2004 Honda Pilot throwing P0740 code.

210

Asked by Apr 16, 2010 at 06:10 PM about the 2004 Honda Pilot EX AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2004 pilot has had the check engine light on for sometime. Finally took it in to a friend's shop and they read the code - P0740. They turned it off and had me drive it and it came back on within 20 miles. Took it back and they did a diagnostic and said it's an issue with the Torque converter in the transmission. They said I don't have to  do anything right now, but what will likely happen in the future is the TC will stop disengaging and stall when I stop, and that the only real fix is to replace the trans. I heard this is a common problem in older pilots. Anyone else had this issue? Is replacing the trans the only fix and will the dealer want to pay for it even if it's no longer covered under warranty? Any feedback/advice is appreciated about this issue!

19 Answers

255

I would love to hear if you had resolution and what the outcome was. I just had my engine light come on and although I don't have the P0740 code when they run the diagnostic. The report is showing that it has a TC Clutch Failure. Any feedback you can provide is greatly appreciated.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
735

it is probably a torque converter clutch solinoid which means the trans will need to be overhauled since the solinoid is inside. Dealer will not cover this if it is out of warrenty and i would suggest not taking it to the dealer if you are going to pay for it. They will just replace it and not rebuild it. A good transmission shop will rebuild it putting in updates and a shift kit, and it may then last the life of the vehicle. We see alot of hondas with this problem at my shop.

22 out of 22 people think this is helpful.
210

It turns out it definitely is the solenoid. After months of arguing with Honda North America, they will not cover anymore than 25% of the cost. Honda dealer, of course, recommends replacing the tranny. That still leave me with a $3000 bill, which I can't afford. I was told by another shop that rebuilding the tranny would be just as expensive, if not more. I'm not sure what to do at this point. The car still runs fine...shifting is a little slow from 2nd - 3rd, but other that that there is virtually nothing wrong with the how the car drives or shifts. I'm furious Honda won't take much responsibility, considering this is a common issue. So, I'm stuck...

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
735

Well i work at a transmission shop in Canada and we usually totally rebuild these trannys for around $2200 but we also put in the upgrades and shift kit so things like this do not happen again. So i guess it is your call. I am suprized that the dealer offered you any compensation at all...

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
210

Well, if I can find a shop that will rebuild it for less I'll go with that option. The dealer said that honda usually offers about 50% for this particular issue but apparently my car has too many miles for them to offer anymore?? They said because it has 80K this could have been caused by something I did...yet they are willing to accept some responsibility. Doesn't make much sense to me. But no one takes responsibility for their mistakes anymore, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised...

