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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I know little about cars but I'm good with google.

I purchased a 2004 MDX with 140k miles, no inspection. It was really cheap ($2k) and I live life on the wild side. The next day I drive it, it's smoking. I popped the hood and google informs me that it's most likely a rear main seal oil leak.

When I purchased the car, I figured it would need work so no biggie. I have a great mechanic who told me that I have several leaks and the axles are leaking grease. He suggested to redo all of the seals and axle. I agree but the problem is that he is always busy and I've been waiting for a couple days for him to send me the parts list to order it online.

Can anyone help me with parts number for a complete gasket kit and axles? He stressed to get OEM, which I am going to do, unless there are aftermarket parts that are just as good? I've tried google but I'm not sure if the parts that I am finding are what I need (06110-RDJ-A02 and 06120-RDJ-A02)

Other than the oil leak, I know these cars have problems with the tranny so I am going to replace the radiator and hoses. Should I add a transmission cooler or is the replacement good enough? Any other preventive maintenance that could be done while he has the engine majig disassembled? He's already flushed all of the fluids, including a 3x3 tranny flush and will be replacing the plugs and coils.

TL;DR I need parts number for a complete gasket seal kit and axles.
 

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If you want OEM parts, you could contact an Acura dealer with your VIN and list, and get part numbers and cost. ehonda is another source for diagrams and part numbers. You can get the info and shop around.

You’ll probably pay double or triple for OEM parts. OEM rear main, yes. You can get complete axles for $50 plus shipping on rockauto.

As for other work, the list could get long. You might have your mech check the compliance bushings in the front control arms - the donut sized ones. Depending on know service history, valve adjustment and timing belt are factory service items at 105K miles.

I have a tranny cooler on my 06.

Good luck!
 

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Congrats - sounds like you got a great deal on a nice car.

I seldom buy OEM parts, though I do understand the draw. If Honda / Acura parts were a little more expensive, I'd buy 'em every time. But when they're 2-4x as much, I will normally opt for aftermarket from a known supplier (one who is known for producing good parts). Sometimes, they're from the same manufacturer that supplies Honda. My favorite parts hunting ground is rockauto.com - they've got (by far!) the best interface, and I've used it as much for looking up compatible part numbers as actually ordering parts.

I've had good luck with Empi (aka Empire) axles in the past, and nearly everyone raves about Raxles (who make a good living doing high-end rebuilds of OEM axles). As easy as the axles are to swap, and as much cheaper as the aftermarket axles are, I'd swap in some Empi / Empire axles, or maybe I'd do some research and figure out some other options.

Fixing a RMS isn't a trivial job - it requires (at least) pulling the tranny out. ouch. If that one is going to cause smoke, I'd have to guess it could only be by dripping oil onto the exhaust. If it was my car, I'd try stuffing a nice absorbent rag up in the area to catch the drip, and live with the car a while to see if you really want to go to the expense of dropping the tranny (or to determine if there's any reason you might want to do something else while you're going to that expense - like maybe a tranny swap?). If it's smoking out the exhaust pipe, it's not the RMS and opens up a whole new can of worms.

With the miles on the car, and with the potential for doing that much work, I'd suggest doing a valve adjustment (they're not hydraulic, and need to be adjusted every 100,000 miles) and a timing belt / water pump while I'm at it (recommend the Aisin kit).

And finally, I'm kind of struggling with the concept of one of those bulletproof 3.5L Honda engines having THAT many leaks. Certainly, anything is possible, and it's not that difficult to look for the wet spots to see where the oil is coming from and going to. But it would be really unusual to see a 140,000 mile MDX leaking (meaningfully, anyway) from both valve covers and RMS. Heck, my 230,000 mile '04 is tight as a drum. I've had the valve covers off to do valve adjustment, and the gaskets were still pliable and sealed up just fine (as did all the ones under the intake plenum, etc. that had to come off, too). That is to say that Honda makes really good gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congrats - sounds like you got a great deal on a nice car.

I seldom buy OEM parts, though I do understand the draw. If Honda / Acura parts were a little more expensive, I'd buy 'em every time. But when they're 2-4x as much, I will normally opt for aftermarket from a known supplier (one who is known for producing good parts). Sometimes, they're from the same manufacturer that supplies Honda. My favorite parts hunting ground is rockauto.com - they've got (by far!) the best interface, and I've used it as much for looking up compatible part numbers as actually ordering parts.

