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The fact that they have not updated the 2017-18 software to do second gear starts like the MY19 onwards models is criminal and should be part of a class action. I am investigating this possibility myself. First and last Acura because of this issue.
 

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Hi There,

Happy Holiday!
I recently purchased a 2017 SH-AWD tech mdx, the transmission shifts between 1-2 and 2-3 is almost always harsh, it is more noticeable when cold start. I did saw many posts 2 years ago, some forks had the same issue, I am wondering if there was any solution for such issue?
2014 MDX base owner here. Always had issues with 1to2 gear shifting. Got 87K miles now and I just got the tranny oil flushed and replaced at Valvoline. Yes, I decided to dis the Acura brand for tranny oil. This is after the dealer supposedly flushed and replaced two months ago. I’ll be damned! It’s been 2 days and the rough shifting between 1 and 2 appears to be gone. I am not a mechanic nor do I pretend to be one but letting you know what my experience has been. Only other issue with the car is some vibration but Acura came to its senses and took about 3 years to find a fix for that.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #43
2014 MDX base owner here. Always had issues with 1to2 gear shifting. Got 87K miles now and I just got the tranny oil flushed and replaced at Valvoline. Yes, I decided to dis the Acura brand for tranny oil. This is after the dealer supposedly flushed and replaced two months ago. I’ll be damned! It’s been 2 days and the rough shifting between 1 and 2 appears to be gone. I am not a mechanic nor do I pretend to be one but letting you know what my experience has been. Only other issue with the car is some vibration but Acura came to its senses and took about 3 years to find a fix for that.
Good luck!
Thanks for letting us know, that kinda make sense. Cause when the car has warmed up, the jerkiness is getting better, but maybe Acura has that kind of oil for reasons.
 

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The fact that they have not updated the 2017-18 software to do second gear starts like the MY19 onwards models is criminal and should be part of a class action. I am investigating this possibility myself. First and last Acura because of this issue.
‘Class action’ is an overused buzzword on the internet.

Keep in mind that class action lawsuits more often than not do not significantly benefit the end users, but only the lawyers/firms involved. The merits of any such suit would be more practical if it involved a vehicle that was rendered unsafe or non-drivable.

What does your preferred local dealer say about this issue? Did you try elevating your issue with Acura directly? See if any of their brand managers reaches out to you if you try them via twitter. I have found this helpful in the past dealing with other large firms out of warranty.



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Thanks for letting us know, that kinda make sense. Cause when the car has warmed up, the jerkiness is getting better, but maybe Acura has that kind of oil for reasons.
How is your MDX doing now after all that work? I just purchased a 2017 MDX with the same issue, I noticed this post is pretty recent.
 

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Had my 17 serviced at 51,000, just as the computer said to, no change.
The 9 spd is ok until you are in traffic, probably running warmer than normal, then “occasionally” you get a head snapping shift.
It’s something you live with.
My wife bought a 20 RDX with the 10 spd, much better transmission. RDX not my first choice!
The MDX is certainly not the luxury cross over people think it is.
I’m not a hater, it’s reality.


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How many miles are on your 2017? Still running great with that issue?
 

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Update: after dealer updated the software and reset EUI, so far I can tell the transmission is smoother, hopefully it’s going to last. Knock on the wood.
That's good news the update worked. I took my 2017 into dealership after I bought it and had all the software checked for updates, but I guess Vroom (where I bought the car) updated the software bcs it had the newest software in it. Did they say anything about changing transmission fluid?

Thanks
 

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2014 MDX base owner here. Always had issues with 1to2 gear shifting. Got 87K miles now and I just got the tranny oil flushed and replaced at Valvoline. Yes, I decided to dis the Acura brand for tranny oil. This is after the dealer supposedly flushed and replaced two months ago. I’ll be damned! It’s been 2 days and the rough shifting between 1 and 2 appears to be gone. I am not a mechanic nor do I pretend to be one but letting you know what my experience has been. Only other issue with the car is some vibration but Acura came to its senses and took about 3 years to find a fix for that.
Good luck!
You have a six speed transmission which is completely different than 9sp on 2016 onwards. Cant be compared.
 