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
470

Same problem here -- Honda won't rebuild their (faulty + recalled) transmissions, only replace them. Minor issues (such as the TC clutch) can become major ones if left unattended. Transmission replacement can run $4200, whereas a rebuild of your tranny can be done for $2400 or so. I have a 2004 Pilot with the P0740 code problem. This is my first experience with a Honda -- heard nothing but compliments about the reliability, low repair cost, excellent service, and high resale value of these vehicles. I purchased my vehicle used (I'm the second owner), taking care to find a vehicle with a clean Carfax and no major issues. So about two weeks after I purchased the vehicle, the "D" light starts blinking on the console. Uh-oh. Research the issue online and find this is a common problem -- it either means a transmission problem, or it means the sensor is faulty. My transmission fluid looked a little low so I purchased two quarts from Holmes (always use Honda fluid) and topped it off. So far, no performance issues at all -- just the blinking "D" intermittently (usually when it was hot outside). About a week later, the blinking "D" returned, so -- dropped it off at Holmes Honda to pull the code. As mentioned elsewhere in these forums, the service at Holmes is impeccable. They performed a multi-point inspection on the vehicle for free and replaced the faulty sensor ($169.49 parts and labor) and did a rear brake job (replaced pads, resurfaced rotors, $254.12 parts and labor). The blinking "D" did indeed go away. But...two weeks later, I'm on a two-hour commute (my job typically has me travelling between 30-240 miles per day). and the CHECK ENGINE light comes on. You Honda owners know this is a scary yellow icon of an engine that means you better get it to the shop. I took mine to Holmes the next day (10/1/10). Now I had performance issues, too -- when I needed to accelerate suddenly (to make a left turn, for instance) the Pilot would hesitate 1-2 seconds before responding. This was a Friday after lunch. Didn't hear from my service writer until Tuesday morning, with BAD news. Computer pulled a PO740 code -- TC clutch failure. This is the torque converter (solenoid) that serves as a controller for the transmission. If the torque converter starts coming apart, little pieces of the material can flow to other parts of the transmission (i.e. your gears and clutches) and cause complete failure. The DPSM (all-powerful District Parts and Service Manager) authorized my dealer to perform the repair at a 25 percent "participation" (discount). This means a $3,061 bill (!!) on a repair written up at a total cost of $4193 (!!!). I thanked my service writer and let him know that this amount was unacceptable. Remember, I'm a first-time Honda owner who's already spent $460 at the dealer on minor issues and I've only owned the car for two months. I'd already done some research on this issue (thanks to this forum and many others) and seen that this code (PO740) and accompanying issues (2nd gear clutch failure, 4th gear pressure switch failure, TC clutch failure) are all related to an acknowledged fault in 2003-2004 Honda transmissions. The specific recall (P30, issued April 2004) recommended replacing or modifying the transmission for 1.1 million affected vehicles. But your VIN has to be on a list (mine wasn't). In addition, the lack of screens/filters inside these Honda transmissions (as used by other manufacturers) allow the failure of a minor part (TC clutch) to progressively destroy major parts (the gears and clutches). Another ACKNOWLEDGED design flaw. I want to stress again how professional and helpful the reps at my local dealer (Holmes Honda in Shreveport, LA) are. However, my dealings with American Honda customer service are another story. A representative of my dealer had told me that if you didn't purchase from the dealer "Honda doesn't consider you a customer." I thought this was an outrageous thing to say -- until I actually called the number and found out for myself! I opened a case with American Honda on 10/5/10 and let them know my situation (new Honda customer, used vehicle owned two months and already $3521 in repair bills). Honda's representative, Reggie, entered my information into a case file and informed me that Honda corporate "usually" will not override a DPSM's decision (translation: there must be SOMETHING I can do or say to get them to contact the DPSM on my behalf.) He said other outrageous things as well -- suggesting that my best outlets in this situation would be contacting the BBB (!) or contacting a lawyer (!!) and initially insisting that there was "no one to escalate this to." Call center Reggie must be as high as you can go at American Honda! When I insisted that Reggie escalate the call, he refused at first ("I basically have the same authority as a supervisor") and then eventually offered to transfer my call to an unnamed female supervisor. However, he cautioned me that "assistance will not be provided" (I wrote all of these gems down) and I would just be blowing off steam. The female supervisor was busy, but I was promised a callback within 24 hours. 24 hours passed with no call. Called Honda customer service promptly, got representative "Michael" who was slightly more knowledgeable than Reggie, but basically spent the entire call arguing with me and reiterating the sentiment that Honda corporate will not override a DPSM. He used an interesting word in the conversation regarding the "process" of determining when Honda will give a customer the 50 percent participation rate (as Claude received, with the same DPSM, dealer, mileage, model year, etc.), who gets 25 percent, and who gets nothing. Michael advised me to call my dealer (again) and ask them to contact the same DPSM (no review process or second pair of eyes, just grovelling). Notice how it is the customer (me) who has to explain the issue over and over again without Honda taking ANY responsibility, contacting me when they promised (at a cost of $30/day to me for a rental vehicle), acknowledging the P30 recall or any other transmission faults, etc. So I spoke to several folks at Holmes and pleaded my case once more. I was told something very interesting in the course of these conversations: Honda used to offer a lot more "goodwill" assistance but due to the recession there has been a lot of "belt-tightening" and they have seen fewer and fewer approved repairs. One representative at my dealer expressed surprise that the DPSM authorized ANY participation at all. But they promised to call and grovel on my behalf. So I finally called back yesterday (10/8/10), again no follow-up from my dealer or Honda corporate -- I had to call. The District J DPSM (Eric, no last name or contact number provided) not only denied my request for any additional participation from Honda, but placed a 30 DAY EXPIRATION on his original offer. Take it or leave it! So I do some more research and find that most transmission shops will rebuild a Honda transmission for around $2200-2400. In addition, there are third-party vendors that rebuild Honda transmissions and resell them for about the same price ($2400), but with a superior warranty to what Honda is offering. Honda's remanufactured transmission is a $2957 behemoth, with an additional $109 freight charge to ship which they pass on to the customer. The transmission case (core) of your existing transmission becomes Honda property with no credit given, even though it's a $1500 part. Then, they only guarantee the replacement for 3 years OR 36,000 MILES (!!!). Also, $928 labor because they have to drop the axles, frame, etc. to get to it. These third-party transmissions cost $2400 but have a 5 YEAR/100,000 MILE warranty. Now that's more like it -- but you're still stuck with the labor cost, cost of filling the new tranny with Honda fluid, etc. Probably a $3000 bill anyway. My point in posting this here is that the very things that attracted me to this car (reliability, low repair cost, excellent service) all turned out to be FALSE. Unreliable (major failure at 128K miles), at least a $3000 repair bill however you slice it, and absolutely NO service or sympathy from Honda corporate. The "process" that call center Michael described boils down to this: Has this car been repaired multiple times at Honda dealers? (Answer: no, my car has a clean Carfax never had transmission service) And are you the original owner? (Answer: no, I'm a second owner and purchased through a non-Honda dealer) So, because my car has NOT had significant problems, and because I did NOT pay the markup initially by purchasing from a Honda dealer... This is the chief reason I believe other owners have been offered the 50 percent off deal, but I only got offered a 25 percent off deal that expires in 30 days. My inclination at present is to let Holmes do the repair work using a third-party rebuild with the better warranty. It will likely be a $3200 bill. Due to all of the delays with the DPSM and Honda corporate never calling me back, I've now racked up a $220 (and climbing) car rental bill. And let's not forget the original $170 I paid Holmes to replace the 4th gear pressure switch which was just doing its job. Shame on Honda customer service for (a) providing no review process for local DPSM decisions; (b) not calling back when they said they would, costing me an additional $60 in car rental delays; (c) not providing any contact info for the DPSM and referring me back to my dealer to re-explain my issue (another $60 in delays); (d) not acknowledging the history of this KNOWN defect in Honda transmissions (including the P30 recall) and disparaging the source of the information ("this is something you read on the INTERNET, right?"). Um, right!

