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Discussion Starter #1
Disclosures
Let me preface this by stating that I personally enjoy the way the ZF9 drives (primarily in Sport, but even Normal and Comfort have been fine after the TSB 15-054) and have no qualms about the push button shifter. I am creating this tracking thread because Honda has found a problem, issued instructions for the repair ONLY for the Honda Pilots, is offering them a 10 year/unlimited mileage warranty on the failed part as a result, and yet... is quiet for the other vehicles affected (including us). Since I am experiencing the exact symptoms they describe, I'm going to get this addressed one way or another.

References
Acura TSB 15-054 (ZF9 Software Update): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/B15-054/enu/B15-054.PDF
Acura TSB 16-042 (Front Suspension Squeaks/Pops): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/B16-042/enu/B16-042.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-009 (Product Update: 2016 Pilot 9-Speed Transmission Warmer): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-009/enu/A17-009.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-011 (Product Update: 9-Speed Transmission Warmer (Transmission Previously Replaced for Transmission Warmer Leaking): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-011/enu/A17-011.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-035 (Warranty Extension: Transmission Chirps During 3-4 Shift, Poor Shift Quality, or Engine Overheats Because of Defective ATF Warmer): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-035/enu/A17-035.PDF

*IF you are unable to open these links or get a message about not being authorized, go to this link (https://estore.honda.com/acura/accessories/installation-instructions/oui-list.asp?year=2017&model=MDX&modelName=MDX), click on any manual, then try these links again. Credit always goes to EE4Life for TSBs.

Discovery of Issue
Last week, I began to notice that my 14k mile old 2016 MDX (Tech, SHAWD, AWP, but it should matter since we all share the same transmission) was chirping in turns. Initially, I had thought this was the squeaking front suspension issue due to rubber spring seats shifting out of place identified in TSB 16-042, but it did not sound like a metal on metal rubbing noise. Instead, it sounded closer to a whistle sort of noise, but in a very short duration, thus a chirp. Additionally, to verify that it was not 16-042, I checked the spring seats myself and found no loose seats.

Then E92Vancouver mentioned a chirp on 9/1/17: http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/151154-2014-2017-safe-buy-seems-many-issues-2.html#post1322865

And Wanderlust confirmed the issue existing in 2016 (and some 2017 after some research) Pilots due to defective ATF warmers, which the 2016+ MDXes also use: http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/151154-2014-2017-safe-buy-seems-many-issues-2.html#post1322937

Then, two nights ago, I drove with my wife in the middle of the night doing a series of slowings to ~15-20 mph and accelerating again in a straight line. I could reproduce the chirp on numerous tries.

And then shinkle on Piloteers gave a description of symptoms that I am experiencing pretty much to the T: ZF Nine-Speed Transmission Problems, recalls and praise. - Page 29 - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums

Uh oh, they just started me on another "episode." :|

Details of the Failure
Now, let's get to the problem.

Honda describes it as:
Engine coolant and ATF mix because of an internal leak in the 9-speed transmission warmer.
No fluid will be visible outside of the warmer.
If the transmission warmer leaks, it may cause one or more of the following symptoms:
• The vehicle overheats
• The transmission shifts poorly
• The transmission makes noise during 3-4 shift
If you are experiencing contamination due to this failure, when you open the radiator cap (only when stone cold please!), the coolant will look BROWN and like a milkshake (anyone having deja vu nightmares yet?). You can also check via the transmission's fill hole/check plug for the same brown milkshake.

Plain and simple, ZF produced a defective transmission warmer, PN 06224-5J4-000, that is being used across all ZF9 vehicles in the Honda family including the newer Pilots, Odysseys, TLX, and MDX. Honda initially claimed to have isolated the defective batch to warmers manufactured from April 28, 2015 to July 15, 2015 (identified with a sticker on the warmer itself like Wanderlust did: 2016 9 speed transmission warmer replacement 17-009 - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums), but if you follow the evolution of the Honda TSBs, you will see that they have removed the date check from the latest A17-035 TSB and have now included 2017 Pilots in the A17-011 and A17-035 TSBs. As such, I'm pretty sure the problem still exists, but perhaps with much less frequency because they have found the culprit now.

