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Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems



  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    What's interesting about my experience in particular was that I had just moved to the region, and had serviced the car at a different Honda dealership before, as well as quick lube shops, and yet the local dealer was still willing to go to bat.

    I guess they were able to make some money off of me though when I had other repairs done on the car.. As well as repairs on a Civic, but it's still nice.
  • It was a class-action lawsuit that forced Honda to repair some of these Odysseys.

    That may have been the case with some of the other recalls, but Honda did extend the warranty for their transmissions for the the 1999/2000 models way before 2006. the notice I got from them was sometime in 2001/2002. Much before the 2006 class action.
  • Honda's experienced quite a bit of transmission problems over the years. In the 2000 time frame, there were murmurs that the Accords suffered similar tranny failures as the 99/00 Odysseys.

    That was traced back to a supplier who deviated from the spec on materials. No idea on this current rash.

    All manufacturers have some issues or another with their cars that I've read over the years - but transmission / engine issues are of particular concern because of the potential of causing an accident - esp on freeways.
  • The main issue here is not really with transmission but rather is the way American Honda is handling their design failure. They frustrate their affected customer because of their denial of responsibility using the excuse that the vehicle is out of the 3 years/36,000 miles warranty. Like you mentioned they have had that problems for years and that their design failure is well documented in Honda's service bulletins. The premature failure is purely due to their design failure.

    When I brought my car for the recall, my dealer told me that the recall was to enhance the car's performance. It was an outright lie. The purpose of the recall now i believe is to temporarily delay the failure of their faulty transmission. Had they been honest about their recall, our near death experience would have been prevented.

    Being a complete idiot in cars but thanks to the postings here, I was able to battle with my dealer and American to pay only labor of $924. The nerve of them to keep bringing up the expiration of warranty.

    They concealed the fact from me. I understand all manufacturers may have problems but it is the concealment of information from their affected customers and potential customers about their defective product and denial of responsibility that is unacceptable. How can we trust American Honda anymore with their words? Their attitude towards disclosure when asked upon and their denial of obvious responsibility are unacceptable.

    I think here some people are confused with the issues why we are so frustrated. Their withholding of information is dangerous to their affected customers and other people on the road. I am hoping the government would read our postings here and stop manufacturers from continuing selling cars with well-known dangerous design failure until they have corrected the problem. At the least, I hope the government would impose disclosure requirements on the manufacturers to their affected and potential customers on models that have existed design failures.
  • Just to update my latest experinece.
    To Recap: I previously took the 01 Ody (~83K miles) in for what I believed to be transmission issues, after the check engine light came on. I had already had the code read by Autozone, and was told it was a shift error code. Well the Honda dealer said trans. was OK and no shift error code was present. They did say the error code was related to spool valve, and also said motor mounts should be changed. Well I changed the spool valve on their suggestion and we noticed no change in vehicle driving. Also the check engine light was back on that evening. I took the Ody back in the next Monday, and was told that the check engine code was for now a catalytic converter problem, which Honda offered to fix for $500, and if I didn't like it I could get a second opinion. Well I did.

    I took the Ody to an independent to have them read the check engine code. They actually found 2 error codes as follows: P0780 - Malfunction in transmission shifting, and P0420 catalyst system efficiency for bank 1 below treshold. They provided me a printout of each with possible causes. Now having a hard copy of this information and our expereinces with the flashing D4, slow transmission shifts, and jerky shifts, I'm ready to try again to get my transmission fixed. I've called everyday this week trying to talk to the service advisor or manager to make an appointment, but can't get anybody to return the call. I guess I'll have to drive it in the service bay to get to talk to someone.

    I feel that Honda is just trying to stall fixing the transmission in an effort to have the class-action extended warranty on my vehicle expire. It also seems that Honda is trying to "fix" whatever they think they can justify and get you to pay for along the way.

