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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, first post here.

I just bought an 09 EX-L with 176000 and I'm loving it. It's in fantastic condition for the mileage, the leather is near perfect, the paint is surprisingly good(after buffing the hood and touching up door dings) and you could eat off of anything in the engine bay.

I bought it from the original owner and she gave me a giant folder of service records for the last 11-12 years. From what I can tell, the belt was changed early last year, along with new battery, and new tires. They believe they changed the ATF shortly after that but I didn't find any record of that. The shifting seems to be timed well but it definitely has a "kick" during up or downshifting. The kick is silent and doesn't necessary feel like a major issue yet, but it's certainly not smooth and does not feel like the transmission in my friends 2011 with 70ish thousand miles.

I have already put money into this vehicle as I tinted the windows, bought a new OEM grill, changed out the stereo system, bought new rubber floor mats, wipers, brake pads, LED headlights, buffed most of the car, etc. Anything to update the car. I also bought a cheap short ram intake tube and coupled with a K&N filter that I had sitting around since the bolts on the OEM intake sheered off when I tried to loosen them. Plugs have about 2000 miles on them.

I'm $7000 into it and I'm noticing after driving my friends that I have a significant amount less oomph and a strange feeling trans. Should I flush the transmission in hopes that the previous owner actually flushed it last year? I don't want to destroy it with a flush.
 

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Yep, drive it to get the trans up to full temp. drain and re-fill ATF, drive around for another 15min. (use D, R, and your other trans gear selections for a little bit) and repeat whole process two more times. I have an 03' and it took 3.75qts to get the trans level just below the full mark.

I bought 12qts of Honda ATF and ended up using 11 but, it's good to have a little extra just in case.
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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Well since you sunk all that money into the vehicle for "updates" If it were me I would do a three times flush and fill of the transmission. You will probably have at least one person say use Valvoline MaxLife ATF. It is a popular recommendation.

In that stack of receipts is there one that says the valves were checked/adjusted? If you I would suggest you either have that done or do it yourself. Also consider having an injection system pressure cleaning done. Many will tell you just get a bottle of Sea Foam and run it through. Personal experience a pressure injection works far better than pouring a bottle through. Save the Sea Foam for every other fill up.

Someone will probably stop in to tell you about using something like VCM Muzzler or VCM Tuner to over ride the VCM system that Honda uses.
 

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I'm $7000 into it and I'm noticing after driving my friends that I have a significant amount less oomph and a strange feeling trans. Should I flush the transmission in hopes that the previous owner actually flushed it last year? I don't want to destroy it with a flush.
Welcome @Teflon ...drain+fill x 3 is the key words around here rather than flush. Plenty of threads on the topic and has been thoroughly tested by the Piloteers. This would be a good first step towards transmission joy. Can you post a pic of your short ram intake tube?
 

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I agree with everyone else that the 3x drain/fill cycle would be the way to go. (Do NOT sign up to any dedicated flushing systems that the dealer or transmission shops might pitch.) But don't be surprised if nothing changes..... if the PO did regular transmission servicing by the book/MM (which is a 1x drain/fill every 60K or so), I doubt the 3x drain/fill will change things much.

You might try replacing the pressure switches that are readily accessible. There are a bunch of threads on this forum about that.

I'm not a fan of the K&N setup (especially from an engine longevity standpoint), but that's another discussion.

My overall view is that you need to manage your expectations of what a 11-yo vehicle with 176K will be, no matter how much money you throw into it. No matter how aggressive you are with preventative maintenance, there's always a chance the car will suffer a major transmission, engine, or electrical problem that will essentially make the car worth its salvage value. That's not to say you won't drive it happily another 100K, but you do need to be realistic and manage the investment in an old car (unless you don't care about the economics). These are common, everyday, utility cars, not classics and there are so many on the used market, it's difficult to get significantly above book value when you sell, no matter how many improvements you've made.

- Mark
 

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Why is it that everyone seems to recommend 3x drain/refill for the ATF when the Honda procedure for an ATF "flush" is 4x drain/refill?
 

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Why is it that everyone seems to recommend 3x drain/refill for the ATF when the Honda procedure for an ATF "flush" is 4x drain/refill?
People probably interpreting this as either 3 or 4 times. I agree, it's four times. From 03' owner manual:

138808
 

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Keep in mind, the transmission has 175k miles on it. It won't shift like a brand new car. Honda transmissions are a little funky in my opinion. Every Honda I've owned or driven has a had some harsher (not violent) upshift or downshifts.
But yes, when in doubt do a 3x drain and fill. I have drained and filled my fluid 3x over the last year. I just wasn't interested in doing it all at once. The first time I drained it, the fluid hadn't been changed in over 70,000 miles. It was clean and didn't smell burnt.
 

