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Discussion Starter #1
Our middle seat latch broke and now the seat will not fold down. Does anyone know where one can purchase this part and/or how to take the seat apart to do the job.

I would prefer not to have to pay the dealer to fix this problem since they will charge a lot!!!
 

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You don't need to purchase a new part. What has happened is that the wire that connects to the top latch that you pull on has cut through the plastic tab on that part of the latch that it connects to. Honda in their wisdom, or perhaps because they knew it would fail at some point, built two installation points into the latch so what you need to do is switch the wire from the broken part of the tab to the good part of the tab. The explanation is the easy part. Unfortunately when I fixed mine I didn't take any pictures as I was pressed for time. If no-one else has pictures available I can post the process as far as I can remember. My wife has our Pilot out of town so i can't post any pictures to point you to the areas of the seat that need to be disassembled.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. My husband has messed with the seat a bit, but hasn't figured out how to take the thing apart! If you could give us an idea of where to start taking it apart, I'm sure we can get the thing fixed without paying $150!!!
 

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OK here goes
1) pull the back panel off the seat. There are plastic plugs ( @ where indicated in green ) attached to the back of the seat. Start at the bottom. These plugs press into holes in the metal frame of the back of the seat. When you GENTLY pull the back of the seat off the plugs will come out of the back of the seat and stay in the holes on the frame of the seat. Once you have the seat panel off you will have to pull the plugs out of the frame using pliers as you will need to put them back into their slots on the back panel. Don't panic when you see that the slots in the back of the panel have pulled apart a bit when you took the panel off. Just press the panel material back down and slide the plugs back in. They'll hold well enough when you put the panel back on at the end of the job;
2) Now you have to pull the leather/cloth back from the sides of the seat. It is attached by loop hooks passed through plastic tubing located ( @ where indicated in yellow ) You'll see what I mean when the panel is off;
3) next step is to take out the screws (@ located in red ) They are all phillips head with the exception of the one located at the bottom of the seat, it's a torx head screw. You have to pull back the plastic cover on the arm between the back of the seat and the seat cushion to get at the torx screw. The seat shouldn't move when you take out the torx screw;
4) once you have removed the screws you have to remove the plastic moulding ( @ located in blue );
5) once you have done that you will have exposed the cable mechanism that operates the latch ( @ located in orange line ), you'll be looking right at it;
6) at the bottom of the cable where it slots into the bottom latch you will see that you can disengage the cable from the attachment. I can't remember how I did it but I think it rotated at the attachment point to create enough slack to take it out ;
7) you can now remove the latch mechanism from the top of the seat ( @ at orange circle ) There is a small tab that you have to remove on the latch under which you will find the screw to remove the latch;
8) when you pull out the latch mechanism slowly take care to also pull out the cable. You'll see the part of the latch that is broken ( and also be amazed that Honda would have put such a flimsy piece of plastic in a part of the vehicle that was going to be pulled on a fairly regular basis) and you see where you have to switch the top of the cable from the broken attachment point to the good attachment point ( if it breaks again you will have to get a new latch )
9) once you've attached the cable to the new slot put the latch back into the seat but don't put the screw back in yet;
10) now reattach the bottom of the cable and then screw down the top latch mechanism at the top of the seat
11) gently test the cable to see that it now works and allows the seat to be folded up and down;
12) assuming everything works fine reassemble the seat.

I hope this helps. Take your time and you should be able to do it. Just post or message me if you require further clarification. I'm not sure whose Pilot this picture is from but I found it in the forums.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you SO much! We didn't have time to work on it last night - hopefully it will get done this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Scoobs, thank you so much for your helpful reply; it definitely got me started down the right path. I'm making progress, but don't have it solved yet.

First, the broken latch on my pilot is on the larger driver-side double bench (not the single seat). It has two cables attached to it (photo). Is that similar to the one on the single seat, or does the single seat have only one cable attached? Does that mean I won't have an "extra" spot to reconnect to?

Second, I have the latch out & visible (photo), but I don't see anything obviously broken. The problem must be on the inside of the latch and I haven't figured out how to open it up. Did you have to "open" the latch up on your repair? How?

Ideas: 1) there is a metal hinge pin - perhaps that can be simply pushed out the side? 2) there is a spring visible on the back that could be "released", but then it would disappear to the inside of the latch (& might be hard to "retrieve"!).

Any further ideas? (I'm assuming that type of plastic interior part is a Dealership-only type of thing, so I won't be able to get a part (if needed) until next week...I guess my seat will stay disassembled a few days!!)
 

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Hi DAB,

Mine was on the other side so I only had one cable going in. I suspect that you may need to order a new part because both of the spots in the latch are being used.

Yes I did have to take off that rounded part on the back of the latch. Sorry I forgot to put that in my instructions. I think I just pulled the latch as open as I could after the bottom of the cable had been disconnected and then I pinched that rounded part and it came off the latch. I was then able to get at the spot inside where the cables actually attach to the latch. Looking at your picture you would think that the cables are properly attached and working but if you open up the latch I think you find that one of them has pulled through the piece of plastic that it was attached to.

