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I have a 2010 MDX Advance with SH-AWD. I bought it used in 2016 with 79,000 miles. The dealer print-out showed torque converter oil changed at 60,000. I now have 93,000. I love it the car, but I am VERY concerned about the transmission. If there's a chance that it is still OK, I will keep the car.

The transmission has been acting up for the past few months. The problem did not show up at first because my transmission shifts nice and smooth when the weather is cool. Unfortunately, I bought the car during winter months, so the problem did not exhibit during the test drive. Things are different now that it’s summer. When it’s over 80-degrees outside, my MDX shifts like a worn-out delivery truck with a rookie driver.

I’m happy to say that, except for 2<sup>nd</sup> gear, my car always upshifts smoothly, even in summer. Even 2<sup>nd</sup> will upshift smoothly if I accelerate briskly. However, when driving slowly, such as in stop-and-go traffic, it thumps into 2nd pretty hard at just 1,500 rpm. When that happens, it becomes gutless until the rpms come back up. Under rare circumstances, the transmission will get confused between 2<sup>nd</sup> and 3<sup>rd</sup>. When that happens, it always defaults to 3rd and become bogs down.

I have read of similar problems on various forums. Sometimes, their problems are resolved by changing ALL of the fluid in the torque-converter. I’m getting up in age, so climbing under the car 3-time sucks for the repeated drain & fill is painful! What a nuisance! I haven’t done it yet.

The worst problem, by far, is when downshifting to accelerate on warm summer days
· Downshifting from 6<sup>th</sup> to 5th makes a HUGE clunk.
· Downshifting from 5<sup>th</sup> to 4th makes the same huge clunk.
· Downshifting to 3<sup>rd</sup> does NOT, but down to 2<sup>nd</sup> makes the big clunk again.
· The downshift clunk happens regardless of how I do it: Pressing the accelerator, using the paddles, or pulling the gear selector to “S”.
I called the dealer and asked if my car was eligible for the transmission software flash per tech order. They told me that it was not.

I have some specific questions for those who really know the MDX transmission:

Q1. Although my transmission acts up in hot weather, it goes back to working smoothly when the weather cools down. is that an indication that my transmission is not permanently damaged?

Q2. I believe that my 2010 MDX has an external factory oil cooler (it has factory towing prep). Do you think that changing to a larger after-market cooler might permanently resolve the problem?

Q3. I understand that backflushing the transmission is a bad idea. However, I would like to drain all of the fluid via the line going to the cooler. I can do that at the same time I install a new cooler. Is that an acceptable alternative to the 3-times drain-and-fill?

Q4. Even though my car does not have a tech-order to flash the software, is a software update worth trying anyway? I’ll have to see if the dealer is willing.
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If there is no new programming for your trans then that's the end of that, but resetting the ECM can help with shifting issues. I would have them start with that and if it helps that would tell me it's software related. After that I would do a trans fluid change either way. If it hasn't called for that on the MID already (#3), it should on the next service. That's usually every 30k miles.
 

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This might sound like a dumb question but... Have you check your Engine and Transmission MOUNTS?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This might sound like a dumb question but... Have you check your Engine and Transmission MOUNTS?
I think it sounds like a logical question. I have not checked, but I will. However, I'm skeptical of finding a problem since I get smooth shifting when the weather is cool. The mounts would not care that it's cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Check Out My Answers

Thank you to the two gentlemen who replied. However, I was really hoping to get more response on my specific questions.


I'll try it from a different approach. I will post what I believe to be correct answers of my own. You can let me know whether or not you agree with them.

Q1. Although my transmission acts up in hot weather, it goes back to working smoothly when the weather cools down. Is that an indication that my transmission is not permanently damaged?
It will NOT be permanently damaged.


Case in point: The last three days here in sunny San Diego have been overcast and rather cool in the mid to low 70's. Not once during that period of time has my transmission acted up (other than the known quibble of upshifting too soon in some gears).

Q2. I believe that my 2010 MDX has an external factory oil cooler (it has factory towing prep). Do you think that changing to a larger after-market cooler might permanently resolve the problem?
Yes - adding a large, high quality aftermarket transmission cooler will solve the problem of hard downshifts on days over 80-degrees.

I'll use the same case in point as above. When it's cool, it's happy.

Q3. I understand that backflushing the transmission is a bad idea. However, I would like to drain all of the fluid via the line going to the cooler. I can do that at the same time I install a new cooler. Is that an acceptable alternative to the 3-times drain-and-fill?
It is acceptable and safe to drain all of the transmission fluid using the transmission cooler line.


This will probably raise a few hackles among my fellow MDXers since it is not exactly per the service manual. However, it is not actually backflushing and I have read of others on this forum who use that method successfully.

Q4. Even though my car does not have a tech-order to flash the software, is a software update worth trying anyway? I’ll have to see if the dealer is willing.
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No need to pay Acura to flash the software again.


Since the transmission works great when cool, it's NOT a software issue.
 

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Try and fine a good local Honda/Acura shop and get an opinion from them, if you haven't already. Transmission issues can be hard to diagnose.
 
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