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Acura MDX Torque Converter Scam

yekiot4yekiot4 Posts: 4
FYI, took my 2001 MDX to Acura Columbus. Was hearing a noise similar to a rumble strip from the front right of the car. Acura Columbus said it was the torque converter and would cost $2000 to replace!!! Got a second opinion, turns out the rear differential oil needed changed ($80) When the oil breaks down the clutches in the rear end cause the noise. Theres a service bulletin on this. Beware.........


  • 10sfan10sfan Posts: 136
    Everyone should remember the 50% rule. Dealerships make 50% of their overall profit from their service department, regardless of who pays them. You were smart and secured a second opinion. That is why these forums are very worth while to all vehicle owners.
  • jnieszjniesz Posts: 1
    I took my 06 in for a potential torque converter issue (shuddering around 25 and 40 mph) and they changed the PCM card, as per TSB-09-037. I still here the shuddering, not sure they looked at the rear differential oil. Also, wonder if it could be as something as basic as an allignment to do the trick? How do they assess a torque converter without taking the entire tranny apart?
  • When my buddy told me it was the rear end I didn't believe it. I thought "No way, it doesn't even sound like the rear-end"? But I went ahead and change the rear differential oil anyway. The shuttering got less and less and then eventually went away in a week. You do need to take the Tranny out replace the torque converter. The high cost on a torque converter replacement is mostly labor. I change my Tranny fluid and rear end oil every 30k miles now. Hope this helps, spread the word.
  • tehanunitstehanunits Posts: 6
    Own a 2004 Acura MDX (85K miles) that I just bought the other day and I noticed on driving it home from dealership an intermittent - what almost sounded like gear grinding. Is that possibly the "shuttering" you describe? I went back to dealership service and took the technician for a spin so that he could hear the noise. After 15 minutes of driving, he heard it loud and clear. The sound comes and goes unpredictably but seems to occur most in the 42-50MPH range - without any dramatic RPM changes. Technician checked and then replaced the differential fluid and said it could be "sticking", ie. causing the noise. The advice he gave was to drive it for a few weeks and it should lessen and eventually go away. What do you think? Is this unrelated to the torque converter slippage?
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    Did the gear grinding go away?
  • tehanunitstehanunits Posts: 6
    It has NOT. How long should it take to go away? But then again, I haven't driven the car that much since they replaced the differential fluid - they said to give it a week or two.
  • Since the grinding didn't go away, I took my MDX to one Acura Dealer to have them assess whether it was a torque converter problem and they said it was the transmission AND the torque converter that were the problem. YIKES. I told them I wanted a second opinion so took it to a different Acura dealer who told me it was just the torque converter. This 2nd Acura dealer still has the car as I try to decide what to do. Obviously, I don't want to get the transmission replaced if it doesn't need it but I don't know what questions to ask related to the diagnosis. Anyone have any suggestions?
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    Yes....Its definately your torque converter. If you havent taken the time to do so... do a search on the internet regarding MDX and bad Torques. Its extremely common and frustrating. I have a 2006 MDX that has 70,000 miles on it...
    Mine started rumbling and grinding at the same speeds when I had about 62,000 miles on it. It was still under the powertrain warranty... so it was replaced no cost. The car drove like a dream after it was fixed, so that is how I know that was what it was. WELL...Here I am...not even 10,000 miles later... not even a complete year...and it has started AGAIN!!! Same sound... same problem. I have read in different post of people getting 2 or 3 new torque converters... why dont they replace them with a brand they know isnt faulty?!!! Now my car is out of warranty...but I plan to take it back and demand a new one. THe problem with this noise it getting it to reoccurr when they are driving with you in the car...and since mine has Just started doing it again... it will be hard to point out.
    Replacing the torque will cost you less than replacing the I would start with that...because I believe that is where the problem lies.
  • Thank you and I am sorry to hear about the recurrence of the problem with the new torque converter. For what it's worth, I was worried about them not hearing the noise too, so I told the technician that we were going to drive together until he heard the problem. I asked that they schedule a time when he had at least a half hour to drive with me. We drove for about 20 minutes and the grinding noise occurred as we were driving up the street back to the dealership. Good luck.
