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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • dmortazdmortaz Posts: 26
    edited October 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion of filing a compliant with BBB. Do you report the dealer or the Acura USA?! I just filed one against Acura USA since it was their customer service folks who refused to waive the $1,000 to replace our 2004 MDX transmission which was diagnosed by one dealer to be failing.

    2nd dealer would NOT recommend a repair at all and that might have something to do with it. I tried to appeal to their sense of SHAME that Lexus folks gave us 4 brand new Michellen tires when we complained about the cabin noise with their Toyo tires!! This was at 48,000 miles. They showed NO SHAME despite the fact that cost of a customer retention HAS to be at least $5,000 in US market.

    If I had seen the postings here about the transmission problem, I would have thought twice about buying an MDX! Keep up the good work here since I am sure someone is being helped, if it's too late for us suckers.
  • jensadjensad Posts: 388
    I always take with "a grain of sait" what people post on this and other sites. The reason is that the poster may have an agenda and I read the post, and then decide whether I accept what was written or not.

    I purchased a new RL 08 (in Feb of 08) and it now has 58k and up until two weeks ago, there were NO mechanical issues I had to deal with. However, this last week when I had the 60k service, they found my power steering pump was gone. If I DIDNOT invest in my 100k warranty the cost to me would have been just about $ 1000. But since I purchased my 100k warranty I only had to pay y deductible of $ 100. I.e. the cost of the warranty was $ 700, add my $ 100 part I still made $ 200

    I learned the hard way years ago not spending an extra $600-800 to get an extended warranty. And I have not had any issues with the tranny. Just the pump.
    Good luck to all and stay safe

  • hk01dhk01d Posts: 1
    I own an '04 MDX Touring edition w/approx 85k miles. I treat it very well and perform preventative maintenance (regular fluid/filter changes, etc). The only problems up to now have been two cracked engine mounts and a transmission cable problem, which were fixed by a local dealer.
    So...last Thursday the car stopped driving: engine revved but car wouldn't engage so I had it towed to the same dealer that performed the aforementioned repair. Diagnosis: radiator failed and the coolant back-flowed into the transmission, which resulted in a catastrophic failure. Dealer wanted $1800 just to do tranny flush to tell me whether I would need a new transmission, which would then cost me anywhere between $5500-$6000. Had it towed to local transmission specialist (super-reputable) who said flush job is a rip-off and I need new tranny. He's trying to get me the best deal he can but estimates are still hovering near the $5k mark (this includes the radiator work and an exorbitant, I think, charge for a 3 year warranty).
    Anyone have any advice about what I should do? It seems to me that this is a basic design flaw and I don't feel that I should pay because Acura has never heard of a check valve. I read several posts in which it was mentioned that Acura payed some of the cost. Thoughts? Ideas? Any help appreciated.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2011
    Personally I would have a shop power flush the tranny, $200 tops, fix the radiator problem and IMMHO more likely then otherwise be on my way.

    Your "reputable" shop may not want to do this since they would then be responsible in the low likelihood my procedure doesn't work long term, 30-50,000 miles of additional trouble free use.

    Try it, you might like it.
  • Good luck cause im so over my 2003 MDX....all in this year i had a new radiator and new transmission put in and i just came from the store and my check engine light just came on and its skipping gears....SO OVER ACURA!!!!!! :mad:
  • ooffooff Posts: 2

    We are thinking about buying a certified pre-owned 2008/2009 MDX. I've read most of the messages here and got really horrified by the transmission problem for 01-06 MDX. With regarding to 2008/2009 MDX, we have some questions:
    1) Does this horrible transmission problem still exist for 2008/2009 MDX? I know they redesigned MDX for 2007. Does the problem still exist afterwards?
    2) Read some articles here and somewhere else complaining the engine lights can go on if using some sub-premium gas. Is this true?
    3) Failure to change transmission fluid can result in transmission failures?

