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Honda Odyssey: Problems & Solutions:(1995-2004 Models)

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
edited March 2014 in Honda
Here's the new place to continue seeking Town Hall
members' advice/support for Honda Odyssey
problems. For links to past discussions, please
see Honda Odyssey Links.


Vans host


  • Hi everybody,
    I had lost one of my remote keyless entry for my
    EX. Do anybody know how much is the replacement
    cost? Do I had to bring my van and the other remote entry to the Honda dealer so they can reprogram the new remote keyless entry? Thanks.
  • To dylanrn10..
    [and others with similar problems]:

    Do You have a LX or an EX?

    You probably know what you meant to say, but did not say so. There is no 'defroster' for the front windshield. There is only a "defogger". Defroster is at the back only (cross wires on glass).

    LX - you have to control the heat level and fan speed manually. EX - (if you have it) you probably have already set a comfortable heat level, and based on the temperature within the vehicle (as reported to PCM via temperature sensor on steering column) fan will, on full automatic, revolve correspondingly. To override, you must use the fan speed dial, to your preference.

    Everyone knows that fogging is caused by moisture breathed out by people entering the vehicle on a cold day, and/or atmospheric moisture entering vehicle when doors are opened. Made worse by us trying to heat up the vehicle faster by pressing 'recir' button (which is not incorrect, though). Defogger essentially routes in air, heated, via the heater core. Enough heat evaporates the moisture/fog within the vehicle.

    The trick to quick defogging is using the a/c, since the a/c works as a de-humidifier as well. On EX, pressing the defogger button does three things automatically. Air is directed fully towards the windshield plus the front door panel vents to clear the side glasses, a/c will come on automatically and last, fresh air is drawn into the vehicle (recir light will go off, if it was on). If you have a crowd of excitable party kids in the vehicle pouring out lots of moisture, you can (initially) leave the rest of the system on automatic, but manually override the fan speed to a more slower and silent level.

    If you have LX and your fan speed does not increase with each increment of the switch upto max speed, then your fan speed switch has failed. If your defog button does not direct 95% air to the windshield, then your vent control module has failied. These items will have to be replaced by dealer.

    If you have LX and defog button and heat level are set, to aid defogging, press a/c switch to on till everything clears. Once the vehicle is warmed up and you use other switches (front vents or feet) to re-route warmed air, cycling the a/c once in a while will remove any built up moisture. Remeber that in any air vent position, some air is always directed towards the front windscreen.

    If yours is EX and, in full auto, if the fan does not increase in speed as you dial in temperature, then your fan speed potentiometer has failed. This needs to be changed. Note that fan speed is tied into temperature control. If you constantly keep the temperature control on high, you are going to have high fan speed unless you override it manually. (Same thing in hot weather with a/c. The colder you want the vehicle, the higher the fan will run. Dial in temp closer to ambient and the fan speed slows down).

    Check everything out. If you need more diagnostics, post your findings. Thank God your dealer did not design this vehicle; you might have to drive looking out of your side windows.

    Good luck and careful driving.
  • To Reposer...
    and others with this problem:

    I have not tested the '01 but found out something strange with the '99.

    ALWAYS leave the cabin lights control switch (full on/door-open on/full off) in the same position when opening and closing your sliding doors. WHY??

    Once, with the switch off, I opened the right slider. I then put the switch into door-open position. When I closed the slider, it would try to close, beep, retract half inch, stop beeping and not close fully. You can see the gap front and back of door. Thought I had another problem on my hands. Actually left door that way to attend to some urgent work. On returning sat and re-though my actions when closing the door. Suddenly struck me that I changed the switch position. I opened the door. Put switch back to 'off' and walla, the door just slid into place like nothing had happened.

    Your problem Reposer, in my opinion, needs to go back to the dealer. But before that; how many times does this happen, what frequency, intermittent or continuously for a period of time? Next, just make sure no grime is preventing the control cylinders from moving freely. These are on the inside of the door and make contact on the frame.

    Note that these are contact switches. By looking at the 'knock' point on receiving edges you or the dealer should be able to verify if they are in alignment.

    I am of the opinion that your contact assembly is not properly aligned. Cannot imagine it being identical on both sides, but your post does not mention if the exact same thing happens with both doors at the same time. Or, if it is with both the doors or just one door.

