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Acura MDX Torque Converter Scam



  • Can you share the letter with those of us still struggling with this problem?

    thanks a ton
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    Got this letter earlier this week, since i had just traded in my MDX of these problems and and a couple of other issues... i was so mad when I got this letter that i tore it up and threw it away, so i had to find one online where someone else had posted it for others that were having the same issue, only problem is, I cant seem to paste it in here... the letter was released in Nov 2010, it says its a Transmission Software Update, and it should help the "judder and vibration" experienced between 20-45 miles per hour, and that the update will be done even if your not experiencing the problem. Looks like its for 2005-2006 MDX. The updates end November 12, 2013, so you have PLENTY of time to get the update, and the letter is from American Honda Motor Co. I have heard on other discussion forums that not everyone is getting this letter, I may have recvd it because I have already had things done to my transmission there. So it may have flagged me... it says all updatees are free of charge and will only take a half day.
    In my case, I had already had the TC replaced under warranty by them... a year ago, and was starting to experience the "judder" again. Im pretty sure they did the software update on mine then....but I think my transmission may have already been damaged before they replaced the TC. Make sure you have this fixed soon, before you Transmission gets damage. Sorry I couldnt get the letter to post, but you can look on this web forum to see copy:
    ">link title
  • I received my letter today to bring in my 2006 MDX to have the software updated
    I have not experienced any problems with my transmission but after reading the posts it looks like its just a matter of time and milage.
    Hope this update helps
    I only have 60,000 miles on the car
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    A TSB with much the same wording is available at
  • I just had the update done on my 2006 MDX about a month ago. The trans seems to shift a bit better between the 40-5- mph range, but now my mileage is terrible. I was averaging around 18.7mpg (that's the only beauty of having the mpg available on the center console) but noticed a steady decline to 18.0 after two fill-ups. I reset the console and now my average is showing a dismal 14.8mpg! This is all local driving, no highway. At $3.40 a gallon, I'm not sure I can keep this car much longer. Be very leery of this update and ask your dealer about the mpg issue. I complained to my dealer after the update and he said there were others who had the same problem. Of course they couldn't do anything about it.
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    I had great gas mileage on mine before the torque Converter...I averaged 19.3 (I consider that great for an SUV)... after my car got the new TC, it did went down some... but not down to 18 mpg, or even 14! That would make me furious! I was upset because I sold my car one month before I got the letter about the update (i sold it because it was having troubles again)... and now I think I made the right decision... because this update does not sound like its a good thing... I would say...please UNDO my UPDATE!! The cars are so computerized no days... Sometimes I think that is a bad thing.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...please UNDO my update..."

    Sorry, that would simply result in yet another premature torque converter lockup clutch failure. Your MDX "locks" the center "diff'l" each and every time you start out, accelerate, from a low speed. Even worse, it locks that "diff'l" during low speed turns, accelerating turns. Rough, ROUGH, on drive line component's, that.

    The only alternative is to make less use of the lockup clutch (weakest link in the "chain") via firmware revision. That, of course, results in lower FE.
  • tango6tango6 Posts: 3
    First of all - thanks to all of you for collaborating and posting details on trying to get this issue fixed! I have a 2004 MDX and have the identical problem as noted by folks earlier. I called Acura to file a complaint today and it is unbelievable that they tell me that they have absolutely no notices or issues on this or anything else at all!? I have printed the TSB's shared by others and going to approach the local dealer for a favorable resolution. Otherwise this will be the last Acura I ever buy - so much for quality
  • cfd_secfd_se Posts: 1
    bad news, this sw update does not apply to all 2005 MDX. My MDX has this problem, but I can't get this update.
  • So, we took our 2005 MDX (89K miles) for the Torque Converter recall about a month ago. After they "fixed it" we noticed it was still shuttering. So, we took it back to them and they REMOVED THE TRANSMISSION, replaced a few other things and the shutter went away. That was 3 weeks ago.

    Today, I was driving and noticed the D5 light started blinking. In reviewing other internet posts, it can mean the transmission is going out or a switch is overheating/failing. I'm not experiencing any other problems so he said that it is probably the switch and that sometimes that happens when a transmission is removed and put back in. So, I took it into the Acura dealership today and they are currently looking into it. On the phone, I said "it wouldn't cost anything to get the switch replaced...right?" He went on to say well if you don't have the extended warranty, then yes. I'm going to fight this one for sure...they had to pull the transmission because of the torque converter recall....I'm sure that is what is causing's just a coincidence that 3 weeks after they worked on the trasmission that now it the D5 light is blinking?

