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Acura TL Transmission Questions



  • I've owned my Acura TLS since new. I've been having problems the past year with the way the car accelerates and thought it needed a tune-up. I had an engine mount replaced, but still the problem continued. Took the car in again and found out it needs a new transmission. Fortunately, Honda had provided an extended warranty on the transmission and I will get a new one free of charge. That was a very pleasant surprise...
  • I had an'03 TLS which had a "bucking" problem. When I was merging onto the highway, particularly in the morning, it would "buck" (50-55 mph). Very short lived and then it was fine. I bet it was the tranny, traded it in before I had any major problems.
  • asv77asv77 Posts: 1
    I have gone through 3 transmissions on my 2000 TL. The last repair is now out of warranty. My question is that will transmission out of a 2004 TL fit my car. They use the same engine codes? I have found a used one with 14,000 miles on it for a reasonably good price. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    That was a very pleasant surprise...

    You might not be as pleasantly surprised when the replacement breaks and the next one is on you.

    I keep hearing that the rate of transmission failure of pre-2004 transmissions on the TL is "only 2%+/-". But anecdotally, of the dozen or so people we know that have TL's and/or pre 2005 MDX's, at least 3 or 4 have had at least one transmssion replacment and 2 have had 2 or more. One poor soul went through 2 failures on their their MDX and one on their TL, with the last MDX failure stranding his pregnant wife on the way to thier vacation house for 5 hours before Acura Roadside Assistance showed up. They have since sold both vehicles and have permanantly sworn off Acuras.

    We own a 2004 TL 6-speed manual, the ONLY TL transmission I would ever own or recommend, even in a 2004+, both from a reliability standpoint and performance. Acura's "slushbox" automatics are clearly the weakest link in otherwise decent cars. Our 2005 MDX supposedly has a redesigned transmssion, but as it approaches the end of its warranty period, I am weighing the cost of an extended warranty with just trading it in. If the MDX came with a 6-speed manual, my wife would have me trade tomorrow.

    In my opinion, anyone with a TL/MDX automatic transmssion out of warranty is playing Russian Roulette.

    P.S. asv77 - rather than try to put a 2004+ automatic transmission in a 2000 TL, I would seriously consider selling the car. I know that wall is seriously dented from beating your head against it with 3 replacement transmssions, but why keep trying to knock it down? People go through less grief trying to keep a 1960's Ferrari running.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,095
    In my opinion, anyone with a TL/MDX automatic transmssion car out of warranty is playing Russian Roulette.

    Just some brands have more bullets in the magazine... :sick:

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'd partly agree with you, but one rarely hears of major mechanical malfunctions with Acura's relative to the engines, suspension, etc. The automatic transmission is clearly one of the biggest bullets in their magazine. All the electronic toys are probably little bullets as well, given that our MDX has had the Nav unit replaced twice in under 3 years and 40k miles.

    On the other hand my 1995 Nissan Maxima at 155k miles has still yet to have any mechancical issues that go beyond what I would consider routine or long term maintenance.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,095
    Oh, I agree (and hope that you are correct re: rare major Acura malfunctions!). I was just broadly noting that any car out of warranty is a potential repair invoice waiting to be paid... Odds are just, for example, more likely that an expensive repair will be required by a 6 year old MB C class vs. a Honda Accord.

    I have the Non-nav TL so I probably have fewer bullets loaded. My bro's MDX has given him no issues that I'm aware of. Nor has my Dad's Nav TL.


    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • I have noticed that since last week or so whenever I start my car, it shows the time of 1:00 and then in few seconds it resets to current time.

    Also, today after it reset the time, ABS, Brake and VSA lights did not go off.

    When I stopped and restarted the car, those lights went off.

    Any pointers? Thanks in advance for your help!
  • shefshef Posts: 1
    I think I just dropped the transmission on my 1998 TL with 180k on it. Any ideas on what I may be in for with a repair bill?
  • dlw815dlw815 Posts: 1
    I bought a pre-owned 2002TLS with 78,000. Three months later, the transmission went out and the dealer replaced it no questions asked. At this time, no one mentioned anything about the class action lawsuit that was filed against Honda/Acura for bad transmissions. Not long after the 2nd transmission was installed, my TL started jerking while driving at different speeds, as the transmission would slip in and out of gears. The check engine and VSA sensor lights would come on as the car continued to run very rough. The transmission continued to downshift on it's own for months.

