Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums banner

1 - 20 of 73 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey Piloteers, forum Noob but been in the Honda game for almost 20 years now, building everything from 1000+hp drag cars to rock crawlers competing at KOH. After years of building and owning high dollar Toyota 4Runners, Tacomas and Tundras (the typical Colorado Offroad rig) I wanted to give Honda a chance and see what was so bad about them, that I never see them being used even mildly offroad, and the extreme lack of aftermarket support made me pick up a 2005 MDX to see if I could make it a capable family excursion rig that can handle some moderate offroad action equivalent of mildly modded IFS Toyota on 33's, should be pretty easy right?

First impressions were great, drives great, smooth suspension, great power, clean quiet interior, 3rd row seat....much better than any 4runner/Taco in the same year, impressed so far. VSA & VTM-4 have issues, car is in great shape, but even maintained, the VTM-4 is sketchy at best and seems to have no real use offroad capability, with a rediculous combination of buttons and processes to even get control of the rear in a tough situation. Now I love Honda but I will not defend this system, and do not want to get stranded in FWD if the rear decides to not work when 500 miles away from home in the Mountains, or simply stuck in a titch in a bad snow storm, lots of things that a stock Toy can do pretty well, and no matter how you look at it, the OEM Diff In the Pilot/MDX/RL is hands down the weakest link of the drivetrain, which lead me to some R&D and over the last few weeks I have been designing some parts and I wanted to gauge interest if anyone would be interested some upgrades for these rigs because I see great potential once the downsides of this platform are addressed.

Here is a list of the major weak spots.
-Underbody Clearance
-Underbody Protection
-Aproach/Decent Clearance
-Aftermarket suspension Options (coil spacers are the devil)
-True 4WD Control
-No Low Range (no easy or cheap answers for adressing this)



What Parts would you guys Like to see for these Rigs? All of the following parts will be developed in the listed order for my own personal build over the next few months.

-Rear high clearance armor bumper with integrated hitch and storage & integrated exhaust tips

-Front high clearance armor bumper with hidden winch, skid, slim stinger and light bar

-Full DOM Rock Sliders/Flat Belly Skid/Tank Skid/Chassis Brace +4" of added clearance in spots, with NO rock catchers

-4" Intake, Precat Delete/Jpipe/High clearance 3" Stainless exhaust (flush with driveshaft) tucked mufflers

-On Board 150psi Air System/100w Solar Dual Batt Mount

-Front Lower Control Arm Skids

-Front & Rear Quick Sway Bar Disconnects

The following are lower priority but are in the plan book

-Full Tubular front Subframe adding 2" of Lift, Adjustable Coilover Conversion with required chassis bracing and 0-3" of additional lift, and custom long travel coilovers

-Full Tubular rear subframe with 8.8 Differential Conversion with a selectable Eaton LSD Locker (functions as and LSD AND a true locker) AND a true PUSH BUTTON Driveshaft disconnect, allowing for 100% TRUE FWD or 100% True 4WD

-Eaton M90 Supercharger Kit with MS3 EMS, Air/Water Intercooler (wait...how?) and WAAAAAAAY more efficient than any other roots SC system keeping IAT's ice cold
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,700 Posts
Definitely interested in seeing the products you produce, but I will never be a customer... MD has virtually no trails and my wife (it's her car) has no interest in such things...
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
15,579 Posts
Honestly, the first gen Pilot and MDX are getting so old and for the most part have so many miles on them that I don't think it's worth pursuing this.
People did try a decade ago when they dominated but it lacked interest then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,555 Posts
Just trade it in for a 4runner ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Honestly, the first gen Pilot and MDX are getting so old and for the most part have so many miles on them that I don't think it's worth pursuing this.
People did try a decade ago when they dominated but it lacked interest then.
4 out of 5 of high dollar ($4K+)SAS or LT builds I do are done on late 90's/early 2000's Toyotas with 200K+ miles on them, and guys don't question droping more than the vehicle is worth in upgrades building it to their specific needs, but Im not here to convince anyone, I will build it just because I have a shop filled with material and a supercharger I am sick of moving around, so the build will proceed regardless.