The flowcharts in the TSB show that if you are found to have cross contaminated fluids, they are supposed to change your radiator, transmission (including the warmer), the hoses, and flush the engine (~11 hours of work, ~12 if you have an external ATF cooler for towing). If you have also overheated, then you also need a new engine (~14 hours-15 hours). Woof. :crying2:

cvsy24 on Piloteers summarized it well:
It depends on what the dealer has to do when they test the warmer. They will ask you if you car overheated.

If the warmer has no leaks, replace only the warmer.
If the warmer has a leak and engine did not overheat, replace the transmission.
If the warmer has a leak and engine overheated, replace the transmission and engine.
The warmer is about a $250 part, while the transmission is about $4,000. I'm not even going to count what the engine costs. This is one big F-up by ZF.

Recommended Course of Action for MDXers
At this point, we need to band together for relief because it is obviously happening for us too (me, E92Vancouver so far that I've seen). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed before, I encourage you to check you coolant from the radiator cap and report back. Then bring your vehicle in to show them and get the problem addressed. Until I see a TSB issued for the MDX, TLX, and Odyssey about this exact same issue, I'm assuming Honda is either just moving really slowly for us (heck, the pictures of the repair procedure in the TSBs are of a black MDX from California, license plate 7JGC018). As mentioned previously, I do not think the problem is merely isolated to that manufacturing range of the warmers, so keep watch even if you have a recent build. Post here if you've experienced the failure and what your repairs were.

What to Expect from Me
I have an appointment scheduled for next Wednesday morning to bring it in and diagnose. If this turns out to be another issue, I'll let you know and apologize for crying wolf, but from what I've experienced thus far, I'm betting that I'm going down the same path as numerous Piloteers have. Hopefully Honda won't fight me if it does turn out to be that issue. Furthermore, it will be really good to know what our warranty coverage will look like because...
American Honda is extending the warranty on the 9-speed transmission warmers to 10 years from the original date of purchase with unlimited mileage.
Deja vu...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update 1:
There appears to be no contamination in my coolant when checking from the radiator cap. It is still blue and transparent. This is good. Hopefully it just means the warmer is the only part needing replacement, if that is the culprit of the chirp. The manufacturing date on the warmer is 3/13/2015, so it falls outside the affected range according to the Pilot's TSB. One thing to note though is that since the 2016 Pilot started selling AFTER the 2016 MDX, their date range may only be reflecting from the start of their production. Will have to wait until Wednesday to see.
 

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Disclosures
Let me preface this by stating that I personally enjoy the way the ZF9 drives (primarily in Sport, but even Normal and Comfort have been fine after the TSB 15-054) and have no qualms about the push button shifter. I am creating this tracking thread because Honda has found a problem, issued instructions for the repair ONLY for the Honda Pilots, is offering them a 10 year/unlimited mileage warranty on the failed part as a result, and yet... is quiet for the other vehicles affected (including us). Since I am experiencing the exact symptoms they describe, I'm going to get this addressed one way or another.

References
Acura TSB 15-054 (ZF9 Software Update): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/B15-054/enu/B15-054.PDF
Acura TSB 16-042 (Front Suspension Squeaks/Pops): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/B16-042/enu/B16-042.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-009 (Product Update: 2016 Pilot 9-Speed Transmission Warmer): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-009/enu/A17-009.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-011 (Product Update: 9-Speed Transmission Warmer (Transmission Previously Replaced for Transmission Warmer Leaking): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-011/enu/A17-011.PDF
HONDA TSB A17-035 (Warranty Extension: Transmission Chirps During 3-4 Shift, Poor Shift Quality, or Engine Overheats Because of Defective ATF Warmer): http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/AH/A17-035/enu/A17-035.PDF

*IF you are unable to open these links or get a message about not being authorized, go to this link (https://estore.honda.com/acura/accessories/installation-instructions/oui-list.asp?year=2017&model=MDX&modelName=MDX), click on any manual, then try these links again. Credit always goes to EE4Life for TSBs.

