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We got lucky with our 2004 and missed the bad transmissions by a few hundred production models. Im considering another Pilot but its going to have to be older with some higher mileage as I cant afford new and dont want payments.

How are the 06 to 08? Or, what are the years to stay away from? I could possibly find a few more bucks and get into the 09's...maybe..

I remember that Elements changed from a timing belt to a chain. Did later Pilots ever switch to a chain?
 

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We got lucky with our 2004 and missed the bad transmissions by a few hundred production models. Im considering another Pilot but its going to have to be older with some higher mileage as I cant afford new and dont want payments.

How are the 06 to 08? Or, what are the years to stay away from? I could possibly find a few more bucks and get into the 09's...maybe..

I remember that Elements changed from a timing belt to a chain. Did later Pilots ever switch to a chain?
The timing belt is still there, but this creates an opportunity. If you find one that needs the belt done, take $1000 off the price for starters.

I think the biggest lever you've got to improve reliability in an older vehicle is maintenance history. "Known issues" can be dealt with. For example, if you found a one-owner '05 with great maintenance but original radiator, grab it and immediately replace the radiator.

A 12+ year old car that's in good mechanical shape is a survivor. It probably missed the known issues, or had something fixed and has been fine ever since. Its hard enough to find good ones - I wouldn't constrain your search based on criteria that are less important (in my opinion) than bigger factors you can easily verify.

The one exception I would suggest on a first gen is to avoid any that have any rust underneath, even if you have to buy in another state. The rear subframe mount thing is a potential fatal flaw for any of them.
 

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Tacoma’03Pilot nailed it.

I believe the three most important factors when purchasing used are documented maintenance history, your initial gut feel of vehicle and seller, and what an inspection from your trusted mechanic reveals for vehicle you’d consider purchasing. If you can check the box on all three you’ve increased your odds of not inheriting someone else’s problems.

I have a 2005 and am most familiar with its common failures. They are the radiator, front and passenger motor mounts, and compliance bushings on the lower control arms.

For 06-08 I believe VCM and the muzzler come into play so do your research on that.

Good luck finding a replacement for your 2004. And welcome to the forum.
 

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For 06-08 I believe VCM and the muzzler come into play so do your research on that.
True, but for 2WD models only for those years. 4WD has no VCM.

All around good advice from the two posts above, though, so go with that.
 

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Good info guys. When did honda resolve the transmission and the radiator problems?
Things started getting better in 2006, but you still have to be vigilant. A lot of folks (myself included) got their radiators swapped out as a preventative measure.

 

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Any known issues on the ‘04? I’m having the shimmy issue @ 70-75. Maybe bad compliance bushings?
Believe mine is mfg. after the trans issues.
 

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Any known issues on the ‘04? I’m having the shimmy issue @ 70-75. Maybe bad compliance bushings?
Believe mine is mfg. after the trans issues.
If the front-end wear parts haven't already been replaced, its time. Shimmy could be compliance bushings or worn ball joints. Lower control arms include all three. Do everything else while you're in there so you don't have to get another alignment after you do the rest of it.
 

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Any known issues on the ‘04? I’m having the shimmy issue @ 70-75. Maybe bad compliance bushings?
Believe mine is mfg. after the trans issues.
Inspect tires for wear and defects, balance them again, rotate front to rear to see if the vibration follows. Are you hearing any clunks in the suspension going over curbs, bumps, and potholes and while making very sharp turns?
 

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Had new tires and rims put on. Tried 2 sets of Michelin’s with no change. Stuck with the Michelin premier LTX over the defender LTX M/S. Have not had them 9700 road balanced yet, but had it back to Discount Tire for rebalancing 3 times. Yes, I do hear some clunks when hitting bumps. Not really when making sharp turns. Seems to ride well except at hwy speed in the 68-78 range. Car only has 64k on it and was well maintained. (Have all records going back to the 1st oil change @5k). New front struts and sway links and new rear shocks last year. It did sit a lot though and probably never drove at hwy speed much. Was more of an around town car for original owner.
 

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Michelin balances quite well so likely the tires are fine.
Do you run OEM half-shafts or aftermarket? The latter might be off balance and give you grief.
Deal with clunks, they are likely due to the sway bar bushings at this age, but could be ball joints too.
Check the tie rod ends, though I do not believe they should cause any issues at your mileage.
 

