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C/D named it one of its 5best trucks for 03.:4:

Compact SUV: Honda CRV (again):5:
Large SUV: Honda Pilot (again) :4:
Van: Honda Odyssey (again) :29:
Luxury SUV: VW Touareg
Pickup: Chevy Silverado (again) :mblah: :20: :28:
 

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There may be SUV's that do certain things better than the Pilot, or have things that the Pilot doesn't have....but there is no better "total package" SUV than the Pilot, especially for under $35K.

The only possible alternatives would be the Suburban or the Hummer.....and what do those cost....$50K?
 

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Is there a differential lock option for the pilot

Is there a differential lock option for the pilot? like the one that you can find on the Toyota 4RUNNER, as this option helps a lot when stock in snow or mud.

By the way any transmissions problems with your PILOTS like some MDXs and Odysseys?

Thanks,

Will:confused:
 

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Re: Is there a differential lock option for the pilot

pilotx said:
Is there a differential lock option for the pilot? like the one that you can find on the Toyota 4RUNNER, as this option helps a lot when stock in snow or mud.

By the way any transmissions problems with your PILOTS like some MDXs and Odysseys?

Thanks,

Will:confused:
Yes, it is called the VTM-4. There is a button on the dash which you can push to engage it so that all four wheels are "locked" in. I believe that it will stay engaged till you reach 18mph at which point it kicks out and the usual system takes over.
I don't know anything about the transmissions in the MDX or Ody, but the trans. in the Pilot is so smooth. I remember how rough shifting my 97 pathfinder trans. was and the Pilot is smooth as silk.
:cool:
 

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When in 1st or 2nd gear, the Pilot's rear and center differential can be locked at low speeds to get unstuck. I've used the feature many times to get up a friend's icy driveway here in Michigan. It works very well. In Drive and at high speeds, the controls on the center differential seamlessly apply at least some power to the wheels that have traction. The effect is a very stable, useful, and efficient 4 wheel drive system that works well in all the road conditions I've encountered so far. A more complete explanation is in the technical section of the Honda web site for the Pilot.
 

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Not quite

Birdman said:
When in 1st or 2nd gear, the Pilot's rear and center differential can be locked at low speeds to get unstuck. I've used the feature many times to get up a friend's icy driveway here in Michigan. It works very well. In Drive and at high speeds, the controls on the center differential seamlessly apply at least some power to the wheels that have traction. The effect is a very stable, useful, and efficient 4 wheel drive system that works well in all the road conditions I've encountered so far. A more complete explanation is in the technical section of the Honda web site for the Pilot.
The Pilot does not have a center differential at all, and does not have a true rear differential.

Power is applied to the rear wheels through a pair of clutches (one for each side). When the clutch is locked that rear wheel gets direct power from the transmission. The only differential action occurs when the cluches are allowed to slip.
In normal opperation that are open so the rear wheels turn free.
 

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For the gearheads: Detailed info from the Honda of Canada site>

Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive (VTM-4) (back to top)
The Pilot’s innovative VTM-4 four-wheel-drive system was designed to deliver outstanding traction, stability and control in all weather conditions as well as good medium-duty off-road performance. It was also designed to minimize the weight and packaging penalties associated with conventional four-wheel-drive systems.

The VTM-4 system is unique in its operation. Unlike many competitive systems that use an engagement strategy triggered by wheel slippage, VTM-4 anticipates the need for four-wheel-drive and engages the rear wheels whenever the vehicle is accelerating. In low gear, up to approximately 50 percent additional torque can be transferred to the rear wheels when wheel slip is detected. Another unique feature of the system is the VTM-4 Lock function. Activated by a button on the instrument panel, the VTM-4 Lock mode delivers maximum torque transfer to the rear wheels to aid extraction from extremely slippery or “stuck” conditions. The feature works only when the vehicle is in first, second or reverse gears, and automatically disengages at speeds above 30km/h.

When cruising under normal conditions, the Pilot provides front-wheel drive power for improved efficiency. Torque is proactively distributed to the rear wheels when the vehicle is accelerating or wheel slip is detected. The level of torque delivery, front to rear, is determined by the amount of acceleration and wheel slip (difference in rotational speed) and is controlled by a dedicated CPU with sensors in the braking, engine and transmission systems.