    Again, be patient and persistent. Dealer services are scared to go near anything electronic. They try brushing it off. They will stall you, waiting for the regional tech to make his monthly visit. Your situation also tells me a trouble code could be set, so have the dealer extract it (if that one or others exist in the PCM). The doors fully closing is good. Beep going off and not coming on again when switch turned on means the PCM could/is emulating 'fail safe mode'. Chances are the door is not likely to open by itself and anyway, it is deactivated when the vehicle is taken out of Park. If you are concerned with driving the vehicle till you see the dealer, a second safeguard is to lock all doors when driving. That prevents the unlatch mechanism from cycling.

    Get it seen to and fixed as soon as you can. Post your results. Till then, safe driving.
  • Just bought a new 01 EX. Is there a way to open the power doors with the van in gear? Seems the only way to open them is when the van is in 'Park'. I tried to let my kids hop out of the ODY in front of store...avoiding the hassle of parking. Had to throw it in 'park' for them to get out. Not a big deal...but will take some getting used to! Thanks
  • You are correct. The only way to open the power sliders is to have the van in park. That is a safety feature. It is probably a good idea to have the vehicle in park when people (especially kids) are getting out in case your foot slips off the brake.

    I seem to remember that a while back, someone proposed changing the wiring for the doors to permit them to open while the vehicle was in gear but not in motion. Also seem to remember much debate as to whether that modification was wise.
  • How does 2001 Odyssey compare with your 1999 so far? Appreciate your detailed explanations in past postings.
    Did i understand correctly that you traded 99 for an 01?
  • Regarding discussion of break in periods for vehicles. I took a really conservative approach with my Ody and used the Toyota break-in method, which is similar to Honda but with the added stipulation that the speed should be kept under 55 mph for the first 1,000 miles. Possibly overkill, but Toyota is known for reliability, and mine have amazingly good. Not real easy to do on the highway though.

    Interestingly, I once asked the manager of the Toyota engine factory in KY how he would break in an engine, and he said "I just drive 'em without worrying about it". Not the answer I was expecting.

    Also, somewhere I heard that Mercedes-Benz does, or used to maybe, tell owners to change the AT fluid after the first 1,000 miles. The break in period supposedly puts a lot of fine metal particles in the fluid and should be removed. Important? Who knows. I do it to be on the safe side. To get most of it out, I drain it, fill it, drive it, three times. When I saw what was on the magnetic drain plug--basically a lot of fine metal--sort of a mud, I felt like it was a good thing to get that out of the transmission.

    I also put the Honda trans cooler on my van. It's not really a difficult job, although a little scarey taking the bumper cover off. I think the dealers only charge about an hour labor to do the job. The transmission gets so hot under normal use, I'm guessing that going over mountains, and/or driving a heavily loaded vehicle makes it even hotter. These vans are heavy to begin with, so I want that transmission to stay in normal temp range. Toyota puts a trans cooler on virtually all their Sienna LEs, so once again I took their approach.
  • yfyuyfyu Posts: 5
    I have a 2001 Odyssey LX for a month now. Couple days ago, I sat on the 3rd row bench seat while my wife was driving, the seat back came out with noise and sound like the spring inside the seat back is lose and broken. Did anyone in this forum has any exprience on similar problem? Any info is highly appreciated.
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    For the past few years, all MB vehicles have had automatic transmissions that require no fluid changes...ever! The stuff that is in there is designed to last for life under a variety of extreme conditions.

    Even the oil change interval in MBz vehicles from MY1998 onwards is extended from a minimum of 10K miles to a maximum of 20K miles; there is a computer monitoring a variety of parameters (engine load, driving style, temperature, oil qualtiy/viscosity etc.) and will adjust the flexible service system counter as needed.

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • Just an update to inform that my dealer replaced the Firestones on my 2000 LX with the EX Michelins to correct the shimmy issue. Firestones were balanced twice and 4 wheel alignment was performed. I'm happy to say that the new Michelins are much quiter and provide a much smoother ride, however I'm not happy to report that the shimmy still exists at around 68 MPH.

