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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
Pathfinders the name, finding a clean 1st gen Pilot is the game. A little about myself. I was a automotive technician/fabricator/racecar builder for 14 years, I worked for various shops and the now defunct Scion racing (RIP Scion). I specialized in Japanese tuner cars mostly for Toyota/Scion/Lexus, Honda, and, Mazda spinning dorito powered vehicles. I moved on to a different career but, I do ALL my own automotive work in my equipped home shop.

In the last 3 or 4 years we got heavy into hiking and want to travel. So we started searching for vehicle to fit that need. We started looking at 1st gen 4x4 Sequoia's but, quickly realized the 100 youtube videos stating it was a great unknown overland vehicle for a low price. Well, it seems those videos let the cat outta the bag and the prices skyrocketed for any 4x4 Sequoia near me. I decided to look at the other SUV's in this segment. Also because the Sequoia gas mileage is pretty terrible and it doesnt look like fuels getting any cheaper. So I started looking at pilots. I don't plan to offroad but, I do want 4wd for mountain roads for trail head access. I also need a vehicle with enough space to camp inside. We sometimes camp at the trailheads the night before to beat the crowds. The space the pilot provides is ideal in that aspect.

Today, we are going to look at a clean 2005 112k mileage ex l. It appears to be in great shape. I'm going to be using the 1st gen buyers guide provided on this forum. I wanted to thank the community here for that list. Im not familiar with this particular vehicle and the information gathered has brought me up to speed. We are heading out this afternoon to view it and If we bring it home ill make a post about it. Thanks again for all the great info. If theres anything else you think I should know feel free to leave a reply.
 

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Good luck with the search. A Pilot is a great softroader type of vehicle that is very capable in its competitive class. It does not have 4Lo and while the 4WD system is beefier than a Highlanders it is not as substantial as a true 4WD based vehicle. If softroading and some light challenges sprinkled in are what you are looking to do, a Pilot will serve you great. If you want to do some more challenging terrain and more difficult situations, you might be better served by something like an R51 Pathfinder (ladder frame and true 4WD) or something along those lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good luck with the search. A Pilot is a great softroader type of vehicle that is very capable in its competitive class. It does not have 4Lo and while the 4WD system is beefier than a Highlanders it is not as substantial as a true 4WD based vehicle. If softroading and some light challenges sprinkled in are what you are looking to do, a Pilot will serve you great. If you want to do some more challenging terrain and more difficult situations, you might be better served by something like an R51 Pathfinder (ladder frame and true 4WD) or something along those lines.
Yeah, not looking to offroad hardcore at all. I just need a capable vehicle for not so good roads and occasional snow. I found a guy who overlands his 07 and he's put that pilot through situations I didnt think it would come out of. Even thats waaaaaay more then I'm planning to do. We will be using for long road trips mostly and accessing hiking trails/camping. I really did want a ladder framed vehicle but, the prices are insane right now and it leaves zero budget for repairs/mods. Plus the fuel mileage is huge factor atm. I already have a Lexus RX350 (fancy highlander) it has 2 huge humps over the rear wheels which makes it terrible for car camping. It squeezes the width down by alot and they are too tall to build a decent sleeping platform. So she will remain a daily driver.
 

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I also need a vehicle with enough space to camp inside. We sometimes camp at the trailheads the night before to beat the crowds. The space the pilot provides is ideal in that aspect.
It does lend itself fine to that use, among others. :)

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Welcome home big Ronda! Today's purchase went very well (2005 Honda pilot EX 116,xxx mileage). Shes pretty good exterior wise. A few dings and small dents. The paint is in incredible shape for its age. No clear coat haze or flaking. She got brand new Michelin tires, fresh oil, and, trans fluid. The engine bay is very clean as well. The one con to this purchase was the former owner was unsure if the timing belt has been serviced, so that will take priority over everything else. I haven't decided if I want to do it myself or not. Either way it's getting done. Ill also be ordering a new denso radiator since we plan to hit Californian's hwy 395 through the Sierrra Nevada which is mostly hot desert. Today was over 100 degrees in Cali and she stayed nice and cool. Ac blows ice cold as well. Over all a great purchase for our wants and needs. Down the road I plan to add a roof top storage case, Arb awning with awning room, Solar panel and a lithium battery, a sleeping platform that can fold up, and sone other goodies I cant think of right now. She drives damn good and the live data looked great.

