really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
135,600 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. honda needs to add 95-97 to their recall (1 reports)
  2. it needs a new or rust-free used frame (1 reports)
  3. not sure (1 reports)
1997 Honda Passport suspension problems

suspension problem

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1997 Honda Passport Owner Comments

problem #3

Jun 152011

Passport LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,000 miles


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frame is rusting out frame is rusting out frame is rusting out frame is rusting out frame is rusting out

Recently bought (April '11) a '97 Honda Passport with a blown head for next to nothing. Purchased the vehicle for my two kids to get back and forth from college. I then dumped a couple grand into fixing it. Then in June, I noticed big chunks of rusted steel on my driveway under where the Passport was parked. Crawled underneath it only to find that the chassis was so rusted out in places that I could place my whole fist into the holes (especially right under the passenger seat/door). I was also able to grab hand fulls of rusted and corroded steel from inside the cavity along the chassis. I immediately called the Honda Recall hotline and they indicated to me that there was no recall for the '97 for chassis but there was a recall starting in '98 on the frame. But, not to worry...they said to take it to the dealer to have them access the situation and determine next steps.

So I parked the vehicle in the driveway and prohibited any one from driving it. Because I have been so busy with work, I finally got around to calling the dealer in my area (Roush) and they instructed me to set an appt for them to do a diagnostic check. Oh and that they will have to charge me for the diagnostic analysis. I told them that that was a bunch of bunk having to have to I did not want to pay them any fees. All one has to do is get on their knees and look under the car and come to the diagnosis that I came to...that there is obviously a defect for the steel to be so rusted that you could put your fist into several areas.

Obviously you do not need to be a rocket surgeon to figure it out...nor do you need to place it on a rack to make an official diagnosis, let alone charge me for it. I told them that I would send them a FREE diagnostic pictures that they could use for their analysis. Since that did not get me anywhere, I asked for Honda's number because I wanted to chat with a Regional/District Manager in order to obtain approval for the dealer to waive the diagnostic fee. I got the run around from Heather in recalls stating that I need to go back to the dealer and that since my vehicle had no recall, Heather could not obtain approval for a free diagnostic check. She also would not provide me with the District Manager's name for Honda telling me that I needed to get that info from the dealer. I then proceeded to voice my concern on this and told her that the vehicle isn't safe to be driving even to the dealer. She offered absolutely NO concern NOR any valuable customer service.

Based on this Honda experience and previous experience with a GMC vehicle, I can tell you GMC's customer service department blows Honda's away. So now I am having to call Roush back in order to obtain the Honda District Manager's name and number. MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE and is totally "a run around." I bought the Passport because it was a HONDA only to find out that it is an ISUZU. Honda evidently paid ISUZU to manufacture the PASSPORTS which was Honda's entrance into the SUV market.

So now I have what I thought was a Honda which is actually a ISUZU. NO wonder why the frame is crap. If you happen to own a HONDA PASSPORT manufactured in the years '95 (first year), 96 and 97, check your chassis. If anyone else has had this problem, please let me know if you have been able to rectify it with HONDA.

I am currently stuck with a very unsafe LEMON like vehicle that I dumped money into only to find that Honda doesn't want to stand behind their name. Their customer service is horrible at the corporate level and in a situation like this, very questionable the dealer level. My goal is to get to Mary, their District Manager, and have her get under the vehicle to access with out a diagnostic charge from the dealer and a bunch more run around.

- , COlumbus, OH, USA

problem #2

Jan 012004

Passport LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Honda (or Isuzu, actually) powdercoated the frames, spare tire rack, side steps, and many of the suspension components on these cars. Powdercoat coatings are applied directly to bare steel and are "fired" or baked on. Unfortunately this baking process is no substitute for rust inhibitive primer. When heated, the powder "fuzes" into a hard "shell" of a coating like eggshell or tooth enamel - but - it doesn't flex worth a damn. When applied to something that does flex, it simply cracks. That's where water enters and works unabated on the bare steel underneath until it rusts the steel completely away.

I bought my Passport new in '97 and still have it. I had to park it a few years ago (inside my climate controlled garage) when I discovered huge holes in various places on the frame making it unsafe for my wife to drive. I also noticed significant rust disintegration to my front sway bar and control arms. It was immediately apparent to me what had happened and why.

Other than the frame damage, the vehicle is in perfectly good condition. There isn't so much as a molecule of visible rust on the entire body; underneath or anywhere! If it were true that abuse is what caused the frame to rot, how do you explain a totally rust free body mounted to that same frame? You can't. The difference between the body sheet metal and the frame metal is this; the bodies were primed with acid-etch primer prior to the final finish and the frames were "painted" with a one-step, primerless, powdercoat final finish. Look what happened.

I restore concours quality collector cars for a living - especially body shell restoration. I wouldn't use powdercoating on a paper weight. It's a time bomb. Those of us who bought these particular cars and kept them long enough know this.

My Passport is/was a great vehicle and I'd like to get it back on the road. I've had it on most of the adrenaline-rush Jeep trails in Colorado and it performs as good as the Jeeps. I just want to get a new frame for it, prepare and paint it myself the RIGHT way, and get on with things. Guess what - Honda shows the frames as still having an available part number. However, when you try to order one, they tell you you'll have to join a waiting list with no estimate of delivery whatsoever. And of course, you have to pay the $2.6K plus bill in advance. Thus, here I sit wondering what to do.

Honda, you guys took the Isuzu (Rodeo) shortcut into the SUV market so you could buy time to develope the Pilot. It wasn't your fault that Isuzu chose to use powdercoat on the production line but when you stuck your own nameplates and badges all over them, you made them your responsibility. Your refusal to make this problem right is something most of us have come to expect of our domestic manufacturers. You should at the very least make the frames available. There are many more of us out here with this problem than you think. Man Up, Honda!

P.S Toyota had the same issue with their mini-pickups and they are making good on their mistakes. Is Toyota a better company than Honda? What say you, Honda?

- , Stilwell, KS, USA

problem #1

Mar 042009

Passport LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,800 miles

The body remains in great shape. Didn't expect the frame to rust out, especially on an SUV that was only used on the highway

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

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