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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
At just under 58K miles this warning sign came up. Drove 400miles back home and dropped it off at Honda. It was shifting fine with no issues but after 15min the warning would come up. Tech said it seems something is wrong with the torque converter clutch according to the scanner. They even drove it with the computer hooked up and could not get it to clear or pull any other codes. Interestingly since day one it had noise coming from the transmission with every shift, sort of like lag. Had this click sound all the time when you were off and on the gas and shifting through gears slowly. At the time Honda could not find any issues when they rode with me. Well 50K miles later here you go. I am getting a remanufactured transmission from Honda with 3yr 36K mile warranty. Thankfully Honda is
paying for it.

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Did you have a HondaCare extended WARRANTY? Glad you are getting this covered! It would be a huge expensive otherwise.

A few questions if you don't mind:
1. When was the last transmission service done?
2. Do you do a lot of cruising at highway speeds?
3. Do you have an add-on transmission cooler installed?
4. Are you using OEM Honda transmission fluid (DW1)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did you have a HondaCare extended WARRANTY? Glad you are getting this covered! It would be a huge expensive otherwise.

A few questions if you don't mind:
1. When was the last transmission service done?
2. Do you do a lot of cruising at highway speeds?
3. Do you have an add-on transmission cooler installed?
4. Are you using OEM Honda transmission fluid (DW1)?
Its being replaced under the 5yr/60K mile factory powertrain warranty


1. Transmission service was never done although it was inspected at around 10K when I noticed the clunking sound.
2. Mixed bag, but more hwy than city
3. No cooler
4. Its still factory fluid
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
UPDATE FROM HONDA
Dealer was directed to change the torque converter instead of entire transmission as of today.
 

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We had the exact same scenario with our 2018 EX-L at 58,500 miles. Honda replaced the torque converter under warranty. I paid them to add a transmission cooler. I also insisted that they install a new external ATF filter on their dime, as the original filter will be full of clutch friction material.

IMHO, this pattern of short-lived torque converters in 3rd Gen Pilots is connected to the VCM system, which will deliberately slip the TC lockup clutch during engage/disengage cycles. I have installed the S-VCM disabler to turn off VCM .
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We had the exact same scenario with our 2018 EX-L at 58,500 miles. Honda replaced the torque converter under warranty. I paid them to add a transmission cooler. I also insisted that they install a new external ATF filter on their dime, as the original filter will be full of clutch friction material.

IMHO, this pattern of short-lived torque converters in 3rd Gen Pilots is connected to the VCM system, which will deliberately slip the TC lockup clutch during engage/disengage cycles. I have installed the S-VCM disabler to turn off VCM .
Unless there is real data that the VCM is causing this issue I am reluctant to install a S-VCM disabler. Most of what I read on here and other Honda forums/literature is just anecdotal.
But I hear you.
 

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Unless there is real data that the VCM is causing this issue I am reluctant to install a S-VCM disabler. Most of what I read on here and other Honda forums/literature is just anecdotal.
But I hear you.
If you are keeping this car, know that according to Honda transmission service is due every 30k miles. You are fortunate they did not attempt to deny your warranty coverage due to scheduled maintenance not being performed.

The standard advice to prevent this from happening again is: service your transmission regularly, consider changing to a higher quality synthetic transmission fluid, install a transmission cooler, and disable the VCM.

You can reject the VCM talk as nonsense if you want, but the regular transmission service is a non-negotiable.
 

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Unless there is real data that the VCM is causing this issue I am reluctant to install a S-VCM disabler. Most of what I read on here and other Honda forums/literature is just anecdotal.
But I hear you.
The VCM/Torque Converter link is not just a story. In Honda's detailed spec sheet for the 3rd Gen Pilots, they clearly state that the vehicle computer will deliberately induce up to 30 % clutch slip upon VCM engagement, in order to provide a smooth driving experience. I believe that this feature was introduced in the 3rd Gen. If you want proof that this is the cause of early TC demise, then we have to ask Honda for detailed TC failure rates in the 2nd Gen vs the 3rd Gen. They should have this information, and I would certainly like to see it.

In the meantime, I prefer to disable the VCM. You are certainly free to disagree.
 

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Lets be honest though.
VCM potentially killed this transmission (or Honda's computer programing).
Going 60,000 miles between transmission fluid changes did not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lets be honest though.
VCM potentially killed this transmission (or Honda's computer programing).
Going 60,000 miles between transmission fluid changes did not.
Not sure if I will have it for another 60k but you never know. An S-VCM is something that I will look into once the warranty has expired. Which will be very soon after this repair by Honda.
 

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Lets be honest though.
VCM potentially killed this transmission (or Honda's computer programing).
Going 60,000 miles between transmission fluid changes did not.
Honestly, I bet with a decent synthetic the torque convertor survives. FWIW (not much) I think it's the burned fluid from the VCM slippage and lack of tyranny cooler that combine to kill those things.