47 out of 47 people think this is helpful.
210

Unfortunately, in my area, I was told by a couple different shops that rebuilding the tranny would cost as much as replacing it. So, either way I'm forking out a few grand. I've been researching and dealing with Honda for 9 months, so I'm pretty much DONE dealing with Honda America and any of the dealers. They explained to me that eventually the problem will get worse, but I simply don't have $3000 to fix it. I'm more than disappointed with this entire situation. I love my Pilot and have had great experiences with honda cars in the past, but unfortunately, I just purchased a "bad" one in the batch of faulty transmissions. Not sure what the next step is for me at this point, but good luck to you! Thanks for sharing

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
70

I have the same issues. The recall service was completed on my Honda in 2004....but at 130K miles...."D" light started blinking and the engine light came on as well. After all my research...I decided to have my trans rebuilt with a $65 transmission cooler rated at 10k lbs. added to keep new parts from burning out. Total job should cost me about $1.5k-2.5k.....but hopefully less.....because the labor is $695, the rebuild kit is $298, the single and dual soleniod switch is $500, the trans filter is $10, and the trans fluid should not be more than $50...I can't imagine anything else can cost me more the $1k.......but we will see....it goes to the shop Friday morning......Oh yeah....I have put 8k miles on my Honda since the engine came on at 130k miles.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
60

Engine light came on 1 day before engine slipping and me bringing to dealership to have checked. On the service lot, tranny gave out! I too have (had as of tonight) a 2004 Honda Pilot. The P0740 code came up in a diagnostic when I brought in for an oil change and dealership gave me a quote for $5669.95 saying "unfortunately it needs a new transmission". Imagine my surprise. I really thought I was going to have this SUV until it hit 200K miles. Boy am I disappointed.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
100

Own a 2003 Pilot with 180000. This vehicle has been fantastic and have had no mechanical issues. However last week the transmission slipped. Checked the fluid which was low, added Honda trans fluid. Slipped again. After reading these comments I think I am headed for a big bill. Really do not want to deal with the honda dealership and their high costs. Is it better to have someone other than Honda do the repairs? Never recall getting any notices on transmission issues which adds to my frustration. Any help is appreciated.

