Acura MDX Transmission Problems

tpulaktpulak Member Posts: 44
I'm own a 2004 Acura MDX, that currently has no problems. But I heard of a recall for the transmission of the 01's to the 03's , stating that the transmission might suddenly downshift, causing a crash. Well, the 04 mdx all the way to the 06 mdx have the same transmisisons as of the 01's to the 03's. I'm very worried: does this problem affect the 04 to the 06?


  • markrjmarkrj Member Posts: 1
    Have a 2001 MDX. Transmission died at 104K. Warranty expired at 100K. I think Acura/Honda build great cars and great planned obsolesence. This make, model and year should have been included in the class action lawsuit with the rest of their models from 1998 to 2002. They are very considerate by offering to pay all but $1000.00 of the cost. Perhaps they know what is really going on and this is how they cover up their guilt. Can't afford to go down this road again. I think Toyota is the way to go.
  • signguy2signguy2 Member Posts: 7
    markrj, I'm experiencing the transmission problems now. I live in New York City. Can I ask where you live and what should I expect from ACURA when I contact them. Any added info. would be appreciated. Thanks
  • lbricknerlbrickner Member Posts: 1
    I took my 2003 Acura MDX in for 100,000 mile maintenance and found out there was metal specks in my transmission fluid. The mechanic recommends I take it to an Acura dealer to have a new transmission put in. I see from previous dicussions this is a common problem. How common is it and why does Consummer Report recommend this vehicle if there is a known problem with transmissions.
  • scjdscjd Member Posts: 5
    At less then 90K the car requires a transmission replacement. The estimate was $5400. Dealer did not volunteer any help before I provided documentation about recall and information that transmissions on 2001 - 2002 MDX's are extremely unreliable.
    Got 75% off the bill as "Good Will" from Acura, still have to pay $1200, 3 year warranty included.
    Still, I think it is completely unacceptable for 40K luxury car to have transmission problems that early...
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Member Posts: 710
    How were you able to provide documentation? Were the '04's included in this recall?
  • laxmi902000laxmi902000 Member Posts: 1
    I have 98K miles on 2003 MDX and got transmission problem. Dealer is asking $4500 to repair. It is too much for 45k car and under 1000000m. It should be covered.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    It is too much for 45k car and under 1000000m.

    I think you meant 100,000 km or about 60,000 miles.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • rmaurice1rmaurice1 Member Posts: 1
    In December of 2000 I purchased the 2001 Acura MDX for my wife thinking I was paying premium prices for a premium car and premium service. Wow, was I wrong (except for premium price). In 2004 with less than 50,000 miles the car started vibrating intermitently. Our local Acura dealer was unable to replicate the problem and told us our MDX did not have the MDX transmission problem. The intermitent noise has continued to get worse but is still very intermitent. My wife is overseas for 3 weeks so I took the car to a local Honda/Acura specialist. After driving the car for 3 days they finally determined the torgue converter in the transmission was bad. Our local Acura dealer confirmed this and informed me the entire transmission needed replacing. This is the same noise we reported to the dealer in 2004.

    The local dealer called Acura and asked them if they would assist. They offered to pay 70% of the cost leaving me to pay $1180 of the $3,800 plus dollars of repairs required.

    I called Acura and expressed my frustration over them not covering an issue that started while the car was under warranty. The Acura representative reponded:
    1. Did you get all your service done at an Acura dealer?
    2. The Acura dealer you took the car to does not belong to Acura.
    3. We can withdraw our offer at any time...

    So this will be my last Honda experience. I only hope others are not victimized by this company that doesn't seem committed to quality or service and clearly doesn't value its customers.
  • irish1000kirish1000k Member Posts: 1
    My 2002 MDX transmission died after 6 1/2 yrs - just as I turned 60k miles! Because I read this forum, I was ready to fight. Fortunately, my warranty was for 7 yrs 75K miles, so no fight necessary. I received no recall notice, as others have on this site. Too bad, I loved this vehicle, and now am not sure what to buy next.
  • resilientresilient Member Posts: 8
    So does any know what years DON'T have the transmission problems?