    I've owned several Hondas starting with my 1st new car in 86 a CRX. I can honestly say that overall Hondas haven't been really more reliable than the American cars I've owned during the same period. For example my 89 Chevy Blaizer (which I owned for 10 yrs) was more durable and problem free than the Accord I owned during part of the same time (remember those crappy A/C units in those cars, and the expensive timing belts to change at 60K). Currently my Ford Explorer which I use to pull a boat, and drive in heavy traffic on storm damaged pot-holed New Orleans streets is more reliable than the Ody, which is used mainly on the highway for longer trips. I think more folks are not starting to realize that the legendary Honda durability really applies mostly to the engine. As far as all the other parts that make-up a vehicle, Hondas break just like all the rest.
  • I agree. What totally angered me was not the fact that the transmission failed, but it was the way that Honda handled it. Their attitude toward the customer was just awful. They just don't seem to care about human lives. What is even more frustrating is the fact that I am reading about various levels of "success" that people are having when dealing with American Honda to get the transmission replaced and the varying amounts that they ended up having to pay. There are also numerous postings at, you should check it out, just search "transmission"...

    The fact the people have to fight for a cost reduction and that people pay various amounts from $0 - $$$$$ is disgusting.

    Honda should have taken responsibility long ago on this issue and should have been upfront with their customers with some type of consistent unified notification. At least let people know what to expect, and not find out the hard way when their van loaded with their closest loved ones onboard suddenly dies in the middle of the road, or worse yet, going 70mph on the freeway, or on a mountain road, or while crossing train tracks, etc..

    Just face the facts, people buy minivans to move their families (and especially small children); it's not a delivery van for contractors. Transmission issues should be the highest safety priority, not hidden and dealt with on a "case by case" basis by Honda's poor excuse for case managers.

    The least they should have done was to send out notices that the transmission has a potential problem, and that if you are out of warranty, have the warranty extended, (...or better yet retrofit the transmission with one of a better design?).

    I understand every manufacturer has issues, but at least deal with them in a civilized manner. I owned Ford products and in general they were trouble free, and they had recalls. But you know what? They had recalls. At least they took the responsibility to fix issues before things got out of hand, and they took care of their customers, not treating them like dirt as was my experience with American Honda. I was never unhappy with their service, at least I felt like they cared enough to take care of things...

    Even if it's out of warranty, at least have a fixed amount that everyone could be charged for a replacement, rather than battle it out one on one with everyone that calls in to open a case and see how much $$$ Honda and the dealer can screw people out of. They could say "your transmission might fail, if so and you are out of the warranty coverage, you will need to pay X amount to have it repaired at that time." (or prorate it based on mileage/age...) At least that would have been the honest and ethical approach. Then people won't have to worry about fighting for the "privilege" of paying $2300 instead of $, what a great "deal".

    And when they do replace the transmission, why can't they provide a redesigned unit that addresses the failure mode, rather than pop in another copy of the one that just failed? Should I have to expect to go through this whole ordeal later on down the line?

    And what's the deal about having "dealer loyalty" and getting better treatment if you have all your service done at the dealership? That is a bunch of bull$&*#!
    What does that have to do with how much you end up paying for a new transmission? It's just another way for them to make you feel bad for not having the dealer screw you out of more $$$ for overpriced services! Case Manger and Dealer: "Oh, since you don't have an established service history we can't help you out as much." What's up with that?!!

    Another serious safety issue is the idle air control valve, which I just changed last night (2 hours to get to 2 screws on the actual part, after disassmbling the entire throttle body assembly to get to it...) I've never seen a throttle body with so many electrical, air, and coolant connectors coming out it before in my whole life!

    This is also part that should not fail, because it directly affects whether or not your engine stays on when it should. I have never heard of this part before, because I have never had one fail on me, until this Odyssey...

