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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have come up with a solution for the rear crossmember rust issue. The subframe attachment point tends to rust out, and the subframe then becomes loose and unsafe. Please see the attached photos. It is necessary to remove the third row seats and roll back the carpet, and work from both above and below.

The repair bracket is fabbed up on the workbench, and installed with heavy duty self tapping hex screws. No welding is done on the vehicle.

My photo files are too large. As soon as I figure out how to attach them, I will do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Here is a write-up on the procedure I used:


This repair uses a 1/4x5x5 square steel plate washer above the floor pan, and a U-bracket slipped over the rusted crossmember from below. The bracket is fastened to the floor pan from above with heavy self-tapping hex screws, and the whole assembly is thru-bolted to the subframe with a 8" long Grade 5 bolt and nut. The bracket and plate are attached to the strongest portion of the crossmember; the upper flanges and spot welds. No on-vehicle welding is required.


Some installation tips:


I backed the rear wheels up onto sturdy steel ramps for access. Drop the spare tire, and remove the 3rd row seat. Roll the carpet out of the way so you can see the floor pan. The crossmember is aligned with the bolt holes where the 3rd row seat hinges are mounted. If you look at the floor, you can see the two rows of spot welds that secure the front and back flanges of the crossmember.


From below, cut off the rusted mounting bolt about 1/4 inch above the subframe. I used a sawzall. Remove the bolt and the rusted-out crossmember sleeve. Save the dished washer from below and the rubber cushion from in between to reuse.


Before you slip the repair bracket into place, you must carefully move the wire harness that controls the VTM4 differential. It is hard to see, but it is clipped to the front of the crossmember with two plastic plugs. I cut the plugs off with a chisel. Be Careful! Don't Damage the Wires!


Slip the U bracket into place. Start next to the diff, and tap and slide into position. DO NOT TRAP THE WIRE HARNESS BETWEEN THE U BRACKET AND THE FLOOR PAN. Be careful not to snag the wire harness. You can't see it, you have to keep checking by feel. Slide bracket over until it lines up with the subframe.


Now you need to compress the coil spring. I used a hyd jack and a 4x4 block under the spring, jacked it up until spring compressed. Then a second jack is used under the subframe to push it up snug to the bracket/crossmember. Use a 1/2 dowel to align bracket with subframe mount.


With everything aligned and snug, fasten U bracket from above, using self tappers thru the floor. Spot welds help give you an idea where to drill. Drill one screw towards rear flange first, then check below and adjust as needed. Make sure wires are still clear, install 3-4 self tappers in rear flange, same in front flange.


With pointed steel rod, from below, go straight up thru mounting hole and dimple floor pan. From above, drill with 1/2 bit. Test alignment by dropping the 8" bolt thru from above. Adjust as needed by enlarging hole in floor pan. Don't worry, the 5x5 steel plate will cover any error.


Assemble with all the pieces per drawing. Tighten bolt snug, then tap 5x5 plate back and forth to desired position. Use screws to fix plate so it won't shift around. Finally tighten up the bolt and nut to about 70 ft-lbs.


Worked for me!
 

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Nice write up and idea for this fix. I’m glad I don’t live in the rust belt.
 

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My subframe box is only rusted on the bottom, do you think I could just install a U bracket. Still install the 8" bolt thru the floor pan, but secure bracket with bolts thru the side of the bracket?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Feel free to experiment! However, be sure to use the 5"x5"x1/4" plate washer above, because the floor pan by itself is too thin to support the 8" bolt head. The big plate washer spreads the load across the unibody/cross member upper flanges. The cross member side steel is also rather thin, and access to the front side of the cross member is difficult.
 

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Good advice. The last thing you want is a catastrophic roadside failure because something is too weak to handle the stresses of the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thought that I should update this post, as I've received a couple of questions about this issue. I did this fix last August on my 2003 Pilot. The rear driver's side mount had completely pulled out of the cross member. It took me a couple of afternoons to fix it. As of today, 4 months later, the repair is still holding up fine.
 

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Hello,

Thank you for posting this solution. My 2006 Pilot has this same infection. My local Honda Body refused to work on anything rust related. Fortunately, my son-in-law has access to tools to fabricated the plans on this thread. I will post pictures when it is completed.
 