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I've seen a few reports where a jerking ZF9 stopped after the ATF level was properly set. Meaning, the ATF level was too high, or too low.

My ZF9 has performed flawlessly since I changed the fluid two weeks ago. It was okay before. I think my fluid level was slightly high.
 

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I've seen a few reports where a jerking ZF9 stopped after the ATF level was properly set. Meaning, the ATF level was too high, or too low.

My ZF9 has performed flawlessly since I changed the fluid two weeks ago. It was okay before. I think my fluid level was slightly high.
Did you do a straight drain and fill? I got discouraged after the tech notes said that once you fill the transmission you have to put it in S mode while on VSA Maintenance mode.

1. Turn the vehicle to the ON mode.
2. Enter the VSA maintenance mode.
3. Start the engine.
4. Shift the transmission to S position/mode.
5. Run the vehicle in 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear, and 4th
gear, at sequential shift mode, and wait for at least 10
seconds to each gear. Slow down, and stop the wheels.
NOTE: Do not run transmission on the lift past 4th gear, or
transmission damage will occur.
6. Shift the transmission to P position/mode, then raise the
engine speed at 2,000 rpm to ensure that the torque
converter is full of ATF.
7. Run the engine at idle speed until ATF Temperature
reaches 104 °F (40 °C) (allowed adjusting range: 99-113
°F (37- 45 °C)) with the HDS.
8. Remove the level plug (A), and make sure the ATF is
dropping from the level plug hole (B) while the engine is still
running.

I was thinking of just having the dealer do this since 1qt of 3.1 fluid is around $30 dollars. (Dealer charges $150 for a drain and fill)
 

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Did you do a straight drain and fill? I got discouraged after the tech notes said that once you fill the transmission you have to put it in S mode while on VSA Maintenance mode.

1. Turn the vehicle to the ON mode.
2. Enter the VSA maintenance mode.
3. Start the engine.
4. Shift the transmission to S position/mode.
5. Run the vehicle in 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear, and 4th
gear, at sequential shift mode, and wait for at least 10
seconds to each gear. Slow down, and stop the wheels.
NOTE: Do not run transmission on the lift past 4th gear, or
transmission damage will occur.
6. Shift the transmission to P position/mode, then raise the
engine speed at 2,000 rpm to ensure that the torque
converter is full of ATF.
7. Run the engine at idle speed until ATF Temperature
reaches 104 °F (40 °C) (allowed adjusting range: 99-113
°F (37- 45 °C)) with the HDS.
8. Remove the level plug (A), and make sure the ATF is
dropping from the level plug hole (B) while the engine is still
running.

I was thinking of just having the dealer do this since 1qt of 3.1 fluid is around $30 dollars. (Dealer charges $150 for a drain and fill)
Yes, I did a drain & fill per that exact process. I did also added one wrinkle: before draining the old fluid, I did steps 1-6 & pulled the Check Level plug at 100F. A good bit of fluid poured out (e.g. NOT the ideal "slow trickle"). This lead me to believe my fluid level may have been slightly high from the factory.

Next, I drained ~3.5 quarts (see pic). I added 4 quarts of new ATF, repeated steps 1-6, and pulled the Check Level plug at 102F, while capturing the drained fluid in an empty ATF bottle (see pics). I installed a new Check Level plug when the ATF dribbled from the level hole at an extremely slow trickle at 104F & torqued the plug to spec (26 ft-lbs). The expended fluid measured almost exactly 0.5 quarts (see pics).

If I was in a pinch, didn't have a scan tool, and absolutely had to get this done, then the quick & dirty way IMO would be to drain the fluid & add in exactly 3.5 quarts of new ATF. The manual says 3.5 quarts is expected. Based on my observations, e.g. given how slowly the fluid dribbles out in the target temperature zone, and how slowly the transmission temperature rises, I believe this approach should get you pretty darn close.

Attached pics:
  • Old fluid (approx 3.5 quarts). Nasty!
  • Setup for capturing overflow ATF following the drain & fill by the Check Level Plug. Pics from below the car & from drivers side wheel.
  • Pics of ~500mL drained after the drain & fill.
 

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