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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there,
My 2018 Pilot AWD EX-L is around 35k km, and still under bumper-to-bumper warranty until Sept. .
For the first time I experienced a pretty jerky transmission today which also gave an engine light, this happened when I was making a left turn and tried to speed up. (before this I've been driving at 100 km/h for about 2 hours).
I stopped the car, and turned it off, restarted without issue, didn't see the engine light though.
The car drove fine afterwards for the rest of the trip. (~500km).
When I got home, hooked up my generic OBDII scanner through bluetooth, but couldn't find any fault code.
Has anyone experienced something like this before?

Thanks a lot.
 

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These 6-speed transmissions are known for having issues. Possibly transmission judder that was common on 16 and 17 models. I'd get it to the dealership quickly since it is under warranty.
I'd disable the VCM if I had plans to keep the vehicle past its warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot for your reply.
My concern would be how I can reproduce the issue to prove to the dealer, isn't the dealer like "if they can't reproduce the problem, they won't do anything about it". especially it didn't throw any error code. (though the engine light was on when it happened, but disappeared when I restarted my car).

I am thinking of doing an transmission fluid change, will that help at all?
 

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Thanks a lot for your reply.
My concern would be how I can reproduce the issue to prove to the dealer, isn't the dealer like "if they can't reproduce the problem, they won't do anything about it". especially it didn't throw any error code. (though the engine light was on when it happened, but disappeared when I restarted my car).

I am thinking of doing an transmission fluid change, will that help at all?
It wouldn't hurt. I had a similar problem with the 5 speed ... turn, accelerate, shudder. No codes. Only help I got from the dealer was $300 worth of Honda ATF changes and a software update. Didn't help. Finally tried multiple drain and refills with Valvoline full synthetic ATF. Haven't seen the problem since. I still have no idea why it did it after a turn. I thought it might also have something to do with the differential, ABS or traction control so I should add that I changed the rear differential fluid, transfer case, and brake fluid. If yours is FWD, then those aren't an issue. Installing a VCM defeat device has helped smooth things out as well.
 

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Thanks a lot for your reply.
My concern would be how I can reproduce the issue to prove to the dealer, isn't the dealer like "if they can't reproduce the problem, they won't do anything about it". especially it didn't throw any error code. (though the engine light was on when it happened, but disappeared when I restarted my car).

I am thinking of doing an transmission fluid change, will that help at all?
Yes, ATF changes will help. I'm not a fan of non full synthetic Honda DW-1 because of the eventual symptoms your having. I have perged it completely out of my transmission. (I have no warranty)1st I used Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. I'm currently using Amalie Universal Synthetic. But the greatest antagonist to our transmissions is the VCM.
I use S-VCM to keep my engine running on 6 cylinders 100% of the time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to both of you guys for the suggestions.

Yeah, it was so weird, somehow the left turn triggered the issue.
The 6 -speed has been almost trouble free, only some times, when it's very cold and I accelerate in a rush and you could feel some un-smoothness at the beginning. but nothing like what happened yesterday.

Looks like fluid change is needed for sure, will call the dealership to get some quote first.

It wouldn't hurt. I had a similar problem with the 5 speed ... turn, accelerate, shudder. No codes. Only help I got from the dealer was $300 worth of Honda ATF changes and a software update. Didn't help. Finally tried multiple drain and refills with Valvoline full synthetic ATF. Haven't seen the problem since. I still have no idea why it did it after a turn. I thought it might also have something to do with the differential, ABS or traction control so I should add that I changed the rear differential fluid, transfer case, and brake fluid. If yours is FWD, then those aren't an issue. Installing a VCM defeat device has helped smooth things out as well.
Didn't realize the VCM is so bad to the transmission, I don't really care fuel economy but always thought VCM could cause engine balance problem or cylinder related issue. will definitely look into this.

Yes, ATF changes will help. I'm not a fan of non full synthetic Honda DW-1 because of the eventual symptoms your having. I have perged it completely out of my transmission. (I have no warranty)1st I used Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. I'm currently using Amalie Universal Synthetic. But the greatest antagonist to our transmissions is the VCM.
I use S-VCM to keep my engine running on 6 cylinders 100% of the time.
 

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2016 and 17 models had the TSB for the Torque Converter Clutch Lock problem. I rebuilt my 17 Pilot with no warranty only to find out I had the Erratic rpm Gauge of Death.
Honda solved this by 3 x drain and fill of the ATF and a software update. I began seeing improvement after I did 2 drain and fills with Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. But what cured it was disabling the VCM. The VCM was destroying my transmission. Your year model likely has the software update, so for your symptoms, ATF drain and fills should do the job. Don't expect miracles from Honda DW-1. If you decide to keep using it, my best advice would be to take control and double up on the drain and fill intervals. Super easy DIY. Save a headache going to the dealership.
 
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Thanks to both of you guys for the suggestions.
You're welcome ... hope the suggestions work for you.
Yeah, it was so weird, somehow the left turn triggered the issue.
The 6 -speed has been almost trouble free, only some times, when it's very cold and I accelerate in a rush and you could feel some un-smoothness at the beginning. but nothing like what happened yesterday.
It seems to have affected my 5 speed the same way, mostly on acceleration through 2nd gear. From 3rd gear on up to TC lockup it's, as you say, trouble free. To this day, I have no idea why it only seemed to happen after turns.
Looks like fluid change is needed for sure, will call the dealership to get some quote first.
I had the dealer do the initial three drain and refills using their Honda DW-1 ATF along with a software update. The result was no change, no improvement. Things only started to improve when I did the drain and refills myself using Valvoline Maxlife full synthetic ATF.
Didn't realize the VCM is so bad to the transmission, I don't really care fuel economy but always thought VCM could cause engine balance problem or cylinder related issue. will definitely look into this.
Torque converter lockup is delayed by VCM in order to buffer the drivetrain from vibrations caused by the engine. This creates more heat in the transmission which breaks down the DW-1 faster than a full synthetic fluid. The VML has friction modifiers and a lower viscosity which I believe helps eliminate the "un-smoothness" in the transmission.