I do have another issue the VTM lock does absolutely nothing when I press it. Ill take look at the fuses when I get a chance. Anyone have any input on that issue? Thanks ahead of time.
(Nevermind I searched the forum and found I needed to drop her into 1st to get it to lock. Functions flawlessly)
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I had a 100 series Lexus LX which is similar to a Land Cruiser. The people sold it to get a Pilot in drag, an Acura MDX. After 2 years, I heard from them requesting to buy the 100 back. The MDX got T-boned and totaled. I wasn't using the LX all that much, so I agreed. Then we noticed it was awful nice having a spare large capacity vehicle on hand. I looked at getting another LX, but the priced had soared.

I had a Pilot in the past, so I started looking at the ads, and found them to be available at a reasonable cost. I bought a 2006 also in the Steel Blue your 2005 is. I love the Pilot. It has every thing I want, and if it holds up, I will drive it for years. It won't see off road use, most likely, but it has already hauled as many as 5 kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a 100 series Lexus LX which is similar to a Land Cruiser. The people sold it to get a Pilot in drag, an Acura MDX. After 2 years, I heard from them requesting to buy the 100 back. The MDX got T-boned and totaled. I wasn't using the LX all that much, so I agreed. Then we noticed it was awful nice having a spare large capacity vehicle on hand. I looked at getting another LX, but the priced had soared.

I had a Pilot in the past, so I started looking at the ads, and found them to be available at a reasonable cost. I bought a 2006 also in the Steel Blue your 2005 is. I love the Pilot. It has every thing I want, and if it holds up, I will drive it for years. It won't see off road use, most likely, but it has already hauled as many as 5 kids.
Yeah I was priced out on land cruisers, LX's and GX's. Plus the low mileage clean ones go really fast here in California. Even a GX with over 200k is still 12k plus out here. I'm a "no kill like overkill" kinds guy and wanted more then I really needed. Maybe I just know too much lol. I noticed low mileage pilots where priced good and hold up well. My neighbor has a 2005 odyssey that just wont quit with a similar powerplant and drivetrain. I almost went with a 07 RDX but, it was more of a crossover "tuner" wagon and low on space. I feel like we made a good choice. Im gonna battle the timing belt myself. Picking up a milwaukee 2767 and lisle socket that should make short work of the crank pulley bolt. Bad boys got 1400ft lbs of torque. Ill keep this post updated on how it all works out.
 

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Ill also be ordering a new denso radiator since we plan to hit Californian's hwy 395 through the Sierrra Nevada which is mostly hot desert.
Smart move.

149730


I do have another issue the VTM lock does absolutely nothing when I press it. Ill take look at the fuses when I get a chance. Anyone have any input on that issue? Thanks ahead of time.
(Nevermind I searched the forum and found I needed to drop her into 1st to get it to lock. Functions flawlessly)

First time I pushed the VTM-4 button and got nothing, the seller was still in the Pilot with me and I was about to unleash on him for trying to rip me off, lol. Then wisdom came in the form of 1st, 2nd and reverse gears. Plus, it's actually activating under your radar all the time. It's a great system.

149732
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Smart move.

View attachment 149730




First time I pushed the VTM-4 button and got nothing, the seller was still in the Pilot with me and I was about to unleash on him for trying to rip me off, lol. Then wisdom came in the form of 1st, 2nd and reverse gears. Plus, it's actually activating under your radar all the time. It's a great system.

View attachment 149732
I did notice it takes off better then my lexus thats a bit lighter and has 40 more HP's. Its fwd though and generally blows the tires away if you smash the go pedal. I love that 2GR V6. The pilot is much more composed under acceleration and I felt that rear shove. Pretty cool only other awd vehicle ive owned was an BMW X5. That system is always on and very suttle by comparison.
 

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The J35 may not be the powerhouse other engines are but it as an eager and willing partner. One of the few engines that feel like it enjoys running through the RPMs. I have the J35, the LLT (GM 3.6 in the Traverse) and the Lambda 3.3 (Sonata) in the stable right now. The J35 is the most willing partner even if the Traverse is definitely the most powerful and torquey. The Lambda is a pretty nice unit as well, real strong midrange.
 

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Thanks for your insightful post , and the pics. Please keep us up to date with any mods you do to it. I am also a recent 1st gen Pilot owner now.

I picked up a Gray 2003 Pilot with only 120K mi on it back in December at the auto auction. It was leaking power steering fluid so I bought a replacement hose and power steering reservoir tank both HONDA OEM for under $35 on eBay, but I ended up needing a new power steering pump also. ($250)
I also swapped out the spark plugs with some NGK VPOWER plugs and noticed an improvement instantly in pickup.
Brakes would shake when applied and rotors were really worn and pads so replaced all 4 rotors and brake pads for $120 on ebay and installed them with a friend.
Replaced the old battery with a refurbished one for $45 about 3 months ago and the negative terminal connector ( old one was loose) . works awesome still.

