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Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems



  • Thanks for the advice. Car is at dealer now.
  • blackexv6blackexv6 Posts: 490
    I see the message boards being hit with 2003 and 2004 transmission failures. The problem was not fixed.

    This is not surprising since the 2nd gear lubrication problem was not properly inspected by many dealerships (or the stress discoloration was really not that much of a factor in the whole failure) in the '03 Accord V6's & Odyssey.

    Also, it wouldn't surprise me to see some '05 & '06 Odyssey failures popping up. My '06 Odyssey with 28k miles slams gears & slips on several occasions.
  • o3odyo3ody Posts: 4
    here is a link for the transmission settlement.

    In my case, Honda is agreeing to pay for some of the transmission replacement. I'm still not sure I'm satisfied. Even if they agree to cover the whole cost, this has been a hassle and more importantly a dissapointment. My wife and I have owned 6 Hondas (this is the first mini-van) and we've never experienced a problem or breakdown. My experience has always been if you follow the maintenance schedule, the car will run forever. Now looking back, it's curious to me that our other 5 Hondas were 4-cylinders (4 of the 5 were manual transmissions).

    Here is my 2 cents. Think of the SUV/Truck craze of the 90's. Honda wasn't in this game because they didn't have their own products or V-6 engines (ie the Passport was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, the pre-1999 Ody was a small mini-van with a 4 cylinder engine and not big enough for the American consumer to haul the family off to DisneyWorld). They rushed to get these new vehicles developed and built. Likewise, they developed and built V-6 engines to go into these new models. They were behind the curve and needed into this very profitable segment of the auto industry (remember this is all before 9-11, high gas prices, etc). Unfortunately, I think they forgot the transmission design in their haste.

    Below is launch timeline for Honda's V6 models made in N. America:
    1998 - Accord V6 engine (most or all previous Accords were 4 cylinder, I think?)
    1999 - Odyssey V6 engine launch (previous model was 4 cylinder).
    1999 - Acura TL V6
    2000's - Acura MDX, Pilot, Ridgeline (all with V6)

    Honda launched a lot of new cars in a very short time to enter the SUV/truck/minivan race. They were way behind in this very profitable market. They pushed the Hp in these new vehichles because that's what the American consumer likes to see in their monthly addition of Car and Driver. They needed the Hp numbers to attract people away from the Big-3 brands and towards their new products. Look at the Ody, before 1999 it was a 150hp engine, since then it has gone from 210 to 240 to 255 hp. The 210Hp Ody's got the tranny settlement. Now those of us with the 240 hp engines are starting to see tranny problems. I'm sure the 255 hp Ody's are next, they just need a few more miles since this model was launched in 2005.

    If you look thru these sites you'll also find V6 Accord and Acura TL tranny complaints. They are pushing too much power thru undersized and poorly designed transmissions. It isn't a manufacturing defect. Honda would fix a manufacturing flaw. It's an inherent design flaw. To admit it's a manufacturing flaw allows them to fix the transmissions on a case by case basis -- 'oh yeah, that one had a bad bearing, replace it'. However, to admit it's a design flaw would put a serious squeeze on them to address every single Ody, TL and Accord out there.

    BTW, not sure why I haven't seen Pilot, MDX, Ridgeline issues with the transmission. I think these are all 4WD vehicles, so likely a very different transmission design.

    Since this tranny problem, paranoia has the best of me. I've spent a lot of time looking up other Ody defects. I see mpg is often an issue. Our mpg started dropping about a year ago. Hindsight now it seems that that the mpg got continually worse as the 'reverse clunk' got louder right upto the transmission failing.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,154
    I believe the Ridgeline (and I assume the pilot?) have a different (ie stronger) tranny design, that was finally adopted for the Odyssey (2007?) So you are right that eventually the '05-'06 models will start failing.

    At least Honda has set a precedent, and would have trouble arguing that if the older models were bad, and they kept using the same design, that it is now the customers fault when it fails!

