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Discussion Starter #61
Keep in mind CR reported the 2001 and 2002 trannys as "better than average" in it's 2005 issue, so ...

All I need to do is look at the black marks in several Acura models. Too many other good auto products to risk wasting money on an Acura product again. I try not to make the same mistake twice.
 

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wmquan said:

I'd be curious to see the current-generation TL transmission. E.g. did they stick with the old design, or did they go to the MDX/Ridgeline tranny.
It's not based on the "four shaft" MDX transmission. Everything looks like it's in the same place on the new TL transmission as it was on the old one. But it's a new/updated design for sure. The side of the case is very machined, while the old one just is cast. I've replaced NONE so far on the current TL if that's any indication as to how much better it is.
 

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SuperTech said:


From the looks of those pictures, I'd say that the Pilot is using the old MDX unit. It's interesting that transmission failures aren't happening more often on them. Perhaps it's because the Pilot is sending less power to the transmission to begin with. I know the difference between the MDX and Pilot's horsepower/torque ratings isn't much, but maybe that extra amount the MDX has is just enough to make the transmission not as reliable.

I'm actually curious as to what unit is in the Ridgeline since Honda is touting some trucklike hauling and towing ratings for it.
But that's unlikely b/c the 2001/2002 MDX only had 240 hp (old rating system) whereas the 2005 Pilot was 255 hp (old rating system). 2006 is unchanged but it now lists at 244 hp (new ratings). So actually there was more hp in the Pilots vs. 2001/2002.

By the way, where are you guys finding these diagrams? Anyone want to post the 2006 Pilot. I would be interested to see if it adopted the Ridgelines tranny design.
 

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A2MDXer said:
By the way, where are you guys finding these diagrams? Anyone want to post the 2006 Pilot. I would be interested to see if it adopted the Ridgelines tranny design.
oilchange posted a great link, but it didn't have the 2006 Pilot.

I searched around and found these, with links below so you can look around.

2006 Honda Pilot transmission case:

http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/auto/jsp/mws/prddisplay.jsp?inputstate=5&catcgry1=Pilot&catcgry2=2006&catcgry3=5DR+EXL+NAVI&catcgry4=KA5AT&catcgry5=AT++++++TRANSMISSION+CASE+('06)



2005 Honda Pilot transmission case:

http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/auto/jsp/mws/prddisplay.jsp?inputstate=5&catcgry1=Pilot&catcgry2=2005&catcgry3=5DR+EXL+NAVI&catcgry4=KA5AT&catcgry5=AT++++++TRANSMISSION+CASE+(2)



2003-2006 MDX:

http://www.acuraautomotiveparts.org/acura/jsp/mws/catdisplay.jsp (you have to fill in the form, there's no direct link)



If this information is correct, the 2006 Pilot has indeed received the new transmission design, first introduced on the 2003 Acura MDX (the "good design"). So if this is right, go ahead and buy your Pilot!!!

Here's where it gets confusing:

2006 Acura TL:



2001 Acura TL:



2006 Acura RL:



So the new TL has the general old design, just like the 2003-2005 Pilot. But Supertech says that it's ""updated." So hopefully it's a "fixed" design as 2003-2005 Pilots haven't had many problems.

But the new RL has the "new" MDX transmission, and it's also shared with the Ridgeline.

My money's on the new transmission design!
 

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The Infamous Third Gear Clutch

So I understand that a lot of the transmission failures are around the third gear clutch?

2001 MDX:



2001 TL:



2003 Pilot:



2006 MDX:



2006 Pilot:



2006 Ridgeline:

 

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Markedoc said:
Keep in mind CR reported the 2001 and 2002 trannys as "better than average" in it's 2005 issue, so ...
But way before CR reported it, there were quite a bit of MDX owners reporting problems.

Meanwhile, while the 2003-2005 Pilot are newer, they sell in greater volumes and there have not been a lot of reports of transmission failures. Over the same period of time, there were a lot more MDX failure reports.

It's clear that the new TL has the general old design, but it's been "updated." It's quite possible the 2003-2005 Pilot also has that "updated" design, meaning less failures.

Doesn't seem to help 2001-2002 owners, though. The safest route seems to be to have a vehicle with the newer design (2006 Pilot, 2003+ MDX).
 

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Markedoc said:
All I need to do is look at the black marks in several Acura models. Too many other good auto products to risk wasting money on an Acura product again. I try not to make the same mistake twice.
You do bring up a good point. I'm also a big believer in "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

But, when it comes time for us to replace our 2001 or 2002 MDX's --

- How much a factor will it be that the transmission problem seems to have been fixed? Buy it because it's apparently been fixed? Or don't buy it because of past history, or because one doesn't want to reward Acura with sticking a poor-reliability tranmission for our $38k?

