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2002 MDX Issue While Stopping in Gear

1871 Views 16 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  02mdxwill
I have a 2002 Acura MDX with 196,000 miles that has a strange issue. Sometimes when I am stopped (with my foot on the brake) while in gear it will try to lurch forward a little bit and has stalled on me twice when doing this, both times while waiting on a long red light. This only happens when it has been running for a while and it does not happen when running cold or in park/neutral. I think it could be a transmission/transfer case issue. Sometimes I notice a light grinding sound coming from around the transfer case when I put it in gear. The ATF looks full and clean every time I check. All of the gears work fine, there is no slippage whatsoever when shifting. There is no check engine light coming on either. Help me figure this out before I take it to a shop, I am stumped.
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I ran a couple bottle of Lucas fuel system cleaner through it while driving from Seattle to Vegas. The issue seems to have disappeared for the most part. I am not convinced that it is over, so I would still appreciate any advice.
It's a hard one, because it could be caused by the engine idle speed blipping higher or the transmission doing something odd. There could be a lot of possible causes for either, so it's really going to be hard to give you much specific guidance. The fact your tranny fluid looks good (and is changed regularly) is a positive though. It could be you had a bad tank of fuel that caused an odd idle... Basically, if it's not happening now, just do your best to forget it ever happened. ;-)
I hope I can forget about it, but I am going to take it in for a flush and have them check out the transmission and see if they can pull any codes. Worst case scenario is having to get the transmission rebuilt, I suppose.
Be careful - there are "transmission flush machines" that are notorious for causing more problems than they solve. The worst ones move fluid around in an unusual manner, stirring up debris that's been happily and inertly lounging in the crevices of your tranny. This burst of metal-laden gunk distributed throughout your transmission's internals - particularly getting into the shift solenoids, which are electromagnets - can cause loads of new problems. If their "flush" consists of disconnecting one of the transmission cooler hoses and draining / refilling simultaneously until all that's left in the tranny is new fluid, then fine... But even just a humble drain-and-fill (easier and cheaper than an oil change) can pay big dividends, and is a dead easy DIY.
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I am starting to think it is some kind of fuel or spark issue. I started acting up mildly at a red light again, didn't jump much but I felt it. Sometimes I can tell it is happening because the idle gets weird, but not rough. This morning I was at O'reilly's, went to reverse it out of the lot, it stalled. I tried starting it and it wouldn't turn over. The battery was fine but I ran most of the juice out of it, the starter was fine. After about 30 minutes it started up and I was able to drive it home. The radio reset, now I have to figure out the code for it. So, I was worried about the transmission at first but I am now leaning toward it maybe being spark plugs, fuel injectors, or something related. Let me know what you think. I think I am going to replace the spark plugs first, and maybe also the injectors. Once I got it started back up it hasn't had any issues since. I drove 3 miles home and the battery was charged back up and it didn't idle weird or anything.
I'll save you some time - it's not the plugs or coils or injectors. They don't fail simultaneously like that - the idle would just get a little lumpy as one cut out and in... the engine wouldn't just conk out.

Have you tried to read codes? Have to believe that anything that caused the engine to die would show up...
Nope, not yet, there are no maintenance lights on or anything. I was still thinking about having someone check it out for me and try to get codes. I can do a lot of the easier stuff, but whatever this is, is beyond me. I don't think it is a mix of those issues I previously mentioned. Could it just be one of them? I was just speculating that it might be one of those things, not all of them combined. It was trying to start but it seemed like it wasn't getting gas or spark for a while. The idle thing I notice when I am stopped and feels kinda weird sometimes, like a little rumble like its dying down or something then it goes back to normal.
Did they check for codes when you were at O'reilly's?
Sounds like it could be a problem with the fuel pump.
This is where starter fluid is your best friend. Shoot a couple seconds shot into the air box and crank the engine. If it fires right up and then dies, you know you have a fuel problem. If it doesn't fire, you've got another (spark?) problem.
It's starting just fine now. This is an intermittent problem that goes away and comes back sometimes. I worry it could evolve into a bigger problem if I don't identify the issue and fix it now. I like the fuel pump suggestion. O'reilly's didn't check the codes, do they do that?
Yes, I think most auto parts stores will check codes for free (although they may not be able to read oem specific PIDs/codes). They can also check your battery/starter/alternator.
There is no issue with the battery, starter, or alternator.
There is no issue with the battery, starter, or alternator.
You're welcome
That was never the issue. I have never had a problem with any of those things, completely unrelated to the issue I actually have.
Figured it out after some time. It is the fuel pump, no codes.
Figured it out after some time. It is the fuel pump, no codes.
How did you get it figured out? I'm having the same issues sometimes when changing from drive to reverse. It stalls, especially more prone when the steering wheel is turned. It also makes noises when changing gears (hitting the gas as soon as you put it in gear). I also have a weird idle, smooths out and is normal once fully warmed up.
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