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Transmission Repair or Replacement

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First Generation MDX (2001-2006)
JDL
Jan 06, 2017 · #1
Transmission Repair or Replacement
All,

I have a question for the brain trust. It appears that my '03 Acura MDX will need transmission work or replacement, again, and I'm wondering how many of you have used AAMCO for repair. This will be the second transmission. The first was replaced under warranty. The SUV has close to 280K miles on it with only about 50K on the second engine. If the price for repair is too great it may be time to get rid of it and find a used pickup truck. Basically, I need this vehicle for towing motorcycles. I have my local mechanic working on the different options available.

What do you guys think? Who have you used for transmission repairs?

Thanks,

JDL
habbyguy
Jan 07, 2017 · #2
The transmissions on the first few years of the MDX were the weak link, no doubt. But most of what will go wrong with an MDX tranny will start out as something minor, and then progress to a major problem if you ignore it long enough. You should let us know what your symptoms are - it might point toward something you can do to fix or at least patch a problem with your tranny.

For example, I just "fixed" my son's Subaru automatic - it had a LOT of funky problems, banging, slipping and generally feeling and sounding like junk. I did some research, and did a fluid change and added a bottle of a very specific additive. Now his 200K+ tranny shifts like new. I'm betting any tranny shop would have rebuilt or replaced it (same for AAMCO).
JDL
Jan 07, 2017 · #3
habbyguy said:
Original Post
The transmissions on the first few years of the MDX were the weak link, no doubt. But most of what will go wrong with an MDX tranny will start out as something minor, and then progress to a major problem if you ignore it long enough. You should let us know what your symptoms are - it might point toward something you can do to fix or at least patch a problem with your tranny.

For example, I just "fixed" my son's Subaru automatic - it had a LOT of funky problems, banging, slipping and generally feeling and sounding like junk. I did some research, and did a fluid change and added a bottle of a very specific additive. Now his 200K+ tranny shifts like new. I'm betting any tranny shop would have rebuilt or replaced it (same for AAMCO).


That's a good point. It started as slipping when the vehicle was cold. After warm-up and a few miles in the morning it appeared to shift fine. I did notice however, on the freeway it did not like to shift to the higher gear in the morning. For example, at 70mph it was spinning around 4K rpms. By the afternoon when warmed, at the same speed, it was spinning 2K rpms. I attempted to drive it a few days ago and everything seemed fine until I drove a few feet and then all the lights popped on (engine, VTM, flashing Drive indicator, etc...). I turned around and drove it right home.
habbyguy
Jan 07, 2017 · #4
It all comes down to your definition of "slipping" (at least it did before all the lights came on). If you mean it seemed to slip into neutral between shifts, that's one thing. Once a transmission truly "slips" in gear there is really no alternative to replacing or rebuilding the tranny.

From the description of the "pre-lights failure mode", it sure sounds like it could be a lot of non-fatal things, including low fluid level, dirty fluid, gummed up shift solenoids, etc. I'd suggest that you need to get a code reader on the car to read what's going on - it doesn't make sense to guess any more than necessary, and the computer's there to help you get 3/4ths of the way to the problem using an OBD code reader. You can get that done for free at many auto parts places - or spend about $15 and get a bluetooth OBD adapter and the Torque app for your 'droid phone (similar options are available for non-droid phones, though they're a little pricier). Or spring for an HDS (Honda Diagnostic System) clone that will run on an XP laptop (which you can buy for chump change). The HDS clone will cost around $100, but will give you lots of ability to dig into the operation of what's going on in your transmission (including the position of every switch and solenoid in the tranny). Even if you don't feel confident using it, you might know someone who is.

How many miles are on the 2nd tranny, and how often has the fluid been changed?

Bluepill
Jan 07, 2017 · #5
1. Do a fluid change. Look for dark fluid, burnt smell, or metal flakes in the old oil. If it's really nasty you probably have a big problem. Save the fluid for a rebuilder to look at, since it can give them an idea of what is failing.

