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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm from Panama, outside of U.S.
I'm looking for a 4 x4 car in Miami since I sold my daily drive car and I bought ALL my car in U.S. because their price and specs are different to here.

The concern is that I'm soooo confuse about the decision of buying my daily drive car.

I almost bought a GX470, because I drove it and I love it.
But I want to consider also the 2003 Acura MDX with full loaded package just without the navigation for just about $40k or something, compare with the GX470 that the best price I dealed was $50k.

Now the questions are:

1 It is good choice to save the difference of 10K about the Lexus and the MDX comparing the smooth driveability and power between both cars?
2 I never had drive a 2003 MDX since we don't have those car here.
3 I want to know if the HONDA PILOT it's the same chasis and spec like the MDX?? I tested the Pilot here and for me is a piece of crab. Sorry!!
4 The Honda Pilot is a fake AWD car since it's a front wheel drive with a sensor that activate the 4wd in case if it's nescesary. I don't like that system. What about the MDX?? Same system or this is a REAL AWD like other SUV??
5 What about the 0-60 and 1/4 miles times for the 2003 Acura MDX with those 20hp more?

Basically, I just need response of those questions to make a decision right away.

Any inputs and comments will be just fine...

Thanks!!!! :) :)
 

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The main difference between a Pilot and an MDX is refinement. I don't think the differences are that great to make the Pilot "a piece of crap".
Apparently the 20hp does make some difference to those who have done some real world comparisons. But it does not make the present Acura (or Pilot?) a slouch by any means.
The moonroof and other more upscale features, and stiffer suspension of the X are primary features separating it from the Pilot.
Both share the same drive system, and niether vehicle is designed to be a HD 4X4, so if you are looking for that, you best look at other options like the 4Runner, etc.
But they do excel on less than ideal pavement, and perfrom and out-perform many 4X4s in snowy and icy conditons. Traction is excellent.
Both have very good crash safety ratings, and low tendency to rollover.
Motorweek did record a 0 to 60 time of 7.6sec on a 2001. More typical appears to be right around the 8 second mark. Not bad at all for 240hp popelling 4400 lbs. The 7.6 sec would probably be more typical for the 2003.
I hope some of these observations help you, maybe you could delete the optional posting you made, so we can all join you on only one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I want to know what about with the limited slip differential in this car??

So the feeling on the MDX is almost comparable vs the Pilot??

Thanks for response!!
 

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Knowing the roads of Panama I would say don't settle for anything less than a Toyota or a Lexus. Honda and Acura are okay but they are not by any means the heavy duty long lasting vehicles that Lexus and Toyota are. Honda builds some sofisticated cars but -as explained to me by a Honda repair specialist- they are no match for the legendary reliability of Toyota. Why do you think UN inspectors drive Land Cruisers? Because they don't know what kind of terrain or adverse weather they will find. Read on on this forums about the problems with honda transmissions, I personaly had many in hot weather.
 

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Actually, UN uses mostly 4Runners (3rd generation).:D

The new President of Afgan rides in a Lexus LX470. African safaries are now in Land Cruisers.

In the Middle East and elsewhere, Land Cruisers are reserved only for the rich...it is like currency over there.
 

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Are Land Rovers no longer a viable option for long term "roughing it" conditions?
 

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In fact, some Land Rover factories are now Toyota factories in Africa.
 

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Milton Ng said:
I want to know what about with the limited slip differential in this car??

So the feeling on the MDX is almost comparable vs the Pilot??

Thanks for response!!
The MDX does not use a limited slip differential for traction control. Some awd/4wd cars, such as the Jag sedan use nothing--just an open differential which is really useless in snow or ice. The Mercedes M class uses the ABS system to brake the wheel without traction as to others. Some have limited slip differentials. The MDX has a locking differential which you can enable and use up to 18 mph. One thing I have not been able to determine (and the sales people are useless and will say anything) is whether on the 03 MDX, the vehicle stability system that was added does use ABS braking as additional traction control independent of the VSA.

I believe that it does if it senses loss of lateral control (yaw for example), but I am not sure it is programmed to act as an additional traction control device. To me, the locking differential is the best way to go as using ABS as the sole traction control device can lead to you coming to a virtual halt in some conditions or at least loss of momentum not to mention the wear on the brakes. And you avoid the clutch wear issues in a limited slip that is always enabled.
 

