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2016 Honda Pilot EX-L AWD
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow piloteers,

Recently went on a camping trip with our camper rated at 2800 ish dry.. packed it for 7 days worth so probably pushed it to about 4500ish.. thought that our tow package that came with it pilot (second owner) was able to handle it.. on the way home.. I pushed it harder than I should and the ATF warning came on.. pulled over and let it cool for about 30 min.. took a look around and noticed that the tow sticker was only rated to 3500lb. After some searching on this forum, found that I am missing the ATF cooler to get it pass the 3500lb limit. I order the part to do it myself and save some money.. question is, do I need to add additional ATF after the cooler is installed? I couldn't find any directions on this particular part.

Thank you all!
 

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Hello fellow piloteers,

Recently went on a camping trip with our camper rated at 2800 ish dry.. packed it for 7 days worth so probably pushed it to about 4500ish.. thought that our tow package that came with it pilot (second owner) was able to handle it.. on the way home.. I pushed it harder than I should and the ATF warning came on.. pulled over and let it cool for about 30 min.. took a look around and noticed that the tow sticker was only rated to 3500lb. After some searching on this forum, found that I am missing the ATF cooler to get it pass the 3500lb limit. I order the part to do it myself and save some money.. question is, do I need to add additional ATF after the cooler is installed? I couldn't find any directions on this particular part.

Thank you all!
Yes, you will have increased your system volume. You can measure it by filling the cooler before installing it to see how much it holds and you can calculate the tubing volume by ID and length of tubing.

But I'd likely start with what's recommended for a drain and fill for a Pilot with the ATF cooler, maybe 1/2 quart less and add from there.

Also, since you did get the light I'd say most of the fluid in your Pilot is damaged from the heat. I'd look to do a couple more drain and fills over your next couple oil changes to refresh the fluid.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, you will have increased your system volume. You can measure it by filling the cooler before installing it to see how much it holds and you can calculate the tubing volume by ID and length of tubing.

But I'd likely start with what's recommended for a drain and fill for a Pilot with the ATF cooler, maybe 1/2 quart less and add from there.

Also, since you did get the light I'd say most of the fluid in your Pilot is damaged from the heat. I'd look to do a couple more drain and fills over your next couple oil changes to refresh the fluid.
hmm.. I'm not a well versed car person.. so... it sounds like I have already ruined the fluid already when the warning came on. should I just have shop do a ATF flush and install the? I'm not car - incapable as the instructions looks fairly simple enough.. but also don't want our current only vehicle to be ruined anymore then it should.

Thanks
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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Welcome and thanks for registering at piloteers.org. We are glad you have chosen to be part of the community and we hope you enjoy your stay.

I would agree with the information that cintocrunch has already provided you. One of the biggest dangers to the transmission is heat and the heat has probably already greatly reduced the effectiveness of the fluid. If you do not feel confident in installing the ATF cooler then I would have a trusted mechanic do the install as well as draining and filling the transmission with new fluid. As already mentioned, you should do a drain and fill a couple of more times.

One other thing, read the owners manual for the section on towing. It will give you a great bit of information for using your Pilot for towing. Also read the vehicle maintenance section. If you are going to tow you will want to use the extreme conditions recommendations: Specifically page 563 in the owners manual.
"*4: If you drive regularly in very high temperatures (over 110°F, 43°C), in very low temperatures (under -20°F, -29°C), or towing a trailer, replace every 60,000 miles/100,000 km.

*5: Driving in mountainous areas at very low vehicle speeds or trailer towing results in higher level of mechanical (Shear) stress to fluid. This requires differential fluid changes more frequently than recommended by the Maintenance Minder. If you regularly drive your vehicle under these conditions, have the differential fluid changed at 7,500 miles (12,000 km), then every 15,000 miles (24,000 km)."


The numbers are referenced in the Maintenance Sub Items on that page.

Please take a moment to look over the FAQ section. If you need assistance please use the “message” function to contact any staff member.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register at the Honda Owners web site. It is full of information you may find useful about your particular Honda vehicle(s).