2. If the fluid is not too badly contaminated, refill with Honda/Acura DW-1 ATF and see if the symptoms get better. Drive for at least 10 miles and drain & inspect the fluid again. If it comes out reasonably clean, refill and re-test.
plott hound
Jan 08, 2017 · #6
my 2003 mdx also had a funky transmission.would not shift properly until it warmed up.i did the recommended tranny fluid change and the problem was solved,fluid was really dirty but there were no chunks in it.hope this helps
JDL
Jan 08, 2017 · #7
Thanks for the input.
I change the fluids as recommended by Acura. In fact, I had a torn boot recently so I replaced it then drained and put in fresh fluid.
I don't have the diagnostic tool but I'll take it to my independent mechanic to see what he can determine from the codes. It would be great if it's something minor. All the lights flashing has me worried. I should be able to drop it off this week. I'll let you guys know when I find out.

Thanks again.

JDL
forbin404
Jan 08, 2017 · #8
I would not use AAMCO for your tranny. Go to a guy who knows Honda or Acura and have him do it.

mdxlife
Jan 08, 2017 · #9
forbin404 said:
Original Post
I would not use AAMCO for your tranny. Go to a guy who knows Honda or Acura and have him do it.


go to a transmission shop and get rebuilt on with a warranty, i just helped my brother replace his on 2008 escalade
forbin404
Jan 08, 2017 · #10
Or that, I would never trust a 'chain store' to change my tranny.
mdxlife
Jan 08, 2017 · #11
forbin404 said:
Original Post
Or that, I would never trust a 'chain store' to change my tranny.


independent transmissions shops are way better, however chain stores are sometimes independently owned and have access to better stuff
King lamb
Jan 09, 2017 · #12
I have 62 miles on my 2017 Mdx. They are replacing the transmission. Not a god start first Acura I've owned.
Bratcop
Jan 09, 2017 · #13
Remember charging fluid takes a series of 3 drain and fills, otherwise u just add some new fluid to a bunch of old fluid ?...U could always get brave and rebuild it yourself, about $400 in parts and a few sleepless nights... Fear not the DIY...
Bratcop

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
mdxlife
Jan 10, 2017 · #14
King lamb said:
Original Post
I have 62 miles on my 2017 Mdx. They are replacing the transmission. Not a god start first Acura I've owned.


thasts insane, how is that even possible
JDL
Jan 12, 2017 · #15
So, I may have jumped the gun with my transmission issue. I dropped the car off at my local independent mechanic who read the fault codes. The problem seems to be one of the solenoids. He's going to replace both solenoids and hopefully that will solve my slipping transmission problem. I should have the car back soon. This somewhat "minor" fix may give me more time with my MDX.
ts8169
13 hours ago · #16
For those in Metro Boston, my local trustworthy mechanic sends his customers to "FNA Transmission" in Wakefield, MA. He said they are "Awesome". Luckily I haven't had to send my MDX to them yet. I personally would not use AAMCO, but not from a bad experience.

Jerry Santiago
online
a few seconds ago · #17
I got a 2002 acura MDX I have transmission problem I took it to advance auto parts they told me is the speed sensor and the o2sensor the d5 starts flashing I was in Louisiana when this started happening and drove it like that for a week it would go up to 50 and then start pulling and slowing down I let go of the gas and push it again slowly and it will get the gear and one time drove it up to 80 but I let go of the gas a little and it will start pulling an the problem would stop but eventually happen again I had people look at it and they tell me most likely replace the sensors but others tell me to replace the transmission because I drove it for a week like that the truck reverses but when I start running it it won't catch the reverse just when it start what u guys think I should do
 

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You might get some help if you post the code that was detected. Otherwise only guesses.

Some code faults can be fixed w/o transmission removal and overhaul.

Do you plan to drive another 50-100K miles? if yes, it's worth a quality repair.

Find a good shop w/ reputation for honest service.

good luck
 
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