    The AIC valve is controlled by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), which also controls the transmission. This valve gets clogged with soot/carbon build up from the "engine side" of the throttle body (believe me, I saw it when I took it out...a lot of burnt black dust stuck in there). When it gets clogged, the valve cannot turn and control the idle speed of the engine, so the RPM's will surge between 1000-2000RPM (the tach needle will go up and down repeatedly and there is coolant that will leak into the engine from the AIC valve and burn to produce big plumes of white exhaust smoke...) and while at the stop light, the engine will drop below 1000RPM and just die. It also died on me while making a right turn going up a driveway to get into a parking lot of a shopping center...imagine if there was a car behind me...I would have gotten rear ended, or if there was anyone in front of me, I would have hit them (car or pedestrian), because the entire car lost power (including the power brakes...) ...yet another poor design from this lawnmower manufacturer?
    This should not be a part "that just normally wears out and needs replacement."

    I am ok with basic car work (oil changes, air filters, windshield wipers, spark plugs, etc...) but I have never had to learn so much about an engine until now!

    So where is Honda reliability? It does not exist.
    So where is the dream of 100,000-200,000 miles of trouble free Japanese car reliability? It does not exist. (If it ever did, it does not exist anymore...)
    So where is Honda Customer Service? In the sewer.

    2002 Odyssey EX-L/RES
    New Transmission
    New PCM
    New Motor Mounts
    New AIC Valve

    Coming up on:
    Timing Belt/Spark Plugs/Front Brakes/Brake Fluid Flush/Coolant Flush
    (More $$$ down the drain)
  • Thank you for the additional information. The way that American Honda treats their customers is sickening. You described the issue much better than me. It seems like there is no more confusion because I don't see any more postings defending Honda's uncivilized attitude on this issue.

    I have lost faith in American Honda and its dealership's honesty. We are thinking of trading our van in for an American car or a Toyota. We are just complete idiot when it comes to cars. We don't want to keep it because we feel that they will fool us around when it needs work and rip us off. I will continue to post new messages when I see anyone has confusion about the issue.
  • Hi -

    I found a 1997 Honda Odessey for $4100 with 160,000. The seller's mechanic (little shop on the corner) said the only things wrong with it are the boots on the front wheels need to be replaced and the ABS light is on. He replaced the brake pads and shoes both front and back and says the ABS system is functional, but he doesn't have a diagnostic computer to determine why the light is on. My husband says don't buy it because 160,000 is the approximate mileage where Honda drive trains fail. Does anyone know this to be true? Kelley Blue Book says it's worth more than $5000. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • cxccxc Posts: 122
    Don't buy it for $4100. Either transmission or engine failure is very likely to happen since 160,000 miles is the limit of Honda cars. I would pay no more than $1000 for this car. I do not care what this or that book says how much it is worth.
  • sonofknudsonofknud Posts: 50
    This is the old Odyssey not sure the transmission problems apply. I sold my 1996 with about 160,000 for 3,500 two years ago. Mine had the ABS & Airbag light on which usually means you have an issue. The ABS cost anywhere from $300-$600 to repair when I had it priced out. I would think you could get them under 4000 but my cousin is still driving the one I sold him and he likes the vehicle. Look for rust on the back when the Honda name plate sits. We were very happy in general (the ABS and Air Bags never were require repairs) the vehicle is much smaller than the new Odyssey so we wanted more space with 4 children. When the ABS system is broke it should revert to regular brakes. Good luck with your decision.
  • You probably have been seen my postings regarding my 03 Odyssey transmission failure. After a long fought battle with American Honda and my dealer end of 07 and beginning of January this year. I finally got a rebuilt transmission with 3 year /36,000m miles warranty on January 10, 2008 only paying for labor charges of $924.

    When I drove my car for the last time, I saw the tcs and engine lights on the dashboard after only having this new tranny for less than 2 months with less than 2,000 miles. The lights went off after driving for 15 miles. I called my dealer and they said it might not be the new tranny. I had to bring the car for a diagnostic on Monday.

    I do not want to go through the whole ordeal again dealing with the dealer and American Honda on the tranny. We suspect we might have to battle it every few weeks. We have completely lost faith in Honda and we don't want them to rip us off for another penny. We decided to trade both our Odyssey and Accord in yesterday. We are now happy owners of a Dodge Nitros and a Chrysler Sebring.

