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Acura MDX Torque Converter Scam



  • I have just filed a complaint with NHTSA for my 2004 MDX with growling and vibration from the transmission when going 35-40 mph. It was easy to do and I hope it helps others. Thanks for the info, I will be visiting the dealer this week to find out how they will handle the repairs.
  • UPDATE - Just received call from local ACURA dealer. Said mechanic couldn't recreate noise/vibration. Reminded service advisor that he needed to drive the car while engine was cold since that was when I heard it. Drove car, heard noise, will be replacing torque converter.
  • Just brought my mdx in for same issue (torque converter). I notified the dealer of the service bulletin nd e did follow up this morning with the local district mgr and was informed that they would not extend goodwill consideration for my car because it has 140,000 miles. So the cost to replace the transmission is $4,100. Is there anything else I can do ? This is alot of money to spend and I'm not ready to buy another car.
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    I really just want to know how many of you people out there, have been able to accomplish getting a new Torque Converter...or Transmission replaced outside of the powertrain warranty?? I have had my Torque Converter replaced at 60,000 miles...but that was just inside the warranty...and of course its messing up again now at 75,000 miles... and I just want to know of the successes out there?? Because I want to know if I should trade my MDX in before the problem becomes noticable to someone that has never had the problem....or fight to have it fixed.
  • I was 14 months past the warranty and got the torque converter replaced at no charge. I would think with all the issues surrounding T.C.'s and the 15k miles between failures, that your dealer would provide some financial relief in your case.
  • I would shop around and get quotes form reputable transmission shops. Also, a torque converter replacement seems to be half the price of a transmission replacement. I would want to know which one makes the most sense. In my case, I was also told by the district manager that they could not help financially with the cost to replace my torque converter. When I requested that we go to the next appeal step and/or arbitration, Honda/Acura came back and said they would cover the replacement at no cost to me.
  • udeman55udeman55 Posts: 20
    edited August 2010
    I need a torque converter, I have been quoted $2,800 for the repair. I have filed a complaint with Acura and am waiting for a response. I also just filed my complaint with the NHTSA. The individual I spoke with said there is 21 registered complaints at this moment.
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    You should get a new converter if its still under warranty... I have already had mine replaced.... should be at no cost to you, and you shouldnt have to file any complaints...Warranty runs out at 60,000 miles... I had mine replaced at 59,000.
    The problem is...they replace it with the same converter you already had...only this time, it will seem like the problem comes back much sooner...not sure if it really is...or if its because we know exactly what to listen for now? Im ready to get rid of mine before it gets too noticable.
  • d2mend2men Posts: 1
    Do you have to take it to the dealer in order to get reimbursement from Honda? What if someone elsae did the work? Thanks
  • yekiot4yekiot4 Posts: 4
    I'm not sure what your symptoms are but my 2001 MDX was making a growling noise at 35 or so from time to time. Acura said it was the torque converter. I replace the rear end oil and the transmission fluid and the noise has gone away. I think it has something to do with the clutches making noise when the fluid gets old. Just an FYI.
  • bobbysandbobbysand Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    If your having the 'Shudder or Vibration' problems here are a couple of useful links:

    PCM Update for Lock-Up Clutch Function

    Torque Converter Shudder or Vibration Between 35 and 40 MPH
  • Sorry....but I have not heard of Honda/Acura reimbursing for third party repairs. I only think that would come into place if they were sued and you won.
  • The NHSTA (National Highway Safety & Transportation Administration) tracks reported issues by category. It is recognized that only a very small fraction of vehicle owners take the time to file an online complaint. You can imagine that the "real" numbers are significantly higher. That being said, here are the statistics by year for complaints mentioning "shudder/vibration/torque converter for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. There was only one transmission problem reported for 2007, 2008 and 2009 (looks like Acura fixed the problem):

    Year.......Total Complaints.......All Tranny Complaints.........Shudder/Vibration
    2004................42............................17 (41%)........................13 (77%)
    2005................51............................30 (59%)........................27 (90%)
    2006................23............................14 (61%)..........................8 (57%)
    Totals............116.............................61 (53%)........................48 (77%)

    Transmission complaints by far out numbered all other complaints for Acura MDX. The Shudder/Vibration/Torque Converter issue comprised 77% of all transmission complaints. It is obvious that there was a "defect" for several years that was ignored by Acura. To speculate a little, if 48 vehicle owners reported the shudder/vibration/torque converter problem to NHSTA, and only 2% of owners with with problem actually took the time to file a complaint, that would extrapolate out to over 2,000 (2,400) vehicles that could potentially have the problem. I am sure Acura has done these numbers and has decided to address this problem one on one as owners complain (and I am sure Acura is hopefully that their vehicles are out of warranty). Also, think of all the owners that had this problem and their vehicles "were" within warranty and we would not hear from those owners in a forum such as this!

