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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Traded our 2016 CRV Touring for a 2018 Pilot Touring AWD so we could go camping again. Sales, ads, owner's manual state 3500 lb max towing wt unless you have AWD and Honda ATF cooler. Dealer confirmed we need the ATF cooler. But Out of Stock, no date of availability. Tried 2 more dealers - same story. We had eye on a 3500 dry wt camper and planned to limit it to 4000lb (5000lb - 20%). But no AFT coolers! After lots of research, we finally decided on a Flagstaff E-pro (2500 lb dry wt). We plan to limit it to 2800lb (3500 - 20%). We have 30k miles left on MFR drivetrain warranty, so we should be good. Pick up camper tomorrow. But....

Why can't Honda source these ATF coolers? I would like to add one as extra margin of safety and protect transmission.

Installed ScanGuage II to monitor transmission fluid temperature. Its running up to 150 F on grade (no trailer). How high should I allow the temp to go?

Does Honda have a 9 speed transmission warranty problem? I see lots of transmission issues on line, usually pervious generation.
 

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There's no secret sauce to the Honda cooler, go on E-Trailer and pick up one that they recommend. There are supplier shortages in all industries right now, so I'm not surprised to hear this.

Temps in the low 200's are normal. Once you start climbing above 230 or so the life of the transmission fluid is severely impacted.

The early 9 speeds had some programming issues, a few had failures. That seemed to be pretty well isolated to early 3rd gens and was sorted by '18.


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You mean this one?







 

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Why can't Honda source these ATF coolers?
Just over a year ago, there was a global pandemic that disrupted all sorts of supply chains. You might have noticed one of these effects if you tried to be buy toilet paper in the Spring of 2020. If you've driven by a new car in the last few months, you may have noticed a line of new cars parked around the perimeter with the middle of the lot being empty. Have you tried to buy a new major appliance recently? You might be waiting months unless you settle for a model you might not want. Manufacturers can't find employees because nobody wants to work - they make more on unemployment.

Honda dealers typically don't stock parts - they generally order them for next-day delivery from regional warehouses that source from the same vendor. If one dealer can't get an item, chances are another won't be able to, either. "National backorder" is the common term.

Chances are, Honda's supplier is struggling to make enough ATF coolers for the Ridgeline alone - not to mention making extra stock for replacements or accessories for the Pilot. Can't blame Honda or Honda dealers for the shortage of ATF coolers, tonneau covers, windshields, emblems, and many other parts.
 

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Every one of the links I posted is a Honda Dealer with the part on hand. They are dealers that do stock the extra parts for online sales at a discount price. When I wanted one for my 2020 Passport Touring, same part number, my dealer didn't have one. Bernardi did at a discount. They had it transferred from Bernardi to them and I paid the Bernardi price for the part and they installed it.
 

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Do I understand correct.......there's no simple place to "tap in"/attach an aftermarket tranny cooler on the 9 speed?
 

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Do I understand correct.......there's no simple place to "tap in"/attach an aftermarket tranny cooler on the 9 speed?
Yes there the transmission has to sealed ports where the lines attach. It is still a process to run everything as well as fill the transmission properly. There is no dipstick. This is a run the tranny in a particular manner, heat the fluid to a tight temp range fill process.
 

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Guess I should have put quotation marks around the word simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for your input. I understand covid affected the supply chain. I ordered the Honda cooler from one of the suggested dealers. Thanks very much. Also thanks for temperature info. This forum has been great!

I had been told after market coolers like e trailer would void my warranty. 4 dealer parts departments, 3 in NC and 1 in FL told me part not available. I reported the issue to Honda customer service who said they couldn't help, but would write up the problem. Thanks for clearing up this matter.
 

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I am glad you went for the trans cooler anyway. I swear it should have come standard. Just today driving around town in 99F ambient I was at 188F by myself. Couldn't imagine temps if I even had a 2000lb trailer behind me. I was driving in sport mode but still.

I just wanted to recommend getting a weight distribution hitch. I would almost say it is necessary and not a luxury, at least with single axle trailers and our independent rear suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tomorrow we'll get to see ATF temp pulling 9 degree grade in Blue Ridge mountains. Ambient temp around 70.

RV dealer insisted on load balancing hitch with sway control even though tongue at is 370lb - 450 is max. Honda owners manuel recommended against but wording seemed to concern improperly configured hitch. We will get actual wt and measure tow and trailer to get each level after hitch adjustments.

Thanks again for input.
 

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I am glad you went for the trans cooler anyway. I swear it should have come standard. Just today driving around town in 99F ambient I was at 188F by myself. Couldn't imagine temps if I even had a 2000lb trailer behind me. I was driving in sport mode but still.

