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Acura CL Transmission Problems



  • 101,000 miles and going strong on our 99 2.3 CL. The key is manual five speed transmission! Honda/Acura makes some of the best manual gearboxes/linkages, along with BMW. For automatics, go with GM, Ford, Toyota.
  • Kodie11, the brake lamp switch located under the brake pedal was failing. By not activating the brakelights, it was not activating the shifter release mechanism inside the center console. The service manual has an elaborate test procedure using a meter and pin jumpers to check the switch, but all you have to do is to see if your brakelights work! The shifter symptom is actually a good alert that you may be driving with no blakelights!
  • The only thing that has saved me is the the manufacturer's warranty (first two trannies) and the extended warranty I purchased (numbers 3 & 4). I purchased the car new at the Acura dealership in central FL. After repeated attempts at assistance, neither the dealership nor corporate Acura has done anything to resolve the issue. The Lemon Law applies to repairs for the same problem (3 or more repairs) during the first two years of ownership. I've contacted the FL State Attorney General's office and have started the ball rolling. I'm very, very disappointed at Acura. They had a very loyal customer, but now I feel like they don't value their customers.
  • 17 Hondas since 1990? Why the big turnover? It sounds like perhaps they haven't been owned long enough to experience the problems in this forum. My uncle is a car buff and loves Toyotas and Hondas; however, he trades up every 2-3 years (so he swears by them).
  • The 1999 CL models have a transmission that was designed only for that make/model. Other CLs and TLs won't have the problems that the 1999 CLs have. The problem is definitely a poorly engineered transmission. Dump the car! Fast!
  • YIKES! Thanks for the advice!
  • medium1medium1 Posts: 4
    Three weeks ago my 99 CL 3.0 with 99,000 miles made a very hard shift between 2nd and 3rd and has been doing it 1 or 2 times a day since. After I saw this forum I called the closest Acura dealer, not the one I bought the car at, and they asked me to bring it in. They gave me a free rental car and spent 4 days trying to duplicate the problem, anyway they ordered a new transmission and are replacing it for free. Now that, is good service. That was Miami Acura.
  • I bought my car new, had ONLY the Acura dealership do work on my car (including every oil change, alignment, etc.). They refused to do anything whatsoever. This is in Sanford, FL. While my car was still under the extended warranty that I purchased after the mfr warranty expired, I had the third and fourth transmission installed last year. That extended warranty expired and I asked corporate Acura to provide me something in writing that I can rely on. Acura again refused. Since I cannot afford new car payments - and I assure you, it WON'T be for another Acura -- I purchased another extended warranty. At only 70K miles, this transmission is starting to show signs that it's going. I don't know what is more frustrating - the car problems itself, or Acura's apathy. Simply amazing!
  • My car is about to turn over 73K miles and the fourth transmission is showing signs that it's going. It goes in the shop tomorrow. Hey - things are looking up: I got 6K miles on this one! #3 died on the trip home from the dealership upon installation! This will be #5 at 73K miles!
    Can anyone out there help me, P L E A S E !?!?! (My screen name, RoadTripGirl, is now a thing of the past - my roadtrips are to the dealership.)
  • medium1medium1 Posts: 4
    Is your car a 99? I didn't have an extended warranty and didn't even have to argue with the dealer, they just said bring it in and they gave me a free rental for 15 days. It took a while because they had 9 transmissions to replace but I wasn't paying anything so I can't complain. I just hope I don't have any problems with this transmission.
  • Yes, it's a 1999 - bought it new. Is yours a 1999 CL? I purchased the extended warranty just prior to the mfr warranty expired (bought the top coverage, platinum). When that expired in January, since I'm on my 4th trannie now, I purchased another extended warranty (gold - second best; couldn't buy platinum due to the miles - only 71K). Do you know if there is a recall? Check this out - a petition to Honda/Acura regarding the huge number of trannies that have had problems:
    Good luck!
  • anczhanczh Posts: 1
    I am consider to buy a used Acura, but scared by this problem. My question is whether this problem only associates with manual transmission? I love the design and performance. I don't mind to go with automatic. Any suggestion? Thanks.
  • The manual transmissions are bulletproof. It's the automatics, especially with the 3.0 V6 that have problems. The second gen CL's are even worse.
    The manual is only available with the 2.2/2.3 4 cyl.
    Had a 99 2.3 CL from new for 118,000 miles, until I crashed it.
    I highly recommend a 2.2/2.3 CL with the 5 speed.
    I consider the 4 cyl CL a luxurious economy car.
    It's easy on gas, very reliable, and needs almost no repairs.
    I now drive a 2005 Mazda 6 V6 5 speed.
    Also considered the TSX, but found a sweet deal on the used 6.
  • neil1neil1 Posts: 20
    I'm the original owner of a 97 3.0 --215,000 mi or there abouts. The only thing that every breaks on it are the automatic window regulators - I think I've replaced 4 or 5.
  • I've been researching Acura Transmission problems because I am trying to understand what kind of problems are inherent in this vehicle. Yes, the CL is 10 years old, always garaged, babied, driven by one person, never overloaded, and never showed signs of any transmission problems. Friday after driving it all day, it came to a snail's pace and I was forced to downshift to get enough movement to get it home (1/2 mile). My husband drove it, went around several blocks at 45 mph and gave me the "are you serious look?". Then it failed on him too. When he braked he heard a clicking, and the car barely moved.