I had that ignition problem where I had to jiggle the key to get it started and got stuck for almost a half hour once ; the next day I went to a local good locksmith and he found out that the key I got with the car wasn't even the original Key ( didn't match the VIN, wouldn't open the door ) I paid $140 but he programmed a new laser key ( with chip inside) and took apart the lock and removed some of the pins from the ignition lock but now I can unlock the doors /rear hatch with the key. ( picture attached )

The back tires were really worn out on the inside and the front ones (diff pairs) were losing tread fast. I bought 2 almost new pairs (90% tread) before Memorial day weekend for $100 each mounted and balanced. (Nitto off road tread on the front set and Goodyear all season in the back) . That's when I noticed a lot of play in the steering and had my mechanic check it out.
Turns out it needed a new RACK & PINION ($165) and LOWER CONTROL ARMS set 8 pcs ( $110 on eBay) I had to pay $400 for labor and $100 for a wheel alignment but its cherry now.
The Pilot has 127K miles now and runs great for a 17 YEAR OLD SUV.

But it still has several issues like:

1. Driver side front door doesn't open from outside easily, you have to pull the lock up first on the inside at the same time to open the door, others work fine.
2. Fog lights don't turn on, the button inside lights up green but no power going to the socket. I heard it has a hidden fuse somewhere behind the battery but I couldn't find it.
3. Transmission slips when in Drive and I have to shift to 2 and the back to D if I am at a stop light, almost feels like it drops out of gear into N. drives fine on freeway.
4.Rear hatch dome light doesn't work even after replacing bulb.
5. 3rd row seat belts looked like they were chewed up by rats or need to replace center and back passenger ones.
6. A/C runs good and cold but the blower fan behind the glove compartment sounds like it is hitting something and makes an awful loud noise when set to HIGH.

I am planning on fixing up a few more things on the list and also a radiator flush and then probably selling in in the next month or 2 once I register it and get current CA sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for your insightful post , and the pics. Please keep us up to date with any mods you do to it. I am also a recent 1st gen Pilot owner now.

I picked up a Gray 2003 Pilot with only 120K mi on it back in December at the auto auction. It was leaking power steering fluid so I bought a replacement hose and power steering reservoir tank both HONDA OEM for under $35 on eBay, but I ended up needing a new power steering pump also. ($250)
I also swapped out the spark plugs with some NGK VPOWER plugs and noticed an improvement instantly in pickup.
Brakes would shake when applied and rotors were really worn and pads so replaced all 4 rotors and brake pads for $120 on ebay and installed them with a friend.
Replaced the old battery with a refurbished one for $45 about 3 months ago and the negative terminal connector ( old one was loose) . works awesome still.

I had that ignition problem where I had to jiggle the key to get it started and got stuck for almost a half hour once ; the next day I went to a local good locksmith and he found out that the key I got with the car wasn't even the original Key ( didn't match the VIN, wouldn't open the door ) I paid $140 but he programmed a new laser key ( with chip inside) and took apart the lock and removed some of the pins from the ignition lock but now I can unlock the doors /rear hatch with the key. ( picture attached )

The back tires were really worn out on the inside and the front ones (diff pairs) were losing tread fast. I bought 2 almost new pairs (90% tread) before Memorial day weekend for $100 each mounted and balanced. (Nitto off road tread on the front set and Goodyear all season in the back) . That's when I noticed a lot of play in the steering and had my mechanic check it out.
Turns out it needed a new RACK & PINION ($165) and LOWER CONTROL ARMS set 8 pcs ( $110 on eBay) I had to pay $400 for labor and $100 for a wheel alignment but its cherry now.
The Pilot has 127K miles now and runs great for a 17 YEAR OLD SUV.

But it still has several issues like:

1. Driver side front door doesn't open from outside easily, you have to pull the lock up first on the inside at the same time to open the door, others work fine.
2. Fog lights don't turn on, the button inside lights up green but no power going to the socket. I heard it has a hidden fuse somewhere behind the battery but I couldn't find it.
3. Transmission slips when in Drive and I have to shift to 2 and the back to D if I am at a stop light, almost feels like it drops out of gear into N. drives fine on freeway.
4.Rear hatch dome light doesn't work even after replacing bulb.
5. 3rd row seat belts looked like they were chewed up by rats or need to replace center and back passenger ones.
6. A/C runs good and cold but the blower fan behind the glove compartment sounds like it is hitting something and makes an awful loud noise when set to HIGH.

