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Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems



  • jdmars02jdmars02 Posts: 2
    Hi jaydowns001:

    My wife just experienced the same exact problem/mystery yesterday(March 21). Do you have an answer to this problem? We are scheduling an appt with our Honda dealer. It's a mystery. Did you get the matter resolved@!

    Thanks, jd

    2009 Honda Odyssey EX-L
    mileage: 39K
  • jdmars02jdmars02 Posts: 2
    edited March 2011
    I went to the ODYCLUB forum. note post below. same symptoms (this person had a 2008 Ody) ANSWER is a bad AC RELAY.
    (I will let his post do the will give my dealer a good head start
    to look at the my AC system/compressor)...

    The weirdest thing happened the other day on my '08 EXL.

    Went to start the van and the battery was dead. Jumped it, drove about 4 miles, and while parked at a gas station with the engine running, there was an incredibly loud noise coming from the vicinity under the AC compressor and the engine started to smoke badly. The noise was a VERY loud buzzing/hissing/low groaning sound that I have never heard before. Like compressed air was being forced out of something.

    Brought it home, jacked it up and removed the skid plate to take a look. There was a coating of light, clear oil on the large round crossmember in the vicinity under the AC compressor and also in that area on the skid plate. It was not engine oil and not red trans fluid.

    And what I witnessed was truly bizarre. When the noise was happening (it only happened intermittently, at idle) I felt with my hand compressed air being forced out of the hole in the bottom of the big round crossmember that runs across the whole front of the van. And the compressed air was mixed with the light clear oil, like an oily mist. The oily mist hitting the hot exhaust pipe was making the smoke, so at least I figured out why it was smoking.

    I know this does not make sense because there are no tubes/oil lines that run inside that crossmember, but this is what I witnessed. And I could not determine exactly where the noise and compressed air was coming from. Very strange.

    During this process my battery died again and I had to jump it. Now here is another piece of the puzzle. Turns out the negative battery terminal was not tight, causing the battery to lose its charge. The van had recently come back from the dealership for the infamous tranny "judder" problem and they had replaced the torque converter, but forgot to tighten the battery terminal when they were done (and did not replace half the clips that hold the skid plate on! But that is a side issue...) So I tightened the battery bolt and low and behold after more noise!

    I was still concerned about this problem so the next day I brought the van back to the dealer to take a look. The service manager, shop foreman, and myself all looked at it while it was up on the lift. But now it was no longer making the noise. I explained to them exactly what I had witnessed with the compressed air/oily mixture coming out of the hole on the bottom of the crossmember, in the vicinity under the AC compressor. They could not explain it either, but they thought the oil was power steering fluid because the power steering lines were disconnected and flushed during the tranny remove and replace process, and the Honda power steering fluid is clear, not red.

    So they did nothing to fix it (other than replace all the missing clips in the skid plate!) Again, the noise seemed to stop right after I tightened the battery bolt (which I also voiced my extreme disappointment at!)

    So what really happened?

    I am thinking what I saw was maybe a "pop off valve" of some kind on the AC compressor that was triggering to release excess pressure in the compressor. And I think the oily mist I saw was not power steering fluid, but the oil that is inside the AC compressor (I think it is called PAG oil). And the compressed air must have been entering the crossmember from somewhere above and coming out the hole in the bottom.

    That's the only thing I can think of that would explain the oily mist being forcefully released. And I think the whole thing was related to the loose connection on the battery because it all stopped after I tightened it. I'm thinking there must be something in the electrical system, some sort of sensor that detected low voltage that caused this to happen.

    I would like any AC experts (or anyone else) to weigh in on this and give me their thoughts. Have you seen anything like this? Is there a "pop off" valve on the AC compressor somewhere that would explain this? Am I correct in thinking that the loose connection on the battery could cause this?

    Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    It was a bad AC relay...which caused excess pressure to build up in the AC compressor...which caused the "blow off" valve on the compressor to trigger...which caused the loud noise and the oily mist I saw. It all makes sense now!

    And yes indeed, there is a "blow off" valve on the AC compressor.

    A few days after I got it back from the Honda dealer, it was a hot day and I noticed that my AC was no longer blowing cold. So back to the dealer I went. This time they properly diagnosed the problem...service manager said "they were having trouble with the AC relays" so they put in a new one and recharged the AC. Problem finally totally solved, but why they didn't think to check for that the first time I was there I'll never know! Especially when I described the symptoms in exact detail (loud noise of unknown origin, oily compressed air coming out).

    What happened is because the relay was not cycling the compressor on and off like it should, it built up too much pressure and triggered the blow-off valve. This valve is located on the bottom of the compressor just above the large cross member. The oily compressed air that I witnessed was actually the freon coming out mixed with compressor oil which is clear. The blast of freon/oil coming from above the cross member was wrapping around the crossmember, giving the illusion that it was coming out the hole in the crossmember (this explains that mystery!)