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    Starting around 30,000 miles, I began to notice a vibration/grinding noise while accelerating through 35 to 40 mph. The noise would last for 10 to 15 seconds and then stop. I took my MDX into my Acura dealer at 35,000 miles while it was under warranty and they said they could not reproduce the problem. The problem continued to worsen however I was now out of warranty. I did some research on the internet and found 14 reports of the exact same problem on the NHTSA ( Out of 30 total complaints, 14 were this specific transmission problem. I also found a 2004 MDX service bulletin (#6003; NHTSA # 10022468) that states "Torque converter shudder or vibration between 35 and 40 mph". I presented this info to the Acura dealer and they acknowledged the problem and agreed to pay for 75% of the torque converter replacement (the care is 6 years old and has 45,000 miles). Why hasn't someone started a class action law suit regarding this problem given the significant amount of data pointing to a general problem?
  • simonsmom2simonsmom2 Posts: 6
    edited June 2010
    My 2001 MDX, while the AC is on, begins idling (engine runs hard) when I am at stop lights. I turn of the AC and it stops. Anyone ever experience similar problems? What could it be?
  • lori24lori24 Posts: 20
    I have an 06 MDX had the torque converter replaced in Dec 09, June 30th,2010 back in for same problem. Dealer is telling me that Honda will do one of three things replace torque converter again, replace tranny or nothing until they have a for sure fix, evidentally replacing those things hasn't cured the problem in some cars..I am so frustrated don't know what to think, does anyone have any ideas or have heard of such a thing? Should I hire an atttorney?
  • lori24lori24 Posts: 20
    I had the same problem, could'nt get them to hear it, try putting it in cruise at the speed it normaly happens worked for me everytime..
  • vabbeyvabbey Posts: 10
    Can you tell me, when you took yours back in, how many miles did it have on it? I am at 70,000 miles and I am wondering if they will still replace the torque (AGAIN) outside of warranty...I can tell you, I wont go silently if they dont...because its obvious they have a big problem with them.
  • lori24lori24 Posts: 20
    The first tme I took in was in dec 09 2months after I bought the car..Second time was In feb and they did hear it , but told me it was the way I was driving it, wasn't loud enough so this last time june 30th 2010. It's definetly bad again, it has 59000. There definitly is a big problem, I've had this car 8 months and totaly disgusted. I would call American Honda Corp, to report it again the more you complain the better the chance for them to make it right. Not sure what their going to do for me, because obviously the torque converter didn't cure it the first time. I may have to talk to an attorney. All I know is they need to make it right, who wants to go through this every 6months or so. Good Luck!
  • lori24lori24 Posts: 20
    Acura has decided to put new transmission in my MDX they didn't say they were going to replace torque converter too. Does anyone know why they shouldn't? A lot unsure about this car only had it for 8months,has already had torque converter replaced in Dec,09. Let me know any ideas.
  • chipedgechipedge Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Saturn Vue with the same engine and transmission. Saturn owners have tried a few different things. Some people have drained and refilled with Honda ATF Z1 3 times, while driving a few miles in between, and that has worked. Some have had the PCM re-flashed. That seemed to work for a few days but the problem would come back. I think the problem is a mixture of bad calibration in the PCM and torque convertor wear. I have tried the refill and got no better results. Honda needs to figure out what is going on and fix it!!!! People are getting their torque convertors replaced and the problem is coming back. It's like replacing a faulty smoke alarm with a faulty smoke alarm. I feel like I wan to call Honda and Saturn and yell at them until I get a torque convertor replaced, but that is not fixing the problem, so what;s the point?
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    Just picked up my 2005 MDX from dealer after replacing the torque converter. It appears that the vibration/grinding between 35-40 mph has now been eliminated. For background, I reported this problem in March 2009, a couple of months prior to the expiration of my warranty. The service tech stated that he/she could not reproduce the noise I was hearing. Over a year later, the noise was now continuous. I took the vehicle in and this time the service tech could hear the noise. I was told that the vehicle was out of warranty (45,000 miles, but over 60 months) and that it would cost $2,000 to $3,000 to fix the problem. I opened up a case file with Honda America. After several calls, I was offered a repair for $500. I continued to complain and mentioned that I had uncovered over 100 complaints for the exact same issue. The Honda rep. still would not budge on the $500 cost to me. Finally, I mentioned that I might pursue a "class action suit". He said he would speak to the district supervisor. Miraculously, he came back and said that Honda America could cover 100% of the repair. I would suggest that anyone battling this issue out with Honda America mention "class action suit". There attitude seems to change quite significantly! Good luck!
