2017 Honda Pilot ATF Experience

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Flashpoint is not relevant to ATF performance.

From my experience, Amsoil, Havoline and Maxlife all resulted in harsh shifts in Honda 5/6-speed automatics after 15-25K miles.
In any auto trans I would rather have a higher flash and a fluids ability to handle heat.

170 from today's fluids is just cheap engineering.
 
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Oct 13, 2008
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...... I was expecting the Idemitsu ATF to be identical since they make the OEM fluid... that was a surpise.
Seems a common misconception. DW1 not full synthetic afaik, maybe in Canada. DW1 does not have the same add pack as' any' of the other aftermarket ATFs. Even those that tout themselves as some kind of "special for DW1" application.

Personally, I've gotten excellent results using MaxLife FS in multiple Honda model over several 100k miles doing single d&fs 25-30k miles. One a Civic specifically noted for AT failures and V6 which are said to hard on ATs and fluid.

With that said, if I owned a Honda under new vehicle warranty, I'd 'probably' use DW1. That, even though 'I' don't believe DW1 to be anything special. Z1 which preceded DW1 also had a high zinc level in its add pack, and 'in my observation' this subforum, was one the most criticized ATFs here. It was known to sheer quickly.
 
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Joined
May 21, 2017
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Common problem with 6 speed ATs. It runs very hot and degrades ATF quickly. ATF cooler is a must. So is VCM disabled. So is frequent D&F (I do every 10k in my wife’s Pilot). Go to piloteers forum, multiple threads discussing it.
 

SailSkiDrive

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May 22, 2005
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Maintenance Minder usually pops a subcode 3 for ATF drain and refill by 30K on the 6AT vehicles. It is often missed during the reset process. I have no idea where you came up with the 90k number.

Even 30K is usually not adequate for these vehicles. I suggest doing one drain and refill every 15K. The ones that have the updated software (as part of the tsb) seem to fare better.

Synthetic or not isn’t the issue. The frictional properties of the fluid are what deteriórate.

Okay don't laugh - I pretty much forgot the "maintenance minder" even existed. After I read your post I did vaguely recall possibly seeing an "E3" code but ignored it. I'm used to looking at the maintenance schedule in the owners manual or online and following it. So where did I get the 90k fluid interval change from? I got it from Sheehy Honda of Northern Virginia's website:

 
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Jun 8, 2022
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This is just a quick write up of an issue I just experienced with my 2017 Honda Pilot for those of you out there who may own one. I've found several folks online describing the exact same problem however the diagnosis seem to be all over the place.

A few months ago when my Pilot had about 45k miles on it, I started noticing a strange pulsating feeling went I would drive it under light throttle load between 20-30 mph. The transmission didn't feel like it was trying to shift however the RPM gauge would fluctuating up and down about 500 RPMs. I thought maybe it was the throttle position sensor etc. I'm not normally one to involve the dealership service department in the maintenance of my vehicles, however since the power train warranty was still in effect for another two months I gave them a call and made an appointment. On the phone, Service Manager suggested that the ATF may need to be changed. I thought this was odd because I was under the impression that the service interval is 90k and I was only half way there. Unfortunately I had to cancel the appointment at the last minute and a few days later decided to just drain and fill the fluid myself to see if it made a difference. Incidentally, I asked my wife when the last time she had her Pilot's (90k) fluid changed and all I got was a confused look (not a good sign); so I ended up doing both of them at the same time. I filled with Idemitsu's H+ DW-1 fluid and the pulsating issue seemed to go away. That evening I was surfing the web and stumbled over a Honda Service bulletin on the issue that someone had published. He mentioned that he also had the same problem and that it seemed to go away after a drain and fill but the problem still persisted at low RPMs between 5th and 6th gear. Jumped in my Pilot and took it for a spin, sure enough I found mine still had a slight pulsating under the same conditions. Called the dealer, rescheduled the appointment.

So anyway, apparently Honda recognizes that "under certain driving conditions the ATF may wear out prematurely". Service Bulletin 17-014 addresses "Judder from the Torque Converter Lock-Up Clutch". The remedy (on Honda) is to drain and fill the ATF three times in a row and then update the firmware on the transmission to keep the fluid from getting too hot, and then give a warranty extension to 80k. The tech working on it had a difficult time trying to replicate the issue, apparently they need to "capture the logs" and upload them to Honda for analysis. Two test drives and two office catering pick ups later they got the info they needed and got Honda to approve the procedure.

I guess what really gets me on this is - if it's 90k fluid why on earth is it wearing out at 45k? I can understand if it's driven hard, maybe 75k or 80k, but half the expected life? I don't tow anything with the vehicle, all I can think of is several trips down to the beach with a roof box, bikes on the back, and everything my wife can stuff in the vehicle put a heavier load on it than expected. I'm considering adding the official Honda transmission cooler.

Apparently the Honda DW-1 fluid isn't even synthetic, I'm thinking about draining an filling it again in 30k with the Eenos import ATF. Fluid suggestions?
Change that fluid asap regardless. Any manufacturer can & do have issues! Hopefully it's a software update problem. Fresh fluid can't hurt the situation (if it's the proper spec etc) .
 
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Oops, I meant 5 speed.

My F150 has the 6R80 tranny in it. It was a "sitting at home bored during first month of the pandemic internet purchase".

Good idea, I'll see if I can use my oil pump to do the same...

After looking at that ATF fluid comparison chart, I think I'm going to just stick w/ the Honda OEM DW-1. Honda must put that Zinc in it for a reason. I was expecting the Idemitsu ATF to be identical since they make the OEM fluid... that was a surpise.
Idemitsu does not make the oem fluid. ConocoPhillips is Hondas lubricants supplier and has been for numerous years.
 