- What if the competition isn't as good? There are other good auto products, but the MDX seems to have that nice blend of passenger/cargo room, with a "reasonable" amount of luxury, at an attractive price.

I'm struggling with the idea myself. It looks like with these tranny issues, I won't want to keep my 2001 past the extended warranty. That forces me to make a financial commitment a year earlier, which I'm PO'ed about -- I didn't expect the first-year MDX to be trouble-free, but I didn't expect to get stuck with a transmission that's proved problematic.

Do I basically reward Acura by buying another one (e.g. a 2008 MDX)? That troubles me.
 

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Now at 101K with my 01 X, tranny still alive and kicking. I've got my fingers crossed but am not too optimistic. Would I drop $2-4K for a rebuilt tranny that has no guarantees? Maybe not.

I have this fantasy, though, of emptying out the inside of the X and replacing it with a more reliable tranny and a Turbo-boosted engine, sort of like a silent killer SUV with the exterior still stock. I wonder how much that would set me back.
 

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wmquan said:

I searched around and found these, with links below so you can look around....

If this information is correct, the 2006 Pilot has indeed received the new transmission design, first introduced on the 2003 Acura MDX (the "good design"). So if this is right, go ahead and buy your Pilot!!!

...My money's on the new transmission design!
William,

Thanks for the helpful pics and the links, which certainly encourage me a bit.:) Interesting as to how this is developing across the various product lines.:confused:

Interesting that Honda discusses every little upgrade (e.g. conversation mirror, etc.) for 2006 but they neglect to mention a tiny little item like a REDESIGNED TRANSMISSION!:2: Oh well, I am happy to see the change - at least for now.
 

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Wow. Looks like Honda snunk that new transmission in to the '06 Pilot along with its revised front end.

The 3rd clutch is definitely one of the parts that fails in the old designs. But I've seen failures on other clutches as well. Linear solenoid or blockage of flow to the solenoid is also a common failure. We don't bother trying to figure out exactly what the specific failure is anymore though. We take the vehicle in, road test it, and if we get the slightest flare, slip, and failure to engage a gear...that's it. We order a remanufactured transmission. There is no hoops to jump through or managers to call. (unless you're out of warranty) In the past, to order a transmission, you had to make phone calls to American Honda HQ and they'd have you try to "fix" the unit before just replacing the whole thing. But now, failures are so common, that they don't bat an eye. There have been days where I've sat down at a computer and ordered three transmissions in a row.
 

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SuperTech said:
Wow. Looks like Honda snunk that new transmission in to the '06 Pilot along with its revised front end.

The 3rd clutch is definitely one of the parts that fails in the old designs. But I've seen failures on other clutches as well. Linear solenoid or blockage of flow to the solenoid is also a common failure. We don't bother trying to figure out exactly what the specific failure is anymore though. We take the vehicle in, road test it, and if we get the slightest flare, slip, and failure to engage a gear...that's it. We order a remanufactured transmission. There is no hoops to jump through or managers to call. (unless you're out of warranty) In the past, to order a transmission, you had to make phone calls to American Honda HQ and they'd have you try to "fix" the unit before just replacing the whole thing. But now, failures are so common, that they don't bat an eye. There have been days where I've sat down at a computer and ordered three transmissions in a row.
SuperTech, I believe you are talking about MDX and not Pilot replacments?
 

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Discussion Starter #72
wmquan said:


You do bring up a good point. I'm also a big believer in "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

But, when it comes time for us to replace our 2001 or 2002 MDX's --

- How much a factor will it be that the transmission problem seems to have been fixed? Buy it because it's apparently been fixed? Or don't buy it because of past history, or because one doesn't want to reward Acura with sticking a poor-reliability tranmission for our $38k?

- What if the competition isn't as good? There are other good auto products, but the MDX seems to have that nice blend of passenger/cargo room, with a "reasonable" amount of luxury, at an attractive price.

I'm struggling with the idea myself. It looks like with these tranny issues, I won't want to keep my 2001 past the extended warranty. That forces me to make a financial commitment a year earlier, which I'm PO'ed about -- I didn't expect the first-year MDX to be trouble-free, but I didn't expect to get stuck with a transmission that's proved problematic.

Do I basically reward Acura by buying another one (e.g. a 2008 MDX)? That troubles me.
I feel your pain. My situation is similar, but different, in that I bought a 2002 (hoping to avoid the 1st year issues) and I did NOT buy an extended warranty (didn't think I needed to make that investment in a car make with a reputation for reliability). I put maybe 1,000 miles a month on the vehicle. I had HOPED it would be a long term keeper and be a reliable 2nd vehicle the family could use a few years down the road when the kids start to get into driving age.