    Next comes the legal notice in the mail about the class action lawsuit shortly before my TL's warranty was about to end. Soon thereafter, I took my TL to the Acura dealer (who's name I won't mention), and their mechanic ended up erasing ALL THE CODES FROM MY COMPUTER. Then he said, "we'll give you a 3rd transmission as long as you pay for the labor since you're 1000 miles passed the warranty". I refused his offer. This was the start of multiple problems and a lot of unnecessary stress in my life. You're right about the "Russian Roullete" comment.

    After reporting the dealer to the DMV for investigation, I find out they can (and are) selling these TL's with the poor/dangerous transmissions without a "legal disclosure". Unbelievable! And the only legal recourse the consumer has is to either hire a lawyer to sue for fraud or take them to small claims court. I've chosen the latter and also sworn never to buy another Acura again. Their not worth the money. :mad: :sick: :lemon:
  • uncleleeunclelee Posts: 1
    We have a 2000 TL also, with 260.000 miles. Its on its third tranny. We dont deal with the Acura people when it comes to tranny work.(we get better warranties from a local tranny shop that the Acura guys recommended REALLY!) The story we are told is this. The housing that the tranny comes in has a sensor/computer attached to it that cannot be removed.This box is what causes the tranny to go bad when it basicly shorts out Can you say design flaw...I hope this helps you.. :)
  • flyer1965flyer1965 Posts: 1
    My 2001 3.2 TL is about 5,000 miles past 109k but I'm experiencing what HAS to be transmission issues. Any ideas how much of a fight I'll have to try and get them to work with me at the dealer to take care of things anyway? Does anyone have any experience of something positive their dealer's done given the widespread nature of the problem and the class action lawsuit? Seems like some have said things about paying for labor etc.

    I'm a loyal customer to the dealer and have spent a signifciant amount with them in the past. Fingers crossed, going in the shop today to diagnose it
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    What kind of "symptoms" is your car experiencing? My '03 TL-S would occasionally do a "bucking" type thing when I was accelerating on to the highway. Others have said that their car would go nowhere when put into gear but finally go after repeated shifts from P to D. :sick:
  • I bought my TL Type -S used with about 10,000 miles on the clock. I also bought an extended warranty. At about 40,000 miles the Transmission went out and I had the vehicle towed to an Acura dealer. That is when I found out that my car was originally bought in Canada. So What, Big deal. That is what I said too. Well Acura has a recall out for vehicles because they know the transmissions are really poor. But, My car was bought in Canada therefore Acura USA could care less. To add insult to Injury, The extended warranty people only covers parts covered by the manufacturer. Because Acura wont recognize their own car as being made by themselves, the extended warranty is null and void. The dealership I bought the car from refunded the warranty money and bought me a new transmission, stand up guys.
    Now the car has 122000 miles on it and the transmission is out again. Acuras are poorly made cars. Dont be fooled.
  • willis3willis3 Posts: 76
    I had these same lights appear. Modulator Assembly was repaired under warranty.

  • Apparently my VSS went out on the interstate last week and the engine light immediately came on. Upon exiting and stopping I noted a lag in my shifting after accelerating (especially in lowest gear change). Could these two instances be related or is time for transmission work
    I drive a 1997 acura TL with 168000 miles.
  • I am on my 3rd transmission and after 3,100 miles on the 3rd transmission my chack engine light is now back on, had it analyzed transmission again, had them reset the codes check engine light came on again as soon as I drove it 5 miles. I have just spent 3k in geting a new transmission at the dealership, they "cut me a deal" also replaced the water pump, belts, spark plugs, motor mounts, etc... I am done, no more, here is what I want, I wan my money back for all the work that I had done and I want them to buy my car at blue book value so that I can go buy Toyota. Has anyone been successful in doing something similar to this am I unreasonable in not wanting to deal with a 4th transmission. Are there legal actions that I can take?
  • I also have a 06 TL with 38,000 miles and felt the clutch very slightly slipping. Called the dealer and the earliest appointment I could get was a week later. Five days later, while driving to the dealership because the slippage was so bad, the clutch failed entirely. Car had to be towed in. The dealer just tore it down and said the whole clutch had fallen apart and showed burn marks (no surprise there if it's slipping noticeably). Clearly more than just a worn flywheel and pressure plate if the whole thing failed (put your foot down and nothing at all happens).

    Got the same not covered by warranty story (even though the warranty book does not list the exclusion; it apparently is in the maintenance manual). Acura has offered to pay for the labor if I pay for the parts, around a $1000 dollars. Did you have any luck with your problem?
  • I also have a 06 TL with 34,000 miles
    Yesterday while on the highway the transmission started slipping. I tried to down shift to 5th gear and the clutch was gone.... failed entirely.