    It's been towed to Acura for diagnosis. What I see on the internet that there are lots of transmission problems with the CL's. I would appreciate some feedback on similar experiences. 10 years or not, this is highly unusual and I'm hoping Acura will cut us some slack on repairs.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
  • My car has about 115K, the engine light turned amber. While waiting at the dealer the Acura advisor said the code P0715, 'mainshaft speed sensor malfunction' occurred. He explained that they needed to flush the tranny 3 times according to Acura, to see if it clears it. If not it willl need a new transmission!

    It was not much fun waiting! It turned out that the flushing cleared the code to trigger.
    I have had the tranny fluid changed about every 30K, so I was very, very disappointed to hear this!

    I wanted to share that. Has anyone had this happen?

    Also, my friend had a honda accord, had over 100K, never was offered by Honda to extend her powertrain warranty, called them, and they paid for most of tranny work at a honda dealer. Has anyone had that experience or heard of that?

  • tupertuper Posts: 1
    so here's the deal. when i shift into reverse, either from park or from drive, it shifts really hard. i took it into the shop and they said motor mounts were the problem. so they replaced the mounts and it's still doing it. i took it back and they adjusted the pressure in some lines (i don't know exactly what lines) and it was doing better for a little while but now it's doing it just as bad again. its also not nearly as bad if the car has been running for a it's worse when i'm starting it up for the first time in the morning or after its been sitting all day while i work. also, sometimes it makes a high pitched sound when i am in reverse. does anyone know what this could be? it seems to me like it's the transmission, but i don't know what about the transmission needs fixing.
  • madchen20madchen20 Posts: 8
    After reading this message board regarding 99 Acura Cl transmissions, I feel lucky. Im in the process of replacing my transmission for only the 3rd time.! The first transmission failed at 39K and the second 110K. Most of us have a lot of money tied up in these vehicles and to just dump them is criminal on the part of Acura. If they will not replace these defective transmissions regardless of mileage, with a non defective transmission, then something needs to be done. Since large corporations like Honda/Acura are difficult to get to first base with, perhaps a few well placed bumper stickers to the effect.. DONT BUY ACURA OR HONDA AUTOMOBILES, UNLESS YOU WANT TO BUY A TRANSMISSION EVERY YEAR. OR SOMETHING THAT WILL GET SOMEONES ATTENTION might be one tactic to get them to fix our cars. Maybe periodic picketing of dealerships that refuse to replace these transmissions. After all the problems I have had with my Acura, plus, problems with the same dealership regarding another Acura RSX, that the dealership sold that was wrecked!, and they knew it and sold it as an Acura Certified Automobile, I have been out tens of thousands of dollars to Acura and its dealerships. What Acura was hoping is that no one would realize that so many people were having this problem and that we would just fade into the woodwork. This 3rd transmission having to be replaced is making me just livid now that I know how dishonest Acura is about their cars. :lemon: , Any car that has this many problems should be replaced under the lemon law which does not seem to have enough "teeth" to bite Acura.
  • madchen20madchen20 Posts: 8
