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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

New member, first post, unfortunately it's about SMOD.

I bought a 2009 touring a few months ago with 170,000 miles. I love it, my kids love it.

It's driven absolutely perfectly since I bought it until 2 days ago. I stopped at circle k down the street from my house on my way home. Left it running while I ran in.

Got back in it and could faintly smell radiator fluid.

About half a mile from home, it just quit accelerating and started smoking real bad. Temp Guage shot up and A/T temp light came on.

Figured I blew a radiator hose, so I pulled over killed the engine and put the heat on blast.

Sat there for quite awhile letting it cool off and waited for the A/T light to turn off.

Thought about just calling AAA and having it towed the 1/2 mile home. But, I had 5 young kids in the car and live more in the country on a road you really don't want to walk down with 3-8 yr olds. So I just drove it home, coasting in neutral as much as possible.

Some kind of fluid is all over the engine bay. The fluid in my radiator is grey. Spent like 5 mins trying to find which line gave out. But, gave up after I read about SMOD. Sat on my couch and opened a beer.

The fittings on the bottom of the radiator are still in place, don't look corroded and are still snug.

Am I more likely screwed because something exploded fluid under my hood? Or possibly a little better off since it spit it all out instead of circulating it?

Gonna buy a new radiator and do the D/F of ATF and hope for the best.

Do I run the vehicle between fills, drive down the road to go thru the gears, or just dump it right out?

Thanks.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear the SMOD is your first post. There have been two reported failure mechanisms; either the external connections at the radiator fail or the failure occurs internal to the radiator. It sounds like you experienced the latter.

You’re taking the correct approach getting a new radiator (consider new hoses and thermostat while you’re in there). You’ll need to perform multiple drain and fills for the ATF. At the first drain look at the fluid to get an idea of how much coolant mixed with it. I’d start with driving a few miles in between fills (go through all the gears) for the first few drain and fills, then extend the miles driven between fills as the drained fluid starts looking better.

You’ll also need to get the cooling system cleaned out, so you need to perform a couple radiator drain and fills as well after you get everything buttoned back up.

I’m guessing the fluid you see in the engine compartment is what came out the radiator cap.

Hopefully you’ll get this resolved without requiring further repairs. Keep us posted.
 
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^^^^^After doing all of the above, please, never again leave 5 kids alone in a running car. That’s a no no.
 

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New member, first post, unfortunately it's about SMOD.
I bought a 2009 touring a few months ago with 170,000 miles. I love it, my kids love it.

It's driven absolutely perfectly since I bought it until 2 days ago.
About half a mile from home, it just quit accelerating and started smoking real bad. Temp Guage shot up and A/T temp light came on.
Some kind of fluid is all over the engine bay. The fluid in my radiator is grey.
The fittings on the bottom of the radiator are still in place, don't look corroded and are still snug.

Gonna buy a new radiator and do the D/F of ATF and hope for the best.
Do I run the vehicle between fills, drive down the road to go thru the gears, or just dump it right out?
What color is the transmission fluid?

It would be preferable if you could drive the vehicle to run it through the gears after each ATF drain and refill.
Alternatively, do you have four jacks stands that could support the Pilot?
 

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Alternatively, do you have four jacks stands that could support the Pilot?
And then what?😬 I’m not getting a good feeling about this.😁
 
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And then what?😬 I’m not getting a good feeling about this.😁
Turn off VSA and depress the accelerator to see if the transmission will run through any of the gears - without going out on the road and possibly getting stuck.
 

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Turn off VSA and depress the accelerator to see if the transmission will run through any of the gears - without going out on the road and possibly getting stuck.
I think OP will want to verify how fast things can be revved up under a no-load condition. My first thought is the tranny is not getting into high gear on this setup.
 

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I'm puzzled why the "fluid in radiator" is grey......but the "S" in SMOD is strawberry (colored)???? Pics of the "some kind of fluid all over the engine bay" and a pic of the trannty fluid on the end of the dipstick would also help. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Perhaps the coolant wasn’t Acura/Honda OEM blue. What plus red/brown equals grey? Maybe Prestone green.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the transmission fluid cooler in the Pilot a separate cooler, not built into the radiator (like on my Traverse, for instance)? If so, how would the two fluids have a chance to intermingle?

