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Who thinks Honda Pilots suck???

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I own a 2008 Pilot, purchased in 2010 with 20k miles on it. Around 100k miles the headliner began failing, and now at 195k has completely failed. It also destroyed a torque converter at 140k miles, and needed a another torque converter and trans rebuild around 165k miles. It also needed a new “fancypants” fluid filled engine mount around 120k miles, and another around 180k miles. Not to mention impossible to track rattles from within the front passenger door, and that the timing belt and water pump need replaced every 110k miles.

I don’t mind the other part failures like the starter, throttle position sensor, and O2 sensors, but the latter stuff seems rather absurd for a Honda. The cabin air filter is also a piss poor design by some turd engineer that has never turned a wrench. Most forums seem to hold Pilots with high esteem, but I view mine as a liability and time bomb, and can’t wait to unload it on some poor unsuspecting bastard. And I suspect resale on ones like mine is so poor because dealers and KBB have gotten wise to how failure prone the first generation Pilots are.

Anyone else with a first gen or later that thinks Pilots are garbage? I’ve grown wise to the Honda/Acura cool-aid piss and find Toyotas to be a far superior option.
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Anyone else with a first gen or later that thinks Pilots are garbage?
No doubt there is, but why bother discussing? If you really see it as "a liability and a time bomb", talking about it probably won't change your mind. Sell at today's inflated prices and buy something that makes you smile.

Life is too short for seeking company in misery, I think, even on the internet.
 

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I have the base LX Model with 170,000 miles when I joined The Piloteers in October of 2022
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Dear GarbagePilot owner:

Welcome to this Honda Pilot club. You'll find a tremendous amount of helpful information, plus lotsa helpful people, in here. I'm a "newbie" Piloteer, myself. I have been beyond suitably impressed by all the posts I've read. I was actually led to join the Piloteers because most every time I looked for an answer to a question I had regarding my new-to-me 2004 Pilot, there'd be a search result, if not two of "em, for the Piloteers website.

TWO replacement front engine mounts? TWO replacement torque converters? A rebuilt transmission? With all those other replacements? You poor guy...

I sympathize with you that so much has gone wrong with your Pilot. Your tale of woe about your Pilot is distressing, indeed. Most Piloteers are quite enamored with theirs, as you mentioned in your "discussion starter." It could be refreshing for all the happy longtime Piloteers to read your story. In your case, too many parts have failed in your Pilot. No one can reasonably argue about that. I'm curious to see who else has also been disappointed with a Honda Pilot

Was your Pilot driven especially harshly in its first 20,000 miles, perhaps? Used like a truck to haul heavy loads offroad by a mining prospector, for example? Was it not gently broken-in the first thousand miles? Was it then never given any maintenance so you got it with barely one oil change and nothing else?

Are there a great many potholes in the roads where you live, GarbagePilot? Do you live in the midst of a crowded, huge city with stop-n-go driving as well as too many potholes? Do you live in another extreme environment that's rough on cars, such as the desert, where the daily temperature highs and lows vary so much, going from 90 degrees on sunny winter days repeatedly go down to below freezing just a few hours later, at night. Maybe you live in the far north near the Canadian border in a locale where there's mountains and snow added to very long, very cruel, subzero winters (but, pretty Northern Lights).

Do you drive your Pilot "hard?" (I promise I mean no offense.) My old, dear friend who's a "car guy," has nicknamed me "Quarter Throttle." I nurse my cars, driving slower than the quintessential "little, old lady going to church on Sunday." I admit to having no money and knowing all too well how time-consuming, how money-consuming, it is to work on cars.

Has your Pilot been getting good preventive maintenance from you, since you got it?

Do you work on your Pilot yourself or do you bring your car to the same, possibly less than honest, mechanic?

Your falling down headliner has happened to quite a few other early Pilots. When looking up "common problems, common issues, First Generation Honda Pilots," you'll find the headliner there, just like the need for a replacement radiator (YAY! At least this didn't happen to you.), low beam headlight difficulties, power steering system leaks, failing lower front control arms, terrible rear underbody rusting, etc.

