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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Despite what the dealer may tell you, you should change your coolant every 2 years (3 years max). It's pretty easy to do, you only need a few simple tools.

Time Required: 2-3 Hours (if your first time)

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate Difficulty

Parts Needed:
-1 or 2 different size flathead screwdrivers
-Needle nose pliers
-12mm socket (preferably 1/2 inch drive)
-Socket wrench and various extension or two
-Drain bucket that can fit underneath the standard (no jacks) clearance
-Plastic drain hose, preferably 4+ feet long and flexible
-2 gallons of coolant (Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 (P/N OL999-9001) (Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 is a mixture of 50 % antifreeze and 50 % water. Do not add water.)
-Funnel (optional)
-Various rags/towels for spills and cleanup

Engine Coolant Capacities:
(Including the reserve tank capacity of 0.6 L (0.16 US gal)):
After Coolant Change:
7.1 L (1.88 US gal)
After Engine Overhaul:
9.0 L (2.38 US gal)

Step 0: Make sure the engine and radiator/coolant temp isn't hot. Some people like to drain it warm, others wait until completely cool. Ultimately it won't matter much either way, just don't burn yourself!

Step 1: Remove the splash guard (see picture). There are approximately 6-7 (I think) plastic rivets you need to remove. Use your flathead screwdriver to pry them up, then use the needle nose pliers to pull out/down the inside and the rivet will pop out. This step may not be entirely necessary, but I found it useful to remove it in order to access the radiator drain plug.

Step 2: Turn the ignition switch ON (II). Set the climate control system to 90 of (32°C) or heater controls to full hot, then turn the ignition switch OFF. Make sure the engine and radiator are cool to the touch.

Step 3: Position your bucket and loosen the radiator drain plug (front passenger side). Turn it left to loosen it. Should take about 10 minutes to fully drain. (See pictures below for the location of the radiator drain plug.)

Step 4: Turn the wheels as far as you can to the left so you can access the engine block drain plug (see picture). It is behind the front passenger wheel on the rear of the engine block. Access the drain plug by unclipping the wire/sensor (see picture) and prepare your bucket and rubber hose. Lay on your back and crawl under the plug and use a 12mm socket and break the bolt/the copper head of the drain bolt to the left. Once your break it, position your hose, then use your fingers to loosen it/turn it to the left. You may need to experiment with a 1/4 drive socket and an extension or two to get a good position on it. Allow the coolant to fully drain until you get a very slow drip. Should take about 10 minutes. Re-tighten the drain plug snugly (or 9.8nm if you have a torque wrench).

Step 5: Empty the coolant reservoir. This is the white tank on the passenger front side near the windshield washer fluid tank. I used a MityVac to empty mine, you can also use a long turkey baster and do a few pulls, or you can remove the tank to empty it. Get creative if you have to! If you can't do any of these, really you're only talking about a very small amount of leftover coolant and with replacing everything else it won't be a big deal (you'll have replaced 90% of it anyway).

Step 6: Pour Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 (P/N OL999-9001) into the radiator up to the base of the filler neck. Do this SLOWLY, you don't want to create a bunch of air/bubbles which are the enemy of a cooling system. If you use a funnel, pour slowly down the side of the funnel, like pouring a draft beer.

Step 7: Leave the radiator cap off (this is so air can escape, i.e. the bubbles you tried not to create it Step 6). Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 1,500 rpm until it warms up (the radiator fan comes on at least twice). Make sure the thermostat is open, i.e get things warm. You may start to see steam rise from the radiator filler neck that you left open. You may also get some initial spillover during the first start. Grab a helper or some towels to clean it up or catch some around the next when it spills out. Check for leaks/drips from your radiator drain plug and engine block drain plug (don't mistake some spillover from the radiator for leaks).

Step 8: Turn off the engine. Check the level in the radiator, and add Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2, if needed.

Step 9: Set the climate control or heater control panel to maximum cool. Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 1,500 rpm for 5 minutes, then turn off the engine.

Step 10: Check the level in the radiator, and add Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2, if needed.

Step 11: Set the climate control or heater control panel to maximum heat. Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 1,500 rpm for 5 minutes"then turn off the engine.

Step 12: Check the level in the radiator, and add Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2, if needed.

Step 13: Set the climate control or heater control panel to maximum cool. Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 1,500 rpm for 3 minutes, then turn off the engine.

Step 14: Check the level in the radiator, and add Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2, if needed.

Step 15: Set the climate control or heater control panel to maximum heat. Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 1,500 rpm for 3 minutes, then turn off the engine.

Step 16: Check the level in the radiator, and add Acura Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2, if needed.

Step 17: Repeat steps 15 through 18 until the coolant level does not change in the radiator, then install the radiator cap loosely (half type of turn where you can feel it secure, but also loose so that air can escape).

Step 18: Set the climate control or heater control panel to maximum cool. Start the engine. Hold the engine speed at 2,500 rpm for 1 minute.