Where was it smoking? The exhaust or the engine bay? I'd be checking oil level/oil as well. Grey sounds more like oil than ATF to me, unless your ATF has never been changed and is that dirty. But again, unless there is some sort of heat exchanger in the ATF cooling loop I don't see how those two fluids could contaminate each other. At this point, with what I know about the 2nd gens and without more information I'm leaning more head gasket. Checking plugs will confirm or deny that pretty quickly.
 

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Tranny fluid goes into the radiator even with the cooler.
 

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The tranny cooler, located in the cold tank of the radiator, is a radiator within a radiator.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the transmission fluid cooler in the Pilot a separate cooler, not built into the radiator (like on my Traverse, for instance)? If so, how would the two fluids have a chance to intermingle?
If the 2009 is like my set up there is a chance for fluid intermingling should something corrode or break.
White Automotive tire Black Ventilation fan Style
 

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Check out the image below... it does appear that the transmission fluid does enter and exit the radiator on either side of the number 14. Always trust in Moderator Emeritus @Rocky .

149267
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok so..,
I took the radiator out today. There wasn't much fluid left in the radiator or in the transmission lines.

There is an external cooler for the transmission, but the lines also go thru the radiator also.

The fluid that did come out looks like chocolate milk. There was some unmixed green coolant also. So I'm guessing thats why I have chocolate milk.

Also, someone also bypassed the metal transmission lines with fuel injection hose.

The Transmission dip stick was completely dry, but didn't smell burnt. I didn't open the transmission drain plug yet because I needed to get my kids ready to goto their mothers for the night so I can get picked up for work, since I have no way of driving them to daycare.

Probably gonna order the fluid tomorrow. But, not gonna be able to order the radiator until Friday.

Edit: It was the passenger side plug on the radiator that gave out.
 

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New radiator cap to go with the new radiator. On any vehicle approaching 200K miles, raise the hood once a week and have a look see. I would buy 3-4 gals. of ATF and do multiple D&Fs, running thru the gears each D&F, but that's just me. A little remaining coolant/water in the tranny could be disastrous, a little ATF remaining in the cooling system, no big deal. Good luck, hope it turns out well for you.(y)
 

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Ok so..,
I took the radiator out today. There wasn't much fluid left in the radiator or in the transmission lines.

There is an external cooler for the transmission, but the lines also go thru the radiator also.

The fluid that did come out looks like chocolate milk. There was some unmixed green coolant also. So I'm guessing thats why I have chocolate milk.

Also, someone also bypassed the metal transmission lines with fuel injection hose.

The Transmission dip stick was completely dry, but didn't smell burnt. I didn't open the transmission drain plug yet because I needed to get my kids ready to goto their mothers for the night so I can get picked up for work, since I have no way of driving them to daycare.

Probably gonna order the fluid tomorrow. But, not gonna be able to order the radiator until Friday.

Edit: It was the passenger side plug on the radiator that gave out.
Be sure to order new crush washers for the tranny drain port when you order the fluid (unless you re-use crush washers in which case disregard my suggestion).
Hopefully not too much coolant got into the transmission. It’s probably best to drain it sooner than later since I hear coolant isn’t good for transmission internals.
Keep us posted and I hope you’re able to revive the Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Radiator will be here Thursday. Fluids should be around the same time.

Forgot how much it sucks to not have a car...
80° today and were stuck at home instead of at the creek swimming...
 

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While you are stuck at home waiting on parts/fluids........maybe belt, hoses, filters, inspect/rotate tires, Google 2009 Owner’s Manual for other maintenance items as well???? Reliable 12 year old 170K+ mile “Primary” transportation usually requires lots of preventative maintenance. I’d rather do preventative maintenance on a Saturday, in my driveway, when all of the auto parts stores are open vs repairs at night, on the side of the road, when nobody is open.🤷‍♂️
 
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