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GarbagePilot, I have had my 2004 Pilot "stripper model" LX for almost two years, driving it from its odometer reading of approximately 161,000 up to 170,000 miles. The previous owner drove rather gently and lived in an affluent suburban area. I got the car somewhat neglected, with minimal preventive maintenance, but thankfully there was a new timing belt installed at the recommended 105,000 miles. Onlty the power steering pump and the radiator was replaced by the previous owner. They found the car to be "very driveable."

I have drained and refilled all the fluids. The fluid for the automatic transmission was nearly black. I put in a new filter after the third of four 3.5 quart fluid replacements. The cabin filter was a project to replace, you're right, but I got it done.

I seem to have gotten the complete opposite sort of Pilot to what you got, GarbagePilot. The alternator, the starter, all the motor mounts, the air conditioning system, the MAP sensor and throttle body, the headlights, they all work properly and all are still original. If yours has been a lemon mine has been a peach. Even the outside now looks great after some waxing and trim treatments. I was inspired to brush on some accents using a can of bright orange paint I have. Remember how all cars had the flaking clear coat in the 1990's? Not anymore, including this Pilot I got which never once had been washed or waxed, nor vacuumed inside.

The only parts, other than filters, that I have replaced on my 2004 Pilot are three new tire valves for the total of five tires, some new tubing for patching leaks in the power steering and for the transmission cooler, and, keeping all four original (Yes, am I lucky, or what?) rotors, I replaced all the brake pads and all the calipers.

"Why do you constantly work four days of the week," workers at auto assembly plants would be asked. The attendance was so poor. "Because you don't pay me enough to work only three days," was the routine answer. There are people who love performing their jobs but "not so much" working on an assembly line.

You must have gotten a Pilot that was built on a Monday morning after a three day weekend. I must have gotten a Pilot built midday, on a Friday. (wink, wink)

I have been surprised to see how much my 18-year old Pilot is worth. Even the low trade-in value is $1,700. Your 2008 could fetch you $7,500, easy, GarbagePilot. After all, it has so many new parts. (LOL?) :ROFLMAO:

Best wishes to you and better luck with your new, and different, car______
 

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I have the base LX Model with 170,000 miles when I joined The Piloteers in October of 2022
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Let's be kind to this unfortunate soul, Tacoma'03Pilot. Let's commiserate and allow him to "vent."

You're right to have written what you did. Then again, I'm curious to read the responses to what Garbage08Pilot wrote. They may prove instructional. We might learn something useful.

If you're still driving your 2003 Pilot in Tacoma, good for you, sincerely. (y) You must be another lucky Pilot owner, like me and the original owner of my 2004...
 

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2011 Pilot EX-L
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All the modern cars are shit. I have a '93 turbodiesel that I can repair out in the field with a toothpick and a nailclipper. But they are no longer making them like that.
Everything is designed to be tight for tolerances and such (thanks, Greta), and everything is designed to last around 150-200K miles (thanks, Greta). Because that's how long most North Americans will keep their cars for and that's realistically how long this super-critical-designed-for-thinnest-tolerances-to-squeeze-every-last-mile engines and drivetrains would last for. Nothing you can do about it. EVs will be the next plague, they are simpler but would face similar obsolescence issues in our lifetime (motors and batteries plus all the hardware that seems to be never enough for the next software versions).

Having said that, Pilot is definitely not the worst of the bunch. Which is why you can almost never find them at the junkyards. Plenty of GM and Ford and the like. Lots of Mazdas and Nissans, but you won't easily find Pilots that are not at least 10-15 years old and not driven to beyond 200K miles.
Kinda the same with Toyotas - won't find too many recent Highlanders and RAV4s there either. The 2004 Highlander I sold back in the day when we got our Pilot is now worth more than what I got for it :)
 

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I have the base LX Model with 170,000 miles when I joined The Piloteers in October of 2022
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What a contrast this 2008 Pilot owner's experience has been compared to yours, GarbagePilot. Wow.


My wife loves her 2008 Pilot, has 330,411 & counting. Bought w/22,000 miles on it. Have done all work myself...we’ve been lucky.
-3rd battery & alternator
-Ball joints, tie rods, rear shocks
-Countless brake pads, original rotors.
-pcv valve, 3rd set of plugs
-original tranny; drain & refill every 40,000.
  • New EGR valve, had to clean 3 times.
  • 2 timing belt services
  • New radiator
  • Valve adjustment, new gaskets
  • VCM oil change
  • Transfer case oil change
  • probably more...
 

