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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone new to the forums but not to cars.

Car history:
- 2003 Honda Pilot​
- 160k miles. (Family owned miles)​
- Engine rebuilt at 100k​
- Tranny rebuilt at 110k (due to Flashing/Blinking D - though it seems it could have been solenoids/clutch pressure etc..., but I digress). No longer in warranty.​
Recent Works:
- 3x ATF drain and fill - Honda DW-1
- Replaced the Shift solenoid A & C as I got a P0700 - 70-03
- Replaced the 3rd & 4th Clutch pressure switch, hoping that it'll fix my issue. [No luck]

After replacing the Shift solenoid A&C no more CEL/DTC/MIL. However following the suggestion from 94eg!. I do see the VTM-4 blink a code 77. No blinking D.

Symptoms: Similar to the this 04 issue. ( "Couple times a week when I accelerate from a stop, the engine revs up, but the car acts as it's in neutral. If I shift it into neutral and back to drive, then it's OK. I think the trans has sticky solenoids, but not sure. Please let me know what you find.")

The difference here is that I have to shift down to D1 OR D2 before I can drive again. Once I pick up speed, I can shift back to D3 & D4 without any hiccups.

Other observations.
1. Can put the car in reverse.
2. Sometimes, it drives (D) from a stop, other times not so well.
3. The times that it doesn't move while in (D). when I shift down into D1/D2. Sometimes a "hard lurch" can be felt and heard. (When RPMs are near idle)


I'm not sure if anyone has experienced the symptoms I've described above, or even faced a code 77 before. Would like to hear everyone else's thoughts.

Thanks in advance everyone, and looking forward to the comments (good, bad, so long as it's constructive)
 

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Mine does the same thing where it seems it shifts out of gear. It’s been like that for me before and after I rebuilt my transmission. It doesn’t happen as often before my transmission was rebuilt. May happen once every couple months or more. I used to shift to D3 but learned that it gets back in gear if I wait a couple secs. I just kinda coast till it gets back in gear. I guess I just learned to live with it. It’s been 9 years and 110K miles since my transmission was rebuilt and it’s still going without any codes. I have to say it only happens at slow speeds so usually in a parking lot.


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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply Princexman. Bummer that you got a similar experience. Lets see what others think. Hopefully something can be shared, I heard back when I was taking some transmission courses at a local community college class that a majority of dealerships now a days don't really do 'transmission rebuilds' and that they usually source it out. So I'm kind of curious as to what the community thinks and how they go about troubleshooting / narrowing down issues around transmissions. Especially when there's numerous "Flashing D" but was had difficulties while searching for Transmission issues with "NO Flashing D"
 

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'm not sure if anyone has experienced the symptoms I've described above, or even faced a code 77 before. Would like to hear everyone else's thoughts.
I haven't experienced your problems - but because you had the engine and tranny rebuilt - did you have the PCM flashed/upgraded? Also, have you checked all the linkages and throttle cables?

To me, it sounds like the engine and tranny are somehow not 'in sync'.

I'm not familiar enough with the electronics to know exactly where to look, but based on your description and the ability to shift through all the gears, it seems like your problem is more miscommunication/electronic than mechanical. I also think if it were the solenoid or clutches that it the problem would increase in severity and/or frequency - but it sounds like it's relatively random/intermittent just 'consistent' enough to be a problem/issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the reply ckeator. To be honest I’m not sure if the PCM was reflashed or not. Things were replaced by a local shop (at the time ~2012ish). And drove fine up until recently. My feelings of it being non mechanical, like you is where I’m at as well. Just unsure what else can be done to eliminate as many unknown variables.

Debating on whether to

A) shell out the cash for a new PCM without confidence it being the culprit

B) buying a new vehicle at the time (Not really going anywhere with COVID, and expensive w/ low supply in general)

C) taking it to a dealer for the sake of knowing , but at the same time self bias-ing thinking they’ll market it as a transmission, end of story.


Either case I’ll look into what you’ve suggested. Appreciate the response!


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If you haven’t already, it may be worthwhile to sniff around the Odyssey, Civic or Accord forums. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find something helpful there...
 

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Did you replace the external transmission filter? My 2003 definitely shifts better with a new filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey STMech,
Thanks for the reply. I didn't see this filter and am assuming when you mention "external," that this is the one being referenced: DIY (2003-2004) ATF filter replacement

If its different, do you have a link that I can refer to?

Saw in the service manual the internal one didn't think there was 2 filters for this car.

Thanks again!
 

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Yes, that's the external filter. You can get them on Amazon or Rock Auto under $20. I heard that Honda wants $60. The external filter is in line with the cooler loop. The hot ATF is cooled, filtered, and then feeds the control solenoids. If the filter has never been changed, it can restrict some flow. I think there is a bypass valve in the filter, if it totally clogs.
 

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I pulled the battery tray for better access, and I wound up reusing the old o-ring for the top pipe. You may want to get a new o-ring with the filter.
 