To avoid the weight and bulk of a conventional transfer case, VTM-4’s torque transfer unit is a compact cast-aluminum housing bolted directly to the transaxle. The transfer case is a single-speed, permanently engaged device without a low-range, reducing weight and space penalties while maintaining excellent on and off-road capabilities. Attached to the front wheel differential’s ring gear is a helical gear that provides input torque to the transfer unit. A short horizontal shaft and a hypoid gear set within the case can turn the drive ninety degrees, moving it to the vehicle centre line and lowering its axis by approximately 95mm.

VTM-4 Engagement Modes (back to top)
There are three distinct modes of VTM-4 engagement:

The first mode, called Acceleration Torque Control (ATC), works whenever the vehicle’s throttle is depressed, even on dry pavement – a feature unique to the VTM-4 system. Sensors in the engine and transmission monitor vehicle speed and acceleration. The amount of torque applied, as directed by the system’s electronic control unit (ECU), is determined according to vehicle speed, the amount of acceleration and transmission status (gear setting). This benefits not only the Pilot’s ability to gain traction from a standing start, before wheel slip occurs, but also overall dynamic stability on both dry and slippery roads. Reducing the propulsive force carried by the front tires under acceleration reduced torque steer and cornering adhesion. Rear wheel torque rises smoothly from zero to a preset maximum in proportion to vehicle acceleration (both forward and reverse). During constant-speed driving, all engine power is delivered to the front wheels for improved fuel efficiency.

The second engagement mode occurs when wheel slip is detected. Differences in rotational speed between front and rear wheels are measured by sensors in the ABS system and monitored by the ECU. In response, the ECU commands an increase in torque delivery to the rear wheels. Torque application is adjusted according to the amount and the rate of change in wheel slip. As slip increase, more power is delivered to the rear wheels for improved traction.

The third mode of engagement is VTM-4 Lock. Lock mode occurs when the vehicle is stationary and the driver shifts into first, second or reverse gears and depresses the VTM-Lock button on the instrument panel. When lock mode is selected at vehicle speeds below 30km/h, the ECU commands a preset maximum amount of rear-drive torque to be delivered to the rear wheels for improved traction in very low-speed, low-traction, conditions. As control is regained and vehicle speed increases, the system gradually reduces rear axle torque until it is completely disengaged. If the vehicle exceeds 30 km/h, the ECU disengages the lock function and VTM-4 returns to normal operation (modes 1 and 2).

The maximum torque delivered to the rear wheels is sufficient to climb the steepest grade observed on any public road in North America – 31-degrees (60 percent slope) – with a two-passenger load on board. The Pilot will also move from rest up a 28-degree (53 percent slope) dirt grade. On a split-friction grade (different amounts of traction at each wheel), VTM-4 automatically provides sufficient rear-wheel torque to help the vehicle climb a steep, slippery driveway to enter a garage.

Rear Axle Drive Unit (back to top)
The Pilot’s rear axle drive unit consists of a hypoid ring-and-pinion gear set supported by a cast-aluminum housing which switches torque from the propeller shaft’s longitudinal orientation to the lateral orientation necessary to drive the rear wheels.

A connection from the ring gear to each wheel’s half-shaft is made by left- and right-side clutches. Each drive clutch consists of three elements: an electromagnetic coil, ball-cam device and set of 19 wet clutch plates which are similar in design to clutches used in an automatic transmission. Ten of the plates are splined (mechanically connected) to the ring gear while nine of the plates are splined to a half shaft.

When the VTM-4 system’s electronic control unit (ECU) determines that torque should be distributed to the rear wheels, an electric current is sent to the two electromagnetic coils. The resulting magnetic field moves a rotating steel plate toward each fixed coil. Friction between that steel plate and an adjoining cam plate causes the cam plate to begin turning. As it does, three balls per clutch roll up curved ramps, creating an axial thrust against a clutch-engagement plate. This thrust force compresses the wet clutch plates, engaging the corresponding rear wheel.

Unlike mechanically actuated four-wheel-drive systems, the VTM-4 system is infinitely variable. The amount of torque provided to the rear wheels is directly proportional to the electric current sent from the ECU and can be adjusted from zero to a preset maximum. This current constantly changes to deliver the optimum rear torque calculated by the ECU. An internal gear pump circulates VTM-4 fluid to cool and lubricate the clutches, bearings and gears within the rear drive unit. Use of high-strength, low-weight materials – such as die-cast aluminum for the housing – minimizes the bulk and weight of the hardware.
 

