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Discussion Starter #1
It's late but I just want to ask some 2003 owners whether or not they have been having problem with atrocious smelling exhaust and/or hard starting even after 1000 miles?

I thinking just 7 hours ago that I was over the hard starting, but once again, my car took at least six seconds to turn over just a couple hours ago. I know it's a little cold, but stopping the car for 10 minutes to go into the grocery store shouldn't warrant the car to then have a hard time starting. I don't even want to mention the time when I had to crank the engine for a good 5-6 seconds when the car had 23 miles on the odometer....which was also the SAME day I bought it! :eek:

Then there's my exhaust which is now garnering disgusted looks from drivers around me at stop lights, and even I am almost passing out when I get out of my car in the garage just after shutting off the car. I know it's not the gas I use, so are bad emissions just a part of the MDX, because never in my life have a owned a car with an exhaust smell quite like the X, and that also includes a 2001 Civic EX.

So while I like my car, I've finally gotten a little fed up, and I guess it's time for its first unscheduled trip to the dealer, but just for my knowledge, I am wondering if it's just my car with bad exhaust, and if it's just my car that after 1,500 miles is still *temperamental* regarding whether it wants to start or not. Maybe all new $43,000 vehicles do these things nowadays. :3:
 

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Same here... I hate when I have to crank the engine for 5-6 seconds to start the $40k car :8:

Regarding the atrocious smell, (that sounds so fatalistic, I've got pictures in my head of people driving behind me and just rolling over :D ), my understanding is, it is a normal ULEV thingy and I am cool with it, as long as I am not behind my car to smell it :9:

But, the thing is I noticed sometime that rotten egg smell even in the cabin...
 

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I haven't found my 03 hard to start at all. However I have noticed that the engine really sounds like crap when it is cold. For about the first 30 seconds after starting it runs pretty rough and sounds like a cheap engine. After it warms up a little and the RPM's come down it is as smooth and quiet as a Lexus. Not sure why.

In regards to the exhaust I can only get the rotten egg smell under heavy acceleration. I believe this is due to the catalytic converter still breaking in. I only have 1500 miles.
 

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I concur....

I have noticed the same thing. My 03 seems to take a while to start. I bump the key in my vette and it starts now. The Acura starter is getting a work out for sure.

I too have noticed the smell. Not all the times, but it is there. With close to 5k now, I'm either noticing it less, or paying less attention to it.

I agree with previous comments, that for a 40k vehicle, sure could start easier. Acura - are you listening?

-Greg

03 SS/Quartz/Nav/Res
 

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I've notice this on a couple of occasions. I only have about 400 miles on so I hope this is only temporary. I noticed the smell once after I parked ( I thought it might have been me at first!) and the starter has taken longer than usual at least twice. I have not had this problem with our TL. I am hoping the smell subsides as sandman1 eluded to earlier. I also notice the sounds after starting that sandman1 mentioned as well.
 

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I have the hard starting problem too...

Mine started having it at just 600 miles. I am less than thrilled with the MDX for many reasons, but this one really bugs me.

Anyone have better info on the 2003 hard starting problem?

-Dana
 

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I have also experience the bad starting problem......Took it to the shop and of course they kept the vehicle over night and it started fine........The shop said nothing wrong.......Nice to know I'm not the only one with that problem. Haven't noticed the emission thing. I will pay attention now.....:18:
 

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my problem

The engine is so quiet that sometimes if the kids are talking I assume I've started it, I let go, and realize I didn't start it.
I then re-crank the key and it doesn't start for a few seconds or until I touch the gas alittle.

We should be proud of the quiet engine, or I should get my ears checked, either way, a touch on the pedal and it starts.
 

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You guys got me scared right now. I am supposed to pick up my MDX next week. I will make sure that my MDX starts easily, but this is what I found at NHTSA web site.

Make: ACURA
Model: TL
Year: 2003
Recall Number: 02V226000
Summary:
ON CERTAIN MINIVANS, SEDANS, COUPES, AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH V6 ENGINES, A TIMING BELT TENSIONER PULLEY ON THE WATER PUMP IS MISALIGNED AND COULD CAUSE THE TIMING BELT TO CONTACT A BOLT ON THE CYLINDER HEAD. EVENTUALLY THE BELT COULD BE DAMAGED AND FAIL.
Consequence:
IF THE TIMING BELT BREAKS, THE ENGINE WILL STALL, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE WATER PUMP AND IF IT IS ONE OF THE DEFECTIVE PUMPS, THE WATER PUMP AND TIMING BELT WILL BE REPLACED. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN AUGUST 30, 2002. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT HONDA AT 1-800-999-1099 OR ACURA AT 1-800-382-2238.
Notes:
ALSO, CUSTOMERS CAN CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).


Just wondering if this could be a potential culprit. The MDX however is not listed in the recall, just TL and CL, but the summary does state suv's that use the V6 engine.
 

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Delayed start

I noticed the same starting characteristic on my wife's 2003 Accord. I checked with my buddy at Honda and he said that the new Honda's are designed to crank over for a couple of revolutions with no fuel to purge the cylinders before allowing fuel injection and a normal start. Something to do with emissions and purging out the cylinders.

Last week we were skiing in Quebec and the temperature went down to -40 (not a misprint!!) and I didnt think it would start - but it did after a couple of very slow rev's!!!
 

