Acura CL Transmission Problems

dkinnedkinne Member Posts: 1
edited February 2014 in Acura
My 98 3.0CL has an transmission oil leak.
Dealer seems to be blind and says it is not leaking.
My garage floor says differently. Also, private mech also
noticed, and alerted me to the fact on last oil change.

Any body else notice "red drops from hell" ????


  • carguy2123carguy2123 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone here had problems with their automatic transmission in the 01 or later CL S-type
  • bodydoublebodydouble Member Posts: 801
    I tried listening for it again this afternoon. It doesn't make that noise when the car is idling in Park. I blipped the throttle and still no noise even when it revs up a bit. But it seems to start up as soon as I put it in Reverse. Then you can hear this click clat click clat sound which will diminish in loudness and frequency over the course of, say, 2 to 3 minutes. It doesn't appear to do it in Drive but tomorrow morning I'll try by putting it in Drive first. Maybe it has something to do with the transmission. If anyone else here parks in an enclosed garage, maybe he can try it.
  • bodydoublebodydouble Member Posts: 801
    Listened for the noise this morning on a cold engine. Nothing in Park, nothing in Drive, and couldn't hear anything conclusive in Reverse either other than the usual "clunk" when Reverse is engaged, so maybe it's termperature-sensitive and only when the engine/transmission is hot.
  • tomer26tomer26 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 type s which I bought in April 2000, and it has almost exactly 60,000 miles on it. Had the 60,000 service on Friday, but they missed one small item. Over the weekend, my tranny went out. Like out, high rev, no go. (Actually, it was sporadic at first, and I was able to drive it in to the dealer, but I had to turn it off and re-start to get the gears to engage) First clue was the VSA and traction warning came on and stayed on for awhile, along with the check engine light. They are replacing the transmission for free but I'm curious if anyone else has had a similar problem. PS--I still love the car.
  • jarrod4jarrod4 Member Posts: 3
    I drive a 2001 Chrysler Sebring coupe and I agree with the statement about quality. Actually, this is my second chrysler car. While the car has great looks, it is far from a mechanical masterpiece. The car I'd really like to see myself in is the CL-type S, but reading the problems listed here, I'm not so sure how much better the quality really is? Transmission going bye bye - COMPLETELY - at 60k!!?? Hmmm.
    We don't have an Acura dealership in my city yet, but it is coming within a year. Basically, as soon as the Acura dealer shows up, I'll be there at 8:00a.m., the fisrt Saturday it is open! IMO, the CL type-s is the best bang for the buck. Stylish interior and exterior with a VERY powerful V6. But, I really hope these tranny problems and other glitches get worked out before too long.
    Quick question for you manual, type-s owners, where abouts on the tach are you really put into your seat in first and second gears? Is it right away or is it towards the high end? Thanks.
  • sutton4sutton4 Member Posts: 34
    More than 16,000 replaced in 2 years, ouch!
  • obiwankenobi1obiwankenobi1 Member Posts: 290
    It's only 1.6%!! C'mon!!

    No, but seriously, this is not good publicity for Honda/Acura. It leaves me to not kick myself too hard for choosing my 02 Maxima SE over the TL-S. I almost got one, but could not justify paying $414 instead of $380 a month on 48mo lease for a car with 5 more horsepower.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,180
    Guys that have 5th generation Preludes are also having problems with their transmissions. The Prelude has a much lower power output (4cyl, 195hp, 156lb/ft torque) than even the base CL/TL.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

  • bodydoublebodydouble Member Posts: 801
    The tranny in the Prelude was a 4-speed unit though. I'm not sure it that tranny has closer ties to the Accord tranny or the TL/CL tranny.
  • They are apparently having troubles with the TL, Accord, and Odyssey trannies as well, so I would imagine it ain't just US and canadian built models.

    IIRC, the trannies on these cars (CL/TL) are made in Japan, anyway. Look at your window sticker.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Member Posts: 2,273
    Transmission warranty extended-


  • mvaldivimvaldivi Member Posts: 24
    Can anyone please share any information on those transmission problems? What in this transmission is causing these problems? Overheat, bad oil flow, fluid contamination, excessive gear wear, bad converter, bad solenoids, bad sensors, bad control-unit? Is Acura recommending anything in particular to reduce the likelihood for an early transmission failure? Thanks for your input.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    I don't think Acura really knows what's causing the failures, as evidenced by the fact that quite a few people have had a replacement tranny also fail. I don't think there is anything you can realistically do to prevent failure other than maybe drive as little as possible and really drive softly. But then you might as well not have the car!
  • daqmandaqman Member Posts: 27
    I have a question for the board, If Acura has corrected the transmission issue for sum 02's and above, why are those of us affected by the transmission recall not getting the newer transmissions instead of reman. transmissions that are doomed to fail yet again?

