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Hi all,

Soon to become an MDXer, test drove my first today and loved it, it's a reasonably high miler 07 with 150k on the clock but the transmission, engine, diff all and interior, electronics seemed fine. The only issue I picked up was the rear right suspension is a little lower than the rest, roughly 10mm using my fist as a crude measuring device. I didn't hear any clunks whilst driving but when going over a speed bump I did notice an orange lamp on the instrument cluster flash up briefly and disappear, i assume that's the lamp indicating an issue with the sports suspension?

I'm in Canada, what should I be budgeting (trying to get knocked off the price) for a replacement? Can i just replace one or will I have to replace both rear struts?
 

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The 07-09 MDX Sport and 10-13 MDX Adv use an Active Damper System (ADS) with magnetic struts up front and magnetic shocks in the rear (along with thicker front/rear sway bars). These ADS struts/shocks have a bad habit of failing at anytime (knocking, leaking, sagging suspension, bouncy ride, unable to switch between sport/comfort, etc...). Acura did provide an extended warranty in Canada; but, only for MDXs under 7 or 8 years old and under 160,000 km (not 100% sure on exact details).

It can cost $500-$750 or more for each corner to replace the magnetic suspension depending if you do DYI, local shop, or Dealership. There are no magnetic suspension parts substitute available aftermarket. Most folks either sell the MDX or convert to conventional struts/shocks and disable the ADS warning (turning the Sport MDX into a Base or Tech model).

You can probably use the cost of replacing the magnetic suspension to bring down the purchase price OR have them fix before purchase. You always have the option to convert to conventional down the road if the system fails again.

Main issues with the 07-09 MDXs are:
- Sport models only: Magnetic suspension (ADS) randomly failing
- Bluetooth module power drain
- A/C relay power drain
- radiator issues (can't remember; but, I think it is from trans cooler fluid mixing with engine coolant)
 

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Ok thanks, personally I think I'd just get hold of the regular dampers and be rid of the problem. Is it straight forward getting hold of regular dampers from Acura and self fitting? (I don't have a ton of mechanical experience)
 

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Is it straight forward getting hold of regular dampers from Acura and self fitting? (I don't have a ton of mechanical experience)
Yes, the dampers are bolt on. The only thing you'll have to deal with is fitting the ADS connectors with resistors to make the car think you installed ADS ones.

The ride quality and stiffness of regular ones is somewhere in between comfort and sport mode.

Here's a full video on the front damper assemblies:

Here are the rear ones:
 

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Ok nice, thanks people, 2 more questions

1) How straight forward is it to buy the base spec dampers? Does Acura supply them?
2) Any issue leaving the adaptive suspension on the fronts and base dampers on the rear?
 

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The ADS magnetic suspension also aids in providing less lean in curves, less dive when braking, and less squat during acceleration. Like Acura Addicted said, the regular Base/Tech suspension is between the Sport ADS softer comfort and stiffer sport settings. I don't think anyone has mix/matched them before? It could change the driving dynamics of the MDX.

Another issue is the condition of the front ADS struts. They might be A-OK OR about to fail also. My 11 MDX Adv fronts failed at 35,000 miles with only knocking noise at low speeds (no leaky fluids or sagging). My rears failed at 107,000 miles with leaking fluid from shocks (no noise or sag). I started complaining about my ADS system at every dealership oil change for the last 18 months because the ride was feeling softer in sport mode over time.

I would plan to change all four corners eventually with ADS or standard struts and shocks. Good thing about converting to regular is you will have more options from OEM to aftermarket to convert. Estimate of prices for ADS -vs- conventional:

2007-2009 left or right front ADS damper, $930: https://www.acurapartswarehouse.com/parts-list/2007-acura-mdx-5dr-sport-ka5at/front-shock-absorber.html

2007-2009 left or right rear ADS damper, $364: https://www.acurapartswarehouse.com/parts-list/2007-acura-mdx-5dr-sport-ka5at/rear-shock-absorber.html




2007-2009 left or right front regular damper, $166: https://www.acurapartswarehouse.com/parts-list/2007-acura-mdx-5dr-tech-ka5at/front-shock-absorber.html

2007-2009 left or right rear regular damper, $104: https://www.acurapartswarehouse.com/parts-list/2007-acura-mdx-5dr-tech-ka5at/rear-shock-absorber.html
 

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1) How straight forward is it to buy the base spec dampers? Does Acura supply them?
Yes, Acura supplies them. If you live in US, you might try and save some money if you buy it from oemacuraparts.com or a similar online source, if it's cheaper.

2) Any issue leaving the adaptive suspension on the fronts and base dampers on the rear?
There should be no issue if you add the resistors to mitigate the ADS warning.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The ADS magnetic suspension also aids in providing less lean in curves, less dive when braking, and less squat during acceleration. Like Acura Addicted said, the regular Base/Tech suspension is between the Sport ADS softer comfort and stiffer sport settings. I don't think anyone has mix/matched them before? It could change the driving dynamics of the MDX.

Another issue is the condition of the front ADS struts. They might be A-OK OR about to fail also. My 11 MDX Adv fronts failed at 35,000 miles with only knocking noise at low speeds (no leaky fluids or sagging). My rears failed at 107,000 miles with leaking fluid from shocks (no noise or sag). I started complaining about my ADS system at every dealership oil change for the last 18 months because the ride was feeling softer in sport mode over time.

I would plan to change all four corners eventually with ADS or standard struts and shocks. Good thing about converting to regular is you will have more options from OEM to aftermarket to convert. Estimate of prices for ADS -vs- conventional:

2007-2009 left or right front ADS damper, $930: ...

2007-2009 left or right rear ADS damper, $364: ...




2007-2009 left or right front regular damper, $166: ...

2007-2009 left or right rear regular damper, $104: ...
Thanks! feels like the best course of action is to buy the car discounting as much as possible for the sagging suspension. Drive it for a bit longer until it causes problems (I didn't actually feel any issues in the test drive in terms of knocking, softness etc) and then change over all 4 to standard struts for ~$600USD fitting them myself.

Can the struts be purchased fully assembled? so I don't need spring compressors etc?


Yes, Acura supplies them. If you live in US, you might try and save some money if you buy it from oemacuraparts.com or a similar online source, if it's cheaper.

There should be no issue if you add the resistors to mitigate the ADS warning.
I live in Vancouver BC, so could potentially deliver to somewhere in Washington and hop over the border if there's a big discount buying from them from a place like that.
 
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