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Acura TL 1999-2003

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
I'm adding this discussion because most of the messages in the "Older Tls" discussion are about the '04-'08 generation.

I'm the original owner of a '99 with 108,000 miles. It's been a very satisfying, low maintenance ride. I'd be interested in hearing about the experience of other owners of this (second) generation TL.


  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Actually, the "Older TLs" discussion started with the second generation and progressed to the third when it became available.

    But it is reasonable to split them up, so let's go with this one. Just keep in mind that the first third or half or so of the original discussion is indeed about the second generation.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "keep in mind that the first third or half or so of the original discussion is indeed about the second generation."

    Thanks for clarifying this. Do you think you should transfer the first third or so of the messages to this discussion, then?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Would if I could, but I can't. Sorry. :(
  • I own a 2002 TL-S with 101,000 miles on it. The only issue I had with this car was the transmission which went out on me on the freeway at around 80 mph. Scary ride. I had about 86,000 miles on it. I wasn't the original owner so I was never informed about the recall for this. Thankfully I didn't have to pay for a whole new transmission. Other than that I think this car is drives great. Smooth and powerful. Unfortunately there is a preventative service recommended (105k mile service) that Acura is charging an arm and a leg for.

    There are some cosmetic defects to this car. Like the tape that tears off around all the windows and the blistering of the left and right garnishes (that black shiny thing between the front and rear windows)... Costs a grip to have it re-done.

    Question.... Anyone know why other TL transmissions keep getting replaced? I mean I read somewhere this guy had to have his transmission replaced like 4 times! What gives? What are the chances that will happen to me? I do not want to relive that freeway experience again.

  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    I got off the interstate this morning, and made a left at the bottom of the ramp after a stop sign, and my 1999 3.2 TL (82k miles, bought in sep'98) just stopped.

    Any thoughts?

    I moved 5-10 feet after giving gas. After doing this 10-times - I shifted to park and back to drive, all was well.

    Engine never shut off, but it is scary that it would just stop like that.

    P L E A S E advise !
  • u151208u151208 Posts: 7
    Sounds like you need a new transmission. Everything you just said happened to me. Luckily for me, you and others, we have warranties on our transmissions. (the transmissions on all our model acura tl's have a defect). There are thousands of reported cases just like ours. Google it and you may have already stumbled on tons of articles and blogs.

    Take it into your nearest Acura dealership and they will replace your tranny for free plus give you a loaner for a few days. So long as the miles not over 109k you will be fine.
    My TL drive like new.

    Best of luck!
  • u151208u151208 Posts: 7
    Oh BTW, just an FYI,

    This link may help in case it is a transmission problem....

    There was a lawsuit settlement pertaining to your issue as well as other Honda vehicles. Just input you VIN NUMBER and it will tell you if your vehicle is included.
    (Though it is MUCH more important to go to an Acura dealership for further evaluation of your vehicle).

    I would carefully drive your TL to the dealership or get it towed to be on the safe side.
  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    My dealer did not say anything about replacing tranny for free, in fact, he said, acura does not like dealers opening tranny w/o good cause, and he said opening up tranny and checking is a 8hr / 1000 $ deal.

