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Discussion Starter #1
HI everyone.
I've just purchased a 2017 MDX and am not happy with the way the transmission is performing.
I'm aware of some the issues with the 9 speed.
I'm going to do a drain and fill x3 and see if that helps at all.
Does anyone use any 3rd party fluid or is the OEM ATF TYPE 3.1 the one to go with?

Thanks.
 

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Atf type 3.1 is zf lifeguard 9 in its original form. The cost is around $40-50/qt and requires about 3.5 qts. If you want to attempt a 3x, just keep in mind the costs. There is no known aftermarket equivalent. Also, the procedure requires a few specific steps like being in vsa maintenance mode, running through gears 1-4 only, checking level between 104 & 115F. Atf temp can be read via scangauge ii, but most obd ii readers cannot read it. If you need the procedure, let me know.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the informative reply Neoshi.
Yes, can you please provide me with the procedure?
 

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Here ya go. There's also a few youtube videos out there now for this procedure. Also, I've included a TSB (this is a US TSB. I do not have a Canadian version) about tranny cover leaks, because the unit is super sensitive about level that if you have a leak, it might be a level issue. Lastly, since you are a 2017, do you have warranty left, it may be worth pursuing that way if you do.
 

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ATF 3.1 is the best option. When I installed the oil cooler, I refilled with Redline D6 ATF which is a ZF8 equivalent. ZF9 is ZF8 plus anti-foam agent. Given all the issues with the ZF being filled improperly in the Jeeps, ZF has added anti-foam agents to help reduce the problems with overfill. So far no issues with the D6 in 10K miles and it did improve the shifting vs the stock fluid at 42K.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did a recall search when I 1st got the VIN.
Only 1 for tailgate lights came up.
Then I called my local dealer and he told me his system showed that my MDX had none outstanding and the one I mentioned had already been fixed on my MDX.
Thanks for all the info!
 

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Yeah the transmission one isn't a recall. It's a tsb in response to owner complaint and will only be used if it is diagnosed. If you have warranty, they will pay. If not, you will pay. There's another one for shift quality as well.

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Just FYI (your car so you can put Amsoil, etc. if you wish :) ) - a friend of mine works for a transmission fluid R&D lab of Exxon sub, and works with manufacturers / OEM fluid companies (e.g., Idemitsu). He basically says, stick with OEM as people like himself develop specific fluids based on tranny design / materials, etc. Also, anyone can use whatever they want (under similar specs, of course) but why even bother considering other brands as the price difference is "minimal" (considering potential issues with tranny). Unless someone is "abusing" the tranny by towing constantly and/or racing, there is no difference. Even with those cases, changing often is preferred rather than a 3rd party fluid. Yes, he is somewhat opinionated as he thinks Honda / Acura selecting unreliable, ZF was a mistake :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I figured that other brands of ATF are acceptable as per the Acura warranty, but probably better to stick with the OEM.
Thanks for the info. Nice perk having a friend with inside information :)
I bought my MDX used from a Dodge dealer. It has an aftermarket towing kit with a 7 way electrical connection.
The salesman told me that the previous owner traded it for a pickup truck because he needed more towing capacity.
So I hope the MDX wasn't used/abused to tow more than the recommended weight.
I'm hoping replacing the Tranny fluid will help.
It currently has about 78,000 KM's on it (~49,000 miles).
I was thinking of doing the drain and fill x 3 then doing a single drain and fill with every oil change.
What do you think?
 

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I haven't yet found an aftermarket atf that meets the requirements of zf lifeguard 9. Redline d6 is actually an alt for dw-1, not type 3.1. Amsoil has nothing. Most of the other mainstream brands also have nothing (plenty for dw-1). But that was me looking about a year ago when i was starting to plan my atf replacement before my transmission got replaced. If anything, the next place i was going to look was at Chrysler fluid alts for their version of the 9.

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I did my 3x3 (over a 2 week period) and noticed "smoothness" - doing single drain every oil change would be great but I am lazy :) My friend also told me, unless you feel tranny slipping / not grabbing, no need to change as often as engine oil - and he focuses more on developing fluids to facilitate tranny components "grabbing / working with" other / integrated parts (e.g, "right friction" between parts) vs. engine oils focusing on lubrication, hence no need to change as often (as engine oil).
 

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I am doing the drain and fill atf trans soon, the fluid isn't that bad now compare to a few years back, I bought it around $21 per qt. I bought the Scangauge II and ready to DIY.
 