    Not trying to draw a debate. I'm driving an old 96 Camry and it has 140k miles on it. Never has any problem with engine and transmission. Always on regular gas. Haven't change transmission fluid for past 5 years... It's just my wife wants a 3-row luxury SUV upgrade...

    Thanks a lot for your inputs...
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    1) There have been some reports of same transmission problems on 2007 and newer models as well. Not nowhere nearly as much as 01-06.

    2)I have 2006. I recently filled my tank with mid grade, I believe 89 octane instead of normal 93. I almost always use 93 premium but this gas station was such ripoff I did not feel like paying that much. This is only 2nd time i've filled up on mid grade. I have not noticed any difference from using 93 premium to 89 but I definitely do not recommend using regular. The Gas cap states that you must use premium but personally I haven't noticed anything different.

    3) YES...especially true with Acura MDX! I believe acura recommends every 40k miles but I've read some owners do it at 20k just to be extra safe. I do it every 30k.

    4) You're doing the right thing by going the certified route. You're protected. I can't sit here and say not to buy Acura. I've had my torque converter replaced and my transmission still whines and am worried incessantly about transmission failure. I'll deal with it when the time comes. Do your self a favor. If you decide on the MDX, buy the extra extended warranty for period after when the certified warranty period runs out. If I had the extended warranty, I probably wouldn't be too worried. Keep this in mind and add to your budget when you're comparison shopping.

    You can also go to mdxers dot org and get more info from the forum there. Good luck!
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    It is an SUV so SUV's in general requires more maintenance and maintenance costs more than say accord or camry.
  • ooffooff Posts: 2

    A million thanks to your fast and detailed reply. Wondering if they have something longer than extended warranty. Based on what I read, extended warranty covers 7yr/100k miles. Thinking about keep the MDX as long as it can run smoothly...

    Again, a million thanks.
  • I won't buy another Acura product. Not because of the specific MDX problems, but because Acura has failed in the cusomer service area and will do whatever it takes to avoid backing their products.

    Besides transmision problems, you have motor mount and ball joint failures.

    Keep your old car for another two years and buy a Ford product in 2014. There are some really good things coming. Put $250 in savings every month until then.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2011
    Up until most recently almost all base FWD vehicles, when converted/adapted to/for F/awd capability, engaged the "awd" capability only when the road surface involved proved to be of such low traction that an otherwise reasonable level of engine torque could not be applied.

    "Those" vehicles would also dethrottle the engine simultaneously with engaging rear drive, the "awd" aspect, in order to prevent an undue, improper, level of driveline stress/HEAT and/or tire scrubbing and at the same time reduce or alleviate the potentual for loss of directional control.

    Then along came the SH-AWD system, more logical system, that "hooks in" the rear drive capability for ALL low speed, sub-20 MPH, acceleration efforts....

    REGARDLESS of road conditions, HIGHLY TRACTIVE or no.

    Other marques, as a result of the stellar success of the SH-AWD system, began casting about for a more functional but still transparent "automatic", FULL TIME, F/awd system. Most have seemingly settled on the tried and true (abet with a few dead soldiers scattered alongside US roadways) Ford Escape electromagnetic clutch system. Even Porsche now uses this technique in the new Cayenne and Panamera R/awd systems.

    Engaging both rear and front drives simultaneously, for the clear majority of us, operating mostly on highly tractive roadbeds, will eventually take its "toll".

    Pay be now or pay me later...

    Lexus is now using this same F/awd system in the 2010 and later RX350 models. Should they, sometime in the near future, adapt the RX450h(***) to this F/awd technique I will be at the head of the purchasing line. But the switch modification, allowing me to manually select "awd" functionality only in truly adverse road conditions, will be added in very short order.

    *** Even better would be a Venza/H, with its new I4 adapted to/for DFI but like the RX450h's V6, using multimode Otto/Atkinson cycles. Otto mode, base/native AND effective compression ratio of 15:1, automatically switching into Atkinson mode under acceleration, more complete cylinder "fills", effective CR of 12:1 (DFI "standard").