You have to take off this piece of the latch marked in yellow ( there's no significance to the squiggle on the left side, just my shaky hand ). The latch looks like it's all one piece but if you pinch it from the sides I think you can release the pressure on it and you can get it apart. I didn't mess with the metal hinge pin or the spring, I just took the back off the latch and was able to get at the attachment point of the cables.
 

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Help removing the wire from bottom.

Hi Scoobs/ Dab... any addition help on removing the wire from the bottom part of the seat. I have done all of the steps but I cannot figure out how to remove the wire from the bottom part of the seat so that I am able to remove the latch on the top part. I have done so good as to NOT break anything, I thought I would stop and ask before I keep going. Any input / help is greatly appreciated.

Pics: three wires that are connected to the different latches. I am working higher up one on the picture (top to bottom).
 

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I just did mine yesterday. The left middle behind the driver. Not really too bad. That a mechanic couldn't figure it out in 3 hours I would call incompetence. I was really upset when i got the actual latch opened (its 2 pieces) and saw how cheaply it had been made. I think mine had been broke anlready and switched to the second hole before I opened it. Putting it back in the car after I clean my rugs and mats. Great instructions Scoob.
 

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I decided to attempt this fix after years of living with the non-operating seat fold-flat lever. Thanks Scoobs for the detailed write-up and motivating me to perform the repair. My comments follows.

On my 2003 Pilot, the lever has an "A-Side" and a "B-Side". The A-Side tore-out as seen in the photo. Thankfully, as Scoobs noted, Honda provides a B-Side to move the cable over too. With applications have cables in both the A-Side and B-Side once the lever is broken a new lever is needed.

The lever is made up of three plastic parts, a spring, and an axle. I needed to take it fully apart to route the cable and barrel to the B-Side hole. This was difficult and I think with better dexterity someone can avoid this once these photos are studied.

One problem I could not solve was reinstalling the carpet backing onto the seat. All the slots point in opposite directions and I tore-out the fiberboard in a few places. Ultimately I stuffed a hook deep into the seat to hold the carpet onto the seat. Inelegant, but effective. I think the process to reinstall the carpet backing should be, rubber plug fasteners need to be pulled-off the seat, installed onto the carpet backing then the backing is pressed onto the seat.

I hope this helps.
 

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Oldie but Goodie

Wow this is an oldie but goodie. Having sold my Pilot in 2008 I had forgotten about this. Glad my instructions from 2007 were helpful. It still blows my mind how cheap those latch parts were considering the job they were being asked to do.
 

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Me too (broken seat lever)

Hi All

I have not yet researched stronger seat latch part crossover options (from Honda) but here is my experience with disassembling my 03 Pilot middle seat.

I used the Guide above. (Thanks).
I found the Broken latch part.
I took Pictures.

There is more to this than stated above so here are my thought/suggestions and pictures at this time.

1. the actual plastic latch part and "round back" are 2 connected parts. They separate. you can take them apart and see the Weak (under engineered) broken part without taking more of your seat apart.

all you have to do is open the latch, squeeze and pull up.

See below in the attachments as 1-2-3

2. Honda did not in any Wisdom create a backup hole to move your cable from hole A to Hole B. It is simply the same lever used on the right and the left seats. The left uses both holes and the right uses only one of the two. If you break the lever on the Right side seat you have the option to use an unused hole. On the Left side seat - no dice.

EDIT
Just did a quick google search on parts. Oh Honda... (81729-S9V-305ZB) Is way too expensive and weak and I am not impressed!

EDIT
I am going to fix this thing with a "cripple" or "backer plate" and report back.
 

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Reserved

For future reply on continued fix

Edit:

I spent way too much time with this home project yesterday at work and got my crappy engineered 03' pilot middle seat fixed.

I estimate there are very few 03' pilots out there without broken fold down seat levers now since 1 they ALL will break. and 2 even if they are repaired they WILL break again and again.

Here is what I did. add metal tab on the inside of the lever body plastic tabs.

I should have taken a couple more pictures as I was finishing but wow was I tired of looking at that thing by 11pm when I was done.

If there are any owners out there unlucky enough to want to fix this thing the way I did PM me and I could pop it open and snap a couple pics for ya.

In the pictures here I still needed to put the metal tabs on the mill and cut open the notch between the two holes to make the keyhole. so the cable could be inserted in the large portion of the keyhole and slide over into the small hole side.

see pictures for 1000+ words.
 

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nice job, but could there be a simpler fix

The left seat latch just broke on my 2003 Pilot. I was having trouble releasing the seat but it would work if I used both the side and top latches. But yesterday I heard a loud crack and now the seat won't go to the lowered position although it does lean forward and move on its track. Of course I looked on this site and found the cause of the problem as well as the fix. I wish Honda had spent the extra 50 cents to make a better part.

