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Looking for some input to a potentially difficult decision coming up.
Failure of the radiator/transmission cooler has lead to transmission fluid in the engine, and obviously worse, coolant in the transmission.
I didn't drive for long once the slipping became noticeable, just enough to get off the highway and try to limp a little closer to home. No bad sounds or smells at the time, just a puddle of red fluid and an inoperable transmission.

The mechanic who is doing the work (after replacing radiator/transmission cooler, now flushing engine and trans) who I believe is really good has said that in his experience, even a little coolant can be absorbed by the transmission clutches and they won't engage properly. I don't have the final verdict, but wanted some input from the community.

What are the chances of recovering the transmission?
Will any damage be obvious or nastily hidden and come back to bite later?
Any actions that might be worth taking at this point in addition to the flushing and refilling?

Thanks in advance for any input!
Simon.
2008 EX-L 4WD
 

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What's the milage, year, model, Awd or 2wd? What's the condition of the rest of the vehicle?
Coolant in the transmission usually equals transmission failure. I'd likely try multiple drain and fills with full synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF at least 4. The problem is that it is very difficult to completely remove all of the contaminants from a Honda transmission.
 

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I haven't had any transmissions fail due to this yet. Drain and fill procedure 5 or 6 times, then every 100ish miles until the fluid quits shows signs of coolant. In the engine, dawn dish soap flush, flush, flush, takes forever to get all the trans fluid out. Once you get all the trans fluid out, change the thermostat.
 

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There is hope as other members on this forum who went through a similar event were able to get their Pilots back on the road. As mentioned above, lots of frequent transmission fluid changes over the next few hundred miles increase the probability of success. Time will tell. Hopefully you are able to get your Pilot back up and running.
 

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I haven't had any transmissions fail due to this yet. Drain and fill procedure 5 or 6 times, then every 100ish miles until the fluid quits shows signs of coolant
Glad to hear SMOD is not always terminal and you’ve had good recoveries from SMOD. If SMOD is caught in time there may be minimal damage but your SMOD customers are likely to come for service in different stages of SMOD like when the transmission is unresponsive or left in SMOD state for too long. For some I’d expect shortened transmission life.
 

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Hopefully @Slvr7 experiences at the service dept proves true for the OP. Seems most of the examples here on the forum have not ended well, with the same good outcome. Maybe didn't do enough drain and fills.
 
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Hopefully @Slvr7 experiences at the service dept proves true for the OP. Seems most of the examples here on the forum have not ended well, with the same good outcome. Maybe didn't do enough drain and fills.
When the clutch plates are contaminated or rust starts forming etc bad things will happen in a transmission; maybe not now but not for long. We don't hear too many good outcomes from members with SMOD experiences. I'm spooked enough to proactively address rusty metal lines and questionable radiators.
 

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I trust someone who works in the Honda service department way more than the few people who post on an internet forum. I'm sure you just have to be diligent and use a ton of fluid. I'm sure in the end it is much cheaper than a new transmission.
 

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2nd Gen has the ATF flowing through it. 3rd gen does not.
Denso updated the radiator after a relatively high number of 2005 failures. Hopefully lessons learned from that were carried over to the 2nd gen radiators. Good to know they separated engine and tranny cooling for the 3rd gens.
 

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I trust someone who works in the Honda service department way more than the few people who post on an internet forum. I'm sure you just have to be diligent and use a ton of fluid. I'm sure in the end it is much cheaper than a new transmission.
Yeah, I’d gladly cough up the money for a few cases of tranny fluid before going the tranny replacement route. You’d only be out a few hundred extra dollars if you did the drain and fills yourself.
 
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Denso updated the radiator after a relatively high number of 2005 failures. Hopefully lessons learned from that were carried over to the 2nd gen radiators. Good to know they separated engine and tranny cooling for the 3rd gens.
Obviously a defect in those Denso radiators in 05, but still, it be a good idea to replace the radiator at least once in the vehicles life. Especially if rust and corrosion become an issue.
 

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Also now is not the time to switch fluids. Clean out the transmission and fill it with the same type of fluid you were using. You never know if the different properties of the fluid could cause it to fail after the fact.
 

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I trust someone who works in the Honda service department way more than the few people who post on an internet forum. I'm sure you just have to be diligent and use a ton of fluid. I'm sure in the end it is much cheaper than a new transmission.
🤦‍♂️
I can do 10 drain and fills at home with full synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF purchased at Wal-Mart for $179.70 + tax. How much would 5 cost me at the dealership? Obviously, the problem with some who had this issue didn't D&F enough before throwing in the towel.
I think this forum has proven it's trustworthiness.
 
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I haven't had any transmissions fail due to this yet. Drain and fill procedure 5 or 6 times, then every 100ish miles until the fluid quits shows signs of coolant. In the engine, dawn dish soap flush, flush, flush, takes forever to get all the trans fluid out. Once you get all the trans fluid out, change the thermostat.
After the initial 5-6x drain/refill for the ATF, are you also doing multiple drains/refills at the 100 mile intervals, or just one?
How are you determining when all of the ATF has been flushed out of the engine?
 

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Also now is not the time to switch fluids. Clean out the transmission and fill it with the same type of fluid you were using. You never know if the different properties of the fluid could cause it to fail after the fact.
How do you know the OP isn't already using another ATF other than Genuine Honda? Regardless, Full Synthetic VML is very good a cleaning.
 

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I can do 10 drain and fills at home with full synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF purchased at Wal-Mart for $179.70 + tax. How much would 5 cost me at the dealership?
That DIY can be less expensive than dealer service isn't news - but you keep beating that drum.
It doesn't much matter if you can't or won't do the work yourself.
Some homeowner's associations prohibit work on vehicles, for example.
 

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After the initial 5-6x drain/refill for the ATF, are you also doing multiple drains/refills at the 100 mile intervals, or just one?
How are you determining when all of the ATF has been flushed out of the engine?
I generally do just 1 d&f unless the fluid looks to contain a high amount coolant. I have also noticed that it may look ok on the stick, but contained more coolant them it appeared on the stick upon draining.
I use a spill free funnel, dawn dish soap,and plenty of time. As the veh runs the trans fluid will be broken up by the soap and float to the top in the funnel. I keep dumping the funnel out as it fills up with trans fluid. Once I think it's all out, I drain the system, resoap to confirm. Then remove the upper rad hose, put a water hose in the funnel and let the veh run until all the discharge is clear. Drain system, replacet t stat, and refill with coolant. Then I keep an eye on the overflow bottle, as your still going to get a little trans fluid in there, clean as needed.
 

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How do you know the OP isn't already using another ATF other than Genuine Honda? Regardless, Full Synthetic VML is very good a cleaning.
If OP was using VML, then fine. But if my transmission was potentially cooked, I wouldn't be super worried about saving money because everything is cheaper than a new transmission. You're not an engineer so you're really only going off of your experience and the experiences of others.

For the 1000th time, DW-1 is not bad for transmissions. Dirty, contaminated fluid is bad for transmissions.
 
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