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Acura CL Transmission Problems

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  • mr1999cl30mr1999cl30 Posts: 1
    edited December 2010
    OK, for all those who have the 1998-1999 3.0 Acura CL..(and basically anyone with a high performance FWD automatic..). Here are a few tips to preserve what you drive and/or put off a repair until a later date.

    1) Only use the Acura trans fluid. Do not use Dextron not even as a temp replacement.
    2) If you have not changed the trans fluid then do so. Afterwards you should do a drain and refill of the trans at every engine oil change (6 months).

    *NOTE* The drain and refill mentioned above only amounts to 3 qts. It is easy to do. The idea is to keep a constant supply, over time, of fresh fluid coming into the transmission. The system holds more fluid than 3 qts but only 3 come out when you pull the plug. DO NOT have it power flushed. This transmission does not have much of a filter and said filter is not serviceable without the complete tear down of the transmission. A power flush will likely move particles through the system in a way that will cause plugging and blockage! To change the majority of the fluid, Acura suggests drain 3 and add 3 - three times. ie: drain then add then drive five minutes. Then do that again and again to a total of 9 qts. Then continue nd draining the earlier mentioned three qts at each engine oil change. If you are trying to nurse along a damaged transmission then you may need to do the 3x3 two or the full three times based on how it drives. The damaged transmission really cooks the fluid and shortens its life. In this scenario a synthetic such as redline or amsoil may help handle the heat. Shifts will not be as smooth using the sythetics on a "good' transmission. At some point getting it repaired will be cheaper than all that fluid.

    3) If you are an aggressive driver then put an oil cooler on the transmission and or stay in D3 while driving that way. Cuts down on the heat generated by 3 to 4 shifting at high HP. Actually the Oil cooler is recommended for regular drivers too...cheap insurance.

    A smooth shifting transmission computer with high horsepower engine, small transmission and especially an aggressive driver (but not always) creates a lot of heat. Heat breaks down the fluid. Bad fluid causes damage to transmission and creates even more heat.

    I hope this helps someone. I really like my CL and properly cared for it can provide many miles of service.

    Be sure to recycle used fluids and oils
  • I was having hard shifting between gears, and there was a strange sound while idling. The Acura dealer said it was probably the transmission. I spent $3,600 at Aamco in April 2010 for a new transmission,and when I got the car back, the hard shifting was still exactly the same. Aamco checked out the car and said it was fine. For 6 months, it got worse and worse, with additional problems of a weird burp forward after I would put on my brakes, and speeding up while coasting on a flat surface. Since I had a 2-year warranty at Aamco, I took it back and said there was definitely still something wrong. They diagnosed it as bad front and rear transmission mounts and said it would cost me $1500, and that this wasn't part of the 2-year warranty because mounts were separate from the transmission. My car is currently getting fixed, but this all seems very suspect to me. Comments?
  • The automatics in the early 2000's Acura TL/Honda Accord/Odyssey are really junk yet people recommend them away on this board as a good reliable cars. You may find an independent repair shop who can do it much cheaper. When you call they should have an answer for cost, it is a very common repair.

    ____________________
    more Acura repair questions
  • scraw33scraw33 Posts: 11
    edited February 2011
    There are several models in 1997 to 2001 and possibly others that are having unusual transmission problems with low mileage and regular upkeep. My Acura is a 1999 CL 2.3 136k, I'm the original owner and have had regular maintenance done. The car was babied for it's entire life, looks new inside and out, yet has a transmission that surges at start and stop. While researching the issue it appears Honda dropped the ball on the owners that purchased these vehicles knowing they had problems with these transmissions. The advice I've been given is call Honda Corp at 1-800-382-2384 and report the problem. Make sure you have your VIN # available. The other is to take it to Acura Dealer and have the service tech right up consumer complaint regarding the issue. Possibly they will respond with some sort of solution so that our cars can live longer without paying more for a transmission than the value based on the poor reliability report on resale value.
  • shaynejshaynej Posts: 1
    I have a Acura CL, I think it is a 1998 or 1999.

    Last week, the speedometer cable started bouncing and sticking on Zero. At the same time, the transmission (I assume) started acting up. It sounded like it was having a hard time changing gears, etc. After driving a while, the problem went away, but ocassionally it would come back and even sometimes when the car was driving fine, the speedometer would "bounce" or stay at zero or read a MPH that was way higher than I knew I was driving.

    So, I took the vehicle to a mechanic that services all of my cars. I bought this car used from him about 2 years ago. It had almost 300,000 miles on it, but a new engine had been put in at about 250,000 miles. I have had no problems out of it since. I change the oil about every 3 - 4 thousand miles, but the transmission has never been serviced, because it is one of those "sealed" transmissions that has to go to the dealer.