Step 19: Fill up the coolant reservoir to the MIN mark. I prefer to just fill it up to MIN as the cooling system does its thing over the next few drives. I then check it after each drive and eventually after a few drives I'll fill it up halfway between MIN/MAX.

Step 20: Re install splash guard.

Step 21: Have a cold one!
 

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WOW!

Thanks for the detailed instructions.

This should be made a "sticky"
 

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This is a great guide. Thanks! I have not changed coolant in the past 6.5 years. MM never asks for it. Am I too late or a lot of folks are in the same shoes? I thought the rule is 100k miles first time, then every 50k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is a great guide. Thanks! I have not changed coolant in the past 6.5 years. MM never asks for it. Am I too late or a lot of folks are in the same shoes? I thought the rule is 100k miles first time, then every 50k.
It's never too late, it's cheap insurance/preventive maintenance that can increase the life of your cooling system parts especially if you plan to own your MDX for awhile. Coolant life is as much age dependent as it is mileage dependent. Also, the heat/cold of your environment will impact your coolant effective lifespan. Most manufactures recommend 20-30k miles or every 24-36 months, depending on driving conditions. If you look at the history of maintenance for vehicles sold in the US, the last 10 years has been getting cars to a point where they don't need to be maintained, i.e. "lifetime" fluids or similar ways of describing maintenance items, in Honda's world "long life coolant" etc. Fluid changes are the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to improve the longevity of your vehicle.
 

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I'm going to do some more write ups when I have some time. Power Steering Fluid, Trans, Differential, Transfer Case, etc.
Delirium this is a great write up and as the the other members mentioned thank you for the detailed instructions. I've subscribed to this thread. Looking forward to reading your power steering fluid change write up. I changed my power steering a few months ago but I don't believe I completed a thorough job. I'm interested in reading what you do and your experience with this maintenance job.

Thanks once again!:29:
 

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The coolant: OL999-9001 seems has been replaced by OL999-9011. Should I buy it from an Acura dealer or Honda dealer? Should be the same thing, right?
 

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Also in step 1, you mentioned removing the splash guard is optional. Can you elaborate on that? I want to avoid this if I can, but it is hard for me to see w/o removing the splash guard. Do you think you can do this w/o removing the splash guard? Thanks.

Edit: I think I can. I have an 07. Right in the middle of the splash guard, there is a big hole. To the left of the big hole (to the passenger side), there is a small hole. The drain plug should be behind the middle of the top of the small hole. It is easy to reach, but hard to turn b/c the position is awkward. So if I do it, I have to use the big hole to turn it.

I wanted to take a picture, but gave up after too many failures. Could somebody confirm that my description seems correct? Do not want to make a big mistake. Thanks.
 

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Great write up, I'm actually about to do my fluids change soon and was curious of a few things, this is directed to all MDX owners out there. Since owning my X I've only used Castrol GTX and I've noticed Zero difference btwn Honda's oil and Castrol. Most people are under The impression that we should only use Honda fluids because of certain "special" additives, etc.. I've always been under the impression that it's just a marketing plot to generate maximum revenue, "Use only Honda products or you'll risk damaging your vehicle in the long run". For me, my nearest Acura/Honda dealer is about 20mins away (not convenient at all). Is anyone using anything other then Honda Coolant, if so then what Brand, and why are you using said brand?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The coolant: OL999-9001 seems has been replaced by OL999-9011. Should I buy it from an Acura dealer or Honda dealer? Should be the same thing, right?
Yep, I wouldn't worry about the accuracy of the part number, just buy the Honda Type 2 Long Life Coolant (2 gallons worth). You can find it at any Honda or Acura dealer. Maybe call before as prices will vary and it isn't that cheap. Any parts guy will verify you're getting the right stuff for your MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great write up, I'm actually about to do my fluids change soon and was curious of a few things, this is directed to all MDX owners out there. Since owning my X I've only used Castrol GTX and I've noticed Zero difference btwn Honda's oil and Castrol. Most people are under The impression that we should only use Honda fluids because of certain "special" additives, etc.. I've always been under the impression that it's just a marketing plot to generate maximum revenue, "Use only Honda products or you'll risk damaging your vehicle in the long run". For me, my nearest Acura/Honda dealer is about 20mins away (not convenient at all). Is anyone using anything other then Honda Coolant, if so then what Brand, and why are you using said brand?
On the oil front, I would say use whatever brand name quality oil you want as long as it is the tight type and weight. On the coolant front, I would only use the Honda/Acura Type 2 long life coolant. IF you are very proactive and replace it every 2-3 years, you're talking about a very small/incremental increase in price over the life of the vehicle versus a typical generic brand name coolant. Not worth the risk to your cooling system (premature failure in various parts) and engine that could overheat because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Also in step 1, you mentioned removing the splash guard is optional. Can you elaborate on that? I want to avoid this if I can, but it is hard for me to see w/o removing the splash guard. Do you think you can do this w/o removing the splash guard? Thanks.