    Am I the only one who thinks that is the way they should handle this matter?
  • jay238jay238 Member Posts: 13
    daqman, I am wondering the same thing. And then some dealers say the replacement tranny is definitely updated, while some customers just say it is rebuilt and will fail in a short while.

    It is up in the air to whether they have really fixed the tranny and installing them. They have had PLENTY OF TIME to make a reliable fix for the tranny!
  • daqmandaqman Member Posts: 27
    Exactly, if Acura says only older models were affected, and the newer models aren't y, not give those w/the affected vehicles the transmissions they are now putting in the late models.
  • excl2005excl2005 Member Posts: 23
    I've contacted two Acura dealerships in my town about their 2001 Acura CL 3.2s in stock and this model’s well-known, defective transmission problem. Both dealerships have stated that their 2001 Acura CL 3.2s have new transmissions. However, I never did follow up with the question as to whether these new transmissions were temporary, stopgaps or totally redesigned transmissions that fixed the original problem.

    My worse fear is that these are rebuilt transmissions with only a 20K-30K lifespan on them before they go kaput. Besides, the 2001 Acura CL 3.2s at these two Acura dealerships have 40,000 miles (+). Yes, Acura has extended its drive train warranty to 100,000 miles. It's comforting to know at least 1 or 2 transmission failures will be covered by Acura.

    However, this is no solace for me when I'm driving 80 m.p.h. on the U.S. interstate highway system when all the sudden the car decides to shift to second gear on its own.

    To reiterate my question, all of the owners of the Acura CL/TL (1997-2003) that are having newly installed transmissions. Do these new transmissions resolve the original problem or provide a temporary stopgap till the next catastrophic transmission failure?

    Thanks for help!
  • carguy58carguy58 Member Posts: 2,303
    I don't think TL's/and CLs in the 1997 and 1998 model year were effected. The note I got said that 2001, 2002, and some 2003 TL's and CL's were effected by the faulty tranny.

    I think Honda has their tranny problem covered.
  • motokichimotokichi Member Posts: 48
    when the check engine light came on, the code notified that it was a problem in the transmission.
    our acura dealer replaced it with a new unit. all new, no re-build. the service manager said they don't even tear down the old tranny, just ship it back to HQ.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    all replacement trannies are rebuilt units. Maybe there has been a recent change in Honda policy?
  • excl2005excl2005 Member Posts: 23
    Thanks motokichi for the help. Yeah, I called back the Acura dealership with the three Acura CL 3.2s, each with 30K (+) miles on them, and he said "they all have rebuilt transmissions with new clutch paks," whatever that means.

    However, you said your acura dealer replaced your transmission with "all new, no re-build. The service manager said they don't even tear down the old tranny, just ship it back to HQ." I was told differently. This Acura dealership said that Acura doesn't make new transmissions for its older models (2001-2003). INTERESTING CONTRADICTIONS, HERE!

    Anyway, I'm going to try to find out from Acura Customer service what this new "clutch pak" entails.

    Hey, I rather be safe than sorry!

  • ibmindlessibmindless Member Posts: 62
    I have 23K on my 2001 CL-S. I noticed problems at around 11K, had the tranny replaced at 13K, and it's been fine since.

    A friend bought a 2001 at the same time as me. He has many more miles (around 75K now). He had his tranny replaced about 3 months before me (around 11/02) and had problems shortly afterwards. He had another tranny put in, and they blamed the first replacement problems on the lack of a engine control module (ECM) replacement/upgrade. Once the ECM was added to the 2nd replacement, he has had no problems (over a year now). His dealer said the later replacements (after 01/03) would all have the ECM.

    Personally, I'm quite content with the CL-S. I recently test drove the Nissan 350Z Coupe & Convertible (auto & stick), the Infiniti G35 Coupe (auto & stick) G35 Sedan (auto), M45 (auto), BMW 330 Sedan (stick & auto), 2000 M3 (stick), 2004 TL (auto), 2004 TSX (auto), and RX8 (stick). After all of those drives, I decided I was happy with the CL-S. I like the CL's features, navi, performance, handling, gas mileage, and looks. It's comfortable, refined, and cruises at 90 MPH at only 25K RPM.