    to anczh... How, after reading these posts could you possibly consider buying an Acura!. Im sure that most of us who have posted here would NEVER touch another Acura or Honda. I know that I will not even consider these cars. Im gong back to Toyota. Im also staying away from Automatic transmissions. My Acura is the first car in the last 5 automobiles I have owned ,that has been an automatic.. NO MORE AUTOMATICS. NO MORE ACURAS, NO HONDAS!!! :mad:
  • kateyedkateyed Posts: 1
    need advice on the acura tl 2001 slip gear and poping so took in acura dealer ship for the transmition replacement twice cuz still under warranty .. first time 2 week after the replacement when dring up the hill it jerking.. so i toook it back to the dealer ship they said they will replace another transmition and then 3 weeks after i have the same problem again... what should i do ?
  • stjohsstjohs Posts: 1
    Well, this is my saga with the 2001 Cl. Had a new transmission placed under recall in 7/03 (dealership told me it was a new tranny because acura never uses old parts), my car had 28,000 mi. 8/11/08, 2nd transmission is shot with 65,000 mi on my car (37,000 mi on 2nd tranny). Also, that the car had a number of other issues including broken engine mounts (also replaced in 7/03. What a coincidence!), and worn out ball joints (did this happen because of the engine mounts?). Was told by dealership that the 93 mo/109,000 "extended warrenty" Honda provided had expired for my car 4 months ago. They also informed me that the trans in the car WAS NOT NEW, but REMANUFACTURED (Acura's word for used?)! They also said they couldn't do anything about it but that I could contact Acura CS (I bought the car from this dealership. Love how they're advocates for their customers and stand behind the integrity and durability of Acura's products, huh?).

    Long story short, Acura asked me "what I wanted." I told them I wnated a new tranny and the problems caused by the tranny to be fixed (?BROKEN ENGINE MOUNTS x2, shot ball joints).

    They offered me a "good will gesture" (can you stand it? GWG???? they replace a crappy tranny with a "remanufactured" crappy tranny and now I'm on the hook!).

    Said they would pay 95% for the trans only (Ihave to fork out approx $1,000 for the mounts and ball joints) and give me a 3yr 36mo warrenty on it. Something should be done about this. It's not fair that Honda knows they screwed people and they are getting away with it! A 2001 with 65,000 miles on it and it's on its 3rd tranmission. Makes me want to throw up!

    No more Acura's for me or my fam.
  • My acura for some reason when i put the gear in to drive it starts to drive but then a couple seconds later the car just goes to neutral and then some times i feel as if its about to catch on again but it just goes to neutral mode i checked the fluid level witch is at the write level and is clean. Does any one know what could be the problem is it a bad sencer or something, could it be my trans filter?
  • I purchased my brand new 2002 3.2CL in November, 2001. The transmission first went out when the car had only 3,500 miles! I was devastated! At around this same time, Honda increased the warranty from 7yrs/70,000 miles to 10 years/100,000 miles.

    My car now has 77,000 miles, and the replaced transmission went out again. Acura replaced the transmission a month ago, but it just hasn't been right. When I took it back in, they tell me that something is wrong with the shifter, and that the shifter, although it is necessary to shift the transmission, is not a part of the transmission.

    Any suggestions?
  • hi everyone i just pulled the following codes from my 97 3.0 cl and need to know how to go about fixing these problems so i can save some money... much help would be appreciated.

