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I have a 2016 Honda Pilot which I use for towing a trailer. I have added a transmisson cooler and while I did it also added a temperature sensor. When driving the sensor works as expected showing ambient temperature when I start and rising to 150-180 range during normal driving with nothing in tow. When towing it more often is in the 175-200 range. I have had a number of instances where the "Transmission Too Hot" idiot light comes on but it doesn't seem to correlate with the temperature reported by the sensor. On one recent trip the sensor got as high as 225 on a particularly long hill towing about 4000 pounds. It went down to about 205 when the terrain leveled out and about 20 minutes later when the sensor read 195 the idiot light came on. On another recent occasion the sensor never got above 200 and the idiot light came on at about 198 and stayed on even when the temp got down to 130 (long downhill with transmission in neutral and relatively cool air outside). Anyone know at what temp it is supposed to come on and go off? Does this behavior make sense? Pretty unhappy that the Pilot can't tow 4000 pounds even with a huge ATF radiator (I had the OEM after market originally, added a second bigger one to try to solve the problem).
 

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Just for reference, is this in the 6spd trans or the 9spd one?

Is it possible that the factory temperature sensor is faulty or has a loose connection (the one that triggers the idiot light)? Keep in mind, your aftermarket temperature probe is outside the transmission and not subject to the heat soak of the factory sensor which is in the body of the transmission (presumeably, not exactly sure where it is); this may play a factor in the differences you're seeing between the Honda system and the aftermarket probe you added.
 

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I agree with AlmosN8kd that it would be worthwhile to check the factory sensor.

From your notes, I surmise that you put your sensor where the ATF comes out of the tranny, before it goes into the radiator. Can you confirm? It would help to know.

FWIW:

  • Not sure, but my understanding is that the factory sensor in in the ATF sump.
  • Also my understanding that the idiot light comes on if the ATF temps have been high for a certain period of time.
It would be great to have confirmation of this understanding from somewhere. If so, it may explain some of what you are seeing.
 

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The forum does not like links, so you'll have to remove the - between https and :

I also have a 2016 Pilot, with the Honda 5000# tow package, and have also run into overheating issues while towing.

The first time this happened, I was using cruise control at about 65, on a highway with relatively gentle hills. I was about to stop for gas, so we parked for a bit before continuing, and I kept the car at 60 for the rest of the trip, without using cruise control and letting the car slow more on hills.

More recently, I was on a trip in the hilly part of I-81. I thought I was playing it safe, keeping flat speeds to 60-65, and keeping RPMs at or below 3k on hills (letting the car slow as much as necessary). I got the dreaded warning, so I was that guy in the right lane, getting passed by trucks, running about 2k RPM. Once the light went out (that technique helped), I lifted my hill climbing RPM to 2500, and the warning didn't come back for the rest of the trip.

It's too bad Honda can't replace the warning with a gauge that comes up as the temperature climbs.

I finally fixed an issue with OBD Fusion, and I'll be monitoring trans temps with via the OBDII port on my next trip. Here's one of the threads that describes how to do this.

https-://www.piloteers.org/threads/transmission-temperature-monitoring.155273/

If you'd prefer a hardware solution, here's a solution that someone found for their Ridgeline. Once again, this uses the OBDII port to get the temp from the computer.

https-://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/threads/got-atf-to-work-on-scangaugeii-with-update.45402/

For reference, I found that link here:

https-://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/3389229/Honda_ATF_temp_via_scan_tool


Good luck; I'll try to remember to post updates from the rest of our summer trips, although those roads will be flatter, so I doubt I'll find anything super interesting.


I was considering upgrading to a non-Honda cooler, but I'm wondering if that won't help. My trailer is under 4000#, and people and cargo in the car is definitely under 1000#, so we shouldn't be overloading anything.


Rick



I agree with AlmosN8kd that it would be worthwhile to check the factory sensor.

From your notes, I surmise that you put your sensor where the ATF comes out of the tranny, before it goes into the radiator. Can you confirm? It would help to know.

FWIW:

  • Not sure, but my understanding is that the factory sensor in in the ATF sump.
  • Also my understanding that the idiot light comes on if the ATF temps have been high for a certain period of time.
It would be great to have confirmation of this understanding from somewhere. If so, it may explain some of what you are seeing.
 
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