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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • lovegmc1lovegmc1 Posts: 37
    What they mean by TC is torque converter(because a lot of MDX's have those issues), not traction control, although one would think so
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    I have 115,000 miles on my 04 and have not had any transmission problems. The A/C went out once but that's about it. My hope is to keep it until 200,000 or so. Hey, its paid for! :) :)
  • I have eliminated the shudder by driving in 4th gear except for the freeway.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Congradulations on the mileage. Don't overlook that your timing belt should have been replaced at this mileage. Also, spark plugs, valve adjustment, and probobly replace two broken motor mounts. Your lower ball joints will be going bad soon. I've got 160k miles on my '03 MDX and know all about it.

    I hope ypou've been changing the transmission, transaxle and rear differential fluids every 60k miles too.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Please explain why you think any of these maintenance items are not normal.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited June 2012
    I just went out and checked the ATF in our '95 LS400 and it still has a slight pinkish color, more brown than pink, and is mostly transparent, do you think that means I should have it changed out.....?

    It only has ~252,000 miles running on the factory fill......

    The only real complaint I have is how hard it pulls against the brakes when stopped with the engine IDLING at ~700RPM, really bad before the engine falls off the high idle mode, ~1100 RPM.

    I often slip it into neutral if the stop appears to be prolonged.

    I did put in new sparkplugs/caps/rotors recently just because....
  • codog3codog3 Posts: 12
    I would not change the fluid. Changing the factory fluid after 252k miles is almost a guarantee of killing your transmission
  • suver8suver8 Posts: 1
    We had a similar problem: our 2001 MDX's transmission died a few years ago (in January 2008) at a little over 100,000 miles and we were told by the Acura dealer that the repairs would cost over $6,000, while the vehicle was worth little more than that, so we reluctantly traded it in for a new vehicle, rather than spend that kind of money on a car with that low a value. Now I'm hearing that there was a transmission recall on these vehicles that the dealer never told us about. Do we have any recourse against Acura under these circumstances? I would not have spent the money on a new vehicle if we could have had the MDX repaired by Acura.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    If there was a recall I wonder why you weren't notified in the mail?
  • Well - I just received the bad news that my transmission has to be replaced in my 2003 MDX.
    I was out of town driving & after stopping at a stoplight - my MDX would not go into gear. I turned off the vehicle & then turned it on. I was able to drive home the 35 miles & now it is at my mechanics. 127,000 miles a little disappointing but cheaper than purchasing a new car.
    In Feb had the timing belt, etc replaced.

    It sure seems that transmissions are a big issue with the Acura MDX with following these postings!
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    I read something about a recall on the 2003 transmission. You might want to check into that. What is the estimate for the repairs?

    04 MDX owner
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Just goes to prove you can't "drive" both the front and rear drivelines even part time, especially on a highly tractive surface, without something eventually going.....

  • arthankfularthankful Posts: 1
    edited July 2012
    My 03 Mdx has 85k miles. I am 2nd owner, only driver, woman, never towed or misused. Purchased from Keyes Mercedes dealership in 2005 with 28k miles. Shortly thereafter it was making a squeaky noise like a loose belt. Santa Monica acura diagnosed bad transmission and replaced it. Now 57k miles later, the transmission slipped without warning on the freeway for the first time. Santa Monica Acura wants $150 to diagnose...$4500 -5.000 to replace. Acura care says out of warranty and the car is too old, I am first time Acura /Honda history/loyalty and because I serviced at non Acura dealer It is likely they will provide little to no assistance. Please help if you can recommend a place in Los Angeles area that does good transmission rebuilds and reasonable.
  • maikolomaikolo Posts: 1
    I am thinking of purchasing a used 2004 Acura MDX with about 85,000 miles. I have read lots of good things about the car and also lots of bad things (transmission, etc). What is your take on the 2004 and if 85,000 miles is good for the year? Thanks, Mike
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    We own a very well maintained 2003 MDX and had it for a number of years. We bought it with 60k miles and now it has 160k miles. My wife took out the extended warranty when she bought it from a local Acura dealer. The transmission failed at 108K miles. We argued extensively with Acura and they paid 90% of the $4,500 cost.

