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Discussion Starter #1
After searching the database regarding transmission fluid, it's clear that some MDX owners have seen their transmission fluid turn brown apparently due to heat breakdown - whether they have a transmission cooler or not. Although the owner's manual says not to substitute Honda's ATF-Z1 in the X's transmission, has anyone done this and replaced it with Mobil 1 synthetic ATF yet? If so, have you encountered any problem with "shift quality"?:8:
 

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I have been wondering the same thing myself, the Owners manual says you can use Dexron III fluid as a replacement. Then it mentions the thing about "shift quality". My guess is that Honda ATF-Z1 is a Dexron III fluid with a special friction modifier added. You could probably duplicate that with an additive such as LubeGard. Take a look at thier website, they have some really interesting products. The site is www.lubegard.com and they have several different Friction modifiers. The link to the transmission products is http://www.lubegard.com/automotive/index_trans.html .
From reading some of the material on the site it would help the problems desribed in some of the postings about Brown colored fluid. If you ever watch Two Guys Garage on Speed Channel or Shadtree Mechanic on TNN , Sam Memmolo does advertising for these people. He used to own a shop out near my house before he had the TV shows and he says it is a great product. I doubt that Acura would recomend anything but the ATF-Z1 fluid. I had a 1991 Honda Accord that recomended Honda ATF and the automatic is still working fine using Dexron II and now Dexron III and it has over 200k on it. I am sticky to the ATF-Z1 till it is out of warrenty, I recently took my MDX in for a problem and right away the tech asked me if any service had been done on my car. I told him I did all the service and changed all the filters and his first question was did I use Acura parts? I can only conclude if I answered no he would blame those parts for the problem. The Check Engine Light and the VTM-4 light came on. He told me the code for the VTM-4 told him the fluid was the problem and asked when it had been changed and with what replacement fluid. The check engine light he said was from a rich condition and asked if the Air Filter had been changed, this happened about 400 miles after I changed both with Acura parts. Anyway to make a long story short, he blamed it on the way we drove the car, said short trips confuse the computer and reset the computer and gave me back the car. I was not very happy, the next day the lights came on again, still waiting to take it back.


Greg in Atlanta
 

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This is must be seperate problems -- CALL ACURA!!!!!

GREG:

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

The computer DOES NOT STORE ERROR CODES DUE TO SHORT TRIPS!!!

This service advisor is a COMPLETE MORON!

The rich condition MUST be caused by a problem with the emissions control systems. IT MUST BE FIXED!

The VTM light could indicate a SERIOUS problem with the clutch assembly that could make the vehicle UNDRIVABLE!

Do not let this IDIOT off the hook. Call CORPORATE and let them know this INCOMPETENT FOOL is going to cost them MORE MONEY in delayed warranty work!

Gregc said:
<snip>... I recently took my MDX in for a problem and right away the tech asked me if any service had been done on my car. I told him I did all the service and changed all the filters and his first question was did I use Acura parts? I can only conclude if I answered no he would blame those parts for the problem. The Check Engine Light and the VTM-4 light came on. He told me the code for the VTM-4 told him the fluid was the problem and asked when it had been changed and with what replacement fluid. The check engine light he said was from a rich condition and asked if the Air Filter had been changed, this happened about 400 miles after I changed both with Acura parts. Anyway to make a long story short, he blamed it on the way we drove the car, said short trips confuse the computer and reset the computer and gave me back the car. I was not very happy, the next day the lights came on again, still waiting to take it back.<snip>
 

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oceanMDX said:
After searching the database regarding transmission fluid, it's clear that some MDX owners have seen their transmission fluid turn brown apparently due to heat breakdown - whether they have a transmission cooler or not. Although the owner's manual says not to substitute Honda's ATF-Z1 in the X's transmission, has anyone done this and replaced it with Mobil 1 synthetic ATF yet? If so, have you encountered any problem with "shift quality"?:8:
I believe this was addressed under the changing transmission fluid topic. Acura does not recommend anything but Z1. If you use an additive (as the post below yours) I would not advertise the fact to the dealer. At the same time I would conisder it some added protection but not a cure for the fluid looking brown instead of red/pink.
TechLube is designed to be used in normally functioning transmissions, not as a remedy for problems.
The jury is still out on anyone else using synthetic ATF. But IMHO it's the same thing. A better fluid, but not something to fix an existing problem.
We would expect Acura transmissions to be less problematic, just based on the reputation of the marque.
But that may not be the case, as we know for certain in the TL.
There is a redesign in the 03 MDX, maybe that's telling us something. Time will tell, just drive and enjoy, and if something happens let them take care of it. You can't predict, let alone prevent something that 'might' happen. Maybe delay it, but why do that? There is no good time for something bad to happen, but why delay the inevitable while you still have a valid warranty.
 

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Gregc: Do you mind posting or pm'ing me the dealership? Thanks hope they sort you out.
 

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Normally, I would take the synthetic ATF. But in this case, you all would be better off sticking with the Honda ATF-Z1. As I understood it. ATF-Z1 was meant to replace not only Honda's ATF but the CVT oil that went in the Honda CR-V's rear differential as well. The Z1 stuff probably contains some kind of hypoid additive. And since since the MDX transmission has a transfer assembly bolted on...that hypoid additive probably needs to be there. So to sum it up, stick with the Honda stuff. Even though I'm sure it costs almost as much as buying Mobil 1 ATF from the local auto parts store would.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #7
TheRobSJ (and everyone else)...

Thanks for the info... :29:
 

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Here's another thought that goes along with Rob's excellent suggestion.

Z1 is ONLY compatible with Honda/Acura transmissions including CVTs.
So maybe we should be viewing it in a more favorable light. It might even be a synthetic blend, and superior to others. Though it's likely made by a major lube mfr. but to Honda's requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well that does it...

I'll just stick with Honda's ATF-Z1 and change it once a year. :4:
 
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