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Thank god mine is still DW 1 :)
 

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HI everyone.
I've just purchased a 2017 MDX and am not happy with the way the transmission is performing.
I'm aware of some the issues with the 9 speed.
I'm going to do a drain and fill x3 and see if that helps at all.
Does anyone use any 3rd party fluid or is the OEM ATF TYPE 3.1 the one to go with?

Thanks.
HOSKIM...i just bought a 2017 in march and I have tranny concerns also. after some research and dealer visits the only solution for the poor shifting is resetting the ECU and getting the latest update to correct the problem. then you have to drive it for a couple of hundred miles to relearn the ecu
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Everyone.
I had finally did the transmission drain and fill on 2017 MDX.
Bad news is that the Honda/Acura ATF 3.1 fluid is still very expensive here in Canada.
Good news is that my MDX is driving SO much Better!
The shifts are quick and smooth.
It's like a driving a different vehicle.
I also did a 'reset' of the Transmission and changed to Sport mode.
Very happy with it now.
 

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I haven't yet found an aftermarket atf that meets the requirements of zf lifeguard 9. Redline d6 is actually an alt for dw-1, not type 3.1. Amsoil has nothing. Most of the other mainstream brands also have nothing (plenty for dw-1). But that was me looking about a year ago when i was starting to plan my atf replacement before my transmission got replaced. If anything, the next place i was going to look was at Chrysler fluid alts for their version of the 9.
Redline D6 ATF is an equivalent 6 centistoke to lifeguard 9 (and ~30 cSt @40C). However Redline has a far lower pour point and a much higher flash point indicating that it is more stable over a wider temperature indicating a higher quality.
D6 is also listed as a suitable for the Chrysler ZF9.

ZF certifies BMW ATF 3+ as suitable for all ZF 9 transmissions. BMW ATF 3+ is a rebranded Lifeguard 8.
Bimmerworld notes that they use Redline D6 in their race cars instead of BMW ATF 3+ because it offers the best stability and protection, and they recommend it for street use as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When I go to the Redline.com website and enter my vehicle info. The list of matching products doesn't include any ATF.
 

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Redline doesn't list any compatible fluids for Honda ATF 3.1 which is the only fluid that Honda lists as recommended. Honda does list ATF 3.0 as compatible, which is Lifeguard 8, and Redline D6 ATF is listed as a suitable replacement.

Lifeguard 9 is Lifeguard 8 with more anti-foam additives. Shell makes the same blend for Honda ATF 3.1 and ZF Lifeguard 9, but it is proprietary so every company may choose to list their fluids as compatible or not, but the actual demand for Honda ATF 3.1 is low.

Who lists fluids as compatible with other fluids is really just a game unless the fluids are measured against an actual standard. ZF lists a rebrand Lifeguard 8 as compatible with the 9 speed, but doesn't actually list Lifeguard 8, so it is really just a rouse. Apparently BMW doesn't think that the anti-foam is that important. Getting a larger number of gears in the same size constraint requires some creativity which uses large diameter spinning clutches which means that for the same size case, the spinning parts are closer to the fluid reservoir. Therefore overfill is more of a problem with less margin and spinning things hitting a bath of fluid causes foaming which causes more slippage which causes more heat which expands the fluid which causes more foaming.....

Mitasu ATF 8-9 speed ATF is listed as compatible with ZF Lifeguard 6/8/9, and Honda ATF 3.0/3.1
Kixx ATF DX-VI is compatible with ZF Lifeguard 6/8, Honda ATF 3.0/3.1 and BMW ATF 3+
Kixx ATF Multi is compatible with ZF 4-9 Speed, Honda ATF 3.0/3.1
Fuchs Titan ATF 6009 follows ZF by only listing Honda ATF Type 3.1 Lifeguard 9 and BMW ATF 3+ (Lifeguard 8 rebranded)
Fuchs Titan ATF 6008 is compatible with BMW ATF 3+ and Lifeguard 8, but not Honda ATF 3.0
Fuchs specifically designed 6008/6009 to try and match LF8/LF9, yet it is not approved by ZF.
Shell L12108 is ZF Lifeguard 8
Ravenol Multi ATF LVS is compatible with Shell L12108, Lifeguard 8/9, Honda DW-1, ATF 3.1, BMW ATF 3+

So everyone has a different view of what is compatible with what and much of it is probably that the color dye doesn't match the color that ZF specifies.
 
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