    40MPG Venza/H.

    Even 40 MPG hwy via the use of an SC and a lower displacement DFI/Otto/Atkinson I4.
  • My 2010 torque converter was just replaced by my dealer under warranty. Vehicle has 36,000 miles. Problem began at approx 34,000 miles. Symptoms identical to all those reported here and elsewhere. What concerns me is that the replacement part has not been redesigned in any way that might prevent a reoccurance.
  • Confirm that the replacement torque converter has a 36k mile warranty from the time it was replaced. If it does, that's how long you have to buy a different vehicle. If not, buy and extended warranty (100k) through your dealer or go shopping now for a new non-Acura product now.

    I like the new Ford products.
  • I'll 2nd that endorsement of Ford products. I've just purchased 2 Fusions in the past 10 months; an '09 4-cylinder for my daughter and a '12 6-cylinder for my wife.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The Ford F/awd products have/HAD, will continue to have, the very same problem with transaxle and PTO failures as have other marques that engage the rear drive under acceleration, etc, regardless of traction conditions.
  • dkohndkohn Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 MDX and have been the sole owner. I did everything they told me to do at every serivce appt with acura. I purchased an extended warranty for 3,000.00 and already replaced the timing belt. out of no where the transmission just failed and is shot. They told me the price is 5600.00 and took it to talk to corporate acura since we are loyal customers. they came back and stated that acura would pay 50% for a new transmission and that the dealership would pay an additional 10%, so that my cost would be 2300.00 or so... and i need new hoses for a few hundred dollars.. why not right? it is just my credit card!!! I have read everything on every blog and forum and now I am PISSED OFF!! It is total discrimination that they are handling this on a case by case basis! I have low milage and have only done to the car exactly what was recommended and now I have to pay for a major problem that is Acura's responsibility!?! When is this lawsuit happening, sign me up! I dont like being called a sucker!!!
  • To advise you I just had my torque converter replaced on my 2010 MDX at 38,000 miles. My dealer said mine was the forth they had done. I also asked the service manager (whom I have known for 15 years) if the new part had been redesigned over the original. The answer was "no."
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    While the torque converter lock-up clutch would undoubtedly be the weakest link in the MDX drive train the usual standard operation mode is to have it unlocked under any and all acceleration situations.

    As such it should not be subject to failure due to the sometimes extreme driveline stresses resulting from rear drive engagement during acceleration circumstances.

    Yet here we are.

    There is no doubt that the lockup clutch MUST be DISENGAGED during braking and/or with low road speeds but we cannot be fully certain otherwise.

    Does anyone know for certain...??
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...redesigned...." ""

    If the lockup clutch is failing due to the extreme driveline stress resulting from having both rear and front drives engaged simultaneously, a highly likely scenario, the first line of defense/FIX would be, might be, a firmware revision.

    Revise the SH-AWD system's control firmware to make less use of the SH-AWD system, say disable it at a lower speed. Or, if this is not already the case, always disengage the lockup clutch whenever the rear drive is being used at any level, even minor.
  • I wish I had enough tech ability to give you an answer. But it does disturb me that with the number of times replacements have had to made that Torrence doesn't make a recall, even if silent.
  • I think I'll begin looking at a Toyota Rav4 limited. I know its not in the same "class" as an MDX but its 15k less w/none of these issues. {sigh}
  • johnancjohnanc Posts: 2
    edited November 2011
    What is DBW?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2011
    DBW..Drive By mechanical connection between the gas pedal and the throttle plate.

    1. Eliminates the need for idle air bypass method.

    2. No need for separate cruise control servo.

    3. No need for secondary VSC/Trac engine dethrottling system.

    4. Engine torque rise is, can be, independent of driver foot feed, "snow mode", "protect the drive train", etc.

    5. In the case of Ford;s gas-guzling EcoBoost engines it allows the use of turbo boost to provide additional linear "throttle" opening once the throttle plate itself is fully open.