    Considering the minimal investment I have in this vehicle and the fact that (my mechanic just reminded me) it has to go to the dealer to be serviced, what should I do? Is it possible a "service" will fix this problem? What kind of bill am I looking at to have it serviced (by a dealer)? Is there ANY way I can service it myself (with the help of a mechanic that knows what he is doing)?

    I am looking for some recommendations. I can't afford to replace it right now. I am trying to decide the "cheapest" solution to get it fixed. (Should I just skip the service and start looking at getting a new or used transmission?)

    I would really appreciate any advice anyone can give me on this matter!

    Shayne
  • baderabadera Posts: 1
    I have a Acura CL with 151,000 miles and the transmission locked up on the car while at speed on a interstate. The car came to an abrupt and violent stop, with out any forward or reverse. Screaming tires on a busy road could have killed my daughter, but by the grace of God, the other vehicles avoided hitting her.

    This has to be an engineering problem from Honda, I have found out several other Acura CL in the area of different vintages, however with the same millage, or their about, came to the same violent halt while on the road. Some with accidents and injuries.

    Please be careful in choosing you next vehicle, Honda and Acura are not "safe at any speed" purchase something else.
  • Kathy, You are not alone by any means. My 1998 3.0 CL is on its second engine and THIRD transmission. I'm writing this because I finally found this forum and saw the other posts. My first transmission went at 82,000 miles, after whining and hard downshifting out of overdrive. The second one came with a three-year warranty and failed two weeks after it was installed. Now I have 100,000 miles (on the third one) and it's acting up just like the others. The first engine failed at 68,000 miles, after a check engine light and failed emissions inspection. There was a tapping noise on the cam, and after a tear-down, one of the tappets was ground down about 1/8 inch, due to oil starvation. I never missed a 3000 mile oil change or any scheduled maintenance, and even showed Acura an oil analysis over time that came up clean. Now the second engine is showing the same symptoms, although it's lasted longer due to religious SYNTHETIC oil changes. Acura basically blamed me for everything and wouldn't give me a dime. Now I know I'm not alone. THIS MODEL YEAR IS A TOTAL LEMON. The way I've been treated, I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HONDA PRODUCT. EVER.
  • Had the same problem. Needed a new speed sensor. My mechanic couldn't find the part, couldn't get his dashboard rebuilder to get the part, ended up getting a scrapyard dashboard gauge module and that fixed it. The repair took $1000 to complete, and my car "lost" 70,000 miles, but it works now.
  • flylowflyslowflylowflyslow Posts: 6
    edited August 2011
    Hello Forum..
    I have a new experience to relate for those of you who have used Dextron in either a Dodge or an Acura transmission...even with an additive, dextron is bad news. It will heat up and leave varnish in the valve bodies and Solenoids (acura) . I tried something I never thought I would try. Being careful not to overfill..I put 1/2 pint of Sea Foam trans tune in the transmission. 30,000 miles ago, I allowed a shop to put dextron in (w/ additive) and in three months it shifted like crap. I went back to Acura fluid (ZR1?) and later the new synthetic Acura fluid..Changed three times in 30,000 miles..better but still alternated between whiplash and overspeeding shutter...I learned to baby the shift by backing off the gas pedal and I think I prevented some of the wear and tear. Now I wish I had done the sea foam back when all this started. Since using this cleaner it has been a night and day difference and I continue to us a 1/2 pint with the Acura fluid long term. So far it is awesome.
  • You should NOT, I repeat NOT purchase the Acura 2.3 cl. My car is crap! I wish I seen this forum prior to purchasing this car. I was driving on the highway yesterday morning while in traffic I went to press the gas pedal to go and the car was stuck would not move at all, about 10 seconds later it jumped violently and drove off. This happened all the way to work which is about 20mins highway drive no traffic and 50 mins traffic. I would beg anyone to not even think twice before purchasing this vehicle, I was almost rear ended five times because the car wouldn't drive although my foot was on the gas pedal and I was pressing down heavily. This car is a NO GO I wont even waste my time or energy fixing it, Im taking the money and making a down payment on a new car!!!!!!
  • smd4smd4 Posts: 1
    I own a 2003 Acura CLS 3.2 with 47,000 miles on it. It was purchased new & has been mantained by the dealership. I had the car in for service 2 days ago & complained about the car not shifting properly. They assured me nothing was wrong with the transmission. Today the transmission went completely & I had to have the car towed. Turns out they did not even do a diagnosis on it. Now they are saying they will see if they can help out at all. Ridiculous for a transmission to go at 47,000 miles.
  • Haven't you read this thread on Acura CL transmissions? You're upset that a transmission went at only 47K miles - and you should be. However, I bought my 1999 CL 3.0 new and had the transmission replaced 4, yes 4, times
    by the time it reached 67K miles. You got off easy! I hope you bought the dealer's extended warranty, or else you're in for a repair to the tune of $3K. Good luck!
  • I have an Acura CL-S with 142,000 miles on the clock. I have replaced the transmission 4 times so far. it is acting up again. the first tranny went at 19,000 miles miles. Acura upped the ante on the warrantee but it was not long enough. I am not sure i want to put in a 5th transmission in this car. My brother had the same model and year and he replaced the transmission twice. he got rid of the car when it was going for the third time. My wife has a Honda Accord, the tranny was replaced at 85,000 miles. My niece has a Honda Civic. That needed a transmission at 52,000. I have a Honda snow blower that leaks oil. I was told that there is no known fix because of the intermittent use on the equipment.
    There will be no more Honda products in my future.
    Jeff
  • Jeff,

