The ride on our 2005 Honda Pilot had been getting progressively rougher. That is not surprising considering the 225,000 miles it has traveled. When we purchased it 5 years ago it had 129,750 miles. Perhaps the shocks and struts had been replaced before, but in any case it was time to do it again. I opted for the pre-assembled shock and strut for the front so I wouldn’t have to deal with compressing the spring.
Removing the old strut assembly was not too difficult. Just three bolts on the top through the access holes. I did need help installing the new one because it is heavy and I could not reach around the top to get the nuts started by myself.
I also replaced the front stabilizer links because I could not get one of them off the existing strut. The effort to replace the rear shocks was minimal since the are pretty easy to get to and only involve two bolts each.
As I was working on the front end, I noticed one of the ball joints moved more easily than I thought it should. So I ordered a set of front lower control arms with the integrated ball joint.
They were not too bad to remove, but getting all of the bolt holes lined up on the first one was very challenging. On the second one I put the bolt in the hole I had the toughest time with first and that went much better.
Unfortunately, this is not where this story ends. I took the vehicle out for a test drive after getting everything put back together. I made it about a mile from home when it just did not want to go anymore. Shifting into “Park” caused horrible grinding noises. I was able to go about another 1/4 mile before I could go no more. I pulled over as far to the side of the road I could get, turned the engine off before putting it “Park”, and put the hazard lights on.
I had left my cell phone in the garage because why would I need that. And of course I had finished this job at about 11:30 pm so I had a nice walk back home in the dark.
We considered towing it home, but instead my wife, two oldest sons, and I went back and got it pushed a little further off the road. Upon further inspection it looked like it had lost all the transmission fluid. As we went home we could see the trail all the way back to within 100 feet of our driveway.
I called a tow truck company right away in the morning and had it taken to our local car repair shop. Their diagnosis was as I worked on changing out the lower control arm I had dislodged the CV axle allowing a significant amount of transmission fluid (they put three quarts back in) to leak out.
One of the boots on that axle was broken so I had them replace that. In addition I had twisted off one wheel stud. Replacement of that also required replacement of the wheel bearing. Certainly I could have done those repairs myself as well, but I did not really have the time and frugality fatigue on this project had set in pretty hard.
I suppose if I had the shop do the shocks and struts I would not have had this problem and could have avoided the tow charge. However, that would have cost me more that the $450 I spent on the parts. As for the broken wheel stud; I am not sure what to think about that. I might need to get a torque wrench. Any recommendations?