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FWIW - Honda swears that top filter does not need to be changed. I asked my local dealership and they never change it, they don't even list a shop rate for the service on first gens. My Pilot has 325,000 on the original filter - I was going to change it when I replaced the radiator a few months ago, and then simply said 'screw it' - the Pilot survived for 17 years with the original, I'm not convinced it needs a new one now.

I'm not saying it won't run better with a new filter, but I'm also not convinced it would cause problems if you don't change it. In theory, if the ATF is changed regularly and the pan is clean that filter is truly just a secondary/accessory filter.
 

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Then why did Honda even put it in the system. My old '61 VW beetle had a oil screen, not a filter. Maybe we should just use a mesh screen to catch pieces of broken main bearings? I say, if you have high miles, change the external filter. It's not that hard to do, and it's cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I hear ya both. And it’s definitely worth trying. Cheap insurance is why I also changed the 3rd and 4th clutch pressure switch. Though it didn’t help it was literally worth the try. Now the PCM in my book isn’t worth the try just yet. Thanks to both.


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Yes, that's the external filter. You can get them on Amazon or Rock Auto under $20. I heard that Honda wants $60. The external filter is in line with the cooler loop. The hot ATF is cooled, filtered, and then feeds the control solenoids. If the filter has never been changed, it can restrict some flow. I think there is a bypass valve in the filter, if it totally clogs.
You gonna open the case and change the internal ‘filter’ too? I mean, by this logic if it’s a filter it will need to be changed or cleaned.

Perhaps Honda engineers added a second filter on the top to make sure the ATF stayed clean. The 2 filters do twice the work and the goal was to help owners not worry about changing either...
 

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Personally, I change my filter every 100k miles,
I suspect the real goal of the Honda engineers was to just get you past the warranty period, I doubt they spend much time on how to extend the life of the transmission out to 300k miles or further.
 

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Personally, I change my filter every 100k miles,
I suspect the real goal of the Honda engineers was to just get you past the warranty period, I doubt they spend much time on how to extend the life of the transmission out to 300k miles or further.
Do you honestly think engineers are asked to design something until the end of the warranty?

If so, then in theory that filter should get changed at each ATF drain & fill - the original engine and drivetrain warranty on first gen (at least 03 and 04) was only 3yr/36,000 miles...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
FOLLOW-UP.

Replaced the filter.
> No luck
Spoke to a trusted mechanic (avoided in person COVID reasons). He mentioned that [based on my description] he’s seen these symptoms before on a few other Honda’s he’s worked with and alluded to a malfunctioning PCM (I didn’t mention the 77 code).

He deduced that mechanically it’s sound (given that I can drive and manually shift without hesitation)

And that since I’ve changed the notorious/nefarious switches, electrically that sounds good too.

Which further indicates the computer.

From what I’ve read and what he mentioned that the PCM ranges in price 500-1k, minus the dealer reprogramming.

Decisions are looking to a new car. (17 year old car, not sure I want to sink more money in to something like this)

Side question. Do the new Honda’s have similar transmission issues?


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"
You gonna open the case and change the internal ‘filter’ too? I mean, by this logic if it’s a filter it will need to be changed or cleaned."

STMech: Of course not. That's a foolish suggestion on your part. Obviously the external filter is fairly easy to access, and cheap to replace. The internal filter can only be changed by removing the engine and transmission, and then disassembling the transmission. Why would I suggest servicing the internal filter?

My point is, fix what you can, especially if it's not too difficult or expensive. Try the lower cost fixes before you have to replace the transmission or junk the car.

It sounds like the OP is thinking about moving on to a newer vehicle. It's a personal decision, and when you are talking about an older, high mileage Pilot, then it makes sense to limit how many dollars you want to put into it. You can always sell it as-is, let someone else try to fix it, and get something newer that will give you joy.
 

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FOLLOW-UP.

Replaced the filter.


Spoke to a trusted mechanic (avoided in person COVID reasons). He mentioned that [based on my description] he’s seen these symptoms before on a few other Honda’s he’s worked with and alluded to a malfunctioning PCM (I didn’t mention the 77 code).

He deduced that mechanically it’s sound (given that I can drive and manually shift without hesitation)

And that since I’ve changed the notorious/nefarious switches, electrically that sounds good too.

Which further indicates the computer.

From what I’ve read and what he mentioned that the PCM ranges in price 500-1k, minus the dealer reprogramming.

Decisions are looking to a new car. (17 year old car, not sure I want to sink more money in to something like this)

Side question. Do the new Honda’s have similar transmission issues?


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If you think it's the PCM yank one from an 03 in a junkyard, which if doesn't fix it can always take it and get your money back. (Subject to individual yard policies).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you think it's the PCM yank one from an 03 in a junkyard, which if doesn't fix it can always take it and get your money back. (Subject to individual yard policies).
Appreciate the insight. I thought about that too but the one in San Diego no returns. And even so I’ll have to get it reprogrammed, and no guarantees of the condition of the PCM. Too much risk for little reward.


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