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    ust so everyone who follows this thread is aware, there are several other threads reporting the vibration/grinding 35-40 mph transmission problem (torque converter). The tread entitled "Acura MDX Torque Converter Scam" and "Acura MDX Repairs & Maintenance" also have reports of this same issue. Also, if you look at the Honda Pilot forum, there are several complaints of this very same issue with Honda Pilots. If you search for Canadian Pilot and MDX forums, you will find once again many reports of the torque converter problem. If there are say 500 complaints between all these forums specifically addressing the vibration/grinding noise while accelerating between 25-50 mph, it is obvious that there are probably thousands of Pilots and MDXs that have this problem. Many owners probably got their transmissions repaired under warranty. Many may have just born the cost if their vehicle is out of warranty and many may not be computer savy to investigate this issue on the internet. This is a much bigger problem than any one forum can address. There are probably many vehicle owners that have this problem and are not aware either because they never turn their radio down to hear it or have been told that the dealer cannot reproduce it. It would certainly appear that this issue would be a prime candidate for a "class action law suit". I am sure there are several law firms that specialize in "class actions" that would love to get there hands on this issue!!!
  • Agreed, has anyone come across any extensive threads similar to this for a Honda Odyssey? I was the victim on my MDX recently but on a recent roadtrip noticed a similar rumbling in the 25-40 mph range on our Odyssey. Took it to a dealer, who just re-flashed the PCM but the reverberation still happens. Because it is so intermittent, I couldn't reproduce it for him on the spot. Of course, it is out of warranty. Honda ought to be ashamed.
  • jcagle24jcagle24 Posts: 3
    My wife and I just purchased a used 2005 MDX with 108k on it and MAN i wish I had stumbled upon this forum beforehand. Not one week after driving this car the same grinding noise in the 20-40 MPH range has started in. We put almost 50 miles on it with the test drive and taking it to our mechanic before purchasing the vehicle, and no noises whatsoever were heard then pertaining to transmission grinding. Another false hint of promise in the vehicle was the fact that my mechanic did a computer reading and no known issues showed up regarding any type of transmission problems. When we were buying the car and checking the carfax the "no recalls" on the vehicle make and model sounded good, but that obviously doesn't mean anything considering that this problem SHOULD BE RECALLED!! I have owned Jeeps and Toyotas, both companies in my experience have been quick to recall their vehicles when it's publically known that there are issues with their cars, why is Honda letting this one slip? Are not enough people complaining? I couldn't believe the amount of posts I found when I googled "Acura MDX transmission problems," we are just frustrated an looking for some advice on what to do about this situation. Bought the vehicle as is, no warranty, but can we try to play the squeaky wheel with Honda and maybe hold them responsible? Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    I was in a similar position last year when I took my 2005 Acura MDX in for the rumbling/grinding/vibrating noise between 30-40 mph 3 months before my warranty expired. I was unaware of all the similar complaints in various online forums. The service tech could not reproduce the noise so they did nothing (even though I think they were well aware of the problem). There had been an official Acura service bulletin issued on the 2004 MDX for this very same problem. Even though you are the second owners, I would open a case file with Honda America and keep pushing the issue up the line. There are several "appeal" processes and I would explore them all. There are hundreds of complaints for this very specific problem. Don't know why a recall has not been issued???? If a recall had been issued, you would not be in this situation. Good luck....Hope this helps.
  • rhtransrhtrans Posts: 84
    Recalls are only issued for saftey reasons and I mean "any" saftey reason no matter how insignificant. Rumbling and grumbling at certain speeds is not a saftey hazard....just a pain your butt and a big bill. Honda had many issues with there trans in the 98-03 accords...& they did extend the original powertrain warranty 3-36 on the trans to 5yrs-107k to keep their die hard Honda followers happy and buying more cars. But again no recall. They didn't ever do that on the Acura's because i'm sure they just did not want to incurr the huge cost again. They are well aware of the problem...I geuss they just figure if you can buy and drive their Acura...You can afford to have it fixed.
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    At last check, there were 15 complaints filed with the NHTSA (National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration) regarding the torque converter issue (vibration/shudder/grinding between 20-50 mph while accelerating). I would encourage everyone who is following this link to take a few minutes and file a complaint. The web site is as follows:

