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Acura TL Transmission Questions

pedal_dancerpedal_dancer Posts: 1
edited December 2013 in Acura
OK, just got an '06 TL, no nav, 6 speed. I am having a devil of a time shifting it smoothly. I havent owned an automatic transmission since 1977 but this one is owning me. This is probably going to be long winded so pour a glass of wine and see if you can give me a hand here.

1-2 is the worst. I seem to have to wait forever for the revs to drop enough to re-engage the clutch. I find myself starting from 2nd just to avoid this. I'm don't like how much I have to slip the clutch to do this. I'm used to my '92 Miata where I can practically sidestep the clutch at idle to get moving. Even in 1st in the TL, I have to slip the clutch more than I like to.

2-3 isn't easy for me either. The revs just don't drop quick enough. I can't pull it off seamlessly even after a bunch of experimenting. Waiting an inordinate amount of time seems to be the only solution.

Downshifting is a whole 'nother story. I know double clutching is old school but I grew up in MG's, Jags, a Mercury Capri,a Fiero, an MR2 or two and such. It's a habit. This TL seems to want none of it. Tonite, as an experiment, I took my foot off the gas in 3rd at about 2500 and stepped on the clutch. The revs went up before coming back down and stopping where they were for a second and then finally dropping more. What the heck, I thought I was controlling this thing. Damn pollution control computers.

Up or down, I can't shift this thing smoothly. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks. John.


  • I have an '05 TL 6 SP. Absolutely LOVE IT. My wife and I both drive the car. We've both preferred and driven a number of 5 sp manual cars. This is our first 6 sp. While the shifter is a short throw with very crisp action, the clutch does have a bit of travel to engage, disengage. Add in the power in this car and it can be a little tricky at first. It sounds to me like you are over-thinking this just a bit. Perhaps you are not coming off the gas before you are engaging the clutch, or else not letting out the clutch slow enough. I don't know if this helps, but my guess is your manual driving instincts will take over with a little practice and getting used to the clutch travel. Now that I am accustomed to the 6 sp, I actually find myself skipping gears on the way up when going up to highway speed. The car is so powerful I'll accel to 70 in 4th gear and then shift right to 6th. I hope this helps.
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    I have an '04 6MT TL and absolutely love it! Since my girlfriend (now wife) taught me to drive a stick, I never got into the lingo, so I hope this reads understandably.

    The TLs got a great clutch and shifter - the trick is to realize that it engages right by the floorboard. You need to fully press down to disengage the gearshift so you can shift, but then be prepared for it to re-engage as soon as you start to lift up your foot. It's actually a much better design than my last car which engaged in the middle of the clutch's stroke.

    I think this early engagement has played with your mind a bit, so your reving really hard right off the bat. Here's my tip to you: when starting out the car - probably in your driveway or a parking lot where you won't be testing your 0-60 times, just gently release the clutch without using the gas pedal. You'll need to really ease into it to prevent stalling, but you can get the car going this way (as long as you're not on an incline), and it'll help you get a feel for when the clutch engages.

    As for downshifting, you just gotta do it! If I'm above 50 mph, I'll downshift to 3rd before 2nd, but Idon't know if it's a necessity.

    Anyway, it's worth playing with it a bit b/c the TLs MT is sweeeet!!!!!
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    I was just thinking about how the aspects of MTs that makes them better than automatics is the ability to control RPMs. I know where I like to keep the RPMs and was wondering if others felt the same.

    On my TL, I notice that accelleration doesn't really kick in until about 4k. I'm not usually looking at the gauge during upshifts, but I try to upshift before it hits 7k.

    When I'm looking to conserve gas, I usually try to keep RPms between 1 & 2k. I had been focusing on keeping it that way in general, but have started doing more everyday driving with the RPMs between 2 and 3.

    It seems to me that 1k RPMs is too low. I think it may stress the engine, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to know for sure.
  • jake3491jake3491 Posts: 5
    I have driven sticks for 30 of the past 37 years and most people tell me that I'm the smoothest shifter they have ever ridden with (thanks to my dad).

    I too have a very tough time with the 1-2 shift, for 2 reasons:

    1) the clutch engagement is very abrupt; it's more of an on-off switch
    2) the drive-by-wire throttle has no "feel" and since you can barely hear the engine, your senses are confounded.

    I also start in 2nd gear unless I'm going uphill.

    I'm most successful when I do the following:

    1) after shifting into the next (higher) gear, press the throttle just a little bit sooner than is natural

    2) of course, you are at the same time lifting your foot off the clutch. Pause for a nanosecond just as the clutch starts to "bite"

    The gearbox itself is delightful and I find very little need to double clutch on downshifts.

