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Discussion Starter #21
Hypothetical situation, not a real one so don't freak out:

If the ambient temperature of my garage was 104*F and my new ATF fluid and my MDX had been parked in it for several days, one could assume all the surfaces, parts, and fluids in the vehicle had settled at the 104* ambient temperature. Then would it be fine to swap fluid and check the level plug?
The transmission uses coolers so not sure how that would play into this situation. Furthermore, to properly read the level, the VSA system has to be disable and the transmission shifted manually while the wheel are off the ground. The vehicle has to be idling too.
 

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After you drain the ATF, let it sit next to new ATF overnight. Measure it to the last drop, then fill the same amount. Wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
After you drain the ATF, let it sit next to new ATF overnight. Measure it to the last drop, then fill the same amount. Wrong?
It’s your vehicle, do what you thinks it’s best.
 

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It is a very expensive and complicated transmission. Not only that, it has been demonstrated that the ZF is VERY sensitive to small variations in fluid levels. I'm thinking that following the steps determined by the engineers that designed the thing is probably going to be a good idea. YMMV.
 

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Pre 2016 vehicles used a whole different transmission, fluid and even had a dip stick; not on the 2016 and after.
Yup, I get this but I was thinking if you know when you do a drain and fill you always add 3.8 quarts than why does one have to go through the trouble of heating if you know it’s 3.8?

I haven’t checked my trans dip stick in years. I drain and get about 4 quarts out and I put about 4 quarts in. I am at 120k miles on my MDX and 68k on my Accord V6. Both superSmooth.

i guess I am trying to understand why is the heating up a needed step. Is this transmission in need of an exact fill line?

can’t another way of doing this is to drain and measure what came out and put in that same amount and then check the side top off plug. Like what is done for the rear diff.
 

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Seriously, a little bit of difference, like +/- 0.2 qt or so, shouldn't make such a big difference in performance of this transmission.

Glad I chose 2015 MDX with tried and true 6 speed transmission.
 

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...but it does Sparky. Trust me from experience. As for why the steps prescribed by the engineers that made the ZF are needed, probably only they could answer with complete accuracy. What I do know is they probably did not prescribe them for fun.

Localbar, not sure if you have the ZF, but there is no dipstick to check fluid levels on the ZF and comparing the ZF (9 speeds and 2 dog clutches) to a 6 speed is apples to oranges.
 

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I found an easier way to do change trans fluid. Drain old fluid measure it and pour the same amount of new fluid back into trans... done.

I have a Camry that has the same method, but I used a temperature gun to see when it reached 104 degrees. Then the sun broke through the clouds and I said to myself why don’t I just add the same amount I take out... life became simple again.
 

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Unless, of course, there was some fluid loss. If you guys want to DIY but ignore Acura's recommendation then the liability is on you. The ZF9 on the MDX has had problems - I got a free swap a while back, and they knew that I paid for them to get the level right with the added cooler so no problems. If you have a problem, did the change yourself, and the fluid level is wrong when you bring it in, then you can explain about your shortcuts...

The same ZF9 is used on some Chrysler products (Jeep Cherokee for one). Their instructions are to buy a special aftermarket dipstick, run the tranny up to temp (similar to the MDX), then measure the height with the calibrated stick. Then look at the dash for the current temp (nice that it is user viewable for towing as well as servicing). Look up on a chart the required dipstick reading for that temp and adjust. They also use a special ATF, but not necessarily the same that Acura uses although that would make sense. The point is that this transmission really cares about the quality and quantity of ATF, unlike older transmissions. Considering the cost of a replacement I wouldn't wing it to save a little work.

I am under the impression that it is possible to display the ATF temperature with cheaper non-professional OBDII tools, but the code for it has to be programmed into the software. I have one (OBDlink MX) but haven't attempted to program it yet. Another finicky job...
 

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I have a 2015 - but one day I’ll upgrade and I am dreading having to buy an $800 scanner to change the transmission fluid which is easier than changing any other fluid.

There are 3 plugs on the ZF9, Drain (bottom), Fill (top) and the side one I suppose that’s the check level plug?

Why isn’t the process as easy as.

1.Open the fill (always open the f before you drain)

2. Drain

3. Close drain

4. Open the side plug

5. Fill until it dribbles out of the side plug

6. Close side Plug

7. Close Drain Plug.

8. Drink a beer!

does heating it up get more out of the drain?
I am just not getting it? Seems like they are making this daunting so ya DIYers 2nd think it.

