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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2016 leaves a lot to be desired. I have the 5000 lb. tow package and I'm getting the clunk between 4/5 gears and very rough shifts in all the low gears even when not towing.

I'm thinking about a new suv and want to stay with the MDX so I'd appreciate hearing from 2018 owners and their experiences.

Incidentally, my wife has a 2017 Q7 that for me is a love hate relationship. Engine, transmission, and ride are incredible. But the electronics navigation are maddeningly frustrating. And, the placement of stalks, buttons, and other controls are awkward and distracting. Nothing beats the design of Acura's controls.
 

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Have you had the dealer check your transmission fluid level? The ZF9 is extremely sensitive to fluid level, and since you've had the transmission cooler added, the fluid level would have been modified. It is my experience that most dealer techs are in a hurry, and it's possible they didn't take the care required to set the transmission fluid level properly.
 

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Based on the posts I've read here regarding the 9-speed (mine's a 2014 with the 6-speed), I don't think you should give up on the 2016 yet - take it back to the dealer and have them investigate the harsh shifting and don't accept the 'it's normal'. Take it to a different dealership if necessary. Some others who have complained and pursued this have seen improvement.
 

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I'm the cat with the 2017 that had the transmission cooler removed because I couldn't take it any more. What I can share as an N of 1 is that they (Acura) recognize that the clunk is a result of the cooler "opening" a system that was designed to be closed and because of this the noise (clunk) that is present in every unit can then be heard. I'm not sure I ever believed this because there was no clunk for me until the transmission warmed to full operating temps AND you could feel the clunk through the pedals and wheel. If it were because of an "open" system I would think you would experience it cold or warm. I can report that removing the cooler eliminated the clunk and generally improved shifting. As to whether it is the design or fluid level, I am suspect because the same tech that installed my cooler on purchase and adjusted fluid is the same one that removed it and adjusted fluid back to original state. It is possible he got it wrong on the cooler install and correct on the removal but I have my doubts. The willingness for Acura to remove the cooler, reimburse me for parts and labor on both ends suggests they know it is more than a fluid level adjustment, but then again it has been suggested here that I'm am both looking to be unhappy and even possibly a dick.

Based on my experience I would support removing the cooler unless you must have the additional 1500lb capacity over stock. Even after the removal I find the ZF serviceable, but unbecoming of the expected Acura experience.

Disclosure: I do not currently own stock in Acura or any funds that hold positions in the company.
 

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You really should start saving for retirement, Vic.
 

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^^^Vic claims to be in his 90's so if he is still working then that could explain why he's a dick... OTOH maybe it's just too many people are on his lawn?
 

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^^^Vic claims to be in his 90's so if he is still working then that could explain why he's a dick... OTOH maybe it's just too many people are on his lawn?
Devils advocate: I don’t like strangers on my lawn, either.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, thanks for the feedback so far but I'd still love to hear from 2018 owners with the tow package. Are you happy with the transmission or not? Higher tow rating is a must for me.

I do plan to pursue fixes for my 2016 but I suspect it won't be enough to make me satisfied. I really like the MDX over all but just can't live with the current transmission.
 

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Ok, thanks for the feedback so far but I'd still love to hear from 2018 owners with the tow package. Are you happy with the transmission or not? Higher tow rating is a must for me.

I do plan to pursue fixes for my 2016 but I suspect it won't be enough to make me satisfied. I really like the MDX over all but just can't live with the current transmission.
The 2018 utilizes the same ZF 9 speed transmission as the 2017, so likely safe to assume the same experience as the '17. The Hybrid has a proprietary box, but is not rated for towing.

If you doubt my experience with the ZF and the cooler, I can get you the name and number of my Acura Service Manager and he can share the facts with you. It will work better without, but is still quirky.
 

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Ok, thanks for the feedback so far but I'd still love to hear from 2018 owners with the tow package. Are you happy with the transmission or not? Higher tow rating is a must for me.

