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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Do I accomplish that by driving it in D4? Would that leave it in 4th gear and not shift into overdrive? If I do this and it does not give me the shimmy symptoms, do I conclude that it is the TC? Thanks for your help.
  • codog3codog3 Posts: 12
    My 04 started the shutter about 20k miles ago. I simply drive around town in D4 and manually shift to D5 if I go on the highway. Hurts fuel economy somewhat, but beats replaciing the transmission.
    FWIW I recently had the fluid changed at a Honda dealer and the shutter was noticeably less.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If locking out OD results in proper functionality otherwise then the problem is most likely the lock-up clutch.
  • ckpcckpc Posts: 4
    82,402 miles on our 03 MDX and transmission is shot. Car is my wife's and only driven in town and to take kids to school. We have owned it since new and followed dealer recommended service using the same dealer for all service. Dealer said $4500 but agreed to call Acura Corp and called back with a $2400 price. The Cat Converter also went out another $900!!!

    I am done with Acura I have spent all kinds of money on a vehicle I mistakenly thought was a quality product.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Same problem with us too. Our next car will be a Ford.

    Have the trans fixed at that price and you should be able to run it into the ground for another 100k miles. Put $100 or $200 in the bank every month it doesn't break and you'll be able to buy a nice car.

    ps...Don't belive them about the cat. converter, they tried that trick on us too.
  • Had an 04 new MDX. Met an untimely end(accident) after a Tranny problem with that at about 40k.
    Recently purchased a 2009 MDX w 34000 mi. It has a transmission whine. It also is hard to steer at a dead stop.
    Recently received a recall for both a torque converter problem and he steering problem on this model. Warranted for 108000miles.

    They haven't solved the tranny problem based upon what I read from here
  • wipkkwipkk Posts: 2
    edited October 2012
    Had 98500 m on my 2004 MDX. I noticed a low vibration around 30 m speed. Took to the car to dealer and they took the issue as TBD. Later called me and told me that I have to replace torque converter and gave me a 3200 estimate. I asked him to check the service bulletin number : 06003 or NHTSA No 10022468.... "TORQUE CONVERTER SHUDDER OR VIBRATION BETWEEN 35 AND 40 MPH"
    Not sure what this service bulletin means to me.... any thoughts ?

  • ckpcckpc Posts: 4
    Thoughts- that began with a very vague shudder in my 03 MDX and I mentioned it to my dealer which they could never find until the tranny/converter went. Always go beyond the dealer if your not happy.
  • ckpcckpc Posts: 4
    Talked to Acura Corp. directly and they reduced the tranny cost to $1900 from the first reduction of $2400. I loved the car but honestly if I never looked online to see what others have complained about I would have been paying $4500 plus to fix this. Acura talks about the importance of taking care of customers but to have to go thru this to get recourse. Bottom line is Acura/Honda knows there are serious issues with the tranny/torq converter and in my case we could have had a serious accident. I am happy they reduced my amount but in the end I wonder if its just to cover their best interest. Bottom line if this happens to you go beyond your dealer.
  • I too recently purchased a 2009 MDX and am having issues with the RPM fluttering and hard steering. I brought it to the dealership and they said that they don't know how to fix it!!! This is an Acura Dealership.... Acura of Escondido!

    I also received both letters from Acura regarding the torque converter and steering problem, but this dealership declines to work on it. They said, "I see it, but don't know how to fix it!"

    Have you had any luck getting your MDX fixed?
  • Both well documented problems.

    There are TSBs out there and Acura has increased the torque convertor and power steering pump warrenty.

    I got mine done at Acura of Kearney Mesa about a month ago. The steering feel is much better and after the TC software update its a new machine.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    How did you contact them and what did you say to them?
  • I recently purchased a pre-owned 2009 MDX with 37K Miles. It is still under the 'bumper to bumper' warranty. After noticing a noise in, what I thought, was the transmission when driving slow at 25 - 30 MPH in my neighborhood. The noise sounded as if I was driving along the rumble strips along side the highway. Albeit somewhat subtle compared to the highway noise and subtle vibration.

    After explaining to the dealership they said this is a recall. The first step is to "update" the computer system. This should work depending on how long the torque converter issue has been happening. If the computer system update does not fix the issue they have to contact Acura HQ to look into having the entire Torque converter replaced. This is what is currently taking place for my car as we speak.

    Again, covered under warranty/recall. This sounds similar to some of the other posts.