Just trade it in for a 4runner ...
Ben there, did that, went back, did it again, did it a few more times, supercharged it, sold it, went back, built it, turbocharged it, sold it, went back, really built it, beat on it, sold it, got a Tundra still, but not looking to build any personal toyotas anytime soon, Jeeps and Toys are too easy, I like a challenge.
 

·
Registered
2008 Honda Pilot EX RES
Joined
·
16 Posts
Well, of the assortment you mentioned, the one thing you omitted, and that might actually get some traction, is a front end skid plate. There's a smattering of posts here on Piloteers expressing concern over the vulnerable nature of the underside of the front half of this vehicle during even mild offroading...and I agree. A decent bolt-on front end skid, at an affordable price, might get some attention. Oh, and maybe rock sliders, for no other reason than I need good lift points for my Hi-Lift jack. :grin:

As you observed, the Pilot does not have a proper rear diff or transfer case. The most damning omission of all is that of low range gearing. Without this, in my opinion--and I think the market has proven this--the Pilot will never be a platform for building a proper offroader. And this is coming from an owner who lifted his Pilot (which even I admit is 90% cosmetic and 10% function).

That said, I'll never discourage anyone's creativity or ambition. If you've got the skill and wherewithal to fabricate these mods, I will follow your journey with gusto and encouragement!

(I see Colorado mentioned in your post. If you're in the front range, shoot me a PM, I'm in Fort Collins.)

So, keep us posted, I'm rootin' for 'ya! :claphead:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
Trade for an FJ Cruizer!
Honda is useless offroad and even on the bad dirt roads. It can climb up the hill, but cannot climb out of a ditch. Been there done that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,555 Posts
Trade for an FJ Cruizer!
Honda is useless offroad and even on the bad dirt roads. It can climb up the hill, but cannot climb out of a ditch. Been there done that.
Been there myself ..had a ford come and pull me out ... *embarrassing :p
 

·
Registered
2008 Honda Pilot EX RES
Joined
·
16 Posts
BB6,

If you've got the fabrication experience, here's a rear bumper idea. (See attached images.) I stumbled on this image on Pinterest, but there is no source info for it, and thus no way to connect the image with the vehicle owner. Too bad. Nice rear bumper. Probably a one-off, but still...nice execution.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
I have a 2004 that has over 200k Miles, all stock with some good tires 245/75r16. I love the outdoors and can't help myself finding myself on roads I probably shouldn't be. I have taken it down some forest roads where no Honda has been. Articulation and clearance is definitely an area that needs attention, 3 wheel motion is a common occurrence. I like the idea of making theses more capabile,not everyone can afford a Toyota. One advantage im reminded of when working on my pilot or any vehicle, is the simplicity and ease it is, I feel the engineers payed attention to the future maintenance that's needed, and even the good parts are cheep.
Keep us posted on your build or me. I plan on keeping mine for awhile and would like some upgrades.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,555 Posts
Found something close to that bumper pic ..most of the goodies can be found for the CRV

https://www.jegs.com/i/Rugged+Ridge...MI2Iyxm6CK4gIVSh-tBh3QRAi_EAQYAyABEgLC6PD_BwE

Also there is an youtube video where someone took off the front bumper built one out of 2" tubing and ran a 2" lift.. it does give some ground clearance but seriously if your looking into anything serious for off roading Jeep is the way to go or Toyota there are NO or next to nothing for after market parts for our vehicles Unless there is someone who can fabricate some stuff and go in a group buy. Skid plates can be converted from other vehicles to work.

