I've got an '03 and approaching 15k miles, so it's time to change the VTM fluid. I did a lot of searching and found several threads on the subject. I've compiled what I think is the best of all these threads to help others in the same situation. So the following is copied and pasted from other posts and not my own. I haven't actually done it yet myself, but I'll follow up with how it went when I do. Anyway... here goes.
The fill is super easy: use a $4 hand pump from the auto parts store, and just pump into the fill until it runs out. Remove the nozzle. When it stops, the level is *just* at the edge of the hole. Replace the bolt and tighten.
I concur... It's easy! Much easier than changing your oil.
The VTM change was a piece of cake thanks to all of the advice and instructions on this board!!! I dropped my spare for the first time in 6 months and was surprised it wasn't too dirty and had only lost 3lbs of air.
I dropped my spare today to get a better look at the differential in anticipation of changing my VTM Fluid. I already purchased my VTM Fluid, pump, and 18 mm and 20 mm crush washers from my dealer. Before I go beyond the point of no return, would someone please clarify which are the VTM Drain Bolt and Fill Bolt? Looking at the differential from the rear of the MDX, they appear to be two bolts with "square holes". These holes appear to accept a 3/8" socket driver (without any socket attached). Are these the VTM Drain Bolt and Fill Bolt?
Yep - you've got 'em both ID'd. Take the fill plug out first - want to make sure you can pour fluid in before you let it all out.
I will repeat a few tips which were particularly helpful:
1) I dropped the spare tire and getting to the VTM drain and fill bolts was easy. It required a little "muscle" to loosen the bolts...the only real tool needed for this job is a 3/8" socket driver. There are two bolts - actually you take a 3/8" socket drive extension and insert that directly into the square hole in the bolt head (without any socket attached). Torque back up to 35 ft-lbs for each when done.
2) BTW, for the VTM, the correct size Crush Washers are: fill bolt - 20 mm. and drain bolt - 18 mm. If you are changing oil, the correct size is 14 mm.
3) After filling less than 3 quarts of the VTM Fluid, I temporarily tightened the fill bolt. I drove my MDX back and forth a few times in my driveway. I topped off the VTM Fluid a little...it took 3 quarts total.
Someone else said: After I did this, the VTM took 7 more pumps from the VTM Fluid container. I checked the fill mark on the container from Acura and there was exactly 1qt left, which is right on the mark since the manual says the refill takes 3 quarts. Makes you think if they do this at the dealers... I doubt it and just another reason to do this yourself... it is a piece of cake!!!
4) SAFETY FIRST! I wore safety glasses. Latex gloves would have been good for extra protection. Dispose of all hazmat materials properly.
What youíll need:
Check out http://www.hondacuraworld.com/Mercha...tegory_Code=CC
for a 15k service kit. For instructions on changing the oil or the caliper service, do a search. Iím just doing VTM fluid here.
One gallon of VTM-4 fluid
. Get it at your Honda dealer, it should be cheaper than from Acura and the Pilot and MDX use exactly the same stuff. Probably runs around $18 or $19.
Two crush washers
: Drain Plug: 18mm 90471-PX-000 $1.55 / Fill Plug: 20mm 94109-20000 $0.46
: Honda uses a special pump that's connected to the bottle and pumps in the fluid. I was at the Honda dealer this afternoon buying VTM and tranny fluid. They had a pile of them sitting right next to the fluid! One comes in every case they get. If he won't give or sell you one for $5, then go to an auto parts store and buy one -- you DO need it as the fill hole for VTM is on the side of the rear diff. You don't need a super-special bottle-sealing pump -- any siphon-type will work.
A pump costs $3.98 at any discount auto supply place. Sometimes they are called differential fluid pumps.
I know that Valvoline's oil pump doesn't fit the VTM jug, even though its label says it fits all differential oil containers. The Sta-Lube pump works really well for me and I like the simple device to keep the hose in place, hands-free.
Might be easier to bring the jug of VTM to the auto parts store and ask them to figure it out, as they might not like you tearing up their packages to test fit their various pumps. This way, you walk out knowing you have something that works, without begging the dealer parts punk who wouldn't give it to you.
Great suggestion is to make sure you loosen the fill bolt before you drain the system. If you can't get the fill bolt out first, no reason to continue the job.
Q: Is there any trick to open the drain plug? I can open the fill plug but the drain plug is so hard. Do you have to use an impact wrench for that?
A: NO- I'm away from the service manual, but my recollection is that it is less than 50 ft-lbs. Are you sure you've got the correct plug? Both use a 3/8" drive extension to fit right into the plug. If it is indeed drastically over tightened, the dealer should fix it for free.
Before selling my MDX, I changed the VTM-4 oil myself and I noticed some fine metallic particles sticking to the plug, which is a magnet. I took that magnetic plug to Los Gatos Acura (in San Jose) to be in the safe side. The guy behind the counter confirmed that this was typical and that the reason behind replacing the oil at the 7500 miles is breaking in the VTM system. There seemed to be a lot of these fine metallic particles though.
I wish I took a picture of the drain pan full. There is so much of that metallic particle in it, it forms a brain like pattern in the VTM-4 fluid. The particles do settle to the bottom of the pan if you wait overnight. Then it just looks like VTM-4 fluid. All the sand/dust looking stuff in the picture is the metallic particles.
Doesn't sound like good news. I've done mine twice and even the first time my VTM fluid wasn't ANYWHERE as dirty as yours! Wow. I had a tiny bit of black crud on the magnetic drain plug but that's it. Be sure to save all your receipts (down to the drain plug washers) as it looks like you stand a good chance of making a future Warranty Claim. Sorry!
I have to concur --the 2 times I've changed my fluid I haven't noticed nearly so much sediment in the VTM fluid. Even the drain plug has had negligible build up on it... Hopefully there's just a wide variance in the amount of acceptable sediment in the fluid...
The used VTM Fluid, appeared to be pristine to me...the color of Vicks 44 Cough Syrup. This prompts me to wonder if it is really necessary to change the VTM Fluid at 7,500 miles. Oh well, better safe than sorry, and besides it is such an easy job.