K" or something similar) where folks have mentioned replacing the radiator for peace of mind.

From my experience with service departments if they aren't too concerned with the issue then it's probably okay to wait and see in the short term. Usually they want you to have the work done right away so they can remain busy. I would still visually inspect it the first chance you get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks. I did read the replace at 100K thread before I even bought the car when I was researching the best model years.
 

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I hope that the rad make is on the top plastic and that I will remember to pop the hood on the way home tonight to have a look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ha, ha - I found my old thread researching radiators. We've been driving the Pilot for 4 years and I never did the radiator but I'm going to do it soon. It doesn't drip and I lost coolant at a rate of almost non-existant until recently. It's still not dripping on the driveway but I've gotten whiffs of coolant recently. Upon inspection I see it's leaking around the crimps that Can described above.

This Pilot has been a champ. I've only had to replace the alternator just recently. I think we are going to drop $1000-1500 and get all the maintenance up to date. A CV joint is also faintly clicking.
 

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Radiator, two options:
  • Do it on your schedule.
  • Do it on its schedule. (Which may not be yours, if you know what I mean.)
 

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Ha, ha - I found my old thread researching radiators. We've been driving the Pilot for 4 years and I never did the radiator but I'm going to do it soon. It doesn't drip and I lost coolant at a rate of almost non-existant until recently. It's still not dripping on the driveway but I've gotten whiffs of coolant recently. Upon inspection I see it's leaking around the crimps that Can described above.

This Pilot has been a champ. I've only had to replace the alternator just recently. I think we are going to drop $1000-1500 and get all the maintenance up to date. A CV joint is also faintly clicking.
Dealer service tech said the same thing to me several years ago. After several trips and one big long one I decided it was time to replace the radiator with the little leak. Once I got the radiator out I was able to check out the “little” leak. The little leak was not really that little LOL
4D8CE156-4D22-41CF-995F-DB1A04CA7948.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just to close out this thread. Here was my radiator seepage. Top and bottom crimps! The radiator was a Denso. It still didn't drip a drop in the driveway.

It feels good to have a new radiator just to protect the transmission.
149596


149597
 
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