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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Go to Acura and ask that they contact their tech support in CA. They may pay some of the cost. Before committing any money to Acura, try and find an independant transmission shop who can testify that they have experience repairing these specific transmissions and get a price. It may be cheaper. Check Better Business before commiting money. The Acura factory refurbished transmission comes with a 3year/36k warranty and costs $4,400 installed. Acura paid 90% of ours but we were 1 month outside of our extended warranty and it was our second Acura purchased from this same dealer. Most people are being offered Acura paying 75%.

    We bought our 2003 MDX used with 50k miles and the trans. broke at 108k. I have all maint records showing the fluid was replaced every 30k miles. I'll replace fluid evey 5k from now on. That's when the oil is changed. It's really easy to change. You must used the Acura Z1 fluid. Enjoy your Acura for 30k miles, then sell it.
  • ashamasham Posts: 1
    i get this car 2 weeks later the trans brook down when i was drving it sliping its only have 74k mile i bought that car as one owner it very clean but with this kind of hiding proplem and costly .what kind business that acura doing ,its very sad to buy acura any more .they have trans proplem 2001 ,2002,ACURA TL ,u should chick the recall and comment befor you buy those acura,its rap off.
    when i want to the dealer they wanna charg me for new trans.
  • If you bought it used from Acura, start complaining to BBB and Acura in CA. Dealers ussually warranty used cars for a short period. If you bought from a private party, you're screwed. Maybe check your state" Lemon Laws.

    If Acura won't pay for a new one, take it to an independant transmision shop and have it rebuilt. You'll save 2 grand over Acura's price and they'll use better parts. Have them change your passenger side and bottom front motor mounts also. Change tranny fluid every time you change oil.

    Your next big expense will be at 100k miles for a timing belt.
  • I too own a vehicle with this transmission, but it is a 2003 Honda Pilot. If you go to the Honda Pilot Transmission Issues forum, you will find IDENTICAL issues, since it is after all the IDENTICAL transmission. I have actually serviced my vehicle at the local Acura dealer that is owned by the same person that owns the local Honda dealer. Our Pilot has 94,000 miles on it (bought it new) and about 3,000 miles ago I started feeling a vibration/hesitation at about 39 mph to 49 mph. The RPM's do not settle in during this time. I believe it to be the torque converter failing to lockup. I see some have done flushes and have corrected this issue, others have had to get the entire transmission replaced. I am scared to go to the's almost like knowing that you are sick and not wanting to go to the doctor. We have done the transmission fluid drains very regularly. Is it okay to flush this transmission as I thought I had heard that it was not recommended? Anyone know a good class-action lawyer that would want to take something like this? If you think about how well the 03 Pilots sold plus the sales from the 01-03 MDX's, that could be a huge number. Really disappointed with Honda. I also own a Nissan with a CVT and recently received a letter where they are extending my warranty to 10 years/120,000 miles on the CVT for no charge. Not that they've had recent issues with it, but because there WERE issues with it that have been fixed. That's customer service...sorry Honda, I'm not going back to you ever again. Might as well buy a GM Yukon.
  • I also have a 2003 Honda Pilot. I bought it new and have been the only owner. After 37000 miles, my tranny went out. I couldn't believe it, 37000 miles!!! I had all of the scheduled maintenance done a the dealer, too. I was just outside of my warranty. I called Honda and they agreed to pay for it anyway. I also own a CR-V and one of the seatbelts wouldn't retract and needed to be replaced. Again, I was just outside the warranty. It was going to cost $400 to fix, so I called Honda and they agreed to pay for it. So, I've had some luck with them, and it definitely doesn't hurt to try.

