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Acura MDX Transmission Problems

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  • My 2008 MDX gave me the high temp trans warning light after less than one mile on steep off-road terrain. I was going very slow in 1st gear manual. Was I operating it incorrectly, or are these vehicles just not intended for off-road use at all as my dealer suggested?
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 43
    Well, the car shouldn't be acting like that, but its a good idea to take it to the dealership. How steep was the slope? In the manual it says the slope is not to exceed 45 degrees. Overall, the MDX wasn't designed to be an offroad vehicle, because it has limited capability to do so. This is partly due to its V-6 engine, which is high revving in nature. It gets most of its power only when revved hard, so its not very suitable to climbing/ off roading. I have done some off roading with my MDX (2004) but it never gave such issues. I'd strongly recommend taking your MDX to the dealer, and see if it has issues, because I never heard of a new generation MDX having such issues. Only the 1st generation, from the years 2001-2003 had such tranny issues.
  • OK. Thanks. It was much less than a 45 degree grade for sure. More like 20 degrees. The terrain was rolling, so I was going very slow to make sure I didn't drag bottom. And I think that was my problem - going that slow in a heavy climb I could feel the transmission slipping.
  • mdxer04mdxer04 Posts: 3
    I had that problem too. I took my 04 mdx out on a dirt road four years ago. It was only a slight incline, but it was 90-95 degrees and I was running the AC. I had the car in D1 or D2. The idiot light for the transmission went off and I had to shut down the engine and let it cool off. It was a hot and miserable wait. Luckily, we started the engine back up and no trans light, turned off the AC and headed back to hwy.
    I understand that the engine will heat up the trannie and cause the over heating-since the engine sits over the trannie.
    After the incident, I spent the the $800 or $1500 (can't remember the exact cost) and had them install the towing package. I believe the towing package has a cooling (radiator) for the trannie so it won't overheat.
    And after all these years, I have yet to prove this theory out on the back roads and unfortunately I haven't had anything of significant to tow. Now I'm just dealing with the Torque Converter going out and getting Acura to fix it for a reasonable price.
    Sadly, I do remember reading an article in Car and Driver before I bought my 04, that gave the mdx a good review for off road capabilities and it was up there with The VW touareg or even better. Nevertheless, the reality is, that it was only designed for minimal off road usage. :sick:
  • Thanks.
    I got the trailer package factory installed, and my Acura dealer indicated as of 2008 all MDX's have the transmission cooler. So it is really surprising it heated up so easily. Funny they provide a SUV with skid plates and high ground clearance, and then say that it is not made to be driven off the road.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    I don't think most people would consider gravel and 20% inclines to be "off road" - any passenger car should be able to handle that without a tow package or transmission cooler! For those who want to use their vehicle for true offroad situations (like they show in Jeep commericials - boulders, rivers, steep inclines, etc.) then they shouldn't be buying a crossover type vehicle in the first place. Besides certain pickup trucks, Jeeps and Land Rovers there isn't much out there to choose from these days. Which is probably OK because only a few select buyers want to go offroad in the first place.

    Towing on the other hand is a different proposition, and here the Acura's 5,000 lb. capacity does an admirable job for all but the heaviest loads.
  • jmarti80jmarti80 Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    Add my name to the list of transmission problems. I have a 2002 Acura MDX that I purchased used from a reputable used car dealership back in Dec of 2009. We purchased it with 65K miles on it. This weekend when driving it home from a road trip the transmission slipped going up a hill, the engine revved, the AT Over heat Signal started to flash and black smoke immediately started to come from our car. I immediately pulled over and noticed transmission fluid all over the driver side axle and all over the exterior of the car. I checked the A/T fluid levels and it was empty. I was able to make it over to an Auto parts store and add A/T fluid to it and we made it home safely.

