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OK, so I started having some rough shifting on my 01 MDX a while back (I'm the 3rd owner, bought it at about 240,000 and have 280,000 miles on it now). The VTM4 light had been coming on and off at random for a while and I couldnt figure out why just by reading online. So, we took it on about a 4 hr trip, and on the way back (uphill) the ATF Temp light came on. I pulled it over immediately to find ATF all over under the car. I left it sit on the side of the road and brought some ATF back with me the next day. I filled the fluid up and checked it. I proceeded driving the rest of the way home. I checked the ATF level about 3 miles down the road and it looked good. I drove it all the way back home (about 1 hr., even pulling some really steep grades). It made it back home but would not shift into 5th gear. I rolled it up on ramps and changed the ATF with 1x1 drain and fill. Changed the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches and took it down the road. Still shifting very rough, and now it will not get out of 3rd gear, and the D% light is flashing. So, I have a couple of questions:

1) Should I spend the $70 to replace the ATF temp sensor? And where is it located??

2) When I drained it I got right at 5qts out, that seems like more than what others said. Is this because its on ramps? Or could it be an indication of the real issue?

Thanks for all the help.
 

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When the D5 light is flashing, there are stored codes pertaining to the transmission. These codes cannot be read by the cheap generic code readers. You need to get the code first before starting to throw guesses at it as that can be very expensive and fruitless.

I seem to remember there is a way to read the transmission codes without a code reader but I cannot find that post. Maybe someone else can help?
 

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The most likely reason I can think of for getting 5 quarts of fluid during a drain and refill is that it was overfilled. So that begs a couple questions that might help you identify the issue(s)...

1) Are you absolutely certain that the fluid level is right now?
2) Did you use the Honda-rated fluid when you refilled the tranny on the road?

The temperature sensor seems to be externally located (that would have saved me a LOT of trouble on a VW I had to replace one in!!!), but if your tranny was blowing fluid all over the place, I don't doubt that the temperature WAS too high... I wouldn't dream of replacing that temperature sensor unless I got some other indication it was toast.

Ideally, you'll be able to find someone with a HDS (Honda Diagnostic System) to read the trouble codes from the tranny - that's going to save you a whole lot of time and money eventually, I'd wager.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was checking the ATF on the side of the interstate, pretty flat area, so I'm about 95% sure that it was not overfilled. And I added 5 qts back to it when I filled it. I need to roll it off the ramps and check it again to confirm that it is not overfull now. I did fill it with the (Z-1, I think) Honda equivalent that walmart sells.

So, what I have done is read as much information as possible and try to determine all of the possible fixes that seem applicable to my situation. The temp sensor was next on my list, but with pressure switches and 1x1 drain and fill not helping anything I am a little discouraged and not so sure that I am on the right track anymore.

So, can anyone tell me if there are any decent Honda Diagnostic systems that could be purchased for like $50 or something in that range? Also, what exactly does a scanner require to be considered compatible with Honda? I mean there are many OBD2 scanners that say they are good for HONDA Diagnostics, and they even have the bluetooth ones that you can use in conjunction with your phone. But I dont want to waste money on one that isnt going to read the codes. Anyone have any good experience with inexpensive scan tools for full Honda diagnostics?

Also, on a side note there were a lot of metal deposits on the tranny drain plug (small, but built up thickly on the plug), should I try and drop the pan and clean out what I can from that tranny/pan? It would only cost me a gasket right? Anything special I would need to know/do?

Thanks again for the help all!
 

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There is no pan to drop, unfortunately. Honda does not do business like Ford, GM or other cars for commoners (sarcasm). The only way to change the internal filter is to remove the transmission and disassemble it completely.

Honda seems to think their transmissions are bullet proof and need no interference from stupid people like us (more sarcasm).
 

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Internal tranny fluid filters are more the norm now - the thinking is that by the time the tranny has produced enough debris to clog the filter, you're going to need to be rebuilding the whole thing anyway. I can't really recall anyone who came to the conclusion that they fixed a misbehaving transmission by only replacing a dirty filter. Maybe that has happened, but I'd bet against a transmission with a clogged filter lasting very long because of the wear that created the stuff that blocked the filter.

My approach to this is to mount an external magnetic filter inline with the cooler line. This should ensure that the external filter is now catching the junk that the main filter won't have to any more. At the very least, it's going to prolong the life of the internal filter.
 

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Speaking of, has anybody used this (or similar)?

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/ATP-JX-154-Aluminum-In-Line-Filter/dp/B004A6QE0A[/ame]

It looks intriguing (no line to cut), but I'm suspicious of how it attaches to the radiator.
 

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Pibcak, I have one of those very filters sitting in my garage now. My plan is to split the cooling line, and do a "full flush" of my tranny fluid by running the engine until two quarts come out (into a calibrated jug), then pour in two quarts, and repeat until I've used the 12 quarts of tranny fluid, or until it looks 100% new. Then I'll put that filter into the cut line to "repair it". It sure can't hurt anything, and presumably would capture any of the nasty metallic bits that might otherwise get jammed in the shift solenoid bores.
 
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