2015 MDX Starts and then Dies - Acura MDX Forum : Acura MDX SUV Forums
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018 Thread Starter
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2015 MDX Starts and then Dies

When the wife went to start the MDX today it would start fine, idle fine and then 1-2 seconds later it would just cut out and die then all the warnings would come on.

If I try to start it again while the dash is still lit it just cranks without starting.

If I turn off the car (hit the button twice) and try to start it - it starts strong but dies 1-2 seconds later.

Everything was running fine until this morning. I changed the battery last December and there doesn’t seem to be any loss of battery power as it cranks strong and nothing dims out.

Any ideas what it could be?

It has about 94k miles
Thanks.

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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018 Thread Starter
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Video of the issue

https://youtu.be/el2P3IstPmg
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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I think you might be educating us on this one. Need a good service tech that can troubleshoot, could be a LOT of things.

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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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I had experienced a stalling issue on Thanksgiving, though the behavior was a little different.

When I started the car on Thanksgiving morning, it idled fine. But once I tried putting it into gear (D or R), it would stall. It happened multiple times, so I just ended up giving it a little gas to keep it from stalling. That allowed me to move the car from its spot. The check engine light never turned on.

A couple of days later my wife and I dropped it off at the Acura dealer. But by that time, the issue wasn't really happening anymore. They tried multiple times to reproduce the issue but they couldn't. Their guess was that there may have been some bad gas in the fuel tank. A few days before the problem showed up, my wife filled up at a gas station she hadn't gone to before. She also noticed a bit of hesitation when hitting the accelerator. So there may be some merit to the dealership's guess.

Our MDX a 2015 with about 72K miles on it. The thing I'm most worried about is that it might happen again in the dead of winter. The temps on Thanksgiving were unseasonably cold that day, but it was much warmer when the dealership saw the car.

I'm not really sure what could be the root of your issue. Maybe it could be tied to one of the various sensors/components that measure or manage airflow to the engine. If you say the battery seems strong, it would steer me away a bit from thinking it's ignition system related. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you can get your MDX moving on its own, and I look forward to hearing any updates.

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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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Things like this usually come down to one of two things -

- Fuel
- Ignition

The fuel issue could be due to being out of gas (I assume you checked that), contaminated gas (probably only happen if a prankster got to your gas filler), a bad fuel pump, a clogged fuel filter, or something impeding the flow of fuel in the fuel lines.

The ignition issue could be cause by a number of things.

A fairly simple test would be to pull a plug wire and hold it a quarter inch from a ground (any non-painted metal part of the engine), and have someone crank the engine and see if there's a spark. If there's spark then the problem is likely the fuel flow with the fuel filter and fuel pump being the most likely culprits IMO.

Before doing too much, connect an OBD2 scanner up and check whatever codes you might have since they might provide a clue - but some of them may just be resultants rather than the cause.

I hope it ends up to be cheap and simple.
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018 Thread Starter
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I hooked it up to a scanner attempted to start the car and the only code returned was

P2101 Throttle Actuator A Control Motor Circuit Range Performance

I then erased the code because the last time I got the Christmas tree lights that resolved the issue after changing the battery.

I then tried to start it again but this time instead of cranking the dash lights and headlight flickered very fast.

I then hooked up jumper cables for a few minutes and the car started up with the Christmas lights issue. It’s sitting in my driveway running. I’ll drive it around and restart it to see if it does again.

The only change I made was I installed a HDMI converter plugged into the rear console plug which I believe is only live when the car is running or in accessory mode. Maybe its drawing power? I guess I’ll see as soon i a drive around and restart.

Wow.
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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Dead battery possibly a throttle position sensor.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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I then tried to start it again but this time instead of cranking the dash lights and headlight flickered very fast.

I then hooker up jumper cables for a few minute and the car started up with the Christmas lights issue. It’s sitting in my driveway running. I’ll drive it around and restart it to see if it does again.
That description makes it sound like a low or bad battery. Be careful with the jumper cables in case there's a bad cell, which can cause explosive gas expulsion along with a possible explosion from the jumper cable sparking (which is why the negative shouldn't be connected to the battery post - it s/b connected to a frame ground away from the battery). I've seen this actually happen once only without the explosion - it's scary. Even a pretty new battery can go bad. You can always take the car or battery by itself to Autozone or the like and have them load test the battery to see if it indicates good or bad and you can see the status of the charge - normal or low.

If it indicates the battery is good but low on charge then you need to figure out why it'd be low on charge and that usually tracks back to whatever you did last on the vehicle - maybe the HDMI device - or maybe in messing with it you just left a light on or something.
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018
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If you have the original battery from 2015, it might be dead by now. However the usual behaviour would be just light tripping, but no crank, which is not your case. The code you pulled shows what's likely to be the actual reason.


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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018 Thread Starter
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I stoped the engine after about 15 minutes and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

I then started it and every warning light was triggered - I drove around the neighborhood, parked it, stoped the engine and restarted again. Again no problems other than the warning lights.

I cleared all those warnings and restarted and they went away.

I took it for a 20 mile errand run to get a good charge and to rule out the alternator and no problems. I restarted it a few more times from running errands and no problems.

I seemed to have loaned my multimeter out to someone that I don’t remember so I am unable to check the amp and load amps, maybe I’ll take it to autozone until I can find out who has my meter.

I unplugged the HMDI converter and put the overhead main light switch to the off position - It was in the middle for entry. We let it sit overnight and it started up fine today.

The battery is just under 1 year old (Costco Interstate) so I either have a bad battery or there is some parasitic electrical draw - which I suspect is the HDMI converter. I’ll watch it over the next few days and test it for a parasitic draw once I can locate my meter.