    I assumed when I got out 2005 that they must have fixed the design flaws (plus the failure rate wasn't quite so bad in 2004 when we bought!) but now I am starting to expect the worst. I just hope if it goes, it goes early! If not, wait until I trade it in..

    For this reason, I make sure to get my oil changes, etc. at the dealer, and had them do a tranny fluid change at 30K (even though they said it wasn't required yet). If the trans in this van goes, it is a defect, since we drive it carefully, and over maintain.

    of course, my SIL has a 1999 that has led a hard life, and now has about 130k, and as far as I know, the tranny is working fine (I know it never failed on her).

    I can't seem to get more than 5-6 years out of a car before the desire for a new one becomes too strong (and the squeaks and rattles that vans develop become too annoying), so I will probably trade at 5/60 or 6/75, so I should be safe.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • autowriteautowrite Posts: 222
    The 4 cyclinder Odyssey is still produced in Japan. The big Odyssey that came out in 1999 was really a Japanese LAGREAT. Also, currently in Japan there is still a vehicle called Elysion similar insize to the NA Odyssey.
    My Odyssey transmission went at 180,000 kms (Canadian). I currently have 185,000 kms. I have a dealer warranty on the rebuilt of 20,000kms.
  • autowriteautowrite Posts: 222
    The Pilot is NOT 4-wheel driive, per say. It's front wheel drive and changes to 4-wheel drive when conditions warrent it. The same as the Acura MDX. Conditions being if you lose transaction in snow, etc.
  • msanemsane Posts: 1
    I found this thread a few days ago, after experiencing the same issues with our newly purchased 2000 Ody LX with 116,000 miles. The CEL came on while we were in SD for Christmas. Took it to the dealer and they pulled two transmission codes and a P0420 catalytic converter code. The tech told us our transmission was going out, and needed to be replaced.

    Brought it back home to MN, found this thread, took it to a dealer 2 days ago and said I wanted to do a parts/labor split for payment (Honda pays for the parts, we pay labor) and told the service guy I was very informed about the transmission issues the Ody's have had for this year and know that Honda has done many out of warranty "goodwill" repairs for other people.

    Got a call from the dealer today and Honda agreed to do the parts/labor split on both the transmission AND the catalytic converter! So we'll pay just the labor to put them in. So finding this thread and being firm but polite with Honda saved us probably $3000. Thanks everyone!

    And if you are having similar issues, be informed and find a good dealer, because you can save yourself some serious cash and stress.
  • We have an 03 Odyssey with 60K miles that had a complete transmission failure on Christmas day. (nice) Anyway, we took it back to the dealer we bought it from and they kept it for two days and then told us we would have to replace the entire transmission at a cost of $5200.00. I have owned many Hondas (we had the first Accord that came in '79) and have had only good experiences with reliability. I regret not doing more research on the transmission issues before buying but here I am. I have read lots of the posts about help from National Honda, and we opened a case with them today. We got a quote on a rebuilt one for $1900.00, but I don't know what is best. Of course, as a female, I wonder if I am getting strung along a little too, but I couldn't believe the price. The service manager said there was nothing he could do to help, but would "support" my case with Honda, whatever that means. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • My 2003 Honda Odyssy transmission just went out...100,000, but had it into the dealer 4-weeks ago for the 95-100K service...$1,000! I am awaiting to hear from Honda if they will fix it. Do you have any information on how often this is happening, and what percent of the time Honda picks up the bill, and under what conditions? Are there any class action cases pending on the 2003? Please respond to my personal email because these bulliten boards are hard to navigate:

    Thank you.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I would go to another dealer. Any decent dealership service department would at least call up Honda and try to pry some assistance out of them- this is an extremely well documented problem and Honda knows it has to pay up, since it is a design defect.

    Before my transmission went, I had visited the dealer where I had it replaced maybe twice. When it went, I limped the car into the dealership, and they called up Honda and got them to do a parts/labor split, where I paid labor and they paid parts. I also got a free rental car for the time period.

