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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A few months ago I mentioned that about once a week, right after leaving my driveway first thing in the morning, my 04 Pilot will slip into Neutral when it first tries to go from 1st to 2nd gear. That still happens occasionally, but now there's a new problem.

In the past week (driving about 15 miles each day), the transmission has gotten increasingly clunky when shifting into or out of 3rd gear, and sometimes does it in 4th gear when I take my foot off the gas. It also seems late when shifting, and kind of revs a little when going in and out of gears. I had replaced the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches last summer shortly after I bought it when I got the flashing D and some shuddering when coasting at speed. Things smoothed out after that last summer, but I'm wondering if maybe I need to replace one or both of them again, or if I need to go a little further and replace one or more of the shift solenoids (A, B, or C?) and/or the larger solenoid assembly ($$$!). I did a drain-and-fill of Maxlife a few days ago and all seemed fine. I did the same about 5k miles ago when I last changed the oil, so the fluid was still nice and pretty.

My bigger question is I'm wondering if it's harmful to drive the Pilot 400 miles this weekend with the transmission slipping and clunking? It's still my only vehicle and I need to make a roadtrip on Saturday, so I'm debating whether I should rent a car to prevent possible transmission damage until I can get the various solenoids shipped to me and changed out. Which also leads to my next question, what the best source for the solenoids? Looks like plenty of aftermarket and possibly fake OEM ones on Amazon, and all the reviews are less-than-stellar. Is OEM from a reputable parts dealer the safest way to go with something like this?

Also, what are the correct part numbers and quantities of the shift solenoids for an 04 Pilot? I see conflicting information regarding part numbers and whether it's part A, B, C, or something else. Like this list:

Shift Solenoid A: 28400-P6H-013
Shift Solenoid B: 28500-P6H-013
Shift Solenoid C: 28500-P6H-013
Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid Valve: 28400-P6H-013

That makes it seem like A and the TCC solenoid are the exact same part number, and the B&C are the same, correct? So I need to buy 2 of each and then figure out where they go? The diagrams on various Honda parts vendors are equally confusing, and most of them list the Solenoid B as discontinue and unavailable.
 

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I had a 2011 FWD Ford Escape with 120k that I had picked up used a few years ago. It was owned by a little old lady and was about perfect except that every once and a while the trans would jerk when doing some hard acceleration or slowing down from about 50MPH. I did a tranny fluid change and the the issue disappeared after about a week (and stayed away for about 2 years until I sold it)

With that said, if you are not confident in your vehicle, I definately would not take it on a road trip. I made that mistake a few years ago on a 500 mile road trip with a pickup truck with a bad front wheel bearing (that I knew about). My carelessness cost me about $525 and that was with a friend who drove out to rescue me. I was alone, but it would have been way worse had it been a family trip. Personally I would spend the $150 on renting a car instead of gambling that your car won't break down at the most inopportune time and place. It will derail your weekend plans and then some.

If after a few weeks or months of trouble free driving with your Pilot, then I would say go ahead and take a road trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How many miles since the last atf change?

I agree rent a car.
I mentioned in the post that I did one ATF drain-and-fill a few days ago. I also did a D&F about 3 months ago (5k miles), and another 2 D&F's a few months before that when I also changed the ATF filter and installed the aftermarket trans cooler. So I don't think it's fluid related. I just read a bunch more posts about jerky Pilot transmissions that were fixed by replacing shift solenoids, and all of their descriptions sound exactly what I've been experiencing lately, so I'm pretty sure that's the culprit.
 

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For shift solenoids, gotta ask: did you use OEM? If not, short of performing a transmissionectomy, time to bite the bullet and get OEM. You're already using Valvoline Maxlife ATF, so that's good.
 

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Given that everything in there is already new, I would take it to a pro familiar with Honda 5-speeds before throwing more parts at it. Clean fluid suggests no clutch slipping, but routinely driving short distances may mitigate the overheating you would expect to see with that. The symptoms you describe match the final 1000 miles I got from mine.

I'm also voting to rent for the road trip. I don't think the worst case scenario is damage to the tranny you've got. I think it's having the tranny die and leaving you parked somewhere inconvenient.

Maybe you could drop it off on Friday and get a loaner or a low-cost rental through the shop for the trip. Pick up the Pilot Monday afternoon and decide where to go from there.
 

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Definitely rent.
I think it was talked about how these older model Pilot transmissions were known for low ATF pressure causing them to slip into neutral. Was there any more discussion on how to resolve this condition.
I'm having doubts it's shift solenoids if there is no CEL for these.
 

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How many miles does your Pilot have?
Could just be at the ends of it's life.

Try a few drain and fills but start thinking whether or not you'd like to put a bunch of money in an older vehicle.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For shift solenoids, gotta ask: did you use OEM? If not, short of performing a transmissionectomy, time to bite the bullet and get OEM. You're already using Valvoline Maxlife ATF, so that's good.
I haven't replaced any shift solenoids yet, just the 2 pressure switches last year, that was the main question in my post was to ask what brand or shift solenoids would people recommend if not OEM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How many miles does your Pilot have?
Could just be at the ends of it's life.

Try a few drain and fills but start thinking whether or not you'd like to put a bunch of money in an older vehicle.
Good luck.
190k miles. I've done 8 drain-and-fills in the past 6 months, including one this past weekend so I don't think more clean ATF is going to improve anything if it a part that's acting up.
 

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I haven't replaced any shift solenoids yet, just the 2 pressure switches last year, that was the main question in my post was to ask what brand or shift solenoids would people recommend if not OEM.
I'd believe the consensus would be OEM only on any of the electronics on the transmission.
 
