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Well I have always been a Toyota/Lexus guy, but the wife really loved the MDX. Doing research I saw a lot of bad reviews on the transmission, but it looked like 2017 on were better. It was time to replace her Sequoia with 280,000 miles so we purchase a 2018 MDX SH-AWD. We really liked the car and had all the maintenance done at the Acura dealer. We come to our 50,000 mile maintenance which requires transmission fluid change. About 300 miles after the service the MDX starts making bad grinding noises in 1st and 2nd gear. I had it towed to the dealer and they called back 2 days later saying the transmission failed and would need to be replaced. I had no warning or issues with shifting after the service, but find the timing is really odd. I asked about the fluid level and was told it was a little high, and that was also written on my paperwork. Acura replaced the transmission and the dealer did good by us with a loaner MDX the week we were without our car. I have about 1,000 miles on the new transmission and it's been fine. I have noticed when its cold 2nd gear shifts a little hard. Once the transmission warms up it shifts pretty smooth.

Just figured I would share that I had a 2018 MDX ZF9 transmission failure. I'm now really worried about the long term reliability of this car.
 

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There seems to be a lot of posts about the ZF9 speed across lots of forums. Mine has so far been just fine. All my issues have been electrical.
 

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Well, humans fail, human created machines fail, and you were covered under warranty, seems like the system is working like it should. Could have been either a service error (getting the level wrong) or just a bad transmission, but I wouldn't sweat the future of your machine.
 

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Surprised to read that You didn't notice, hard second gear shifts when cold, with original transmission.First thing that I noticed when I test drove My car.
 

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My 1-2 and 3-4shifts are a bit hard when cold but then smoothen when trans up to temp. No problem with that. In 22k miles, not too much to complain about on the ZF 9-speed, other than the slow response time at lower speeds when I need sudden acceleration and the downshift seems to take forever.
 

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I find it suspect that after the fluid change the issue happened. Given the dealer did the original fluid change, and then the transmission replacement, they essentially owned the problem. But we may never know for sure whether the failure was due to an actual issue that was lying dormant for 50k miles, or whether something in the change caused it. Let us know how the new one worked. I will say that the 9speed in my '19 is much better behaving than the 9speed in my '17 was. The more abrupt 1-2 and 3-4 shifts in the '17 were gone in the '19.......
 

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I vow to never have my fluid changed for fear of this!! All versions of the ZF are crap in my opinion, yes, they have improved from the previous version in 17 but it still have many issues. My 19 is now hard shifting from Park to any gear, Reverse, Drive, or Sport, I have complained about the hard shifts from Day 1, I dont know that the hard shifts ever go away once warm, they are just a little smoother and more tolerable, but for a car at this price point, and considered LUXURY, not acceptable. I have been Honda/Acura my entire life, if they dont figure it out on the next redesign I'm jumping to the YOTA ship I guess! Not sure why they use someone else's transmission, (ZF), and don't just make their own...
 

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^^^You claim to be a Honda faithful...I'm not buying that because you claim to have bought a "luxury" SUV in the MDX, a Dodge Durango has nearly all the content of an MDX. Second, Honda's track record on in-house transmission designs is middling at best. So now that we have disposed of your delusions of MDX super powres, let's use some critical thinking skills on your service intentions: You have (1) post count OP come on here 5 days ago and claim some ambiguous failure immediately after a service visit...I don't know, probably related to the service? Now you, another (1) post person come on here and claim you're going to avoid required services on the transmission? Based on what?? Then you claim hard shifts from Park to any gear?? Hahaha...aaahh, these bot posts are exactly what they are supposed to be, provocative entertainment.
 

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I vow to never have my fluid changed for fear of this!! All versions of the ZF are crap in my opinion, yes, they have improved from the previous version in 17 but it still have many issues. My 19 is now hard shifting from Park to any gear, Reverse, Drive, or Sport, I have complained about the hard shifts from Day 1, I dont know that the hard shifts ever go away once warm, they are just a little smoother and more tolerable, but for a car at this price point, and considered LUXURY, not acceptable. I have been Honda/Acura my entire life, if they dont figure it out on the next redesign I'm jumping to the YOTA ship I guess! Not sure why they use someone else's transmission, (ZF), and don't just make their own...
You may want to rethink that diatribe.


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The ZF 8-speed is a solid tranny and very well regarded, the 9 is a different story but shouldn't be used to judge ZF as a whole.
 