I wonder what would have happened if I had towed it to Acura. I suspect they would have found things completely unrelated and unnecessary.
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Seems like a battery issue or whatever the HDMI converter is doing even though you said the battery is about a year old (in post 6 you the lights are flickering quickly, suggesting a battery with little reserve capacity to start the car)...it seems every weird electrical gremlin/anomaly on this site is solved with a new battery. It's cold and that might have been enough to kill the dying battery.

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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018 Thread Starter
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It’s baffeling - as far as I know nothing was left on and the rear console plug is only live when the engine is on or in accessory mode. But it was just recently plugged in and left in overnight so that’s suspect. And since the jump and charge of the battery (and removal of the HDMI converter) the car has been starting fine.

It’s cold tonight so we’ll see how it starts tomorrow. I didn’t have a chance to get the battery tested and no luck on remembering who has my meter - I may just go to Harbor Frieght and pick one up so I can test for parasitic draw this weekend.

We have went through several start / stop cycles and drives so I would expect if there was a real P2101 code it would have triggered again by now. I am assuming the P2101 was triggered by the low battery not fully starting all the “things”.

What’s difficult is this untrusting feeling each time we take it out. My local parts guy said he sure does see a lot of issues with the 3rd gen MDXes and said the same about the battery. They go quicker and when they go they cause oddball issues that lead to wasted money in diagnosing when all it needs is a new battery or a charge.

Very frustrating!
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Yeah, you need to rule out that HDMI converter before you chase your tail on anything else. I suggest you buy a decent battery charger and maybe a cheap multimeter. Schumacher makes good chargers, but I’m sure there are others.

AFAIK you can’t easily load test a car battery with a handheld multimeter ( car parts stores or Batteries Plus have the correct equipment). But you can check battery voltage and you might be able to figure out what circuits stay live with the ignition off.

It sounds like you drained the battery to nearly nothing, so that battery is pretty much suspect for the rest of its life. I would have a very low threshold for replacing that battery if you continue to have problems. A new battery costs less than one hour of diagnostic labor at the dealer, and they do have a finite lifespan even without that kind of trauma. Just sayin.
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Quote:
My local parts guy said he sure does see a lot of issues with the 3rd gen MDXes
Do you mean an Acura parts guy? It's pretty much their job to only provide parts for vehicles so of course he sees some parts going out for MDXs, and every other Acura model. I wouldn't put any stock in what he says. If it's not an Acura parts guy I'd put even less stock in it because the regular parts stores have few parts for the MDX.

Quote:
AFAIK you can’t easily load test a car battery with a handheld multimeter
You're right - it can't be load tested at all with a multimeter. The auto parts stores have the appropriate load tester though. I've found it easy enough to just take the battery out and bring it to the place in another car but it can be load tested in the car also.

It seems that the MDX, and no doubt many of the newer vehicles, exhibit all kinds of weird symptoms when the battery is low. I know when the battery went out on my 2014 MDX (at just over 4 years) all kinds of lights flashed and relays clicked, which was somewhat alarming, but it was definitely all due to the bad battery and was resolved with the new battery.

On any problem like this I look at what was just recently done that coincided with the problem and that's the likely root cause of the issue - ex: maybe just messing around with the HDMI thing kept the doors open and ignition on long enough to drain down the battery somewhat - it might not have actually been a parasitic draw.
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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018 Thread Starter
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I found who I loaned the multimeter to and did some tests this evening.

Battery Stats:
12.7v car off
10.4v when starting
14.5-8v when running

Everything off after a 30 min sleep I disconnected the negative terminal and attached one lead to the negative wire and the other to the negative battery post

I got a reading of .47ma on a parasitic draw test even with the HDMI converter plugged in. I unplugged it and it remained at .47ma

I understand .47ma is normal?

Is there another test I should be doing?

Now I am not sure if it being plugged in while the car is running does anything different such as keeping that circuit open and live when the car turns off but I wasn’t willing to test it. For now I’ll just make sure the kids know to unplug it when they use it as a just in case.

To me it seems the battery just died in less than a year. AFAIK nothing was left on What baffles me is it charged up and is showing good numbers now.

I didn’t want to chance it so I went to Costco for the warranty and they told me to bring it in for a replacement. I asked if I can buy the replacement now and return the bad battery tomorrow to be more efficient and they said sure. So I picked up a new battery, installed it and will return the bad one under warranty tomorrow. I don’t need the wife and kids getting stuck somewhere trying to jumpstart the car.

I guess now I see why it’s a good idea to have a portable battery type jumper for each car - but they are flawed - Just remembering to charge them periodically seems like a chore itself and if forgotten they are useless. I have cables in each car which I have never used for my vehicles except for this go around.

What do you folks favor - the slim battery type or the big bulky power / compressor types?
@mdxstang - it was a local parts place not Acura - it’s where I get most of all my parts needs like filters, calipers, washers, bolts etc.. (if they have them in stock) anything outside of OEM Acura/Honda parts or brake pads. Brake Pads I get from AutoZone. No idea whether or not he’s that knowledgeable but even my own mechanic doesn’t like our 3rd gen MDXes. Before when I was going to get it towed to him I called him and he told me he was replacing a bad alternator on a ‘14 with 72k mikes right now.

The MDX has been good to me besides, the Christmas Tree warning lights last year (which a new battery solved) and a stuck caliper slide pin which is really a rusted bracket which at the time was not available aftermarket. But that’s the northeast salted roads for you.

I now have a broken front engine mount but I am doing the timing belt soon so I’ll get to that when I do the timing belt.
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