Discovery of Issue
Last week, I began to notice that my 14k mile old 2016 MDX (Tech, SHAWD, AWP, but it should matter since we all share the same transmission) was chirping in turns. Initially, I had thought this was the squeaking front suspension issue due to rubber spring seats shifting out of place identified in TSB 16-042, but it did not sound like a metal on metal rubbing noise. Instead, it sounded closer to a whistle sort of noise, but in a very short duration, thus a chirp. Additionally, to verify that it was not 16-042, I checked the spring seats myself and found no loose seats.

Then E92Vancouver mentioned a chirp on 9/1/17: http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/151154-2014-2017-safe-buy-seems-many-issues-2.html#post1322865

And Wanderlust confirmed the issue existing in 2016 (and some 2017 after some research) Pilots due to defective ATF warmers, which the 2016+ MDXes also use: http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/151154-2014-2017-safe-buy-seems-many-issues-2.html#post1322937

Then, two nights ago, I drove with my wife in the middle of the night doing a series of slowings to ~15-20 mph and accelerating again in a straight line. I could reproduce the chirp on numerous tries.

And then shinkle on Piloteers gave a description of symptoms that I am experiencing pretty much to the T: ZF Nine-Speed Transmission Problems, recalls and praise. - Page 29 - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums

Uh oh, they just started me on another "episode." :|

Details of the Failure
Now, let's get to the problem.

Honda describes it as:


If you are experiencing contamination due to this failure, when you open the radiator cap (only when stone cold please!), the coolant will look BROWN and like a milkshake (anyone having deja vu nightmares yet?). You can also check via the transmission's fill hole/check plug for the same brown milkshake.

Plain and simple, ZF produced a defective transmission warmer, PN 06224-5J4-000, that is being used across all ZF9 vehicles in the Honda family including the newer Pilots, Odysseys, TLX, and MDX. Honda initially claimed to have isolated the defective batch to warmers manufactured from April 28, 2015 to July 15, 2015 (identified with a sticker on the warmer itself like Wanderlust did: 2016 9 speed transmission warmer replacement 17-009 - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums), but if you follow the evolution of the Honda TSBs, you will see that they have removed the date check from the latest A17-035 TSB and have now included 2017 Pilots in the A17-011 and A17-035 TSBs. As such, I'm pretty sure the problem still exists, but perhaps with much less frequency because they have found the culprit now.

The flowcharts in the TSB show that if you are found to have cross contaminated fluids, they are supposed to change your radiator, transmission (including the warmer), the hoses, and flush the engine (~11 hours of work, ~12 if you have an external ATF cooler for towing). If you have also overheated, then you also need a new engine (~14 hours-15 hours). Woof. :crying2:

cvsy24 on Piloteers summarized it well:


The warmer is about a $250 part, while the transmission is about $4,000. I'm not even going to count what the engine costs. This is one big F-up by ZF.

Recommended Course of Action for MDXers
At this point, we need to band together for relief because it is obviously happening for us too (me, E92Vancouver so far that I've seen). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed before, I encourage you to check you coolant from the radiator cap and report back. Then bring your vehicle in to show them and get the problem addressed. Until I see a TSB issued for the MDX, TLX, and Odyssey about this exact same issue, I'm assuming Honda is either just moving really slowly for us (heck, the pictures of the repair procedure in the TSBs are of a black MDX from California, license plate 7JGC018). As mentioned previously, I do not think the problem is merely isolated to that manufacturing range of the warmers, so keep watch even if you have a recent build. Post here if you've experienced the failure and what your repairs were.

What to Expect from Me
I have an appointment scheduled for next Wednesday morning to bring it in and diagnose. If this turns out to be another issue, I'll let you know and apologize for crying wolf, but from what I've experienced thus far, I'm betting that I'm going down the same path as numerous Piloteers have. Hopefully Honda won't fight me if it does turn out to be that issue. Furthermore, it will be really good to know what our warranty coverage will look like because...