    Whether or not the loose battery connection contributed to this whole ordeal is unclear. It might have, or it may have been coincidental.

    So if you have symptoms on your Ody like I describe, check your AC relay. I would suspect that all Ody's from 2005 on (mine is an '08) have that blow-off valve, maybe the older ones too.

    Hope you find this post useful.

  • Let me add my latest to the long list: My 2000 Odyssey had the original faulty transmission replaced under the "extended warranty" at 88,000 miles. Thinking I was now in the clear with that problem solved, I fully expected to enjoy the great reputation of Honda reliability that I had paid a great deal of money for initially.
    Fast forward to two days ago when on a trip to the valley, my beloved minivan lost power, revved up to 5000 rpms before I got it to the side of the road. A $180 tow later, I paid $600 for a dealer to fix other "might be" problems before they could road-test it, and got the report that the transmission had, again, failed. This was exactly 88,000 miles after the first one had died.
    A call to Honda Customer Care did nothing because I am at 174,000 miles. My choice is to pay nearly $5,000 for a new trannie, or find a new car.
    I join the many of you who wonder where the Honda reputation has gone, and why we are paying the price of poor engineering and design. I fully expected that my Honda would outlast my friend's Chrysler Plymouth minivan (she has topped 250,000 miles with NO serious problems) and paid the premium price for that assurance.
    No more Hondas for me. This is only my second but will be my last after this experience. There is a lot of competition these days.

    I've heard that some folks are seeking a lawsuit against Honda for this issue. Anyone have information? I would certainly join the group!
  • abbeyrose,
    I have had the exact same experience, only the Honda dealer offered me a 10% discount on that $5000 transmission service. Well you can imagine what i was thinking when I heard that. The forums tend to suggest there are tube that need to be cleaned out. If this works for you please post your results. Tis is what I am going to pursue next, I will let you know if it works.
  • autowriteautowrite Posts: 226
    I have had one tranny go. If I ever have another one the cost to do it would be out-of-reach knowing that a third replacement could be just-around-the-corner. (Oh, rhe best year was 2004). Looking at readers results in ConsumersReports for 2011 the only choices are the following (these have had no tranny or engine problems 2005-2011).
    Acura - All, Ford Fusion v6 FWD, Honda CR-V, Honda Civic (no Hybrd), Honda Fit, Honda Pilot,
    Hyundai Sonata 4, Lexus I5 250, Lexus I5, Lexus LX, Lexus RX, Madza 3 Sedan,
    Subaru Forester (non turbo), Subaru Impresive (no turbo), Subaru Legacy (4 cyl),
    Toyota 4-runner, Toyota Camry (4 cyl), Toyota Hylander. For the room I need I would need a SUV room similar to my 2002 Odyssey.
    I got my daughter to purchase a Kia Rondo to replace her ill Ford Explorer. Rondos are still sold in Canada for 2011 unlike the USA.
  • hondaouthondaout Posts: 5
    edited March 2011
    Our transmission went out at 143,000 miles which was this morning while my wife was on her way to work. The tow truck operator without even touching the car said it must be the transmission. He has hauled countless Odysseys with this particular issue. The local Honda dealership here in Duluth GA wanted $4,500 and when we pushed back came back with $4,200. American Honda fully rejected assisting us all together. They did not acknowledge our long history of owning Hondas. We have owned three Hondas, but that was not good enough. One reason for not helping is because we are the second owners. I called American Honda and told them they have lost me as a customer. It is not that the car is a 2003 with 143,000 miles, it is because they have lost their sense of quality! For those who think that Honda has done you a favor by helping you pay for their poor quality, please think again. We have to stand together so that Honda can take care of all of us! FYI..Honda just serviced my transmission last week. My certified Honda/Acura mechanic is charging us $2,200 and said that it should last for 1 to 5 years, as it will go out again. We will fix and sell!!
  • Last week, six years and 85k miles later, I too and having the same problem as everyone else. My transmission has failed despite doing all the required maintenance which is documented. (My sister's KIA is still going strong at 125k.)

    We have had nothing but problems with this van. First the a/c had to be replaced completely and thankfully that was covered under the extended warranty that I purchased. Next, the battery keeps draining. I have had 4 in batteries as many years. Some of the dashboard lights never worked. No one can explain why or fix it.

