Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Long Island, New York
3 quarts or 4---2008 MDX Transmission Fluid
I have come across an interesting problem for which I believe the forum should be made aware. After searching threads on this forum concerning defective torque converters I was pretty much convinced that the symptoms I am experiencing with my 2008 MDX with about 33k miles on it pointed to a strong possibility that I had one of these defective torque converters in my vehicle. I scheduled an appointment to have it checked out and replaced if need be under warrantee. Back in August of 2011 and about 2500 miles ago, I had the transmission fluid replaced by a friend using genuine Acura parts and the fluid change was done as per the Acura shop manual. My friend drained the fluid and re-filled using 3 U.S. quarts or 2.8 liters and I KNOW he put the 3 quarts back in because I was handing him the open containers. After leaving my vehicle at the Acura dealer for diagnosis, I received a phone call from the service writer stating that the MDX was about 1 quart low on trans fluid and that for proper diagnosis he recommended doing a transmission service which cost $99. I thought it was a bit strange, but agreed. When it came time to pick up my vehicle, I was told that the transmission/torque converter checked out fine and that the issues I had been experiencing was due to the low fluid level. Now, I have been working on cars, trucks, race cars, etc for about 40 years. I know the symptoms of low trans fluid but gave them the benefit of the doubt due to the fact that as I grew older, it became a bit harder for me to do my own work for health issues so I fell out of the loop concerning the newer model vehicles, but make no mistake that my health issues in no way included dementia. I restricted my mechanics to race cars (easier to work on and things are just plain more accessible). I figured that if I didn't play the political warrantee game, future warrantee work would become an uphill battle. After paying my blackmail bill, I requested that I be shown/proven that the fluid level is now at the full mark before the vehicle rolled out the shop. Checking the fluid as per the Acura manual on the computer, (bring engine up to operating temperature by allowing the cooling fans to cycle on and off at least once but not more than twice, shut off the engine, check fluid level within 30 to 90 seconds of turning off the engine but not more than 90 seconds otherwise the engine will have to be brought back up to operating temperature by allowing the cooling fans to cycle again). After performing the check by the book, no fluid showed on the dipstick.......none! I was assured that 3 quarts went in after the drain as per the Acura manual for my year, make and model MDX. The first thing that came to my mind was that the fluid level is the same as it was when the MDX rolled into the shop so I thought I caught them in a scam (fraud), no fluid was changed but I was charged for it. I looked over the computer screen and did in fact verify that it called for 2.8 liters or 3 US quarts on a drain and fill. I also verified the level checking procedure. The tech added 1 more quart of trans fluid and rechecked the dipstick after bringing the engine back up to proper operating temperature and low and behold, the fluid showed full, right in between the 2 holes. So here lies the problem. Is the manual incorrect? Could this be the cause for the vast majority of defective torque converters????? The fluid of 2 other MDX's were checked, a 2007 coming in for service and a 2009 going out after just being serviced. Both were 1 quart low on transmission fluid. I think this issue needs to be broadcast thru-out the MDX community and maybe even the Acura community so that the unsuspecting customer can make sure their fluids are FULL before leaving the shop. I suspect that being a quart low on transmission fluid may be blamed for transmission failure and the warrantee then be voided for that repair. Any and all feedback welcomed concerning this slippery issue/set-up. Thank you for reading.