    I have read a lot about being having problems with the transmissions in the 2003 Pilot, Odyssey, and MDX.
  • We have a 2001 Acura MDX that we purchased new in Oct 01. The vehicle has 144000 miles and has been the best vehicle we have ever had. Thanksgiving weekend we drove it 250 miles one way to visit family. It started "missing" or slipping" on the way there. Just seemed like the car couldn't find the gear. Only did it 4-5 times over the course of 4 hours. On the way home (another 250 miles) we were in bumper to bumper traffic on I-81, couldn't go more than 35-40 miles an hour with lots of stops and starts. The slipping became more apparent with some lurching and times when the transmission couldn't seem to find the gear at all and would rev really high. Finally about an hour from home 5th gear gave out completely and the car wouldn't go over 45 miles per hour. We got off interstate and took the back roads the rest of the way home. After we got home and unpacked, took it out for a test run and it worked fine, no problems whatsoever until Christmas eve. I drove it 30+ miles to pick up a gift and it was fine until I got into stop and go traffic and it started slipping again. I picked up the gift and headed back home and it was the worst it had been in the lower gears lurching and revving really high. Once I managed to get up to about 40, it was fine. I had to climb a mountain on the way home and on the downward side I lost 5th gear again. I kicked it into neutral and coasted all the way to the bottom, pulled over, shut it off, turned it back on and no more problems.
    We were thinking of trading it in on a new Acura and not mentioning the problems if it made it to the dealer but I don't really want a new car payment. I found this forum today and called the local Acura and asked about the assistance from Acura when replacing an out of warranty transmission since their were 100's of posts online from people having this problem. I was told it was a case by case basis and you had to have done all transmission fluid changes at the appropriate time for them to offer assistance. The car had to be in overall good shape with regular Acura service and provide proof of the transmission fluid changes.
    We moved to a town without an Acura dealer 4 years ago and have been getting the Acura serviced at the local Honda dealer. I called them to find out when the last transmission fluid change was and they had NEVER done one, although all other service had been performed including the timing belt, water pump and left engine mount along with all belts. Why would they never change the transmission fluid in 4 years of serving the vehicle? Now it seems that that blows any chance of getting assistance from Acura on a transmission replacement.
    On another point, do you think that just flushing the transmission may solve the issue since the fluid hasn't been changed in such a long time. Do my issues sound like what you all have been experiencing? I've never noticed the vibrating that several of you have mentioned. And our vehicle seems fine driven close to home, it's when we venture out that the problems start.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Acura is not saying what the problem is with these transmissions so I can't say if flushing the unit with new fluid will help. Maybe it will or not. I think they charge over $200 for it with no guarantees to fix the problem. I honestly believe it's an electronic problem, or internal plugged fluid filter issue causing this. Transmissions don't just wear out overnight. I think Acura replaces the whole transmission to assure the problem goes away.

    Your service issues are common with all repair shops. They only do what you tell them to. Even though you take it in for routine "service", there's no assurance they do what's needed on your maintenance schedule. But use that issue as an argument that the dealer did not do it's job by maintaining your vehicle when you took it to them. "You trusted them to handle all service items" and they failed. They should take some responsibility. I always do my own service work on all our vehicles.

    Take your MDX to the Honda dealer, insist they contact Acura in CA regarding reimbursing you for a new transmission based on the dealer's poor maintenance service and the fact that there are reported problems with the transmissions. If they offer anything less then them paying 75% of the replacement cost, go to an independent transmission repair company (one who has experience rebuilding Acura transmissions) and get an estimate. It may be cheaper then giving Acura any more money. Acura's replacement transmission comes with a 3yr./36k warranty. It may not be transferable. I think an independent shop would be $2,000 less then Acura's full price.

    Now that I got a new (rebuilt) transmission in our MDX, I will be changing transmission fluid every time I change the engine oil (5k miles). It takes 3 qts of fluid and adds 5 minutes to the oil change job. It's really easy. Use Acura's Z1 fluid but I'll be looking to buy it some place else instead of the dealer. Mobil 1's synthetic fluid is not recommended by Mobil.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    I just got this reply from a guy who sells rebuilt MDX transmissions on ebay;

  • Two months ago, the torque convertor was replaced at 55K miles. But it never did seem quite right, now it obviously is not right. So it went back to Acura where the service department diagnosed it as a bad torque but they "need to contact the Techline." I'm supposed ot hear back tomorrow. Does anyone know - are the torque convertor and transmission issues related, one in the same, or completely seperate? They do share fluid, it isn't a stretch to think that debris could transfer.
  • 03 Pilot owner. Tranny out at 112K. Calling Honda on monday with lot's of research behind me. I will say that from just the Edmunds threads on Pilot/MDX tranny failures, it seems that the MDX owners fare better for compensation...but I'm crossing my fingers.