    I bought this van since we have been a very loyal Honda family. This is our 3rd Honda. I have filed a complaint with the Honda executive offices and am waiting to hear back from them. I expect more from Honda and hope to continue being a customer but that all depends on how they handle this situation. If they stand behind their product, do the right thing and help fix this car, then we will remain a honda family. If not, this will be the last Honda we ever own.
  • neilpmcneilpmc Posts: 1
    On April 1, 2011, our Honda Odyssey (model yr. 2002) experienced significant jerking / thumping motion upon acceleration after driving for about 30 minutes. It felt as if the van was hit form behind by another vehicle, which was not the case. We pulled into a parking lot to rest the van, and to try and regain our confidence and courage to continue driving it again. Once on the road the same jerking sensation occurred once more. It truly felt unsafe to drive from then on.

    The Honda Odyssey was purchased from a local Honda dealer (Marty Sussman Honda) and maintained 100% by this dealer. On Monday April 4, 2011, the dealer diagnosed the problem as "complete transmission failure”. Based on internet research and automobile forums, apparently transmission failures are quite common for these models. The dealer quoted us a price of five thousand dollars ($5,000.) to repair our van which has 99,720 miles logged.

    Honda corp. is not standing by their product. We’re not sure what to do or where to turn next, but I’m not giving them another dime. This is bad news from a manufacturer that boasts about quality & reliability in their marketing. I guess those days are gone. Bad news…

    - also filed complaints with BBB,, and
  • Just bought a Certified 08 Ody EXL with 54k miles. Seemed good during my test drives. I had detected very minor juddering during those drives but felt it was par for the course. We bought it. Since... the 20-40 juddering not bad, but it's the gear indecision on highway that is driving me insane. Been researching... obviously, I am not alone. Amazingly, there seems to be no real, lasting fix. Additionally, two weeks in... dead battery. I see that is another common problem as well. I gave up a 185k mile Ford that was rock solid compared to this car. If anyone has any specific advice it'd be appreciated. I see that the judder update was performed at 45k miles. Again, it's not the low speed that bothers me, it's the constant shifting on the highway. Gas mileage doesn't seem too good either. Ugh.
  • hody06hody06 Posts: 2
    I have about 75000 miles on my vehicle about 2 weeks ago the power steering went down got it fixed over the weekend the alternator went down. Just wanted to find out if anybody else have these problems on this model.
  • Transmission failure for this car seems to be very common, however, Honda has decided to ignore people who have owned these car longer than 7 years and 6 months. Even if your car has low mileage and you have taken the car to the dealer for scheduled services, Honda will not acknowledge their own, well-documented, transmission flaw.
    This posture from Honda does not do any good for consumer loyalty. I will never buy Honda again and I will never recommend the brand to anyone. Feels like I was cheated by the dealer and by Honda who knew of this problem and never told me anything about it. Honda waited until the problem occurred and offered me $2,000 for my car as a trade-in.
    I also own a 2001 BMW that had a transmission problem and BMW replaced the whole thing at no cost to me.
  • jlaljlal Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
    I replaced the transmission serveal years ago at 107,000 miles. I was very disatisfied that the recall only covered vehicles up to 100,000 miles (having owned Toyotasand Nissans that ran smoothly to 200,000 miles). Imagine my shock and horror when the second rebuilt transmission recently failed. The cost of both repairs total $6800. According to various mechanics, this vehicle has the internal make-up of the Accord which is a much lighter vehicle. Honda is aware of the deficiency but feels no obligation to make amends. This is my first and last Honda!!! I have friends with similar vehicles around the same age who have experienced the same. We need justice to be served. The Honda brand is worthless!!!!
  • Update... took Ody in... even though it had had a Judder software update in Oct 2010 they said there was a new one out since then and that they'd try that. And, that since this update they've hardly replaced any torque converters or had any issues... I must report that it now drives like I'd expect it to. Very happy so far. Hope it stays that way.
  • maxmeromaxmero Posts: 1
    do you know if there is any kind of 'number' associated w/ this new update ? I have a 2007 Odyssey that I purchased on 3/21. took it into Honda dealer on 4/02 for this juddering problem - they applied a PCM update. Update didn't do a thing !! Is this different from yours ? My van is doing the same juddering at highway speeds & is very annoying. the gas mileage is not what it was on my 2003 Odyssey.
    would love to go back to Honda & try this 'new' Judder software' update !
  • robpwrobpw Posts: 5
    I have a 2005 Odyssey that started shuddering early on but eventually they gave in and replaced the torque converter for free (little over 100k) since I reported the issue throughout my warranty period. The software updates did little help.
    I do feel like at low speed (low torque) the engine growls/vibrates more and is simply not smooth. They claim it is normal but I drove a 2007 model and it did not do this
  • sdsgrpsdsgrp Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Honda Ody. Replaced transmission in Jan2007 when it was 47,000 miles (under 3 yr/36000 warranty). Last week (at 94,000 miles), after driving for 120 miles, the eng revs up to 4000-5000 rpms. I stopped and was able to drive again for 0.5 miles and again the eng speed increased to 4000-5000 rpm and minivan moved slowly. The a/t fluid was black and smelled burnt. I towed it and sitting in my garage. Will replacing the a/t fluid and filter help or I have to replace the a/t too. Thanks.
  • sdsgrpsdsgrp Posts: 3