  • rbray5rbray5 Member Posts: 3
    Can you give me the name of the site that you got for the recall and any other information about the transmission problems?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    The Edmunds Maintenance Guide has recall and TSB info.

    Try this link for the 2002 MDX.
  • rbray5rbray5 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the information and the link. I found a lot of things I didn't know about my MDX.
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    My 2005 MDX recently started downshifting a little rough. It happens after I have been traveling at least 50mph. When I take my foot off the gas to coast before pressing the break, I feel the rough downshift at about 30mph.

    I took it to an Acura dealer where they replaced the transmission, free of charge since I was within warranty, but the problem persisted even after the new transmission. I took it back and they checked for "updates" the computer might need. After verifying the computer was up to date with the most recent software, I left. The problem still exists.

    Has anyone had any sort of problem like this?
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    What do you mean you just left? They acknowledged your problem and told you basically too bad?
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    Well I left after they replaced the transmission, because I ASSUMED that would fix the problem! When it didn't, I went back, which is when they said it might need a software update. I got the update (assuming that would fix it), but it didn't. Now I am back this morning for more tests. I have had to pay anything, but the dealership is 50 miles away!
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    Keep us posted. Once again a transmission problem in an Acura 5sp Automatic :mad:
    Did they happen to mention what they think CAUSED the failure. I've been searching for months for anyone that might have a logical explanation. This senario of Acura replacing Transmissions and Torque converters has been going on since 2001!
    There has to be a reason. It sounds like even Acura isn't concered.
  • 10sfan10sfan Member Posts: 136
    I have not experienced this problem with my 2005 MDX, but am concerned as the vehicle will be out of warranty within 7 months. May I ask how many miles you currently have on you vehicle. I would let the dealership know that you do not live around the corner and this traveling is an inconvenience.
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    I got the second software update for my computer today. My computer is now the most up-to-date it can be. So I was driving home and it downshifted rough again just like it has been doing. They told me that it was a gas flow issue, but with the update it would rectify what was going on. Not so. This was my 3rd or 4th trip (I can't remember since I'm so frustrated!) back and I'm about to give up.

    What the heck is going on? The guy I have been working with is very kind and knows I am oviously upset with the situation. :mad: I got a free oil change and tire rotation but that doesnt really make up for the time I've lost from work (10+ hours), the mileage I've put on the car (350+ miles) or my aggravation!
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    I have 47k on the car, and about 1k on the transmission.

    Trust me, the dealership knows I don't live around the corner. I have made that perfectly clear! Oh, did I mention it took me 2 HOURS to get there this morning?
  • erwinmdxerwinmdx Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same problems I have been reading about in these forums with my transmissions--the 'rumble strip noise', the torque converter, bad shifting-- I have 136k miles, local dealer says trans needs to be replaced, and Acura is telling me they can't help because of the mileage. What is my best course of action? Please help, I need links, history of trouble with 2001's, any experiences you may have had that can help me push this through. Thanks...
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    I don't have a rumble strip noise, but I have a rough downshift at about 30mph. I have less than 50k on my 2005 MDX. It has been to Acura 4 times and the problem still persists. I don't know if Acura can do anything for you as far as cost since you are out of your warranty period. Did Acura check for software updates?
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    I had my transmission replaced at 47k! I have a 2005 MDX. I am still having the same problem that I had before the transmission was replaced (rough downshift at about 30mph) :mad: . Correct me if I'm wrong, but a shifting issue would be the transmission? So if I really had a new transmission, the problem should not still exist. Right??
  • rbray5rbray5 Member Posts: 3
    After reading about the problems other people have been having with their MDX's, I went back to my dealer that I have always had work done on the car there, and they told me that the torque converter needed to be replaced. They did all work FREE of charge!!. This is the second problem with this transmission in only 86,000 miles. The service manager told me that there has been a problem with the computer working the shifting of the transmission which has lead to problems with the tranmissions. However they believe they have solved the computer problem and I should be O.K. I honestly believe that if you have had problems in the past with your MDX, and were faithful to your dealership, that they will take care of you.
    Good Luck!!!!
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    Do they believe that the issues werew solved through the replacement of the torque converter? Or through the updates to your computer? :confuse:
  • tpulaktpulak Member Posts: 44
    Just a few days ago, I had that same "jerking sensation" that many Acura MDX owners were reporting relating to the transmission problem. I was at 20mph, and accelerating, when a sudden jerking came. It went on jerking for about 10 seconds, then it went back to normal. I wasn't able to duplicate this problem.. I am hoping this doesn't have to do anything with the torque converter, or transmission. I have 70k miles on the MDX, and it is a 2004 model, the one that is not included in the 2001-2003 recall of transmissions. My friend had his transmission replaced with my local dealer, for a price of $4800, which is outrageous for He was able to make acura pay for about $1000 dollars of it, but the rest came out of his pocket
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    My "jerk" is when I am decelerating.

