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In October 2020, Honda Dealer recommended transmission flush and cleansing(cleaner) on 2008 Pilot. Pilot had 99,000 miles at this time and had been meticulously maintained to this point. Our plan was to keep for another 75,000 to 100,000 miles. Flush and clean was done. Fast forward to May 2021...another 2,000 miles had been put on Pilot. At stop light, put foot on gas...nothing. Pilot was running and could shift and turn off and on but no movement...in Drive, would begin to roll. No signs of transmission issues such as trouble shifting, jerking etc... No maintenance lights on. Car was towed to dealer (that had done flush/clean.) Dealer tells me that I need a new transmission. Dealer's Mechanic told me that "something broke inside the transmission," "no fluid pressure" and without taking it apart, they think that "clutch or torque converter came apart." Also, "transmission fluid totally black with debris."

I did research on line and questioned Dealer about the transmission flush. Could not find Honda recommendation for trans. flush and in fact, found numerous postings that said that transmission flush would harm if not destroy transmission. Is there anything from a Honda source or other "reputable" source that states that a transmission flush should or should not be done on Pilot (2008). At this point, I have no vehicle. This was my fifth Honda product and second Honda Pilot. Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
 

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Honda defines a transmission fluid "flush" as the following:
To thoroughly flush the transmission, the technician should drain and refill it with Honda ATF, then drive the vehicle for a short distance. Do this three times. Then drain and refill the transmission a final time.
 

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Can you get a sample of the fluid to have it analyzed?
Something doesn't seem right.
No strange shifting behavior during this time?
If they used a flushing agent, my blame would be on that. Absolutely no reason for that to be used on a perfectly fine working transmission.
 

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There are some places that will argue with you that they know what they're doing and want to do a flush, often simply because they have the machine on hand and it saves them time. So you have to stand firm and explain what @xGS posted above.

That an actual Honda dealership would do a machine flush points to perfidy, incompetence, or both. Hold them accountable.
 

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There are some places that will argue with you that they know what they're doing and want to do a flush, often simply because they have the machine on hand and it saves them time. So you have to stand firm and explain what @xGS posted above.

That an actual Honda dealership would do a machine flush points to perfidy, incompetence, or both. Hold them accountable.
Just thinking on the accountability aspect of this. If they left a quart, 2 or 3 of the flushing agent, it'd explain the black fluid because of how hot it was likely getting. I guess the question is, if you could prove there is a significant amount of FA (%) in the ATF could you demand anything at this point?
 

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A couple of things.
Your Pilot is 13 years old and has 100,000 miles on it. There is no remaining warranty. We know nothing about previous maintenance that was done on the vehicle or how it was used (or abused).

The Honda dealership recommended a transmission flush. I’ve found this term to be interchangeable with drain and fill because most manufacturers say not to machine flush a transmission (Honda’s aren’t special).

Given the fact that you drove 2k miles after the service was done, the fact that the transmission failed would be considered a coincidence. If it had happened a few hundred miles after then things might be different.

If you had the car in your possession everyone would be recommending draining and refilling the fluid and trying to drive it.

Unfortunately, when the fluid goes from new to black in a relatively short amount of time, that usually means the transmission is toast. Good luck, but don’t expect any assistance from the dealer that performed the service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello All. Thank you for responding. I want to answer the questions that were asked by the responders.

1. I asked the dealer to explain to me what exactly they did in a "transmission flush." The Honda dealer told me that yes, they did hook my car up to a machine that did the " transmission flush." The Honda dealer did not drain and replace transmission fluid, they used a machine and did a flush.

If anyone can point me to any written documentation, preferably from Honda, that states that a "Machine Transmission Flush" should not be done, I would greatly appreciate it. Krayziefoo - can tell me where to find the Honda definition of a transmission fluid "flush" that you quoted above?