    At 110k miles you will need a timing belt, water pump, spark plugs and valve adjustment. Two motor mounts will also fail by then. At 150k miles, you may need new front ball joints and rear control arms. Except for the transmission problem, this is all normal wear and tear. Except for what we've read about Acura putting the screws to many people over this transmission problem, we loved the car. Gas mileage isn't very good considering what the new cars are getting. However, I won't buy a new Acura. I think there are better cars out there now.

    You'll have to make your own decision. 85k miles is a little low for the average vehicle. It all depends on how well the '04 has been maintained. I wouldn't pay more then the "trade-in" value based on the "Blue Book". You should be able to buy an extended warranty because it's under 100k miles. Check with your local Acura regarding a reliable company to by the warantee from.
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    I own a 2004 MDX with about 119,000 miles now. I have performed all of the required maintenance to date and have not yet had a transmission issue. If the vehical you are looking at has had its service and test drives well (smooth), i would say it may be a good deal.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Every time you accelerate beyond a "gentle" level in the MDX, from a stop or a low speed, on a tractive surface, you are putting an unusual, mostly undue, level of stress on the driveline components.

    So driving style, or even geographic region, might have an adverse impact on how soon one of those components fails. Note that the MDX was switched from the VTM-4 system to the SH-AWD system at some point which seems to have helped alleviate the failures.
  • qaliqali Toronto CanadaPosts: 60
    edited August 2012
    I bought a 2005 CPO 3 years ago in Canada with 50K miles. The transmission failed 3 months after I bought it and was replaced under CPO warranty. Since then, little things have slowly started to fail with the age of the vehicle. For example, lights that illuminate switches will fail, the homelink buttons and the reading lights next to the rear view mirror, automatic door locks on the passenger side etc. Nothing big, but small things. I have meticulously maintained the vehicle with all services performed including tranny oil, VTM fluid, rear transfer case fluid, coolant etc. A few months ago, I had a major failure of the radiator which (according to many posts on the Internet) could potentially harm your transmission because of the way the radiator is designed and a radiator leak may cause tranny oil and coolant to mix and end up in the tranny (not good). I must have driven about 10 miles before the tranny went into fail-safe and shut down (that's what the dealer told me). He fixed up everything, did several flushes etc and told me everything is fine. The vehicle drives fine but I went to another Acura dealer for a complete inspection of the work and the other dealer also confirmed that there is no damage to the tranny and the work done by the first dealer was top-notch. I wanted to get that peace of mind as my timing belt, water pump and serpentine belt is being replaced this month at 100,000K miles and that is a big expense. I intend to keep the vehicle for as long as I can so I am going to eat the $1200 expense but you just need to be mindful that on an older car you may have unanticipated expenses. But it is a great vehicle and is built really well.
  • rismtrismt Posts: 1
    I am thinking of buying a low mileage (30k) 2005 MDX and am concerned over the reports of transmission/TC issues. Can anyone offer some recent information/experiences with their 2005? We have friends with a 2002/124k miles and have had no issues. Did Acura issue a service order/recall on them? Thanks for the help.
  • We purchased our 05 Acura 6 months ago from a dealership with 87k on it. A few weeks ago we noticed it shifting hard, check engine light coming on, the drive light on the dash would flash when it was in gear, which in the manual indicates transmission issues. My husband checked all fluids again and all was as it should be. Today I can't shift it into drive at all and barely got it into park the day it made it back unto the driveway. It was difficult shutting the car off and taking the keys out due to the transmission not allowing it to even go into park. Now iv only put 10k on it since I left the dealership and this happens. Pretty upset about that, and on top of that I'm mad at myself for not looking at the reviews. Now the vehicle isn't worth a damn thong for trade in purpose and most dealerships are aware and won't give a great trade in value, leaving you extremely upside down in your loan. Try getting out of an MDX! Terribly difficult! I will be bugging Acura until this car is in a scrap yard 20 years from now. They will know my name! I promis to haunt those [non-permissible content removed]holes for the long haul until they make this right or help fix this car because I will run this thing until it can't be run anymore! Sadly because of Acura and their pathetic manufacturing that won't be as long as I'd have hoped for!
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    That is not entirely true. The parts in the MDX transmission that have been failing and causing the problem are consistently the same part, the same assembly - the torque converter. Yes, all moving components cause friction but, with correct lubrication, the heat buildup is mitigated, minimized and reduced to the point that the components are capable of operating to their designed parameters, without time limits.