    P1490-egr lift
    P0758- shift solenoid B
    P0700-tranny control system

    I have tried erasing these codes and they have come back...
  • Hello Manny,
    It looks like you are about to join the 1000's of Acura owners with a bad transmission. Just like many of my fellow Acura owners I have had more than 2 transmissions. The first transmission failed at 27K and the second 50K miles later. Isnt it amazing how Acura has managed to maintain the image of a great car despite such devastating, expensive, problems to thousands of its owners. :lemon:
  • luvvgolfluvvgolf Posts: 1
    I have been dealing with exactly the same issue on my 2001 Acura CLS. Did the recall gig, then several months later had to take it back in when it was under warranty because the transmission was slipping. They acknowledged that they got it to slip but told me I would have to keep bringing it back because they had to make it slip three times. But they said I had until 109K miles so it was no problem and I had plenty of time. I now have 105K miles and they are informing me that I am past the 96 month limit on the warranty, which they didn't tell me before. So, even though they make a crappy transmission and I took it in under warranty the first time, they won't stand behind their product. They said they might if I paid $1,200 to get the timing belt and water pump replaced since it is about due, plus they want to replace the motor mounts, which they say are broken. Isn't it amazing how they are scamming all of us in the same manner. I guess if it works, why change? So I talked to them today and they said they won't pay for any of the transmission and I am SOL. I asked to appeal their decision and they said no. I asked for a name of a supervisor and the customer service rep said it was his decision and refused to give me a supervisor's name and then said "have a nice day" before hanging up on me. No more Acuras or Hondas for me, and I am spreading the word in every way I know how, including contacting my state's Attorney General and the local Better Business Bureau. :lemon:
  • I am one of those Acura owners experiencing the same problem. :sick: Being a female and totally unaware of what was going with my car, I took it ('99 Acura 3.0 CL Coupe) to the shop this morning after experiencing the same problems that you all have mentioned, but only to be informed that my transmission needs to be replaced. It's costing me dearly!! I've been unemployed since May of this year, but it's the only car I have. So, I involved my boyfriend in order to get a decent price because the repair shops in my area (one particular) wanted to charge me an arm, leg and one of my children just to look at my car before even providing me a cost estimate (What the world is going on!). But we found another repair shop that was highly recommended and I look to pick my car up in a few days. I've owned my Acura for 7 years and really enjoy it, but after reading you guys comments and I am sadly disappointed. I won't even waste your time telling you all the codes found I just know from this point on I won't make Acura my car of choice anymore. You're right, something really needs to be done! :mad:
  • I have a 2000 3.2 tl with 91000 miles I have had the engine replace at 30,000 miles
    I have 91000 miles on it and the trans went out. The dealer knew exactly what the issue was and even told me how many problems this trans had. I called Acura hq in Torrance and heard basically tough because my warranty expired by time not by miles They even told me that it was normal wear .....9,000 miles a yr? They said they would not replace it and stand behind the decision of the company. Originally they told me they didn't have an appeal process but then but me on hold and came back and told me they just did the appeal...Lol...They said I made compeling argument but that they wouldn't change their mind. I want to make a shirt that says "Acura Transmissions Suck" and go to the Car show next week and stand in their booth .
  • Hi,

    I have a 1999 Acura CL 3.0 and its transmission just died. I just drove this for 130K miles and provided this is a Japanese car I am shocked to see this issue.

    I will never by an Acura again.
  • Hi,

    I have a 1999 Acura CL 3.0 and its transmission just died. I just drove this for 130K miles and provided this is a Japanese car I am shocked to see this issue.