I feel like I will be walkig through a financial mine field if I keep this vehicle. What if the tranny fails this year? Will Acura replace it? Probably? Will they be more reluctant to replace the trannys the further away we get from the model year? Possibly? What if they do replace a failed tranny (knocking on wood as I write this whole thing) this year when the car is 4.5 years old and had 56,000 miles on it. Then what happens if 2 years down the road, if the second tranny fails? Will Acura replace a tranny in a 6.5 year old car? Probably not?

Too many if's, maybe's, probably's, possibly's in the future, and we are not talking about replacing bad brakes here, we are talking about a transmission. What's a new tranny cost? $4k? Hell, my dealer wanted (and didn't get) $540 for the 30k service, which was basically replacing a few fluids and filters.

Regarding replacement, I agree, the MDX is a very practical vehicle. I think the 2002 was short on luxury, but it is what it is. 99% of my driving points to me getting a decent sized sedan with comfortable seating for 4, so I think I will head down that road. Avalon, M35, and a few others are on my list.
 

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Markedoc said:


I feel your pain. My situation is similar, but different, in that I bought a 2002 (hoping to avoid the 1st year issues) and I did NOT buy an extended warranty (didn't think I needed to make that investment in a car make with a reputation for reliability). I put maybe 1,000 miles a month on the vehicle. I had HOPED it would be a long term keeper and be a reliable 2nd vehicle the family could use a few years down the road when the kids start to get into driving age.

I feel like I will be walkig through a financial mine field if I keep this vehicle. What if the tranny fails this year? Will Acura replace it? Probably? Will they be more reluctant to replace the trannys the further away we get from the model year? Possibly? What if they do replace a failed tranny (knocking on wood as I write this whole thing) this year when the car is 4.5 years old and had 56,000 miles on it. Then what happens if 2 years down the road, if the second tranny fails? Will Acura replace a tranny in a 6.5 year old car? Probably not?

Too many if's, maybe's, probably's, possibly's in the future, and we are not talking about replacing bad brakes here, we are talking about a transmission. What's a new tranny cost? $4k? Hell, my dealer wanted (and didn't get) $540 for the 30k service, which was basically replacing a few fluids and filters.
Markedoc,

Have you experience some type of failure yet (I could not remember from earlier in the thread)? If so, I am sorry to hear it. My situation is somewhat similar. Right now the MDX is my 1st vehicle but will become the secondary one in another week (when we take the "double-dare" by buying a Pilot :D ). But I put on less than 10,000 miles per year (my late year 2001 only has 35,000 on it) and I hope to have it for quite a while. I also did not get the extended warranty for the reasons you mention. But for me, the MDX still perfectly serves my needs so even facing a possible risk I am sticking with it as the depreciation hit doesn't make sense for me given that I want the same type of vehicle. Besides, the failure rate (even if very high) could only be 10 or 20% (which is very high but means that more likely than not you will never have a problem). Now if your needs or wants are changing from an SUV to a sedan than making the trade sounds logical. Anyway, good luck with the MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
A2MDXer said:


Markedoc,

Have you experience some type of failure yet (I could not remember from earlier in the thread)? If so, I am sorry to hear it. My situation is somewhat similar. Right now the MDX is my 1st vehicle but will become the secondary one in another week (when we take the "double-dare" by buying a Pilot :D ). But I put on less than 10,000 miles per year (my late year 2001 only has 35,000 on it) and I hope to have it for quite a while. I also did not get the extended warranty for the reasons you mention. But for me, the MDX still perfectly serves my needs so even facing a possible risk I am sticking with it as the depreciation hit doesn't make sense for me given that I want the same type of vehicle. Besides, the failure rate (even if very high) could only be 10 or 20% (which is very high but means that more likely than not you will never have a problem). Now if your needs or wants are changing from an SUV to a sedan than making the trade sounds logical. Anyway, good luck with the MDX.
No failures yet. Knocking on more wood. I just don't see the point of holding on to this vehicle for a long term, and don't know what might take place over the next 50k miles in terms of failure and coverage, so my thought is cut the losses now. I am very unhappy about having to do that, since I like to drive my cars into the ground (so to speak), but I don't see the where it makes sense when the vehicle has a very questionable tranny with no replacement solution that's any better than the original.
 

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Markedoc said:


No failures yet. Knocking on more wood. I just don't see the point of holding on to this vehicle for a long term, and don't know what might take place over the next 50k miles in terms of failure and coverage, so my thought is cut the losses now. I am very unhappy about having to do that, since I like to drive my cars into the ground (so to speak), but I don't see the where it makes sense when the vehicle has a very questionable tranny with no replacement solution that's any better than the original.
Let's say you rack up 100K and your transmission fails. So you pay up to $4K for replacement with decent warranty, hopefully.
Versus spending money on a new vehicle. No comparison.
Car registration, sales tax, higher insurance costs, etc.

