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I just purchased a pre-owned 2012 Pilot EX-L 4WD speed auto trann with 95k miles. $15k with a dealer 90 day parts/labor warranty. Ext paint and interior leather look pristine. Original owner and dealer confirm Carfax record of reasonable good maintenance, regular oil changes, etc. No accidents. I'm otherwise happy with the purchase ... except that there is a slight shudder at low speed (10mph-25mph) after making a turn from a stop sign or red light. Right turns seem worse, maybe because they are usually tighter turns than left ones to the far lane. The vibration disappears quickly after several seconds or by the it hits third gear

Dealer recommended.changing the transmission fluid. Not covered under warranty as it is a maintenance item. Three transmission drain and fills later (using Honda ATF DW1) no improvement in the vibration. Since it only had this problem after a making a turn, the next guess by the dealer was, change the rear differential fluid. Two drains and fills later using Honda VTM4 fluid, no real change. Although, now I notice it will sometime shudder even from a straight start, no turn. For good measure we changed the transfer case gear oil with the recommnded Honda gear oil. No change. All the fluid came out dark red, no burnt smell but the multiple drain and fills were done just to be sure it wasn't a contaminated fluid issue. Everything was done by the book, driving in between drain and fills to circulate the fluid to all parts of the transmission and torque converter.

A VCMuzzler was installed even though there was no vibration or noise associated with the cycling of valve pause. It made no detectable difference in ride comfort.

The dealer felt that updating the PCM andf AT software might possibly help if not cure the problem. They advised me that the update helps with the vibration convern but some vibration may still be felt. While they were at it, they also performed a TC graphing which it passed. They also noted the purple mark on the propeller shaft protector indicating the latest propeller shaft had been installed.

Where things stand now is that they were right that the software update did not cure the problem. It only moved it to a higher speed and now it shudders pretty much all the time from dead stops either after a turn or a straight takeoff. Fortunately it still stops after getting up past 25-30mph. Higher speed are very smooth. If I manually shift the auto tranny, sometimes I won't feel a vibration. If I keep it in first gear, I never feel the vibration. My non-expert guess is the second or third clutch packs in the tranny are worn out and starting to slip. It's not bad enough that I'd want to push the warranty and have some dealer tech swap in a used or reconditioned unit. I may have more to lose than gain across the entire speed range. My concern is, if I'm right, there may be a transmission teardown and rebuilt or replacement in the future depending on how long I keep it. The vehicle is not throwing any codes. All the solenoids and valves appear to be working as shifting is consistent and smooth up though fifth gear. One thing I noticed is the gear shift points seem to occur at higher speeds and rpms after the software update. As far as I know, that's all the update does is delay the shift points.

Anyone have any ideas on things I can try short of tearing down the tranny that might fix this problem? Tires, bearings, half shafts, motor mounts all check out ok. No issues at highway speeds. The 90 warranty is about expired so I need to make a decision soon. They haven't offered to put in a new transmission or even admitted it's bad, so I haven't even crossed that bridge yet.

In typical dealership-speak, the service director told me that they have only seen this problem once before. Then after I paid for all the guesswork non-fixes, he commented that, that's just characteristic of this car. How can a problem be so rarely seen yet be just characteristic of the car?? It was all I could do to keep from either laughing in his face or making a permanent enemy out of him. Maybe he was telling the truth on both counts but it does seem like a contradiction.
The service tech did confirm the vibration in his test ride.
 

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Lets do a drain and refill of the rear diff. It sounds as if the diff is locked....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How do the axles look?
The tech said the axles and wheel bearings show no signs of a problem but that replacing them is the only way to know for sure. The dealer won't do that under the warranty unless they have a code or tangible reason to replace them. (I think they're thinking of getting Honda to pay for it and can't without a code or reason consistent with a Honda USA warranty approval) IOW, it's not really a dealer warranty unless they can get Honda to pay for it.
 

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Lets do a drain and refill of the rear diff. It sounds as if the diff is locked....
Already drained and filled the rear differential and the transfer case … in addition to a triple drain and refill of the tranny/TC. The problem has actually gotten slightly worse since doing all fluid replacements. All fluids used are genuine Honda OEM fluids recommended by Honda, i.e. ATF DW1, VTM-4 diff fluid and Honda gear oil for the transfer case.

Before it only did the shudder sometimes, not always. And then only after making a 90* turn from a stop. Now, it does it consistently and not only after a turn but now also on straight accelerations from a stop sign or red light.

I talked to the director of service at the dealership and he feels I've gotten to the point of diminishing returns. They've pretty much run out of ideas for a "next step" to solving this problem that is financially feasible/practical and could expose me and them to other possible problems a rebuilt tranny, torque converter or rear differential could cause. They don't even know for sure what component to replace/rebuild/repair as it could be anything in the drive train. I think it's the second gear clutch pack in the tranny as I can eliminate the shudder keeping it in first gear. But what do I know since that's not a definitive test of any kind. He doesn't agree and thinks it's probably the torque converter, and possible the rear differential. The tech did run a graphing on the torque converter and said it passed. I have no idea what TC graphing is, but at least they did some kind of test on it.

The bottom line is the service director is not willing to start replacing major drivetrain components at his cost until something actually fails and they have a code or definitive indication what is causing the problem. I can lessen the vibration by gradually accelerating from stops at lights and stop signs. Conversely, the problem is worse the more gas I give it from a dead start, and it's also worse up and incline. Those two things also seem to reinforce my feeling it's second gear slipping as even with aggressive acceleration and up an incline, the vibration stop immediately upon getting into third gear or at about 30mph.

I think I may indeed be at the point of diminishing returns unless someone has an idea that fixes the problem other than tearing into and/or replacing major drivetrain components. This is my first Honda. It isn't living up to the reputation I had of Hondas.
 

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Sounds to me that whoever sold it to you should buy it back. They failed to disclose a problem.
 

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Try cleaning the solenoid meshes before you dump any more time and money into it. Did anyone inspect them at all?
Oh, and BTW, did anyone inspect the engine mounts?
 

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It doesn't sound like you bought it from a Honda dealership since bad axles are a common problem with this gen Pilot.


If you feel a vibration on hard acceleration the axles are bad, if you feel a vibration under light acceleration your torque converter is bad.

It all depends on when and how you feel the vibration

If i had to guess i would assume one or both of the front axles are causing your vibration
 

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My 2012 with 101,000 did this same type thing. It got worse after the car was put on a rack with all wheels off the ground. This allowed the inner links on the axles to come unseated and they never seat back correctly. This happened when new tires were installed on mine. I have both front axles replaced and all is well now. Mine is only front wheel drive, so both axles replaced with new Honda axles,speed balance wheels/tires, and 4 wheel alignment was around $1150.
 

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I have the same issue with 2012 Pilot with 110,000 miles. It has been happening for about the last few year but seems to be getting worse. I had the transmission fluid replaced but nothing changed.
 

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has anyone fixed this shudder with replacing motor mounts - i've tried all the normal things - multiple fluid changes, cleaning intake, etc.
 
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