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There is flushing your transmission with something other than transmission fluid and the there is flushing your old fluid out. I think I may try this with my 12 quarts of Beck Arnley DW-1 full synthetic. 👤
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, so many excellent responses here. I really appreciate this forum. The current fluid is a little brown but still reddish enough that I would say that it hasn't been too terribly long since last change. It smells a tiny bit burnt but I've smelled much worse, where it smells foul enough to make you wince.

I think if I could describe it better, I would say it feels just like a manual transmission. The engagement and disengagement of the clutch plates is exaggerated over what I'm used to in an automatic. With the old suspension, it exacerbates the feeling. It will stop pulling just long enough for the suspension to rock the vehicle forward a hair, and then rock back under torque as the next gear engages. Nothing clunky and not extremely obvious unless you're paying attention. I'm subconsciously comparing to my 2018 Ram Rebel which has an excellent(FINALLY) transmission with an 8 speed and under 40k miles.

My point here is that I have always loved Honda's and since I sold my 08 Ridgeline 10 years ago, I have always told myself that I want to buy a Pilot. I am quite seriously considering selling the truck and keeping this as my only vehicle for a while. I just don't want to make that mistake if this is going to be an issue.

"Updating" the vehicle is just an excuse. I love it, and I want to upgrade it because I really enjoy the transformation of a project vehicle.

I am interested in looking into the pressure switches on the transmission and I will be doing a 3-4x drain and fill tomorrow morning. Would anyone else suggest something other than Honda ATF? Why? Also, I will post pictures of the intake as requested and I would be interested in hearing cons about keeping it installed.

UPDATE: So the thing I am most excited to share with you guys is the performance. I ran a tank with Gumout Regane High Mileage the day I bought the vehicle and noticed nothing. Then I ran a bottle of catalytic converter cleaner and it feels like a different car. Maybe all of the miles had created some heavy deposits in the cats and on the sensors? I'm going to wait another few tanks before I run a bottle of Cataclean which seems to be higher rated than what I tried before and see if it improves even more.
 

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Would anyone else suggest something other than Honda ATF? Why?
Honda doesn't claim that their ATF is a fully synthetic formula and some would prefer to use only a fully synthetic formula product.
Others don't have a Honda dealer nearby and would rather use something else available locally.
Still others chafe at the notion of being told that they should only use a Honda brand fluid.
Then there are the cheap [email protected]@rds who refuse to pay the price for the Honda brand fluid.
 

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Would anyone else suggest something other than Honda ATF? Why?
If it smells a little burnt, I'd dump it 3 times. Your 5-speed transmission will perform well on Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF. Its about $18 a gallon at Wal-Mart. It's a thinner fluid which helps old transmissions. The DW-1 fluid at the dealership is not full synthetic, is more expensive and easier to loose it's characteristics when hot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Welcome @Teflon ...drain+fill x 3 is the key words around here rather than flush. Plenty of threads on the topic and has been thoroughly tested by the Piloteers. This would be a good first step towards transmission joy. Can you post a pic of your short ram intake tube?
138850
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looks awesome! Bling under the hood I’m sure you can hear. The critics will note the lack of true CAI but something can be retrofitted one day.

Thank you! When it comes to a true CAI, I'm not concerned. I wasn't necessarily interested in a performance upgrade, I just figured it was a no brainier since the factory airbox was in need of new bolts and a new filter(which I typically buy a K&N reusable anyway) but yes you're absolutely right, the result is pretty cool looking and the sound is excellent.
 

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A lot of intakes don't sound good... I haven't heard a Honda J series that DOESN'T sound good with an intake yet. I like it... looks cool and I'm sure sounds excellent... AND you didn't start talking about performance which would have riled everyone up.
 

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People probably interpreting this as either 3 or 4 times. I agree, it's four times. From 03' owner manual:

View attachment 138808
I see all these recommendations for drain/fill 3 times but my owners and service manuals only say to do one time:

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I think I've only been doing a single drain/fill every time at the recommended MM schedule. Should I be doing this 3x, or am I too late and just continue the single?
 
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