Last post on May 06, 2013 at 9:22 AM
You are in the Acura MDX
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Acura MDX, SUV
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#431 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [jgrafton]
Nov 02, 2010 (12:06 pm)
2003 MDX with 95,000 miles transmission failed 2 weeks ago with no warning whatsoever, Just got the transmission fixed form the Acura dealer, Honda picked up 75% of the cost but still i had to fork out $1000 for my share. The new tranny came with 3 years / 36,000 mile warranty. Initially Honda wanted to pick up 50% of the cost but i stood firm and told them i need them to pick up more and finally settled for 75% Honda/ 25% Me, still not happy but better than paying $4500 for a new tranny. Also got the timing belt and water pump changed when i got the tranny fixed. Not sure how long i will keep the car but want to use it for at least 1 - 2 years more, hopefully it will not give any more problems. Members please chime in if i need to know anything more since i plan to use the car for 1 - 2 years, will it last without any issues? Please comment based on your experience
#432 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [prijay]
Nov 02, 2010 (12:37 pm)
Where is the dealer located that helped you out? I called my nearest dealer (90 miles away) and need to take it there for a test drive. Not thrilled about taking day off work to have it checked. Suprised that dealer stood behind replacement with age and miles on the vehicle. We want to keep the MDX but reluctant to do so knowing all the potential problems even after it gets repaired.
#433 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [jgrafton]
Nov 03, 2010 (6:01 am)
I am located in South Florida and the dealer is Rick Case Acura, but it is up to you to present your case, the dealer in my case only submitted the paperwork to Honda, i had to talk to Acura Client Care and the Service manager at the dealership to let them know that there is a issue in the MDX transmission and Honda is aware of it.
First of all you need to find out if it is a transmission problem. If it is then read this forum which has all the info you need to make and present your case, that is exactly what i did.
#434 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [jgrafton]
Nov 03, 2010 (9:34 am)
"...shudders..goes away when I accelerate..."
Your torque converter's lockup clutch is failing.
While you'll likely have to have the TC replaced you can avoid future failures by disabling the SH-AWD system except when you have expectation or suspecion that it will be needed.
The SH-AWD system, in effect, LOCKS the "virtual" center diff'l even on highly tractive surfaces, a serious NO-NO for an actual 4WD. Worse yet, it LOCKS that diff'l EVEN when turning and/or turning while accelerating. Having the SH-AWD system's rear drive capability engaged on a tractive surface along with the front drive will ALWAYS result in some level of drive line windup and/or tire scrubbing. Engaging both front and rear drive when turning tightly or accelerating into a turn, PURE STUPIDITY(***)...!!
Apparently the lockup clutch in the TC just happens to be the weakest link in the MDX drive train.
*** Actually the really stupid part is the engineers trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, converting a base FWD vehicle, PATENTLY UNSAFE FWD, into a F/awd compromise.
#435 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [wwest]
Nov 03, 2010 (3:59 pm)
Will it make any dirrerence if i get fluid changed to prolong the failure? To disable the AWD do i simply push the button on the dash that has the four wheels on it?
