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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So 2 weeks ago we had the torque converter issue fixed in our ‘16 and the oil changed. (Transmission fluid drained/switched to synthetic). Picked the car up and noticed a very faint smell on the way home, chalked it off to new fluid etc. Gradually the smell has gotten worse, so much so that on an overnite trip it started to burn our nose/throats. It almost reminds me of propane or natural gas. I called last weekend prior to trip..nah nothing we did and you wouldn’t smell that smell in your car. WRONG. The dealer drove it for two days to figure out what it was...stated Honda told them a possible front differential hose is loose or leaking!? Does this sound right? Could they have messed something up by mistake during the previous fix?

they state no, of course..but no issues prior and I know I’m a girl BUT isn’t all of that up close to the same area under the hood where someone could accidentally slip and hit it loose or cause an oops?
 

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So 2 weeks ago we had the torque converter issue fixed in our ‘16 and the oil changed. (Transmission fluid drained/switched to synthetic). Picked the car up and noticed a very faint smell on the way home, chalked it off to new fluid etc. Gradually the smell has gotten worse, so much so that on an overnite trip it started to burn our nose/throats. It almost reminds me of propane or natural gas. I called last weekend prior to trip..nah nothing we did and you wouldn’t smell that smell in your car. WRONG. The dealer drove it for two days to figure out what it was...stated Honda told them a possible front differential hose is loose or leaking!? Does this sound right? Could they have messed something up by mistake during the previous fix?

they state no, of course..but no issues prior and I know I’m a girl BUT isn’t all of that up close to the same area under the hood where someone could accidentally slip and hit it loose or cause an oops?
No, to a slip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, to a slip.
Is it possible that this could create such an odor? I’ve never smelled something similar to propane or natural gas in a car? It’s just odd to me that nothing was occurring until we had it in the shop. I can’t seem to find any threads with this issue or anything similar on other sites. They are taking a stab in the dark after messaging Honda Services
 

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Did they service the front differential? Spilled gear oil could be the source of the smell, especially if it's on the exhaust pipe. The dealer should put the car back up on a lift and look and sniff for spilled lube.
 

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Is it possible that this could create such an odor? I’ve never smelled something similar to propane or natural gas in a car? It’s just odd to me that nothing was occurring until we had it in the shop. I can’t seem to find any threads with this issue or anything similar on other sites. They are taking a stab in the dark after messaging Honda Services
Do you have a 6-speed transmission or a 9-speed?
If a 6-speed and they filled the transmission through the fill bolt hole on top of the transmission, they could have missed the full hole and poured out smelly DW-1 ATF over the top of the transmission.
 

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Is it possible that this could create such an odor? I’ve never smelled something similar to propane or natural gas in a car? It’s just odd to me that nothing was occurring until we had it in the shop. I can’t seem to find any threads with this issue or anything similar on other sites. They are taking a stab in the dark after messaging Honda Services
Take the Pilot back to the shop for inspection. There could be an active or intermittent leak of ATF fluid or have them clean up whatever had spilled.
 

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And just so I'm clear, where is a 'front differential' on a 4WD/AWD Pilot?
It's already FWD.
Are we talking about the Transfer Case?

Owens Mama, as you know it shouldn't have a smell/odor like this. Certainly not inside the vehicle.

They kept it 2 days to look for it?
 

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It’s a little weird. Some temporary smell can happen especially after coolant change (spills happen). Other causes of that kind of smell in my experience include windshield washer fluid getting sucked into the air inlet. Hopefully no kid spilt something that’s soaked into the carpet etc....
Lift the hood and look around., I’d be tempted to pull out the cabin air filter as well.
 

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To the Board:
And just so I'm clear, where is a 'front differential' on a 4WD/AWD Pilot?
It's already FWD.
Are we talking about the Transfer Case?

Owens Mama, as you know it shouldn't have a smell/odor like this. Certainly not inside the vehicle.

They kept it 2 days to look for it?
There is only a transfer case on the AWD models, not a front differential and it is tucked in just behind the transmission. It is pretty hard to spot and it doesn't hold much hypoid gear oil. If a small amount of that stuff or trans fluid is spilled, it will stink for a while even if an attempt is made to wipe it up.
 