Enjoy and all the best,


Daltongang
 

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Yes, you will have increased your system volume. You can measure it by filling the cooler before installing it to see how much it holds and you can calculate the tubing volume by ID and length of tubing.

But I'd likely start with what's recommended for a drain and fill for a Pilot with the ATF cooler, maybe 1/2 quart less and add from there.

Also, since you did get the light I'd say most of the fluid in your Pilot is damaged from the heat. I'd look to do a couple more drain and fills over your next couple oil changes to refresh the fluid.
The rating is 3500 lbs without the cooler and 5000 lbs with the cooler installed.
 

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hmm.. I'm not a well versed car person.. so... it sounds like I have already ruined the fluid already when the warning came on. should I just have shop do a ATF flush and install the? I'm not car - incapable as the instructions looks fairly simple enough.. but also don't want our current only vehicle to be ruined anymore then it should.

Thanks
WARNING! Honda does not recommend that you do a typical power flush of the transmission. With Hondas, there is a drain plug and a fill plug. Drain the transmission, and then refill it. Takes about 3 and 1/2 quarts. Drive it for a week and repeat. After another week, do this a 3rd time. This is a Honda flush.

I am assuming that you have the 6 speed transmission
 

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Discussion Starter #7
WARNING! Honda does not recommend that you do a typical power flush of the transmission. With Hondas, there is a drain plug and a fill plug. Drain the transmission, and then refill it. Takes about 3 and 1/2 quarts. Drive it for a week and repeat. After another week, do this a 3rd time. This is a Honda flush.

I am assuming that you have the 6 speed transmission
Yes.. I have the 6 speed Transmission,

so.. sounds easy enough.. I am mechanically abled enough to drain fluid and refill. however, we are planning to pull the trailer in about 2 weeks time.. here what I'm thinking.

Drain the ATF this week
install OEM cooler,
Fill ATF,
drive it (planning to drive from Tacoma to Spokane this up coming weekend about 350 miles 1 way.) putt around for a few days.

Drain and Fill again,

Drive back home from Spokane to Tacoma.

Drain and fill again,

Go on trip with trailer (roughly 300miles, 1 way. from Tacoma to Pineville OR.)

Thoughts?
 

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Yes.. I have the 6 speed Transmission,

so.. sounds easy enough.. I am mechanically abled enough to drain fluid and refill. however, we are planning to pull the trailer in about 2 weeks time.. here what I'm thinking.

Drain the ATF this week
install OEM cooler,
Fill ATF,
drive it (planning to drive from Tacoma to Spokane this up coming weekend about 350 miles 1 way.) putt around for a few days.

Drain and Fill again,

Drive back home from Spokane to Tacoma.

Drain and fill again,

Go on trip with trailer (roughly 300miles, 1 way. from Tacoma to Pineville OR.)

Thoughts?
Right, just drive enough between changes to go through all the gears. A few miles should be plenty.
 

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The ATF cooler install is nothing to fear. Here's a couple of photos that should help.
140481
140482
 

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My suggestion to the OP would be to 1st buy a code reader that plugs into the OBD-II port under the dash that monitors/displays tranny fluid temp. Supposedly the warning light appears when fluid temp reaches 230F. You don’t know when to slow down if you don’t know tranny fluid temp.

The 2nd purchase I would suggest is a tranny cooler. After observing 210F+ TFT, not towing, I was prompted to install a tranny cooler on our G2 FWD Ridgeline. After the cooler install, 4 ozs of additional fluid brought the fluid level back to spot on. The amount of fluid to be added depends on the type and size of the cooler (aftermarket) and length of the hoses.
 

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I’m thinking removing the condenser and radiator would be easier than removing that splash shield underneath, to change the tranny filter.😱LOL
I don't know, that be bad too. Lol. 😅
I've gotten good at removing the battery and tray to get to it since I've been experimenting with different ATF filters. So far, I'm pleased with the Wix/Filtran 58953, so I'm not planning going back in anytime soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have the install instructions for the OEM ATF Cooler and it looks pretty straight forward so I was optimistic that I could get it done easy enough because it seems like the kit was pretty easy to do without custom cutting of tubes.