I have read here some people claiming higher gas mileage after installing a VCM disabler when measured over the course of mostly city driving. I think the reason for this is the torque converter locks up sooner when not delayed by VCM.

Another engineering workaround to help mask the engine vibrations caused by VCM is the use of active controlled engine mounts. Like the transmission, these expensive mounts are strained by VCM vibrations and eventually fail, sooner than typical mounts fail on non-VCM engines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again guys.
Pulled the trigger on the SVCM and installed it last night.
Still noticed the ambient light turns green when accelerating.
But coolant temp from Torque pro seems to peak at 74 Celsius, and I suppose it's working ok?
Haven't done much driving yet, so can't say about the engine response etc. Also I always disabled the eco model using the green button.
 

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Thanks again guys.
Pulled the trigger on the SVCM and installed it last night.
Still noticed the ambient light turns green when accelerating.
But coolant temp from Torque pro seems to peak at 74 Celsius, and I suppose it's working ok?
Haven't done much driving yet, so can't say about the engine response etc. Also I always disabled the eco model using the green button.
Ya, the ambient instrument panel light will still change color with a VCM disabling device. If your very familiar with how your vehicle used to perform versus now, you should notice a difference. The only other way to know it's working is to use live data on a scanner to see if the engine temp is defaulted to 165.2°F.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ya, the ambient instrument panel light will still change color with a VCM disabling device. If your very familiar with how your vehicle used to perform versus now, you should notice a difference. The only other way to know it's working is to use live data on a scanner to see if the engine temp is defaulted to 165.2°F.
Went for a longer drive today, can definitely feel the difference, now I could tell when VCM was being activated before cause now everything feels smooth, (accelerating etc. )

Back to the original topic, haven't experienced the transmission jerkiness for the past three weeks, (no super long drives though).
But I'll surely bring this up when it's time for the next oil change at dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been doing a bit more homework on the transmission issue.
Seeing my vehicle is still under warranty (powertrain till late 2023), I am a bit hesitant on switching to the MaxLife full synthetic at this point (though this specific ATF seems to work pretty well on Honda transmissions from what I checked online.)
Now I am seriously thinking of adding a transmission cooler, 'cause I see the transmission temp hovers around 160-170 on highway driving. I don't do any towing at the moment, but living in the Rocky Mountains definitely put extra strain on the transmission.
But looks like from a warranty perspective, getting the dealership to install the OEM one might be the only way to go (which is quite a rip-off)
 

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I've been doing a bit more homework on the transmission issue.
Seeing my vehicle is still under warranty (powertrain till late 2023), I am a bit hesitant on switching to the MaxLife full synthetic at this point (though this specific ATF seems to work pretty well on Honda transmissions from what I checked online.)
Now I am seriously thinking of adding a transmission cooler, 'cause I see the transmission temp hovers around 160-170 on highway driving. I don't do any towing at the moment, but living in the Rocky Mountains definitely put extra strain on the transmission.
But looks like from a warranty perspective, getting the dealership to install the OEM one might be the only way to go (which is quite a rip-off)
I would highly recommend switching to a synthetic ATF. Being in Canada, a synthetic will really help with the cold temp/startup shifting due to the improved cold-flow properties. It'll stand up better when stressed during mountain driving as well. Personally, I wouldn't worry about using a non-OEM fluid. If you get a error code again, take it right to the dealer so they can pull the codes. If it is known problem, they can fix it under warranty, and they probably won't ask what transmission fluid you are using. You do take that chance though.

Another option to "keep it stock": have the dealer do a drain and fill with DW-1 your next oil change and ask if they will show you a sample of what came out. That'll give you an idea of how burned up the fluid is in your car.

How much are they charging to install the OEM ATF cooler? 2-3 hours labor I'm guessing? It's a very doable DIY if you're handy under the hood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would highly recommend switching to a synthetic ATF. Being in Canada, a synthetic will really help with the cold temp/startup shifting due to the improved cold-flow properties. It'll stand up better when stressed during mountain driving as well. Personally, I wouldn't worry about using a non-OEM fluid. If you get a error code again, take it right to the dealer so they can pull the codes. If it is known problem, they can fix it under warranty, and they probably won't ask what transmission fluid you are using. You do take that chance though.

Another option to "keep it stock": have the dealer do a drain and fill with DW-1 your next oil change and ask if they will show you a sample of what came out. That'll give you an idea of how burned up the fluid is in your car.

How much are they charging to install the OEM ATF cooler? 2-3 hours labor I'm guessing? It's a very doable DIY if you're handy under the hood.

Great point!

Where I live has especially harsh winters (-30 celsius couple weeks ago). therefore even though I haven't experienced the issue again, I really need to do something about it.

As for ATF cooler, my local dealer charges 600 USD (750 CAD) for parts and installation.
 

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Great point!

Where I live has especially harsh winters (-30 celsius couple weeks ago). therefore even though I haven't experienced the issue again, I really need to do something about it.

As for ATF cooler, my local dealer charges 600 USD (750 CAD) for parts and installation.
That crazy for that dinky little cooler. I installed an aftermarket Derale cooler that is twice the size of the OEM cooler for about $100. I would also recommend changing the inline transmission fluid filter as well.
 
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