    Dodge and Chrysler have excellent warranty with life time powertrain for as long as you own the car. The sales personnel in Livermore, California was terrific and we did not have to do the back and forth negotiation game. We bought two cars from them.

    We are celebrating our new cars and are very happy that Honda is no longer in our lives.
  • billcat1billcat1 Posts: 3
    We bought our 2003 Odyssey brand new and purchased an extended warranty.
    The warranty was for 7 years/ 100,000 miles and our van has 93,500 mile on it now.
    Our transmission is having some of the same problems as many others on this site!
    It was unaware of the transmission problems with the Odyssey's until I got on this site.
    In reading others entry did anyone purchase an extended warranty at time of purchase and did that help getting your transmission fixed or replaced?
    We’re planning on using our Odyssey for a trip over spring break but now I’m questioning using it.
  • I would not take the chance to go on long trip with it. When I traded in my Odyssey yesterday, Dodge was unwilling to take an Odyssey especially with miles closer to 100,000 because when sell it to central, they would not take into account that this car even has a transmission. Your transmission could suddenly die without warning which could result in a deadly crash
  • gavanmomgavanmom Posts: 32
    If you have the Honda Care warranty, as long as you are below the 100K mileage, there should not be a question about helping replace or fix the transmission. They should just do it fully covered. If you have an aftermarket warranty, I don't know how those work. We bought the 8 / 120K Honda Care warranty through Bernardi as soon as we bought the van. I've got the 2007 EX with the three new transmissions. If you have made it to 93K without having a new one, you are about due.
    Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
  • billcat1billcat1 Posts: 3
    It is the Honda Care Warranty that we purchased, so hopefully they will fix it at no cost!
    We're taking it to the dealer on Wednesday, I'll have more for you later this week.

  • gavanmomgavanmom Posts: 32
    Make sure you let your dealer know that you know about this recall and take a copy of it with you if your van has not already had this service. It might get you a little more time on your warranty and make sure that Honda pays for all of the repairs. From what I've heard from others, Honda is bad about saying your van isn't covered or has already had the recall work done....make them PROVE it to you by showing records or concrete verification first.
    From NHTSA
    look on their website for more.

    Make / Models : Model/Build Years:
    ACURA / 3.2CL 2001-2003

    ACURA / 3.2TL 2000-2004

    ACURA / MDX 2001-2002

    HONDA / ACCORD 2003-2004

    HONDA / ODYSSEY 2002-2004

    HONDA / PILOT 2003-2004

    Recall Number: 04V176000
  • Have you heard anything more from Honda, I have a 2003 with 65k on it and just found out today my transmission is done. I called American Honda they gave me a case # , but I do not expect they will do anything.
  • You should expect a call from your case manager in a few day. He will offer you some assistance. He will ask you to take the care to a Honda dealership for a diagnostic. With my experience with Honda dealership, if I were you I would do my own diagnostic with a reputable transmission shop because your dealership may fool you around and rip you off. However, you still have to bring to your car to Honda dealership if you want any assistance.

    Your dealership will tell you the amount of assistance. If you are not happy with the offer, you should call your case manager to ask for more. You should prepare yourself to battle with him by reading the postings here. He is going to get you really mad but you should stay calm. Do not turn down their offer because they would have no mercy but to retract their offer. He is likely to tell you his offer is final and he has no supervisor. If this is the case, call the 800 number again and ask another person to take a look at your case to increase their offer. It did work for me because I only paid for the labor charge of $924 for a rebuilt transmission with 3 years/36,000 miles.

    I got my car back from my dealership on January10, 2008 with the above transmission. It started to shift rough after about 500 miles. The tcs/engine lights both came on on March1, 2008 after 1,500 miles. With my experience with Honda, I know the warranty is useless because they would make you pay for another rebuilt by saying your car has other problems based on their diagnostic. I did not want to handle th e transmission every couple of months. The light was off after driving it for about 20 miles. We took the opportunity to trade the car in for a Dodge Nitro and my brother also traded his Accord with a Chrysler Sebring.