That said, what the recommended ATF I should purchase?

Also, Should I replace the ATF filter at the same time?

AS for the other suggestion of the ODB II reader to monitor temp.. I have recently gotten the Nonda ODB II diagonstic scanner that they are offering for like $9 shipped. www.nonda.co/products/smart-vehicle-health-monitor-mini-mail-free so I'll give it a try
 

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I have the install instructions for the OEM ATF Cooler and it looks pretty straight forward so I was optimistic that I could get it done easy enough because it seems like the kit was pretty easy to do without custom cutting of tubes.

That said, what the recommended ATF I should purchase?

Also, Should I replace the ATF filter at the same time?

AS for the other suggestion of the ODB II reader to monitor temp.. I have recently gotten the Nonda ODB II diagonstic scanner that they are offering for like $9 shipped. www.nonda.co/products/smart-vehicle-health-monitor-mini-mail-free so I'll give it a try
Your vehicle is specd for DW-1. If your still under warranty, you may want to continue with it, even though I think there are better fluids. Especially when towing. I'm my opinion a little less friction modifier is best. Several of us are using Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF and experimenting with other fluids.
Have you disabled the VCM?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Um.. considering that I didn't know what it stood for.. no.. this is the first I'm getting into working with this car.. honestly haven't done much in the car field.. wired my own back up cam in my Accord and installed aftermarket door sills.. that was it.. the Pilot is the family car so I don't want to risk it much. But it was a scare for me after the ATF warning came on.. and to be honest, it was mostly my personal fault as I though we were doing ok with the trailer so I was still driving like I wasn't even towing it (going normal speed instead of taking it easy). Super expansive lesson learned..
 

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Um.. considering that I didn't know what it stood for.. no.. this is the first I'm getting into working with this car.. honestly haven't done much in the car field.. wired my own back up cam in my Accord and installed aftermarket door sills.. that was it.. the Pilot is the family car so I don't want to risk it much. But it was a scare for me after the ATF warning came on.. and to be honest, it was mostly my personal fault as I though we were doing ok with the trailer so I was still driving like I wasn't even towing it (going normal speed instead of taking it easy). Super expansive lesson learned..
Just so you know, the 6-speed transmission is already prone to troubles. There was a TSB on our vehicles dealing with the torque converter and clutch lock. When your VCM is active (going from running on 6 cylinders to 3), the vibrations can cause havoc on our transmission. Have you had the TSB done? Since the VCM is ultimately responsible for the what I call the "Erratic RPM Gauge Of Death" ...,
Disabling the VCM will solve it, along with repeated drain and fill with fresh ATF.
Regardless if you tow or not, installing a transmission cooler is wise.
 

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Um.. considering that I didn't know what it stood for.. no.. this is the first I'm getting into working with this car.. honestly haven't done much in the car field.. wired my own back up cam in my Accord and installed aftermarket door sills.. that was it.. the Pilot is the family car so I don't want to risk it much. But it was a scare for me after the ATF warning came on.. and to be honest, it was mostly my personal fault as I though we were doing ok with the trailer so I was still driving like I wasn't even towing it (going normal speed instead of taking it easy). Super expansive lesson learned..
There can be driving conditions that will easily allow "going normal speed".....but you gotta know the TFT 1st. Adding a tranny cooler (2nd) is a great idea but knowing the TFT will alert you to reduce speed when towing. Knowing TFT will tell you how effective the addition of a tranny cooler is. FWIW, I noticed a 35+ degree drop.

In my 56 years of driving vehicles with auto trannys, I've only owned 2 that did not have any form of tranny fluid cooling from the factory.....a '17 Honda CRV and a '17 FWD Honda Ridgeline. Hum.
 

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Since Mr. Grease is offline, I'll chime in.......you'll need to buy 1 gal/4 qts to do one refill. I've been able to drain 1 gallon out by jacking the drivers side up slightly. I'm using a opaque plastic drain pan that I have marked at 1 gal. Makes refilling easy.....1 gal out, 1gal back in.i
 
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