Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited March 2012
    "..I am moving on to Lexus..."

    From the frying pan and into the FIRE.

    I have now been closely watching, monitoring this FWD to F/awd issue for nie onto 12 years. Insofar as I know, can tell, there NO manufacturer that has as of yet solved this "equation" suscessfully.

    With the advent of the introduction of the '01 RX300 Lexus was forced to, HAD to, totally abandon the new F/awd system that they initially introduced with the '99 RX300. Even with these changes, major changes, it wasn't until the adoption of DBW with the new RX330 that the driveline, mostly transaxle, failures declined to an acceptable (to Lexus) level.

    In the meantime RX300 owners were left without a functional F/awd system. In 2010 Lexus switched to an entirely new F/awd system, the one Ford, Escape/Mariner, had earlier encountered so many problems with. Ford is solving their problem by simply dropping the product line.

    It remains to be seen whether the new RX350 F/awd system will pass muster. Lexus has added an ability to lock the system in "awd" mode but my guess is that will soon be discontinued, if that isn't already in the works.

    Driver's in the general case CANNOT be relied upon to make judicious, reasonable, use of that "awd" functionality, and most certainly cannot be relied upon to always remember to turn it off once the slippage condition has passed.
  • my4thhondamy4thhonda Posts: 1
    edited March 2012
    My MDX is 146k miles and starting to give me the "Shuddering" sound when driven between 25-45 MPH. Today I had Acura dealer look at it for $ 125.00 charge and said it is the Torque Converter issue and plus few others, here is the list:

    Torque Converter: $2700.00
    Front and Right side Engine Mounts: $ 550.00 (with TC change)

    I declined the work for now. I am thinking calling AHM and also looking for any firm willing to do a Class Action. If there is a Class Action already in works ..please let me know..Thanks
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    You'll need a new/rebuilt transmission; $4,500

    Also, two motor mounts are broke, not one. If you never had the timing belt or spark plugs replaced at 110k miles, it's overdue. You'll also need new front lower control arms & balljoints.

    I have 160k miles my 2003 MDX and it's very well maintained. I'm speaking from experience. I forced the transmission issue with our dealer at 110k miles and they got Acura to pay 90% of they trans. cost.

    You'll just have to decide if it's worth keeping.
  • What did you end up finding out was wrong? What was wrong with the transmission causing that grinding noise? I have experienced a similar issue with my 2008 MDX where it has on a few occasions made that noise after driving on the highway for a couple of hours. Like a grinding/whining noise.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    that grinding/whining noise is def. torque converter problem in transmission.
  • ih8acuraih8acura Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 MDX with 111,000 miles on it. Last week as I was driving to work my MDX red lined and started to lose speed. Fortunately, I was right next near an off ramp and was able to pull off safely while coasting. But just like all the other posts on here, it was because of a broken transmission.

    I received quotes to have it rebuilt ranging from $2500 - $3500. That price varied by the length of the warranty.

    I contacted the Acura dealership to see if there was a possibility they would be able to assist in covering part of the cost to get it fixed. The guy in the service department I spoke with was very dismissive. It was almost as if he was on the defensive from dealing with other people who have had this issue. Either way, I'd expect more courtesy from a dealership I spent $40k at.

    My fear is that if I invest so much into my MDX now to fix this issue, how much will I have to spend next year and the year after. It seems like the MDX just turns into a money pit once this problems start to occur.

    On the converse, if I trade in my MDX for a new vehicle (it def. wont be for another Acura) I will have to spend money on monthly payments for the next 60 months. It seems like a no win situation.

    ... For the record, I purchased my MDX from Springfield Acura in Springfield, NJ.