Edit: Evidence for this is the lack of torque convertor deaths on 9-speed equipped Pilots with the green synthetic ZF fluid they run. I still am 100% for disabling VCM, but I think DW-1 is the weakest link for the torque convertor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update.... Torque convertor backordered with Honda. They are saying 1-2 weeks.. Welcome to the supply crunch.... uhhggg
Vehicle being released to me until part arrives. Says I can drive it until part comes in... I am skeptical of that.
 

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If you drive the Pilot, you should watch the tachometer in cruise situations. If you see the RPM's wavering while you are locked in to a steady speed, that is the TC lockup clutch slipping. You are likely to get the Warning display again. I share your reluctance to drive the vehicle, as more TC clutch slip just dumps more friction material into the ATF. TC slip can also overheat the converter, and overheat the fluid. Perhaps you can negotiate a loaner car from the dealer while you wait?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you drive the Pilot, you should watch the tachometer in cruise situations. If you see the RPM's wavering while you are locked in to a steady speed, that is the TC lockup clutch slipping. You are likely to get the Warning display again. I share your reluctance to drive the vehicle, as more TC clutch slip just dumps more friction material into the ATF. TC slip can also overheat the converter, and overheat the fluid. Perhaps you can negotiate a loaner car from the dealer while you wait?
I will ask about a loaner car but since the Pilot is drivable with no other issues other than the light I doubt if they will provide one. Their lot is thin due to supply as it is. We do not plan on taking any road trips in it until its repaired, will stay local.
We have another vehicle so no biggie.
 

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We had the same issue in July, 2020. Our Pilot sat in the dealer's lot for 2 weeks, waiting for a torque converter. Luckily, we also had a second car. We did have to cancel our summer plans for camping, as we wanted to use the Pilot for that trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
STmech: Any issues since new converter? Apparently new torque converter only has a 1yr/12k mile warranty Honda said.
 

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STmech: Any issues since new converter? Apparently new torque converter only has a 1yr/12k mile warranty Honda said.
No issues with the transmission or torque converter since the repair. I did install the VCM disabler immediately after Honda replaced the TC. We have only put about 8,000 miles on the Pilot since then, but that does include several camping trips, towing our R-pod trailer. So far, so good.

We are still running the Honda DW-1 ATF that the dealer installed after multiple D&F's. It's still a clean red color. I believe that the dealer did a 4x DF before the TC replacement, and then another 4x after. Lots of ATF was run through our Pilot. When I hit around 10k miles on the new TC, I plan to do a DF with Valvoline Maxlife
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No issues with the transmission or torque converter since the repair. I did install the VCM disabler immediately after Honda replaced the TC. We have only put about 8,000 miles on the Pilot since then, but that does include several camping trips, towing our R-pod trailer. So far, so good.

We are still running the Honda DW-1 ATF that the dealer installed after multiple D&F's. It's still a clean red color. I believe that the dealer did a 4x DF before the TC replacement, and then another 4x after. Lots of ATF was run through our Pilot. When I hit around 10k miles on the new TC, I plan to do a DF with Valvoline Maxlife
Thanks for the info!
 

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At just under 58K miles this warning sign came up. Drove 400miles back home and dropped it off at Honda. It was shifting fine with no issues but after 15min the warning would come up. Tech said it seems something is wrong with the torque converter clutch according to the scanner. They even drove it with the computer hooked up and could not get it to clear or pull any other codes. Interestingly since day one it had noise coming from the transmission with every shift, sort of like lag. Had this click sound all the time when you were off and on the gas and shifting through gears slowly. At the time Honda could not find any issues when they rode with me. Well 50K miles later here you go. I am getting a remanufactured transmission from Honda with 3yr 36K mile warranty. Thankfully Honda is
paying for it.

View attachment 154496
hello. i have the same exact issue and honda told me a need a new transmission. i have a 2017 honda pilot exl with 43K miles. its been in the shop for 3 weeks and they say its still not approved.
i am concerned whether they will cover the cost of the reman transmission. I am also concerned about how this reman transmission will function.
how is your car operating after the transmission replacement.
 

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We had the exact same scenario with our 2018 EX-L at 58,500 miles. Honda replaced the torque converter under warranty. I paid them to add a transmission cooler. I also insisted that they install a new external ATF filter on their dime, as the original filter will be full of clutch friction material.

IMHO, this pattern of short-lived torque converters in 3rd Gen Pilots is connected to the VCM system, which will deliberately slip the TC lockup clutch during engage/disengage cycles. I have installed the S-VCM disabler to turn off VCM .
quesiton
did the dealer install the transmission cooler and the atf filter?
did they pay for it? if not what was the cost?
i am dealing with the same issue.
thanks
 
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