2. The Honda Dealer was not able to give me a sample of the transmission fluid from the Pilot after it had been towed to the Honda dealer.
3. The pilot did not display any signs of transmission trouble before it just stopped. No problem shifting. The Pilot engaged and stayed in gear. The transmission was not revving high. There was no liquid on the garage floor where we park it. No buzzing, clunking, humming. Absolutely nothing. No maintenance minders were on. We have never towed anything nor have we taken the Pilot into high altitudes/mountainous terrain. We never took the Pilot "off road."
4. The Pilot had been meticulously maintained. We did every type of maintenance that the Honda Dealer advised us to do because we wanted to keep the Pilot for another 50 to 60,000 miles. The "Machine Flush" was done at the same dealer that had always done all maintenance on the Pilot. The Honda Dealer advised us to have the "Flush" to maintain the Pilot at optimum level and we trusted the Honda Dealer and so we did the "Transmission Flush" and Cleanse. There was a separate charge on the bill for the "Cleanser."
5. I asked the Honda Dealer to show me (in writing) where Honda specifically states that a "Transmission Flush" (defined as hooking the Pilot up to a machine that does the Flush) is part of regular maintenance and that Honda advises this type of "transmission flush" (with a machine. ) The Honda Dealer was unable to do so. The manager of his maintenance department could not produce any type of written documentation regarding the "transmission machine flush." The maintenance manual that came with the Pilot does not mention a "Transmission Flush" only regular Transmission Fluid Replacement through 90,000+ miles.

I have reached out to Honda Automobile Customer Service in CA but have not heard back from them.
I don't believe that anything can be done at this point and that this particular Honda Dealer cannot be held accountable. Going forward, I will have to become more knowledgeable and question any type of maintenance that the "so called" Honda experts are recommending.
 

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Hello All. Thank you for responding. I want to answer the questions that were asked by the responders.

1. I asked the dealer to explain to me what exactly they did in a "transmission flush." The Honda dealer told me that yes, they did hook my car up to a machine that did the " transmission flush." The Honda dealer did not drain and replace transmission fluid, they used a machine and did a flush.

If anyone can point me to any written documentation, preferably from Honda, that states that a "Machine Transmission Flush" should not be done, I would greatly appreciate it. Krayziefoo - can tell me where to find the Honda definition of a transmission fluid "flush" that you quoted above?

2. The Honda Dealer was not able to give me a sample of the transmission fluid from the Pilot after it had been towed to the Honda dealer.
3. The pilot did not display any signs of transmission trouble before it just stopped. No problem shifting. The Pilot engaged and stayed in gear. The transmission was not revving high. There was no liquid on the garage floor where we park it. No buzzing, clunking, humming. Absolutely nothing. No maintenance minders were on. We have never towed anything nor have we taken the Pilot into high altitudes/mountainous terrain. We never took the Pilot "off road."
4. The Pilot had been meticulously maintained. We did every type of maintenance that the Honda Dealer advised us to do because we wanted to keep the Pilot for another 50 to 60,000 miles. The "Machine Flush" was done at the same dealer that had always done all maintenance on the Pilot. The Honda Dealer advised us to have the "Flush" to maintain the Pilot at optimum level and we trusted the Honda Dealer and so we did the "Transmission Flush" and Cleanse. There was a separate charge on the bill for the "Cleanser."
5. I asked the Honda Dealer to show me (in writing) where Honda specifically states that a "Transmission Flush" (defined as hooking the Pilot up to a machine that does the Flush) is part of regular maintenance and that Honda advises this type of "transmission flush" (with a machine. ) The Honda Dealer was unable to do so. The manager of his maintenance department could not produce any type of written documentation regarding the "transmission machine flush." The maintenance manual that came with the Pilot does not mention a "Transmission Flush" only regular Transmission Fluid Replacement through 90,000+ miles.

I have reached out to Honda Automobile Customer Service in CA but have not heard back from them.
I don't believe that anything can be done at this point and that this particular Honda Dealer cannot be held accountable. Going forward, I will have to become more knowledgeable and question any type of maintenance that the "so called" Honda experts are recommending.
I'd keep calling Honda office. The dealership is wrong selling a mechanical ATF flush service. Especially if they used a chemical other than clean transmission fluid. No owners manual ever recommended a machine flush. I'd go see my vehicle with plans to get any drops of ATF I could.
 

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Hello All. Thank you for responding. I want to answer the questions that were asked by the responders.