    PS - Honda Pilot owners (same transmission at Acura MDX) have similar statistics in the NHSTA database.
  • I haven't posted a message on here since the end of July, just giving everyone an update on my experience. Noticed transmission shudder on my 2005 Acura MDX at 107,000 miles. Gradually got worse, I let everyone know on here that Acura wouldn't do a thing about the problem, and all of my local Acura dealerships wanted anywhere from $2,700 to $4,500 to replace the torque converter (the root of the problem). What a joke too, that the Acura dealerships are all over the place with their prices to do the exact same job as the other. Anyway I got a small transmission shop in Atlanta to order an aftermarket torque converter instead of replacing one faulty mdx t.c. with another, and so far after putting 5k miles on the aftermarket converter it seems to be working just fine. Good luck to all dealing with this problem; hopefully one day Acura will make everything right because they are obviously knowingly selling a faulty product!
  • i just had my TC replaced. it was $1500 from a private mechanic. Problem is, i got the car back and the VSA light is on and the VTM button won't engage( nor the VSA button). I brought it back to him and i'm waiting to see what happens. It's sad that such a nice car has such an expensive problem.
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    I agree, it really is a shame... i had mine replaced last year, and i can already tell it is getting ready to go again. I love my car...I have test driven many other cars that are in my price range...but none compare to the drive i get from my MDX when it is running correctly. Mine as 78K miles on it now, and i want to trade it in before the TC goes bad again....but cant afford a new MDX right now...and Im afraid to get a used one, due to the fact it may have the same problem!
  • I've had a lot of cars in my life. I really like the mdx but i'm so disappointed with it. I'm considering trading it for something else. I had a new vw jetta that ii traded for the mdx thinking that in the long run the acura will outshine the vw but i think i was wrong. After reading all the stuff on here i'm ready to let it go. although, i spoke with another gentleman that has a 2001 mdx and besides the TC he had no other problems with it besides the regular wear and tear.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I've said this before, somewhere thereabouts, but the problem is most likely not really the torque converter, the torque converter just happens to be the weakest link in a drive train that is being abused, over-stressed, by factory design.

    With the advent of the use of the lockup clutch in ALL of the higher gear ratios, above 2nd, modern day torque converters are simply not as robust, strong, as in yesteryear. That's one of the reasons most vehicles now have "hill-start" capability, use the brakes to "hill-hold" since the TC does not couple enough torque at engine idle to do so.

    A long standing edict of 4WD is NEVER have the system engaged on a highly traction surface. Additionally any 4WD owner with experience will tell you that an easy way, QUICK way, to end up with busted knuckles and/or broken fingers is to have a 4WD system engaged when turning tightly or in an acelerating turn.

    Yet here we are today with all these F/awd systems ignoring that edict. Engage the rear drive capability on a highly tractive surface. Even worse yet, engage the rear drive in an accelerating turn. So it's really no surprise to me that all of these Ford F/awd systems have prematively failing PTOs and now here we are with prematurely failing torque converters on the MDX.

    Both for the very same reason.

    Overstressing the drive train.

    Disable the F/awd system, SH-AWD system, except in times of suspected need and these weakest link failures will go away.
  • jmr29jmr29 Posts: 2
    My 2006 MDX is currently sitting at an Acura dealership in need of a new TC (per their service department). This is my second opinion, the first from an independent transmission shop of good reputation, which diagnosed it as needing a whole new transmission. The car is only 9,000 miles out of the Powertrain warranty (it has 79,000 miles on it), so I am now awaiting news of whether Acura will offer me assistance. Luckily we can get by being a one car family for awhile, so I can wait them out and use the appeal process, if necessary.

    Now that I read that the problem comes back due to ill design, I am seriously considering trading it in and getting a new, different car. I hate to do this since I loved the MDX, but now it is tainted.

    If I get the TC replaced (at Acura's expense, hopefully), is there anything i can do the better care for the car to reduce the likelihood of recurrence?