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H2S smell

This has been discussed several times on this site. Acura has issued a bulletin.
Acura Knowledgebase Document
Acura Knowledgebase Document

Title/Subject: ROTTEN EGG SMELL (GOOD CATALLYTIC CNVTR OPERATION)
KB Source: ATL-INFO
Code: 3810
Issue: 11/14/200

Application Matrix
MDX Start Yr 2001 End Yr 2002

Service Details
Problem: Unpleasant, rotten egg smell (catalytic converter operation)
Solution: None – this is a sign the catalytic converter is functioning optimally

Explanation:
The culprit ingredient responsible for the odor is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S does not exist in fuel or oil, but it does come from gasoline during the combustion process. Nearly all gasoline contains organic sulfur compounds, with sulfer levels ranging from 30 – 2000 ppm (1000 ppm is the ‘legal’ maximum, and some areas are regulated to much lower levels – i.e. reformulated gasolines).

As combustion occurs, the organic sulfer compounds break down into simple compounds. If the engine is running lean, the sulfer compounds are likely to be expelled as a sulfer oxide (SO2). The catalytic converter changes the SO2 into sulfer trioxide (SO3). The SO3 reacts with the catalyst to form sulfates on the catalyst. If this occurs for a period of time (several minutes) and then the engine suddenly starts to run rich (slowing to a stop, hills, hard stopping, etc) the chemistry with the catalyst will change. The sulfates become unstable and form H2S, which is the unpleasant, rotten egg smell. The human nose can detect H2S in quantities much smaller than 1 ppm, so very little H2S expelled can create quite a detectable odor.

This effect is much more noticeable with the new vehicles due to the high efficiency of the catalytic converter. As the vehicle ages, the first reaction of the catalyst to be affected is the formation of H2S.

As Honda products do tend to run very clean/lean, this “smell” characteristic may be more common with our products than others. It is no cause for alarm, and in fact is indication the catalytic converter is working very efficiently. This smell, while unpleasant, does not contribute to atmospheric pollution.



Basically, Honda runs their engines very lean and very lean means there could be a lot of H2S - depending upon the sulfur content of the fuel.
 

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I've noticed this on a couple of occasions myself. I have 700 miles on my MDX. Don't know what the cause is ...short run tame maybe? I'll try and establish a base for my fellow MDX members.
 

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I've got about 2800 miles on my 03 in 3 months and haven't had either problem.

I don't really buy the explanation about the smell actually being good. Every vehicle I've ever owned (about 25) have not experienced this problem unless something was wrong with the emissions control system.

I've owned at least 5 Honda products and one Toyota and have never had the issue.

I would take your vehicles back to the dealer and demand they thoroughly test the engine and emission controls.

Another possible explanation could be the quality of the gas. I believe I read that Amoco produces the highest quality gas. You may want to run a few tanks of their ultimate grade through yours and see if that helps correct the problem.
 

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start problem? smell!

so far , i have not experienced starting problems-this seems to be an uncommon problem and if so the few cases should be able to be "fixed" if the srevice dept really cares-and they should!

i have rarely noticed the rotten egg smell but was not sure if it was from my MDX or another car.

i owned a toyota sequoia and i had the rotten egg smell alot! it even smelled inside the cabin on several occasions. the only recommendation toyota offered was to try different brands of gas and see if there would be a difference-the service rep recommended mobil. i did not notice an improvement.

it has been said that the gasoline in the u.s. has a higher sulfur content compared to europe. this fact actually causes other problems like inaccurate readings from gas gauges-this problem i had on a 1999 ml320: mb was unable to repair this.

good luck,

chris
 

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Now that I am reading this link, my 03 also seems hard to start, every now and then. But it is in the garage overnite, in Northern CA (no freezing weather).

I am taking it in Monday for some work--I wish I could have negotiated a free cargo net for a 5 rating for the dealer :rolleyes:
 

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Yup, got about 2K on my '03 X and sometimes (a couple of times a week) it needs to crank for about 5 secs. Never had this with my TL!
 

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Yup, count me in too. My 2003 needs at least 4 cranks before it fires up. Granted, we are talking well under 1000 miles on the odo here. And it HAS been damn cold the last 2 months. :(

It's interesting that everyone posting here has an 2003. Drive-by-wire...hmmm......any 01 or 02 owners face this issue?
 

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sulfer smell

I've seen a similiar complaint about the foul smell on new Lexus GX 470's over on their forum. The explanation was roughly the same, i.e. it's "normal" because of the ULEV requirements. later, ldf
 

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hmm, very interesting...
i haven't experienced anything listed above.
on the contrary, engine strating happens so quick,
in my case, so that i have to be very cautious not to over-crank it.

just a simple turn about 1 second does start the car.
i got mine at the end of february, 2003
and it's been about 1,500 miles
but couldn't find any symptoms described above.

:confused:
 

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My '03 has 8200 mi. on it, and here's my experiences / input on the topics:

As far as the rotten egg smell, I've never smelled it outside of the vehicle. However, on rare occasions, like after a few hard accelerations in a row (in other words, continuous heating up without time to cool back down to "normal"), I will smell it inside the cabin for about a minute before it clears out. I "chalk it up" as the "cats" getting exceptionally hot.

As far as the difficulties starting, that happens a few times per month. I remember reading somewhere that Acura attributes it to the metallic parts on your key chain (the key ring or the TLC key chain, for example) interferring with the signal between the chip in the key and the receiver in the steering column. I don't know how factual this is, though. When inserting the key, I've got in the habit of holding all metallic pieces in my hand, exposing only the key itself - in effect "shielding" the metallic parts. This seems to help a little.

Just my $0.02.
 
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