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Honda Not Honoring Warranty

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I noted a moaning sound from the rear end when turning. It became progressively worse. My wife took the vehicle into Barrhaven Honda and reported the problem. They said it was the brakes as they were 6 months past due for servicing and completed the work. She pulled away and returned to the dealer reporting there was no change. The service manager complained that she reported it was the brakes and how were they to know what the problem was. She explained that they asked for her to describe the issue, not diagnose the issue. Through conversation about the vehicle, trailer hitch etc, they learned we tow a small boat. The rear differential was drained and water located in the fluid. Two flushes were conducted and paid for by the dealer with apologies for the misdiagnoses.

The problem persisted but we went on vacation for 2 weeks. Upon return we attended the dealer who presumed that we must have submerged our vehicle in water and subsequently the repair would not be covered under the 5 year, 100,000 km drivetrain warranty. I said that I was the only one to launch the boat and at no time had any of the vehicle been immersed in water. I inquired about speaking with Honda Canada and they stated the dealer does not make warranty claims and I would have to call myself.

Honda Canada stated that they rely on the dealer to diagnose the problem and whether there was a manufacturer defect. If not, it would not be covered.

Two more flushes were conducted but was determined the rear differential would require replacement ($6,600 + 3.5 hours labour = $8,000CAD). Honda Canada advised that due to vehicle immersion the repair would not be covered. Honda put the vehicle on the hoist and showed me the vent which is 24" off the ground directly above the rear axle under the floor of the third row. I asked them to inspect the vehicle for any other signs of vehicle immersion. No other signs of immersion were discovered.

The vent box is not sealed and allows water and other contaminants to enter the tube leading to the rear differential. It exists to allow pressure from the differential to be released. Acura rear differentials have a one way valve which prevents this issue. Other Pilot owners have experienced similar issues from snow and other moisture. One technician group identified that moisture was commonly found in the differential causing the moaning and deterioration of the seals.

I decided to conduct an experiment to determine what the minimum level of immersion, in a boat launch situation, would be required to reach the vent box. The average boat launch is 14 degrees.

Picture
1) shows the vent tube and box 24" off the ground.
2&3) show the minimum water level immersion to reach the vent box. Notice how the rear floor boards are 4-6" into the water and the rear tailgate is approximately 4" into the water.

There is no way this could have happened by accident or without me knowing. The vehicle would be swamped with water.

Conclusion: Due to my installation of a Honda hitch, installed by the dealer prior to delivery of the new vehicle Honda has denied my warranty claim due to the fact I tow a boat. This false version of events is mere speculation which does not supersede Honda's obligation of the warranty.

This vehicle has been maintained at one Honda dealer at the regular maintenance intervals.

I have owned three Honda vehicles spanning a combined 20 years and and shocked by the blatant disregard for me as a loyal customer.

The matter has been escalated to mediation but I have been waiting 16 days now and have missed two vacations as I have parked the vehicle.
 

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There are also some other issues that have not been included, discussed. How far down does the rear end dip with the boat attached? Secondly the photos are on a level surface.

Boats are launched from an declining ramp. What is the angle of decline of the ramp, as it will effect the height of the water in relation to the rear of the vehicle. 7 to 8.5 degrees is the general angle for a boat launch. On a ramp shallower than 7 degrees a typical car will have its rear axle in the water by the time the boat is in far enough to be pushed free. Over 8.5 degrees and it can be quite difficult for the tow vehicle to gain traction on a wet slippery surface. AWD will help some in this instance.

The water could easily come up to the differential without ever the vehicle being as you put it swamped with water.
 

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Honda built an SUV with a tow package, and then saved about $1 per unit by not installing a one-way valve on the differential vent? If they're installing the valve on Acuras, they're acknowledging the need.

I would show up to everything with a lawyer at this point.
 

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I’m trying to piece together what we’re hearing here... It sounds like we should not tow a boat with a Gen 3 Pilot that has AWD, or risk an $8k diff replacement bill as Honda won’t warranty it? This is despite a 5k lb towing capacity and the reasonable foreseeability that a boat would be towed, launched and recovered placing the Pilot rear end in the water. The reason here is the lack of a $1/unit valve that any boat-pulling vehicle should have, example: the Pilot’s Acura sister - the MDX. Sounds like a “not fit for its intended purpose” situation.
 

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Honda Not Honoring Warranty

View attachment 139226

The vent box is not sealed and allows water and other contaminants to enter the tube leading to the rear differential. It exists to allow pressure from the differential to be released. Acura rear differentials have a one way valve which prevents this issue. Other Pilot owners have experienced similar issues from snow and other moisture
@kb.navarone ...hope you get a positive outcome from Honda for the rear diff. Probably a good mod for any Pilot owner to consider adding this simple one-way valve to prevent rear diff damage whether we tow boats or drive through mud holes or monsoons. On my Jeep I extended the front+ rear diff air tubes even with the one-way valve.
 

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This is what a friend used on his Jeep Rubicon. More than a couple of bucks but he connected his front and rear differential up to it.
 

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This doesn't surprise me - dealer claiming you had it in water and you did the damage. Once Honda gets that report, they'll stick to it.

You have quite the uphill battle if you're trying to get Honda to cover the repair/replacement under warranty 100%. Unfortunately it's the nature of the beast dealing with manufacturers and warranty, especially on expensive items (i.e. cars). In this day in age, most dealers are simply out to maximize profit. They will happily try to diffuse any poor experience or dissatisfaction that you may have had instead of just doing the job right the first time. It sucks and I hate it. So I do all of my own work with VERY few exception.

Getting back to Honda though, they (along with all of the other car manufacturers) are the 10,000lb gorilla and they do what they want. Maybe, MAYBE legal matters might get you somewhere but 99.9% of the time, they are able and willing can piss away more money in legal fees than you might be able to afford.

I'm sorry that this post doesn't really help your situation. It only offers my perspective on the reality based upon prior experience.
 

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You could try to go to another dealer. Anecdotally, many people have said that other dealers have done warranty work on their cars if their main dealer rejected them.
 

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I will have to be careful not to back in too deep at the launch when I take the boat out. I usuall try not to get the tailpipe underwater either.
 
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