    Just wanted to note something about Honda/Acura. All of their V6 transmissions have a replaceable filter, yet, it's never replaced during dealer scheduled service and most service desks don't even know about it. I found this out doing my own service on my Acura TL. The parts guy had never heard of anyone replacing this when I ordered it. The filter was as dirty as the fluid and, most will find a small amount of shavings on their magnetic drain plug and I can only assume this accumulates in the filter, too.

    Anyone else think that's odd?
  • UPDATE. So the vehicle went in for the Torque Converter. They got it apart and we got the phone call that the torque converter was "missing some teeth" and that they were indeed going to replace the transmission as well. We shall see.
  • This is true contact the Corporate headquarters of Acura in California.
    I asked my service dealer Acura of Springfield Mo and they flat out lied to me.
    There is a recall and thousands of complaints regarding faulty transmission design.
    Is there a class action lawyer available out there to help?
  • I have a 2002 MDX and the transmission went out at 103,500 Acura is willing to pay only 25% of the bill and gave me a $5500 price for a manufactured transmission!
    There should be a class action suit.
    The Acura of Springfield Missouri flat out lied to me and said there has never been any problems with the MDX transmissions including the year 2002.
  • I have a 2002 MDX and the transmission went out at 103,500 Acura is willing to pay only 25% of the bill and gave me a $5500 price for a manufactured transmission!
    There should be a class action suit.
    The Acura of Springfield Missouri flat out lied to me and said there has never been any problems with the MDX transmissions including the year 2002.
    Acura Headquarters said the exact something to me
    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 and I should get a lawyer and sue the dealership
    3. We can withdraw our offer at any time.. I dealt with Fred and he was very short, uncaring and rude!
  • I did contact the lawyer firm that did sue Honda on previous issues. The MDX was not part of it and they suggested finding individual counsel. Given the amount of turmoil though, it would seem a hungry group would want to take this on. I was going to printout the hundreds of pages/complaints and send a letter to Acura and whomever else would listen but truthfully ran out of energy or desire to fight the big guys. The only recourse I have is to never buy another Honda product again (and I have owned 4...two including my MDX are in my garage, AND, I helped my nephews each buy 1). Maybe Ford is the answer afterall, with the latest Toyota problems, Chrysler and GMs financial woes. Sad day.
  • maybe we if we all got aletter writing campaign with all complaints and sent to acura and perhaps got some media attention as well from various cities? strenght in numbers but that will put the resale value of your car in the toilet when it's time to unload it. just a thought.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    If somebody would hire a lawyer regarding this, then provide contact info to join, we could all sign up. The more people you have, the less it would cost for legal fees, and the lawyer would work harder due to a larger pay out if we win. The other choice is to hire a lawyer on a contingent basis. There is no out-of-pocket money from us, but lawyers take from 25% to 33% of the winnings.

    You have to hope the judge doesn't look at us as a bunch of whinny rich people (because we drive Acuras). Realistically, I don't think we have a leg to stand on unless you have "defective" parts in your hand and internal Acura documentation confirming they were aware of the problem and chose to cover it up. You need to prove "fraud". Keep in mind that plain "stupidity" is not illegal. That's another story.

    Bottom line, my next car will be a Ford. I think they are the car company of the future.
  • ta111ta111 Posts: 1
    Just had my 2002 MDX (114,000 miles) at dealer for the shudder vibration issue. Found bad torque converter that needs replacement. Service dept. stated $1790 cost and Acura would pick up 25% of cost. I stated that this was unacceptable and I am the owner of 3 Acuras (including new TSX). Service dept called Acura again and they will pick up 50% of cost. I have accepted this.
    Moral of story-don't accept their first offer-they know this is a wide-spread problem (our local dealer has replaced many converters and trannys in the MDX).
  • 10sfan10sfan Posts: 136
    I also own a 05 MDX but fortunately I have an extended (costly) warranty. When that expires, I may be stuck. Hopefully they may have to suffer the same fate of Toyota soon which has denied any problem with the accelator linkage since 2006. Just takes a number of deaths, like the Ford SUV/Firestone tire recall in 2000. Owned one then.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Be careful what you wish for though. Individual actions may get you farther.

