Acura MDX SUV Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So yeah, my local dealer replaced the transmission on my 2015 SH-AWD Tech model. This is kind of a follow up to one of my posts in another thread.
https://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/168076-2015-mdx-starts-then-dies.html#post1475066

The issue was that after a cold start first thing in the morning, the MDX would stall when put into gear (primarily in reverse). After immediately restarting the vehicle, it wouldn't happen again.

The issue was intermittent. After the problem reappeared several times, we concluded that it was temperature related and only occurred after being parked overnight when temperatures dipped below 20 degrees. The beginning of winter was quite mild, so the issue went away for a while. It wasn't until winter really came into full swing when the stalling issue became more consistent.

A co-worker of mine recommended that I try some basic tasks to see if they would help. The throttle body didn't look dirty, but I cleaned it anyway. I also cleaned the MAF sensor and threw in some fuel cleaner in the gas tank. Obviously none of these made a difference.

Since the first time this happened in November, my wife took the MDX to the dealership three times. The first time around, our dealer's service department couldn't replicate the issue and first thought there may have been some bad gas in the tank. They also couldn't find anything wrong on the second visit. On the third visit, they said they'd hang onto the car a bit longer. I also checked the weather forecasts to be sure we wouldn't have any warm days coming up.

This time on their first attempt, they were able to replicate the issue. They tried it again the next day. While the engine didn't stall this time, it did rumble and hesitate a bit. I think that gave the tech enough info to help his troubleshooting. I imagine they had an HDS hooked up to the car by then and were able to take a snapshot of what was going on.

The dealership contacted the Acura tech line, and sent this info to the engineers. While this definitely wouldn't have been my first guess, they concluded the problem was transmission related. They didn't give any details other than that it was an internal failure within the transmission that caused the torque converter clutch to prematurely lock up. Their solution was a complete transmission replacement. Though likely unrelated, they said one of the axles needed replacement as well. The estimated retail cost for this work was approaching $11K plus tax.

My MDX is 5K miles out of the powertrain warranty. Acura corporate had initially decided to cover 50% of the repair cost, probably because we weren't too far outside the warranty mileage. However, my dealership was able to negotiate another 40% of cost coverage due to our service history with them. Even though I'd prefer a transmission that didn't need replacement, I'd say that paying under $1,200 out the door for installing a new transmission on an out of warranty vehicle is somewhat fair.

I know Honda, and more so Acura, had a history of bad transmissions in the early 2000's, but I was pretty sure they've gotten past that. Aside from the issue with the ATF degradation and programming update, I don't recall their six speed automatics being troublesome or failure prone. I also don't recall seeing anyone else here report their six speed AT getting replaced. I understand that I was probably unlucky and ended up on the wrong end of a statistical curve; but it still does make me question the quality, reliability, and longevity of Honda and Acura products.

Anyway, I figured I'd share my experience with others here. I wouldn't expect to see anyone else have the same exact issue. But if they are experiencing the same symptoms with their '14-'15 MDX, I've gotten to the bottom of at least one thing (out of many others) that could cause their MDX to stall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
Thanks for the detailed account. It's always good to find out about any potential long term issues, no matter how unique they may be.

While the 6 speed has generally been good, they do have some faults that need to be watched for. Add the fact that people generally don't know to maintain their transmissions, and we could be looking at some major long term issues for those of us who like to drive the wheels off their cars.

It would have been nice if Honda just picked up your whole bill but like you said, 1.2k isn't so bad for a brand new transmission. Heck, even a refurb is around 3k!

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,107 Posts
Thanks for posting this since it can help any of us who experience similar symptoms.

There isn't a transmission in any vehicle that can't fail at some rate. The main thing is whether it's a chronic issue. The second but most concerning thing of course is whether it happens to your vehicle even if it's a low rate overall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
darn - it really sucks you have to shell out $1200 - it’s great you got a deep discount but still sucks.

Was there anything you did to cause that failure - any crazy driving habits / towing?

I really hopes this fixes your issue.

As for my issue - I have taken several long distant trips and it’s been -7 on some days and it hasn’t returned since I yanked out the HDMI converter. As soon as it warms up I plan on doing the timing belt, engine mounts, an ATF 3x3 and all fluids (except brakes - I just did that before winter)

I should be at 100k miles by spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Torque converter problems are a known issue on 2012 to 2015 MDX

Service bulletin here:

http://www.urvi.net/forumfiles/SB/B16-062.PDF


Yet another reminder that regular ATF changes are a good thing. I do them at 15K miles, or earlier if I do any towing.
Yeah, I'm well aware of that TSB for transmission "judder". I guess I didn't articulate it enough when I mentioned "issue with the ATF degradation and programming update", which are covered by the TSB. I understand that the TSB does relate to the torque converter clutch, but my car's symptoms were different. Our MDX seemed to drive normally; it was just those cold starts where the odd behavior showed up. I'd love to find out the root cause of my torque converter clutch locking up in those situations, but I don't think there's a way to extract that info from Acura. I have a feeling though that they'll get a chance to tear into my old transmission and have a look.

There isn't a transmission in any vehicle that can't fail at some rate. The main thing is whether it's a chronic issue. The second but most concerning thing of course is whether it happens to your vehicle even if it's a low rate overall.
I don't think it's a chronic issue. No matter how reliable the brand, I know that "stuff" happens sometimes. Just sucks that it happened to me :).

A few years back, my brother and his wife picked up a brand new Toyota RAV4. The very same day they drove it off the dealer's lot, the check engine light lit up. Bad sensor maybe? Nope. If my memory serves me correctly it ended up being some sort of failure with one of the camshafts. Totally unexpected; but yeah, it still happened.

Was there anything you did to cause that failure - any crazy driving habits / towing?

I really hopes this fixes your issue.
So far, so good. We've had a couple of cold nights since I got the car back and everything feels normal. There are a few single digit temperature days coming up this week, so it'll be easy to test things out again.

I'm not sure there's anything I can think of that would cause that failure. We don't tow anything, nor do we typically carry any heavy loads or more than 4 occupants. No crazy driving habits either, as my wife and I drive normally. During the week, the MDX sees 45 min - 1 hour commutes one way, with mixed highway and stop and go driving. It goes on short trips during lunch. On weekends it's typically driven around for quick errands, but once or twice a month we'll take it to places an hour or more away from home. It's parked outside year round, and we drive it in all kinds of Northeast weather. I really can't think of anything out of the ordinary.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top