Acura MDX SUV Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm aware that the ZF9 speed is not the most refined transaxle in the world and has had its share of issues, but the one in my wife's '18 TLX V6 has been more or less flawless, so I had little hesitation getting a later model MDX with one. I have yet to address this issue with the dealer as it only happens when the vehicle is cold and I'm not sure how to replicate it without dropping off my car overnight. The issue works like this; As I start to drive out of my neighborhood, going roughly 20-25MPH, I have a consistent hard shift and a very audible clunking noise both inside and outside of the vehicle (it's been loud enough to draw pedestrian glances as I drive by). Once the vehicle is underway, it's gone and generally shifts smoothly. I do on occasion notice some odd low speed weirdness in throttle response, but I'm not sure if that's just gear hunting or VCM stuff (does this version of the 3.5 even have that?).

I'm curious if this is just a characteristic of this drivetrain, or even if it's just a part of break-in (I have less than 3000 miles). Any others out there experience similar noises? Praying that it's not just me as my local dealer has proven to be far less than competent with other issues and I'm not sure I want them doing transmission work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
I would say it's abnormal for a 2019+, I haven't noticed anything similar in my 19 MDX. The only complaint I have is the slow shift from R to D after backing out of my driveway and pushing D to shift to drive, it takes a second to shift instead of it being near instantaneous like on other vehicles, so only a minor complaint. I live in MN so it's cold here, although I keep it in the garage so it isn't outside a lot, but last winter when it was outside in the parking lot at work or in the driveway overnight at my parents I didn't notice the clunk you describe.

Do you by chance have the transmission cooler? I seem to recall that can cause a clunking sound
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I would say it's abnormal for a 2019+, I haven't noticed anything similar in my 19 MDX. The only complaint I have is the slow shift from R to D after backing out of my driveway and pushing D to shift to drive, it takes a second to shift instead of it being near instantaneous like on other vehicles, so only a minor complaint. I live in MN so it's cold here, although I keep it in the garage so it isn't outside a lot, but last winter when it was outside in the parking lot at work or in the driveway overnight at my parents I didn't notice the clunk you describe.
Thanks for the confirmation it's not normal. When I say "cold", I'm referring to the vehicle being started after many hours of sitting. I live in Florida, so it's never truly cold temperature-wise :)

Do you by chance have the transmission cooler? I seem to recall that can cause a clunking sound
Nope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
My 2020, for the last two mornings has made a “clunk” sound, when cold, when shifting to 3rd gear. It was cold for Florida, in the 60’s in my garage. You can actually feel it when it makes this “Clunk”. It does not do it or is much less loud while the tranny is warming and goes away 100% after warm. Have 2000 trouble free miles on my MDX.
Be interested in when the weather is even colder If it get worst. The nine speed has worked without a single flaw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
My 2020, for the last two mornings has made a “clunk” sound, when cold, when shifting to 3rd gear. It was cold for Florida, in the 60’s in my garage. You can actually feel it when it makes this “Clunk”. It does not do it or is much less loud while the tranny is warming and goes away 100% after warm. Have 2000 trouble free miles on my MDX.
Be interested in when the weather is even colder If it get worst. The nine speed has worked without a single flaw.
Glad to hear I'm not alone. I'm hopeful that as it breaks in, these issues will be few and far between. Yesterday morning it didn't make the audible "clunk", though it almost felt like it slipped the first time it wanted to shift into (...what I presume is...) third. I know the electronics adjust for wear, so maybe it's truly just a matter of the transmission "learning" its wear state.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Glad to hear I'm not alone. I'm hopeful that as it breaks in, these issues will be few and far between. Yesterday morning it didn't make the audible "clunk", though it almost felt like it slipped the first time it wanted to shift into (...what I presume is...) third. I know the electronics adjust for wear, so maybe it's truly just a matter of the transmission "learning" its wear state.
Mine was barely detectable shifting from 3rd to 4th but then it was in the 70's this morning. Made the best "clunk" on cold morning.