    So, my recommendation would be to go for the CL if you think it will satisfy you, but if it will be a cause of constant concern, go for something else. At the moment, I just can't find anything else that provides the features of the CL and would compel me to open up my wallet.

  • excl2005excl2005 Member Posts: 23
    Hey, Mark

    Thanks for the information on this engine control module (ECM) replacement/upgrade. I've never heard of it.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to beat this issue to the ground. However, I just want to make sure that I'm not making a "$20,000.00 mistake." Besides, I don't want this Acura CL 3.2 or any car for that matter going hunting for gears on its own when I'm going 80 m.p.h.

    On a side note, I'm a big NASSCAR fan, and I'm fully aware of the consequences when mechanical problems go awry at very fast speeds.

  • drcitrusdrcitrus Member Posts: 7
    Acura has extended the warranty on the A/T and torque converter for all 2001 & 2002. Whether a 2003 CL is covered depends on the VIN. (See: Service Bulletin 02-027 dated 1/21/05 titled Warranty Extension : 3.2TL and 3.2CL Automatic Transmission (supercedes 02-027 dated 9/15/03)

    I have a 2003 CL that I purchased in August 2002. The transmission failed at 45389 miles. The first symptom was a slight slip between 2 & 3d gear. The coup d'grace happened on I-75 when I went to pass somebody: the tranny bucked and klonked until I let up on the throttle. I drove immediately to the Acura dealer who put in a new one (with all the updates, I'm told) and had it back to me in two days. Gave me a loaner, too! Outstanding!!

    My warranty is, however, set to end in another 4,500 miles because my VIN is just outside of the covered range. I'm considering another vehicle because of the history of transmission problems and the soon-to-be-out-of-warranty status. I have written to Acura asking them to extend the warranty as a matter of customer good will, but I haven't heard back yet.

    I love the car, but somehow I'm not feeling real lucky right now...
  • blackjack101blackjack101 Member Posts: 1
    just brought in my 2001 cl to dealership for trans problem not shifting past 2nd. purchased car from dealer in sept of 2004 had 25,500 on it. now has 31,200. luck would have it it was a certified car so it's covered. service manager told me they have put in quite a few trans in this car. will still be ocvered till feb. 2008 thank god.
  • thinkpad_91thinkpad_91 Member Posts: 1
    hi everyone, i just purchased a 99 acura cl 3.0 from Florida, when I start it up it goes to 2000 rpms then back down to 1000 rpms, then back to 2000 rpms, keeps repeating this process. When I drive it, seems like the transmission studders when going really slow and when braking from fast speeds. I can floor it and the transmission is fine. Also, it idles steady when in Drive and Reverse...idles up and down in Park and Neutral...

    i took it for another ride and turned the Air Conditioner all the way up, the idling goes steady at 1000 rpms and the trany does NOT studder at all and the car drives like new??? I live in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and the car just came from Florida, could this be the reason??? Someone told me to unplug the negative from my battery to reset the cpu which i did for like 15 minutes but still the same thing, keeps idling up and down and trany studders. Maybe I should unplug the + and - overnight so the cpu resets totally??? I have a 3 month warranty on it but if anyone can help, it would be really appreciated. I'm still going to get it looked by acura. Thanks everyone for reading.
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    I have a 1999 CL 3.0 with about 87,000 miles on it. I have transmission problems. It pretty much doesn't shift out of first until It's warm or going down hill. Going uphill is almost impossible in heavy traffic. All the other gears slip, but especially in stop and go situations. I am not sure if I should get a rebuilt transmission or sell the car. If anyone is in Hudson County NJ and can reccomend a good transmission shop I would appreciate it.

    What are everyone's experiences with Aamco?
  • ajfinoakajfinoak Member Posts: 58
    I own an 01 CL since new and have 50K mi on original transmission- no problems and brought it in at 30K for tranny recall. Only person I know with CL or TL had an '02 TL which blew the tranny at 22K. Wondering if mine is on borrowed time until the extended warranty on tranny ends on mine in 1 yr or do any folks know owners who have NOT ever had tranny problems with the 01 and 02 CL's with high mileage?
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    A guy at work said acura's are known for transmission problems. I would have it checked even if you don't suspect problems. Go to somebody you trust or a AAA approved facility. If you go back to the dealer and it's out of warranty they will just tell you you need a new transmission to the tune of around 5 large
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    I have two different next-door neighbors (either side of my house) with Acura V-6s (one is a 2000 TL and the other is a 2001 CL). One has over 100k miles (TL), and the other has 81,000 miles (CL) and both are on original trannies.

