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2016 EXL AWD Nav with sensing , 2008 Corolla SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There have been a few 6 speed transmission/torque converter failures lately on the LX, EX and EXL models and I was wondering how many with failures had transmission coolers installed prior to the failure occurring. Just wondering if higher fluid temperatures are related to these failures. Any info is appreciated thanks.
 

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I have an EX with 36k miles and perceived the VCM vibration as an issue with my transmission. Upon inspection of my transmission fluid, it looked pretty worn for only 34k miles. FYI-I never tow anything with my Pilot. I did a drain/refill 3x, changed the inline filter, and added a transmission cooler. I wish I had collected some data on the temps I was running before the cooler, but with the cooler installed, my transmission is running around 160 deg F on a 75 deg day. After doing all the transmission service, I still had a vibration feeling, and it turned out to be VCM vibrations that are "normal". I recently installed S-VCM to deactivate the feature, and all is running smooth again. I have heard that the VCM feature can cause TC problems. Probably a combination of the VCM and high temperatures without a cooler.
 

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2016 EXL AWD Nav with sensing , 2008 Corolla SE
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cooler fluid temp = happy transmission. Also torque converters will generate a lot of heat in the fluid when they slip during acceleration and the VCM actually induces more slip when active so it would definitely cause fluid temp to rise. Might be part of the reason we are seeing the fluid turning so dark after 30k. Without the cooler, I bet the fluid temp was getting up to 200 F.
 

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‘17 G2 FWD Ridgeline here, purchased used, end of March 2020, 8.2K miles. The G2 6 speed Rigi is basically the same vehicle as the 6 speed Pilot, front doors forward. Like G3 Pilots, G2 FWD Ridgelines do not come with a tranny cooler......NONE. I monitor both engine coolant and tranny fluid temps. By late April early May I was observing 200+F TFT running around town, not towing. After seeing 211F TFT, I decided it was time for a cooler.

I’ve installed aftermarket tranny coolers on numerous vehicles over the years, so I decided to do the aftermarket tranny cooler install on the Rigi. I went with a tad larger than OE size cooler. End result.....the cooler dropped TFT 35-40 degrees, same driving conditions in triple digit ambient temps. No tranny issues here after 5 months......fingers crossed.
 

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2016 EXL AWD Nav with sensing , 2008 Corolla SE
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I’ve installed aftermarket tranny coolers on numerous vehicles over the years, so I decided to do the aftermarket tranny cooler install on the Rigi. I went with a tad larger than OE size cooler. End result.....the cooler dropped TFT 35-40 degrees, same driving conditions in triple digit ambient temps. No tranny issues here after 5 months......fingers crossed.
I installed a Derale cooler about twice the size of OEM, on my 16 EXL and so far no issues at almost 60k. Keeping fingers crossed too.
 

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You're scaring me mon 😫
I think you can monitor both tranny and engine temps for really cheap using a bluetooth OBD-II code reader and an app on your phone. It's much cheaper/easier to know what your temps are first.......and then possibly proceed from there. 👌
 

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I installed a Derale cooler about twice the size of OEM, on my 16 EXL and so far no issues at almost 60k. Keeping fingers crossed too.
Derale makes some good stuff.....I've used them and B&M in the past. For no particular reason, I decided to install a Tru-Cool Max this time on our Rigi. I say no particular reason......I did like the Tru-Cool's shape/size (6"X23"X.75") and the fact that the hose barbs are only 6" apart thus keeping the hoses to/from the tranny virtually horizontal, similar to the Honda accessory tranny cooler.🤷‍♂️ I also like seeing the slightly lower (than 211F) TFTs as well. 👌
 

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There have been a few 6 speed transmission/torque converter failures lately on the LX, EX and EXL models and I was wondering how many with failures had transmission coolers installed prior to the failure occurring. Just wondering if higher fluid temperatures are related to these failures. Any info is appreciated thanks.
A cooler is great. Anything to help keep the fluid cool is a positive. I installed one when I discovered Honda deleted them on 3rd gens. It's certainly not a remedy for the torque converter clutch lock problem these transmissions can have. The VCM making the 6 cylinder engine a 3 cylinder seemed to be the root cause of the eventual failure because of the extreme vibration it causes. I was able to remedy the issue with a VCM disabling device. But I also can not let Honda off the hook for this wretched ATF known as DW-1. Honda has thousands convinced and tricked into believing that this is full synthetic fluid and they should pay double for it. It was never full synthetic. It is more susceptible to heat. So in our cases, this was the worst possible combination. The first ATF change I did on my 2017 EX-L was like black syrup and had a very old musty smell. Though I didn't know it at the time, a lot of the darkness was shed clutch material. After my 4th fluid change (1 DW-1, 3 Max-Life) in under 10k miles, my fluid was bright red, but some of the finest particles of black clutch material was still in my fluid. I just recently did a 5th drain and fill (Beck/Arnley full synthetic DW-1) and went with a Wix/Filtran filter 58953 that has a nice size magnetic sleeve insert surrounding a much larger filter than OE. So far, I feel I'm winning. Only time will tell.
 

