Problem with D5, D4 and D3 - Acura MDX Forum : Acura MDX SUV Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Exclamation Problem with D5, D4 and D3

Hi there. I've bought 04 acura mdx with 151k miles few months ago. Sometimes the gear was not engaging in D5 (RPMs were going up but in sounded like in was in neutral) and in was doing it like 10-20% of the time. I have changed the transmission fluid few days ago and now it shifts very smooth but D5 doesn't engage in like 50% of the time. I have tried driving it in D4 and it was working perfect for a couple of days but now it does the same thing in D4 and D3 as in D5. Anybody knows what it might be? Thank you for your suggestions

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Best guess is the transmission fluid was ignored for a period of time and that allowed varnish to build up on internal components (shift valves, etc.) which makes them sticky and causes late or missed shifts. You don't say what your fluid change method was, whether a single drain/fill, multi drain/fill, or if you disconnected cooler lines to cycle in completely new fluid. The transmission capacity is about 8.3 qts and a single drain/fill replaces about 3.3 qts of that. The theory on new fluid in a varnished up trans is that larger chunks of varnish break loose and cause these random/sometimes more frequent late or missed shifts. When dealing with an ignored transmission it is generally recommended to do multiple drain/fills driving several thousand miles between each one to let the new additives in the fluid work slowly rather than aggressively. It sounds like you ended up with the latter. Many shops refuse to service high mileage transmissions with fluid that is in really poor condition for exactly the issue you have encountered because the customer returns to the shop insisting that they "ruined" their transmission when the damage was already done.

There are two ways to proceed from here. Either a complete tear down and rebuild cleaning all these components in the process, or if you are in a position to baby it while letting the additives in the new fluid continue to work on cleaning the troubled components it may over time works it's way out of it. Honda is very adamant about not flushing their transmissions, but IMO that would be on table to try with the understanding that you may be facing a rebuild anyway and giving it a good chemical flush may save you that trouble and if it doesn't you proceed with the rebuild anyway.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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It was done in the shop. They said they drained 3.5 qts and refilled with 3.5 qts and than again drained 3.5 qts and refilled with 3.5 qts for a total of 7 qts.

Does it makes sense for me to take it to Autozone and see it if will give me a code on one of them obd2 devices?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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The codes could very likely help. It is quite possible that the fix will involve replacing an "external" component - the most common being shift solenoids or pressure switches. They're not horribly expensive, or really all that difficult to replace, but it's painful to just shotgun the problem... always better to use the OBD diagnosis if it's available.

FWIW, I had good luck using LubeGard Platinum additive to another Honda transmission (in an Odyssey, but it's very similar to our MDX tranny). A few drain-and-fills, and some LubeGard - and it was shifting fine again. I DID end up replacing some shift solenoids as well, but found that the LubeGard did seem to fix some issues that the solenoids didn't.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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One would think that there would be some lights flashing D5 or engine light at least? Definitely get it scanned ,better yet buy a scanner as it will save you time and the age of vehicle means you are more likely to see more codes in the future.

As Happy stated trans oil replacement and probably some sensors are in order.
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