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Not good enough

All the discussion about this vehicle's drive train is very informative but one thing stands out. It absolutely does not perform as well as the AWD Explorer in snow and ice.
I drive them interchangeably during the week and without question the Ford is better.
The one glitch in this assessment is the tires. Michelin on the Ford and Goodyear Integrity on the Honda. Which could be the cause of the poor performance, I am not sure.
In our house my wife prefers the Ford when it snows.
I'm not sure if anyone else with a comparison vehicle has noticed this?
 

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Wow!!! I wonder if you are driving some Explorer proto-type, but all the Explorers I have driven have been some of the biggest pieces of s**t on the planet. How can you even compare the two??

Just for fun, I borrowed my neighbor for a little test. He has 2000 Explorer with Michelin CTs on them. I, of course, have the Goodyear Integrities on the Pilot. After clearing our driveways, I asked him if he wanted to compare his 4wd system against our VTM-4 setup. He said sure. We lined up side-by-side let 'em fly. I did not even have the lock engaged, whereas he had his in 4wd mode. It was almost embarrassing. I smoked him, even with his CTs representing. Then, we switched vehicles and repeated the process. Same results.

Hence, I’m not sure how you can make such a statement…
 

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MG Pilot said:
Wow!!! I wonder if you are driving some Explorer proto-type, but all the Explorers I have driven have been some of the biggest pieces of s**t on the planet. How can you even compare the two??

Hence, I’m not sure how you can make such a statement…
How dare someone say that another vehicle is better in ANY aspect than our beloved Pilot ;)

If Explorers where actually all pieces of s**t, how could they sell so many?

Of course, I'll take the Pilot, thank you :)
 

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JungleJim said:


How dare someone say that another vehicle is better in ANY aspect than our beloved Pilot ;)

If Explorers where actually all pieces of s**t, how could they sell so many?

Of course, I'll take the Pilot, thank you :)
That's easy...monkey see, monkey do. People see all these Explorers on the road and think to themselves how can all these people be wrong??? Most people are lazy when it comes to car research. People who don’t know any better buy from whatever dealer happens to be the closest. You would not believe the logic some people use to justify the purchase of an inferior product. For example, Car and Driver recently tested eight suvs. After hearing her discuss the potential purchase of GMC Envoy/Chevy TrailBlazer, I showed her the CD article in which the Envoy finished where it should. DEAD LAST! Guess what suv she ended up buying??? You guessed it. Most people do not care about things such as reliability, re-sale value, drivability, fit and finish, etc. Hence, people end up buying Chevys and Fords.
 

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I am glad they buy Chevys and Fords as helps keep people employed as mechanics. When I first test drove an 02 Explorer the ride was so bad I went back to a different dealer and tried a second one as I thought something was wrong with the lst one. Both rode the same - terrible!
 

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I'm on the road a lot for my job, usually in cities far from home and always seem to get Fords as my rental. My last three trips to, and around, Lake Michigan this winter have all been during heavy snow storms. Each trip I usually put 1000-1500 miles on the rental, enough to put it through it's paces and get a feel for what it can do.

My last three rentals were 03 Explorer EB, 03 Expedition EB and 03 Explorer XLT. While these three vehicles performed well on the snow and ice (got me through that pile-up at Benton Harbor!), I did not feel nearly as confident as when I'm home driving my Pilot. Part of this is that they, even in AWD mode, are primarily rear-wheel drive until slippage occurs. That small amount of time before the AWD engaged was just enough to get a little fish-tail going (not to mention by heart rate).

In contrast, driving my Pilot in the same conditions always yields a firm straight-ahead path. It wasn't until I piloted by a Pathfinder and Explorer in the median that I realized how great Honda's VTM system really is.

I didn't get to test Ford v. Honda side by side on the same hill like MG Pilot did, but from the seat of pants, I'll take the Honda any day over the Ford.

-Pete
 

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Not quite good enough

JungleJim
"How dare someone say that another vehicle is better in ANY aspect than our beloved Pilot"

You got that right
See it a lot on the forum.

I own one, it's ok and it also has it's deficiencies. It's cheap and rides like a soccer mom's Aerostar, but the best thing since sliced bread-it ain't.

People ask me what I think of it, I tell them I've had more returns to the dealer in this than in anything I've owned in 10 years, and I've owned a bunch.
Do I like it, yup, would I buy another-not sure.
 
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