    Also, the NHTSA has issued a "service bulletin" for this exact same problem for all Acura's for model years 2003-2004. To view the service bulletin, go to the following web site:

    Enter NHTSA item# 10022468 in the "quick search" box. Once you get the record, click "get summary" and you will see the exact explanation as follows:

    "Torque converter shudder or vibration between 35-40 mph"

    This is exactly the same problem that is so prevalent with the 2005 and on Acura MDX and Honda Pilots. Do not understand why a service bulletin has not been issued for more recent model years???????
  • rhtransrhtrans Posts: 84
    edited July 2010
    Thanks KP for that Info...but it would take alot more than 15 complaints to make a multimillion dollar Recall to happen. Unless it was 15 complaints with 5 crashes or fatalities. A Torque converter service bulletin has been issued from Honda since june of 07' and It is definitely a problem...even with the Pilots as Kp has said. But don't hold your breath for a recall. If anyone takes their vehicle to the dealer for repairs...I'm sorry to say but you are getting the same torque converter that you are having problems with, with the same design converter clutch material. My personal suggestion is if your vehicle is out of manufactures warranty...then take it to a reputable Transmission shop and have a "quality" remanned aftermarket converter installed. when remanned properly...not only is a different clutch material but also the clutch clearance is changed from what I understand talking to converter builders. Much better than the orignal, better in the long run and less likely to fail in 30k miles. A converter clutch is slipping 90% of the time and with that creates alot of heat.. Keeping an eye on and Changing the trans fluid, keeping it nice and healthy helps alot to.
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    It may take more than 15 complaints to initiate a recall, but it was the 15 complaints that I faxed to Acura/Honda that got them to go from not covering my $2,000 torque coverter replacement to covering 100% even though my vehicle was out of warrenty. At last count, between Honda Pilots and Acura MDXs, I have counted 327 individual complaints in 7 different forums regarding this issue. I wonder if all these vehicle owners had filed complaints with the NHTSA if at least a service bulletin would have been issued thus providing credibility to all those owners who have taken their vehicle in just to have Honda/Acura tell them they could not reproduce the problem -or- that they (the dealer) is unaware of any problems????
  • skelley3skelley3 Posts: 3
    Just completed a complaint to NHTSA on my 2005 Acura MDX - torque converter. Local Acura dealer replaced torque converter in March this year - 67,533 miles on odometer. Car now has 73,400 and problem is re-surfacing. Noise/vibration is becoming louder and more frequent. Will be filing complaint with Honda/Acura also.
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    For those who are interested, you can obtain the actual Acura/Honda Service Bulletin that addresses the Torque Convert issue and the repair instructions given to the Acura/Honda dealers if you Google:

    Acura Service Bulletin 06-003 pdf

    There is also a statement in the document that addresses "out of warranty vehicles" and the the procedure for obtaining a "goodwill consideration" repair. It would appear that Honda/Acura was expecting a significant number of vehicles (both in warranty and out of warranty).

    I have a 2005 Acrua MDX that was one year "out of warranty" and through persistence and documentation from web sites such as this one and also the 15 complaints filed with the NHSTA, I was able to get Honda/Acura to move from not covering my $2,000 repair to covering 100% of my repair. Good luck !
  • kpsmith999kpsmith999 Posts: 46
    Here is the official Honda/Acura Service Bulletin (06-003) dated June 9, 2007 addressing the Shudder/Vibration between 35 to 40 mph for model years 2003 and 2004. Note the "out of warranty" statement providing for "goodwill consideration" for repairs.
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