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Acura TL 1999-2003



  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "i have had to replace trans..."

    How much was the tranny replacement? Was it a new unit, or did they repair the old one?
  • eddiemaceddiemac Posts: 141
    If you have your transmission replaced under the guidelines of the settlement, how long is the warranty period for the replacement transmission?
  • I've got about 90K miles on my acura.

    I've had to replace the transmission twice (covered under warranty) and have also had a similar problem with a 2000 Honda Odyssey. I think Honda/Acura made some poor transmissions for these cars.

    Also recently had to replace the engine mounts ($$$) which I was told by a few acura places is a common problem.

    Overall, it's been a pretty good car, but the boring styling is getting to me.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The new-for-2000 5-speed automatic was indeed problematic, but the good news is that Acura stepped up to the plate and replaced those that went bad under warranty. From what I know, the automatic transmission on the next generation TL ('04-'08) was reliable.

    My wife's '99 has the older 4-speed automatic, which, at 115,000 miles, has been trouble free.

    We also replaced the motor mounts, though, at about the same mileage as you indicated for your repair. Overall, my wife's '99 has been reliable and satisfying to own.

    We're happy with the styling, which, in our opinion, is aging well. We were more concerned with its blandness when it was newer than we are now. Designs that are edgy when new frequently don't age well. In any event, I'm disappointed with the styling of the '09 TL.

    What car(s) are you considering as a replacement for your '02 TL?
  • If my TL-S broke tomorrow, I would consider a BMW 3 series, the 370Z, or a used porsche 911.

    I guess after driving the acura I want something more sporty.

    I agree with you about the new Acura's styling which I find to be quite ugly.
    If Honda or Acura made a modern, cool sports sedan/coupe I would be very interested.
  • My wife has an '02 TL-S w/ about 73K on it. Overall great car, although seems like certain parts suffer quicker wear and tear sooner than one would think. Had to get the front lower ball joints replaced at 57K and the engine motor mount shortly after. One of my fog lights is shattered and I have no idea how or when that happened. Service quoted me $275 to replace that so I said no thanks since I rarely used them anyway.

    Our TL-S was included in the '00-'03 extended transmission warranty, and we did need it replaced. My wife must have misplaced or forgotten about the Oct 2002 letter Honda supposedly mailed out regarding the issue, and luckily our service dept diagnosed it Jan '08, a mere five months before the extension (7-years) expired! They put in a current model, "state of the art" tranny, which took a couple days and would have cost at least $3,000 according to the service rep. We knew there had been a problem because the car would have a delay in going from 1st to 2nd gear and would all of a sudden kick into gear...just felt like it was "slipping" too much. We brought it in and sure enough that was it. Car felt like new after they replaced it, much smoother and more responsive pickup.

    Our last major recommended maint was at 60,000 (our dealer does the major ones at 30K intervals), and we needed the engine motor mount, cabin air filter, transmission fluid flush, and timing belt. Whole thing came to $2,000. I do feel like the car is better off after they find and fix all that stuff at the major services, but MAN it can hit your wallet hard.

    Suffice it to say, it feels like it could last for another 100K at least. the OEM tires were shot at 39K. Can't recall what they were but definitely a high performance summer tire with awful winter traction that ran ~$230 a pop. Replaced them at NTB w/ Sigma Regent tourings, much cheaper all seasons that are better in snow but have a much less comfortable ride than the OEMs we replaced. My rims are pretty banged up from a couple curb jobs my wife's causing slow leaks from a couple of my tires so I have to constantly take my compressor out to the driveway and fill er back up. Anyone know how much the OEM rims cost?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Sorry your car needed the repairs you listed, but none of those repairs, except for the ball joints, is unusual for the TL. We had to have the motor mounts on my wife's '99 TL changed at about 98,000 miles, so based on our experience, those on you wife's TL failed prematurely. From what I learned, motor mounts are a week spot on TLs of '99-'03 TLs.

    "...our dealer does the major ones at 30K intervals..."

    I think your dealer is recommending service intervals that are shorter than necessary, mainly for his benefit, not the customers'. Our Acura dealer does the same thing. I'd follow the maintenance schedule in the owners manual, which is the one recommended by Acura, and I'd tell your dealer that this is what you want to do.