    Someone also said that the 04-06 MDX has the same transmission as the 01-03... Does anyone know if this is true? If so, what about the recall?
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    '03 gets the revised transmission. Much more reliable but still owners of '03-'05 models have had issues posted on the web.
    If the "jerk" you feel is at 35 MPH when decelerating and engine RPM is below 1000 it's just the trans down shifting. (assuming it's not a violent down shift) You can watch the tach bump up slightly under these conditions. If your engine speed is above 1000 RPM when decelerating you shouldn't feel the down shift or see the RPM increase..
  • tpulaktpulak Member Posts: 44
    All the MDX, from 01-06 have the same basic 5 speed transmission. This is the transmission shared with the 2nd gen odyssey, and 6th gen accord. All these cars suffer some sort of transmission problem. I am wondering though, that in 2003, that revised transmission (as skoobahead1 said) really made a significant difference, because, I saw that lots of 03 owners also have the tranny problem. But the 04,05,&06 have very limited amounts of problems with the tranny, according to users. This really doesn't make sense to me, especially because the tranny in 03, 04, 05, & 06 are same. The only difference from the latter models is a revised exhaust. Does someone know more about this? I am really confused :confuse:
  • tpulaktpulak Member Posts: 44
    whoops, also, the honda accord isn't sixth gen, it is the seventh gen that has the prob, because it is the one that has the 5 speed automatic. The 6th gen has the 4 speed automatic
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    It just seems to me that I shouldn't be able to feel the downshift, no matter what the RPM. The tach doesn't bump either. I am so frustrated with this whole thing - I have a new transmission!!! :mad:
  • consultkenconsultken Member Posts: 3
    We haven't heard yet if Acura will step up and cover us. The first transmission on our 02 MDX went out at 35000 miles in 2004. Acura handled that with alacrity. Now, the replacement transmission is bad at 88000 miles. So, with less than 90000 miles, we are to have transmission #3.

    Consumer Reports still speaks glowingly about the MDX, I don't see how.

    CR trashes the Dodge Grand Caravan, but I just sold my hoopti 1996 Grand Caravan with 206000 miles and it never needed transmission work. What are they smoking at Consumer Reports?

    I sure hope Acura does step forward since this is obviously a chronic and ubiquitous problem.

    I also cannot recommend the MDX to anyone who keeps a car more than 3 years. I guess we'll look at Jeep next time since they have a lifetime powertrain warranty.

