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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    For future consideration, I may consider Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, RX350, Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia. Not sure what years yet but won't be new. Maybe 2007 or so...

    Isn't Honda Pilot same as our MDX though? Same problems?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    For most of those I would recommend the 4runner instead. In the price class of the RX350 I would recommend a base V6 Porsche Cayenne. FYI prior to 2010 the RX3X0 series did not have anything close to reasonable "F/awd" functionality. Even the 2010 and after RX350 does not have the level of F/awd functionality that the SH-AWD system has, not even close.
  • So, I should probably not buy the 2012 MDX. Darn. I was really in love with MDX but there is no way in hell I want tranny problems down the road. It's a good thing I googled "2012 MDX problems" and found this forum because I was planning on going to the dealer this Sat. lol. Does anyone have other vehicle suggestions? Thanks!
  • Have you checked out the new VW touaregs,i have a 05 v8 and shes pretty solid.just regular oil changes.
  • thanks for the quick reply,i am from socal so i guess i'll just bring it to a shop and tell them to remove the drive shaft,also do you know of anyone on the forums who has done this mod? My transmission overheated over the weekend then had to replace the atf and also used BARS transmission repair fluid and no BS it sounds like the car is running like a top no more jerking,vibrations or shudering.dunno how long this fix will work thou.
  • I really like the 12 but sadly it only has room for 5. :( I love the interior and navi placement. It is simple and clean cut.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you have pockets deep enough to consider the MDX then the Porsche Cayenne base V6 might be an alternate. Nothing against VW other than it just is not a Porsche.
  • pam53pam53 Posts: 1
    My MDx has 138,000miles and now has a grinding noise when I accelerate around 40mph. I have had it to several mechanics to check it. The first told me it was cracked engine mounts and sharged me $800 to fix. It didnt fix it at all. the next mechanic said that he heard the noise and looked but visually did not see anything. He put it on the computer and got codes that alerted to the VSA system which he said I would need to take to dealer (I have hesitated to take to dealer because in the past their prices were OUTRAGEOUS and I felt ripped off) I saw in other posts about the torque converter. Does this sound like a possibility? I saw a TSB about it but no official recall. Anyone have any idea how much this would cost me to fix out of warranty? I assume I have no chance at getting it fixed for free or low cost since the TSB? Any advise is much appreciated!! Wondering if now I should just trade it in:(
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    That sounds like transmission could be the issue. I think repair costs are $2000 for non dealership and $4000 at dealership
  • Just bought a 2012 MDX 2 weeks ago. Found the transmission shift is not smooth, especially in low gear, like a manual transmission gear engage. Also, at around 30MPH or lower speed, if I release the gas pedal, when the speed goes down, sometimes you can feel little shock like brake is taken (looks like the gear is down shift). I didn't feel any of those symptoms when test-drived another car before bought this one. After reading all those post, I'm a little worried, is this a symptom of a bad transmission or torque converter? Should I go to dealer ask them to check it? This is a NEW car, man :mad: ! Thanks for any advice.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Modern automatics do not downshift into 1st gear until the vehicle comes to a full and complete STOP.


    You happen to be doing a "rolling stop"' and thereby re-apply foot pressure to the gas pedal before, or just before, the vehicle comes to a FULL stop. Then you will definitely get a SLAM into 1st gear.

    " brake is taken.."

    You're experiencing the newly adopted "coastdown full fuel cut"

    During closed throttle coastdown periods the engine is STARVED of fuel. In order to keep the engine turning over fast enough that a simple restoration of fuele flow will "restart" it the transmission will be downshifted, sequentiually, again and again, as roadspeed declines.

    It is these downshifts that result in a slight level of engine compression braking that feel as if the brakes are being lightly applied.

    At some point the roadspeed will become to low and fuel flow will be restored while at the same time the transmission is upshifted to alleviate engine compression loading.