    Any suggestions?
  • tango6tango6 Posts: 3
    Yeah... just figured that out... even with the 2004's there is only a smattering of VIN numbers that are on the recall and mine is not one of them even though the problem seems to be prevalent across the board and model years!
    So no PCM, no TC etc. - Acura client services says there is absolutely no problem and there is nothing they can do to help! Dealer did offer to help and provided a discount on the job of TC replacement, but I am hesitant to jump in since it seems that the problem does not seem to go away from reading all the posts here. I will try driving in D4 in the city/D5 hwy to see if it changes anything and get a trans oil change for starters.... any other clues?

    Last Honda/Acura vehicle for me and the generations to come...
  • tango6tango6 Posts: 3
    Yeah... just figured that out... even with the 2004's there is only a smattering of VIN numbers that are on the recall and mine is not one of them even though the problem seems to be prevalent across the board and model years!
    So no PCM, no TC etc. - Acura client services says there is absolutely no problem and there is nothing they can do to help! Dealer did offer to help and provided a discount on the job of TC replacement, but I am hesitant to jump in since it seems that the problem does not seem to go away from reading all the posts here. I will try driving in D4 in the city/D5 hwy to see if it changes anything and get a trans oil change for starters.... any other clues?

    Will file the NHTSA complaint

    Last Honda/Acura vehicle for me and the generations to come... :mad:
  • mine did the same thing (D5 light on) after torque converter was replaced and they fixed it. It was still under the extended warranty. I can't find the invoice about the diagnosis but they said it was common when torque converter or transmission work is done. sorry this wasn't much help but it turned out to not to be a bid deal. Hope the same for you. If I find the invoice, will reply with source of the D5 problem.
  • john477john477 Posts: 2
    fix the problem. Maybe temporarily.
    Mine was done at 66042 and it purred like a kitten.Now at 67710 I am getting some road noise (not like what it was before the update), maybe some stuttering when accelerating; getting a "clunk" when letting up on the gas (don't remember the speeds); and the gas milage is going to pot.If you have had similar problems, what did the dealer say and do?

  • jim1969jim1969 Posts: 62
    I'm considering the 2011 or 2011 MDX for purchase. Does anyone know if the 2011 has been having similar issues?
  • bluelady1bluelady1 Posts: 2
    These are expensive cars with a major flaw in the transmission. I would discourage anyone from purchasing an MDX or possibly any Acura's because they are not standing behind their vehicles. I know Lexus owners and they never seem to have problems.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited June 2011
    Then you need up on the failure history for the 99-00 Lexus RX300.
  • johnancjohnanc Posts: 2
    edited November 2011
    My 2004 Acura MDX transmission has been suddering when both engine rpm and wheel speed are low. Seems that the transmission may not last long so trying to get it repaired/replaced before it fails. Would you mind sharing who you faxed and/ or communicated with to get your repair billed paid by Acura?
    Thanks, Johnanc
  • I have a 2004 MDX that I purchased new. The shuddering problem became noticeable at about 30,000 miles. In July of 2008, at 33,000 miles, I asked the dealer to check on a shuddering at about 30-40 mph. They said that they could not duplicate the problem. In 2011, at 55,000 miles, I again reported the shudder at 30 MPH. They said that there was a service bulletin that covered the shuddering and that they would replace the converter at no charge. They then reversed themselves, saying that the bulletin did not include 2004 MDX's. I asked for a copy of the service bulletin (09-037 October 12,2011) and the problem was identical to mine, but did not include the 2004 models. Later, the service manager called me and said he would personally check for the problem. He said they also experienced the shudder and said they would replace the torque converter at no charge. They indicated that they went back to Honda and since I had the car serviced regularly at the dealer, there would be no charge. As I drove home, I held the speed at 30 mph and I heard the shudder again very briefly. I think this is a design problem that Honda doesn't know how to fix. The car is great otherwise. Even with $1300 for a timing belt and $4500? for a transmission, we hope to get another 50,000 miles before trading it in.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited December 2011
    "..Honda doesn't know how to fix..."

    Oh, they know how to fix it, but then you wouldn't have F/awd functionality, at least not APT-F/awd, Automatic Part-Time F/awd. The problem is that there are times, roadbed conditions (plowing, understearing), wherein the current "automatic" system might well save your life, or as a minimum prevent a loss of control accident.
  • It's not the converter. Change the transmission fluid and the rear end grease and the shutter will go away. Don't get overly happy, in 30k miles you'll need to do it again.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..It's not the converter.."