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I vow to never have my fluid changed for fear of this!!
Vehicle maintenance is a MYTH! Oil changes are a scam too! The oil dissolves vital engine components so you are forced to buy another car!
 
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^^^You claim to be a Honda faithful...I'm not buying that because you claim to have bought a "luxury" SUV in the MDX, a Dodge Durango has nearly all the content of an MDX. Second, Honda's track record on in-house transmission designs is middling at best. So now that we have disposed of your delusions of MDX super powres, let's use some critical thinking skills on your service intentions: You have (1) post count OP come on here 5 days ago and claim some ambiguous failure immediately after a service visit...I don't know, probably related to the service? Now you, another (1) post person come on here and claim you're going to avoid required services on the transmission? Based on what?? Then you claim hard shifts from Park to any gear?? Hahaha...aaahh, these bot posts are exactly what they are supposed to be, provocative entertainment.
First I have 1 post count because I just joined genius and dont care what you buy or dont buy. If I wanted to a dodge Durango, I could be like everyone else and save a lot of money in car payments because they give those things away.

My initiative here is to try and find more info on what other MDX owners are experiencing relating to this vehicle and this transmission, as you know there are many known issues with it. I should have known this blog would be filled with idiots like yourself talking out their a$$. Dont really give a eff what you think, whether I am a Honda faithful or not, I know what I have owned in the past and what I have not, and what my expectations are and are not, and what my experience has been with the HONDA/ACURA product/brand, and I will speak freely on that as I wish. I will make decisions based on those experiences in the future about where I will spend my hard earned money. Maybe you have 50k just laying around to just buy several vehicles that just dont work as they say they should, yay for you. Maybe you should join the MDXforYuppies blog. I dont, so because I like supposed refined automobiles, and I invest my hard earned money in something claiming to be the best, I expect the best, and hard shifts my firend in any vehicle in my opinion is not acceptable, so go pound salt.

Now because I am obviously a ratard, and I have continued to support the Honda brand and think they will someday address or acknowledge these issues based on a lot of comments and reviews found right here, but they dont, and I continue to be disappointed by the brand, which is why I am here. I dont want to be disappointed by the brand, because I enjoy many other things about the Honda and Acura brands, if I didnt I would not have continued to suport the brand, and would find something else, which as mentioned, is just about where I am at this point. Not sure what you have to be to be considered a HONDA faithful, but I would say owning all generations of the PILOT, multiple Accords, CRV's, and Civics, and now an ACURA, I can self qualify myself as one and dont need your acceptance.

To the topic of service, I have all my Honda's serviced at Honda/Acura dealers regularly, I choose not to have the transmission fluid changed when prompted, because I have heard of too many horror stories, like the one I originally commented on, and either the issues are not resolved (waste of my time and money and a vehicle with less than 50k miles on it should not needs trans fluid changed), or just made issues worse. To each his own my friend, you do you, Ill do me.

To the topic of the ZF transmission, it is safe to say it has been a cluster from day 1 and still is a cluster, and not sure you can compare a Dodge Durango, (pile of ****) to a Acura or Honda even with a ZF transmission, even tho that ZF is also prob used in a Durango, dont know if it is or not, but I know it is used in other Chrysler products, and they dont seem to have these issues, so if a company like Chrysler can figure out the software, which is what the problem is, I am sure as heck Honda should be able to figure it out. To my point why does HONDA not manufacture their own transmission, as I am sure it would not have any of the hard shift issues and electronic issues that are present in this lineup.

Happy Trails and Hope you Tune in Next Time.... HaHaHaHAHAHAHAHA!
 