    I have driven a stick all my life and have never killed a clutch, I had a 97 Prelude with 155K on original clutch. Anyway getting same song and dance from dealer right now about driver error!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Well if the flywheel is damaged, that probably is your fault but the rest seems awfully premature for failure. Maybe you can work this deal so that you pay only for the flywheel and flywheel labor. I'm not trying to wag a finger at you, but once the clutch slips, it's time to tow the car. :cry:

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  • I hear you on the finger wagging but I needed to get off the highway...never made it! Was very sudden with no warning.

    Dealer called this afternoon, says clutch is shot my fault and cost is $2997 plus tax! These guys must be trying to make up for not selling any cars.

    Local guy who has a very reputable foreign car repair shop wants me to put the transmission in the trunk and he will tow it to his shop and do it for $1200 plus the tow.

    I am going to meet with a field manager tomorrow because obviously I told them they were crazy with the 3K figure to do a clutch. Car dealers have a license to steal.Anyone have any advise?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    seems crazy. Is there another dealer in your area? Did you get a written estimate?

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  • I had the identical issue. 37,000 miles, driven a shift all my life, started slipping just a little bit; called the dealer and he gave me an appointment a week away. On the way there the clutch disintegrated and it had to be towed in. Nowhere in the warranty is there any mention that the clutch is a "wear and tear" item like brake pads or tires and so not covered by warranty. The regional service manager finally offered to pay for labor if I paid for parts. I took the deal but then saw that I was charged for a new flywheel which is specifically listed as covered by the engine warranty. When I asked about that they said that since it was covered as an engine part and this was a transmission repair they wouldn't cover it. Best double talk I ever heard. I'm taking it to the Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General's Consumer Fraud division since I think it's probably a violation of some consumer protection law on warranties.
  • Double talk is what they do best.... I still have no resolution, Another Regional Service Manager is going to look at mine today and then we will see what happens.
  • I too have driven MT cars for a long time (40+ years) and like you and certain Acura TSX owners posting elsewhere (messages from ‘clubkitty’ and ‘levinbrook’ in edmunds' TSX page), have experienced premature clutch failure with my '05 TL, requiring two clutch replacements over the course of 84K miles of driving -- around twice the failure rate for the clutches on the 7 cars previously owned by me. Based on such prior experience (and as a practicing professional engineer), I find it absurd that a properly operated clutch should need replacing at about the same time as the disk-brake pads do, as mine did. Making it even more absurd, the total parts & labor cost is around twice that for other cars (including clutch replacements in Honda’s, Acura’s parent company, by the way), resulting in fourfold higher clutch-replacement costs over time!!

    I believe that the poster ‘levinbrook’ was exploring the possibility of some sort of class-action lawsuit, but I do not know what progress s/he has made in such pursuits.
  • The dealer and I reached a common ground where I buy thier $1100 clutch and the install for free. It was going to cost $`1200 at a local repair shop plus the tow to get it there.

    Still a bad deal for me however I am in need of a car and it has already been a week.
  • Same deal they gave me only I got a loaner. But the parts include the flywheel which is listed as covered by warranty in the engine section but which they refused to cover since it was a transmission repair.
  • Hi all, I have a 1996 TL 2.5 with Automatic tranny, the check engine light came on so I took it to the mechanic and he said that the code came back as transmission Solenoid issue. Are the solenoids on the inside or the outside of the transmission? this might make my decision easier weather I will repair or ??
  • I have been reading here of the problems with the transmission.

    So here is my issue.

    I wasn't having any issues with my transmission but a friend did so I thought it would be a good idea to take mine in to have the fluid changed. I bought my 2003 TL S type s few years ago. It had 25K miles on it then and now has 69K miles.

    I took it in to one of the quick change oil places to have the transmission fluid changed. That evening while driving home it started to slip. Then going to work the next morning it went out completely. The mechanics I ended up at said that the problem why the transmission went out was that this quick change oil place put the wrong fluid in and it burnt out the transmission.

    Reading here I see that Acura extended the warranty to 100K. My car is being repaired at a mechanics now and it almost completed - can I still somehow get reimbursed by Acura. Or do you think this is an issue I need to address with this quick change oil place? What is the factory recommendations for changing the transmission fluids?

    Help - I'm lost on what to do now. I'm not a car knowledgeable person.
  • I would have gone to the quick change oil place to get them to pay for a new transmission they should have known that it takes a special trans fluid, secondly you should definately have taken it to Acura now that another shop has touched your transmission they probably wont do anything about it.
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