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Discussion Starter #1
So after doing extensive reading on the drain and fill transmission flush, I put our 2010 MDX up on ramps/jack stands to do the first drain. I found the fill plug in the engine bay and got it removed. Then I went under the vehicle and found a drain plug near the engine oil pan. I have no clue where my brain was, but I went and and cracked it, drained the fluid out, and poured a quart of DW1 into the fill hole. I thought it was really weird that there was maybe 1/2 quart of fluid that came out and that it looked like oil. But again, my brain was apparently someplace else entirely, and came to the rediculuous conclusion that maybe the transmission was low on fluid, and maybe that is what the old Z1 fluid looked like.
:32:
Anyway, my wife calls me and says the vehicle is making a really loud whirring sound, it sounds really, really bad. She ended up driving about 20 miles on the highway to the softball field on what I now realize was the transfer case, completely empty aside from the residual oil. I swung by the auto parts store, grabbed a hand pump, Lucas 75w-90 Hypoid gear oil, and everything else to fill it up. Filled it up in the parking lot until fluid was starting to spray from the fill hole(transfer case fill hole this time....), and tightened the bolt back down. I cranked it up, drove around the parking lot a little, then jumped on it to get the RPMs up and the wheels spinning on the gravel to try to work the oil into the gears, and didn't hear any odd noises. On the way home, she said it was making the exact same sound, and was afraid to go past 2k RPM, along with getting a strong metal burning smell. I was following her in my car, and could smell gear oil the whole way back, it was strong.

Did I just destroy the transfer case? This is a 2010 AWD MDX we bought used a few months ago with 53k on the odometer. I cannot find any similar problems from other MDX owners. I would really appreciate some input on this problem. I am going to lift it up and the morning and double check the fluid level, and see if anything stands out.
 

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oh, gosh. that is too sad. the good thing is that transfer case is pretty simple, if something breaks down, repair won't be too expensive.
 

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I think you might have damaged the gears (Scarred them) so the odd of heavy damage are quite high...
In any case good thing is that the Transfer Case can be completely replaced, Your new job is to find a used MDX for an organ transplant.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fantastic. That sucks, but I can't say I'm surprised. Would anyone have a repair manual with the transfer case replacement procedure? I'd like to figure out whether I can do this myself or not. I'm a pretty big DIY'er, but I don't want to make things worse.

The transmission fluid is on my list to check this morning. When I checked it last night after we got home, it actually looked a little low. Checking it this morning after sitting overnight, the dipstick showed the same thing, was on the low end. But I still plan on doing the drain fill either way, I have never idea what service was done before we bought it. I know the dangers of having an overfilled transmission/engine, the transfer case was just the major fire that needed to be put out at the moment.
 

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Fantastic. That sucks, but I can't say I'm surprised. Would anyone have a repair manual with the transfer case replacement procedure? I'd like to figure out whether I can do this myself or not. I'm a pretty big DIY'er, but I don't want to make things worse.
Actually doesn't look too terrible. Email me at [email protected] and I can send you the instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Actually doesn't look too terrible. Email me at [email protected] and I can send you the instructions.
Hondacuraplanet, thank you for the offer, just sent an email.

I can see a drop of fluid from the rear seal on the case, so I am assuming that is where the smell came from. What I can't figure out is why fluid would be getting pushed out, especially when it was not filled entirely or properly(was done by driving over a drain about 1 foot below the parking lot, so I could get clearance). I think I can see some damage to the gear from the fill drain, but I would like to remove the whole case and take it apart and inspect it to see just how bad it is. Anyone done anything similar? Any thoughts on fluid being pushed out of the seal?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yup, definitely killed the transfer case. The clumps in the bottom are metal shavings. Thanks for the help everyone, and I am off to find a replacement!
 

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The hypoid gear in the trans (The one that comes out of the trans) is removable from the outside? I saw a transmission tear down but it wasn't super clear on that.. Does the hypoid gear on the outside of the trans have a bolt? Can you post some pictures of it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'll try to post some pics tomorrow of it. I guess I don't really understand what you are saying, I thought the Hypoid gear is the set of gears inside the transfer case itself, which is a separate entity from the transmission, doesn't even share fluids. I am more than happy to grab more pics tho, I couldn't find anything on this myself when I searched.
 

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Ohh I remember now, The transmission has a splined shaft as an output..
I thought it was a shaft + bolt like the input shaft in a rear differential unit.
 

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So after doing extensive reading on the drain and fill transmission flush, I put our 2010 MDX up on ramps/jack stands to do the first drain. I found the fill plug in the engine bay and got it removed. Then I went under the vehicle and found a drain plug near the engine oil pan. I have no clue where my brain was, but I went and and cracked it, drained the fluid out, and poured a quart of DW1 into the fill hole. I thought it was really weird that there was maybe 1/2 quart of fluid that came out and that it looked like oil. But again, my brain was apparently someplace else entirely, and came to the rediculuous conclusion that maybe the transmission was low on fluid, and maybe that is what the old Z1 fluid looked like.
:32:
Did you take some ATF back out since you seemed to have overfilled the tranny as well? I would also get that taken care of asap.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Alright, so found a used transfer case assembly for $175 at a salvage yard about 3 hours away, so spent most of the day on the road. Got the "new" transfer case installed, and did a fluid change on that. I have put 5 quarts in the transmission after checking in in between according to the owners manual. It is still on the lower end of the dipstick, so I am just going to add half a quart every day until the level looks correct. Took it for a drive, and the transmission has some relearning to do, and the excess lube I sprayed on the exhaust bolts is still burning off, but everything appears to be back to normal!

I would like to add, my previous vehicles have mostly all been fords, starting with the lovely Mounty, my 98 Mercury Mountaineer, and eventually to the 2006 Mountaineer I traded in for this MDX when it started to develop some expensive problems. This MDX has been, by far and bar none, the easiest vehicle I have ever had the pleasure of turning a wrench on. Everything is logically placed, easy to find anything you are looking for(aside from a completely brain dead attempt to drain the transmission...), and simple to take apart and put back together. This vehicle has convinced me that vehicles really can be easy to work on that I recently traded my 2012 Mustang GT with heavy suspension and brake mods for a 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport RWD, and it is the same story. Loving life at the moment!

Attached is a photo of where the transfer case attaches to the transmission. The old one is sitting in my garage, I can get some additional pics of that if anyone needs them.
 

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That is a pretty good deal considering the a brand new unit cost 980 bucks!
Remember to fill her up with some Mobil 1 LS Diff fluid.
 

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I'm sure it feels good to put this behind you. I agree that this is a great car to work on. Everything comes apart pretty easily (without breaking a bunch of stuff in the process) and goes back together the same. BMW does this even a bit better. Using quality hardware and galvanized bolts saves so many headaches. Toyotas are on the opposite end of the spectrum IMO.
 

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^ VW and Audi are the super oposite end of the spectrum...
Those STUPID Hex Head Bolt that always strip, its ludicrous they still use those POS as head bolts.. I lost count how many friends with VW have stripped a Head Bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So I did use the M1, and everything still seems to be good. I am surprised to hear BMWs are so easy to work on, I was under the impression they were far more difficult, maybe because of the German engineering stigma. But man that M4 is a gorgeous car... I don't like hearing about Audi being difficult, one of the biggest things that make me look away from a pre owned S5 is the cost of maintenance and parts.

Slightly off subject, is there anything I need to be aware of on this MDX as far as maintenance concerns? I have read over and over to be careful with the transmission, and seen the word weak thrown around a lot, which is why I went with DW1 fluid rather than Amsoil or something similar. Any other parts to keep an eye on?
 
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