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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please know that prior to posting this I've read a TON of threads here related to transmission issues. I guess I'm looking for some reassurance (or warnings!) before heading out on a coast-to-coast cross country trip. Any opinions would be GREATLY appreciated!

I recently bought a 2005 MDX Touring from the original owner. (My sister) It has 125,000 miles and was well maintained. It is in perfect condition; no accident history and was driven by a middle-aged mom - so it was driven gently and never abused. My only concern is with the transmission.

Specifically, I hear a very faint whine at speed. It is road speed dependent, not engine speed dependent. I can hear it in 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears. It is only present during cruising conditions; while the transmission is under very light to moderate load (engine noise would drown it out under heavy loads).

The whine completely goes away when coasting; when the throttle is released and the gears are unloaded due to zero torque being delivered. (Actually, engine drag creates reverse torque and puts the gears under backlash during those conditions.)

I just changed the transmission fluid, and it was red & not burnt, but it had already been changed not too long ago. I also changed the transfer case oil and rear differential VTF fluid. The transmission itself functions well; it shifts smoothly for both upshifts and downshifts. No funky rumbling noises or erratic behavior.

I've read everything ranging from "some gear whine is normal" to "failure is imminent" and everything in between. Is this whine "normal" and I'm worrying too much? Or does anybody want to predict the odds of my being stranded on the side of the road in some isolated frozen winter wasteland next week? :surprise:

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions & experiences!
 

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I bought a 03 MDX w/ 82K miles in 2010 and now have 219K miles. I noticed trans whine at 50-60 mph on first day of ownership. Seven years later whine is no different. I change ATF about every 30K miles w/ Honda ATF only. No reason for concern, IMO.

good luck
 

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I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist over it either. The classic torque converter whine is common and doesn't seem to be an indicator of an actual problem. The whine in lower gears is probably something else, though it is likely in the transmission (or differential). There's always going to be SOME whine from gears meshing, though what's a problem to one driver might not even be noticeable to another. You should have heard the whine from the rear differential in my Jeep before I rebuilt it... "not subtle". That kind of thing is hardly ever going to result in a sudden failure - just keep an ear out for a big change in the amplitude, and turn up the stereo in the interim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys - I really appreciate your feedback!

It's a subtle, but noticeable whine. It's not like I'm driving a cement truck with straight-cut gears, but when I point it out to passengers, they definitely hear it.

Because it's directly road-speed dependent and not engine / gear dependent, I'm suspecting the final drive or transfer assembly. I just changed out the transfer case fluid for 75w-90 Redline synthetic GL5, so at least it's got fresh lube oil in there. And fresh Honda DW-1 fluid in the tranny.

I've read in a couple of threads where people say that Honda's transmissions seem to typically have more gear whine than others. Don't know how true that is, but I'll run with that for now. So I guess I'll swing a dead chicken over my head and cross my fingers that the sound does not increase in amplitude over time.

Thanks again - you two have helped alleviate some of my concern... wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks BluePill! The more feedback I get like that, the better I'll feel crossing through no-man's land during a blizzard! I just don't want to end up on the side of the road emulating a human Popsicle. :surprise:
 

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You're better off with a medium-mileage MDX with a tiny whine that a new car from some other manufacturers.

OTOH, I moved from Illinois to Florida in the 70's driving a $50 Opel GT with a carburetor that was built the day before from one that caught on fire and another from a dusty parts car. All it takes is confidence and a total lack of self-preservation instinct. ;-) I predict you'll make it!
 
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