    Sorry to hear of your experience - yet another Acura transmission nightmare. At least Acura helped you with the warranty. They didn't give me jack. In any case, I've found that the prior posts in this thread are spot on. I'm on my third transmission on my '98 3.0 CL, and it's been chugging along for about 100K miles now.

    To repeat what's been said previously (and you can do this at 5K mile intervals.) Have your transmission fluid DRAINED AND FILLED. DO NOT FLUSH. ONLY USE ACURA TRANSMISSION FLUID - NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. I did this for four 5K mile intervals (four drain-and-fills), and then at recommended owners manual changes after that.

    You can make a regular thing of it - 5K miles - rotate your tires, change oil and filter with Castrol Syntec 5W-30 (I use nothing else), and drain/fill your transmission fluid with Acura-only product.

    And yes, after this rig dies I'll be making a beeline to my local Infiniti dealer. Good luck -
  • mp the first two trannies were replaced by Acura. I footed the bill for the others. I am not going to replace another tranny in this car. Good money after bad so it is said. On Tuesday i am going to look at a 2011 BMW 330i conertible. Going to trade the Acura and my 2006 Vette convertible on it if the deal is right. The Vette has an issue with the power top. From day 1 it gets stuck going back up, Collected on the Lemon Law, had the pump, electronics, and hoses replaced twice and still has issues. I am afraid to drive the car anywhere for fear that I will not be able to get the top back up. Yeah, I can relieve the pressure on the hydrolic pump and lift the top manually. Real pain in the butt. OK, got my dig in on GM.

    Jeff
  • abbababbab Posts: 1
    To all of you who have had Trans problems on the Acura and especially to the one who said "do not buy a Honda or Acura". Wow is all I can say. I'd bet you are a person who drives 65 in the left lane.
    My sister currently owns a 2003 Acura CL with 198K on it. Never a trans problem, never any major issues. She bought it new and has maintained it regularly. I am currently replacing all of the struts and springs, changing all of the fluids and a motor mount and she plans on driving it for another 100K. It still runs and drives like a 30K mileage car.
    That being said, I have owned my own shop, managed a Goodyear and worked at several dealerships the last of which was a Honda dealer. Speaking from personal experience, Honda and Acura will take care of their customers and do so 200% better than ANY other manufacturer out there, period!
    I have personally seen Honda and Acura replace a transmission with over 150K on the vehicle with NO SERVICE RECORDS! Try that ANYWHERE else and you will just get laughed at and thrown out.
    They are the best cars for the money on the market today.
    I own a BMW and a GM Truck. They are both great vehicles. Maintenance is the key to longevity.
    As a side note to the person who said they were going to trade for a BMW. They are very similar to owning an older Harley. Drive it, fix it, drive it, fix it. Don't take my word for it go oi bimmerfest forum and see for yourself. I love the car and am not looking for another model to replace it, but trust me, you will have to work on it pretty regularly.
  • Who do you work for Honda? My 1999 Acura 3.0, purchased new, never missed a maintenance appointment ( I have all of the records to prove it), and it was stored in the garage or under the car cover. My car, gently driven, had its fourth transmission replaced at 67K miles. I guess everyone else on this thread is wrong. Imagine that!!!!
  • averyd1averyd1 Posts: 3
    edited December 2011
    Yup. 1999 Acura 3.0 CL, purchased new from the dealer, garaged since purchase. full maintainence. Currently has 73,000 miles on it and I've been having transmission problems (a kick from 1st to 2nd) since about 55,000 miles. But it must be my imagination. ; )
  • I wish you the best of luck getting Honda to help you. That transmission was poorly engineered, so even the Howard's refurbished trannies are garbage. Honda should have helped (now FORMER) customers.
  • I own a 2001 Acura CL-S. I love my car. But, it's reaching 140,000 miles and I've been feeling the tranny slipping in second gear... again. This will be the THIRD time I am replacing it. The first all out trans failure occurred at under 30000 miles. Luckily the warrantee covered it. They told me it was an isolated problem. I googled Acura CL trans problems today and found this site, I never register or comment on stuff Like this but I had to share... I am livid. I will never buy another Acura. If anyone is foolish enough to want one. They can buy mine cheap. Its black with black leather.
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