Acura MDX SUV Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, sorry if this is posted in the place, MOD feel free to move it.

I bought my 2001 MDX in 2010 at 88k mileage from a very reputable dealer in my area. The MDX was serviced at this dealer from the time it was bought (only one previous owner), so they were able to tell me that all recommended maintenance had been performed. The day after I bought it, I noticed an odd "juddering" noise, which of course I found out was a bad torque converter. Amazingly, the dealer replaced the torque converter free of charge (which was nice, because I negotiated a pretty decent price). Since then, I've had zero problems with the MDX. I've kept up all recommended maintenance, including timing belt at 105k. So all in all, it's been a great vehicle.

But now the story has changed. I am at 166k miles, and I am being told I have 2 seals needing to be replaced: the front engine oil seal, and the rear main seal. The dealer is telling me it will be $1200 x2 plus tax, and they are saying that replacing them at the same time won't save on labor cost because blah blah I don't remember why they said that? But that sounds odd that if you are going to remove the transmission, why wouldn't it save money to replace them at the same time?

To make this worse, I am 99% sure the torque converter is going out again. And I know what a failing torque converter feels and sounds like, from experience. I didn't tell the dealer that, so they didn't include the estimate for replacing the torque converter, but I would assume that surely there is some sort of labor discount if I throw that replacement in there with everything else?

By my estimations, if they stick to their guns and say no discount for replacing the two seals at the same time, and they replace the torque converter, then I'm looking at somewhere between $3000-$4000 to make the repairs. According to KBB, my MDX is only worth a little more than $4000.

It's a lot of money to spend on an old vehicle, however, I would do it if I knew I would get several more years out of it without other major problems (because it's cheaper than buying a newer vehicle!). So I need some advice!

Could I get to 200k miles without other major problems going forward, with this high mileage (166k)? Or rather than doing their recommended repairs, would I be better off replacing the entire transmission at this time? Does replacing the transmission include a new torque converter?

I would love to hear your recommendations on where to go from here. Again, I am willing to spend some money if I knew it would get me a few more years out of it. But if I am looking at a money pit from here on out, maybe it's time to let the ship sink.

Thanks guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Hey guys, sorry if this is posted in the place, MOD feel free to move it.

I bought my 2001 MDX in 2010 at 88k mileage from a very reputable dealer in my area. The MDX was serviced at this dealer from the time it was bought (only one previous owner), so they were able to tell me that all recommended maintenance had been performed. The day after I bought it, I noticed an odd "juddering" noise, which of course I found out was a bad torque converter. Amazingly, the dealer replaced the torque converter free of charge (which was nice, because I negotiated a pretty decent price). Since then, I've had zero problems with the MDX. I've kept up all recommended maintenance, including timing belt at 105k. So all in all, it's been a great vehicle.

But now the story has changed. I am at 166k miles, and I am being told I have 2 seals needing to be replaced: the front engine oil seal, and the rear main seal. The dealer is telling me it will be $1200 x2 plus tax, and they are saying that replacing them at the same time won't save on labor cost because blah blah I don't remember why they said that? But that sounds odd that if you are going to remove the transmission, why wouldn't it save money to replace them at the same time?

To make this worse, I am 99% sure the torque converter is going out again. And I know what a failing torque converter feels and sounds like, from experience. I didn't tell the dealer that, so they didn't include the estimate for replacing the torque converter, but I would assume that surely there is some sort of labor discount if I throw that replacement in there with everything else?

By my estimations, if they stick to their guns and say no discount for replacing the two seals at the same time, and they replace the torque converter, then I'm looking at somewhere between $3000-$4000 to make the repairs. According to KBB, my MDX is only worth a little more than $4000.

It's a lot of money to spend on an old vehicle, however, I would do it if I knew I would get several more years out of it without other major problems (because it's cheaper than buying a newer vehicle!). So I need some advice!

Could I get to 200k miles without other major problems going forward, with this high mileage (166k)? Or rather than doing their recommended repairs, would I be better off replacing the entire transmission at this time? Does replacing the transmission include a new torque converter?

I would love to hear your recommendations on where to go from here. Again, I am willing to spend some money if I knew it would get me a few more years out of it. But if I am looking at a money pit from here on out, maybe it's time to let the ship sink.