  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30

    My downshift on my '05 is very suttle at 35MPH when the engine speed is below 1000 RPM. The tach jumps up maybe 300 rpm..This is the only time I feel a downshift. If my engine speed is above 1000 RPM I feel nothing and the tach does not move while decelerating through 35MPH.
    When is your "rough' downshift happening? What speed and what engine RPM?
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    That is exactly what I feel and exactly the same RPM and speed (30-35mph). I don't know if I'd consider it "subtle," though.. the car jerks a little. I can definitely feel it. Have you taken yours to the dealership?
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    A 300 RPM downshift increase under those conditions is not a transmission problem.The transmission is downshifting. Its completely normal for this vehicle. It's not a CVT. I can't speak for your MDX but my downshift is subtle. A harsh downshift would cause your RPM increase to be much higher. If another owner has one that doesn't have this downshift characteristic please chime in. I'd be surprised.
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    My only issue with that is that the dealership apparently is unaware that this is a normal thing with the MDX. They said that the tech was able to duplicate the problem - and the first time I had it in the shop, they replaced the transmission! The car has less than 50k miles on it!
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    If the 300 RPM "bump" happened on your original transmission and it happens on your rebuilt it sure seems more than coincidental.Perhaps other MDX owners will chime in with what their vehicle does in the same situation. If I were you and had spent all this time on this issue I think I would ask your dealership to drive another '05 MDX on their lot and see for sure. Keep us posted as it sure is a tough decision to keep this nice vehicle past it's warranty if we have to shell out $4500.00 for transmission work.
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    Well, the nice thing is that I do have the new transmission, so the transmission itself has another 3 years, 36k mile warranty. This has been my only issue with this car. I'm not giving up on it yet! ;)
  • tpulaktpulak Member Posts: 44
    Well, maybe I am the lucky one for now, because the only problem I suppose I had with the tranny was that 1 jolt I had for 5 sec. Besides that, this car is as good as new. So maybe this was just a momentary slip I had that day. So hopefully, this car will run properly in the years to come.
  • krnl4lifekrnl4life Member Posts: 1
    '05 MDX Touring
    53,000 miles (just out of warranty)
    Ocasional growl noticed when above 30 mph and you let off the gas to let RPMs drop below 1.5.

    '02 TL-S with 103,000 miles - Tranny replaced under warrenty at 35k miles, and replaced AGAIN at 99k miles (also covered under warranty). Then had the 105mile maintenance done: plugs, water pump, & timing belt =$1200 (Oh, by the way, my old timing belt looked brand new-probably could've gone another 50k without the maintenance)
    All performed at an Acura dealership (1st tranny was at a diff't dealer)

    Problem arose with the MDX and the guy at Acura dealership said sounds like a Torque Converter problem, Acura might cover some of the repair since I'm close to warranty and have had most of my work done there. I was a little insistent that Acura should take full responsibility for a problem like this, and he said he'd talk to the rep and plead my case.
    Torque converter replaced, transmission flushed, Acura covered all repairs.
    I'm just a bit regretful that I didn't have the tranny replaced too.
    Any thoughts or results from people who've only had the TC replaced?
    These vehicles and service at Acura dealerships are great, I just wish the engineers could get their transmissions right, the first or second time.
  • kar2kar2 Member Posts: 1
    I'm having the exact same issue on my 05 mdx: downshifting at about 35mph is a bit rough and jerks a little. Only happens when I've been driving over 45mph. I don't notice any changes in the rpm when this happens. It's something I've just started noticing (car is about 62,000 miles) and isn't really bad but enough for me to notice, especially since I'm concerned about it.

    I'm wondering if jkotlar's dealer figured out anything yet. I haven't taken the car into the dealer, but I'd be very hesitant to have to consider replacing the transmission if they say that's the problem... especially if replacing it won't solve the problem anyway! I'd rather just live with this problem if its not fixable rather than pay $$$ for something that won't help!
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    kar2: The tranny still jerked after it was replaced. 2 dealers told me it was a normal downshift. I would take it in and have them check for software updates for the computer. Tell them to look at the transmission and make sure everything is ok. I don't know if I'm 100% convinced that its normal, but a friend of mine (who is a service manager for Acura) said his wife's 03 MDX does the same thing.