    I will never buy an Acura again.
  • Hate to say I have the same issue, but only have 59,000 miles on veh. We where 8 months past the extended warranty. I had to dick around with the dealer and Dist. Rep. to get them to pay 80% of cost and a 3 yr./36k miles warranty. They put jet kit back in 2004 and should fix any problems(car had 16k miles). Car started to slip Oct. and we feel since they had a transmission problem we should be refunded of our cost for repair. By the way did you get anywhere with your State's Attorney or the B.B.B.? :mad:
  • I have a 2003 CLS that the transmission is going at 54,000. I am unemployed and the dealer will not fix it. It is out of warranty. Is there a class action suit going on now as I cannot believe how many people are having the same problem!~
  • Check this out! Hhhhm, so when your car hits its mileage early so it is out of warranty, you get left with the total cost of a crappy rebuilt transmission!
  • There has been no class action suit filed against them that I am aware of. I sure wish there was! It cost me $2,200.00 to have my transmission rebuilt. I too am unemployed and this has truley caused me major problems.
  • WOW! Just finished ready the story online about the faulty odometers. Thanks for sharing. This is just horrible! They should have went further back to include 1999! From the looks of it, that's where it all began!
  • I own a 97 acura cl 3.0 its been well maintained and always serviced and has an impressive 398,000km on its first transmission and a recently rebuilt engine... But i am starting to feel the transmission slip... it does not slip when i accelerate hard it shifts perfectly with full throttle but when im just driving between traffic lights it shutters going up gears.. should i pull the transmission and replace the filters and fluid or is there even any value in doing that?
  • jessybjessyb Posts: 5
    My car did the same thing! At first, I thought it was nothing big, but as time went on it got worse. I suggest you get your car checked as soon as you can. I am still dealing with the pain of my experience.
  • kjmtkjmt Posts: 1
    Why do the majority of 4spd Acura and Honda trannies always burn up second gear clutches.
  • Today after I had just driven 240 miles away from home, my 2001 Acura CL's transmission went from working fine, to completely broken. Luckily, it went out two miles away from the Acura dealership (or could it be that my car was sneakily designed to break down within range of an Acura dealership.. hrmm..), so I slowly made it there while holding up rush hour traffic and learned it's going to cost $3800 to fix. I had always been fearing this issue after buying this car used two years ago, and it finally happens on my birthday no less.
  • I have a 1999 Acura 3.0 CL with 64,000 miles.About 6 months ago, the car began having a hard shift from 1st to 2nd gear. Once out of 1st, the gear changes are smooth and seamless.

    I replaced both the engine oil and transmission fluid, and it improved considerably initially. But the problem resurfaced.

    Currently, the car kicks (50%+ of the time) when changing from 1st to 2nd. And if you do a hard acceleration, the kick is pretty bad.

    Anyone with similar problems/suggestions for a solution?
  • madchen20madchen20 Posts: 8
    edited February 2010
    Im on my second transmission in a 1999 Acura Cl. The first one failed at 27,000 miles, then it needed another part a couple of hundred miles later. it started to need another transmission about 25,000 miles later. Acura knows this is a defective transmission and from what I have learned they replaced something like 16,000 of them. What got me is that they put a REBUILT transmission in my car still under warranty that was practically new. Of course Acrua said they would replace it a second time for a mere $4500. The car is shifting hard from 3rd to 4th. It is like your car, if you accelerate hard it kicks like a mule. I took it to what has always been a reliable transmission shop here in Dallas They told me that it DID NOT NEED A NEW TRANSMISSION. The manager started wih something simple, he changed the transmission fluid which made a noticable improvement. Funny, Acura said that the transmission fluid never needed to be changed??? The car is still bumping occasionally when shifting from 3rd to 4th. The transmission shop said that it was probably the torque converter which is a far cry from $4500. I still have not fixed it. The car drives fine most of the time.By the way, the Acura dealer, almost 2 yrs now,said that the transmission needed to be changed right away because it could fail any day now. :) :lemon:
    Never trust those people at the dealer, their are all crooks.
  • Thanks for the reply. As a rule of thumb, the dealer is always the last resort. They always overstate the problem, and exaggerage the cost. Kinda like dressed up used ca salesmen. : )

    I'll take the car to a non-dealer transmission specialist. Thinking along the lines of AAMCO, and see what they have to say.

    I'm pretty surprised at the number of people who have this problem, and disappointed in the quality.