    Not ALL Acura's have transmission troubles. BTW, in the "CL" family also resides a 2004 TSX, also trouble free (2.4L engine from same family as my Accord I-4).
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    I was surprised when I realized that the tranny was bad. At the time the car had about 89k on it. In the future I will not consider an Acura. I have just had a bad experience and I would not reccomend them to anyone. I've also heard that Honda v6's have had similar problems.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    I've also heard that Honda v6's have had similar problems.

    Well, being that Honda and Acura are the same company, that wouldn't be an unfair assumption to make, if you think one is bad, the other would be by default. After 17 Hondas since 1990 though, we have never had one transmission trouble, and this includes Odysseys and Accords with V6s and well over 100k miles on several. To each his own experience and opinion, but not everyone has the same experience. I'd reccommend Honda or Acura to anyone based on reliability and service that has been stellar since my folks started dealing with them years ago, and now I'm on Honda number two, and couldn't be happier.
  • tjanigatjaniga Member Posts: 2
    You need to take your car to an Acura dealer service center because...They have an extended factory warranty for the transmissions because there is one bad part that is causing transmission problems! They have entered the vin numbers for all vehicles that are covered that have the defective transmission part. They have been replacing the entire transmission (new not rebuilt)at 80,000-100,000. We have been living the transmission nightmare for over 6 months in the same model. We tried to sell it and trade it but it isnt worth anything with the transmission problem. Otherwise the car is worth around $9,000-$10,000 if fixed. If it is not covered, then only go to an authorized acura transmission repair center. The repair cost would be $1200-$2200 at most! Been there, done that and didnt know about the recall until today!!!!! Acura's are tricky and they must know what they are doing to properly repair it! But first have them check your vin number as it just may be FREE!
  • tjanigatjaniga Member Posts: 2
    Our is a 1999 Acura CL! The transmission went out in Nov. 05 in cold cold weather and we were stranded in the middle of NOWHERE!
  • iriemoniriemon Member Posts: 4
    I recently bought a 2003 Acura CL Type S. It currently has 49,500 miles on it and falls just outside the VIN range of affected vehicles in Acura's A/T recall. I am thinking about buying an extended warranty thru Acura as I am a little concerned that the A/T issue may not be isolated to the identified 2003 VIN's. Any thoughts...good idea, bad idea?? Any and all comments welcome...

  • dubb_cldubb_cl Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know FOR SURE if the 97 CL was affected w/ the bad transmission or not?

  • lilajlilaj Member Posts: 15
    i have an 01 cl-s which i purchased with 12000 mi, it now has 115000 and im here to say that i have never had any transmission problems with the car. i got the oil changed over the weekend and the guy there was telling me that its time to change my transmission fluid. i heard from plp that u shouldnt change it because it would cause it to go out what should i do? :confuse:
  • lilajlilaj Member Posts: 15
    i have an 01 cl-s which i purchased with 12000 mi, it now has 115000 and im here to say that i have never had any transmission problems with the car. i got the oil changed over the weekend and the guy there was telling me that its time to change my transmission fluid. i heard from plp that u shouldnt change it because it would cause it to go out what should i do?
  • denouve2denouve2 Member Posts: 9
    I can't see any reason why you shouldn't change the tranny fluid. I understand you reluctance, but this is routine maintenance that really should be done, especially if your car is subjected to seasonal temperatures (ie cold winters, hot summers, etc). If anything, it should help the transmission run smoother and prolong its longevity.
  • flstc4meflstc4me Member Posts: 1
    Had 74,500 miles on the original automatic transmission when I noticed a soft or slipping 2 - 3 shift. Dealer replaced trans this week. Wife picked up the car today and brought it home. All seems well at this point. I got in the car and tried to start it with no luck... multiple attempts. Car cranks but will not start. Called service dept and the rep said "Sounds electrical, nothing that we did caused this, how much gas is in the car?" I had 3/8 tank. He suggested I coast the car onto a level surface and try again. I did, no start, just cranking. Now the car is in the street in front of the house and I'm pissed to say the least. Called service rep and he said "If you can't get it running, have it towed in on Monday, you'll never make it in today before we close (Saturday) good luck." Called an Acura mechanic from the midwest (friend of a friend) and he suggested trying another key. Voila, my wife's key works fine but not mine. Called the Acura service rep again... he's starting to recognize my number on the caller ID display. I tell him of my key issue and he says "Bring the car and the working key and we'll cut you a new key for $49.95, your key must have gone bad. You can come in on Monday."