I've had good luck with Empi (aka Empire) axles in the past, and nearly everyone raves about Raxles (who make a good living doing high-end rebuilds of OEM axles). As easy as the axles are to swap, and as much cheaper as the aftermarket axles are, I'd swap in some Empi / Empire axles, or maybe I'd do some research and figure out some other options.

Fixing a RMS isn't a trivial job - it requires (at least) pulling the tranny out. ouch. If that one is going to cause smoke, I'd have to guess it could only be by dripping oil onto the exhaust. If it was my car, I'd try stuffing a nice absorbent rag up in the area to catch the drip, and live with the car a while to see if you really want to go to the expense of dropping the tranny (or to determine if there's any reason you might want to do something else while you're going to that expense - like maybe a tranny swap?). If it's smoking out the exhaust pipe, it's not the RMS and opens up a whole new can of worms.

With the miles on the car, and with the potential for doing that much work, I'd suggest doing a valve adjustment (they're not hydraulic, and need to be adjusted every 100,000 miles) and a timing belt / water pump while I'm at it (recommend the Aisin kit).

And finally, I'm kind of struggling with the concept of one of those bulletproof 3.5L Honda engines having THAT many leaks. Certainly, anything is possible, and it's not that difficult to look for the wet spots to see where the oil is coming from and going to. But it would be really unusual to see a 140,000 mile MDX leaking (meaningfully, anyway) from both valve covers and RMS. Heck, my 230,000 mile '04 is tight as a drum. I've had the valve covers off to do valve adjustment, and the gaskets were still pliable and sealed up just fine (as did all the ones under the intake plenum, etc. that had to come off, too). That is to say that Honda makes really good gaskets.
Thanks! I will definitely look into those axles and tell him to adjust the valves. The previous owner claimed that the timing belt and pump were done but seeing how poorly he maintained the car and how he didn't advise me of the leak, I may just have him do that as well. The screw (or plug) from the tranny was covered in shavings and the fluid was even worse. It was really bad.

Maybe I misundersood the whole "complete gasket kit" stuff. I got the list but I'm now even more confused finding these parts on a diagram from an OEM supplier:

Valve Cover Gasket set (found) - 12030-RCA-A01
Rear Main Seal (found) - 91214-RCA-A01 -
Left and Right Axle Seals - ?
Camshaft Seals (found in aisin kit) - 91213-R70-A02
Crankshaft Seals (found in aisin kit) - 91212-R70-A02

Just want to make sure these are correct.
 

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FWIW, with actual shavings and nasty fluid in the tranny, I'd seriously recommend doing some sort of stop gap fix on the car until you determine that the transmission isn't going to be a problem going forward. It would be a downright tragedy to pull the tranny off to replace the RMS, only to find out a month after reinstalling it that you have to swap it out.

I believe the axle seals you're looking for are Honda part numbers 91260SR3003 and 91260SR3004. They don't seem to be a problem (can't recall many posts discussing them, other than one recent one where other problems caused the axles to eat the seal).

Rockauto shows these as options (I've had really good luck with Timken stuff, mainly on my high-mileage Jeep, but on anything else I've used 'em on, too)... http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/acura,2004,mdx,3.5l+v6,1429118,drivetrain,axle+shaft+seal,2336
 

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I'm new to the MDX, bought an 04 with 138k miles this weekend), I worked on many Hondas including our two Pilots, which share a lot of the drivetrain with each other.


When you say the axles are leaking grease, that leads me to think it is the CV joint end no the axle seals at the tranny. I had a Pilot (06) that appeared to be leaking at the RMS, My Honda dealer quoted me $1200, but recommended resealing the oil pan first. At $200 as it was more likely the cause as he had rarely seen a RMS fail.. He was right.




Honda issued a recall on 2001 and 2002 MDXs for the same problem as the Pilot's had through mid 2004. That was lack of lubrication to the secondary shaft. That was cured by a running design change. There are multiple TSBs on the Drivetrain that didn't rise to the level of a safety recall.


My take on transmissions is they are usually killed by a lack of scheduled fluid changes.


When you say shavings, were they really shavings or more like metal dust (which is normal). That's why the drain plug is a magnet.
 
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