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Sorry for your misfortune sell that lemon and move on hopefully your next vehicle will be a good one. So far my family has been lucky with Honda five so far also have gone through 6 Toyotas 4 great ones and two not so great. Good luck on your next vehicle!
 

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You know, when I saw the OP's post go up I thought "why respond". I mean, a headline that's falling down or loosening can be fixed as a DIY project or any body shop in half a day. He (or she) says nothing about how the car was maintained or driven. Also, expecting you're going to get 300k miles out of any car trouble free is just not being realistic. If I had to repair almost anything on my Pilot after 150k miles I think I'd be pretty happy. I use this forum for knowledge and as a bit of a crystal ball. If I can read about potential problems or DIY fixes in advance I know what to look out for and what to possibly expect.

Coming to a forum like this might help someone blow off some steam and get something off their chest, but for all intents and purposes you're falling on deaf ears. We're here to help, not complain.
 

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Honda fluids only. Recommended fluid service intervals. Wrong fluid will cause these issues, or not changing your fluid as recommended 3 times drain and fill with driving in-between.
Headliner was likely steam cleaned or wetted too much. Could have been "deep" cleaned by previous owner. Most headliners suffer from improper cleaning.
The first engine/trans mounts to fail are the upper side mounts. If they get replaced in time you can spare the others from failing prematurely. Keeping an eye on these mounts are key.
Don't go to any shop to get serviced. Make sure you go to a shop that specializes in Honda/Acura. The reliability is with Honda parts/fluids. Once you start to stray away from Honda is when you have issues.
Batteries are also important for Honda v6. Make sure the water is topped off, the terminals are free of corrosion and dirt. You can get voltage loss from the dirt on the battery, and this will cause transmission issues. Just wipe around the terminal on the cover so the electricity doesn't have a path onto the dirt.
Fluid levels are just as important as having the right fluids. Too much or too little will cause issues. Even with fresh new fluids.
Your starter could be having a hard time due to resistance on start-up. Make sure you clean your EGR ports, replace your pcv valve which can cause failed o2 sensors from the oil getting into the combustion chamber and coating the sensors and clogging the cat, valve lash is very important and if ignored can cause burned valves, spark plugs, and clean your air filter.
I have 2005 one of the worst years, with 288,000 miles on it. I got it in rough shape from previous owner that abused it. Now it runs strong. Shifts smooth.
I get my parts from the local dealer, but I called around and was able to find a local dealer that also sells their parts online for a discount. I also get my fluids discount by buying by the case, but I get that from my local Acura dealer (same fluids). My local Acura dealer also has a discounted online store. I order online, and pickup local. I figure out which is cheapest and go through the cheapest. Usually Honda.
 

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One post wonder...
 
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Miss our 2005 Pilot
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In my opinion, no vehicle is perfect. Some have more issues than others. Sorry to hear your Pilot hasn’t met expectations.

My former 2005 Pilot had its share of commonly known problems that had to be fixed, but I looked at that as the cost of ownership. It was by far one of the best vehicles I have owned.

Both of my Toyota Tacomas required power train work at less than 30k miles. Both were produced the next to final year of their generation, so Toyota had lots of time to get the manufacturing process right. That was more disappointing to me given those trucks are known for their reliability and I babied them. But crap happens, and you deal with it.

If you’re truly unhappy with your Pilot, unload it while the used car market is hot. Hopefully you’re able to find something more reliable and that provides you more satisfaction than your current Pilot.
 
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My first Pilot was a 2007. I traded it in for a 2013 Pilot, though I did not yet hit 100k miles. Reason being I absolutely loved the 2012-15 design. But in the 5 or so years I owned it, my '07 Pilot gave me exactly zero issues.
My 2013 is now well past 100k, but has been well maintained, and I hope to enjoy driving it for years to come. Though gotta say, the new 2023 TrailSport looks a bit more interesting...
 

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To each their own. My Pilot has been pretty reliable at 107,000 miles, other than the front stabilizer links getting noisy. My wife's Equinox has only 87,000 miles and has had far more problems that are all too common to that car. We just had to spend a chunk of change to have the soot cleaned out of the air injection ports and have the cracked exhaust manifold replaced, which are practically routine maintenance. So no, there are worse vehicles than a Pilot.
 