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My apologies for poking fun. I understand the frustration with being disappointed with product that you've spent hard-earned money on. Cars these days are so darned complicated that it's near impossible to have a vehicle that reaches 100,000 miles without issue, let alone 280,000. We are all guilty of buying a car for it's perceived reliability, and when expectations aren't met, we are left with a bitter taste in our mouth toward that manufacturer. Same thing happened to my mother when she bought a Lexus IS for the reliability, but it was plagued with suspension problems and engine misfires. Unexpected problems can happen to any car regardless of make, so choose a car that fits your needs and budget. These things are only appliances after all.
As mentioned before, to each their own on how they wish to care for their car. I personally know there is no such thing as "lifetime" fluid for any vehicle (having been told that by Volvo and then having that transmission fail on me). It sounds like the OP's dealer botched the service and made it right by replacing it. While there is no way to know for sure the procedure was done correctly unless you do it yourself, I personally will take the risk and have the dealer do the service on this transmission because they will be held responsible if it fails. If I ignore the fluid changes and the transmission fails, they can deny any warranty work because it was not maintained to Acura's required maintenance schedule. That's not a situation I want to put myself in.
While there are many cases of failed 9-speed transmissions on this and other forums, there are over 200,000 MDXs on the road in North America with the ZF-9 speed (based on 2016-2019 sales figures), not to mention tens of thousands of Honda Pilots with it too. I'm betting that by now, most dealers know how to do routine fluid changes on these cars without problems, and most owners drive these cars without giving the transmission a second thought.
 
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I have a 2019 MDX (with the ZF-9 speed) that I bought new. I am amazed that so many MDX owners have had problems with this transmission. It would seem that Acura would either replace this transmission with a different type, or would use the 10 speed that was developed by Honda and is used in some Honda and Acura vehicles. I have had my MDX for almost a year and have 11K miles on the odometer. I hear people disparage the ZF transmission, which surprises me, as I have driven both urban and suburban buses equipped with ZF transmissions which were quite dependable. Hopefully I will not have any problems develop with the transmission, but if I do I did purchase the extended warranty coverage when I bought the car. So far I have been quite happy with my MDX and will probably buy another Acura when I replace this vehicle. Oh well - we shall see how things turn out. BTW, this is my second Acura having previously owned an Acura RDX with the 3.5L engine and Honda 6-speed transmission. 🤠
 

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Hi Jefferson, no need for any apology, and maybe I need to be the one apologizing, my reply was mainly directed at carli123's comments. Way to welcome a new user!

I appreciate the info and is more of what I was hoping to find here!

You have a point with the warranty and not following required maint schedule, def something to consider, I just dont think a car that has had these same issues across several different platforms and share the same drivetrain is going to resolve that issue just by changing the fluid, that would be great if it would, I just fear doing it and making the problem worse which is what I have heard several owners say has happened after the fact!

I am having the vehicles serviced in the next week so the dealer will be getting an earful...
 

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@ViVVidVtech Now that you've proved your not one of the single post trolls we often get around here, my apologies for thinking you were one of them. Welcome aboard! :love::love::love:

With that said, your emotionally unstable diatribe is far more unwelcoming than anything I said. Moreover, many of the forums I visit would be giving you at least a warning to reconsider posting derogatory words (spelled incorrectly no less). But yeah, you do you!
 
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First I have 1 post count because I just joined genius and dont care what you buy or dont buy. If I wanted to a dodge Durango, I could be like everyone else and save a lot of money in car payments because they give those things away.

My initiative here is to try and find more info on what other MDX owners are experiencing relating to this vehicle and this transmission, as you know there are many known issues with it. I should have known this blog would be filled with idiots like yourself talking out their a$$. Dont really give a eff what you think, whether I am a Honda faithful or not, I know what I have owned in the past and what I have not, and what my expectations are and are not, and what my experience has been with the HONDA/ACURA product/brand, and I will speak freely on that as I wish. I will make decisions based on those experiences in the future about where I will spend my hard earned money. Maybe you have 50k just laying around to just buy several vehicles that just dont work as they say they should, yay for you. Maybe you should join the MDXforYuppies blog. I dont, so because I like supposed refined automobiles, and I invest my hard earned money in something claiming to be the best, I expect the best, and hard shifts my firend in any vehicle in my opinion is not acceptable, so go pound salt.

Now because I am obviously a ratard, and I have continued to support the Honda brand and think they will someday address or acknowledge these issues based on a lot of comments and reviews found right here, but they dont, and I continue to be disappointed by the brand, which is why I am here. I dont want to be disappointed by the brand, because I enjoy many other things about the Honda and Acura brands, if I didnt I would not have continued to suport the brand, and would find something else, which as mentioned, is just about where I am at this point. Not sure what you have to be to be considered a HONDA faithful, but I would say owning all generations of the PILOT, multiple Accords, CRV's, and Civics, and now an ACURA, I can self qualify myself as one and dont need your acceptance.