    Don't believe what the dealer service people may say about a shorter maintenance schedule being better for your car. Of course, more frequent maintenance can't hurt your car, and may be slightly better, in certain cases, but it's not sufficiently better to justify the additional cost, let alone the time and trouble of taking your car to the dealer more often. Shorter maintenance schedules benefit the dealer primarily.
  • kcall2kcall2 Posts: 18
    Most of the repairs/replacements ie cabin air filter, transmission fluid flush and replacement, are just routine maintenance items. Who would drive with a dirty cabin air filter? The lower ball joint replacement is also somewhat common, as is the motor mount replacement. I recently went over my service invoices, and found that the front motor mount had been replaced at the 60K major service, along with timing belt and all the rest. Believe the motor mount problem is that Acura uses silicone goo-filled mounts to isolate engine vibration, and if the rubber bladder develops a leak, the result is vibration and harshness from the engine. Have 82K miles on my '01 sedan, and so far no hint of transmission problems. Knock on wood, my extended warranty is now expired. Is that what they call self-insured?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The owners manual calls for replacing the timing belt at 105,000, so the earlier replacement is more for the dealer's benefit than yours, if you should sell your car before that rather expensive scheduled maintenance is required. In the event you should reach 120,000 or 180,000 miles before you replace your car, you will have replaced your timing belt (and probably the water pump too) 2 or 3 times, respectively, instead of only once.

    I believe in proper maintenance, and maintain our cars very regularly, but maintenance schedules that are overly short are a waste of money.
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    Sup people, i just bought a 2003 acura tl 3.2 pearl white clean clean for $10500 couple days after christmas. rides good with 68.000 miles. But i have been reading forums and hearing about problems with the transmission on these cars. i'm calling acura tommorrow to find out if anythings been done to this car. the only thing it really does on me is when i have it in park or reverse and put it into drive it hesitates about 2 to 3 seconds before going into gear. but people tell me thats normal? and i dont think the tranny slips but i dont know much about cars. it seems to ride alright. should i worry about this car. because it sounds to me like i just bought myself a nightmare.. very depressing. :cry:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Relax, it seems to me you bought yourself a nice car, not a nightmare. Let us know what the Acura dealer says.

    Let's assume the worst, and the transmission fails. Acura has extended the warranty on the transmissions on the 2000 - 2003 model years to 100,000 miles or 7 years, whichever comes first. Therefore, the bottom line is that your car is still covered and will be for a while longer. Unless you put on a lot of miles, the 7 years will expire before the mileage.

    So, enjoy your nice Tl and stop worrying.

    By the way, zin0, what does "sup" mean?
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    :( bad news.. I called the acura dealer and my VIN does have "any" kind of warrenty. and i just dropped all this money on this car, i just found all this out, and now i'm really worried, because i didn't get a warrenty off the dealer i purchased the car off. i just wanted a ncie car and it is turning into a nightmare. i'm scared the tranny is gonna go on me.. and im gonna be screwed. and btw sup is a short way of saying "whats up" lol
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    they say VIN numbers 19000 and below were the ones infected. my last 5 numbers are 70000 something, so maybe ill luck out. and more of the acura TL S type were infected too. that's prolly why i dont have factory warranty because of my VIN number./..
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    From what I know, the majority of 2000-2003 TLs DON'T have premature transmission failures. Now, that leaves a minority, and maybe it's a significant minority, who do experience failures, but from a probability standpoint you probably wont have a problem. Make sure you keep up with maintenance and avoid aggressive driving, and your car will probably provide you with great service and satisfaction.

    Assuming the dealer is correct, is it possible that your car is not covered because it is not one of the failure prone ones? I'd get a second opinion from a another dealer, without mentioning a thing about the first dealer.

    By the way, what kind of car and model year did you trade in for your TL?
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    I didn't trade anything in i bought this car straight up cash.. and im on my way to get a warranty off the dealer where i purchased the car right now.
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    :lemon: I just got back from the dealer, Her computer wasn't working, so she couldn't get me the warranty today. So i came home and i asked for my fathers opinion. he said i should just ride the car out and take a chance. And i think that's just what i'm gonna do. The owner of the dealership told me that he's been selling the TL for years and no ones ever came back to him with something wrong. And that most of the cars were fixed by now. Plus the warranty only covers 2 years then it expires, so theres no way i'm gonna pay $1800. for 2 years. Guess i just need good luck on my side... pray for me guys. :lemon:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "The owner of the dealership told me that he's been selling the TL for years and no ones ever came back to him with something wrong."

    Ah, come on, your dealer couldn't be telling you the truth when he told you this. How does that square with, "most of the cars were fixed by now." The two statements conflict. That said, though, I'd follow your father's suggestion.