    I'm in Charleston, SC and took my vehicle to McDaniels ACURA.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    This may be very bad news. Acura switched the MDX from the VTM-4 F/awd system to the SH-AWD system to combat this very issue/problem. Didn't the switch occur prior to 2009?

    I have assumed having both the front and rear axles in "drive" mode, even if only during acceleration, on a highly tractive surface is at the core of the problem so the "update" may serve to lessen the use of the rear drive capability.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53 ims-20121102,0,1819973.story

    Guys here's the crux of the tc problem. Overstated gas mileage. Acura wanted to be able to say 16 mi per gallon. They bypassed it by messing with tc to get 16 mpg, then later on issue a tsb, dropping the mpg. After the tsb, I get 13.9 mpg.

    Contact EPA and file a complaint with regards to inaccurate gas mileage. That's what the Kia, Hyundai customer did and EPA audited it. EPA needs to audit Acura.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2012
    All modern day passenger vehicle automatic transissions, ALL, industry wide, are now making "liberal" use of the TC's lockup clutch to improve FE. So the lockup clutch must be much more ROBUST vs yesteryear since it is now used much more of the time to bypass the lossy TC.

    These days the only time the TC is unlocked is under acceleration, stopped, if the roadspeed is too low, or if brakes are applied to a level that would stall the engine if the TC remained locked.

    Then you throw in the additional heat/stress on the driveline components with the rear drive engaged under acceleration on a perfectly TRACTIVE roadbed and you have a recipe for premature failure.

    So it is entirely possible that the TSB reduces the use of the lockup clutch in order to extend its service life which in turn would result in lower MPG.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    So what you are saying is that Japanese are better liars than Koreans? Couldn't agree more. At least Kia came out admitted fault and apologized.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The Japanese culture does NOT allow for admission of fault therefore most certainly NEVER an apology.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    You're absolutely right, they usually kill themselves over shame. Well i hope whoever did this at Acura commits harikari ASAP!
  • This is very interesting! How do we go about filing claims of the overstated gas mileage ????? I have a 2010 MDX, I have never gotten over 15 mpg. I asked my dealer about this and they said Acura basically over inflated the tires and that is how they got the higher gas rating. That's ridiculous. The dealership even knows that Acura is lying about the gas mileage. I currently average 14.5 MPG, that is unacceptable!
  • tony_mdxtony_mdx Posts: 1
    edited November 2012
    I just got a new 2012 MDX, everyting seems perfect (mechanical wise, there is a paint issue i just found and i will talk to the dealer...) so far except that when i drive uphill, there is a obvious hesitation or delay (should not like this in my opinion for such pricy SUV...) and the speedometer will jump from 1 to 2 and 2 to 1 within few seconds"...

    i will be talking to the dealer sales rep. tomorrow to see what they say about it...
  • hollyshiftwellhollyshiftwell Posts: 1
    edited November 2012
    I am stunned to learn after reading on this website that there have been so many MDX transmission problems! I purchased my 2004 Acura MDX new from our local dealer and purchased the extended warranty. It was my first ever brand new car—and at $42,100 plus $2675 for the extended warranty, it was an expensive purchase! Since then I have always taken my car to that same dealership for servicing. At 75,658 miles (just a few months after the 75,000 regular transmission service) the engine malfunction light came on. There had been no drivability problems at that point. After two trips to the dealership, they concluded that a new transmission was needed and replaced it. Fortunately, because of the extended warranty, there was no additional cost to me. One month after that, the engine malfunction light came on again—but this time they replaced a transmission pressure switch. Two months after that the engine malfunction light came on again—but this time it was fixed by updating the PCM software. It made me wonder if a new transmission was really needed in the first place, but was thankful that everything was covered under the extended warranty.

