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2005 Honda Pilot Rear End Noise

Hello All,

My 2005 Honda Pilot has 125k miles and has developed an occasional clunking sound from the rear suspension. It seems to happen around sharp turns or when the rear suspension is unloaded, like hopping over railroad tracks, or when going over short/sharp bumps. It is inconsistent, in that it does not happen all the time. I was checking and checking for loose parts for months and tugging on suspension parts like arms, links, sway bar, etc. I find nothing loose or clunking or showing signs of loose connections.

Today, I was checking with the car on jack stands and found the “hubs” or sheetmetal covers that the CV boots are clamped to are loose at the differential. I believe this is the sound of the noise. They rotate with the rear wheels and kind of clunk around with some manual pressure applied.

Are they a typical source of trouble?

Are they easy to replace?

Are they nothing to worry about or is this a precursor to the axles falling out?


I’d call a Honda shop and ask.

I suspect the clunking noise you hear are your CV joints and not the clamps. A loose connection could have contaminated the joins.

Most cars, over their life time, will have problems with CV joints/boots at one time or another.

I would worry about it because it likely will get progressively worse, if it’s the joints. Not sure what your level of experience is with cars, it can be a DYI project if you are confident and have the tools. Watch some videos on youtube to get an idea what it takes to replace an axle and CV boot. I do suggest that when in doubt, take it to a repair shop. This is more than changing spark plugs or oil and if you screw it up it can have serious consequences going 60mph on a highway with your wheel falling off.

That is what I was affraid of. The CV joints. I checked it again and the rest of the suspension seems tight although it is a complicated arrangement back there. So CV joints will clunk around? I cannot say I have ever had one go bad on me before.

I am boycotting the Honda dealer because their prices are ridiculous. If I take it in I will have to take it elsewhere. I think I can handle the job but it will come down to time and ambition. Although the idea of saving $1000 will likely help with ambition.

well…“clunking” is very subjective. I am only guessing since you said the clamps are loose and you can rotate them by hand. Of course, I could be wrong, there is always a first time for that :slight_smile:

Below is a link to just one example of what a bad CV joint can sound like. When driving or going over bumps the noise would increase. When turning it usually, but not always, makes a clicking or rumbling noise.

Axle and boot should not cost you $1000, more in the $500 range and you don’t have to go to Honda. A reputable independent shop can do it just as well and likely for less than a Honda dealer.

CV joints are a wearing item, so will almost always require servicing or replacement at some point. Same thing with the tires, right? At 125 K, suggest to ask your shop to remove them and based on an inspection, either service or replace. Not that big of a deal.

As a driveway diyer, I’ve serviced front CV joints myself on both a VW Rabbit and a Corolla. On the Rabbit I did it every 30k, on the Corolla every 60K. I just follow the procedure step by step in the factor service manual is all. The biggest problem I had was I’d accidentally drop the ball bearings onto the garage floor and spend 2 hours looking for where they rolled to. The axle nut is a challenge, but doable. As w/the ball joint. Beyond that a fairly straightforward job. A little time consuming though, took me 3-4 hours probably, including find the ball bearings.

I think most shops wouldn’t service them. In fact w/some designs they can’t be removed from the axle shaft w/out destroying them. Instead most shops now just replace the entire half shaft with a replacement part. That would prevent you having to find where the ball bearings went.