My point is, you can barely get into a decent car for $4K let alone buy a used one that is more than basic transportation.

If always driving a newer car is important I would say lease, but if you want to keep a car and drive it into the ground, you could do a lot worse than an MDX, weak transmission or not, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
DaleB said:


Let's say you rack up 100K and your transmission fails. So you pay up to $4K for replacement with decent warranty, hopefully.
Versus spending money on a new vehicle. No comparison.
Car registration, sales tax, higher insurance costs, etc.

My point is, you can barely get into a decent car for $4K let alone buy a used one that is more than basic transportation.

If always driving a newer car is important I would say lease, but if you want to keep a car and drive it into the ground, you could do a lot worse than an MDX, weak transmission or not, IMO.
$4k for what - a rebuilt with a 12 month warranty? What if each re-built is good for 24 mons? I hear what you are saying though. My car is worth maybe $20k now (haven't looked recently so don't hold me to that) so it would be a decent down payment on something new (or used).

I don't lease, not do I borrow money for my vehicles. I just want something that's going to be reliable for the long haul. Certainly don't want to be dumping $4k into a 100k vehicle on a regular basis.
 

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Markedoc said:


No failures yet. Knocking on more wood. I just don't see the point of holding on to this vehicle for a long term, and don't know what might take place over the next 50k miles in terms of failure and coverage, so my thought is cut the losses now. I am very unhappy about having to do that, since I like to drive my cars into the ground (so to speak), but I don't see the where it makes sense when the vehicle has a very questionable tranny with no replacement solution that's any better than the original.
I always assumed that even 20% failure rate means the other 80% will be just fine for the normal life of the car. If so, that's 80% that you (especially you as a low mileage driver) will never have a problem (and I hope I am in that 80% boat as well). I guess my point is that even a bad failure rate might mean that most people will not experience this. Again, since the MDX meets my needs I am willing to take that risk but I understand your point about getting out before a problem occurs. It's just that for me it doesn't make financial sense if I am otherwise happy with the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #78
A2MDXer said:


I always assumed that even 20% failure rate means the other 80% will be just fine for the normal life of the car. If so, that's 80% that you (especially you as a low mileage driver) will never have a problem (and I hope I am in that 80% boat as well). I guess my point is that even a bad failure rate might mean that most people will not experience this. Again, since the MDX meets my needs I am willing to take that risk but I understand your point about getting out before a problem occurs. It's just that for me it doesn't make financial sense if I am otherwise happy with the vehicle.
I hear ya ... the key is, what is the failure rate, and I have not the slightest idea. CR says "more than 3%" which means nothing really ... more people I know have had trannys replaced than NOT, but that's far from a statistically valid sample, so .....
 

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The failure rate is still low enough that CR did not put the MDX as one of the models and years not to buy. So that should tell you something.

Looking at CR the Acura/Honda brand are one of the highest and the only other brand to to better is Toyota/Lexus. Be glad you don't drive a Mercedes, VW, etc. There are far worse choices than the MDX despite to potential to have a transmission failure in the 01-02's.

The only way to avoid repairs is to lease and turn the car over before the warranty expires.

My plan - drive the MDX - if the transmission fails - replace it - drive for 4-6 months while under the warranty to recoupe my investment and then move to another vehicle. My 02 tranny had 62K on it so I am confident a replacement will at lease get more than 12 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
KES said:
The failure rate is still low enough that CR did not put the MDX as one of the models and years not to buy. So that should tell you something.

Looking at CR the Acura/Honda brand are one of the highest and the only other brand to to better is Toyota/Lexus. Be glad you don't drive a Mercedes, VW, etc. There are far worse choices than the MDX despite to potential to have a transmission failure in the 01-02's.

The only way to avoid repairs is to lease and turn the car over before the warranty expires.

My plan - drive the MDX - if the transmission fails - replace it - drive for 4-6 months while under the warranty to recoupe my investment and then move to another vehicle. My 02 tranny had 62K on it so I am confident a replacement will at lease get more than 12 months.
I am not sure I am putting a whole lot of stock in CR's comments listing the 2001 and 2002 as "recommended cars to buy". I mean hell - we are talkign about bad transmissions, not door handles coming loose and falling off.

With that said, you might be right. Keep it for now, hope and pray that Acura covers any near-term failures, and have an unload plan should the you-know-what hit the fan and I have to incur some large out-of-pocket for a tranny.
 
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