    6. For FWD vehicles with engine HP well above 200 it provides a method for automatic, firmware, detuning of the engine in low gear ratios, low speed acceleration, in order to combat instances of loss of directional control due to front wheelspin/slip.

    7. Is also a method for "pre-emptively" dethrottling the engine should VSC/Trac firmware predict an upcoming unstable condition, hard, HARD turn under low speed acceleration, say from a full stop.

    And not least of all.....

    8. Brake over-ride of the throttle plate.
  • The MDX was redesigned in 2010. The toque converter problem seems to have raised its head again in this rendition having seemingly been quiet from approx 2006 until 2010. I suggest you ask on here if anyone has had problems in the specific year in which your proposed vehicle was manufatured. Also, you might look ar carfax (if that's the right name) to see if you can find help there- although I'm not sure. Good luck
  • jvettejvette Posts: 70
    2010 MDX and have the same problems as stated in many of these posts. I only have 18,000 miles on mine. This thing has been a pain since I got it. Low Battery Light, my fault says Acura. Gas Cap light, my fault says Acura. Now the transmission slips when you first take off in the morning on the first gear shift and it shutters when you take off from a light or stop sign. I expected more but have gotten much less from Acura. Think twice before purchasing.
  • I am interested to follow these problems, as I am considering buying a new MDX but want to know about powertrain reliability. A number I googled (so don't know if it is accurate) gives US sales figures of Acura MDX in 2010 as 47,210. Does anybody here know how many 2010s have had low milage transmission or torque converter repairs (presumably mostly done at dealers under warrantee)? In other words is this a design defect where a substantial fraction of MDXes has had repairs and the rest will follow? Seems to me we'll only find out in another couple of years how the new 6-speed transmission/torque converter are performing... and by then the next model generation will be out!
  • Hard to say what percentage of 2010 MDX torque converters will fail, but I'm going to guess it won't reaach 5%. The vehicle in all other respects is so well built and otherwise has had such a fine reliability record, I myself am not at a point where I would advise a propective buyer to go elsewhere. Furthermore, the transmission in covered for 70,000 miles under warranty which means you could have TWO replacements at no cost if the average life time of the part is 30,000 miles-- and that seems to be about the time the problem shows up. Good luck.
  • dmortazdmortaz Posts: 26
    edited November 2011
    What other cars are you considering?! I would make sure you have rationally considered ALL of your alternatives before considering an MDX!!

    We have owned both Lexus and Acura and would not touch Acura MDX with a 30 foot pole!! We have a 2005 MDX and the poor workmanship and poor quality is every where! Compared to Lexus, you will get poor Audio (FM and Speaker sound is just miserable and it's BOSE), Poor leather workmanship, Transmission concerns and to top it all, you will get poor service!

    When it comes to servicing a Luxury brand owners expectations, Lexus gets it and Acura does NOT! Acura Customer Service folks combined with the poor quality of the product has left us no choice, but to avoid Acura! We would NOT recommend Acura to a stranger let alone family and friends.

    Lexus replaced our tries for FREE at 48,000 miles when we complained about the cabin noise! That's what I mean when I am talking about understanding "expectation" from a luxury brand. Compare that to Acura who refused to waive a $1,000 cost to replace our transmission!

    Whose product would you recommend, if you had a similar experience?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Might I suggest temporarily removing the fuse(s) that power the rear drive clutches and see if the symptoms change for the better.
  • You would find the 2010 MDX to be a refined vehicle. Lexus does not have an SUV that compares in size and power. My experience with my dealer and its service department (North Hampton, NH) has been truly outstanding. I am on my fifth Acura, all of them purchased there. Yes, I just had my torque converter replaced at 35,000 miles, but they treated me well and gave me a loaner. I'll probably buy another vehcile before the next 35,000 miles have gone by, but only because I usually do so at just under 50.
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