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Automatic transmission problems are a common concern on the Acura MDX, which was introduced with a 3.5 L V-6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The MDX is popular in Maryland, and repair is often necessary due to the unique design, causing them to experience transmission shifting and slipping problems. The automatic transmission frictional clutches are limited in diameter, which can cause accelerated wear. The transmission case housings can be prematurely worn out by the gear shaft bearing, which often leads to repair or remanufactured replacement.

Electrical Solenoid and Switch Problems on Honda Odyssey and Acura MDX

Most problems occurring in Acura MDX and Odyssey transmissions are in the 5-speed units. Many times it is quite apparent that the unit has major internal problems, although a diagnosis by a professional technician should always be performed before service repair is initiated. There are those times when a Honda or Acura experiences slipping that is minor or intermittent, which may be caused by a failing clutch pressure switch or shift solenoid, used by the computer controller to determine proper shifting adaptive algorithms. If there is any question as to whether or not these switches or shift solenoids are causing one or more of the gears to slip on an Odyssey or MDX, it is advisable to install new pressure switches or solenoids and recheck the transmission operation before any other repair or remanufactured replacement installation is initiated.

Honda Odyssey Electrical Solenoid Switch Problems

Not to get your hopes up, but the transmission service or repair problem on your Honda Odyssey may not be as costly as you think. Most of the Odyssey minivans that come into shops need major repair, but some have simple electrical problems. Before condemning the transmission, make sure the service technician checks to see if the clutch pressure switches or solenoids may be causing the underlying slipping or shifting problem. Suburban Transmissions routinely replaces these and offers to provide a credit of the cost of these repairs towards an overhaul of the transmission if problems persist, thus taking away the risk.

Acura MDX

Overheating Problem

A common problem with the Acura MDX is that the transmission will overheat, especially on long trips. Overheating an MDX transmission is caused by an unlocked torque converter. The torque converter is controlled by the transmission, but the transmission is controlled by the onboard computer, also known as the TCM and/or ECM. It may be that the transmission and electronics are fine, but that the converter is being commanded to unlock by the ECM. This unlocking causes damage to the torque converter and can result in the complete failure of the transmission.

Overheating Problem May Be Related To Speed

While this issue may damage the transmission, the transmission may not be the actual problem. Sometimes the transmission may break down multiple times and then you definitely have to look further. This happens when the accelerator pedal is pushed past a certain point. At 70 mph, you may be fine, because the torque converter stays locked. At 80, however, you may be giving it enough pedal to command the disengagement. It usually happens when you are towing and/or going up long inclines at higher speeds. A high mileage engine can also cause the problem at high speeds because it might be a little tiring. A malfunctioning throttle position sensor or mass airflow sensor can also get the engine controller to unlock the torque converter.

Honda Accord and Acura TL Automatic Transmission Service and Repair

Honda Accord and Acura TL automatic transmissions are engineered in a manner that makes them categorically different from all other automatic transmissions. These inherent distinctions are responsible for transmission service and repair issues that have plagued owners for many years. While all of these units share the same unique characteristics of design, there are some models that experience more problems and subsequent failure than others, landing them in shops more often. Because there are so many models on the road, such as the Honda Accord and the Acura MDX, it is difficult to statistically determine how much more often owners of these cars and SUVs experience transmission problems than the owners of other makes of vehicles.

Typical Transmission Designs

Most automatic transmissions are engineered and manufactured using planetary gear sets. Acura and Honda, however, do not use planetary gear sets within their transmissions, but instead, use a gear configuration that more closely resembles that of a typical manual transmission. These transmissions also vary widely between different models and engine sizes. Honda and Acura transmissions cannot be interchanged, and specific unit types are not typically used for more than 3 years. Producing so many different transmission models offers some performance advantages. For instance, the internal gear ratios can be tailored for each specific model, according to vehicle weight and engine torque powerband. Also, typical driving conditions and habits can also be considered. This makes the replacement of transmission more difficult. In contrast, many manufacturer’s transmission designs are used for years, within many different vehicle models. Most popular transmission designs maintained their original gear ratios for over 20 years. In the past, some of the same designs were used in rear-wheel-drive cars with small engines as well as trucks and SUVs with 8 cylinder engines and 4WD.

Acura TL and Honda Accord Design

The TL, CL, and Accord automatic transmissions have opposing shafts that lie parallel to each other. Each gear ratio within the transmission is produced by a pair of gears, one called the drive gear and the other called the driven gear. Each gear rests opposite the other on two of the parallel shafts with the teeth on the two gears meshing together. Different gear ratios are produced by using different numbers of teeth between the drive and driven gear set, each set being used exclusively to produce one gear ratio. This type of gear train layout is the same as that of manual transmissions made by all automobile manufacturers, including Honda and Acura.

Design Limitations Causes Slipping Transmission Clutches

Transmission Slipping within the Honda and Acura automatic transmissions is due to its unique design, which creates a limitation in the overall diameter in the frictional clutches that are used within the transmission. For this reason, the diameter is generally smaller than those used in the transmissions of other automobile manufacturers. This is because the opposing shafts are placed within close proximity of each other. In order to install larger frictional clutches, a larger clutch drum would be required, and the distance between the two shafts is not sufficient enough to facilitate a larger clutch drum. Smaller frictional clutches require much more force against them to achieve proper engagement than larger frictional clutches. The additional force used within Honda and Acura transmissions is chiefly responsible for causing these elements to prematurely wear out and begin slipping. This issue will not improve over time and will only get worse until the transmission needs replaced or overhauled.

Honda Odyssey

Transmission Slipping and Case Repair Service

The Honda Odyssey was introduced in 1995 with a 2.2L or 2.3L engine and a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. Originally, we only saw a handful of these vehicles with transmission failure, but in 1999 a new model was introduced with a 3.5 L V-6 engine. These overdrive equipped Odysseys are known for the transmission slipping and problems with forwarding gear engagement. In 2002, the 3.5 L V-6 engines were mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, and variations of this unit are still commonly seen today. The five-speed models have introduced a new collection of problems while retaining many of the inherent design flaws common in many Honda and Acura cars and SUVs. Many Odyssey transmissions with high mileage have worn out cases, caused by the bearing which supports the gear shaft slowly wearing out the bore area within which it is installed. This can cause misalignment of transmission fluid feeding tubes that feed hydraulic pressure into the gear shaft to engage the clutch drum. When an Acura or Honda transmission is remanufactured, the original cast aluminum case should be professionally machined so that a wear-resistant forged aluminum or steel sleeve can be installed. A Dealer provided a replacement that will contain only the stock aluminum case as opposed to a wear-resistant sleeve, which makes overhauled transmission preferable.

If the case bore was worn, the bushings within the gear shafts are usually worn as well, so they should be replaced. In some situations, 2 bushings can be pressed into the shaft, providing a better seal.

Honda Odyssey Engine or Transmission Problem

If the engine is running above idle rpm, and you are not moving, you have a transmission problem. How smoothly the engine is running does not inherently affect the transmission operation, so a tune-up is not the problem. A poorly running engine, however, could be caused by electronic engine controls such as throttle position sensor, mass airflow sensor, or a manifold air pressure sensor. This can affect the way the transmission shifts because it uses these same electronic engine sensors to control shift timing and firmness. If the transmission seems to have problems but is not slipping out of gear, proper evaluation of the electronic engine controls should be performed. Performing an accurate transmission diagnosis can only be achieved when the performance of the other sensors is correct. This is the first step Suburban Transmission performs in its diagnostic evaluation, eliminate other possible solutions.

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