To the topic of service, I have all my Honda's serviced at Honda/Acura dealers regularly, I choose not to have the transmission fluid changed when prompted, because I have heard of too many horror stories, like the one I originally commented on, and either the issues are not resolved (waste of my time and money and a vehicle with less than 50k miles on it should not needs trans fluid changed), or just made issues worse. To each his own my friend, you do you, Ill do me.

To the topic of the ZF transmission, it is safe to say it has been a cluster from day 1 and still is a cluster, and not sure you can compare a Dodge Durango, (pile of ****) to a Acura or Honda even with a ZF transmission, even tho that ZF is also prob used in a Durango, dont know if it is or not, but I know it is used in other Chrysler products, and they dont seem to have these issues, so if a company like Chrysler can figure out the software, which is what the problem is, I am sure as heck Honda should be able to figure it out. To my point why does HONDA not manufacture their own transmission, as I am sure it would not have any of the hard shift issues and electronic issues that are present in this lineup.

Happy Trails and Hope you Tune in Next Time.... HaHaHaHAHAHAHAHA!
There is certainly some clever humor in your rant above . The dig at mentally handicapped individuals was a low blow IMNSHO. Not necessary.

There are many reasons why large companies decide to use parts from others. The most significant one being of an economic nature. Honda waiting to get those popular SUVs to the marketplace until their own trannies were developed to satisfy CAFE standards would have meant a significant loss of revenue. And to repeat what has been stated already ad nauseum, fortunately a lot of folks have had good luck with their ZF-9s with no more than regular maintenance. YMMV. Sorry to hear yours is having issues. Try using another acura dealer if yours is not responsive to your liking.


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Ill give you that. I agree. bad Choice of Words. The Bot Patrol got the better of me there...

The PILOT/MDX platform for the most part has been out there awhile, and hasnt changed much at least for me since 08 which was when I was introduced, the 19 MDX is still using for the most part the same infotainment system the 2013 Pilot Touring was with its dual screens, which I happen to like, especially with the addition of Apple Carplay finally, all generations had transmission issues from my experience.
The latest generation being the worst I have had to deal on both a 16 Pilot Elite, and now the 19 MDX Tech.
Im just overall disappointed in the vehicle for these issues with the transmission, and as much as I would like to just deal with them and suck it up, I dont feel for the price point of this vehicle I should have to. Maybe they throw an update at it, maybe they thro a transmission in it if I complain or scream loud enough, the bottom line is it is just the nature of the beast, it will happen again and that would just be a bandaid, and not address the real issue which is in my opinion the ZF...

I will prob dump it at the end of the year and move on to something else, unfortunately, unless the new redesign PILOT/MDX addresses this issue in a serious way...
 

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Ill give you that. I agree. bad Choice of Words. The Bot Patrol got the better of me there...

The PILOT/MDX platform for the most part has been out there awhile, and hasnt changed much at least for me since 08 which was when I was introduced, the 19 MDX is still using for the most part the same infotainment system the 2013 Pilot Touring was with its dual screens, which I happen to like, especially with the addition of Apple Carplay finally, all generations had transmission issues from my experience.
The latest generation being the worst I have had to deal on both a 16 Pilot Elite, and now the 19 MDX Tech.
Im just overall disappointed in the vehicle for these issues with the transmission, and as much as I would like to just deal with them and suck it up, I dont feel for the price point of this vehicle I should have to. Maybe they throw an update at it, maybe they thro a transmission in it if I complain or scream loud enough, the bottom line is it is just the nature of the beast, it will happen again and that would just be a bandaid, and not address the real issue which is in my opinion the ZF...

I will prob dump it at the end of the year and move on to something else, unfortunately, unless the new redesign PILOT/MDX addresses this issue in a serious way...
From what my service guy at the dealer tells me, the 2021 MDX is supposed to be completely redesigned from the ground up, much like the RDX was in 2019. Maybe we will see the use of the Honda 10-speed transmission in place of the ZF 9-speed. One can only hope, as I do agree with you in that for what Acura owners have paid for their MDX vehicles, we should not have to be dealing with these issues. It is disappointing that Honda has let their engineering slip the way it has in the past several years. I have read that Honda owners with new CRV's equipped with the 1.5L turbo 4-cyl engines are still dealing with engine oil seeping into the engine coolant, as well as engine overheating problems. All of these problems are extremely frustrating to say the least. I suppose that "time will tell" whether or not I will have transmission problems.
 
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