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190k miles. I've done 8 drain-and-fills in the past 6 months, including one this past weekend so I don't think more clean ATF is going to improve anything if it a part that's acting up.
In your first post, you describe a "false neutral" between 1st and 2nd gear, and RPM flares when shifting into the higher gears. As far as I know, these symptoms indicate insufficient ATF pressure available when the gear change clutch pistons attempt to engage. This can be a valve body problem, or a worn pump, or internal pressure leaks, or failing clutch piston seals. Or all of the above.

The computer and solenoids control the action of the hydraulic spool valves in the internal valve body. The spool valves do the actual shifting. Bad solenoids could be a problem. Sticky spool valves internally could be a problem. However, your history of ATF and filter changes would indicate that these systems should be clean.

If the shift flares continue, clutch slippage occurs at every shift, and rapid clutch wear and failure is very possible. Probably time to talk to a competent transmission shop about options.

Rent a car for your trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My vote is rent a car. It’s too much of a gamble to take the Pilot given its tranny woes.

This is where I order OEM parts from. For tranny electronic components I’d stick with OEM after hearing of people issues with aftermarket components.
I ordered the solenoids from that page earlier today, parts should arrive middle of next week. I'll just try to drive it very little between now and then.
 

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I ordered the solenoids from that page earlier today, parts should arrive middle of next week. I'll just try to drive it very little between now and then.
Hope that the solenoid replacement does the trick, and your Pilot lives for many more miles.

I want to admit here up front that I am just a shade tree mechanic, sharing my limited knowledge and unlimited (unsupported) opinions on this forum. So please take my advice with a grain of salt.

It's very possible that what your Pilot's transmission needs is new, fully functional, control solenoids. It is also possible that the internal seals have worn and hardened from years of heat and dirty fluid, and that new solenoids won't fix the problem. Once you install the new solenoids, the answer to this question should be clear.

If new solenoids do not fix the gear shifting problems, IMHO, you are looking at either a rebuilt transmission, or a shot at using a seal conditioner. I am reluctant to recommend use of a seal conditioner in your case, because you have been running Valvoline Maxlife for some time, and there are some seal conditioners already blended in to that ATF. However, if you have tried everything short of a rebuild, then why not try a "hot" seal conditioner. AT 205 is a product that has been recommended by Scotty Kilmer, and other grease gurus. Maybe it will give you a couple more thousand miles. Maybe not. In the end, if the transmission is worn out, it's worn out, but snake oil might buy you another year or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A little follow-up for anyone curious: I just replaced the Shift Solenoid Valves A, B, and C, and the Clutch Pressure Control Solenoid Valve C, and that seemed to solve my problem. I had planned to replace the torque converter clutch solenoid too, since I already bought it (it's the same part as Solenoid Valve A and I had bought 2), but it's the hardest to get to and would require removing the intake tube to be able to reach it, so I figured I'd save it till later. I also didn't replace or remove the dual linear pressure control solenoid Valve A & B unit because the gasket I ordered last week still hasn't arrived. I wasn't planning to replace that one because it costs a lot, and apparently most times that one just needs the little filter pipes inside the housing cleaned out. Doing the 4 valves today took about 3 hours from start to finish, so not terribly time consuming.

I removed the battery and the starter in order to reach the A and C shift solenoids. B shift solenoid is a little hard to get to, but not too bad if you've got long arms and skinny fingers. The shift solenoids were all extremely rusty and had some corrosion around the body, and had a lot of oil in the electrical connector when I removed it from the solenoid. I blew out the oil with compressed air and also cleaned the area around the solenoid carefully before replacing it to make sure I wasn't introducing any of the flaky crud into the transmission.

Clutch Pressure Solenoid C was the easiest to reach. That's a larger, linear solenoid on the front of the transmission with a rubber gasket with a little metal filter screen embedded in it. The metal filter in the gasket was extremely clogged up with crud, so much so that when examining the filter in front of a bright flashlight, barely any light could be seen through the mesh. I blew it out with brake cleaner and immediately saw a big difference. I had ordered a new solenoid and gasket, so I put the new ones on the Pilot, and I'll keep this old one as a spare, but I have a feeling that crud in the filter was a big part of my bad shifting.

I reassembled everything and took it for a test drive, and it's shifting like a brand new car now. No more delayed shifts when accelerating, and buttery smooth and quiet when shifting up or down. I'm going to give it a little time to see if there's still anything else acting up before I decide if I feel the need to replace the torque converter solenoid and clean the linear pressure control solenoid unit.
 

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It understandably may be hard for you to say, but is it possible that just changing (or even cleaning out) clutch pressure solenoid C might have been enough to solve the problem? Especially if the other two are harder to reach?

Would you have to remove the starter to get to just that one (C)?

Oh how I wish you took pictures and could post them.

In any case, congrats on solving it, and enjoy the ride. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
According to the A/T troubleshooting guide in the service manual, the best description of my symptoms was "excessive shock or flares on 2-3 upshift or 3-2 downshift", and the first thing on the list to check/replace is the shift solenoid valve C, which is the lowest one underneath the starter, and doesn't require removing the starter if you want to access it from below. But because I have had a few other random shifting issues, I wanted to replace some of the other valves too, so going in from the top was necessary for getting to the other 2 shift solenoids. Removing the starter is pretty easy and gives you so much more room to work. So it could be that all I needed to do was either replace the shift solenoid valve C, or clean the filter on the clutch pressure solenoid C, but I didn't mind spending a few extra minutes and a few extra dollars to replace all of those rusty 17 year old parts. I will probably still remove and clean the A/B solenoid unit since that's the second suggestion on the troubleshooting list. It's right next to the transmission filter, and I think I want to do another drain and fill and change the filter after swapping all these valves, just in case I accidentally introduced some dirt into the system. I'll take some photos next time I'm doing that.
 
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