    Our family has given up on Honda because of their attitude. Dodge/Chrysler has excellent warranty. Their cars now come with powertrain warranty for as long as you own your car. If you pay an extra $2,000, you can upgrade your warranty to bumper to bumper warranty. The dealership in Dublin, California is excellent. We enjoyed the most pleasant car buying experience there. Please be prepared that your trade will be low because of Honda's well-known transmission problem.

    I suppose Honda can only produce transmission for motorcycles and smaller cars. They still have no clue how to manufacture a transmission for bigger cars.

    Good luck!
  • I wanted to post real quick to give my 2 cents. I am very frustrated with American Honda also and previously posted and researched the other posts here on Edmunds. My 03 Oddy transmission failed (80K) and had to be replaced. It was at the dealer for 12 days while we waited for the transmission and corporate to get their heads on straight and not f- around. We stood our ground but the "case by case" is so true and disgusting-- we got a 40% discount on parts and labor and the dealer helped us with 20%. Total being $1540.70.

    It burns me up thinking I have to pay for something like this because they have not extended the warranty to this year model (YET! If I can help it).

    The main problem with the whole issue was that corporate was unresponsive- we had to call them back EVERY time. Its one thing to say "we will call you back", but they would say "we will call you Friday".. and then never do it. This happened 3 different times with Corporate. The dealer was great but didn't really go to bat for us since we stopped getting our car serviced there years ago.

    My advice is to be nice but stern- they know their tranny's have had a lot of issues and they really do OWE us something. Don't let up even if your car is ready to be picked up and paid for. Hold out for what you deserve.. and complain to everyone and everybody you can so we can hopefully get the word out and get the warranty extended on the 2003.
  • Please help, if anyone knows how to deal with these issues let me know.

    Our Odyssey currently has 7,200 miles on it. The power steering pump was replaced at 5,000. The same issue is happening with noise after the car has had a chance to warm up. Another steering pump is probably needed. The main issue that the dealer has not been able to diagnose is the harsh downshifts at approxiamtely 40 mph and 15-20 mph. I am assuming this is from 3rd to 2nd and 2nd to 1st. During these shifts, the rpm would jump up approximately 300-400 rpm. It happens about 85% of the time and the jump in rpm varies. Any ideas? Also, at 50 mph there is vibration and feels like the car is having issues picking gears. I was told by the dealer it is the overdrive point???? Any help would be appreciated.

    Also, just drove our 2004 mazda mpv this evening and that car drives like a charm compared to the odyssey that cost us 3 times as much.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Also, just drove our 2004 mazda mpv this evening

    I may be posting in enemy territory, but I have had my 2004 MPV LX since new, and it has been a wonderful van. Quality, fit and finish second to none. No problems at 36,000 miles. (knock on wood) :shades:
  • With my experience with American Honda, I suggest all Honda 6 cylinder car owners to trade their cars in before the lights come on. I suppose Honda has not developed transmission for bigger cars. You cannot rely on your dealership or American Honda to fix their problem. I got my new rebuilt transmission less than 2 months ago. When I traded it in on March1,2008, it was about going out.

    American Honda's attitude is shameful and disgusting. I am telling everyone to see the postings here if they do not believe.
  • gavanmomgavanmom Posts: 32
    Please look back and read all of my postings: gavanmom

    Also look for my postings on the odyclub board. I have a 2007 with the same issues, we are on out third transmission and in the middle of a lemon law case right now.

    Email me is you'd like,
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Hey, all the power to ya:)

    Only question is: 4 years, and only 36K miles? I have an '04 Infiniti and I've already put 50K miles on it already (and I bought it in March of 05 brand new)

    My Odyssey's transmission (2nd one) has held up rather well.. I guess it's kind of hit or miss.. Definitely not acceptable for a Honda, but at least it hasn't failed yet ;)

    But yeah.. lately it seems like Honda is trying to cut back on the money it hands out for new transmissions.. Hopefully mine won't go.. If it does, I think I'll just try to sell the car, and if I can't, I'll junk it.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Only question is: 4 years, and only 36K miles?