    I tried the valet key and it will not start the car either. When I called the mechanic from the midwest he said that the tranny replacement includes a computer replacement as well so the non-working keys can likely be acquainted with the new computer using the Acura tablet (something like that he called it)

    So what is the deal... do I need a new key or can my existing keys be introduced to the new computer?

    Coincidence? Bad key at same time transmission goes bad? I think not, I've been driving the car everyday for the last two years with no "key problems" and now that exact key no longer works.

    Should I pay for a new key or two or should the dealer service dept be able to revitalize my key and the valet key? Your help and experience appreciated.

    BTW, I only had to have two motor mounts replaced which were covered under the extended warranty which expires in 500 miles.
  • roadtripgirlroadtripgirl Member Posts: 20

    Consider yourself very fortunate!! I bought a new 1999 CL 3.0 and at 67K miles, I'm on my FOURTH transmission! I've never missed a maintenance appt and only the Acura dealership has worked on my car. The dealership and Corporate Acura tell me "too bad". Will never buy or recommend another Acura after the way they treated me. Buyer beware! :mad:
  • roadtripgirlroadtripgirl Member Posts: 20
    I purchased a new 1999 Acura 3.0 CL and at 67K miles, I'm on my FOURTH transmission. No kidding!!! I've never missed a service appt and have all of the records. Only the Acura dealership has worked on my car. Now that the extended warranty is going to expire, both the dealership and corporate Acura are doing nothing to help me. Dump the car ASAP and don't buy another one! Good luck!
  • roadtripgirlroadtripgirl Member Posts: 20
    I bought my 1999 car new, had ONLY the dealership work on it - including all oil changes - never missed a scheduled maintenance appointment. At 67,000 miles, I'm on my FOURTH transmission! Although the transmission clearly was poorly engineered, the dealership and corporate Acura will not help me at all. My extended warranty is about to expire and I've contacted the state attorney general. We're headed to court.
  • denouve2denouve2 Member Posts: 9
    That's surprising to hear. The transmission problems were related to the 2000+ TL and CL models equipped with 5-speed autos. Are they replacing your transmission with rebuilt or new transmisions? After 4 changes, I would think that the lemon law applies, and you should be compensated. Good luck...
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    I had the transmission rebuilt and so far no problems. that is the only problem I have ever had. The next car I get will be a manual shift. I'm tired of automatic transmissions. Plus, any mechanic I have ever talked to has a manual.
  • bignucc8bignucc8 Member Posts: 1
    Yeah about that transmission....I have A 1999 CL 3.0 which I purchased a few months ago. It has 65k miles on it, the car had been perfectly maintained and driven carefully.... and the transmission is horrible! It knocks down into gears and revs out when switching up gears. I'm not sure whether to keep it or sell it, I just don't know who the heck is going to buy a car with a transmission like this, and I know if I buy another transmission, It will probably have the same problem....Does anybody know if it is definetly the trans..or could it be the auto clutch???
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    Well, I can tell you that Acura's are known for transmission problems according to a guy at work. Considering Honda built their reputation on cars that never seem to die this is just deplorable. My advice to you would be to get rid of it as soon as possible. It's not worth it. Also since you are coming up on the 100k mark you will have to have the timing belt changed out. This is usually recommended at around 100k, but the gotcha is that they also replace the waterpump. I believe this cost me about 1500 to 2000. This is something that that is recommended on most cars, but after spending 2500 on a rebuilt trannie or 5000 on a new one do you really want to spend that extra money on normal maintenence?
  • kodie11kodie11 Member Posts: 1
    I too am having a problem with my 3.0 Cl gearbox getting stuck in park. Did you ever resolve this problem?
  • stevebristevebri Member Posts: 8
    I had the trans rebuilt at a cost of $2551. A new one would have cost $5000. I did this a few months ago and so far no issues.
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