Edit: I think I can. I have an 07. Right in the middle of the splash guard, there is a big hole. To the left of the big hole (to the passenger side), there is a small hole. The drain plug should be behind the middle of the top of the small hole. It is easy to reach, but hard to turn b/c the position is awkward. So if I do it, I have to use the big hole to turn it.

I wanted to take a picture, but gave up after too many failures. Could somebody confirm that my description seems correct? Do not want to make a big mistake. Thanks.
Frankly, it is going to be impossible to really mess anything up here. The worst thing that will happen is some coolant will spill as you line up the bucket underneath the hole.

A couple of things, no matter if you take the splash guard off or not, the radiator coolant still had to drain through a little hole, i.e. it won't drain straight from the radiator into your bucket. So no, you do not NEED to take the splash guard off.

If you don't take the guard off, it is awkward and hard to reach, but hey, if you can reach and turn it open (and be able to shut it snugly again) then I would suggest doing it without taking the splash guard off.

Based on the picture in this thread, there is no other butterfly type of knob in the area that you could possibly accidentally open up.

Lastly, have you checked out what is required to get the engine block drain plug open and a hose up there to drain? It is much more difficult and tricky than the radiator drain plug. Make sure you check it out and even drain that first so you don't end up with an empty radiator and need to just refill it so ultimately a half done job with half new coolant and half old coolant (actually not the worst thing in the world... :) )

Oh and one more thing, the splash guard is really easy to get off. You probably will break a few of the rivets when you do, but when you go to the dealer to get the coolant, buy a couple of extra rivets to replace the broken ones. It WILL stay on even with several of the rivets missing (or you can use some zip ties) but I like to finish up jobs the right way.
 

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Thanks. I always end up damaging the rivets. That is why I want to avoid taking them off. How much do they cost?

Frankly, it is going to be impossible to really mess anything up here. The worst thing that will happen is some coolant will spill as you line up the bucket underneath the hole.

A couple of things, no matter if you take the splash guard off or not, the radiator coolant still had to drain through a little hole, i.e. it won't drain straight from the radiator into your bucket. So no, you do not NEED to take the splash guard off.

If you don't take the guard off, it is awkward and hard to reach, but hey, if you can reach and turn it open (and be able to shut it snugly again) then I would suggest doing it without taking the splash guard off.

Based on the picture in this thread, there is no other butterfly type of knob in the area that you could possibly accidentally open up.

Lastly, have you checked out what is required to get the engine block drain plug open and a hose up there to drain? It is much more difficult and tricky than the radiator drain plug. Make sure you check it out and even drain that first so you don't end up with an empty radiator and need to just refill it so ultimately a half done job with half new coolant and half old coolant (actually not the worst thing in the world... :) )

Oh and one more thing, the splash guard is really easy to get off. You probably will break a few of the rivets when you do, but when you go to the dealer to get the coolant, buy a couple of extra rivets to replace the broken ones. It WILL stay on even with several of the rivets missing (or you can use some zip ties) but I like to finish up jobs the right way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks. I always end up damaging the rivets. That is why I want to avoid taking them off. How much do they cost?
Good question, I don't know! :)

There are technically two types of rivets for the underbody splash guards (there are like 3 different guards BTW). One rivet is easy to get off and I never broke a single one, let's call these the "bigger" rivets. The other is not easy to get off and I managed to break all 3 of this this type removing the splash guard, let's call these the "smaller" ones. When I put all of the bigger rivets back in, the splash guard held up in place just fine without any of the 3 smaller rivets that I broke. I saved one of the smaller rivets so next time I swing by the dealer I'll pick up a few.

If you want to grab a few of the smaller rivets at the dealer, let me know and I'll take a picture of the one I saved tonight. The parts guy should be able to grab you some based on the picture.

My other car's splash guard rivets usually costs between 50 cents and $2 each.
 

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Thanks. I am not alone in breaking those rivets! Waiting for the picture.

Good question, I don't know! :)

There are technically two types of rivets for the underbody splash guards (there are like 3 different guards BTW). One rivet is easy to get off and I never broke a single one, let's call these the "bigger" rivets. The other is not easy to get off and I managed to break all 3 of this this type removing the splash guard, let's call these the "smaller" ones. When I put all of the bigger rivets back in, the splash guard held up in place just fine without any of the 3 smaller rivets that I broke. I saved one of the smaller rivets so next time I swing by the dealer I'll pick up a few.

If you want to grab a few of the smaller rivets at the dealer, let me know and I'll take a picture of the one I saved tonight. The parts guy should be able to grab you some based on the picture.

My other car's splash guard rivets usually costs between 50 cents and $2 each.
 
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