Its seriously possibly there are a few nice over lander builds using the Pilot as base BUT you will need to have fabrication involved at some point for it to work... I'm also interested on how this thread goes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Older thread but good info. I bought a low mile 1st gen for back country fishing/camping, mostly on old logging roads in BC. It was affordable and works great for light offroad use. All I've done is install Cooper A/T tires but it really needs front skid plate protection. Nothing that I can find online other than building one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I'm a Toyota guy, my wheeler is a 93 FZJ80 Land Cruiser on 37s, armored locked and abused, pic included for fun.
But when my parents were offered zilch for trade in towards a new Rav4, I snagged it from them for another daily.
So now i'm trying to make the most out of this thing and have a little fun "broverlanding" it in the process. I already have a 2.5" front 2" rear spacer kit, and some 265/65r17 Duratracs for it, just threw on the obligatory roof basket and am currently working out a clean HT Ham setup for it.

ANYWAY.... Has OP or anyone made any traction in the area of custom fabbed or retrofitted armor? I have a friend who works with RalliTek designing and installing Subaru lifts, I intend to see how closely some of their skidplates might work on the pilot.
I know the AWD system is really for decoration, thats why I'm focusing on armor first. I really just want something a bit more comfortable and road friendly than my cruiser to explore in.

Thanks guys!
134353
 

·
Registered
2008 Honda Pilot EX RES
Joined
·
16 Posts
Hey, welcome to the forum. Brilliant offroader, BTW. Those old Land Cruisers are crazy capable. I used to wheel with a dude here in northern Colorado with one--10lbs of C4 couldn't hurt that thing. (Looks like he tried. :ROFLMAO:)

To my knowledge neither here nor on another well-known overlanding forum has anyone come up with decent skid plates or armor for the Pilot. One fellow cobbled together one from--I think--an old Ford F250, but that's about it.

Now, on the ham radio front, I have a bit of information. Here's my installation. Not using an HT, but a formal mobile rig--still...might give you some ideas.

20190507_125432 (Small).jpg
134387
134388


And yes, I did drill two huge holes (well, quarter-size) in my roof for those antennas. The Pilot can really launch a signal!

The speaker/mic/GPS antenna mount is a Panavise "InDash Mount" #75117-903.

If you're ever in northern Colorado, tune up either of the two local repeater frequencies in the picture, call K0MTB and I'll answer. :)

Come back and let us know if any Suby parts can be altered to fit the Pilot. Those watching this thread will be interested.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,700 Posts
I'm a Toyota guy, my wheeler is a 93 FZJ80 Land Cruiser on 37s, armored locked and abused, pic included for fun.
But when my parents were offered zilch for trade in towards a new Rav4, I snagged it from them for another daily.
So now i'm trying to make the most out of this thing and have a little fun "broverlanding" it in the process. I already have a 2.5" front 2" rear spacer kit, and some 265/65r17 Duratracs for it, just threw on the obligatory roof basket and am currently working out a clean HT Ham setup for it.

ANYWAY.... Has OP or anyone made any traction in the area of custom fabbed or retrofitted armor? I have a friend who works with RalliTek designing and installing Subaru lifts, I intend to see how closely some of their skidplates might work on the pilot.
I know the AWD system is really for decoration, thats why I'm focusing on armor first. I really just want something a bit more comfortable and road friendly than my cruiser to explore in.

Thanks guys! View attachment 134353
I think you'd be quite surprised by how capable the Pilot's AWD system is with appropriate tires. As far as AWD crossovers I'd say the 1st and 2nd gen are as capable as any of their competitors if not more. The newer Subarus with the CVT are not good off road even though they have the ground clearance.

Also, love the land cruiser.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TonsofunFZJ80

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
No decent shock absorbers available for 2003 Pilot. I destroyed a pair of KYBs with only moderate use on dirt roads. Neither Bilstein nor Koni make shocks for this car. The KYBs are simply too weak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,700 Posts
If you take some measurements Bilstein or Koni might be able to look in their database to try and find something close... If you can get the compressed and extended lengths really close, figuring out how to mount them shouldn't be that difficult. Larger bolts, a sleeve to use a smaller bolt, custom bracket, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Well....it seems that if either of those companies wanted the business they would do it themselves. But I guess a mere Honda Pilot is beneath them.
 

·
Super Moderator
2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
Joined
·
2,961 Posts
I think the idea presented would now be called the Passport Just as it was up through 2004 or so.
 
1 - 20 of 73 Posts
Top