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Nocalchuck,

You know, the MDX rear differential is composed of clutch-packs. Therefore, if you use it often or lock it often, it will wear out very quickly!
 

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norcalchuck, the VSA system on the '03 model.....

norcalchuck said:
..........One thing I have not been able to determine (and the sales people are useless and will say anything) is whether on the 03 MDX, the vehicle stability system that was added does use ABS braking as additional traction control independent of the VSA.

I believe that it does if it senses loss of lateral control (yaw for example), but I am not sure it is programmed to act as an additional traction control device........
........DOES act as a traction control device, regardless of lateral movement. In other words, in addition to it's primary function to keep the vehicle from rolling over during aggressive cornering, it is a dedicated traction control system as well, which uses the ABS hardware to brake a slipping wheel, thereby rerouting torque to the wheels with the most grip. I read this in Honda's technical literature.
 

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Re: norcalchuck, the VSA system on the '03 model.....

vicpai said:


........DOES act as a traction control device, regardless of lateral movement. In other words, in addition to it's primary function to keep the vehicle from rolling over during aggressive cornering, it is a dedicated traction control system as well, which uses the ABS hardware to brake a slipping wheel, thereby rerouting torque to the wheels with the most grip. I read this in Honda's technical literature.
That's an issue I have been trying to find out about. The owner's manual is very terse and non-technical and useless on that. From what I can conclude, the '03 has redundant traction control. Uses the ABS as you indicate, similar to the Mercedes M class and others, but then you can lock the rear differential in 1st gear, 2nd up to 18 mph, or reverse. But- if you lock the rear differential is the VSA overridden? Or is perhaps the VSA overridden just for the rear wheels? A couple of disadvantages of using ABS as the primary heavy duty traction control are of course that yo can lose momentum, and the brake hardware and pad wear issue.

Perhaps there is an Acura tech out there who might comment on the interaction between the VTM and VSA. I have ordered the shop manual but it has not arrived yet.
 

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tigm99
I follow all the forums and haven't heard of any failed clutch packs yet. Do you know something I don't know? If what you're saying is true it could get very expensive and would warrant buying the extended warranty for that reason alone.
 

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feliz said:
tigm99
I follow all the forums and haven't heard of any failed clutch packs yet. Do you know something I don't know? If what you're saying is true it could get very expensive and would warrant buying the extended warranty for that reason alone.
There are clutch-packs in most every automatic transmission made, and I don't see them failing unexpectedly.
 

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That's what I was thinking Dale. Also, don't most limited slip differentials work on the clutch principal?
 

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Most OEM limited-slip diff are made of clutch-packs. HOWEVER, the quality aftermarket units are GEAR-driven, which is far more reliable and durable. The most famous aftermarket LSD is TORSEN and it is gear-driven.

Why do MDX owners have to change the rear diff fluid at 7500 miles??? :rolleyes: Dale, can you answer me that?? My center differential on my 4runner (gear-driven) doesn't need to change anything till at least 60,000 miles. The rear diff Torsen LSD on my brother's former Jeep Wrangler did not require any fluid change until at least 45-50,000 miles. The new Wrangler Rubicon also has GEAR-driven LSD (along with locker).

How many people here have their MDX above 60,000 miles?? Not many. Too early to tell.

Bottom line, the MOST RESPECTED (and most durable) LSD are the ones that are gear-driven, not the ones with clutch-packs.

Also, i do not know of many quality LOCKERs that are made of clutch-packs (which is seen on MDX). Eaton does make one, but it is NOT a very popular model. Instead Eaton makes an e-locker that is gear-driven, and can be seen on Hummer H2 (i think).

Thanks.
 

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tigmd99 said:
Most OEM limited-slip diff are made of clutch-packs. HOWEVER, the quality aftermarket units are GEAR-driven, which is far more reliable and durable. The most famous aftermarket LSD is TORSEN and it is gear-driven.


Also, i do not know of many quality LOCKERs that are made of clutch-packs (which is seen on MDX). Eaton does make one, but it is NOT a very popular model. Instead Eaton makes an e-locker that is gear-driven, and can be seen on Hummer H2 (i think).