    So try a different dealer. Getting the money takes some legwork, and it sounds like your dealer is too lazy to get the money from Honda and not you.
  • Thanks for the advice. I will wait to hear from Honda National next week and then try a different dealer. We have four kids still in car seats so you can imagine what it like moving from one car to the next to get anywhere, I have had it.
  • nrm1nrm1 Posts: 3
    Finally I was able to get a rebuilt transmission for my van. Note, both Honda and the dealer shared the cost of parts of labor and I did not had to pay anything. The only major reason I did not had to pay anythig was my service history witht the dealer and probably my previous ownership of honda cars . I had all my oil changes, brake services, 30K, 60K at the dealer. I also owned a honda civic before my odyssey. The sequence of events is listed below.
    1. Check Engine light on with TCS on and off.
    2. Brought car to dealership for code check. Paid 99 dollars.
    3. Dealer finds two codes PO730 indicating transmission problems and P1491 indicating EGR problem.
    4. Dealer says transmission fix will cost 3500 dollars. EGR is a recall so it is free.
    5. Refused repair at dealership. Brought the car back home. Parked it in the garage.
    6. Called Honda. Fisrt response was the car was out of waranty and nothing can be done. Try to be persistent, polite, provide info that you are a loyal customer of honda. A case was the opened and I was told that someone will contact me in 48 hours.
    7. I was contacted after about 36 hours and told that the cost of repairs will be shared. Inform the case manager about your loyalty and the service history at the dealer. Next day the Case manger called me and said that the dealer will contact me. Dealer calls me in another later in the evening and tells me that given the service history at the dealership, they will replace the transmission for free.
    8. It took about 3 days for the dealer to fix the car. I would think that they fix it over multiple days as they do not want an expert car mechanic to spent all day fixing one car.
    9. I was told there is 36 month 36k warranty on the remanufactured transmission.

    I did not drive my van for almost a week from the day the problem was found and until I brought it back into dealership.
    Be persistent and polite with Honda.
    Do not blame or curse honda or dealership for the failure.
    Do not even think of bringing your van outside of Honda dealer service shop.
    Read as many posts about your problem on this forum and the internet

    Although I am not happy with the episode, but I am satisfied with the fact that Honda took care of this. Although I do wonder that what would be the scenario if I had not done all my service at Honda dealership. From the first time the case manager contacted me, I knew that Honda will give me the remnaufactured transmission for free. The question was of labor then. In my case the dealer had told me it would be 1200 dollars. I had started calling other Honda dealership for the labor on putting the transmission back in again. It ranged from 850 to 1200 dollars. At one time I was planning to bring the van to the dealership with lowest labor and have Honda ship the remanufactured transmission to that dealership.

    I wish best of luck to people who are dealing with this and want to thank this forum for helping me save the money.
  • blackexv6blackexv6 Posts: 490
    Congrats on your success story.

    Not to be a killjoy but you do realize the original design defect(s) was not corrected. You were simply issued a refurbished transmission with the same inherent Honda V6 transmission problems (bad torque converter design, gear slipping, etc). Some of these problems are still in the '05 & '06's.

    Keep this in mind when determining the life cycle of your '03.
  • Excellent that this worked out well for you -

    Just a caution to readers that are facing this issue; many situations turn out well like this one, many others do not. I had full maintenance records (though some done by myself) and had just spent nearly 3k on a timing belt, brake work etc AT the dealer, told them this is our 3rd Honda in 10 years and the dealer and Honda USA treated me very poorly and offered NOTHING!

    I was very polite and persistent and even shared posts from this forum and others and nothing swayed them whatsoever. The interesting thing is that my dealer only reluctantly went to Honda USA after gentle prodding on my behalf; that may have been the beginning of the end. What I'm saying is these posts prove that Honda's support for this issue is all over the map - so even if you do everything right, they may tell you to jump in a lake! (almost sounds like the insurance company trick to trash every third claim to contain costs!)

    Some have suggested to get a rental car thinking would cover it as well, I wouldn't chance that, I had to rent a car 1 WEEK for them to decide they would offer no assistance; can you believe they kept the car 1 week to do/offer nothing!