I especially like what 4WDrift did, and I am going to try something similar. It seems like all that is really needed is a backer plate similar to yours, but it doesn't need to be as well made. Since I don't have a mill, this is what I plan to do.

1) find a piece of sheet metal about 1/8 inch thick. Drill a couple of mounting holes and cut a slot for the cable. The piece can be any shape as long as it is within the footprint of the original bracket and has room for the mounting bolts. The mounting bolts should be located appropriately.

2) the slot should be the same width as the small hole and angled in a direction that will allow assembly by sliding it over the cable. The closed end of the slot should be in the direction of the broken piece of plastic. It might be tricky to assemble, because the clearances are small.

A couple of questions...

Any way to do this from "up top" without having to dissasemble the whole seat?

Is the cover plate (that is removed to access the broken part) needed? Can the latch be
safely used without it?
 

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great work there, any chance you have an extra plate for another 03 pilot?
For future reply on continued fix

Edit:

I spent way too much time with this home project yesterday at work and got my crappy engineered 03' pilot middle seat fixed.

I estimate there are very few 03' pilots out there without broken fold down seat levers now since 1 they ALL will break. and 2 even if they are repaired they WILL break again and again.

Here is what I did. add metal tab on the inside of the lever body plastic tabs.

I should have taken a couple more pictures as I was finishing but wow was I tired of looking at that thing by 11pm when I was done.

If there are any owners out there unlucky enough to want to fix this thing the way I did PM me and I could pop it open and snap a couple pics for ya.

In the pictures here I still needed to put the metal tabs on the mill and cut open the notch between the two holes to make the keyhole. so the cable could be inserted in the large portion of the keyhole and slide over into the small hole side.

see pictures for 1000+ words.
 

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recent 2008 Pilot Owner

Thought it might be useful to tell my seat-back story.
Couldn't figure out how to lower the second row seat-backs on the sales lot and figured there would be some trick explained in the manual.
Not so.
I Read all these helpful notes and decided to take apart passenger side (less complicated).
The procedure went pretty much as described (thank you all) but when I finally exposed the suspect plastic part I discovered mine was NOT BROKEN!
Happy about that, but mystified I put the seat back together only to find that it now went all the way down!
So I decided to play around with the driver's side seat-back (double seat) and eventually discovered that the seat had to be slammed back to the rear-most position on its rails in order for the seat back to go all the way down.
The owners manual does not mention this and I wonder how many frustrated Pilot owners actually broke their seat back latch tugging on it to make the seat-back go down.
With the seat all the way back the effort on the latch is very light.
Anyway, happy ending for me (so far: I guess the part is a bit flimsy) and hope this may be useful to someone out there.
 

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Just wanted to note a couple of things, after running into this problem myself. (Actually second time on my '03, but the first time, the problem was fixed under extended warranty, so I wasn't aware of the details.)

The driver-side part in question currently lists for $247! Turns out that this is for the plastic lever along with both cables. As my cables seemed to be fine, I was quite frustrated to be forced to buy new cables. Couldn't find a used part at a junkyard either. So I purchased the part from a Honda dealer online, at about $90 off list.

Turns out the part is actually a replacement design for the original part -- the lever is still plastic, but the critical portions of the lever are now twice the thickness. As a result, the tabs on the cable ends are also modified -- the old cables would not fit into the new part.

I'd hope and expect the new part should be more durable than the prior part...but I'd note that Honda has obviously acknowledged the problem by redesigning the part. That suggests to me that there might actually be a hidden warranty for this issue. If I were to encounter it again, I'd probably try pressing my dealer to see if Honda will provide full or partial coverage, even out of warranty. Would suggest that any readers experiencing the problem try this before proceeding to fix it themselves -- and report back whether they had an success getting Honda to cover it.
 

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An Easier Fix

It turns out you don't have to take the seat apart if you do this:

Under the lever is a plastic cover you can pop off. You will see the cables and the broken parts of the lever. If it's on the right side seat, just move the cable to the unbroken side.

If it's on the left side seat, there are two cables and thus no spare. You can build a bracket to attach to the lever. Buy some 1/16 x 1 inch aluminum bar. Cut and fold it into a "U" shape which will fit in the space in the lever. See photo 1206. Remove enough aluminum to allow latch to close.

Next, mark where the holes should be to attach the cable. See photo 1201 attached. Drill the two holes on each side. The larger hole is 7/32. The small hole is 1/8 inch. Cut a slot between the holes as in image 1207. Make sure the slot is 1/8 wide.

The next step is to attach the bracket in position. First remove the plastic from around the new hole slots. Since it is difficult to drill holes to attach the bracket with screws, I elected to glue it in place, using an epoxy glue designated for use on all plastics.

The next day, after the glue cures, attach the cables. Note that the cables will not extend unless the seat is back in normal driving position. See finished repair in image 1208.
 

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Thanks to everyone who posted to this thread. After living with a broken seat latch for years, I will now be able to fix it.
 
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