    Good Luck! Let us know what happens.
  • I bought this low mile car off of a lease with 24kmiles. I drive to and from work about 1.9 miles each way. I have a garage and only drive about 7500miles/yr. I bought an Acura thinking I could keep this car for 200k miles and never have a problem. Boy was I wrong. Acura won't do anything to help me. I don't understand it? Now I hear that the car has a faulty transmissioni.... I thought the Japanese car manufacturer's really built quality vehicles. Well, I'm concluding that American made cars have improved their quality- and the Japanese cars are really no better engineered than American made cars. I too, like other people in the forum, look for advice, and the picture into the crystal ball to predict how long we can go without major failure. I owe $3700 on the car- Trade was about $9400 with a good engine. Now I'm thinking of buying simply a Chevy Malibu. I'm terribly disappointed and like another person on a different forum, would like to know who will listen and what recourse I may have. I too have read others who have replace their tranny 4 times. My warranty (extended due to recall) will expire in March of this year....Any advice would be greatly appreciated- opinions are welcome.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    You cite twin problems, a failed engine and a faulty transmission. On the transmission, it appears as though you've got until some time in March to have it repaired under warranty, so that's good news. Okay, maybe it's not good news, since you'll have to put up with the hassle of having out transmission fixed, but at least you shouldn't be out any money.

    Regarding the engine, you don't provide any details. Just which component or components have failed? Do you know why it/they failed?

    As you probably know, driving 1.9 miles is hard on the engine, since it cannot fully warm up. The result is that deposits build up in the engine. To reduce the harm done by your short trips, I'd recommend synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1, and change the oil according to the maintenance schedule in your owners manual. If you don't have an owners manual (most dealers dispose of them when they sell used cars), obtain one. It may be too late for the engine in your TL, but it's something to keep in mind for the future.

    Good luck, and let us know what happens.
  • totokubatotokuba Posts: 1
    The digital odometer light in my 2002 TLS does not work. Can anybody out there help me fix this problem?
  • Have you had any more issues with the trany? My 2000 TL just blew out with 81k. They said they are using the "redesigned parts". Most of the older reviews have multiple rebuilds. If I'm going to drop the cash, just want to make sure that they have figured out the problems. Thanks for your help.
  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    I had my 99 TL transmission replaced with some redesigned parts - Acura picked up 40% of the cost, the other 60% was me - ended up spending like $1200.

    So far no problems, but it has been only 3 months/ 3k miles since I had mine replaced.

    Good luck with your replacement !
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I have a '99 with 116,000 miles on it, and the original transmission, which was the old 4-speed, not the 5-speed automatic introduced in for '00. How many miles did your '99 have on it when the transmission went, shiva70?
  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    I had 78k miles when transmission started giving problems, by then I had the car for 9.75 years.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    That's relatively low mileage. Had the transmission fluid ever been changed?
  • ok- Here is the outcome- Engine: Turns out, the insurance company, after doubting me, and refusing to split the difference, hired an engineer and performed oil-analysis at the cost of $1500, only to find out that I was right. The engine did hydrolock about 18 months ago and 14,000 miles. So anyone that tells you an engine won't run after being hydrolocked is simply wrong. Transmission- The Acura dealership, or I should really say, one particular individual, was terrific. As soon as they took the car for a ride, they agreed that there was a problem, and replaced it at no cost- under warranty. I had only driven the car 24,000 miles after purchasing the vehicle- so had not changed the fluid. And on that note- unless you do it yourself- or no how, the risk might be greater than the reward. I had a long time ago, serviced the rear differential on a Chevy Blazer which had only 30k miles. My father questioned why I was doing it. I said because that is what is recommended. 2 weeks later, the rear-pinion seal broke, fluids drained, and I limped back to the dealership (where it was serviced) with the gears almost melted. The dealership, refused to take ownership. So caution- find a good mechanic you can trust. By the way- my father recommended a great mechanic who installed a used engine (54k miles) for two grand including labor.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Interesting accounts, Dan. Although I'm not a mechanic, I've had a life-long interest in cars, and I had never heard or read about an actual example of hydrolocking, in Edmunds or elsewhere. For this reason. I imagine that hydrolocking is very rare. Did your dealer tell you what caused the hydrolocking phenomenon to occur in your engine?
  • They Hydrolock occurred from when I got caught driving home in deep water... I knew the possibility...air filter was wet...and no one was for sure that water was induced into engine. The insurance company did not handle the first claim correctly..just sent it to the body shop to repair the fog light, turned on the engine, and said the car was fine...when, of course, it wasn't.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Thanks for the explanation, Dan. I hope you get many good miles from your new engine.
  • ohheckohheck Posts: 2
    This is a little late as I just found/joined this forum. However, your acura dealer probably meant that your TL Vin # was not in the range of transmissions affected and therefore wasn't covered by their extended warranty. I also just purchased an '03 TL and my Vin # is well outside the highest # Vin of the cars with problem transmissions. Now, does that mean I won't experience the problem....who knows. Check your Vin # against the link to check for sure. In the mean time, enjoy your car.
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