    Loooks like I have to get to a dealer !
  • u151208u151208 Posts: 7
    Did you go to the Acura servicing dept? Your experience was indeed symptoms of your transmission about to go out. If thats not good cause then I don't know what to tell you. Go somewhere else :)
    Acura is obligated to replace that, but they will first determine if it is indeed due to the defect of course. Sometimes it could be due to negligence. But you do not have many miles. For a 99 thats pretty good. In fact I had about 89k miles on my TL when the tranny went out on me.
    When I was on the freeway my tranny stopped working. The transmission seemed to automatically shift from 5th to 2nd gear going 80 miles an hour. YIKES! I pulled over feeling my engine was still running strong but it seemed like my transmission was not in gear but I had it in drive. Tapping on the gas only revved up my RPMS. I shifted it to park, then back to drive, then it was back to normal. Luckily for me the Acura Dealership (servicing) was 4 blocks away. I told the servicing dept. about what happened and they were 90% sure it had to do with the defect. The total cost to the work was over $4k, but I didn't have to pay anything. It took them 3 days to complete the job (order a transmission without a defect of course and the labor) and they gave me a nice 08 TL loaner... Anyway I hope I was of help. Did you check the VIN NUMBER website?
  • Hi. I was wondering which kind of fm tunner would work for 2003 acura tl typeS. NOTE: I purchase Belkin ipod tunebase fm II- f8z176 and it doesn't fit my tl; so i had to return it. Anyhow, please reply if you have any suggestions. Thanks
  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    Yes, I went to the servicing dept, they could not find anything wrong, they said they rode it, no problems. Acura said I am outside the extended warranty period, so IF the problem is tranny they said they might give 5-10% (which is paltry). The extended warranty period was for 7 yrs 9 mo, unfortunately, for me it is 9yrs 9 mo since I bought. So I am in trouble, but car is now driving without problems - but it is a BIG problem waiting to happen.
  • shiva70shiva70 Posts: 7
    I checked the VIN # website, although mine is "Affected", I am out of the warranty period (even the extended one), so I am out of luck.
  • u151208u151208 Posts: 7
    That's a bummer. I guess I missed that part of the warranty, my apologies.
    Well, perhaps its best you do one of two things: ride it out and hope for the best, or trade it in for another car while the transmission still works (though it will be someone else's problem later. Can you live with that?)...
    Good timing. The newly redesigned 2009 is coming out.
  • kcall2kcall2 Posts: 18
    I own an 01 TL, purchased new in March 01. Since the first week when we went on a 3000 mile road trip, the car has performed beautifully, and still delivers 22-23 MPG in town, and always over 30 MGP Hwy. Have always serviced with the selling dealer, and all maint/oil changes, etc have been done.

    Problems. Had a mass air valve fail in 05 after the car was parked for a week - 500 miles from home. When I started the car the rpm's immediately went to 4k, then began an up-down 2k-4k cycle. Since it was Sunday, and didn't want to stay in Galveston any longer, decided to head home, and if it died, call road service. Short story - drove it home, turned over to Acura svc in OKC the following day, no problems since.

    Went for 75k MI service last week, and reported a seat cover looking shabby. It was the vinyl part on bottom of backrest near door. Svc manager ordered new seat cover (value $540.00), and Acura is going to install Thursday - no charge. I'm thinking they really want to sell me another car!

    All in all, I'm a totally happy camper. Between the attractive purchase price ($26645 delivered) excellent service, great economy, and a blast to drive, will buy another TL in a minute when the time comes. (yes, even the ugly 09) ;)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Congratulations on the great luck you've had with your '01 TL. I've got 113,000 miles on my '99, and while I'm very pleased with it overall, I've experienced more problems than you have with yours. For example, the catalytic converter had to be replaced at ~105,000 miles.

    They're well designed and built cars. I['m anxious to see the '09, but I don't like the fact that it'll be bigger and heavier than the TL of our generation.
  • I am considering this purchase from a private owner. She told me she has an extended warranty on the trans. I don't know if it was repaired/replaced but will soon find out. Is $8 or $9K a good deal for this car. She is asking $13.5K or b/o.
    Does the 2003 have a good track record except for trans problems?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "Does the 2003 have a good track record except for trans problems?"

    In a word, yes.

    " Is $8 or $9K a good deal for this car."

    What's the mileage on this car?
  • 47, 000 miles and I plan to start negotiating around $7 or $8K but I am willing to pay a fair price for the vehicle. The body seems to be in very good shape. Thanks for commenting
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Check Edmunds "Used Cars" and Kelly Blue Book (KBB) for prices.

    Of course you want to get the best price, and it's within your first amendment rights to bid any price you choose, but "$7 or $8K" seems like an unrealistically low, unfair to the seller, price.

    A couple of other relevant factors you didn't mention are whether this car is equipped with navigation, and whether it's a "S." Depending, in part, on these things, the seller's asking price may not be unreasonable.

