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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and just bought a 2003 Acura MDX. Unfortunately, the transmission was bad and had to be rebuilt within the first week. I took it to independent shop who has done great transmission work for me previously. I have had the vehicle back for a few weeks now and I'm still getting used to how the Acura MDX drives. I noticed that when you start from neutral position, first gear does not shift to second until about 4,000 RPMs. It seems like it takes forever for it to finally shift. After the first shift, it seems to be normal after that. I told the shop that and they said that can be normal for this type of transmission. I wanted to check with the forum to see if this is normal and if I should be concerned.

Thanks in advance and look forward to learning about my new vehicle on here.
 

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Not normal.
 

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If I accelerate briskly, my MDX will hold 1st gear til almost 4,000RPM. Soft-pedaling the gas normally results in a shift a little under 3,000. A momentary lift-off of the accelerator will allow the shift to happen at a lower RPM. Apparently Honda put out an update that reprogrammed the TCM to raise the shift point for 2nd to prevent wear and tear on the 2nd gear clutch. It's annoying but doesn't hurt anything.
 

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I'd say that's normal. I rebuilt mine myself and new torque converter, and it does that. They all do it afaik

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You can make it WOT and it will shift at 6K too.. But is not normal if he is driving with a light feet, 4000RPM is the shift point of a 4 speed automatic in a Grand Cherokee.
 

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When it's cold, my understanding is it holds until about 4k, actually a little under to help warm the tranny fluid. After it's warm, it shifts under that. Of course throttle matters on shift points, as do reflashes, etc. I have also read many other threads about this Acura tranny holding first when cold...I am not worried about it in my tranny that I rebuilt myself and I wouldn't worry about in yours. But if u want to spend your money to try and make it go away, have at. To each his own.
I.e. http://www.mdxers.org/forums/showthread.php?t=8564 Google will show more results of same situation.

Bratcop

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Afaik that's how they built them that year, it's near 4k under normal (not light) acceleration, but really just feels exaggerated at start up, then seems to drop a bit but it's still a little high when compared to anything else I have driven (bronco, accord, f150, 4runner, Grand Cherokee). Again I'm not worried I feel it was an attempt to improve transmission longevity that year.

Fear not the DIY.
Bratcop

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OP Didn't specified that it was in cold thus he is probably asking if that is normal once the car is hot.

Just to clarify..
If the MDX is cold (Any Honda & Acura will do this) the car will hold gears for longer to help it reach operating temp faster, So while cold you can expect high RPM shifts under light throttle and it is normal.

If the MDX is hot (needle near middle) the transmission should only reach high RPM if you are pressing the accelerator harder... Under normal driving it should not reach 4k at all unless you are driving spirited.
With light foot 2nd gear should shift at +/-3000RPM.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much for the feedback and I did a little experimenting today after reading through the posts. I used my normal "heavy foot" and it continued to shift around 3900-4000. I then used "soft foot" and it actually shifted around 3,000. I think the explanations above are spot on and probably nothing to worry about. This forum is very helpful and I appreciate the feedback.
 

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Yeah the MDX is a Fat Piggy and Honda engines are not know for their Torque Figures... So reaching High RPMs are really not a thing of concern (Well only to your wallet = MPGs) as Honda Engines love to REV.

If you can keep it under 3K all the times you will get the best possible MPGs, Anything above that will kill your MPGs and actually means you are driving Spirited even if it doesn´t seem like it.
 

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That's my biggest complaint with my car, when I run my car in the morning I wont drive aggressively and my transmission waits a really long time before it shifts
 

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FYI the cold shift delay is to get the catalysts up to operating temperature faster. Faster fluid warm-up is a side benefit.
 
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