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Aug 25, 2009
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Louisiana
Agreed about the ATF cooler. The OEM cooler as small as it is will cut ~20F off of your operating temps. Personally I do a 3.5 qt drain and fill every 10,000 miles. The Maintenance Minder will tell you to do a drain and fill at about 30k miles as mentioned earlier. My last change I used 3 qts DW-1 with 16 oz of Redline Racing ATF mix to reduce the overall amount of friction modifiers. This is a cocktail used by some Ody people. Our 17 Pilot has 75,000 miles on it now and shifts perfectly. It had the transmission reflashed when the injectors were replaced. OEM trans cooler since almost day 1.

Lots of threads on this.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
1,512
Location
ottawa
This is just a quick write up of an issue I just experienced with my 2017 Honda Pilot for those of you out there who may own one. I've found several folks online describing the exact same problem however the diagnosis seem to be all over the place.

A few months ago when my Pilot had about 45k miles on it, I started noticing a strange pulsating feeling went I would drive it under light throttle load between 20-30 mph. The transmission didn't feel like it was trying to shift however the RPM gauge would fluctuating up and down about 500 RPMs. I thought maybe it was the throttle position sensor etc. I'm not normally one to involve the dealership service department in the maintenance of my vehicles, however since the power train warranty was still in effect for another two months I gave them a call and made an appointment. On the phone, Service Manager suggested that the ATF may need to be changed. I thought this was odd because I was under the impression that the service interval is 90k and I was only half way there. Unfortunately I had to cancel the appointment at the last minute and a few days later decided to just drain and fill the fluid myself to see if it made a difference. Incidentally, I asked my wife when the last time she had her Pilot's (90k) fluid changed and all I got was a confused look (not a good sign); so I ended up doing both of them at the same time. I filled with Idemitsu's H+ DW-1 fluid and the pulsating issue seemed to go away. That evening I was surfing the web and stumbled over a Honda Service bulletin on the issue that someone had published. He mentioned that he also had the same problem and that it seemed to go away after a drain and fill but the problem still persisted at low RPMs between 5th and 6th gear. Jumped in my Pilot and took it for a spin, sure enough I found mine still had a slight pulsating under the same conditions. Called the dealer, rescheduled the appointment.

So anyway, apparently Honda recognizes that "under certain driving conditions the ATF may wear out prematurely". Service Bulletin 17-014 addresses "Judder from the Torque Converter Lock-Up Clutch". The remedy (on Honda) is to drain and fill the ATF three times in a row and then update the firmware on the transmission to keep the fluid from getting too hot, and then give a warranty extension to 80k. The tech working on it had a difficult time trying to replicate the issue, apparently they need to "capture the logs" and upload them to Honda for analysis. Two test drives and two office catering pick ups later they got the info they needed and got Honda to approve the procedure.

I guess what really gets me on this is - if it's 90k fluid why on earth is it wearing out at 45k? I can understand if it's driven hard, maybe 75k or 80k, but half the expected life? I don't tow anything with the vehicle, all I can think of is several trips down to the beach with a roof box, bikes on the back, and everything my wife can stuff in the vehicle put a heavier load on it than expected. I'm considering adding the official Honda transmission cooler.

Apparently the Honda DW-1 fluid isn't even synthetic, I'm thinking about draining an filling it again in 30k with the Eenos import ATF. Fluid suggestions?oop
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
387
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From my experience, Amsoil, Havoline and Maxlife all resulted in harsh shifts in Honda 5/6-speed automatics after 15-25K miles.

This was my experience with Maxlife on my first Honda. I live in a hilly area - and was feeling bad shift flares on downshifts that got worse as the fluid aged. (Also ruined / cross-threaded the drain plug doing the silly 5 flush and fill process. Be careful if you are doing this).

For the Pilot - is the additional trans cooler standard on any trim packages or is this a dealer option? (For 2020 specifically - I was not aware of a tow package option - but wasn't really looking either).

To OP - my vote is to stick with OEM fluid and keep it fresh. A "perfect" shift to some might feel harsh to others.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
5
S-VCM changed my life.
What’s happening is your vehicle goes to a three cylinder under light loads and when it switches back to six cylinder it feathers the clutch on the torque converter. This feathering glaze is the clutch and causes the judder. S-VCM fools the engine management into thinking the temperature never gets above 170° and the vehicle stays a six cylinder forever. My fuel economy dropped by about a half a mpg. The vehicle doesn’t even feel the same. It’s awesome!
 

pbm

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I bought a new 2001 Accord after my brother had great 1986 and 1991 Accords (the 86' was a 5 speed manual). My 2001 had the problematic BAXA A/T which Honda extended the warranty on. (I sold it at approx. 110K due to concerns about the durability of the A/T....I had changed the fluid every 20K using OE Honda Z1 and LG red).

When I bought the car new in April 2001 I had the notion of it going 300K under my good maintenence regimen so it was disappointing to have to sell it based on fear of A/T failure. The research that I did at the time told me that Honda's A/T problems began when they began 'engineering' their A/T's to have more seemless shifts (as opposed to the very firm shifts in earlier model years). I don't remember the exact verbiage but it seems that Honda still hasn't gotten it's A/T act totally together. Whether it's fluid related or computer related IDK but I would think that a company known for it's engineering prowess would have these issues figured out by now. For this reason and the fact that Honda has joined the small displacement turbo mindset...I'd choose a Camry over an Accord if I were buying a sedan today.
 
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Jun 12, 2005
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5,971
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North Texas
Another vote for SVCM. You need to disable the VCM system. It causes the torque converter to slip when it shuts off cylinders. The SVCM disables it. Add a OEM cooler as well. I’m running Amsoil SS blue cap ATF with 4 drain and fills. 41K and running like a champ on my wife’s 19 Pilot AWD.
 
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