    Yep. Will be 4 years old July 1st. Would probably be a bit less if my wife's carpool buddy hadn't retired about 6 months ago. I only put about 6k miles a year on my 1999 Buick Regal. Pre-owned it currently has about 84k miles. Both of us have short commutes to work.

    My Odyssey's transmission (2nd one) has held up rather well

    It seems auto. transmissions have been more problematic since going to a fifth gear, and the "smart" software that is suppose to learn a drivers habits for better performance. Some of the earlier MPV's have had the 2nd to 3rd gear shift shock. The 6 cyl Camry's are experiencing the same thing I believe. I'd rather have the dumb 4 speed transmission, that are reliable, in exchange for the better fuel economy(1 mpg better)
  • Our MPV has 85,000 on it. Only been to the shop twice, once under warranty and the last time this last year for spark plug coil. Otherwise it drives great. I thought we were upgrading when we bought the Ody, we may have been mistaken.

    Glad we didn't trade it in.
  • Thank you for the help. There were alot of useful informatoion. It is just extremely frustrating when you hate to drive a brand new vehicle. We were even thinking about trading it in and cutting our loses but we will see what the dealer can do with the issues.
  • conman68conman68 Posts: 3
    My 2001 Odyssey had the transmission replaced 14,000 miles ago. We broke a ball joint 150 miles out of the dealership, as the guy did not sufficiently tighten up the controller arm. The dealership fixed it at no charge, but no apology either.


    The dealership didn't offer one year ago, when they did the transmission, to have me pay $12 for a new rear main seal. This seal is between the engine and the transmission....separated by a restrictor plate. There would not have been a labor charge at that time........HOWEVER.....since I didn't know to ask them to do it, and they didn't volunteer that information, I didn't have it done. Less than a year later, my engine is leaking oil from the rear main seal (crankshaft flywheel). Took it to the dealer thinking it would still be covered under the 3-year/36,000 mile warranty that would come with the replacement transmission. WRONG. Since it's not part of the coverage.

    I balked and told them to call American Honda, as I just bought a 2008 Pilot 3 weeks ago. Anyway, Honda gave me a 40% allowance, so my out of pocket cost for the $1,000 repair wound up being about $540. I have a case number with Honda to see if they will allow anything more. I've been waiting two days for a response, but since I've settled the bill, I don't expect anything more from them.

    PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE. If you have a honda transmission replaced, DEMAND they replace the rear main seal. :mad:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Lucky that I did NOT buy a new 2006 Honda Odyssey EX even though I liked it better than the 06 Sienna LE we bought.

    So far my sister's 2001 Ody EX is still running well at 88,000 miles with original transmission. :shades:
  • billcat1billcat1 Posts: 3
    We took your 03 Odyssey to the dealership yesterday and never got a call back from them so I called today.
    The transmission is shot with 93,500 miles on it!!
    I drove it with a Service Tech and was able to get it to vibrate & shutter while shifting.
    When we got back to the dealership I noticed he was in a hurry to get out of van and get back to the service desk but he wasn’t fast enough to keep me from hearing him say something.
    When he walked by the desk I heard him say something about a valve is going out?
    The service manager asked me three questions.
    1) It was dew for its 90,000-mile maintenance, which I agreed to get done.
    2) Was there anything else that we needed them to look at while they had the van! (Which surprised me)
    3) Did we have the Honda Care Warranty? (Which made me believe our transmission was dead)
    Now I'm glad we spent extra for the Honda Care Warranty because they're replacing it at no charge.
    The thing that I'm concerned with is that Honda will only warranty the new or remanufactured transmission till our currant warranty is up which will be at 100,000 miles.
    Doesn't seen right on a new transmission to not warranty it for longer than 6,500 miles
    We’re seriously looking at new vehicle now that we know the problems with Honda’s
    I’d like to thank all of you for your informative posting

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