Not going to worry too much about it as it is so slight and only does it the first few times it shifts from 3rd to 4th. Got a bit over 2k on mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Mine was barely detectable shifting from 3rd to 4th but then it was in the 70's this morning. Made the best "clunk" on cold morning.

Not going to worry too much about it as it is so slight and only does it the first few times it shifts from 3rd to 4th. Got a bit over 2k on mine.
Thanks, keep me posted if it changes at all. I'm in Lake Mary (northeast of Orlando) and the local dealership (AutoNation) is a joke unfortunately. I think I'm pretty much on my own to solve the many quality problems this vehicle seems to have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Thanks, keep me posted if it changes at all. I'm in Lake Mary (northeast of Orlando) and the local dealership (AutoNation) is a joke unfortunately. I think I'm pretty much on my own to solve the many quality problems this vehicle seems to have.
My 2020 has and is working without any trouble except for this. I am very happy so far.

Hope you get it sorted. Have not visited my Acura service department yet.

Please keep me post, too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I want to pitch in my experience with my 2018 with 13K miles now. We replaced wife's 2013 328i with 8-speed ZF transmission which is a best auto tranny in industry at the moment. I have the same transmission in my 2012 535i and it truly is a benchmark for other automakers. So when I test drove a new MDX, it did not present any signs of lag or clunks. We did not test drive the car we picked thinking it should be the same as demo car but oh boy there was a huge difference. I struggled with quality control issues from day one which included bad tires , improper panel alignment - not fixed yet except the fuel door, hazed edges on windshield and some other minor annoyances (cheap audio system).

The transmission is jerky specially when cold it does get better when it warms up or may be by that time I'm on the highway in a higher gear. I have not heard any clunks in D though there are noises when reversing as other people have reported. I asked the service at least twice to check if there is a software upgrade and the answer so far is that it's all up to date and there is nothing wrong with it.

If anyone at Acura/Honda corp is following up this forum please pay attention before you lose your top spot in this category. Pay attention to QUALITY CONTROL. Need to improve dealership experience, it's still from 1980 sales mind set, I really think we will be switching to direct sales in coming years as this sales model sucks. Bought numerous new cars and all of them are alike one way or the other. Acura needs to include few years of maintenance.

We switched from German to Japanese manufacturer because of reliability concerns, I had a great opportunity to buy a CPO X5 for the same price but opted for MDX for peace of mind. Had I known these issues before hand, I would have stayed away from Acura. Yes they offer a lot of standard features but driving a late model car with uncomfortable driving experience ruins it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,631 Posts
I want to pitch in my experience with my 2018 with 13K miles now. We replaced wife's 2013 328i with 8-speed ZF transmission which is a best auto tranny in industry at the moment. I have the same transmission in my 2012 535i and it truly is a benchmark for other automakers. So when I test drove a new MDX, it did not present any signs of lag or clunks. We did not test drive the car we picked thinking it should be the same as demo car but oh boy there was a huge difference. I struggled with quality control issues from day one which included bad tires , improper panel alignment - not fixed yet except the fuel door, hazed edges on windshield and some other minor annoyances (cheap audio system).

The transmission is jerky specially when cold it does get better when it warms up or may be by that time I'm on the highway in a higher gear. I have not heard any clunks in D though there are noises when reversing as other people have reported. I asked the service at least twice to check if there is a software upgrade and the answer so far is that it's all up to date and there is nothing wrong with it.

If anyone at Acura/Honda corp is following up this forum please pay attention before you lose your top spot in this category. Pay attention to QUALITY CONTROL. Need to improve dealership experience, it's still from 1980 sales mind set, I really think we will be switching to direct sales in coming years as this sales model sucks. Bought numerous new cars and all of them are alike one way or the other. Acura needs to include few years of maintenance.