    My car has been garaged since purchase, run sparsely (hence 64,000 miles in 10 years), and had all maintenance. This car should be good for 200,000 miles.

    Oh well, thanks for the info. I'll see what I can get done on this end, and post the results.
  • I've been having this problem on my 1999 Acura CL for 6 months (only 79,000 miles on it). First, I had the transmission oil changed, which helped a little. Now, it's gotten bad again, so instead of going back to Acura, I'm going to Aamco tomorrow. I hope they're honest about what they find.
  • jessybjessyb Posts: 5
    Just prepare yourself! I paid $2,200 to have mine rebuilt. It's been running great since, but I'm always wondering if it will happen again.
  • Hi - I own a 2001 CL and just replaced the transmission for $3,500+. Purchased new, the warranty shows 114,000 miles or 7 years. The dealer would not honor the warranty even though I have just 60,000 miles to date on the car because of the car's age. Did you have a warranty issue? Do you know if there is a way to get Acura to respond to honoring the mileage part of the warranty? Thanks, Roger
  • I own 2001 cl(110K) and transmission went bad this week...limped in..and they did "their analysis" for $138...they called to inform me that I need new transmission....and the total cost at approx $8900!!!!!!!.........we talked and they quickly agreed to go to bat for me with Manu. to try to get them to reduce the costs/share the pain 50-60%...hummn 40-50% of $8900 sound like a good deal to anyone??
  • How do they do it? Just made the last payment for my (2nd owner) 2003 TL-S September 1, and October 8 my transmission goes bonkers. I had read in horror about these problems but since my VIN wasn't included in the recall thought I'd dodged the bullet. Then Friday evening, as I headed out of town on a holiday weekend - wham! Downshifts from 5th to 1st gear at highway speed. Keeping my foot on the brake seems to help. After a few more miles it would no longer shift above 2nd gear. I found a tow truck before the !@#$ thing completely seized.
    Also ironic that in August I spent $500 for "maint." mainly fluid replacement using expensive Honda trans. fluid. (according to the service techs) Also of interest, I had the front rotors replaced Sept. 7 - the day before. Leaving town the next day the first hint of a problem was the service lights came on: the ! alert, VMS light and the engine diagram. I have to wonder if the problem could be related, somehow....
    The dealer just called to tell it needs new transmission, and is not covered.
    I used to really love this car, and let people know. Now the thought of all my kudos makes me want to puke. A ticking time bomb that wipes out any value you might have (thought you) had in your Acura. This mfr has managed to retain a "high quality" image in spite of the devastating plague - they deserve a class action.
  • I have a 01 CL tpye S and it has about 190,000 kms. At about 160,000 kms the tranmission started to act up by getting kicks while i was in D5. So i took it to a transmission shop and they said that the gears were slipping and chattering. Also steel chipps that were grinding when it was slipping was shooting into the transmission fluid. I havent fix it yet but the ppl at the transmission shop said that they will re-build my my transmission for $2500.00. When i first bought this car i didnt know that this problem would happen but a few months after i bought this car, i heard so some infor about the 01-03 CL's and the TL's will have tranny problems. So what i heard about it all came true :(
  • yuma1yuma1 Posts: 1
    Roger, Acura warranty is 109,000 or 7 years whichever comes first. After the class action lawsuit Acura bumped the warranty 9,000 miles to 109,000. Unfortunate but you have exceeded the length [years] so no warranty.
  • Trying to work out a pattern here. What month and year was your 1999 3.0CL manufacturered? That information is on the driver's side door pillar.
    Mine, which I bought 4 days ago, was made May 1999. A recall I found for transmissions applied from July 1999 to August 2000. The claim I heard is that there was a significant change made in July, including moving to a five speed transmission. I was told not to worry about my 1999 because it has a four speed. But I am worried. It has 60,000 miles on it and I'm planning to install a transmission fluid cooling radiator on it as soon as possible.
    Does anybody know what exactly causes the failures? Is it heat?
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