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To answer your question regarding new Honda transmissions, the answer is no*.
Each year beginning in 2003 until 2005 seemed to have a higher number of failures. Once you get past that, things started to improve. The key to a long lasting Honda transmission is frequent maintenance. So if you choose to go the new car route (I don't blame you, 2003 is an old car and not as attractive as the 2006 refresh) you will likely not have any transmission issues.
 

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Without the VTM code most of us were pointing you towards the tranny, or an electrical issue. When is the last time you serviced the rear differential, and have you checked all the electrical connections on the rear diff? If it's been more than 15,000 miles, I'd probably drain and fill the diff with new VTM fluid, clear the code and see what happens.

If that doesn't work, then this may also be one time when spending $100 at the dealership for advanced diagnostics may be worthwhile.

Here's a link to an older HondaTech discussion about DTC VTM 77: vtm light code 77 with no cel troubleshooting - Honda-Tech - Honda Forum Discussion

And here is a PDF version of the Honda VTM (for the Ridgeline but also applies to Pilots): http://www.honda-stream.ru/images/graf/Ridgeline/ESM/N - Rear Differential.pdf

I can understand getting a new car, but if your Pilot isn't rusted, in reality the rebuilt tranny and engine have relatively few miles on them so are you getting new or used and new to you?

Even if you decide to sell it, I would probably fix it first and then sell it - with the rebuilds and new PCM you would definitely get more $$ in a private sale than selling it in the current shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Hey ckeator,

Thought long and hard and brought it into a dealership. Pretty much they scanned the car and said no codes found. And alluded to a new reman trans.

Appreciate the thoughts that everyone provided here.




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I went back to your original post. If I understand correctly, there are about 50k miles on your rebuilt transmission. I assume that you no longer have a warranty on this rebuild?

A good rebuild should have more life than this. A partial or sloppily done rebuild could leave worn original internal seals that are now allowing too much hydraulic pressure to leak internally from the control system. Perhaps a seal conditioner could help to improve internal pressure. Do you use Maxlife ATF? It's made for older trannies, and already has seal conditioners.

Here's one way to test this. If you usually get slip when starting in drive, try revving slightly before shifting. Idle is 750, so maybe try revving to 1200 rpm and then shifting. The higher rpm increases system pressure. If 1st gear engages, then you have an idea of what is happening.

Of course, this doesn't fix anything. If a seal conditioner doesn't bring back function, you are looking at repair or replace, either trans or vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I went back to your original post. If I understand correctly, there are about 50k miles on your rebuilt transmission. I assume that you no longer have a warranty on this rebuild?

A good rebuild should have more life than this. A partial or sloppily done rebuild could leave worn original internal seals that are now allowing too much hydraulic pressure to leak internally from the control system. Perhaps a seal conditioner could help to improve internal pressure. Do you use Maxlife ATF? It's made for older trannies, and already has seal conditioners.

Here's one way to test this. If you usually get slip when starting in drive, try revving slightly before shifting. Idle is 750, so maybe try revving to 1200 rpm and then shifting. The higher rpm increases system pressure. If 1st gear engages, then you have an idea of what is happening.

Of course, this doesn't fix anything. If a seal conditioner doesn't bring back function, you are looking at repair or replace, either trans or vehicle.
Hey STMech,

Yeah I was looking at the used car market and was blown away at how expensive things are at the moment.


That said to answer your question.
1) no longer warranty. It was one year and that was 2016/2017 (I don’t recall).
2) max life no. Unfortunately not. I went with Honda fluid.
3) regarding revving. At this point I don’t think I’m gonna proceed any further with the car. I really do appreciate your time. However if you are generally curious about it. I’d experiment just for you. (Let me wait til after my finals. ;) ). Great observations though!


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Lol. Btw. If anyone is generally curious. They quoted 9.5k.


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That would dampen my curiosity right there. At that point, I would just move on to a different solution or another vehicle.
 

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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)
Blinking D is the oil pressure switch that you can buy at Auto Zone for little money that some handy men can put in. There are U-tube video to show you. I have to replace mine as it keeps coming and going away, annoying. In my case the tranny is working fine, oil is clean, just error light along with occasional engine light that started a few months after I bought it at 96,000 miles. Very common issue, looking for a recall since it is so prevalent.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Blinking D is the oil pressure switch that you can buy at Auto Zone for little money that some handy men can put in. There are U-tube video to show you. I have to replace mine as it keeps coming and going away, annoying. In my case the tranny is working fine, oil is clean, just error light along with occasional engine light that started a few months after I bought it at 96,000 miles. Very common issue, looking for a recall since it is so prevalent.
Hey jgworldski,

Thanks for the response. I don’t have that issue (Blinking D) at the moment. I provided that background context to explain the purpose behind the rebuilt tranny. That said though, I agree that YouTube has lots of information. Just make sure you follow one that makes sense.

I wouldn’t hold my breath on a recall especially when one already happened (which I didn’t fall Under) and if so, in my opinion would only delay the poor design (as others have already expressed on the forums)

Good luck with yours.


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Discussion Starter #30
Hey STMech,

Yeah I was looking at the used car market and was blown away at how expensive things are at the moment.


That said to answer your question.
1) no longer warranty. It was one year and that was 2016/2017 (I don’t recall).
2) max life no. Unfortunately not. I went with Honda fluid.
3) regarding revving. At this point I don’t think I’m gonna proceed any further with the car. I really do appreciate your time. However if you are generally curious about it. I’d experiment just for you. (Let me wait til after my finals. ;) ). Great observations though!


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As follow up. After midterm, I finally had time to test out what STMech suggested ( rev 2k).

Hopefully you see this STMech, but man it worked. Which lines up with the seal theory.

1) this kind of makes me question “sticking with dealer only” fluids. (Note: this applies not only to Honda, but also my Nissan )
2) if this is a “seal” issue. How confident would you guys be in on switching to max life? (I know only way to know is to try). I’m trying to gauge if it’s still worth trying stuff if it’s a bandaid solution that will last 1 month. Wishful thinking here to maybe last 6 months. :).

Video:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WW4r1fLr4QScitWIuNVYyMFVUyDJbLHn/view?usp=drivesdk


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As follow up. After midterm, I finally had time to test out what STMech suggested ( rev 2k).

Hopefully you see this STMech, but man it worked. Which lines up with the seal theory.

1) this kind of makes me question “sticking with dealer only” fluids. (Note: this applies not only to Honda, but also my Nissan )
2) if this is a “seal” issue. How confident would you guys be in on switching to max life? (I know only way to know is to try). I’m trying to gauge if it’s still worth trying stuff if it’s a bandaid solution that will last 1 month. Wishful thinking here to maybe last 6 months
IMO you ain’t got much to lose by switching to MaxLife ATF plus it has many positive posts on this forum. Full synthetic, less expensive and ez to pickup at Walmart.
 

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^^^^ What he said and...

Perhaps a seal conditioner could help to improve internal pressure.


Yes folks, it works on automatic transmissions.

ATP AT205 Transmission Leak Sealant | RockAuto

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Please enter this code in the ‘How Did You Hear about Us’ box to receive the discount. Please enter ONLY the discount code, no other words or numbers. All orders are placed online and the discount code must be entered before an order is submitted to receive the discount.

Hope your midterms went well. Now take a deep breath and start hunkering down for finals.
142109
 

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Good luck! Maxlife may make a difference. As for AT 205, if you try it, let us know what happens.
 
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