    Maybe if we start posting the name of our dealerships, they will step up to the plate and contact Acura to complain that their business are being hurt for selling vehicles which have known defective parts. Or at the very least, bring the shotty customer service to their attention.
  • curious52curious52 Posts: 15
    Many others in this forum who have had the same trouble you've reported have also run into rudeness at Acura dealers/service managers. You are right-- they are tired of MDX torque converter complaints. It is shocking that Acura has failed to address this issue with older MDX vehicles. I have a 2010 MDX which developed a faulty TC at just 35,000. A replacement was made under warrenty. But about two months ago, I received an "advisory" saying that software for the transmission needed attention. The lack of honesty and the rude behavior will (after my purchase of six Acuras overr the years) will be steering me to the new medium sized SUV now offered by Infiniti. Check it out.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited April 2012
    My best guess would be that now that the MDX models with the SH-AWD system are also having TC failures the software revision will involve less "robustness", lowering the functionality, of the SH-AWD system.

    Less functionality of the system = lower driveline stress/HEAT overall.
  • spicydocspicydoc Posts: 14
    I have been looking to buy a new Acura MDX. My question is do I have to be concerned and go for another brand if Honda and Acura have had bad records on REALLY to keep value due to transmission problems for many years of their cars?
  • spicydocspicydoc Posts: 14
    I am looking to buy a new Acura MDX. With the transmission problems of past Acura and Honda cars, should I be concerned and buy another brand instead?

    Are the new Acura MDX free from their transmission defects now? Do anybody know?
  • curious52curious52 Posts: 15
    Acura has behaved very badly about a torque converter problem that has plagued owners of MDX vehciles from 2002 until now. Mine has had a software update which was essentially the result of a recall, but Acura shaded the word by using "advisory." But in a word, I'm disgusted.
    You should look very seriously at Infiniti's new JX SUV which promises to be everything the MDX has been and more. That is what my next SUV will be. Good luck.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    I own a 2003 MDX and had transmission problems. I won't buy a Honda/Acrura any more. Look at Lexus or a Ford product.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    if you do make sure you cover your self with "lifetime warranty" whatever the cost. TC will go out on you just matter of when.
  • ih8acuraih8acura Posts: 2

    I would reconsider purchasing an MDX, or any Honda/Acrua, at this time. From what I've seen, pretty much everyone on this forum has experienced issues within only a few years of purchasing an MDX. For a "luxury" vehicle that costs upwards of $40k, one would expect that it will last for at least 10 years before any serious issues occur. If this was an isolated incident, that's one thing but after reading all these posts I'm realizing that we all got taken advantage of.

    This experience really opened my eyes to always do serious due diligence before purchasing another vehicle.
  • jensadjensad Posts: 388
    I purchased a 08 RL, and last year we purchased a 11 MDX. I additionally purchased for $ 600 an extended warranty. I never got extended warranties on any of my 40 + cars over the years, however, I began to read these blogs and other blogs and I concluded that I had better COA which I do with an extra $ 6-800 and get the warranty. Paid off last year when the 08 had a new tranny part put in at their cost less my $100.

    And I know one thing, I will not ever want to pay $ 2000 because I failed to get an extended warranty. And I know that for an extra amount of cash, I won't get stuck again. i.e. If I pay 50k for the car, what does it really matter for an extra $1300-1500? And maybe I am just throwing my $$ away but I can sleep better at night. JMO.

    Good luck to all and stay safe. :)

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You simply cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear.....

    When you begin the design process with a "base" FWD vehicle there are a few problems that simply cannot be overcome. The base problem arises due to the fact that there is as of yet no way to predict, detect, upcoming wheelspin/slip due to the use of more engine torque than would be allowed by the current level of roadbed traction.

    So, the current design solution is to REMOVE engine torque from the front wheels at those times when wheelspin/slip is most likely to result, and therefore raise the probability of loss of directional control. The problem with that approach is the fact that 70-98% of the time that simply results in undue stress on driveline components.

