Nine Speeds and Another Problem for Honda's Gear-iest Transmission

nine speeds and another problem for hondas gear iest transmission

Acura has a tough job ahead of it. As the brand tries to grow volume and retain some of the clout it lost in past years, it finds itself with too many cars and two few SUVs in a market that demands more of the latter, not the former. Meanwhile, the impressive reborn NSX, now a hybrid, hasn’t captured the imagination of sports car fans in the same way as its long-lived predecessor.

Keeping up with — and in some cases, getting in front of — technological trends is part of Acura’s comeback plan. Naturally, in the interest of technological advancement and environmental appeasement, it was necessary to bring a multi-cog automatic transmission on board. However, a series of manufacturer service bulletin point to two potential weak points in the company’s nine-speed.

Late last month, Acura issued two service bulletins to dealers — one covering the 2015-2016 TLX sedan, the other dealing with the 2016 MDX. In it, Acura warns that some transmission warmers were “improperly manufactured,” allowing engine coolant and automatic transmission fluid to mix.

Should this occur, “the engine and transmission may be permanently damaged and require replacement.” In the case of the TLX, the vehicles’ transmissions were already replaced once before to remedy a leaking transmission warmer.

“In rare cases, these vehicles may have also overheated but because the issue was under investigation, a standard repair procedure hadn’t been developed,” the bulletin reads. “Further action is needed before the vehicle is completely repaired.”

The same issue afflicts 2016 Honda Pilots. Owners will be notified by the manufacturer to take their vehicles back for a checkup. If the component falls outside the affected manufacturing date, there’s no problem. However, if it does prove suspect, the vehicle will receive a bevy of new parts — among them, a transmission, transmission warmer, radiator, thermostat, coolant hoses, coolant reserve tank, and ECT sensor O-rings.

It’s possible owners will also find themselves driving away with a new short block and cylinder head, plus the transmission and coolant trappings.

This isn’t the only issue to strike nine-speed Honda and Acura models. In a series of service bulletins issued in September, the automaker warns of transmission end cover leaks on the 2015-2017 TLX, 2016-2017 MDX, 2016-2017 Pilot, and 2018 Honda Odyssey.

“During assembly, the transmission end cover sealing gasket gets torn,” the automaker states in its bulletin. To remedy the issue, the manufacturer will replace the dodgy gasket.

After reaching a U.S. post-recession sales high in 2015, Acura’s annual sales tally has dropped considerably. October 2017 sales dropped 1.3 percent, year-over-year. Until the brand fields more utility vehicles, it’s difficult to see the MDX and RDX offsetting losses in the declining passenger car segment.

[Image: Acura]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 10, 2017

    Glad to see nothing has changed. My 08 MDX had the torque converter replaced at 68k miles, warranty, when the rpms would go up and down when climbing hills. Acura changed over the tranny fluid formula during that time, supposedly to fix the driveablity problems... My radiator split at 80k miles in commuter traffic, squirting the ATF all over the road, so at 166k I'm on my third set of ATF.. I still have a rough shift 2-3 occasionally. The rest of the engine is flawless, the car burns no oil between changes. I'm a manual enthusiast, but the last BMW I drove with the 8 speed was perfect...it was always in the right gear, not like my GM that occasionally convenes a committee meeting to select a gear. Honda ... a great company who can't make an auto box....

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Nov 12, 2017

    Acura's problem is getting a car design lannguage that look sharp and stylish without looking to extreme and ugly looking like that of the current Lexus models. Acura continues on with their crazy looking new pentagonal front grill and dual low resolution screen infotainment system and bland styling in general. LOL!

  • Bryan Raab Davis I briefly dated an Australian fellow who was mad for Aspires; one of his better characteristics, if I’m honest.
  • ToolGuy Check out Ferrari's market cap:https://companiesmarketcap.com/automakers/largest-automakers-by-market-cap/
  • ToolGuy • Not sure who you get when you call the "Company phone" number listed on the recall report, but confident that it ISN'T Ferrari (someone either screwed up or made a conscious exception; recall might need a recall; where is my excellence in government that all of you are funding?).• 99% of them are fine.• On later models, additionally, a message will also appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”. That right there is classic.• Anyway, this is what happens when you build to a price point... (ba dum tsh!)
  • Art Vandelay And what a giant pile of sh!t ths new format is. Great job guys, way to run off the last of the die hards.
  • Theflyersfan If you ever want a review on a 2022 Mazda MX-5 GT RF, I'll be more than happy to type up a few thousand words and add in some great pictures in front of Churchill Downs for y'all!In a nutshell, I agree with this review. I didn't have a chance to try the Recaro seats because the only test drive available was with another GT that someone backed out in buying so it was being used as a demo. But from what I was told, if you're larger than a 38 waist or taller than 5'10", it gets tight. But with the standard seats, and I'm 5'10" and maybe 20 pounds from the 38 waist, I fit fine. Now getting in and out with the roof up after shoulder surgery (especially leaving the surgery center with most of the right arm under a nerve block) is the total opposite of graceful!!! The look on the nurse's face when the MX-5 pulled up and I'm partially wrapped up like a mummy was priceless.I've had mine since the middle of April and have already put 6,700 miles on it, including round trips from Louisville to Chicago and the Philadelphia suburbs. Averaged 38-39 mpg at a steady 75 mph, and it wasn't a torture chamber. The metal top helped a lot. The standard seats are a bit thin on padding, and there was a bit of squirming by around hour 8 on the Philly drive, but it's possible. But even though this design was released in 2015, I still get compliments from total strangers at stoplights, carwashes, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The Soul Red Metallic paint just makes the car pop. I wish it was available with the Terra Cotta leather (the gray above is available with it), and that it didn't have the standard all in black, because it gets thermonuclear in there with the top down and the sun beating on you, but a minor quibble. But it's just fun. Pure driving fun. The best stick shift in any car today. Solid brakes, excellent handling, a sane amount of power to where you aren't going to get into anything reckless and stupid. After a 12+ hour day at work, there's nothing better than dropping the top and driving the 20 minutes home with the better than I thought it would be Bose stereo playing Moby into my ears through the headrest speakers. Mazda has already announced there will be an NE model so I can't wait for that. It'll be interesting how they will keep the weight down with the expected changes to eke more MPG out of what is already an efficient car.
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