    Look like it's time to go after those EX wheels next.......I'm spending more time driving rentals than I am driving my van....... ;-(
  • dlh2dlh2 Posts: 18
    Got a call yesterday from Honda in Canada wanting to follow up on the comments I wrote on the Honda Survey. Like most of us, at the time I received the survey and filled it out I had not had the van very long and did not have many miles on the van. (Though I did complain about cabin noise, lousy stereo and a rattle in the driver's side sliding door.) Told her that they could learn a lot more about their product by monitoring the Edmunds Town Hall Ody Van topics because this is where we go to discuss likes, dislikes and problems after having lived with our vans awhile. I also told her I thought this should be required reading for the Honda engineering groups. Although I have not experienced any major problems with my van yet-knock on wood-like electrical, sliding doors, pull to the right, transmission, AC, shimmy, etc., it's my impression that these problems are the result of poor design or engineering of specific parts, or OEM parts suppliers quality control and not build quality of the van itself. Still, there's plenty of room for improvement. So, Honda if you are listening, in the next generation Ody I would like to see fold and flip center seats for easier entry to third seat, better back up lights, A telescoping steering wheel, more rearward travel in passenger seat, less cabin noise, a decent sound system, a fold down tray for the center seats like the one in front, glove box light, and body side moulding that actually prevents dings!
  • I have Odyssey 2000, and I had it for about 14 months. Currently, the mileage of my van is around 17,000. About a month ago, my wife and I began to experience hearing loud "thunk"" and grinding noise from the van. The noise occurs only when I drive at the speed between 0 to 30 mph; especially when it is down-shifting. Rescently, the problem has even become bigger. Sometimes, when I try to break to stop, the van "jerks" back and forth. I can also feel the vibration coming from some resistance.

    The problems that I have don't occur always, but occur frequently enough. If I drive the van for 30 minutes, I can pretty much guranteed that the problem will occur.

    I think that my van is having a problem with the transmission. However, when I took it to a Honda dealer for service, they told me that they didn't find any problem with my van. They also told me that I am the first person ever to report any problem with the transmission, or like as I discribed.

    I am taking it to a Honda service again next week.

    Does anyone have a similar experience? And, how serious is my problem? I am bit concerned because my wife drives the van with two kids who are only 3 and 1 year old.

  • To Alexmish:

    That's okay. I know it is difficult to tell rpm from the tachometer.

    Not only for transmission break-in, but for everything else, do, do work each and every gadget and if it pertains to drivetrain, at different speeds. Don't stop using cruise-control. In fact, use it as often as you can, and if the intercity roads have moving but slow traffic, use it there also but carefully. This will break in the cruise modulator. Try holidng cruise from its lowest speed setting (30mph) up to your normal highway speeds. Only thing, don't keep it extended for >20 miles at one setting.

    Your accelerating rpms are just fine. 70mph max for a little time longer will help both engine and transmission. On your upcoming trip, on a mountain road, maintain a constant speed and unless you come across a really slow vehicle, resist the urge to floor the gas and overtake at high speed.

    Yes, transmissions take the worst beating. Read posts of just about any manufacturer, including the costliest vehicles, and the crowning problems are transmissions.

    Glad to be of help. I will assist any way I can, other than having my own repair shop.

    Keep my notes when checking your wheels. At the outset I don't want the dealer to make things worse. Front wheel alignment is as tough as it can get.

    Safe Driving.
  • To Alexmish...
    and others

    Just forgot something.
    I have practiced this for 25 years and it has appreciably helped to extend transmission life.
    I have substantiated this with my transmission mechanics, but a dealership service or general garage may not be able/willing to do so.

    When stopped at an intersection or in long standing lines of rush-hour traffic, expecially at night with lights on and/or (at any time) with a/c on, for >15 seconds, put the vehicle in Neutral (and keep your foot on the brake) [Anticipate traffic movement]. This will help the engine to rev under no load, keeping its cool and conserving fuel. The transmission clutches will also be disengaged and the torque converter will idle giving the fluid a chance to cool. You will get longer life from the guts of your transmission.

    Factory dynamometer tests are done under 'no-load' conditions. It is a free-standing run with no vehicle weight to pull. Break-in is therefore necessary, and if possible, with no extra weight, like when travelling.

    At every fuel stop lock the gas cap and let it click five or more times. '01 models have a vapour recovery system that should eliminate having to click the lock three times (but I am waiting for more information on this fix).

    Take care.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Add to your next gen. list all the controls should be lighted, like power windows, locks, controls on steering wheel, the gear shift fixed so it don't block the controls, lighted garage door opener buttons, lights on the drink holder so you can see where to replace your drink in the dark. Maybe we need to start a topic on updating the Odyssey? What do you think Karen?
  • A long, long time ago, we had a thread dedicated to suggested improvements for the Odyssey. How long ago was it? The name of the thread referred to what we thought should appear on the 2000 Odyssey....
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    I'll forward your posts to Karen and see what happens.