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  • Pretty sure the half shafts are original. Thanks for the advice. Any idea what the rear subframe mount thing is? The hitch and rear beam for the bumper are quite rusty, due to salt I assume. Vehicle has always been garage kept. How can I inspect the rear subframe?
 

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We got lucky with our 2004 and missed the bad transmissions by a few hundred production models. Im considering another Pilot but its going to have to be older with some higher mileage as I cant afford new and dont want payments.

How are the 06 to 08? Or, what are the years to stay away from? I could possibly find a few more bucks and get into the 09's...maybe..

I remember that Elements changed from a timing belt to a chain. Did later Pilots ever switch to a chain?
I just came across your post after recently purchasing a 2006 EX-L(168k miles) from the original owner who had babied it. I had the opportunity to buy a 2007
We got lucky with our 2004 and missed the bad transmissions by a few hundred production models. Im considering another Pilot but its going to have to be older with some higher mileage as I cant afford new and dont want payments.

How are the 06 to 08? Or, what are the years to stay away from? I could possibly find a few more bucks and get into the 09's...maybe..

I remember that Elements changed from a timing belt to a chain. Did later Pilots ever switch to a chain?
I just came across your post after recently purchasing a 2006 EX-L(168 k miles) from the original owner(he had babied it). I had an opportunity to buy a 2011 LX from an original owner, but would have had to spend an additional $5k for that one(which, based on most reviews, is not of similar quality as the first generation). I’m quite pleased with the 2006, although I didn’t need the 6 CD CD changer or the moon roof). I previously owned a 2003 LX which I sold at 220k miles(only because it was looking a little long in the tooth but still running like a top!). Here’s what I have to say about the 2006 EX-L:
It seems to have more pickup and better gas mileage than my old 2003(maybe because it’s front wheel drive and the engine now has VCM?).
The climate control switches and settings are more complicated than my 2003.
The leather shows more wear than the cloth upholstery in my 2003.
The headliner in the 2003 is of better quality than the 2006.
I never had a radiator issue with the 2003, but did have to replace the motor mounts and ignition switch.
The alternator on the 2006 was replaced by the original owner.
After saying all that, I do believe that first generation Pilot was possibly the the best SUV available in that size range from that era, and possibly Honda’s best Pilot period(the new one’s been gussied up with too much crap, in my opinion).
So, definitely buy a first generation Pilot and don’t worry so much about the mileage if you can buy one from an original owner who’s maintained it religiously. Also, if you’re trying to decide between an LX and an EX-L, buy the LX! The upgrades on the EX-L are not worth paying extra for(especially the 6 CD CD changer!).

Guiseppe
 

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My 05 has 249k now. Lives in New England. It's rusty but trusted. Rear subframe issue shown here https://www.piloteers.org/threads/rusted-subframe-mount-repair.159313/
Radiator-early 05 had it. Late ones seem to be fixed but I replaced mine preemptively after my neighbors early 05 had a failure.
Hey Rocky,
You’re my inspiration! I’m determined to get 249k miles out of this 06 EX-L I just bought. My 2003 was at 220k when I sold it, but still running great(just looked a little long in the tooth). Keep posting on your 05. I consider it a challenge.

Guiseppe
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What was the deal with 05 radiators? Did the materials engineer get it wrong? A dissimilar metals thing? Is there a particular replacement brand radiator that is preferred?

Should I change out my radiator on my 04? Thanks for all of the info guys!
 

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Honda bumped the revision used on the 2005 radiator at some point. I replaced mine with the newer OEM version which is from Denso. I think others have used Spectra.

There were issues with dissimilar metals on the connections for the tranny lines. The 2005 radiator also had a higher probability of an internal failure which caused tranny fluid and coolant to mix.

The likelihood of these failures on a 2004 is much lower compared to 2005.
 

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Great advice from the class.

My 05 had 320k when I was in a minor accident but right front fender was toast and I didn't have $ to fix it so I just traded it in.

I miss it

EX-L version, I like leather interiors and a moonroof but I never used the 6 CD changer.

Mine had the original trans, so I changed the fluid every 30k and never had a problem.

Good luck

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

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Great advice from the class.

My 05 had 320k when I was in a minor accident but right front fender was toast and I didn't have $ to fix it so I just traded it in.

I miss it

EX-L version, I like leather interiors and a moonroof but I never used the 6 CD changer.

Mine had the original trans, so I changed the fluid every 30k and never had a problem.

Good luck

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
Did you replace the radiator too?
 
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