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Presuming the 6AT holds 8 qts and I’m able to drain 4 qts each d&f, I’m thinking 3rd d&f leaves 1 qt of DW-1, 4th d&f leaves 1/2 qt of DW-1......does that sound right?
 

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Presuming the 6AT holds 8 qts and I’m able to drain 4 qts each d&f, I’m thinking 3rd d&f leaves 1 qt of DW-1, 4th d&f leaves 1/2 qt of DW-1......does that sound right?
I seemed to have read somewhere that it is a 9 quart system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just recently did a 5th drain and fill (Beck/Arnley full synthetic DW-1) and went with a Wix/Filtran filter 58953 that has a nice size magnetic sleeve insert surrounding a much larger filter than OE. So far, I feel I'm winning. Only time will tell.
How does that Beck/Arnley fluid compare to Max life in your transmission ?Have you noticed much change in the shifting characteristics, downshifts a bit softer maybe?
 

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How does that Beck/Arnley fluid compare to Max life in your transmission ?Have you noticed much change in the shifting characteristics, downshifts a bit softer maybe?
Didn't really seem to change anything going up through the gears, but it did seem softer hitting that 40mph down shift. It's still 2/3 MaxLife, so I really can't say it's a fair assessment of the B/A DW-1 fluid.
 

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No reason to be scared, just make sure you change the fluid according to the mtce schedule and maybe look into getting a cooler installed as added insurance.
Thanks, I already had installed a tranny cooler on mine when I bought it along with trailer hitch.
I just installed the S-VCM labor day weekend.
The only reason why I went with EX-L is due to it's 6 speed and I heard horror stories of 9 speed. Plus I don't like the start stop system.
 

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Just an FYI. I have 59K miles on my 2017 Pilot EX. I have no tranny cooler. I tow my 1600lb boat/trailer every week on an 80 mile round trip. Done this since March of 2017. Approx 14K of towing miles, in east central Florida. No issues so far. I have done 2 drain and refills of the tranny fluid so far. Did not notice any bad looking fluid. Engine and transmission is smooth as day one,,knock on wood!
 

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Good info to know. Were those 2 D&Fs at approx. 20K miles each? A 40 mile trip and then allowing to cool (most of the day while fishing, I presume), tranny should stay healthy for a long time.

Since I've been monitoring TFT, I notice air flow (thru the tranny cooler) makes a huge difference in fluid temp.
 
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Just an FYI. I have 59K miles on my 2017 Pilot EX. I have no tranny cooler. I tow my 1600lb boat/trailer every week on an 80 mile round trip. Done this since March of 2017. Approx 14K of towing miles, in east central Florida. No issues so far. I have done 2 drain and refills of the tranny fluid so far. Did not notice any bad looking fluid. Engine and transmission is smooth as day one,,knock on wood!
I became the 2nd owner of 2017 EX-L (no tow package at the time) that is here on flat land in Texas. At 19k miles I found black DW-1 syrup in the transmission. It likely got that way from 2 years of stop and go traffic in Houston. Low quality non synthetic DW-1 + heat + the VCM causing torque converter and clutch lock issues.
Your 6-speed is not immune. I have no doubts that your fluid is in the 200°F + range when you tow. I'd disable the VCM and get a transmission cooler if I planed on keeping the vehicle.
If you decided against deactivating the VCM..., always, always, always keep a look out for the "Erratic RPM Gauge Of Death."
Your transmission will fail if not corrected.
 

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I became the 2nd owner of 2017 EX-L (no tow package at the time) that is here on flat land in Texas. At 19k miles I found black DW-1 syrup in the transmission. It likely got that way from 2 years of stop and go traffic in Houston. Low quality non synthetic DW-1 + heat + the VCM causing torque converter and clutch lock issues.
Your 6-speed is not immune. I have no doubts that your fluid is in the 200°F + range when you tow. I'd disable the VCM and get a transmission cooler if I planed on keeping the vehicle.
If you decided against deactivating the VCM..., always, always, always keep a look out for the "Erratic RPM Gauge Of Death."
Your transmission will fail if not corrected.
140260
 
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