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2005 Honda Odyssey Transmission - is it safe?

I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey with about 190k miles on it. About a year ago (175k), we had our Transmission replaced with a re-manufactured transmission from the Honda Dealer. Now almost a year later, we were driving home on the freeway (about 4 hrs of highway driving) when we smelled and saw smoke coming from our hood. No lights or indicators came on. We also started losing power and the RPMs were high. We pulled over in a gas station and popped the hood. A guy who said he was a mechanic took a look and thought it was the radiator host leak…suggested we add water and limp the rest of the way home. We did this and had no issues for the remaining 40 minutes of driving. The next day we brought it to our normal mechanic (not a Honda dealer) and he said it was transmission fluid …thought that the transmission fluid that was splattered all over our engine/hood/wheels. When we took it to the honda dealer (since we were still under warranty for the Honda transmission), they looked at it, cleaned it up and ran tests. They are saying that other than being low 2 qts of Trans fluid, they don’t see any leaks/problems with the transmission, even after test driving it. They are wondering if the transmission cap was not tight or left off, causing the fluid to overheat, etc (I’m sure it wasn’t left off as we have been driving it for months since our last check up without issue). They say they can’t replace it under warranty unless they can confirm some issue in their diagnostic tests. How can we have 2 qts of transm fluid splatter all over our engine and there not be a problem they can diagnose? Did they not give it enough time (e.g 4 hr long distance drive) to heat up enough to replicate the problem?

The question now is…is it safe to keep driving the van (after doing a transm flush) or are we just asking for trouble until the next episode? How can I convince the dealer that there is a problem and have the transmission replaced under warranty?

Make sure you have documentation on your problem. They don’t want to warranty it. I would drive the hell out of it and find the leak. More than likely it’s a seal. I had a Dodge that they replaced the torque converter under warranty and the seal leaked and dripped on the exhaust, but only at highway speeds. They denied it leaked. I had to take it to the Chrysler dealer to get it fixed.

They are wondering if the transmission cap was not tight or left off,

This could be how the tranny fluid lost two quarts. It may have vspattered out little by little…taking months to lose the two quarts.

You said that the last check up was months ago, and It could take that long. It wouldn’t come gushing out in a few minutes.

If the fluid flush is required in the warranty fine, but if not …avoid the flush and just have the filter and fluid changed.


A Honda Oddesy has a transmission cap?

I believe the dealer was referencing either the Transmission dip stick and/or fill plug being loose.
If either of those were the case, wouldn’t this occur over a period of time (as previous poster suggested), rather than suddenly spraying all over our engine/hood all at one time causing smoke and smell while driving on the highway?

Here is an interesting possibility that might explain both of your symptoms.

If the transmission oil cooler in the bottom of the radiator has sprung a leak, the coolant would have mixed with the sump oil of the transmission. On a long drive the transmission oil/coolant sould mix into a mousse. When the mix got hot enough to flash into a foam i.e. boil and the expanded foam would be expelled thru any openning available which would probably be the dip stick tube or transmission vent.

It was good that the dealer did a transmission flush as coolant in a transmission is disaster. Have someone check to make sure that the radiator heat exchanger is not leaking. Disconnect the transmission cooler lines; pressurize the radiator; and see if coolant or air comes out of the heat exchanger fittings. Alternately, drain the coolant; pressurize the radiator with air; and listen for air escaping from the heat exchanger fittings. If the radiator is replaced for a leaking heat exchanger, do another flush on the transmission just to get any coolant remaining out of the transmission.

Hope my scenario is not correct because any coolant gone to the transmission may have already damaged the friction plates.

Another possibility is overheated trans fluid belched out of the fill tube. This happened to a friend who was trying to maneuver a fairly large camper trailer into a slot at a camp site. He was going back and forth several times until smoke started bellowing out of the hood. Trans fluid belched out and onto a hot exhaust header. I would have the trans fluid cooler checked for blockage.

The best bet, you need to ask an automatic transmission specialist to look at this. It might be something simple. Or not. But an internet diagnosis is going to be at most of limited help.