I don’t know - What’s so illogical about measuring what you drain and put in exactly what you take out?
 

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I have a 2015 - but one day I’ll upgrade and I am dreading having to buy an $800 scanner to change the transmission fluid which is easier than changing any other fluid.

There are 3 plugs on the ZF9, Drain (bottom), Fill (top) and the side one I suppose that’s the check level plug?

Why isn’t the process as easy as.

1.Open the fill (always open the f before you drain)

2. Drain

3. Close drain

4. Open the side plug

5. Fill until it dribbles out of the side plug

6. Close side Plug

7. Close Drain Plug.

8. Drink a beer!

does heating it up get more out of the drain?
I am just not getting it? Seems like they are making this daunting so ya DIYers 2nd think it.

I don’t know - What’s so illogical about measuring what you drain and put in exactly what you take out?
Red herring much? ROTFL


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Ever heard of Temperature Coefficient of Expansion (TCE)? The ATF changes volume with temperature changes, and the transmission itself changes dimensions with temperature. Apparently those changes can affect the ATF level too much to ignore. It is an incredible transmission (there is a YT video of an assembly, which is just mind-boggling), but as is so often the case maintenance seems to have been an afterthought.
 

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Yeah, I'm back in the dealer only camp. I'll probably have to do this service once, maybe twice, before I secure a 2024 mid cycle refresh 380hp turbo 4th gen Type S MDX.
 

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I will be attempting this same thing on my 2016. I just ordered (4) Acura ATF 3.1 but am now trying to source the drain plug. Is this the item? Does the level plug also need to be replaced?


Also, I'm using a bluetooth obd2 sensor and torquepro to read the fluid temp. Once temp of 104*F is reached then I disable the traction control and cycle through ALL the gears or just gears 1-4?
 

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Yes and No. I recently performed my ATF change and confirmed with Acura the that ATF Drain, Fill, Check Plug 06237-5J4-000 is the correct plug. BUT, it has been replaced 06237-5J4-010. I didn't actually need to buy one because I received 3 in my ATF Cooler upgrade kit.
 

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Reaching the 104* F temp is the last step prior to check fluid level. Disabling Traction Control and cycling thru gears are steps done prior to bringing the temp. Follow the instructions and you cant miss.
 

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Acura does not say or suggest to simply drain and fill the trans fluid, Acura wants you to flush the trans and fill at regular intervals; and they recommend ONLY Acura trans fluid, using any other brand no matter if that brand says that it conforms to Acura/Honda specs could damage the trans.

The hypothetical question was kind of weird. A garage can be 124 degrees and it won't hurt the trans fluid, trans fluid is only weakened, or age, (not sure of the right word to use here) if the vehicle is being operated. When the vehicle is being operated the trans fluid, like the engine oil, slowly become contaminated as well as being exposed to temperatures ABOVE 160 degrees to 200, this is the normal operation temps of most autos; auto trans fluid doesn't begin to degrade due to heat unless it reaches 260 degrees! an automatic will rarely get that hot, maybe climbing a steep grade hauling a trailer at the vehicles max capacity while driving on a hot desert highway, would you ever come close to that kind of temps. So what breaks down auto trans fluid is not the heat in normal use but rather contaminates.

So if you trans fluid in a car, or stored in bottles in a garage that reaches 104 degrees or 115 degrees that fluid will not be breaking down, it's still good to use.
 

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Reaching the 104* F temp is the last step prior to check fluid level. Disabling Traction Control and cycling thru gears are steps done prior to bringing the temp. Follow the instructions and you cant miss.

I finally got around to changing the ATF last night (after purchasing a Scangague II for temp) and everything was smooth until I got to into VSA mode to shift gears. I put the car in sport mode and I began to shift the pedals but when I would shift to 3rd gear, the number '3' would flash on the dash but then shift back to two. This was the highest gear I reached and could not make it past that.

The confusion I have was on shifting itself: was I to press the gas WHILE shifting gears in VSA mode? The document above did not mention increasing the RPM's to shift gears. I felt uneasy pressing the gas while on a jack stand.

Car is running fine today but for the future I would certainly like to do the process 100% correctly.
 

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I'm pretty sure the shifting thru the gears is primarily to warm up the fluid. I followed process, shifting gears 1-4 with only at low rpm's. No problems, successful ATF change, although I had mine in "Normal" mode; no need to change mode, no downshifting by car. I then let engine/tranny return to idle. As procedure indicates, you run engine at low rpms until reaching desired temp.
 
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