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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How often are instances where a coolant leak from the radiator contaminates the transmission fluid and results in needing a new transmission?

Is this really rare, or is it worth spending $500 to replace the radiator as insurance? We just purchased a 2005 Pilot with 97,000 miles on it, so I'm wondering of it makes sense to do this when replacing the timing belt and water pump.

thanks,
Bryan
 

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Rare. But if it makes you sleep better at night, then go ahead and do it. But if you're paranoid about that sort of stuff, then you might as well change out any other parts you can think of before they fail.
 

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2016 CRV Touring AWD, 2005 Pilot RIP.
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It made me happier to replace it a year or so ago on my 05. Especially as I was going on a multi thousand mile trip over a holiday week with a car full of family. Still a good peace of mind decision.
 

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Not extremely common, but not rare either. A number of MDX owners are doing preventative radiator replacement also. It happened to us. There are 2 failure modes: external corrosion of the fittings where the coolant just dumps out and internal corrosion allowing the coolant to mix with the tranny fluid. Ours was a mixing failure that was caught immediately. If driven until the tranny just slips, a new tranny is usually required.
 

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2006 Pilot - Bad Rad...

Very disappointed when my radiator sprung a small leak in the top corner where the plastic meets the metal about 5K ago at 92K. No collisions, no nothin'...

Was leaving for vacay when I noticed the temperature gage creep higher than usual then start to wobble a bit around the halfway mark... Took the next exit and found the radiator to be half empty! Boo.

t'was a very small leak that was trickling down the edge of the rad and hardly building up anywhere...

Replaced it with an after-market part after thinking long and hard about whether to put a stop-leak product in there
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to everyone for their help. A new radiator was ordered today. Since I'm already having the timing belt and water pump done, swapping out the radiator isn't that much more.
 

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We had to replace the radiator in our 2006 Pilot at about 90k as it developed a small leak at the bottom seam. It was never enough to see any coolant leaks but you could smell there was a leak someplace.
 

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Which brand aftermarket radiator is better?
 

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Just curious what did an OEM radiator cost you? I just searched and saw aftermarket ones for $150-200 for my '06 pilot. I figure I could just take it to my friend who can help me swap it out if needed. And yes which is a better aftermarket if that's the better choice?
 

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Just curious what did an OEM radiator cost you? I just searched and saw aftermarket ones for $150-200 for my '06 pilot. I figure I could just take it to my friend who can help me swap it out if needed. And yes which is a better aftermarket if that's the better choice?
OEM is $270 @ Majestic. See the Koyo/OEM comparison link I posted.
 

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hmm, been underneath my pilot a few times this month to replace vtm4 fluid and to inspect the transmission cooler. also been to acura mdx site (see links below)Transmission fluid line broke - Page 9 - Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums
Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums - View Single Post - Radiator failure @ cooler lines ...
and was worried about my pilot 2005 transmission cooler. my question is: since the defective parts (corroded washers) can be inspected and replaced, why replace the entire radiator?
 

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I got mine on Amazon. I think I paid about $170 for it. Avoid the really cheap ones because you might get what you pay for.

I had a coolant smell and couldn't track down the leak. I had the car apart to do the timing belt anyway so decided to replace the radiator as a possible source of the leak.
I still have a mild coolant smell but it's a lot less than it was.
 

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hmm, been underneath my pilot a few times this month to replace vtm4 fluid and to inspect the transmission cooler. also been to acura mdx site (see links below)Transmission fluid line broke - Page 9 - Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums
Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums - View Single Post - Radiator failure @ cooler lines ...
and was worried about my pilot 2005 transmission cooler. my question is: since the defective parts (corroded washers) can be inspected and replaced, why replace the entire radiator?
One of the failure modes is an internal rupture that allows the coolant and tranny fluid to mix. This is not visible from inspection. The only reason we knew was because tranny fluid starting flowing out of the coolant overflow tank.
 

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It should be pretty obvious if you inspect the coolant overflow tank or take the radiator cap off (when the radiator is cold, only!)

If there is any sludge or oil residue of any kind, you have this problem.

It would be a good idea to inspect this every time you change oil or even every month or so.
 

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It should be pretty obvious if you inspect the coolant overflow tank or take the radiator cap off (when the radiator is cold, only!)

If there is any sludge or oil residue of any kind, you have this problem.

It would be a good idea to inspect this every time you change oil or even every month or so.
It takes your transmission out very quickly. Transmissions do not like anti-freeze. Most first find out they have the issue when they are on the side of the road wondering why the transmission no longer shifts. There is no immediately warning like if it was the type of failure where it just dumps the coolant (temp gage). We were lucky enough to walk out of a store and see the puddle of tranny fluid just as it happened. It was then towed directly to a dealer. Others have not been so lucky and had to replace their transmissions.
 

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The new radiators should come with new fittings.
 
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