    Now, fast forward 4 years…and now the MDX has 156,000 miles. It was serviced last week, and at that time I mentioned that during city driving it would upshift early and the engine would lug. Guess what!? The dealership is saying that I need a new transmission and torque converter which is $6000+. When I reminded them that they had already replaced the transmission 4 years ago, they contacted Acura corporate and agreed to discount my cost to $2300. It has been a wonderful vehicle to drive—but seriously—a new transmission every 75,000 miles? My Michelin tires have lasted as long! Frankly, I am not sure that it is worth replacing. I am really disappointed especially since I had a good relationship with the dealership. If anyone has any recommendations, I would greatly appreciate them.
  • We will not buy another Honda/Acura product for this very same reason. I think our next vehicle will be a Ford.
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    I bought my 2004 MDX new as well and at 120,000 miles I am still on my original transmission. I started feeling a little difference in the shifting a few months ago and that's what got me onto this forum. Since learning of all the issues I have been driving much more mildly so as to not "tax" my transmission and to postpone what I believe is inevitable. It's really a shame all of us who bought the MDX have to experience this problem. And like a few others, I will NEVER buy another Acura and I will forever be a bad reference for them.
  • anildelanildel Posts: 9
    edited November 2012
    I have MDX 2005 with 58000 miles. I bought it used at 31000 miles in Jun 2008 and got extended warranty 7/100000 that has expired in Feb 12. The car has always been maintained by Acura dealership and all scheduled maintenance have been performed.

    Last Friday morning, actually black Friday, when I wanted to go for some shopping, found that the car will not shift to "Drive". I had no clue what may have happened as I parked it just normal on Thursday morning. Anyway, checked manual and unlocked shifter. This got me out of the garage. By the time it was 8 AM and I called Acura dealership. They advised me to get the car in.

    When I started driving found VSA and check engine light were on. Also noticed that "D" light, i.e. shifter in drive light was continuously blinking. Called dealership again and they advised that as long as I am comfortable, I could drive on. I had to drive about 20 miles to dealership.

    I reached dealership and they put the car on diagnostic. The codes they are getting are confusing and they were not able to diagnose the actual problem. They gave me loaner to get me going as they needed more time to know the problem. They also promised me to do everything with Acura to remediate this issue if it was related to transmission as the car has been sold and maintained by them and has low miles.

    I'm just waiting to hear back from them. In the meantime, if anyone had the same situation, the inputs would help me to make good decision.
  • My guess is that you will need a new transmission. An Acura refurbished unit costs $4500 installed. Your issue with the expired extended warranty is very similar to our case with our 2003 MDX. After heated complaints on my part, and two calls to Acura in CA, they paid 90% of the cost. Even though the 7 years is up, remind them of the low mileage.

    Legally, you are screwed. If they won't offfer reimbursement, an independant shop should be able to rebuild it for about $2500. Just make sure they are experienced with these transmissions and can put in better parts and do all the upgrades.

    Although we got a better deal then most people with this transmission issue, I won't buy another Acura.
  • anildelanildel Posts: 9
    edited November 2012
    Thanks for response. You were correct. Transmission is bad and needs to be rebuilt/replaced.

    The Dealership worked with Acura at their own and let me know today that Acura is ready to chip in for 50% and I need to bring in rest, about $2400, for replacing bad transmission with remanufactured.

    I have contacted Acura myself for more assistance and they are reviewing the case. This review involves District Manager who is not available today.

    I'll know result of review by end of business tomorrow.
  • Our new 2012 MDX also has strange behavior going uphill. It feels extremely unresponsive as if the transmission is choosing too high a gear. (RPMs are at 1100-1200 going 30 MPH). You have to push the pedal half way down to get a meaningful response. This makes it downshift and then speed up too quickly to which you have to back off the gas.

    We brought it to our dealer and drove around with a tech. The tech's claim "that is normal". *sigh*. When you depress 50%, it downshifts, then you have to back significantly off the gas to avoid from speeding. This is not right. Our BMW and chevy silverado have no such issues.

    Anyways, I am very interested in your resolution if any.

    Its heartening to hear we are not alone.
  • 50% was what Acura firt offered me. I was still mad and pressed the issue. They came back with 90%.

    Even at 50%, take it. Hopefully, the replacement would have upgrades so it might last longer. But still, figure a new transmission every 100k miles in your budget.

    Also, at 110k miles, you'll need a new timing belt, spark plugs, valve adjustment and probobly have to replace two broken motor mounts (you have a total of three).

    Good Luck
  • anildelanildel Posts: 9
    edited December 2012
    I got the car back this morning. Acura replaced transmission with 3/36k warranty. After all back and forth with Acura and Dealership, I ended up paying about 1700. Compared to initial 5200+ and local shops (AAMCO and Gater) asking for 2700+ with lot less warranty, I think it's fair deal. I also got loaner car all this time..that helped.

    While driving this morning I felt that steering is harder than before. There are no whinning or any sound. It just felt harder.

    Called service manager and they want to take a look at it.

    Can this be related to transmission replacement issue?
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