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My pilot recently broke the same as yours did and I fixed it back but when I fell down it made the abs, vtm4 and the traction light come on. After I fixed it and got everything back in place the lights remain on did you have this problem with yours and if so how did you fix it. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My pilot recently broke the same as yours did and I fixed it back but when I fell down it made the abs, vtm4 and the traction light come on. After I fixed it and got everything back in place the lights remain on did you have this problem with yours and if so how did you fix it. Thanks
I suspect that the rear wiring harness to the VTM4 differential is damaged. Trace the wires from the differential, and look for damage. They're clipped to the front of the cross member on the driver's side, and then up thru a grommet to the interior.
 

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Hmm, now I'm worried. How prevalent is this rear crossmember rust issue among the first gen? Is this another problem for '05 like the radiator issue? I just had my brakes and rear struts replaced last month and was not told by the two different shops (pep boys--brakes and the dealer--struts) of any observed problem about this.Thanks.
 

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My 2008 with ~154K just blew out both mounts 2 weeks ago... was following behind in my other car and watched the drivers side go as it went over a speed hump (<10 mph) ---- blew my mind seeing that unnatural wheel motion --- checked it out when I got home (short drive, slow speed, residential) and this is what I found... so glad it happened on side streets/low speed.

I suspect the passengers side was partially gone (alignment at last tire rotation was showing some unusual toe out on that side) and a couple hundred pounds of cargo and the speed bump pushed them both over the edge. Sigh!

Should be taking delivery on a new RAV4 tomorrow. Pilot will be passed on to a family member with a well-equipped garage who also has an '06. :) He's installed custom offroad suspensions, so he'll welcome the repair challenge for a good condition winter car.

Thanks OP for your post and drawings --- it's given him some ideas on the repair approach!

So frustrating --- it's otherwise in great shape!
IMG-5100.JPG
 

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Beato1, I just looked under my wife’s 2005 Pilot and there are no signs of major rust on the rear subframe. My Pilot has never been on a salted road so I’m guessing that has a lot to do with it.
 

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Here are resized photos
My first post here. Just wanted to say thank you for the detailed right up and pics!

I just had to repair the same issue on my 2006 Pilot. I am not quite done it yet, I still want to pop a few more bolts up through the belly pan. But the way it's sitting in the pictures it a million times better that it was before!!!

So thanks again STMech!!

Here's a before and after,.

I used 4x4x1/4 Angle. And 1/2-13 High Tensile threaded rod through the belly pan. With a 1/4" steel checker plate on the inside. Ran in to some clearance issues, so I needed to stack some washers in there.

I'm really just trying to get another 2 years out of this vehicle. Until my GF is done school and we can afford a new ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My first post here. Just wanted to say thank you for the detailed right up and pics!

I just had to repair the same issue on my 2006 Pilot. I am not quite done it yet, I still want to pop a few more bolts up through the belly pan. But the way it's sitting in the pictures it a million times better that it was before!!!

So thanks again STMech!!

Here's a before and after,.

I used 4x4x1/4 Angle. And 1/2-13 High Tensile threaded rod through the belly pan. With a 1/4" steel checker plate on the inside. Ran in to some clearance issues, so I needed to stack some washers in there.

I'm really just trying to get another 2 years out of this vehicle. Until my GF is done school and we can afford a new ride.
Nick, I'm glad you were able to make a repair to your Pilot! This seems to be a common problem in the road salt states. I hope you get many more safe miles with your Pilot.
 

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This is my first post. I've driven my 2003 Honda Pilot EX for the 10 years, 291,000+ miles (she's a Beast and I really don't want to lose her).

I need some advice on this repair. How is it holding up? This same issue happened about 3 1/2 weeks ago, while I was moving. I now live 38 miles from my work and have been a nervous wreck driving her to and from work like this. I work with some great guys who said they would weld it back together but I can't seem to find the parts needed and came across your post about repairs without welding anything. There's a screenshot below of the original post I found about this repair.

Any more specifics you can give me (so I can forward to the great guys I work with)?
 

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Sorry, but I wouldn't do this without welding. Self tapping screws? Really? I'd also go with grade 8 bolts, cuz why not?! Sorry, but I don't like your repair. That's just me though.
 
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