#436 of 967 2001 Acura MDX Touring transmission problem
Nov 03, 2010 (10:51 pm)
I have a 2001 Acura MDX Touring with factory tow package that had 196,000 low impact HIGHWAY miles on it before the transmission went out. The transmission fluid was flushed & filled every 30,000 miles, I drove it lile a grama (never accellerated to force a downshifted), & never towed anything really heavy or very far. The transmission gave all the classic signs of going out (dark fluid, metal shavings on drain plug, hard / jerky shifting, delayed shifting (with rpm acceleration until gear was met), and even tires chirping from improper shifting on a long mountainous trip towards the end of its life. When it finally went out I was on a local trip on the freeway, jerky shifting turned into only having a very jerky 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears & reverse gear. I limped it back to my garage, did research, & got estimates. The "Ball Acura" dealer here in San Diego, CA quoted me just over $5,000 to include a the installation of a rebuilt transmission unit, rebuilt torque converter unit, and refurbished computer (the computers are not the problem) , with a 36,000 mile parts & labor warranty. This price did not include a new, larger transmission cooler. The small original transmission coolers are evidenced to be the root cause of the MDX transmission problems in the first place (overheating). Next I looked at junkyarddog.com (essentially the google of junkyard car parts), & found that the best they could offer was a used transmission with 97,000 miles on it for $1,500 without the torque converter, transmission cooler, or computer, not including installation, and only with a 30 day parts only limited warranty. Next I tried getting auto shop quotes on rebuilding my original transmission, torque converter, and replacing the tiny, inadequate original transmission cooler with a larger, upgraded, and adequate cooler. I received quotes from $6,500 with no warranty, to $1,600 with a 36,000 mile towing, parts, & labor warranty from Sunrise Auto in San Diego. I went with Sunrise Auto for obvious reasons. I now have my MDX transmission and torque converter fully rebuilt; I also have a brand new transmission cooler installed, & I am covered by a full 36,000 warranty on towing, parts, labor, & even a free loaner car if I need one. All this for $1,600 cash. I almost fainted when I saw the original transmission cooler that they pulled out. It looked like 2 small black sticks. When I saw the new one they installed, I was very impressed, as it looked like 4 solid, beefy, silver, branches like a real cooler should. Btw, the new coolers are inexpensive and VERY effective. If you do not have the new, larger, and upgraded cooler on your 01-06 MDX then GET one. They are not expensive, they actually do what their name says (transmission coolers), they save your transmission from death (9 out of 10 transmissions on every car fail due to overheating). $100 bucks now will save you thousands down the road. Read the reviews and listen to people who have been there. The original coolers in 01-06 are garbage (factory tow package or not), shame on Honda for using the same sized coolers as their civics in a 3.5L V-6 engine. Also, change the transmission fluid regularly, and do it right. Its the one procedure that you want to do by the book (drain & fill 3x). Lastly, don't pay $5,000 at the dealer for them to remove your transmission system, replace it with someone elses rebuilt transmission system, and not install an upgraded cooler, and then turn around and rebuild the one you gave to them so they can charge someone else $5,000 to put it into their car. Get quotes, get a 36,000 mile warranty, & have a good, fair mechanic rebuild, & reinstall your transmission, torque converter, & put in a nice, big, adequate transmission cooler. Thanks for reading & God bless. I'm out.
#437 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [jgrafton]
Nov 03, 2010 (11:01 pm)
Get a new, adequate transmission cooler, & change the transmission fluid regularly [(every 30,000 miles, & do it properly (flush & fill 3x)]. From my experience, pushing the "vtm-4" button doesn't help. Also, read my full posting below for my experience.
#438 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [godb4marky]
Nov 04, 2010 (9:35 am)
A new, more adequate ATF cooler will undoubtedly serve to keep the ATF at a lower operating temperature. But that doesn't address the base problem, what, whatever, is causing the ATF to overheat in the first place.
And my guess is that is due to the overstressing, HEATING, of the drive train components due to driveline windup and/or tire scrubbing resulting from the inappropriate engagement of the rear drive on tractive surfaces.
You can extend the life of your transaxle by disabling the SH-AWD system except at times of need or suspected need.
#439 of 967 Re: 2003 MDX [godb4marky]
Nov 04, 2010 (9:59 am)
"..Get a new, adequate transmission cooler, "
It is very likely that a more "adequate" cooler may be if no help as there is likely a thermostat involved in limiting or regulating the flow to the external cooler in order to:
1) Allow the ATF temperature to rise as quickly as possible such that OD can/will be used.
2) Prevent the ATF temperature from falling below operational, 200F, temperature.
Most modern day transaxles have a temperature sensor within the transaxle so the driver can/will be forewarned if the ATF temperature begins to rise too high.
Your ATF is overheating due to some sort of LOCALIZED internal component STRESS. In this case there is now reason to suspect that to be the TC lockup clutch.
Also, due to the fairly recent major change to transaxle designs, real-time control of ATF line pressure, the long term failures may be due to the inability to support two gear changes in quick succession. One of the early fixes, circa RX330 introduction, for that design flaw was to use DBW to prevent the onset of rising engine torque until the downshift clutches can be fully and firmly engaged.