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'00 Honda Odyssey has no power in reverse when going uphill


We have a 2000 Honda Odyssey minivan with ~100K miles and I have noticed a problem we have had with this van for several years but it hasn’t been enough of a nuisance to us until recently. When we put the van into reverse and attempt to go uphill on a slight incline (>= ~15 degrees) we have to rev the engine to an excessive number of RPM’s by pressing on the accelerator to get the van to move up the hill at all. However, we don’t have a problem moving the van in reverse when we are an flat/level surface (e.g. most parking lots). Also, this problem only seems to appear after the engine/transmission it hot and has been running for several miles (e.g. after traveling >= ~100 miles without stopping).

In addition, we don’t have any problems going forward up an incline/gradient regardless of the temperature of the engine/transmission.

Has anyone else experienced this same type of problem with the Odyssey minivan?

Any help would be appreciated. I look forward to your response.


Brad S.

I am assuming that there is an automatic transmission in this V6 Odyssey. Is there slippage in 4th gear or is the 3-4 shift transistion exceptionally soft? This transmission uses the 4th gear clutch to engage reverse.

Let us know the resolution of this problem.

Yes, it is an automatic transmission. I don’t believe the Honda even offers an manual transmission for the Odyssey. Even if they did, I wouldn’t even consider that option!

I don’t notice any slippage when moving forward in 4th gear. I also never paid attention if the transition between 3rd and 4th gear was exceptionally soft. I’m not sure what would be considered a “normal” 3-4 transition vs. an exceptionally “soft” one. Is there some kind of test I can perform to see if the 3-4 shift transition is “normal”?

Also, if 4th gear is slipping, would that explain why this problem only shows up when the engine/transmission is hot when going uphill in reverse?

Thanks for your feedback.

  • Brad S.

Have you changed out the transmission fluid regularly? These transmissions have a terrible reputation for dying early. How long since the last fluid change?

The transmission fluid was changed about 1 year ago (90K scheduled maintenance). Are there other signs I could look for to indicate that the transmission is dying?

I think the primary weakness in the 99-01 Odyssey 4 speed is a bearing inside the transmission that disintegrates and the debris clogs up passages within the transmission. Some people think they have extended the life of their trannys by removing solenoids and cleaning out the filter screens. This probably only extends the life a little while.

Go to to read more about Odyssey transmission problems.

I put an additional in-line Magnefine fluid filter on my '02 Odyssey, but I don’t expect that it’ll prevent all problems. You don’t have any filters that you can change on your tranny.

Any odd behavior is a bad sign for your tranny; delayed shifts, hard shifts.

I’d drain the tranny fluid and see how it looks, fine metallic material in the fluid is a bad sign. I’d try straining it, maybe with a coffee filter, to see what gets filtered out. If the fluid plug is magnetic, some debris could be stuck to the end of the plug.

The next step is to have a line pressure test done in Drive and Reverse at idle and stall. If the line pressure is low in reverse at idle and at wide open throttle, there probably will be no service option but a transmission replacement or rebuild. If the transmission shop can monitor the line pressure on the road or has a wheel dyno, a problem with the 4th gear clutch might be evident also. But, you would be just double confirming the diagnosis.

Hope this helps.