I just wanted to recommend getting a weight distribution hitch. I would almost say it is necessary and not a luxury, at least with single axle trailers and our independent rear suspension.
188F isn't a big deal. Many vehicles use an ATF cooler built into the radiator (like my Traverse, rated to tow 5,200 lbs) so 200-215 is very common and not shortening the life of the fluid or components. This can be a benefit because the coolant and trans fluid can help regulate each other's temperatures and in less capable tow vehicles I haven't found any issues.

That being said, a separate cooler is ideal for bigger trucks towing heavier loads, where a lot more heat is produced.
 

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Is the Dexron-VI ATF in your Traverse full-synthetic, or did someone "slip you the blend", like Mobil 1?
Mobil™ DEXRON-VI ATF
You'll love this... I use the full synthetic Valvoline Dex VI. Some users with the 9 speed in the 2nd gen (which is based on the 6 speed 1st gen design that was codeveloped with Ford) have been using a Mobil1 ATF that GM has been recommending for 8L and 6L truck transmissions with slipping and vibration issues. It's had good results but I'm not quite there yet, I want to see more people use it.

148463


148464
 

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You'll love this... I use the full synthetic Valvoline Dex VI. Some users with the 9 speed in the 2nd gen (which is based on the 6 speed 1st gen design that was codeveloped with Ford) have been using a Mobil1 ATF that GM has been recommending for 8L and 6L truck transmissions with slipping and vibration issues. It's had good results but I'm not quite there yet, I want to see more people use it.

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The Mobil 1 ATF I linked to, above, is a synthetic-blend formula.
I'm surprised to see that Mobil would put the 'Mobil 1' name on any product that wasn't fully synthetic.
 

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The Mobil 1 ATF I linked to, above, is a synthetic-blend formula.
I'm surprised to see that Mobil would put the 'Mobil 1' name on any product that wasn't fully synthetic.
I was disappointed too when I discovered this after purchasing the Traverse, if it was I would have used it but since it isn't I won't. Only the finest synthetics go in my vehicles.
 

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Thanks for your input. I understand covid affected the supply chain. I ordered the Honda cooler from one of the suggested dealers. Thanks very much. Also thanks for temperature info. This forum has been great!

I had been told after market coolers like e trailer would void my warranty. 4 dealer parts departments, 3 in NC and 1 in FL told me part not available. I reported the issue to Honda customer service who said they couldn't help, but would write up the problem. Thanks for clearing up this matter.
No an after market cooler should not void you warranty, if it is of the right size and properly installed. Just like a Delco starter would not void your warranty. After market parts will not void you warranty as long as they meet manufacturers specifications and are properly installed. Aftermarket accessories however can be a different story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Today we picked up the trailer. Estimate 2700lbs. Will get it weighed. Pilot 9 speed did well. Left it in D. It did downshift to climb grades and RPMs ran 3000-4000, speed around 40-50mph. Transmission fluid temp ran up to 206F at steepest part of grade. MPG 12.5.

About warranty - I've been told by Honda service reps that anything other than genuine Honda ATF cooler made for my vehicle will void warranty. Cost of new transmission $3-4k. But thanks to posts here, I was able to order one and it shipped today.
 

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Today we picked up the trailer. Estimate 2700lbs. Will get it weighed. Pilot 9 speed did well. Left it in D. It did downshift to climb grades and RPMs ran 3000-4000, speed around 40-50mph. Transmission fluid temp ran up to 206F at steepest part of grade. MPG 12.5.

About warranty - I've been told by Honda service reps that anything other than genuine Honda ATF cooler made for my vehicle will void warranty. Cost of new transmission $3-4k. But thanks to posts here, I was able to order one and it shipped today.
You might want to ask the about the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. I would suggest that Honda does not state what your dealer is telling you.




With that said I did go with the OEM on my 2020 Passport Touring. Got it for a good price and this was one part I was not going to install.


FYI when you are pushing past the 200 F range going up hill your vehicle is telling you that you should have gone down a couple of gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Looked up Magnuson-Moss. Downloaded 2018 Honda pilot written warranty. Very interesting. I don't see any mention of genuine Honda parts as prerequisite for honoring warranty. Only maintenance records, normal use within stated load limits, and duration of warranty 5yrs or 60k miles.

So etrailer's ATF cooler which mfg states matches 2018 Honda 9 speed transmission would NOT void warranty.

Furthermore, install can be done by any qualified mechanic, even the owner themselves. However, resulting warranty work by Honda might not cover labor in such case.

Thanks for info - very helpful!
 
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