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There is only a transfer case on the AWD models, not a front differential and it is tucked in just behind the transmission. It is pretty hard to spot and it doesn't hold much hypoid gear oil. If a small amount of that stuff or trans fluid is spilled, it will stink for a while even if an attempt is made to wipe it up.
I realize all this. I've done all these changes too on out Gen 2.
IMO- there is a front transfer case, and a rear diff. on the Pilots, that have them.
I was calling out the 'front differential' thing.
 

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To the Board:
And just so I'm clear, where is a 'front differential' on a 4WD/AWD Pilot?
It's already FWD.
Are we talking about the Transfer Case?

Owens Mama, as you know it shouldn't have a smell/odor like this. Certainly not inside the vehicle.

They kept it 2 days to look for it?
I stand corrected, I should have said transfer case, that's what I was thinking of. It uses gear oil, which can have a strong odor.
 

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I stand corrected, I should have said transfer case, that's what I was thinking of. It uses gear oil, which can have a strong odor.
NP. you know what you're talking about FS.
 

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It’s not unusual to have spills occur during fluid maintenance work. A conscientious mechanic will cleanup spills so as to not get a customer return for smoke or odors. If not cleaned, the spillage will burn off in a day or so on its own. In your case it sounds like you may have an active leak. Look for fluid drips on the ground under the engine area. Red fluid is transmission fluid and light brown to black is engine oil. If you see clear fluid with no odor it’s water from the AC condenser which is normal.
There are transmission fluid lines that run external to the transmission. Normally they wouldn’t be touched for a transmission change but who knows, maybe the tech removed a connection and didn’t reconnect correctly. If you have a 9 speed Touring or Elite, the transmission lines are quick disconnect, one time use hoses. If they are reused they are prone to leakage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Did they service the front differential? Spilled gear oil could be the source of the smell, especially if it's on the exhaust pipe. The dealer should put the car back up on a lift and look and sniff for spilled lube.
Nope, only did an oil change and fixed the torque converter issue which is just replacing the transmission fluid with synthetic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It’s a little weird. Some temporary smell can happen especially after coolant change (spills happen). Other causes of that kind of smell in my experience include windshield washer fluid getting sucked into the air inlet. Hopefully no kid spilt something that’s soaked into the carpet etc....
Lift the hood and look around., I’d be tempted to pull out the cabin air filter as well.
Def not a spill from my kid as this was in their service area from Fri am to Mon am and we noticed the faint smell on the way home that eve. It’s gradually gotten worse the longer it’s been driven. Def doesn’t smell like any oil/washer fluid/car related fluid I’ve ever smelled before...not an exhaust or rotten egg smell. Def more propane or natural gas related smell. So much so it irritates your airway when driving at this point
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To the Board:
And just so I'm clear, where is a 'front differential' on a 4WD/AWD Pilot?
It's already FWD.
Are we talking about the Transfer Case?

Owens Mama, as you know it shouldn't have a smell/odor like this. Certainly not inside the vehicle.

They kept it 2 days to look for it?
Yes. They kept it overnite and called me to tell me they drove it and definitely noticed the smell but had no idea what it was...def not something they did..and that they would contact Honda to see if they had any suggestions. Honda supposedly told them to check the front differential for a loose hose, which of course they won’t do until I agree to pay. They aren’t even sure that’s the issue. At this point, they’ve had my car since Tuesday to diagnose it.
 

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I don't remember there being any hoses to the 'transfer case.

Is it 4WD/AWD?

Does it have a shifter on the dash, or a push button shifter?

Could/would it be possible there is a small critter decaying somewhere in one of the pockets somewhere in the vehicle? It's happened before- smells too.
 

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I don't remember there being any hoses to the 'transfer case.

Is it 4WD/AWD?

Does it have a shifter on the dash, or a push button shifter?

Could/would it be possible there is a small critter decaying somewhere in one of the pockets somewhere in the vehicle? It's happened before- smells too.
No hoses on the 3rd gen and I don't know if the driveshaft to the rear diff is permanently engaged or not.
 

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There is a vent hose on the top of the t case.
Well, OK! Thanks.
You'll be around lurking and posting for a LONG time, right? Please, Please LOL
 
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