    In every other respect the car is terrific and a phenomenal value - it just shouldn't be this hard to drive.
  • ty1234ty1234 Posts: 7
    What are your RPMs when cruising at highway speeds in 6th gear?
  • 75 mph I'm at exactly 2500 rpms It's about 2700 at 80 mph so the revs are not high.
  • I've read that the factory fill transmission fluid is the culprit. The factory fill is pretty viscous and takes awhile to get warmed up to produce smoother shifts. It usually takes about 10 minutes of driving then it gets better. A lot of people have changed out the manual transmission fluid at about 5K miles (and even less) just to get rid of the sticky shifting. They've replaced it with GM Synchromesh Friction Modified fluid and have had no problems whatsoever. I'm about to do the same. I just got my car 2 weeks ago and I too have sticky shifts from 1-2 and sometimes 2-3. I'm sort of worried about my warranty though so I'm just going to drain and fill with Honda/Acura MTF. This has also alleviated the problem, according to other 6 speed owners, but the ones who replaced the fluid with the GM synchro stuff are just absolutely in love with their 6 speed now. Here's a link to the thread where I got this info from. ed
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Count me among those that don't understand why - after the normal getting used to period - anyone would find the TL 6-speed difficult to shift smoothly.

    In particular, the comment of the clutch being "abrupt" and acting like an on/off switch is exactly the opposite of my impression. It engages more gradually than I would prefer, compared to say, BMW or Porsche. That was also true - but not to the same extent - with my former Honda S2000. Maybe it's just misinterpreting semantics, but for anyone who thinks the TL clutch is "abrupt", test drive a Porsche or BMW and tell me how you would describe it.
  • gotribegotribe Posts: 101
    Just got a new TL 6 speed and have been driving sticks for about 40 years. It is a little difficult getting a smooth 1-2 shift for me too, but I dont think its the clutch--it seems to me that the drive by wire throttle isnt closing completely on the upshift, so any additional throttle sometimes causes "jerky" operation. Just my two cents. Otherwise stick is a joy.
  • momomeistermomomeister Posts: 10
    Anybody ever consider using Redline Synthetic MTL?

    I had a 93 Ford Taurus SHO, 5-speed and had some notchy shifts with the OEM fluid. Once I went to the Redline MTL, most of the notchiness (forgive my spelling if it's wrong) went away and even the shift mechanism felt smoother.

    Of course, I know that Acura is going to recommend using the Acura fluid and to be doubly sure of the warranty, you may want to make sure that the Redline Synthetic MTL won't void the warrany or cause problems..
  • hals120hals120 Posts: 20
    Couldn't agree more. I have a 2004 TL, and have never found the clutch "abrupt." I've driven MT's since I first started driving in 1968, and absolutely love the way the TL operates.
  • gmb2gmb2 Posts: 3
    My 05 TL has an intermittent problem (maybe 15-20% of the time)shifting into third gear (2-3 shift). All other shifts are just "click, click, click", but not third. Any ideas? My dealer says he can't duplicate the problem.
  • I am experiencing the *same* problem. I thought that maybe I wasn't pressing the
    clutch in fully but after taking care to put the pedal to the floor with every shift,
    the problem persists. I've had the trouble since I got the car about 10k mi ago.
    I'm taking it in for an oil change in a few weeks and will tell them of the shifting

  • I have the exact same issue. My car is at the dealer right now. They agreed to keep it overnight to see if they can reproduce the problem in the morning.

    If you research this on the web it is obvious that this is a common problem and Acura does not seem to have a solution.

    Did you ever reach any kind of resolution with your dealer?
  • gmb2gmb2 Posts: 3
    I'm bringing the car back to the dealer tomorrow.
    Previously, the dealer said that he couldn't duplicate the problem.
    If he still can't, I'll be taking the car to another mechanic and demand that Acura pay for my diagnosis and repair costs, assuming that the problem is identified and solved.
  • Mine's going back in on Monday so they can change the transmission fluid.

    They told me Acura has a service bulletin out on this issue and that is what the bulletin tells them to do.
  • It seemed like the clutch was grabby but i also had a sense that the throttle response was slow and inconsistent. the problem was solved by the dealer reloading the ECU software! Drive-by-wire throttle response was the entire problem and it now responds normally.
  • gmb2gmb2 Posts: 3
    The dealer put the "new" T-fluid in yesterday at no charge(not under warranty, but to "ensure customer satisfaction") and so far so good. All shifts are noticeably more crisp.
  • OK. I took the car to the dealer and they said they couldn't reproduce the problem.
    I then let them keep it overnight to try shifting when the transmission was cool.
    Again, they claimed they couldn't find a problem. I pointed them to the August 2006
    Acura Service News, last page that announces "Acura Precision Crafted MTF: It's Better
    Than Before" and asked that they swap out the MTF and put in this new stuff. They
    did that at no cost, not under warranty but to ensure customer satisfaction.