    Really glad I found this forum before I paid the bill myself or paid to replace the entire transmission!
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    edited November 2010
    I dont think there is anyway to better take care of it...
    I know that when my problem came back less than a year wasnt so much the TC as it was the transmission this time around. Sometimes it takes you so long to figure out that your TC has gone bad...that it has already messed up the transmission (which i think is what has happened i my case). The guy who said you need a new transmission, was probably correct. Mine happened at EXACTLY 60K miles... so i was under warranty the first time it was fixed.
    Although right now, you are probably just experiencing the sounds and feel of a bad TC...later on you will probably have the transmission go bad like I did. I traded it in for a sad I had to do that...but i was afraid to get another honda/acura ...and couldnt afford to try out a new Acura to see if it was gonna be any better. I LOVED MY MDX... I cried when i traded it in...and may NEVER like this new car ever as much as i did that car...but cannot afford to risk getting another one...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It appears to me that virtually all of these new "pre-emptive" F/awd systems are encountering some sort or another of pre-mature drive train component failure. For as long as I can remember the edict for 4WD was to NEVER engage both rear and front drives simultaneously EXCEPT on a known low traction, slippery, roadbed/driving surface.

    And now here we are with these new pre-emptive F/awd systems engaging the rear drive along with the front even in the worse possible circumstance, accelerating into a turn, insofar as driveline windup and/or tire scrubbing, over-stressing of the drive train components, is concerned.

    Now it looks as if the new F/awd 2011 Ford Explorer (yes, that's F/awd and Ford Explorer in the same sentence) might be using engine coolant for cooling the transaxle, PTO, and the rear differential drive coupling assembly.

    I hope that works otherwise we'll soon be seeing even more F/awd component failures.
  • We have exactly the same problem, and have received the same quotes from Acura, although our quote is $2,500. Would you mind letting me know what the total cost of your repair was and the manufacturer of the aftermarket converter?

    Thanks for your post and we would greatly appreciate a response.

    P.S. We are in Macon, so your input is even more relevant.
  • Yeah, got the same rattle noises. I have had these noises for about a year. took car to the dealer 3 separate times. however, they could never hear the problem. Now the noise is consistent. although i have not officially been told that it was the TC. It is so obvious. I will take it to the dealer just so they have it on record and then call Acura. It's a 2006 with less than 100,000 miles.
  • jmr29jmr29 Posts: 2
    I am the same author as post #50. We ended up trading in the MDX and not having the repair donw. After reading that the same issue or worse could present itself, the investment did not seem to make sense. The final quote on the repair was $3000 and Acura offered to pay 1/2, even though we were out of warranty. The funny thing is, if they had called me before I read this forum, I would have jumped at the offer. Luckily, I read this first and made an informed decision. I miss my MDX terribly, but could not risk multiple transmission repairs.

    Thanks to all who contributed to this forum. It was most helpful. To those still struggling, good luck in making the best decision for you.
  • if you dont mind me asking, what kind of trade in value did you get for it? I've been thinking about trading mine in also but i got some crappy trade in values. I fixed the TC on it and then the battery cable and now it has a water leak and some rattling noise from the right front door. i can't stand it anymore!!
  • anyone experiencing problems with water leaks around the top of the windshield?
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    I didnt get as much as i wanted for trade in... but i did get around $ had 78,000 miles on it when i sold it and some a few dings and was a 2006. They are trying to resell it now for $22,000...which is crazy... but they have no idea the problems I was having..and the car fax shows pretty clean except the TC...and i had a new water pump ....and yes, mine had a rattle in the door (drivers side though)....and the more I think about it...i put up with alot of different that crazy thumping noise it makes when you stop if your gas tank is full, and the sub woofer in the back sounded distorted any time it got cold...and my brake petal clicked... would think that for a nice car like wouldnt get so many little things like this. I miss it...but then again...Im glad its gone!
  • Yeah, i'm sick of this car and i only had it for 6 months. what a pos it is. it seems like everyday i hear a new noise or something new happens. my wife had an 03 TL with 140k miles and it was perfect. I had an acura dealer offer me 16k for it, a vw dealer 15k and the honda dealer 13k. how do they come up with this numbers? And the honda and acura dealer are part of the same chain!!!
  • When you had this problem did your check engine light go on? I am getting the same rumble strip noise at about that same speed. Check engine light went on and Acura said that it was the Torque Converter. They said the needed the entire transmission replaced for 6K.
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    Good news for you...I just received a letter from Acura saying they were going to fix this problem now... up until 2013 or call acura and ask them about this. THey said it was a computer software update to help with the transmssion "jutter", but its fixing the Torque Converter...and it should fix your problem for free.
    Atleast have that fixed and see if it helps... I was so mad when i got that letter, i had just traded my car in because i was very frustrated.
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