    The next day I brought it over to our local Acura dealer, and they mentioned that they would first diagnose the problem and then contact the District Manager on my behalf to see if Acura will step up and pay for any of the repairs. So far I am impressed with the way they handled my situation, but I have yet to hear back from them on if and what they will cover.

    I dropped the car off on Tuesday and they told me today (Thursday) that they won't have an answer back from the District Manager till Monday of next week, but it will for sure need a whole new Transmission. I will be using the information I found on the forum as ammunition when it comes time to negotiate. Thank you everyone for posting, this information may save me thousands of dollars (I hope). I will repost when I hear back from Acura.

    I was just curious, how long did it take for those of you that had to have the transmission replaced? In my case it looks like the car will be at the dealership for close to 10 days! Is that about the same amount of time for those of you that went through the same issues?
  • hello. i have an '02 mdx that was having the transmission recall issues, which started about 1.5-2 years after i bought the car in September of 2002. i kept taking the car in for servicing, describing the issue, which was basically that the car jolted into gear between 4th and 5th, like it was having a seizure, and everytime was told that there was nothing wrong. one mechanic tried to tell me it was my air conditioner that was causing the problem(i am woman, i must be dumb!). then the same thing started happening between 1st and 2nd gear. when i got my recall notice in 2006, i took my car to the dealer and asked for a replacement transmission, when my call was still under warranty. they told me they could "fix" it, which didn't work, and back i went in january of 2007, after my warranty was up, and was told that the transmission had to replaced(duh!).

    acura and the dealership did eat the cost and replaced the transmission. of course it was a remanufactured transmission and only came with a 1 year warranty. and now i am having the same problem all over again, this time in 1st to 2nd only. has anyone else had the transmission replaced and then started having the same problem start over in the replacement? is there any class action pending that anyone is aware of for this problem? any info would be appreciated. thank you!
  • from the day that i dropped off the car, a decision was made THAT day about acura covering the cost of the replacement transmission. after that, it took 2-3 days to get the transmission in and then it took anther 2 days to install the replacement. they wouldn't provide a loaner-gues they already felt generous enough.....
  • is that the only way to access your info? i am not a face-booker. did you have your transmission replaced and get another bad one? i cannot tell you how bummed i am, i paid cash for my ride and it was supposed to last for well over 200k miles-i only have 85k on it now. i checked out the bmw x5 and the lexus rx330 when i was shopping and decided on the acura for 2 reasons-best bang for the bucks and reliability record for honda/acura. now i wish i had splurged on the lexus.
  • Last November the torque converter on our 2006 MDX with 55K was replaced under warranty. It never seemed right. Two months later, we took it back and the same problem was the conclusion. When the dealership was doing the work it was determined that is was actually the transmission. Corporate pushed back to replace the TC and update the software (does software go bad?). This still did not fix the issues and after some discussion the transmission was replaced along with the EGR valve as a "precaution." We are now six month is and - IT'S BACK. With all of these experiences and Honda, Acura and the MDX still get great reliability reviews in the mainstream. I guess as long as that's true it will be easy to dump when I have had enough pain. :cry:
  • I too am now having problems with my tranny. The light came on 4 days ago. I went to my independent Acura mechanic that I have used now for 3 years as the dealership is pretty far away. Thinking it might be just an error, we reset the light and it came back on in the same day. I took the car in for a fliud check to "diagnose" the issue. He did find metal in the the fluid and stated that the car could have 5 or 50k miles left on it...who knows when the tranny would fail. So I am working with the dealer to see what they can do for this car and also looking for another vehicle - most likely used car. In my research, I am finding similar issues with several vehicles in this size range. Pilots seem to have some similar tranny issues, Toyota as a brand has their recall issues. Friends with Acadias and Enclaves have had their first year car bugs and issues. So I am curious to see what other autos the folks on this thread have identified as the replacement for your MDX. Thanks.
  • Acura paid 90% of the cost for our new transmision in our 03 MDX. It failed with 107,000 miles. The replacement transmission has a 3yr/36k miles warranty. When the warranty expires, my choice for a new car will be Ford. They are the car company of the future. Within the last few years, everyone raves about them (disregard the "old" Ford company, I think they were forced to do better then the competion in order to survive). I was a fan of the foreign companies but they are living on past reputation. Their new stuff has gotten cheaper quality.
  • I am sorry to hear about the failure. Although Ford is very good in my opinion, we shouldn't go to hard on Acura. The 5-speed transmissions on Honda's and Acura's had a design fault, meaning that regardless, at one point, a transmission will go wrong. It was a mistake, but of course, a big mistake. But Acura and Honda still make quality vehicles.
  • My wife and I just purchased (Labor Day!) an '05 MDX Touring with approximately 78k miles on it. We didn't notice any problems on the test drive but my wife (primary driver) tells me she hears a "noise" at around 30-40 mph. Well, my family owns our own automotive shop so we had my father look at the car and drive it. His conclusion was the torque converter (he came to this conclusion without any outside influence from blogs or anything). As a precaution my dad had my VIN run by an associate at Acura and was told there weren't any recalls for my particular model, so he started to research the problem and found postings like these.