1. I asked the dealer to explain to me what exactly they did in a "transmission flush." The Honda dealer told me that yes, they did hook my car up to a machine that did the " transmission flush." The Honda dealer did not drain and replace transmission fluid, they used a machine and did a flush.

If anyone can point me to any written documentation, preferably from Honda, that states that a "Machine Transmission Flush" should not be done, I would greatly appreciate it. Krayziefoo - can tell me where to find the Honda definition of a transmission fluid "flush" that you quoted above?

2. The Honda Dealer was not able to give me a sample of the transmission fluid from the Pilot after it had been towed to the Honda dealer.
3. The pilot did not display any signs of transmission trouble before it just stopped. No problem shifting. The Pilot engaged and stayed in gear. The transmission was not revving high. There was no liquid on the garage floor where we park it. No buzzing, clunking, humming. Absolutely nothing. No maintenance minders were on. We have never towed anything nor have we taken the Pilot into high altitudes/mountainous terrain. We never took the Pilot "off road."
4. The Pilot had been meticulously maintained. We did every type of maintenance that the Honda Dealer advised us to do because we wanted to keep the Pilot for another 50 to 60,000 miles. The "Machine Flush" was done at the same dealer that had always done all maintenance on the Pilot. The Honda Dealer advised us to have the "Flush" to maintain the Pilot at optimum level and we trusted the Honda Dealer and so we did the "Transmission Flush" and Cleanse. There was a separate charge on the bill for the "Cleanser."
5. I asked the Honda Dealer to show me (in writing) where Honda specifically states that a "Transmission Flush" (defined as hooking the Pilot up to a machine that does the Flush) is part of regular maintenance and that Honda advises this type of "transmission flush" (with a machine. ) The Honda Dealer was unable to do so. The manager of his maintenance department could not produce any type of written documentation regarding the "transmission machine flush." The maintenance manual that came with the Pilot does not mention a "Transmission Flush" only regular Transmission Fluid Replacement through 90,000+ miles.

I have reached out to Honda Automobile Customer Service in CA but have not heard back from them.
I don't believe that anything can be done at this point and that this particular Honda Dealer cannot be held accountable. Going forward, I will have to become more knowledgeable and question any type of maintenance that the "so called" Honda experts are recommending.
The terminology “flush” is used loosely in Honda service settings. It could actually be synonymous drain and fills to some.

Ask your dealer if an additive is administered to supplement their flush. If so, in the Honda community this is considered a no no.
 

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Get ahold of Honda Japan if all else fails and report that American Honda is having a dealer do this. The Japanese Honda folks care a ton about their product.
 

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I changed my transmission oil @ 90k miles with Honda OEM transmission oil. I just changed my oil again at 135k miles with Valvoline Maxlife Synthetic Transmission oil. I got the car used and would get transmission lights or had issues changing gears (from park to reverse) when I first got the car. Consider changing your transmission filter if it's not buried in the transmission depending on the year of your car.
 

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Perhaps you won’t find anything in the user manual about not flushing the tranny, but there may be a statement to use only Honda OEM fluid. The cleanser isn’t Honda OEM fluid, which might give you a leg to stand on. Keep us posted, and hopefully the dealer and/or corporate helps make this right.
 

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I changed my transmission oil @ 90k miles with Honda OEM transmission oil. I just changed my oil again at 135k miles with Valvoline Maxlife Synthetic Transmission oil. I got the car used and would get transmission lights or had issues changing gears (from park to reverse) when I first got the car. Consider changing your transmission filter if it's not buried in the transmission depending on the year of your car.
Any Pilot after 2005 requires separation of the tranny from the engine to access the tranny filter. It’s a brilliant design.
 

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Any Pilot after 2005 requires separation of the tranny from the engine to access the tranny filter. It’s a brilliant design.
Do I detect a note of sarcasm?

 

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Do I detect a note of sarcasm?

My sarcasm meter pegged out. Any DIYer who owns this transmission knows that an internal unservicable ATF filter is not only stupid but was done purposely by the engineers. This is why I highly recommend that anyone who owns this transmission get on full synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF asap. The thinner fluid can course through this dirty filter easier.
 

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