    At first there was no difference but after ~200 miles the car does shift smoother in
    all gears but the 2nd to 3rd shift is not as smooth as all other shifts. Its been about
    2 weeks since the MTF change. I'm going to give it another 2 weeks and then decide
    if I need to pursue the matter further with Acura.

  • ahidahid Posts: 2
    A couple of weeks ago, Jan 11, 2007 to be exact, I notice that my gears would not engage smoothly. I would shift and release the clutch and hit the gas only to have the car rev up and then rev back down to engage the gear. Called the Dealer and the technician over the phone thought it was a transmission issue. Made an appointment Jan 16th, to have the car checked. Got a call back from them saying they were certain it was the Clutch and needed my permission for a tear down, which I gave.
    The dealer indicated that the clutch and flywheel had burn marks and upon inspection of the clutch assembly determined it was "driver history" that caused both the clutch and the flywheel wear. Possible causes. Riding the Clutch or just not knowing how to shift. Total repair cost $$2,300.
    I have driven Manual for all the 27 years of my driving history (except for an occasional loaner/rental car) and I have never ever encountered a clutch issue.
    Not satisfied with that decision, I called Acura client services to state my case and all they could tell me was it was a wear and tear item and that it is not covered under warranty.
    Am I the only one in this? My vehicle as far as I am concerned is brand new. 7 months old and only 7,100 miles. Most of my driving is highway with very little stop and go. I just cannot believe that it was me that burnt the clutch and flywheel.
    I contacted the BBB Auto Line as listed in the Warranty booklet, but all they can do is mediate between the consumer and manufacturer.
    Can somebody please help, cause I am not sure what to do next!!
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Looks like your only option is small claims court :mad:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I think there is room for a just compromise here. If Acura picks up the parts for the clutch and the labor to install, and you pick up the price of re-surfacing or replacing the flywheel, that probably puts responsibility where it belongs on both parties. (by allowing the clutch to continue to slip after being aware that it wasn't operating properly, you may have caused the flywheel damage).

    If they go for that deal, I'd take it if I were you.

    As an analogy, let's say your new car busted a radiator because it was defective, but that you decided to drive the car without coolant for 50 miles to get home. That might make you responsible for the engine damage, but not for the radiator.

    I'm not trying to blame you for anything, only trying to analyze what you've told me from a distance.

    TIP: If you offer a very reasonable compromise to the dealer, and accept a percentage of responsibility, and they refuse this compromise, this looks very good for you in Small Claims, IMO.

    Of course, you must be careful that they don't say "Sure we'll compromise" and then charge you $2,000 for a flywheel. :P
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Great advice Pat, I jumped gun abit :blush:
  • ahidahid Posts: 2
    Thanks for the reply.
    The Service department initially thought it was a transmission issue and they gave me the earliest appointment available. They did not ask me to stop driving the vehicle. They determined it to be the Clutch only after they ran a complete diagnosis and further determine burn to the flywheel and clutch wear only after tear down.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I'm only pointing out what you are going to hear about this issue, so you might as well be prepared to answer it.
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    I don't think ahid should have to pay a penny of this repair. It's clearly a manufacturer's defect and should be covered under waranty. I suggest continuing up the ladder at Acura until the matter is resolved thusly.

    Reading something like this makes me have second thoughts about considering purchase of an Acura - very disappointing. Good luck.

  • dperisdperis Posts: 6
    Has anyone else noted that at low speeds the automatic transmission on the TL will "gear search" rather roughly? I've not experienced being whipped around so much by other automatic transmissions. Is this possibly a legacy of the earlier transmission problems the TL had? And can the computer be adjusted to make the shifting a little smoother below 20mph?
  • jkm900jkm900 Posts: 18
    I just bought a Carbon Bronze '07 TL two saturdays ago after driving a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. What a difference! But since I have never driven a Honda/Acura I was curious about the transmission. I have noticed that when I go to brake at a stoplight the transmission downshifts and actually causes the car to brake harder (due to the engine braking) than I am pressing on the pedal.

    Is this normal for an Acura? The dealer said it was completely normal and that it was a sportier car/transmission which is why it does that. Any help would be much appreciated!
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    Others have hypothesized that it is the grade logic control mechanism in the tranny. Hope this helps.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I have an '06 TL with 9,000 miles on it. I'm finding that the ride is not smooth... that is: I'm very aware of the car shifting and I feel the transition from one gear to the other takes a while... and that the car seems to down shift when it's in fifth even though i'm on the highway.

    Is this normal? I don't remember this happening when I first got the car.

    Also... don't know whether this is relevant. But I feel a vibration in the gas pedal a lot of the time. Is this normal?

    Thanks for any advice you can give me.
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