Thanks guys.
I had a similar decision with my Volvo earlier this year, which is how I ended up with my 2004 MDX (and then three weeks later with my 2008 MDX). While you will find experts here far more knowledgeable on the mechanical aspects than me, I would humbly offer the following for your consideration:

Your 2001 is close to 270,000 kilometers. That is OK if you are problem free, but what you describe are major issues and if your car is only worth 4K US, and it is within the first years of 1G that is plagued with transmission issues, and now you have the engine seals leaking...that is only what you know about right now. I have found with car ownership with an older vehicle, when the problems start, they are not just isolated to one or two (for instance, in my Volvo earlier this year, it was an AWD problem but I ended up having the steering angle sensor/clockspring, brake control module, AOC pump and fluids, manifold air pressure sensor all replaced, and after that it was the timing belt and that all that DID NOT fix the AWD problem. I loved the car, but sometimes you have to do a risk/reward and most of us do not have and endless bank account so we have to consider at what point it is time to let go). If it was regular wear and tear items, I would say go for it, but torque converter on a model year with known transmission issues, with the seal leaks with the high mileage...it's not a great combination... Can you get more years out of it? No one can say and no one will give you a guarantee...but the problem is what if you sink all this money into it and then something else happens (and as cars age, that possibility increases exponentially). How many more years do you realistically expect to get out of it, though?

I could be wishy washy and give you a maybe answer, but in reading your post, if I were in your shoes, my answer would be a definitive NO. I say this with some recent experience behind me. After I said no to continuing to work on the AWD, I just parked my Volvo at my Dad's and he drives it around the town to do groceries, etc. Well, since then he has seen check engine lights come up. So I recently just sold it as-is to a colleague and while my kids are sad to see it go, my risk/reward assessment has tilted much more heavily towards the risk side. Plus, now, instead of sinking more money into it, I bought the MDXes and don't regret the decision one moment. My upbringing is partly the traditional Asian upbringing of getting maximum value out of what you use, and one of the nice byproducts of that is not having any real sentimental attachment to things like cars, but recognize whether they are still a worthwhile proposition to own. In my case, as much as I liked the Volvo SUV, and while I tried to justify to myself that there is no rust, kids love it, etc., it turned out to be a money pit and it that was only going to get worse as the vehicle ages. If all things are still the same but your mileage was like 80,000 miles, I would say for sure keep it and put the work in, but even then I would proceed with caution.

Is there any rust on the car? That's another consideration that has an impact on your decisions. A well maintained car that is rusting out (I have known people who maintain their cars regularly but never wash it and as such the corrosive properties of winter salting, etc. causes havoc on the car and the components) is still not worthwhile to keep. That is just my opinion, of course, so take it with a grain of salt.

Another consideration or possibility is maybe get a second opinion on both the costing / pricing as well as have the whole car looked over. Even if you can get it done cheaper, the miles are still high and that won't change and unless you get a really good deal on a transmission that is problem free (no guarantee), the risk is still there, as it is for all used cars. The point is to try to mitigate it as much as possible.

Something else to consider regarding the repairs are cheaper than buying a new vehicle. Maybe technically that is true at the moment, but as I looked back on my 2003 Sentra that my ex totalled, I saw that I put so much money from 2009 - 2016 into that thing, I could have easily bought a brand new car. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 but if nothing else, that experience has taught me not to ignore the warning signs. If the repair bills are adding up, consider the cumulative effect of those bills as opposed to thinking of just a one time outlay of funds for a new car. Plus, the bills are just going to continue over time, if experience has taught me anything. I was replacing stuff against my mechanic's advice to "let it go". Eventually I had no choice when the Sentra was totalled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
This is true, I could get a quote from a non-dealer.

I'm more concerned with what else I could run into in the near future, that would also need to be repaired?
A non-dealer price will be SIGNIFICANTLY less. It is highway robbery some of the prices they charge to do things. Also an independent shop will be able to corroborate what actually needs to be done since they technically don't have a vested interest to line their parent company's pockets. If you find a good mechanic that can speak the truth, whether good or bad, that will go a long way. Plus, a really good mechanic can take time in providing you some free education along the way. After an experience years ago, I swore off buying used cars. But knowing slightly more about cars now has mitigated my fear of buying something from the unknown. There are many, many people here on this forum whose mechanical aptitude can assist you in determining whether something should be fixed and what options you have. But you should always find a good indie mechanic in your area. The good news is, in this day and age of internet customer reviews, it won't take too long to find one that others have learned to trust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
Main seals leaking? Those are normal maintenance.
Cost you $1200? Gah, run from that 'stealer'. You will need a new timing belt since they have the whole darn thing opened up anyhow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
If the seals aren't causing any problems other than a puddle on your garage floor, put a rug under your engine, top off the oil regularly and pretend there's no issue. ;-)

Then get a tube of Lubegard Shudder Fixx and put it into the tranny dipstick tube (easier than getting to the fill port). It'll most likely fix your TC issue, and even if it doesn't, it's a dirt cheap attempt that might work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Transmission issues and front/rear oil seals on any acura or honda don't bother me.