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • I am seeing numerous posts regarding the check engine light coming on. I used to own a Honda and had the same problem. After just 3000 miles on the car, the light would come on and go off just before a trip to the dealer. It took them at least 12 attempts to fix the problem (don't really know how many after that because I got fed up and sold the car). They replaced numerous oxygen sensors, harnesses, computer, etc. but in the end I was not totally convinced that they knew how to fix this problem

    Just hope that those of you who has this problem does get it resolved.
  • To 2k1odyssey and et al.

    Just took my 01 EX to service guys and they found higher-than-normal and different tire pressure on all 4 wheels (stupid me for not checking it myself). They said that the pressure was as high as 50 psi on one of the wheels. After equalizing the pressure on all wheels to 32psi, the car handles perfectly and there is no more pull, as well as steering wheel looks straight. Also, the pulling to the right when accelerating has also dimished greatly and is insignificant at this point - they said it is normal since axles have different lenght on each side of the van. The ride became much softer and quieter. I think that 32psi is a bit below mfr suggested 35psi, so I will increase it to 33-34psi.

    As to squeaking driver's side inside door handle - they removed the door cover and lubricated "rod to latch clip". The squeaking is gone.

    Now I am very happy with the van and, barring future issues, my faith in Honda cars has been restored. Happy driving everyone.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Yes, I do remember that discussion, but I've been unable to find it in the archives. :-(

    Still, since this would concern upcoming Odyssey models, a new topic would be appropriate.


    Vans host
  • I thought that was interesting how alexmish's tires were all different pressures. When my van was delivered they had 45psi all around. It was built in Nov.1999. I picked it up in W. VA with temps in the 30's - must've been cold in Canada when it was built or the dealer must've fooled with it!
  • Here is a new (rather minor) problem with our '99 EX Odyssey: 1 of the 4 plastic end caps on the roof rack has disappeared. I noticed that this trim piece was loose awhile back, (along with the other 3). Anybody else notice this? Checked my friend's Ody; his caps are also loose.
  • mschafermschafer Posts: 317
    This is not a new problem. It just hasn't been mentioned in a while. Honda has a service bulletin on how to permanently fix this. Perhaps, Trevor could post it.
  • I meant was "not" driven for 3 hours prior to the measurement. Sorry.
  • I am just wondering how we should be measuring the tire pressure. The manual says that it should be 35psi on "cold tires" - which means on a car which was driven for 3 hours prior to the measurement. On another note, outside temperature and whether a given tire is exposed to direct sunlight will make difference as well. This morning my tires showed 30psi, then in afternoon 33psi on "cold", and after driving 36psi.

    So, is it 35psi when a tire is "cold" and the outside temperature is 70F or outside temperature 25F ???

    Does anyone have chart(s) of tire pressures vs. outside temperature vs cold/hot tire ?
  • Yes, "cold tire pressure" means before driving a mile or so and after (so I heard) 6 hours. Best time to check is in the morning. Adjust it to 35psi whether 70 or 17 degrees.
  • I just past the 1K mile point of my '01 EX Navi. I have two questions. First, I have read in other ODY posts talk about the speedometer not being accurate. Could someone elaborate? Also, I am having trouble with my Fuel gauge. I reads less than 1/4 tank when the is still has 10 of the twenty gallons left. Any Advice? Other than the list of shortcomings from dlh2 I am enjoying the vehicle. Knock on wood.
  • bluffbluff Posts: 6
    I have a '99 ex w/ 33k miles - my gas guage almost
    never shows completely full, even when I top it off, the reading is about 1/8 tank down. BUT sometimes it does go to the top of the gauge. It's almost like the float was sticking in the tank, but not always! Also re: the spedo accuracy, at 60 to 70 mph its exactly 4-5 mph less. I've used a GPS and this is about the norm all the way to 85 (so you're really doing 79-80).
  • To 2k1odyssey et al,

    When I went to service my O1 EX last Friday and mentioned the fuel tank issue (can not fit more than 14 gals when empty light comes on), the service manager said that his computer indicates tank capacity at 17 gals, wondering whether the manual is incorrect or he is just trying to ignore the issue.

    My 3 other friends who also own Ody indicated the same issue with their cars.

    Maybe the car really has 17-gal fuel tank. Then, a 3 gal reserve is a norm. Does 2k1odyssey has exact dimensions of the fuel tank - we all can do the math, right ?
  • mschafermschafer Posts: 317
    I have 70k on my 99EX, and I've never put in more than 19.7 gallons on a fillup; but I have done it on more than one occasion. Maybe the gas pump was fraudulent. *:o))
This discussion has been closed.