Thanks.
Actually, based on my review of the 2003 Service Manual tonight, it seems clear that the rear diff in the MDX is not an LSD in the true sense. That is, the rear diff uses clutches to transfer torque to BOTH rear wheels, but not control torque or spin on either. If you lock the VTM-4, then the rear diff is locked with the clutch pack, but that is overridden at 18 MPH anyway. The 03 MDX with the VSA system uses the ABS system for full time traction control on all four wheels similar to the Lexus, and the M class MBZ. The two systems (VSA and VTM) complement each other.
 

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So, prior to 2003, MDX has no traction-assist system above 18 mph???? VTM does not work above 18 mph???

The other thing is that most (if not all) traction control systems do NOT work at high speed (highway). For example, Land Rover system decreases it's sensitivity at 33 mph, and shuts off completely by 60 mph. At higher speed, traction control is not needed because you have momentum at that speed, thus, you're not likely going to get stuck at that speed. Remember, traction control system helps with FORWARD movement. Thus, at high speed, ONLY VSA will likely be working (to correct oversteer and understeer).

Thus, it probably does not surprise me that VTM shuts off after 18 mph.

I dunno...maybe WMQuan or The Worm can step in and give answers to this.
 

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tigmd99 said:
So, prior to 2003, MDX has no traction-assist system above 18 mph???? VTM does not work above 18 mph???

Actually that is not correct. I had posted that the VTM-4 locking control is shut off at 18 MPH. The VTM functions at all speeds, albeint with much less intervention at higher speeds as it simply is less likely that traction front to rear will be lost a highway speeds. You cannot disable VTM--you can only lock or unlock under 18 MPH and only in 1st or 2nd gear anyway, so highway speeds with locked rear are not possible anyway.

It is the ability to LOCK the rear wheels for slip control over 18 MPH that is overridden by the system computer. As noted in the owner's manual and of course the service manual, with ANY locked differential, you really can't use it except for slow straight driving at any significant speed or distance anyway as you risk damage to the gears. Without getting to a comlex discussion of differentials, limited slip and locking, suffice to say that with a locked differential, since there is no clutching, unless the wheels can slightly slip on turns, on wheel will turn faster than the other causing damage.

Note that from an engineering standpoint there are always price/utility compromises. The MDX is considered a "medium duty" vehicle, designed to be driven on highway and when off-highway, on basically dirt and gravel roads. Not to say it can''t handle more, but the engineers did not include manual low gear transfer cases, manually locking differentials and/or limited slip differentials, as that adds cost, weight, affects mileage and is something that probably not one in 1000 MDX users would ever use. The stats are that a buyer of a vehicle such as the MDX drive something like 98% on highway, hence, I think they have done a great job on my 2003 MDX by combine VSA and VTM. (Note that it is only on the 03 that they introduced 4 wheel traction control with the VSM --Vehicle Stability System)

For an excellent discussion on differentials, limited slip, locking, torsen, etc, take a look at http://auto.howstuffworks.com/differential.htm
 

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tigmd99 said:
Most OEM limited-slip diff are made of clutch-packs. HOWEVER, the quality aftermarket units are GEAR-driven, which is far more reliable and durable. The most famous aftermarket LSD is TORSEN and it is gear-driven.

The rear diff Torsen LSD on my brother's former Jeep Wrangler did not require any fluid change until at least 45-50,000 miles. The new Wrangler Rubicon also has GEAR-driven LSD (along with locker).

As you noted, the rear diff Torsen "LSD" is just that, a system of clutches. Note that a Torsen differential, as you state is of course a purely mechanical device; it has no electronics, clutches or viscous fluid. However, with a Torsen diff, just as with any other differential, if one set of wheels loses traction completely, the Torsen differential will be unable to supply any torque to the other set of wheels. Hence, you still need some type of traction control with a Torsen, whether it be a limited slip set of clutches, or braking the wheel. I believe the Hummer uses the ABS braking system for that.

As an aside, note that with the 2001 and 2002 MDX, since they lack any type of traction control at the individual wheel, should a wheel be off the ground or on ice or otherwise has no traction,such as in a major off road venture or for example, glare ice, there is NO WAY you will drive that set of wheels. If one wheel in the front loses traction and one in the rear, you are going NOWHERE unless you lock up the rear wheels with the VTM-4, but even that will not solve the problem of the front wheel spinning on the 02 and 01 models, basically giving you a rear wheel drive in that scenario. The 03 with VSA solved that by using the ABS system to brake the wheel that is spinning.
 
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