    Attorneys get $3 million, consumers get coupons in Honda class action case (MSNBC)
  • Folks, is there any place we can find out how many of us have tranny issues on MDX?
  • I wouldn't know. It's probably in Acura's secret files. Look at all the crap Toyota owners just went through just for a gas pedal. By the way, Toyota publicly announced that they were sorry....hahahaha, like that makes everything OK.

    Anyway, all the car companies are like this.

    Since replacing my Acura transmission, I'm changing the trans fluid with every regular oil change, (5k miles) and using Mobil 1 ATF. It takes 3-1/2 qts. and 10 minutes extra time. Keep in mind, the whole trans. holds 9 qts. It might help and it might not. If the trans fails after the 3yr/36 month warranty, I'll have an independent garage rebuilt it better then what Acura does.
  • Don't forget all of the 2003 Pilot owners...they have pages and pages of this on their forum...
  • Computer code p 0740 which is the Torque Converter, both the Acura of Springfield and Corporate Headquarters for Acura insist I needed a new transmission and a computer to a tune of $5900.00. Both insist you cannot just replace the TCC and to top it off when you replace the transmission you have to replace the computer module.
    The dealership has dropped the price down to $2500.00 to compensate for the problems I have had with them.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    That advice may not be too bad.

    This Honda case may be of interest:

    A case in which the only winners are lawyers (MSNBC)
  • There were 136 complaints on Acura MDX 2001 so far (on the government website). Maybe we if all file a complaint. to the poster above, true, laywers will win, we get nothing except a bad taste in our mouth. At least it is documented and at least there are 136 fewer people to buy an Acura now (or more). This will be my last Honda Oddessey as well. I am moving on next time. I guess if everyone sues individually you might have a chance but still lawyer fees will trump anything you get. So shop around for the best new tranny deal or ditch the car and hope some other unsupspecting person doesnt' end up with it and on this forum later. What a crock. Also, just for fun, I heard Warren Brown from Washington Post (The car guy) talk about the Toyota issues. I dropped him an email just for grins. we will see if he responds. Good luck everyone!
  • You're serious? 103K and you are suprised?? Im suprised how many people think that a vehicle will drive forever (yes... even when you take care of it) and that things don't WEAR OUT. Yes... your friction materials inside your tranny wear out. You wouldn't have gotten 103k without taking care of it. If you want a car that will last 200k before having a transmission replaced, I suggest you design and build one. And then let us know how that works out for you. 103k... Geezus. Why don't people learn about how things work before complaining about how it didn't last.... forever.
  • I don't know how many have crapped out.. Acura won't tell us, they have lawyers handling all the mdx (and Odyssey) transmission calls. My transmission crapped out at 96k miles. I've seen other posts of people who've replaced transmissions 3 times in 100k miles (first time at 30k miles). I'd recommend complaining to your Senators and representatives and complaining to Ray LaHood the transportation secretary.
    Good luck,
  • Yes, I expect a transmission to last at least 150,000 miles or more. My 5 Toyotas I've owned did. I thought Honda had good quality cars, but they don't. My transmission is gone, right now being replaced due to faulty transmission from Honda. I have a 2002 MDX with less than 80,000 miles. It is too bad you never had a car go 150-200K miles with no engine or transmission problems, for I surely have in my 62 years. The transmission was faulty when Honda put them in the vehicles and failed to admit a problem existed. This will be my last Honda, that is for sure. Even with the recalls that Toyota has going on now, I just bought a 2009 Avalon and don't regret it at all. At least Toyota is being honest and fixing the problems. This is my 3rd Avalon and the other 2 went way beyond 150K miles with no problems in engine or transmission.
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