    I'll let you know if I hear anything else! Keep us posted, too!
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    Your friend is an Acura Service manager and you don't believe him?
    Next time you talk to your friend, the Acura service manager, ask him why these transmissions and/or torque converters fail so early. Or have you already had that conversation?
  • jkotlarjkotlar Member Posts: 15
    I didn't have my service done there - Unfortunately i couldn't get my car to his dealership. The dealership where I had the work done couldn't offer any explanation of the problem - that's why I wasn't 100% convinced.
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    Understand. I must say you have an great opportunity to find out some useful info if you ever speak to him about these Transmissions.I'm still amazed that Acura has so many trans problems. For crying out loud it's not a Daewoo!
    The sad part is, it doesn't seem to matter if vehicle is driven hard or babied. Others on another MDX forum have used their vehicle mainly for highway use and have changed out trans fluid every 30,000 miles and still have had the transmission fail prior to reaching 100,000 miles.Some have had numerous replacements! When it's time for this trans to fail, preventative maintenance or light use has no effect.
    Looks like I'll dump mine before the warranty expires. I can't image spending $4500.00 on a transmission once this vehicle is out of warranty.
    Let us know if you ever find out anything.
  • lislis Member Posts: 2
    My MDX has 95,000 miles on it and has the extended warranty to 100,000 miles. Three times in the last two weeks I've started the car in the morning and when it shifts to 2nd gear (going up a slight grade) it's like I put the car in neutral - no pwer but the rpms go way up. Twice it's caught and been fine, yesterday it didn't catch and I shifted down from drive to lowest gear before it would engage.

    When I took it in, they say they can't replicate the problem so can't turn it in as a transmission problem as they don't think there is one. They will charge me $120 every time I bring it in but they can't find anything wrong with it - so I guess I won't be bringing it in every week like I'm tempted to. Any suggestions on how to get this to replicate so I can get it fixed?
  • skoobahead1skoobahead1 Member Posts: 30
    Drive the vehicle until YOU can duplicate it each time. Then bring back to dealership and have tech come with you on test drive.If you can't duplicate it it's going to be tough but don't give up. You've got 5000 miles to make it happen.
  • mjfloyd1mjfloyd1 Member Posts: 2,869
    We had an 05 MDX and it had the rumble strip sound at around 40 mph when the torque converter kicked in. It would only do it, at first, when it was cold, so the dealer kept it over night (and gave us an 07 mdx to drive overnight) and they were able to duplicate the problem the next morning. They only changed the torque converter on mine, but we were allowed to keep the 07 for like 2 weeks while they fixed it. They also changed out some bushings in the front end b/c my wife heard a clunking noise.

    I recently traded it in on an 08 mdx (smart move giving us a new body style car to drive while you fix the current one) and the salesman immediately said "these have problems with torque converters" (they're the second largest cpo dealer in the nation) and I told him it was just replaced at 49K miles.

    Honestly though, I had done no fluid changes on the tranny. I had done rear differential fluid changes though.

  • thebouncer1thebouncer1 Member Posts: 6
    I think I have the same issue on my 08 MDX as someone mentioned here, jerky gear shift. At speed blow 35-40mph, when I take the foot off the accelerator the car shifts down brusquely, and it feels as if someone steps on the brake. It's most obvious in the rush hour traffic. When the speed is above 35mph, it's very good.

    I took it to the dealer today, they said they didn't notice what I described. Basically it's normal to them. But I feel jerky everyday in the rush hour traffic. They asked me to come again so that they can test it in the traffic.

    Anyone 08 owner seen the same?
  • efrosterefroster Member Posts: 2
    How did you get Acura to pay for the transmission replacement? I have the same problem on my 01 MDX now and want Acura to pay for it. Please advise. thanks
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