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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all- I’ve had our 2013 Pilot for a year now and it has never really been a smooth shifting engine. I feel like I can manage it by accelerating slower and even wondered if some of it was perceived as I had most recently had an EV vehicle. However it seems a bit more noticeable. Seems between 2/3 and 3/4 going up and back down. IT seems these v6s aren’t the smoothest by any means. Is this “normal” or do I need to be concerned? It isn’t something that happens every time it shifts which makes it hard to diagnose. TIA
 

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  • How often have you changed your transmission fluid?
  • How many times has it been changed since new?
  • How many miles are on it now?
  • Do you DIY or do you only take it in for service?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just got the car a year ago and put about 7000 miles on it. Current miles are 79,000. No transmission fluid flush since I’ve owned it, not sure if it was done previously. I take it in for service
 

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I would recommend first doing a transmission fluid service (flush). The key to long life in Honda transmission is to keep the fluid changed. I would assume yours has never been changed as most people do not keep up with proper maintenance.

Honda does NOT recommend using any equipment to "flush" the fluid, as used at oil change places. The Honda 6-speed transmission uses a simple drain and refill and this is simple to do. However, a drain/fill only changes about 3.5 quarts of fluid, and total capacity is around 8.5 quarts. So the Honda approved procedure is to do a Drain/Fill, then drive the vehicle through a specific minimum cycle of rpm's and gears to ensure the fluid is properly mixed, then do another Drain/Fill. You would a total of 4 drain/fill procedures to change about 90% of the fluid.

As most Honda dealers charge around $180-$200 for this simple service, it can be an extremely expensive task for 4 of these services back to back. For the DIY person, this is nothing, as you can order a case of Honda DW-1 fluid for $100 on ebay, or switch to Valvoline Maxlife ATF which will cost around $60 for 3 gallons.

If the DIY approach is not interesting to you, and spending $800 in fluid changes sounds crazy, I would recommend you get the transmission fluid changed once immediately (using ONLY Honda DW-1 since that is what is in there now and called for by the factory) and then get it changed again with your next oil change, and then every oil change for a total of 4, and see if this improves it.

A firm shift is a good thing, but a hard, jarring shift is not. Some of this might just be what you are used to. A torque converter transmission wont feel anything like an EV, or a CVT.
 

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Also meant to add - I just checked the fluid- looks clean, no burnt smell.
That doesn't really mean much other than your tranny is not completely trashed. It still needs to be changed. We bought ours with 52,000 miles on it. Since a single drain/fill only changes a portion of the fluid, and it is very inexpensive to DIY, I changed mine every oil change (7500 miles) for the first 4 changes. Then every other oil change since (every 15,000 miles).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Boom. It does seem pretty easy. I’ll try that $100 sounds way better than $800 and the hassle of making appointments and what not. Appreciate it!
 

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This is where I buy my fluid from:

Or you can switch to MaxLife ATF for cheaper (but never mix back in DW-1, and this requires a full 4x drain/fill/flush)

Crush washer for the transmission drain plug (do not overtighten, it is a fairly low torque spec, and you can reuse the existing one for the 4X drain/fill if you are doing them like a day apart.

Fluid change through dipstick hole:

Fluid change through regular fill hole (biggest pain is breaking loose the fill bolt, it gets TIGHT!)

I go through the normal fill hole. You don't need a new crush washer up top in my opinion. It isnt hard, and I use two extended funnels, or a funnel with a long hose attached to reach down into the fill hole area. I know plenty of people that prefer not to mess with all that and just rig up a funnel with a small hose, and fill it back through the dipstick very slowly. Either is just fine.
 
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