    What do you mean by you have a aftermarket cooler and you do not tow/row? Thanks.
  • sdsgrpsdsgrp Posts: 3
    How do I install the external cooler and filter? Where do I buy it from or have the mechanic get it from? Thanks.
  • hondaouthondaout Posts: 5
    Good for you! They replaced it because it was still under their recall warranty from 04. My 03 Odyssey has 143K miles and American Honda told me to hit the road. The dealer told us $4,500 to replace. They will not be so kind the next time! My mechanic did the repair for $2,200 and said to sell it and his exact words were "it will happen again, it is a Honda problem". Do your research on what happens after the warranty expires and the second transmission fails. If you want my whole story let me know and I will give you my phone number.

    FYI...My Odyssey was apart of that transmission recall in 04.
    FYI2...Honda dealer just serviced my transmission a week before it went out on the freeway.
  • hondaouthondaout Posts: 5
    You have to be a Honda employee to support them in not paying for their poorly built transmisson! Honda owner's beware of a mole!!
  • hondaouthondaout Posts: 5
    edited April 2011
    Please research the Odyssey 05,06 and 07, they all have had some transmissions go out. With Honda you roll the dice. I am picketing Gwinnett Place Honda as we speak! Do your research!!
  • Correction!
    The 2007+ Honda Odysseys got the newer 5 speed transmission that went into the Acura MDX 2003+, Acura TL 2004+, Pilot 2006+.
    The old 4 speed and old 5 speed had the engineering flaws.
    The newer 5 speed is showing excellent reliability.
    However, Honda programmed the torque converter incorrectly for better gas mileage for the 2007 which was causing premature wear of the torque converter. If you got recalled/reprogrammed early on you may not experience torque converter failure. If you do require torque converter replacement, once it is done, you should experience long term reliability on this new 5 speed transmission and not the multiple replacements you have seen for the others. This is being proven with the Acuras/Hondas that have the newer 5 speed transmission.
  • Oooppss!
    The TL got the new 5 speed in 2007+ not 2004+.
  • sww2sww2 Posts: 9
    Boo Honda,

    I have a 2001 ODY with 70000 miles and having issues. Waiting for Honda to make decision. In your case, who did you "serve" at Honda for your small claim, the local dealer, etc??

  • mdashimdashi Posts: 6
    edited May 2011
    After 131k miles on the original transmission, our torque converter started acting up. When it is very hot out and the A/C is on (increased load), the torque converter stops locking up in Overdrive. This has happened twice in the last year and the second time it threw the dreaded Check Engine & TCS lights. I reset the codes by disconnecting the battery and the torque converter worked okay after the car cooled down overnight. My wife's upcoming 4000 mile summer road-trip made us look at other new cars to replace our Odyssey. Ended up buying a 2012 Mazda5 Grand Touring last Thursday. Best I could get on trade in was $3900 (but still $400 better than Edmunds trade-in value), and the Mazda dealership said that they'd have to auction it as it is too old. But low and behold, my Odyssey is for sale on their website with a Value listed as $8500 and a SALE PRICE of $6999! Edmunds dealership price is $5999 when the vehicle is in Great conidition. I feel bad for whoever buys it as I'm pretty sure the transmission is on it's last legs. BTW, my wife is LOVING the Mazda5......much better handling, better gas mileage, and cool Bluetooth music streaming & phone calls from both our phones and when compared to a new Odyssey EX-L at least 10k cheaper at $22,999 (negotiated price)
  • What year Odyssey did you trade in?
  • boo_hondaboo_honda Posts: 3
    I served American Honda through their Agent for Service. If I had to do it over again, I would have named both American Honda and the dealer. Either they don't communicate with each other, or their communication is limited to coming up with various ways that they can screw with the customer. So many times throughout this whole process, each of them pushed responsibility for something to the other, but rather than working it out between them, they forced me into becoming the middleman. It seemed like every time I talked to someone at American Honda, they said there was nothing they could do and that I would have to talk to the dealer. And then when I would call the dealer, they would say that there was nothing they could do, and that I would have to talk to American Honda.
  • mdashimdashi Posts: 6
    Sorry, it was a 2001 Odyssey EX
  • rfreitasrfreitas Posts: 63
    You should post your lawsuit story here:

    I think everyone would like to here this....
  • sww2sww2 Posts: 9
    It looks like I might be going down the same path as you. Is there anyway we can connect outside of this forum to discuss further? I would certainly like to gain some insight into your situation and have all of the available tools for my issue.

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