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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Piloteers
I am not only new to this forum but also new to Honda’s (working on). So when my sister sent me a screenshot of one of your post the EXACT MOMENT I was registering on here, I thought it might be a sign to ask for your input. My sister has a 2012 Pilot Touring that she has taken great care of. It’s a 6 cylinder with 147,000 + miles on it. She said lately an intermittent issue happens but wasn’t a shutter or a stumble and absolutely no slipping into gears so she didn’t know how to explain. Upon test driving I couldn’t get it to duplicate so we thought a much needed tune up and then a drain and fill could be the ticket. The plugs were in great shape to have that many miles on them-no issues. Now I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t check the tranny level before I drained it but it was at normal op. temp when I drained. Except for about two cups spillage when it first came out I ended up with 2/3 gallon jug of dark, with a hint of red(but not burnt smelling) fluid. I didn’t have the correct crush washer so put the old back on and proceeded to fill port/bolt. HOLY COW- not my real words but I have the big breaker bars and tried every trick I know and couldn’t get it to budge. A friend came by and after numerous tries wished me luck and left. I got fearful that I’d tear something else up if it did break loose so I Plan B’d it and went to the dipstick mode. I put 3 quarts in just in time to see the sun rising...no not really just felt like it. I ran it to normal op. temp and ran it thru the gears slowly including D3 a few times then checked it and it seemed perfect. Then I ran down the road a couple of miles and checked it and it barely hit the dipstick. Why? Could it have been that low before all this? Could it have went somewhere else? I lost none during fill process. I’m fixing to add the last qrt I have but I’m not confident that it’s going to bring it up where it’s suppose to be. Two more quarts and the correct crush washer will be here Thursday but I’m suppose to take it back to her tonight. My questions are;
1. Is it ok for her to drive until then
2. I read somewhere other than this site that it was ok in small quantities only to fill at dipstick, is that true?
3.should I try again at fill bolt?
4. Should I have even done a drain and fill on something that has that many miles and never been serviced prior? Did I make it worse?
Oh and I forgot to mention driving it to my house I witnessed at 45mph on slight incline, something that from past experience has been a torque converter issue- sounds a feels like you just ran over a bunch of reflectors, just seconds long. Which brings me to my last and final question(I hear those signs of relief)
What is your thoughts on VCM. Also new to me and as a human We tend to fear what we don’t know or understand. So yes I’m scared and confused on this and watched the video of a guy that did a 5 year 70,000 mile test on a contraption.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any input. LOVE YOUR SITE! Just the right amounts of testosterone and knowledge to be awesome!
 

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After the fact, but it's always advisable to try removing the fill plug before removing the drain plug.
Transmission should take 3.3-3.6 qts, depending upon which version you have.
If there's a Walmart or an auto parts store nearby, you can get Valvoline MaxLife ATF.

Is this a 4WD/AWD Pilot? If so, did you also change the transfer case fluid?
Likewise for the rear differential fluid.

At 147K miles, has this Pilot had the timing belt replaced?
It should have been done at about 105K miles.
If not, it's well overdue.

Fitting one of the various VCM defeat devices might have been a good idea earlier, and could still be beneficial.
In any event, use only a full synthetic motor oil.
 

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Not sure what transmission fluid you bought. But for a 2012 Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife is great stuff. I'd drain out what you have in there, then pour in 3.5 qts ot MaxLife.
I wouldn't drive it around low on fluid. Up and down hills can cause issues. May have been what you felt since its low on fluid.
It doesn't hurt the vehicle to fill the ATF through the dipstick.
Since it's not been serviced is a while is not a reason not to change the ATF. It's more the reason to get some MaxLife.
I'd get a VCM disabling device asap. I use S-VCM. When using a VCM disabling device, It's important to know that the cooling system is in good working condition.
 

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2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
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Hey girl13,
Nice first post. I like paragraphs, but that just me. At least you do use sentence structure. I say that b/c I've seen a post that long, and it was all one run on sentence.

I agree with the advice you have received thus far.

If you can't get the tranny fill nut/bolt off, you're either not using extensions to get the wrench up on top of the motor, and more importantly, not using enough leverage. I got mine loose.
As said, nothing wrong with filling thru the dipstick, I just don't do it, and I try not to be one. A dipstick that is.

As for the VCM disabler, on my 08 and 15 Pilots, I haven't seen the need for one- yet anyways.

Welcome to the site. Get a Pilot of your own! They're pretty cool all around vehicles.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

That fill port bolt is really tight. I haven’t heard one person on this forum say it was easy to break loose, and when it does it breaks loose violently so watch your knuckles. You definitely need a 2 foot long breaker bar to loosen it. I’m a small guy and it took every ounce of my strength. Was well worth it though since filling fluid through that port is so much easier.

You received some good advice above so check the other two fluids. And only get the Honda/Acura OEM fluid for the rear differential. And get a dedicated fluid pump for the rear differential fluid.
 
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I don't recommend running the car with low transmission fluid. DW-1 is a fine solution and is used by probably 95% of Hondas on the road. Obviously its done its job this far, why change it?

As far as VCM, is the car burning any oil? Some people disable the VCM and some don't. It's kind of a gamble, if you leave it enabled, you risk causing damage to the motor and if you do, you can prevent that potential damage.
 

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Good thread to read. Lots of hints.

 

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Without regard for getting the fill plug out, I do want to point out that checking the fluid level in this series of Pilot is different from other cars I've owned. Where most have you check the ATF level at temperature with engine running and after cycling the shift lever through all gear positions...

The Pilot instruction also has the engine at full temp, verified by cooling fans cycling (AC is off...). Then stop the engine, wait 60 seconds but no more than 90 seconds after shutoff, check level at the dipstick. This from page 399 in my Owner's Manual, the one in the glovebox.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey girl13,
Nice first post. I like paragraphs, but that just me. At least you do use sentence structure. I say that b/c I've seen a post that long, and it was all one run on sentence.

I agree with the advice you have received thus far.

If you can't get the tranny fill nut/bolt off, you're either not using extensions to get the wrench up on top of the motor, and more importantly, not using enough leverage. I got mine loose.
As said, nothing wrong with filling thru the dipstick, I just don't do it, and I try not to be one. A dipstick that is.

As for the VCM disabler, on my 08 and 15 Pilots, I haven't seen the need for one- yet anyways.

Welcome to the site. Get a Pilot of your own! They're pretty cool all around vehicles.
Hey The Todd,
Thanks for your kind words and advice... and I see you also have a sense of humor, you are a rare commodity indeed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't recommend running the car with low transmission fluid. DW-1 is a fine solution and is used by probably 95% of Hondas on the road. Obviously its done its job this far, why change it?

As far as VCM, is the car burning any oil? Some people disable the VCM and some don't. It's kind of a gamble, if you leave it enabled, you risk causing damage to the motor and if you do, you can prevent that potential damage.
No it’s not using any oil and is in really good shape considering the miles. I think she is looking into something to disable the VCM and she is running it now in DW-1 and has had no issues whatsoever. So she’s happy, I’m happier.
 
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