    It's that last upshift at fuel flow restoration that feels as if the brakes have partially released. It is also that last upshift that often gets in the way of your need for 1st gear acceleration if you happen to try to re-accelerate at the "wrong" moment.
  • mdx2012mdx2012 Posts: 2
    edited January 2012
    Yes, I can feel slight level brake after release gas pedal. If I keep giving some gas during slowing down, it is more smooth. Thank you very much for your knowledgeable explanation. Hopefully this is not a transmission issue. I'll watch on it. Anyway, this symptom is annoying especially in traffic. Don't know why they can not make it more smooth!
  • No, I used 87. I was told it should be ok when I bought the car.
  • I also have a 2003 MDX and at 97000 miles, after towing my MDX behind my motor home on a trip to FL, I began to experience shifting noises. after lots of research I found that the 2003 MDX transmission had a know problem with lubrication of gears when towed. Don't know if yours has been towed but wanted to respond. The local Acura dealer replaced my transmission at no charge and I was out of warranty.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
  • Really? Nice! Did you say anything special to get it replaced for free out of warranty or did the dealer give any reason for his good grace?
  • Def the torque converter and its not cheap to fix over $1k. My 05 had the same problem and after replacement the noise was gone.
  • For a few months my 2006 MDX with 81000 miles has made a gurgling noise at 1500 RPM.
    Completely goes away when I let off the gas or go faster to higher rpm.
    What the heck is this?
    I just got a letter from Acura concerning a product update concerning transmission judder.
    Is that what this is?
  • tsreybtsreyb Posts: 1
    edited February 2012
    Hoping folks could correct any possible misunderstandings I might have of the '03 tranny woes:

    Transmissions are designed for specific models. You don't just put a generic transmission in any car - it has to be THE transmission designed for THAT model (& year). The only option for our car is the transmission as designed by Acura for an MDX (more specifically, for an '03 MDX). True??

    The '03 X tranny problems are *design problems*. So, regardless as to whether it is new or rebuilt, from Acura or, say, from AAMCO, it still is a transmission with a design flaw (as opposed to a problem on the assembly line or poor quality part) True??

    A new or rebuilt transmission for the 03 X is *still* susceptible to the same failure. In other words, a new/rebuilt transmission is no better (and no worse) than what came with the vehicle in '03. True??

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Bubbles, air bubbles, possibly, in the hoses leading to/from the heater core. Sometimes a gurgling noise can be heard in those hoses even without bubbles.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The problem, "base" problem, is much more likely the result of the rear drive being engaged pre-emptively, however mostly un-necessarily. The most likely time for loss of driven wheel traction or loss of directional control resulting from loss of traction is during low speed acceleration, in a tight turn, or in an accelerating turn.

    So it is at those times that the MDX VTM-4 system, or the newer SH-AWD system, will pre-emptively engage the rear drive clutches in order to significantly reduce the MDX's, or any FWD or F/awd, strong propensity for loss of directional control should a slippery surface be encounter.

    The fly in that ointment, for most of us, is that the clear majority of the time the road surface will be HIGHLY tractive, leading to an extreme stress level for the entire driveline for the duration of the level, high level, of rear drive engagement.

    Which leads me to suspect that Acura, along with installing a new or rebuilt transaxle, will/would also "quietly" reflash the TC, Traction Control. firmware such that the "awd" stress level is significantly lowered.

    Some vehicles, FWD to F/awd "conversions, Ford Escape/Mariner/Tribute as examples, have a temperature sensors so as to warn the driven that the driveline is being overstressed to much, to often, and the driver is caution to stop and wait for the driveline components to cool down.
  • mistatmistat Posts: 1
    edited March 2012
    Signed up just to contribute another confirmation of transmission problems on an Acura.

    I have a 2004 Acura MDX with 160,000 miles that is now in need of a $5000 transmission replacement.

    Regular check ups, had one at 150,000, replaced the timing belt and all with no avail.

    NEVER EVER EVER BUY an Acura MDX - look how many people are having issues, and honestly I've had a number of other expensive issues earlier.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Sorry to hear of your trouble. I'd never buy an Acura either after the same problems with our 2003 transmission and the info on this blog.