    There can be no doubt that the SH-AWD system is the best of the best of these designs. What is needed IMMHO is a driver operated switch that temporarily enables the operation of the system ONLY until the vehicle reaches ~20MPH and then automatically switches off of itsself.
  • curious52curious52 Posts: 15
    Your explanation sounds absolutely on the money. Now, let's find a way to convince Torrence.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    edited April 2012
    According to the Consumer Reports' Reliability ratings, the MDX transmission scores "Much Better Than Average" (highest rating) consecutively from '07 through '11. The '06 model year is "Much Better Than Average" for "transmission major" but just average for "transmission minor". Since the MDX is a pretty strong seller I doubt if these very positive ratings are due to small sample sizes. Not saying that some owners are not experiencing problems because they obviously are, but I think it's safe to say that they are in the minority, at least starting in '07.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It was somewhere within that timeframe that the MDX was switched from the VTM-4 system to the apparently less driveline component stressful SH-AWD system.
  • spicydocspicydoc Posts: 14
    I read on US News ranking of cars (seems to be review of reviews) that Acura MDX's reliability rating for 2012 was only 3.5 stars out of 5, which I think is not very good. I am not sure how much transmission contributed to this problem.

    Are you familiar with the torque converter issue - its current status, I mean, problem corrected or not? seems unacceptable number of complaints in very new cars.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My guess would be that the torque converter lockup clutch would be the weakest link insofar as driveline component failures resulting from the undue stress of AWD operation on a perfectly dry highly tractive surface.s

    On the other hand the lockup clutch should NEVER be engaged during most times of AWD engagement....during low speed acceleration. Which leaves us with AWD and lockup clutch engagement only in turns, while turning.
  • MHirt1MHirt1 Posts: 6
    I can relate to your problem - replaced the TC on my 2005 MDX about 2 years ago, and now it appears that my transmission cooler has failed, resulting in intermingling of the transmission and radiator fluids and possible transmission failure. I think that your expectations are unreasonable, however. Your car is 9 years old with almost 150,000 miles and you're considering a class action suit because of a failure? You are way, way passed the warranty period. You simply cannot expect there to be NO mechanical failures after that amount of time and mileage.
  • mdxer7mdxer7 Posts: 8
    After much thought, I've decided to take the plunge again. My present MDX is 11 years old w/220K miles. 1st Transmission was replaced around 101K covered by dealer due to the fact I had had all prev maint done by them. I've had other issues over the years but 95% were covered under 7/100 warranty. Needless to say, I will also purchase a 8/120 warranty as I keep my vehicles a long time. Though the MDX has had its issues - there is no SUV out there that doesn't. When you buy a 4WD you will have "issues." I test drove many SUV's before making this decision - Lexus RX350 (thou very lux inside steering felt like an old ladies car) Toyota Limited Highlander (close runner up - still a bit truck-like), Honda CRV (Yuck), and the new 2013 RDX --- very nice, sporty, quick response...but just a tad too small for me. Anyway, nothing compared to the MDX (IMO) at this price here I go again. I've loved my 2001(wh/is once again having minor TC issues) and I figure I'll be pretty happy w/my 2012 with extended warranty of course. :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2012
    "...4WD you will have "issues"..."

    Your term "4WD", at least for me, implies having the ability to put the system in/out of 4WD manually, PB or otherwise. In that case any "issues" would generally be the driver's responsibility, failure to properly manage the system.

    What everyone today seems to be selling, trying to sell, are "automatic" AWD systems that require no driver intervention, thoughfulness, or knowledge.

    These fall into 2 categories, Pre-emptive or passive.

    Most passive systems, after the fact systems, rely on TC braking, along with INSTANTANEOUS engine dethrottling, to "re"-allocate engine torque but only after driven wheelslip/spin is already present. Since this TC function eliminates, totally, the driver's ability to use the old tried and true method of "feathering" the throttle to get up and going initially, most now have a TC "off" capability.

    The HL, WRX, and RX, RX prior to 2010, fall into the above category.

    Then we have the PRE-EMPTIVE systems such as the WRX-Sti, MDX, RX (2010+), and the RDX (both "flavors, the prior RDX, and the new one using the same system as the newer RX).

    We all know, are most certainly SHOULD know, that leaving a true 4WD system engaged on a tractive surface, even for a very short distance, will ALWAYS result in driveline component failure due to the HEAT from the resulting over-stressing.