I do plan to pursue fixes for my 2016 but I suspect it won't be enough to make me satisfied. I really like the MDX over all but just can't live with the current transmission.
New Pilot with the solid 6 speed is not a contender for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The 2018 utilizes the same ZF 9 speed transmission as the 2017, so likely safe to assume the same experience as the '17. The Hybrid has a proprietary box, but is not rated for towing.

If you doubt my experience with the ZF and the cooler, I can get you the name and number of my Acura Service Manager and he can share the facts with you. It will work better without, but is still quirky.
I'm leasing this MDX so can't remove cooler nor do I want to take a chance towing my 4200 lb boat with out one.

I think the Pilot is a great vehicle but not for me.

Thanks for suggestions though.
 

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I'm leasing this MDX so can't remove cooler nor do I want to take a chance towing my 4200 lb boat with out one.

I think the Pilot is a great vehicle but not for me.

Thanks for suggestions though.
If I had a 4200# boat I think I might consider a different tow vehicle, particularly if you plan to tow often (or never weighed your boat and trailer on the way to the lake because mfg provided numbers are not reliable). My experience has been the 80% rule; towing comfort and vehicle durability is highest when you are at or below 80% of the max capacity of the tow rig.
 

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The 2018 utilizes the same ZF 9 speed transmission as the 2017, so likely safe to assume the same experience as the '17. The Hybrid has a proprietary box, but is not rated for towing.
According to releases from Acura, a major design goal for the sport hybrid was to use the electric motors to smooth out the shifting of the dual clutch transmission. DCTs aren't otherwise known for their low-speed smoothness. If Acura is going to try to reposition themselves as a "performance" brand, we might expect to see more of the sport hybrid tech in other vehicles.

But they better figure out the towing thing or offer some transmission that can actually tow! I don't expect an MDX to tow like a Silverado or F350, but what's that "U" stand for in SUV?
 

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I have a 2017 and I have a popping noise coming from my engine bay when I let off the gas at 30mph under light acceleration. Driving me nuts. I'm tempted to trade in the car for a 4Runner with the 5speed.
I've even caught myself looking at Jeeps. Then I have to slap myself hard and remember how nuts my Jeeps made me! :surprise:
 

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I've even caught myself looking at Jeeps. Then I have to slap myself hard and remember how nuts my Jeeps made me! :surprise:
I watched Doug DeMueros YoueTube review of the 2018 Wrangler and felt a little lust start to rumble... But then my brain slapped me.

Having previously owned a Wranger TJ, I definitely have a love-hate feeling towards Jeep.

Love:


Hate:


Edit: Actually I fibbed in the "hate" image. I actually LOVED restoring the Jeep. It was my zen project, that season. However, I was often cursing Chrysler while thinking "why the f$%^ would they do it that way?".

I have a few friends who are mechanics and they've always joked that Chrysler is the company where engineers work after their job applications were denied at Ford and GM. After being quite intimate with my Jeep, I now fully understand that sentiment. The Jeep Wrangler manages to be uniquely robust and have a maddeningly poor design/build quality, at the same time.

When I bought my MDX I had a brief flash through my head about buying a Grand Cherokee. Then I laughed because that would be stupid.
 

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Ok, thanks for the feedback so far but I'd still love to hear from 2018 owners with the tow package. Are you happy with the transmission or not? Higher tow rating is a must for me.

I do plan to pursue fixes for my 2016 but I suspect it won't be enough to make me satisfied. I really like the MDX over all but just can't live with the current transmission.
I have a 2018 MDX SH-AWD (manufactured october 2017) with the external transmission cooler. I don't have any unusual noise or behavior in mine (although I have only about 1400 miles on the vehicle so far). I did take a trip to Lake Tahoe and the MDX climbed the hills just fine. I did use the manual shifters to keep the trans in the proper gear during the hill climbs.
 
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