    Friction is not the problem but the fast heat build-up due to a HIGH friction coefficient and abrasive properties will cause the performance of the torque converter to become poor and shorten the durability of those components with continued operation once the HIGH friction condition is experienced.

    The problem is one of design. The torque converter is not receiving adequate lubrication with long term use or, is subject to be easily fouled, resulting in insufficient lubrication causing HIGH heat buildup and component failure.

    More frequent maintenance can prevent this.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Methinks you be quite far off-base.

    It is my understanding that it is the lock-up clutch portion, integral portion, of the torque converter that is/has failed, not the torque converter itself.

    In order to provide the best FE most modern day automatic transmissions made use of the lock-up aspect of the torque converter as close to 100% of the time that is possible, bypassing the function, functionality, of the LOSSY torque converter as often as is feasible.

    Then you throw in the extra stresses of having the rear drive system engaged a goodly portion of the time and you have a recipe for failure.
  • Hi 'washingtongc', I have a 2009 with the same problem at 40K miles. I took it to the nearest dealership and either they were unable to demonstrate it or pretended so. It will be helpful to know which dealership you went to.
  • After just having the transmission rebuilt on this gently-used and well-maintained vehicle, I learned how common this problem is. Very disappointing. After having bought four Acuras from a local dealer, they did not have the courtesy to reply to my complaint. They did not do the repair work, since their shop prices are way too high. This will be my last Acura. Some enterprising lawyer ought to explore the possibility of a class action suit on this.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    I agree with you. My only recoarse is never to buy another Acura/Hoda product. Our next car will be a Ford.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..will be a Ford..."

    Jumping from the frying pan directly into the FIRE!!
  • moderator
    I have been reading many of the other reports from others about their torque converter. I have a 2001 which we dearly love but it has been shuttering for the last 10k miles and I was not smart enough to realize what it was. I now have only 107K miles and I am wondering what to do. The dealership said it would be about $2,800 to replace the converter if that is all that needs to be done. However, when I was riding with the mechanic to show him the issue, I asked how many TCs he had replaced and I think he had done one. I also noted in some of the previous notes that some owners had gotten theirs replaced under warranty. Any chance here for me? Should I take it to a transmission specialist or a different dealership where they have more experience replacing the TC? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    Sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulty with your TC. Without a doubt, I would take it to a transmission specialist who has seen many many similar conditions. Most dealerships will remove the transmission and send it to a specialist anyway. Of course, I would make certain that my extended warranty did not cover it. Good luck.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    First, demand that the dealer call the Corp. office in California to see if Acura will pay for it. If they refuse, call yourself or find another dealer. It took me two heated arguments with our dealer until Acura agreed to pay 90% of the cost.

    If that won't work, find an independant transmission specialist who has experience with these Acura transmissions. You will need a new torque converter and a transmission overhaul. An independant specialist will be $1,500 to $2000 cheaper then Acura. A factory rebuilt transmision from Acura will cost $4500 to $5000 installed. An experienced independant transmission shop will replace the parts with better quality and should know how to do modifications and upgrades to make your transmission last longer. Check their record with Better Business before commiting.

    Good Luck
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    In my experience it would be rather unusual for the TC itself to fail, given that this is a VTM-4 F/awd system it is much more likely the TC lock-up clutch that is failing. If you have the ability to "lock-out" the OD system I would drive it that way for a long enough period to satisfy myself of the true failure cause.
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