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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A week ago I tried starting the (we actually have two!) 03 Pilot. There were funny clicking sounds, the needles on the gauges fluttered up and down and it wouldn't start. I thought "battery" and put it on a charger. It started. But, it was funny, the battery was at nearly full charge when I put it on the charger. I thought that was odd, but just shrugged it off.

The next few days it would start...but seemed to hesitate a bit. One day the car started, but driving home I saw the green key light flashing....while we were driving along.

Now the car will always start, but often not on the first try, and I consistently get the clicking sounds and wildly fluctuating tach and speed needles. So:

Battery is good.
I pulled the ACGS fuse just to see what a total Immobilizer failure is like and that's the not the symptoms I have.
The issue is the same with two Honda OEM keys that came with the car.
Before this, by a month or so, the car was giving the "general cylinder misfire", but I reset it and it never came back.

Thoughts I've had:

Reset the Immobilizer?
Reset the ECU?

Other thoughts, ideas, test procedures appreciated. I'm getting a bad feeling this could be expensive...
 

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Are your 2 grounding straps from the frame to the engine and frame to the transmission intact?
 

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Can you give me an idea where those are located?
I believe on the engine side where your starter is is one. And on the opposite side from the transmission to the frame.
Old grounding straps often corrode and break into.
136660
 
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As suggested above, test battery and alternator, and check all cables, including grounds, for corrosion, fraying and/or loose connections.
 

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Also keep in mind that a battery can register 12+ volts and still be bad. Pull it and take it to O'Rileys or some other car parts shop and ask them to test it. You need a load test on the battery to see if holds a load. If you are a DIY'er than you might want to add a batter load tester to your arsenal of tools. A decent one can be had for $50, a really good one runs around $100.
 

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Does the green key icon flash or blink when you’re having issues starting the Pilot?
Is the behavior of that icon different when the Pilot starts normally?
Does your Pilot have an aftermarket alarm system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well. I'm a bit embarrassed. The battery measures 10.25 volts. With the car started, it is 14.3, and then with fan motor and headlights with high beams 14.2. Turning the car off and leaving the headlights on immediately takes the battery to 9 V and dropping....in seconds. So, this is sort of a "duh" episode, I hope. I guess all the things I was observing were just various electronic systems freaking out from low voltage. I've seen that before on other vehicles.
 

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The battery measures 10.25 volts. With the car started, it is 14.3, and then with fan motor and headlights with high beams 14.2. Turning the car off and leaving the headlights on immediately takes the battery to 9 V and dropping....in seconds
After getting a new battery and based on the age of the vehicle check those ground wires as mentioned to have all bases covered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After getting a new battery and based on the age of the vehicle check those ground wires as mentioned to have all bases covered.
I will! Thanks!

And....we have two 2003 Honda Pilots, both in that smoke grey color (whatever it's called). The one that needs a battery is the "new" one, only 115,000 miles. We bought that last year, since our "old" 2003 has 213,000 miles and still runs great :)
 

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And....we have two 2003 Honda Pilots, both in that smoke grey color (whatever it's called). The one that needs a battery is the "new" one, only 115,000 miles. We bought that last year, since our "old" 2003 has 213,000 miles and still runs great :)
You might want to check the VIN on your Pilots to confirm that all of the recalls have been addressed.
Recall Information for Safety & Defects | Honda Owners Site

In particular, there was a second round of airbag recalls announced in mid-2019.
If you're not the original owner, Honda may not have your contact info on record for any applicable recalls.
 

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Also keep in mind that a battery can register 12+ volts and still be bad. Pull it and take it to O'Rileys or some other car parts shop and ask them to test it. You need a load test on the battery to see if holds a load. If you are a DIY'er than you might want to add a batter load tester to your arsenal of tools. A decent one can be had for $50, a really good one runs around $100.

Agreed! Sounds like a battery issue to me.
 
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