The 2001 model year MDX bothers me. I had one. I know many people who had one. I would never advise anyone to buy or own an '01 or '02. It will not age well.

If you are looking to save money, an '06 is fairly inexpensive and is the most evolved first generation model, very reliable. If you can get a Navi/Touring for $11 or $12k, and you can $3k for your dripping '01 you will be out less than $10k


Also, you don't want to keep a car whereby the manufacturer no longer provides spare parts and all you can get is junkyard inventory parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
If the seals aren't causing any problems other than a puddle on your garage floor, put a rug under your engine, top off the oil regularly and pretend there's no issue. ;-)

Then get a tube of Lubegard Shudder Fixx and put it into the tranny dipstick tube (easier than getting to the fill port). It'll most likely fix your TC issue, and even if it doesn't, it's a dirt cheap attempt that might work.
Agree. My rear seal has been leaking for over 200,000 miles. It drops a quarter size spot each night. I'd just drive it.

Also, 01 and 02 can can go the distance. I have 412,000 miles on mine with the original engine and transmission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
726 Posts
I have an 02 with original engine and transmission too....aging very well. 225K or so miles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcat

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I have an 02 with original engine and transmission too....aging very well. 225K or so miles.
Okay, but would you spend as much as its worth to fix it?

Some people aren't real proud to be leaving an oil puddle wherever they park.

When a car gets old and you don't want to fix it, then its time to sell it.

Some of you say to just drive it into the ground. If you are into beater cars, than that's okay too - but there's no point asking about it or debating it. It comes down to priorities of the owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
My TL-S has 220K on the ODO.. Not a single drop of oil in the floor...
Well maintained cars with high mileage are no different to low mileage maintained cars.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcat

·
Registered
Joined
·
726 Posts
Okay, but would you spend as much as its worth to fix it?

Some people aren't real proud to be leaving an oil puddle wherever they park.

When a car gets old and you don't want to fix it, then its time to sell it.

Some of you say to just drive it into the ground. If you are into beater cars, than that's okay too - but there's no point asking about it or debating it. It comes down to priorities of the owner.
I might...but if you saw my O2, beater doesn't come to mind...older yes, but not a beater, .honestly, I am thinking of selling it locally and looking for a nice older pickup truck...reg cab short bed..
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcat

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I might...but if you saw my O2, beater doesn't come to mind...older yes, but not a beater, .honestly, I am thinking of selling it locally and looking for a nice older pickup truck...reg cab short bed..
If you've been thinking about it for more than a few months, just do it.

You don't need an 2002 next to your 2011 and bimmer. Pickup style will add functionality you don't have now, and an older one allows you to really use a pickup the way its meant.

I also have a 2016 GMC Acadia Denali with all the trappings. But I like driving my old 2220k mi MDX more, and keep reconditioning it to like-new every couple of years (all new leather, hand-rubbed mirror finish paint, all new suspension bushings/bearings front/back, axles; told dealer to go over entire car carefully and they couldn't find anything to fix).
I gotta let it go - its like a high maintenance girlfriend, when you already have a trophy wife.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I've spent more than a vehicle is worth in the past and been happy that I did. My vehicles never look like 'beaters'.

First, I need to feel that the investment gets me 3-4 more years from the vehicle. Then, if I really like the vehicle, I might spend $3 - $5K for the fix (probably not more). My current MDX, for example, costs me about $200 every six months for liability only insurance (with minimums) and very little every year to register. A new or newer vehicle could run up to $100 per month for comprehensive, and $300 -$500 per year to register.

Plus, when I'm faced with this dilemma, I usually already have all of the other maintenance up to date -- brakes, front end, tune up, etc. So, buying a new-to-me vehicle instead puts me back on the catch-up clock for maintenance.