I am planning on fixing up a few more things on the list and also a radiator flush and then probably selling in in the next month or 2 once I register it and get current CA sticker.
There where a few hot messes like that one that I looked at and they where asking the around the same I paid for Ronda. I held out until the right one finally popped up, actually 2 popped up one with 96k and the timing belt already done. But, it was rough in other areas and was bought up before I could go look at it. I hooked up my autel scanner to this one before I made a decision to purchase it. I dont wanna deal with Transmission issues and im meticulous with the services (on my Lexus I change the trans fluid once a year regardless of mileage covered that year). I plan to be the same way with this one. I got super lucky since they serviced pretty much everything. All the fluids are clean and new, all the hoses are new, new tires, and, Ice cold ac. Other then the unknown timing belt (changing it regardless) she in good shape. I did discover the center front ac vent flaps have fallen iff and are semi blocking the vent and the head liners fairly beat and sagging. Nothing that would stop me from buying her. I know the used car life very well since I've and will never purchase a brand new vehicle. I prefer to find "diamonds in the rough" and get my hands dirty if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So Im going to be doing the timing belt service myself since I'm more then capable and cant really get a decent price for the job atm. Plus Id rather be intimately familar with this vehicle since she will be crossing the country. My biggest fear was the dreaded crank pulley bolt of doom. But, after diggin around I found a solution. Milwaukee 2767 assault impact, a lisle 19mm thiccc boi socket, and, a bad attitude. From what I've seen it makes this job so much easier they breaking sockets and breaker bars (been there lol). So far this bad boys powerful and will make a excellent addition to my garage shop.
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I picked up a Gray 2003 Pilot with only 120K mi on it back in December at the auto auction.
Gotta ask what you paid, if I may be so bold.

I admire you perseverance and can-do attitude in giving that old Pilot some much-needed love. (y)

5. 3rd row seat belts looked like they were chewed up by rats or need to replace center and back passenger ones.
6. A/C runs good and cold but the blower fan behind the glove compartment sounds like it is hitting something and makes an awful loud noise when set to HIGH
What are the odds the two are related? You wouldn't be the first Piloteer to find some members of the order Rodentia in there.


[Don't "Click to expand" while eating.]

Got my fan out, and it's dead. I vacuumed the cavity out when I did the cabin filter, but this was left in the fan.


[Don't "View attachment" while eating.]

I guess when you find mice living on your cabin air filter, you might want to inspect it a little more often.

View attachment 147295
I know those frys didn't get sucked up there. Lol

Milwaukee 2767 assault impact, a lisle 19mm thiccc boi socket, and, a bad attitude.
A winning trio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Things to to do and future plans
1. Timing belt and water pump service
2. Radiator swap and new coolant
3. Repair drivers center AC vent flaps
4. Change drivers dome light bulb
5. Full interior and exterior wash

Future plans
Junkyard run for a full Spare wheel and maybe tire, ac vent flaps and roof rack cross bars.

Also need to do something about the headliner. Its sagging in some spots.

I have my wife commuting Ronda for a couple of days while I wait for the parts. Gives us a chance to see if anything else needs attention. I drove her nearly all day around Socal running arrands in 100+ degree Temps and shes holding up fine. Firm shifts, ice cold AC, and, quiet smooth engine just like I like em. Wife enjoys driving her as well.
 

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Gotta ask what you paid, if I may be so bold.

I admire you perseverance and can-do attitude in giving that old Pilot some much-needed love. (y)



What are the odds the two are related? You wouldn't be the first Piloteer to find some members of the order Rodentia in there.


[Don't "Click to expand" while eating.]




[Don't "View attachment" while eating.]






A winning trio.
Gotta ask what you paid, if I may be so bold.
I paid $2000 including the $200 auction house fee. It will cost me around $320 to get it registered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Cleaned up my shop today to make room for some tools and look what I found. I had a 05 Honda Crv in the past. I've kinda forgot where this came from. If memory serves me correctly I got this from a shop I worked at in the past for free. He was doing spring cleaning and wanted it gone. At least I think so. 3 bottles are full and 1 is opened missing less then a quarter if fluid.
Bottle Liquid Automotive tire Fluid Drink
Also the radiator and Haynes manual showed up from Rockauto.com.
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Future plans
Junkyard run for a full Spare wheel and maybe tire, ac vent flaps and roof rack cross bars.
The first two should be no problem, but if you manage to snag the third one, be sure to pick up a set of hen's teeth before your luck runs out. :)

At least I think so. 3 bottles are full and 1 is opened missing less then a quarter if fluid.
20210619_113508.jpg
Unopened ones are maybe OK, but for that last one I'd check for a Best Before date.

 
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