    I hate to break the bad news, but your motor mounts are probobly broken and the front lower ball joints are shot.

    Our next car will be a Ford.
  • curious52curious52 Posts: 15
    I am in deep sympathy with those of you who are having all of these MDX transmission problems-- particularly those cars within the early 2000 years. I have a 2010 (new design) for which the torque converter had to be replaced at 35,000 miles; but of course I was lucky to have this covered under warranty. The issue is that Acura has failed to address the problem square on. I don't do business with ayone who dodges bullits. Although this is my sixth Acura from the same dealer, I've told them I won't be back for the seventh. I'm considering jumping to the new Ifiniti JX when the time comes. Today in cars, its all about reliabiliy. My MDX isn't.
  • 22332233 Posts: 64
    I too will never buy another Acura after my experience with 2 transmission melt downs. The customer service was terrible after these debacles.

    I now own 2 Infinitis and my next vehicle will either be a sedan or crossover from Infiniti or BMW.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    With the newer models, 2010+, Acura is probably playing a numbers game.

    The failures will likely be primarily south of the snow belt, and for MDX drivers with somewhat of a lead foot. Lots of time with the rear drive engaged, driveline STRESSED, and mostly on highly tractive surfaces.

    On the flip side those north of the snow belt will really appreciate the wintertime roadability, driveability, using the revised, more robust F/awd performance, rear drive control firmware.

    Again, I would much prefer a system that could be switched off thereby avoiding the needless, unwarranted, stressing of the driveline when traction conditions are KNOWN to be "solid".

    But the public, overall, seems to be buying fully into this automatic PART-TIME F/awd design.
  • I have the same grinding issue with my new used 2008 MDX. I took it to our nearest Acura dealer to get them check out (3x already) along with the P0847 code that was on the diagnostic info. They are aware of the problem but in total denial. They'll turn you away if you're not persistent. MDX is not cheap, so we all deserved a quality car in return. We should all call the Official Acura tel. # (1-800-382-2238) to file a complain. Everyone seemed to have the same issues as far back as I can read in this forum - TRANSMISSION related issues (the grinding/hesitation noise). ACURA needs to recognize that this is a major transmission design issues (whether the torque converter, sensor, ect.).

    In all the cars I had, MDX is the WORST and it's not worth the money. The biggest mistake car purchase I've done so far. GAS MILEAGE also sucks!
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    She said more than 500 owners have contacted her through her website,, which explains how Peters filed her lawsuit against the automaker.

    Peters said she planned to reactivate her state law license so that she can represent other Civic owners in litigation against Honda.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    yup. I am not going to purchase Acura anymore. They've lost me as a customer. I am moving on to Lexus. Lexus is only slightly more than Acura. With Acura, you'd basically have to have Extended Warranty for as long as you own the vehicle. With that extended warranty money, I'll spend it on Lexus.

    Screw Honda/Acura. I hope another Tsunami wipes out the Honda plants.

    I don't have the time nor the resources to do this but something you may want to consider. I only paid $22k for my car on used mdx. If I had spent another 20K on new Acura, I would be suing them in small claims court, no doubt. - over-2006-civic-hybrid-mileage-claims-and-wins.html - 202
  • Took my 2010 MDX for service and one recall notice. While I was there I was informed that there was another recall for the transmission fluid. Long story short, Acura is fully aware of the problems addressed here in this forum. I too complained to the dealer regarding the delay/hesitation between gears. The dealership kept insisting this was normal and I even test drove two other MDX (2010 and 2011) to see if this was true. According to my service rep this change of fluid should help with this delay/hesitation. Recall notices are on their way to 2010-2012 owners. Feel free to contact your dealership. I have not received mine however the dealership was very proactive in getting it serviced and corrected while I was there on March 10th.

    I am debating trading in my car before something major happens. From what I continue to read in this forum I do not want to wait until it's too late.

    Good luck to us all!
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