    So, what these new PRE-EMPTIVE "AWD" systems do is they automatically LOCK ("effectively") the center differential TEMPORARILY but only at/during the specific times, situations, wherein wheelspin/slip would otherwise be most likely to result.

    Those times are:

    1.) During low speed acceleration wherein it could be, were one on a marginally tractive roadbed surface, of great benefit to NOT have the primary drive wheels subject to the full level of drive torque.

    2.) During low speed turns, "tight" turns, or even moreso accelerating during into/during a low speed turn. In turns wherein the lateral forces on the front tires build up substantially one can see it would be wise/best, to not have the front wheels remain the primary "drive" force.

    If these vehicles are primarily driven on low traction surfaces, no harm, no foul. But drive them primarily on highly tractive surfaces or with a leadfoot and you are likely to endure some type of driveline component faillure post-warranty.

    Were I in the market currently I would be seriously considering the base Porsche Cayenne or the VW Toureg. Both make use of the same electromagnetic clutch system as the newer RX and RDX, but in the front driveline vs the rear, R/awd.

    R/awd biased AWD.

    With either of these, F/awd or R/awd, using the electromagnetically controlled clutch, I would add a switch function....OFF/AUTO/ON. The latter state, locked on, would expire automatically, switching back in "AUTO" mode after the initial 30-60 period, or if the vehicle reached 20-25 MPH.

    "OFF"...Extension of driveline component "life" well beyong the warranty period. IMMHO there is no need (Leadfoot = Exception) for any "AWD" functionality except upon driver recognition of adverse roadbed conditions, or the probability, <32F OAT, thereof.
  • eldjsourceeldjsource Posts: 1
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    Guys, when I turn my wheel all the way to the left or right to do a u turn, my power steering makes this grinding/whining noise. No it's not tranny judder. Is this rack n pinion or power steering pump issue?
  • wallabyguywallabyguy Posts: 20
    To an extent this can be normal as it places strain on the power steering mechanism. That said, if it sounds louder or worse than normal, it is likely low power steering fluid. This can happen with time or from a leak. Check the level with the car cold. If you need to add fluid, make sure to buy HONDA power steering fluid. DO NOT buy any other type as the weight and make up is unique. It can be purchased at any auto parts retailer or from your dealer. It's only a few bucks for the container. If the sound doesn't go away or returns in short order, you have a leak or some other type of failure and it's time to get the system checked out.
  • lovegmc1lovegmc1 Posts: 37
    We had a 2004 MDX also with the same torque converter problems! Along with ford and Lexus, try gmc the Acadia is beautiful(it's our new car) and they are redesigning it next year :)
  • h30h30 Posts: 1
    I'm the original owner of an MDX 2002. The mileage is 92K. It just got the 90K service from the original dealer where I bought the car. I hear some noise so I think it was related to the brake. I brought the car to the dealer, which performed all the maintenance since day-1. The suggestion is timing belt, then motor mount and I don't know what it is. The dealer fix an transmission electronic switch, but we feel the same problem. We brought the car back. The dealer say it is the transmission issue, and the estimation for fixing it is $6K. Thinking about the motor mount estimation, about the timing belt estimation, and now about the transmission, I declined the suggested transmission fix because all the fixes will cost more than the blue-book price of the car (est. 8k). The engine light is permanently on when I got the car back from the dealer. I drove car back home and park it, very sad and upset. Any suggestion is welcome.
  • lovegmc1lovegmc1 Posts: 37
    We Had an 04 that shuddered! The dealer said it'd cost thousands of dollars to fix! So we took it home, then the problem got worse, to the point that we drove less because every time we hit 30-45 it'd do it again! So glad we sold it! When we got our new car(2012 acadia), I was so happy that it didn't shudder! I feel like the acadia is more luxiourious than the Acura was! And it's been problem free so far! It's so nice to have a break from the shuddering! Acura really needs to fix this issue because there are just SOOO many complaints!
Sign In or Register to comment.