    When I tried to reference the instances in this forum where they did the right thing they simply dismissed it and said each case is evaluated individually. Which means for whatever reason, they decide they aren't going to offer assistance, you're screwed.

    I have to reiterate this really surprised me from Honda, we kept at it several weeks thinking they would help out. I almost think if would help other folks to track which dealers are getting good results in support for these; all I can figure is the dealer/case manager combination did me in!
  • o3odyo3ody Posts: 4
    The Pilot is NOT 4-wheel driive, per say. It's front wheel drive and changes to 4-wheel drive when conditions warrent it. The same as the Acura MDX. Conditions being if you lose transaction in snow, etc.

    Yes, I believe you are right, we had a CRV with AWD. My point really was that the transmission in the Pilot/MDX/Ridgeline is a much different design then the transmission in the TL/Accord/Odyssey, which has the obvious design flaw.

    I guess the AWD/4WD must send half of the transmission problems to the rear tires thus doubling the life of the transmission ;)
  • Hi, I was told by my Honda Dealer that the only way they will warranty the transmission on my 1999 Odyssey is if the transmission light goes on and the computer gives the code for a bad transmission. This is frustrating because the transmission obviously has problems related to the year/model recall that you are all talking about, but the light is not on. The transmission consistently slips, shifts very hard, and makes it difficult to drive. They also told me that the recall/warranty extension for this transmission issue expires 7 years after purchase date, which I just passed. Now, I feel that the transmission will fail any day now and I am out of luck because they failed to address this issue earlier because the transmission light was not on. Any thoughts?? This site has been very helpful and informative so far. Thank you all.
  • My 2003 Honda Odyssey transmission just went out at 97,500. I took it back to the dealership it was still under warranty and they still gave me grief. The slipping of gears had to be reproduced by them before they would fix it. They kept it for 2 weeks. I have had several issues out of my van and have been very disappointed. Just keep working at it and be persistent.
  • mcsejtmcsejt Posts: 1
    This will make the 4 transmission my van has needed. Could the "Grade Logic" (see below) be contributing to the failures? If so can it be disabled. I would certainly rather pay for a new set of brakes then a new transmission.

    Quick downshifts. The transmission has a computerized control system called grade logic. When going down a hill, even a light touch of the brake pedal can cause grade logic to downshift to the next lower gear. Downshifting helps to slow the vehicle through engine braking.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The key is to always be polite, and persistent, and be ready to cite "loyalty" on your part- whether you've owned Hondas before, serviced your Hondas at dealerships across the nation, etc.
  • My 2005 Ody EX-L started developing tranny issues about 62K and I haven't found any posts so far with anyone else with tranny issues.

    I took it to my dealership and initially diagnosed this as an EGR and I paid for the EGR (About 250). That did not fix it and I persisted.

    They finally came up with a diagnosis of a shot tranny and rear motor mount which they got Honda to pay for in full. I did not even have to fight or argue - they are probably the most easy and helpful delearships I have in my area (tranny cost about 4k while the motor mount about 1200). The very week I had my tranny done, the delearship told me of another similar case where they got Honda to pay for another 05 Ody tranny and motor mount.

    Seems like the rear motor mount that was put in was an "updated" one meaning it was poorly designed. The reason for it being so expensive - it is a new kind that send signals to the on board computer for the active noise cancellation. I suspect that the VCM engine in the 3-cyl mode generates way too many vibrations killing the mount (seems like poor design). Interestingly the 2008 ODY has a new VCM system that goes from 3 to 4 to 6 cyls. May be it was the motor mount?

    As to the tranny even after the rebuilt tranny it doesn't shift right. I am persisting and trying to get the dealership to help me out.

    Does anyone know if they fixed the tranny issues in the 08? I will probably replace the 05 with an 08.

    It quite frustrating that a company like Honda with a great reputation haven't fixed the tranny issues even as late as the 2005 models after a redesign!
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