    Last night I called the dealer that we purchased the car from and explained the problem we encountered and fortunately they (so far) are willing to work with us. The car is being checked out today and we'll know if their mechanic comes to the same conclusion. If so, I would really prefer that a certified Acura mechanic to the work. It seems that people have had this problem for years and that it's re-occuring despite replacing the parts (with OEM or re-built).

    I guess I have a few questions:

    -Are the replacement parts the exact same configuration as the original faulty part? Have there been any advancements in these parts' original design to prevent this from happening every 6 months or so?

    -Typically, if the diagnosis is a torque converter does that automatically lend itself to a full transmission replacement?

    -Lastly, is it really a trifecta consisting of torque converter, transmission, and code updates?

    I am really just trying to get a feel for the situation I'm seemingly about to walk into and compare your answers with what my 6 month warranty actually covers.

    Thanks for your advice in advance!
  • you are lucky you are still in some warranty. our xmission failed first but last week the car started a vibration/buzzing sound sort of intermittedly. it seems from reading that torque, transmission, etc. are all common problems (one or the other and then the other so to speak) along with metal in the radiator. I would print out all that you can on the subject and try and negotiate a return if that is even possible. you are potentially headed for disaster. We finally took ours in and traded it on a new Pilot and got fair trade b/c it was running. I am sorry that they will turn around and sell it to someone who will think they are gettting a beatiful car for a fair deal. If you get anything fixed, try and get a 3 year warranty on the fix so at least you will have a chance to drive the car for 3 years...but be prepared for a transmission outage if you are like many of us. good luck!
  • If they don't replace the whole transmission with an Acura rebuilt unit with a 3yr/36k mile warranty, get your money back and buy something else.
  • We are working on a facebook page to bring together owner's with these problems and prepare for a class action suit. The page link is:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Owners-Dealing-with-Acura-MDX-Problems/13568474313- 9321

    It's already getting Acura's attention.
  • Thanks for the advice. The dealer who we purchased the car from called me yesterday afternoon and informed me that they are going to take the car to an Acura dealership today for further investigation. Right now I'm just happy that our dealer is working with us and not trying to give us "the run-around."

    The next hurdle is going to be working with the warranty company. You know that what the Acura dealership charges for the repairs and what the warranty company is actually willing to pay for labor and parts are going to be two different things. We'll have to determine if the cost difference for Acura certified parts and labor are worth paying the difference, if it comes to that.

    This is the very reason I was trying to determine if Acura had made any advancements on these replacement parts. I don't want to have to pay extra (to cover what the warranty doesn't cover) for Acura parts if they aren't ANY BETTER than the part they're replacing. In some instances an aftermarket part can be better because they have modified the original and resolved some OEM flaws.

    We'll keep everyone posted on how it all goes down.
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