    It depends on whether or not you consider the torque converter lockup clutch as integral part of the torque converter.

    If the "shudder" occurs only or primarily during acceleration periods then the actual TC is more likely the problem. On the other hand if the shudder occurs during cruise or during the transition from acceleration to cruise then the torque converter lockup clutch would be suspect.

    Frankly, in my life's experience, marginal clutch operation is more likely than otherwise to result in "shudder".
  • Thanks for good info. I just filed a complaint with the NHTSA as defective parts.
    I was surprised that not many Pilot owners are aware of this serious problem.
    Huge disappointed with Honda. This might be my last Honda vehicle. Honda is sinking now like how SONY did.
  • I've had the same problem, and I think I avoided the runaround because i found the problem on this forum first---thanks Edmunds!

    Anyway, my car started strange revving when speeding up from a 40-50 mph cruise and started having harder shifting and less power in lower gears. Its a 2010 MDX Base model with 37000 miles.

    The dealer was very reasonable once I said "I think its been having some of the known transmssion problems for this vehicle." They took me out on a test drive and luckily I reproduced the problem with the tech in the car. They immediately said that this was a dangerous problem that could lead to total power failure and took internal pictures of the torque converter and other aspects of transmission. Acura Tech Line confirmed a bad torque converter. They are replacing right now. I havent talked again with them yet, but certainly hope they give me a new 50K warranty on that part.

    So, I have mixed feelings. The dealer was attentive and very reasonable, but it is clear that Acura as a company (or major division of Honda anyhow) has chosen to play Russian roulette with people's cars and maybe lives/safety---seems to me they put in a cheap part and its easier/cheaper to replace some as they come in than to fix the problem with a new part.

    I really hope "they" are reading this forum and pay attention, becaus overall, I have liked this vehicle a lot (nice level of luxury and wonderful ride for a great price)...but next time I might just save up another 20K and get a BMW or Mercedes and not have to worry about this stuff!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sorry, going to BMW or MB would be much like jumping from the frying pan directly into the FIRE.

    You would get, undoubtedly, the additional safety of R/awd vs F/awd(SH-AWD) but those marques are not well known for reliability, salesperson and overall dealer arrogance maybe, but NEVER relaibility.

    In the MDX price range look to Porsche, V6 "base" Cayenne, for that.

    I suspect even the Toyota 4runner, R/awd, would prove to be more reliable than any "wannabe", base FWD, adapted for/to "part time", automatic "part time", F/awd.

    What Honda/Acura needs to do is offer a switch for the driver to enable the F/awd "automatic" functionallity only in known, or suspected, marginal traction conditions. It is simply NOT a good idea to engage both front and rear drives on a highly tractive surface, the drive line component stress level can be extraordinary under HARD acceleration.

    Unless the engine is overpowered enough, ~>200HP, to threaten wheelspin/slip under HARD acceleration on a reasonably tractive surface, there is absolutely no need to shorten the life of the drive line components in this way.

    But the MDX, and quite possibly the new F/awd Explorer, is certainly on the way to proving my point.
  • t06t06 Posts: 1
    Try Acura Service Bulletin 06-003 released June 9, 2007.
    It does apply to the Acura MDX2004. Acura will still explain there are no recalls or service bulletins that apply to the Acura MDX2004, then after presentation of the bulletin, will explain that your vehicle is out of warranty. Despite the section referencing "out of warranty" repair explaining the necessary corrective action Acura is to provide, Acura will make every effort to avoid coverage . The dealership will attempt to have you coverage as much as they can, then list your payment on the receipt, whatever the amount, as a "deductible" to make it appear as if they are complying with the service bulletin. Acura is fully responsible for these faulty transmissions, but will do as much as is possible to pass the cost on to consumers.
    Our "deductible"/amount we eventually paid(after 6 weeks of dispute), was $1452!!
    The receipt furthermore listed that the dealership had disclosed the original repair estimate being $0. I suppose we didn't hear that estimate or were just in a generous mood that day.
    We just wanted our vehicle back and nothing to do with Acura again!!
    Good luck!
  • joebrockjoebrock Posts: 1
    What do u mean "rear end grease" ?
  • wipkkwipkk Posts: 2
    Hello, I had the same problem. what does this Service Bulletin 06-003 mean to me now in 2012.... Does these dealerships care about these ?

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