Also, I'm self employed, so I get the mileage deduction.

Basically, I hate spending money on vehicles -- especially new ones. And, the Acura/Honda now is nearly indestructible so why not run it into the ground? Love not having payments.

Here in Colorado, you'll see dozens of '04 - '06 per day just running around town. Gotta believe that most are problem free for the most part. Like my '04.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
My TL-S has 220K on the ODO.. Not a single drop of oil in the floor...
Well maintained cars with high mileage are no different to low mileage maintained cars.
The point is, he does have leaking oil, front and back, and a bad torque converter, and it will cost nearly as much to fix as its worth. Its a combination timing belt replacement package plus transmission drop, plus replacement torque converter. $1,400 for rebuilt tranny is a steal, and if the OP can do that, the 01 model issues are not a liability for him.

OP, you should check yelp or other reviews on the trans shop.
Wait until 210k mi to do the front oil seal with the timing belt and you only pay an extra $5.65 for the part. You might need a valve adjustment by then (rough and prone to stalling when cold) and the combination belt and valve adjustment will be about $1,200 at a Honda specialty shop. After that its just front axles and bearings, as with any higher mileage car. If the radio goes and you have navi, you'll need to get a used unit for $600 (the replacement $1,300 units are no longer produced). After market radio won't work with the navi, and you lose all touch screen controls for the A/C. That's the only other expensive item which might fail. I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
My '01 NAVI_Touring MDX has over 243K on the ODO, and I've enjoyed every mile!
Over the past 16 years, I've had to repair/replace various items, including
- NAVI unit (Bought a reconditioned replacement from a well-reviewed third-party)
- Heated O2 sensor (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
- Power steering rack
- Subframe Nut weld (broken by dealer during service of previous item, would only cover 50% of cost because of age of car)
- Sway bar links
- Engine mounts
- Brake pads & rotors (of course)
- Interior console and seat sides leather/vinyl
- Driver heated seat pads
- Lug bolts (not the nuts, the threaded bolts attached to the car!) on two wheels
- Lots of bulbs (now I have replaced all the original yellow internal bulbs with brighter, lower-wattage white LEDS)
- Nerf bars, to replace original running boards
- Pioneer touchscreen receiver (that almost makes morning coffee) to replace original radio
- Backseat satellite TV (now discontinued by SiriusXM) to keep the kiddies happy on long trips. Kids are now fairly grown anyway.
- etc.

I prefer my '01 styling to the later model MDX's (am I wrong to do so?)
I save money these days by a lot of DIY servicing, which I enjoy, and using a trusted private mechanic I have found for tricky jobs, and Walmart Auto's super-inexpensive service for routine jobs ($43 for full synthetic oil + filter change, with other checks! $20 for injector clean! Free + parts cost for engine filter!)

My rear main seals need replacing (they are apparently moist, but do not drip) and my Torque Convertor Clutch Circuit is complaining, so I am at a decision point too. However, if I can strike a good deal with a small, local transmission shop, I will keep this great car going for several more years, if I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
I'd suggest ignoring that rear main seal "problem" (who cares if it's not dripping oil?).

A lot of MDXs will have a noisy torque converter, which is why we have stereos. ;-) My 200,000+ car's torque converter was getting noisier (though not more than a minor annoyance), and I got it to quiet down a lot using LubeGard Platinum (an additive that absolutely saved my son's Subaru's transmission). That said, if that doesn't help, and/or the TC is getting noisy enough that you can't stand it, swapping out the TC isn't a show-stopper either, assuming you have a competent shop that won't charge an arm and a leg. Having a paid-for car set up just like you want it is a very good thing, and the cost of replacing a TC won't cover many payments for a new MDX. I plan on running the wheels off my MDX (currently coming up on 220,000 miles), as it's been very, very reliable and comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
I just pulled a transmission fluid R&R (2 quarts plus 600ml), and included a couple more ounces of LubeGard Platinum as part of the new fluid.

The photo of the fluid draining shows how clear the fluid still is, though it's hard to see the debris captured on the magnet. But the next photo shows the sum total of all the material that was on the drain plug magnet. Keep in mind this is a nearly 220,000 mile transmission, with about 9,000 miles since the last fluid R&R. That's not to say it won't fall out of the car tomorrow, but it certainly doesn't appear to be grinding itself to dust internally from what I can see.


 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top