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
80

My 2003 Pilot started slipping at 195K which is way better than most. Increased noise when power is applied plus slipping in neutral when at highway speeds. Bad torque converter. I recommend getting quotes from 2 or 3 local transmission shops who actually do the rebuilds there. I paid $3K but got a 3 yr/36Kmile warranty. Sure it's an expensive repair but I figure if I get at least one year more from this vehicle I'm ahead of the game, and I hope to get several years. Good luck.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
70

I had my light come on and off and it read that it was the catalyst converter or 02 sensor.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
90

I have the same opinion about Honda America, worthless. The only people that rave about Honda vehicles are people that have Honda's that have had no issues. I purchased a used Pilot and have had minor issues every year that I typically fix myself. I have tried the route through Honda America and hit a complete wall. The customer service is absolutely pathetic and they really do not care who you are. very similar to an American car manufacturer customer service. Arrogant, worthless and not willing to help or cover any known recalls or issues Total bills to date $3,480 (two required timing belt replacements at the dealer), but the car has 257,240 miles (we purchased it used with 72,000) and the tranny just went bad. Probably going to have the local Tranny shop install a used transmission I can purchase from a used Tranny dealer from the internet for a total of install of $1,780. I purchased a used Toyota Camry that currently has 226,206 miles and I have only done engine oil and brakes. I went to a Toyota parts department and asked to purchase a new transmission filter and fluid so I could replace them. He asked why I would do that. I told him I change the Honda tranny fluid every 30 to 40,000 miles and I did not have the Toyota manual to tell me when I should do the transmission maintenance so I figured it would be similar. He told me Toyota typically does not require changing unless something is wrong or leaking. I bought the Toyota with 30,000 miles so we have driven the car almost 200,000 miles and no issues and or outrageous maintenance like a timing belt (4 cylinder), fluid changes etc. I will never purchase another Honda. Honda is way over rated and their required maintenance approaches the expense of a BMW which is also outrageous and pathetic. Did I mention I will never purchase another Honda again, I will never purchase another Honda again. Casey, Mechanical Engineer from Indiana

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
20

My 1992 Accord was AWESOME. No repairs required other than the normal wear and tear items. My 2003 Accord has had 4 transmissions in it. (All covered by Honda, but at great emotional cost.) I bought a 2003 Pilot from the original owner ... great maintenance records, really well cared for. At 148,000 miles the engine light comes on and we pull a P0740 code. Am now evaluating what to do. Thank you for the history.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
40

With all the stories, and the same situation I am in --- i.e. 2004 Honda Pilot - engine light on at 188000 miles, no visible change in performance so far, I would like to hear from American Honda please, where are you guys. Bought the Pilot brand new for US 35,000

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
60

Bought a used 2004 Pilot 2 weeks ago. Perfect test drive. Within a few days I started to get the rumble strip noise - daily. And it's shimmied a few times too. Can I open a case with Honda America? I bought it from a Honda dealership 'as is'. Anybody have advice on how to proceed with Honda to get some help? I can't afford a new transmission right now!

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
20

I am running a same problem with my transmission; I can pretty much feel the shifting on every gear change and have a P0740 code. What I have noticed though is that changing oil at least once a year has prolonged the tranny life.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
40

P0740 Code Alert I have a 2004 Honda Pilot with 191,000 miles on it. Recently I was checking for the reason my cruise control wasn't working. I removed the fuse for the cruise control while the ignition key was in the "ON" position just to see if it was blown. Bad idea. The fuse was good so I reinstalled it. Now I have a check engine light on the dash. I should mention that this fuse also feeds the ECU (PCM) which is the computer that controls the transmission. The vehicle is still operating normally, The next day I took it to AutoZone to have the check engine light analyzed. IT CAME UP P0740 ! After reading about Honda Pilots with this code needing a transmission rebuild at $3000 or more, I got a little freaked out. I had the code erased which made the check engine light go off. Drove it the rest of the day with no issues. I'm convinced that I caused the P0740 code by interrupting the power supply to the ECU (PCM) with the ignition key "ON" but not running.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
90

Integrating that the code ended up being a bad gasket on the gas cap which allowed the pressure inside the gas tank to change causing the code. However, one year after my post the transmission went out. Apparently Honda had an inferior part in the tranny, 2nd gear, and issued a recall for most 04 pilots but my vin was not part of the recall. Although the issue was exactly the same problem that forced the recall. I am the 2nd owner and Honda USA customer service said "sorry about your luck but the second owner has no recourse", literally. I paid $2,500 too have a used tranny installed. 8 months later it is still going with 303,000 miles. Given the lack of customer service and the refusal of Honda USA to stand behind their product, I will never buy another Honda again. Toyota all the way.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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