Deja vu...
Thanks for this. I first reported the chirp here:

http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/127962-mdx-makes-chirp-beep-low-speed-left-turn.html#post1188066
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ahh yess that thread. Funny i forgot about that one but are you going to get it resolved?

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I don't have a problem with chirp when turning. But when AC is on chirp like crazy.

There is NO contamination in my coolant when checking from the radiator cap. It is still blue and transparent!!!

Thanks Neoshi for the info. Keep us posted.
 

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Man this is scary... The last thing Honda & Acura needs is another Transmission Fiasco...
This is pretty ironic considering all the people that thing German Quality is the Best.
 

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I was the first ZF9 owner that I know of to report the chirp last year. I don't think my chirp is due to a leaking transmission warmer because in the last year, I have done numerous trips to areas with 100F heat and the car always ran cool.

http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/127962-mdx-makes-chirp-beep-low-speed-left-turn.html#post1188066

In any event I just checked my coolant and it is blue lagoon, tropical clear.

I chalk the chirp up to a design issue.

I had a brand new Bimmer that made an unusual bearing noise. The dealer replaced it by having a new transmission flown in on overnight courier from Germany. Sure enough, this new transmission had the same bearing noise. So I am chilled about the chirping.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update 2:
Brought it in today to the dealer and the SM rode with me and heard the noise, albeit quietly. I gave the courtesy of informing him that I have a non-OEM intake filter. He believes my problem is more with the intake system vacuum rather than the transmission, but nobody is really sure. For good measure, I bought an OEM filter on the spot, replaced it, and drove it again. Still made the same noise. The key is to lightly add gas after a quick slow down around the 20 mph mark. Told me to bring it back again tomorrow and they would try again. The saga continues...
 

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Update 2:
Brought it in today to the dealer and the SM rode with me and heard the noise, albeit quietly. I gave the courtesy of informing him that I have a non-OEM intake filter. He believes my problem is more with the intake system vacuum rather than the transmission, but nobody is really sure. For good measure, I bought an OEM filter on the spot, replaced it, and drove it again. Still made the same noise. The key is to lightly add gas after a quick slow down around the 20 mph mark. Told me to bring it back again tomorrow and they would try again. The saga continues...
Mine seems to only chirp when making a left turn. And yours?

Good be a vacuum pump or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I can do it going straight and either direction. It really has to do with light throttle input after bringing the powertrain to a sudden slow down

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On Piloteers, Poorman212 posted a good description of the behavior associated with transmissions that were suffering effects of ATF contamination. His dealer service stuck recording microphones ( chassis-ears ) all over the place and drove it to isolate the noise source. It's in the sticky thread " ZF Nine-Speed Transmission Problems, recalls and praise." under "2016- Third generation Pilot". Discussion of the "chirp" and transmission replacements starts on page 8, post 111 with a post by jonrichie describing how he noticed a chirp and his trans got replaced. Others started paying more attention to "mystery chirps" they had been hearing for a while ( myself included ). Post 138 is a good one.

Not that this is necessarily the problem you guys are describing, but it sounds very suspicious.

ZF Nine-Speed Transmission Problems, recalls and praise. - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Post 138 is dead on with how i can do it. Initially thought it was around 10-15 mph but i watched the speedometer more closely and it definitely around 20 mph. Light throttle application as described.

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Yikes. As neoshi mentioned elsewhere, I'm puzzled about that statement of warranty extension because it sounds like it's only the "warmer" that is warranted, but it must include the rather large and expensive components that can be damaged by a failed "warmer". I would hope. If I didn't have a long HondaCare warranty on my 9-speed Pilot, I would definitely be exploring that.

Here's hoping Honda has a full understanding of what "warmers" are affected.

I wonder if there is anything on safercar.gov about the recall. They usually list how many vehicles are thought to be affected.

[edit] Nothing on safercar.gov for this issue in either Pilot or MDX.
 
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