    Please let us know what happens.
  • The car does not have navigation and its not the S model. The sellers fiance is an auto mechanic so something tells me they would not let the car go for an unfair price. I do not know if he maintained the car. Thank you for your comments,
  • I have a 1999 TL with 77,700 miles on it. I bought it in 2003 as a certified pre-owened vehicle. I'm 1 year 9 months out of the extended warranty period. Acura has refused a request for "good will out of warranty" assistance (though I'm still working on it based on the low mileage angle). I've maintained the car diligently, replaced timing belt, new tires etc. The only other problems are:
    a) occasional error on navigation system saying it needs a disk reformat. This has happened 3 times and it self-corrected
    b) during a heat wave, I noticed that the cruise control light didn't come on on the dashboard, though the car was performing in cruise control. Again, this corrected itself.(Are these bad signs?) I can't afford a new car or a good used car right now. Is it worth getting my transmission fixed? It drives ok now, but the seal is leaking transmission fluid.
  • Sorry to hear about your problems. I have a 99 TL with 81k miles too, and once the car just stopped. Acura dealers (on two occassions) could not find out what is wrong.

    Tell me when you get "good will out of warranty" clause to have your trans. fixed - I will try the same :-)

    Good luck with your car.
  • Hello, The "good will" phrase is just a concept -- not a clause in anything official. However, in order to even discuss thit with Acura, they need to diagnose your car as needing a new transmission and at your VIN number makes your car a member of the class that the suit was all about. So far I haven't had much luck since it's 1 year and 9 months out of the extended warranty. My research, and this thread talks about the transmission problems with 1999-2003 Acura TLs.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    We also have a '99 TL in our family, with 112,000 miles on it, and have had the problem of the engine just stopping. The problem began several months ago. I don't know the cause, but the symptom is that occasionally, when the car idles or it's traveling slowly (under 30 mph) the engine just dies. It also sometimes dies when it's started after it's been warmed up.

    If anyone has experienced this problem and knows what causes it, and how to repair it, please let me know.
  • 6-CD changer for Acura TL 2002 was skipping and is now jammed. What are my options to get CD player working? Recently bought this standard TL model with with 95 K miles and standard audio system. Otherwise car is in excellent condition.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Those of you who formerly owned a '99-'03 TL, with what did you replace it, and why?
  • Had an '03 TLS, great overall car but horrible in the snow. I traded for an '04 MDX. Eats northeast winters for breakfast! :)
  • kcall2kcall2 Posts: 18
    Update to my Aug 02, 2008 post. When dealer did the 75K service, he reported the car would need front brake pads shortly, and the lower ball-joints were worn. Ball joints were causing a metallic clank on rough roads, bumps etc.

    Anyway, dealers service department replaced the seat back cover (sent car to an upholsterer) using OEM replacement cover. No charge, called it a goodwill gesture. I also had them replace brake pads and ball joints. Dealer service is not cheap, and the latter two fixes came to ~ $700. Not complaining mind you, I consider this normal wear, and after 78K miles with NO major work except scheduled maintenance, am quite happy. Edit: Had failure of the mass air-flow valve around 55k miles. Other than minor things (brake reservoir cap) etc, zero failures. Great Car! :)

    Best part of the deal was the service manager sent me home in an 09 TSX service loaner, which I kept for two days waiting completion of work on my TL. Nice car! Too small for my needs, tho.

    Fuel economy for life of the car had been excellent, with daily suburban driving averaging 22 - 24 mpg, interstate cruising always 31 or higher.

    Service manager told me they had not seen any tranny problems for several months, believes the bad ones have worked their way out of the system. Guess I'll keep the TL several more years, wife wants it for her run about car. Need to find something for me to drive soon, just gave my F150 to my son. Am thinking probably a Civic sedan.
  • i have had my tl since 2004. i got it with 115k on it. i have had to replace trans and some parts but other then that i am very pleased. looking to add headers, intake and exhaust. looking for a shop or mayhbe a acura club in riverside, ca area to give advice on upgrades. the navigation is awesome and even better in the new tl's. my favorite tl is the 02, i would take that over the new tl's!
  • i know that clank noise your talking about! i went to sears ( dont ask me why) and they told me that they just put lube in a bearing or something like that and it went a way. but they didnt charge me for it either. i have a 99 tl with a replaced engine but its still awesome
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