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I picked up my 2004 Pilot at a Copart auction a few years ago for $650 with 215k on it and it was pretty abused when I got it. Decided I wanted to learn more about the Pilot and started learning while DIY-ing: did the timing belt, brakes, atf fluid, tranny cooler, vtm-4, a ton of gaskets, welded the subframe for rust repair (also made a Youtube tutorial video about it) and even just did the head gasket on the rear head since it looked like it was leaking besides a TON of other "mods". It's currently only at 269K and I don't even doubt that it'll make it past 400k. I seriously love my Pilot and don't think there's any other vehicle out there that I'd want besides my Pilot.
 

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I own a 2008 Pilot, purchased in 2010 with 20k miles on it. Around 100k miles the headliner began failing, and now at 195k has completely failed. It also destroyed a torque converter at 140k miles, and needed a another torque converter and trans rebuild around 165k miles. It also needed a new “fancypants” fluid filled engine mount around 120k miles, and another around 180k miles. Not to mention impossible to track rattles from within the front passenger door, and that the timing belt and water pump need replaced every 110k miles.

I don’t mind the other part failures like the starter, throttle position sensor, and O2 sensors, but the latter stuff seems rather absurd for a Honda. The cabin air filter is also a piss poor design by some turd engineer that has never turned a wrench. Most forums seem to hold Pilots with high esteem, but I view mine as a liability and time bomb, and can’t wait to unload it on some poor unsuspecting bastard. And I suspect resale on ones like mine is so poor because dealers and KBB have gotten wise to how failure prone the first generation Pilots are.

Anyone else with a first gen or later that thinks Pilots are garbage? I’ve grown wise to the Honda/Acura cool-aid piss and find Toyotas to be a far superior option.
Only a JO would keep a vehicle they didn't really like...
Smile Gesture Font Screenshot Photo caption
 

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I own a 2008 Pilot, purchased in 2010 with 20k miles on it. Around 100k miles the headliner began failing, and now at 195k has completely failed. It also destroyed a torque converter at 140k miles, and needed a another torque converter and trans rebuild around 165k miles. It also needed a new “fancypants” fluid filled engine mount around 120k miles, and another around 180k miles. Not to mention impossible to track rattles from within the front passenger door, and that the timing belt and water pump need replaced every 110k miles.

I don’t mind the other part failures like the starter, throttle position sensor, and O2 sensors, but the latter stuff seems rather absurd for a Honda. The cabin air filter is also a piss poor design by some turd engineer that has never turned a wrench. Most forums seem to hold Pilots with high esteem, but I view mine as a liability and time bomb, and can’t wait to unload it on some poor unsuspecting bastard. And I suspect resale on ones like mine is so poor because dealers and KBB have gotten wise to how failure prone the first generation Pilots are.

Anyone else with a first gen or later that thinks Pilots are garbage? I’ve grown wise to the Honda/Acura cool-aid piss and find Toyotas to be a far superior option.
This is my second (the first was lost to an accident at 230k with no major issues. I currently have 210k and besides the timing chain at every 100k, I have had no major repairs. Sorry you are dealing with these issues.
 

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EVERY manufacturer makes good, not so good and bad copies of vehicles. Our 2006 Pilot was awesome. 225k when we sold it, only major repair was a radiator at 95k (and a timing belt at 120k, which is maintenance). And everything still worked fine. Our 2021 Pilot is good, but I'll be happily surprised if it is as good as our 2006 was.
 

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Our 08 Pilot has 252k on the clock and has been pretty trouble free. I just had to do the VTM control (caused by thin oil I believe) and it had a knock sensor wire eaten by a mouse. The AC compressor clutch died last summer. Has new timing belts. We just did a thousand mile trip with a trailer and then another 600 mile trip also with a trailer. Pretty solid car I would say. Don’t get me started on my 02 Chevy truck intake manifold at 135k and our 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport maybe needing an engine at 96k (oil consumption). Sorry yours did you bad but that’s a dice roll on anything. I trust my Pilot as I do the two Goldwings I own, both being over 25 years old. Best to all!
 
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