We switched from German to Japanese manufacturer because of reliability concerns, I had a great opportunity to buy a CPO X5 for the same price but opted for MDX for peace of mind. Had I known these issues before hand, I would have stayed away from Acura. Yes they offer a lot of standard features but driving a late model car with uncomfortable driving experience ruins it.
Well... Acura has never really been on top for a while now in terms of reliability. Actually we're near the bottom now... Below BMW.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
Well... Acura has never really been on top for a while now in terms of reliability. Actually we're near the bottom now... Below BMW.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
While this is true (especially for 2017 and prior year MDX, 2018-2020 appear to be much better as they've ironed out some kinks) I definitely have more confidence in Acura standing behind their product and actually fixing issues (with possible exception of poor dealer experience) than I do with a German brand to fix their issues. Plus with all the super high tech goodies in the German luxury competitors I would expect many more electronic "gremlins" that are nearly impossible to fully eradicate.

So while Acura is around the middle of the pack (maybe lower now due to issues with the redesigned RDX) when purchasing I felt much better about my Acura purchase from a reliability/repair/cost of ownership perspective then I would have with nearly every other competitor except perhaps Lexus (high reliability but also costly to repair) and possibly Infiniti (which is also rated about same as Acura with a much better dealer experience)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,631 Posts
While this is true (especially for 2017 and prior year MDX, 2018-2020 appear to be much better as they've ironed out some kinks) I definitely have more confidence in Acura standing behind their product and actually fixing issues (with possible exception of poor dealer experience) than I do with a German brand to fix their issues. Plus with all the super high tech goodies in the German luxury competitors I would expect many more electronic "gremlins" that are nearly impossible to fully eradicate.

So while Acura is around the middle of the pack (maybe lower now due to issues with the redesigned RDX) when purchasing I felt much better about my Acura purchase from a reliability/repair/cost of ownership perspective then I would have with nearly every other competitor except perhaps Lexus (high reliability but also costly to repair) and possibly Infiniti (which is also rated about same as Acura with a much better dealer experience)
Honda does do a decent job with resolving issues with tsbs, but stuff like my tranny they seem to just think I'm hearing sounds in my head only, despite me having videos. And this is my experience with multiple dealers, which Honda then just says something like "yeah, just wait until it gets worse and if you're warranty expires, well, we'll see." (This is actually the jist of what they said to me.) I say Honda but i mean the whole family.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Dropped the older kid off at high school this morning and despite allowing it to warm up in my garage for 5 minutes or so, the clunking was still prevalent. Not only that, but on the return trip I was making a left turn, lightly on the gas and when the traffic cleared in front of me, gave it a bit more and the engine just surged without putting any power down. Let up on the gas and put my foot back into it and it engaged again. But this is the kind of disconcerting low-speed stuff I mentioned earlier -- and worry about quite a bit -- I could see it becoming dangerous in certain situations.

Aside from the drivetrain wackiness and the botched dealer install of blind spot sensors, I've had issues with the lumbar support (ultimately fixed due with guidance from another member here -- dealer replaced the part, but the problem soon resurfaced). I also had a rattle in the rear that was caused by a headliner trim clip not being seated. Additionally, I noticed that my hood flutters at high speeds (not a problem unique to this Honda, but still something that has plagued just about all of my Hondas for years -- not sure why they can't seem to solve it) and finally, noticed some creaking and popping noises from my driver's side door window area when driving at high speeds over the weekend. These quality issues should NOT be happening in a $50K+ vehicle late in the model's lifecycle.

I lease my vehicles generally and have been through quite a few Hondas over the years. Some have been better than others, but this one is by far the worst. It's particularly difficult to swallow having come out of a 2016 Highlander which was absolutely flawless and exceeded my expectations in just about every respect. I really wish I would have just waited for the 2020 redesign or even gone with the RX350-L (with the third row).

My wife's TLX V6 is at end of lease this June. We will not be looking at Acura for her.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top