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Accord 6 Speed with Bad 3rd Gear

On today’s show John mentioned that he had a Honda 6 speed with a bad 3rd gear. Honda has a service bulletin out 08-420 that deals with this and they should replace at no charge. I know, they did mine Thursday. Also car and driver had a similar problem with their extended test vehicle.

Yeah, if the guy had Googled the question like I did a few months ago when it happened to me, he could have saved himself some time, money and trouble. I even had them swap the clutch out - they did it for free after I offered to pay $200 for the clutch parts.

I can’t believe a Honda dealership said it was the tranny fluid. At least this reassures me that Tom and Ray aren’t sitting in front of a computer to get some of their answers - I always wondered.

Ya’ll beat me to it! Ironically, I just had my Accord at the dealer last Wednesday to discuss this problem because the warranty is about to expire. I haven’t had any symptoms except for some rare “notchiness” on the first couple of shifts on a cold morning. FWIW, the TSB does say in the diagnosis, “Note: It is not uncommon for there to be some resistance or notchiness when shifting into third gear.” Now, if the dealer could just tell me how to eliminate the dash rattle from the vicinity of the glovebox…

To jb’s point about Tom and Ray in front of the computer, I admit I was a little surprised that they apparently don’t have someone “in the back room” googling or at least using to check items like this.

I would like to thank patmkrug for posting this. I’ve had a balky 3rd gear in my '06 Accord 6 speed since new, and the dealer gave me the old “can’t duplicate” excuse when I first brought it up. Now I can point them at the TSB. At least it’s still in warranty . . .

The problem with Honda/Acura 6-speed manual transmissions has been discussed for at least 6 years. A quick search of the internet brings up literally thousands of complaints to Honda (and Acura), consumer agencies, TV networks and other media. After denying the problem for years, Honda issued a TSB on this issue in April, 2008. Here is a link to the Honda TSB. A nearly identical TSB exists for Acura.

A person actually getting Honda/Acura to make the repair . . . is another story. Here is a link to a poll of about 130 people’s experiences.

My own experience with Acura has me fuming. My wife has a 2005 TL 6MT. Generally the vehicle has been satisfactory (paint is an exception) and it is almost out of warrantee. Since we both walk to work and don?t drive either of our cars on a daily basis (I have an Acura NSX) the TL has only 27,000 miles on it ? mostly long distance highway mileage.

On cold mornings we sometimes experience a difficulty getting into 3rd gear, or it grinds. Even though the TSB states the problem is intermittent, the dealer refuses to install the new third gear cluster unless or until they can reproduce the problem.

Getting no satisfaction from the dealer or zone manager, I have taken the issue to Honda headquarters in Torrance, CA. The best I can get is a verbal statement that if the dealer can reproduce the problem in the future after the warrantee has expired, they will consider fixing it at their expense. Asked to put this in writing, they absolutely refuse.

My wife, an attorney, wrote to Honda?s General Counsel, requesting him or her to confirm or correct the verbal statement. Honda/Acura, instead of answering the letter, had the original case manager, Scott Franklin, call me back. He refused to (1) call my wife, who wrote the letter, or (2) answer the letter in writing. Not only is this horribly sexist, it causes me to have grave doubts about their verbal statement. If the statement is valid, why won?t they confirm it in writing?

I would be interested in starting a thread on other people?s experience with Honda on this issue. The transmission issue is not a manufacturing flaw that only affects some vehicles. The repair is the installation of an entirely new 3rd gear cluster because the original design was defective. It makes no difference how the car is driven; the defective design is going to manifest itself either now, or in the future. I understand this is an expensive repair but it is a repair that must be done. Honda/Acura should install the new parts under warrantee now, or unequivocally extend the transmission warrantee to the life of the vehicle.

Any sentiment in the Car Talk world for a class action law suit?

If Honda refuses to foot the bill for the replacement of 3rd gear, switch your tranny fluid to GM Synchomesh. It will immediately and permanently solve the problem. I had a good friend with this exact problem and this fixed it for him.

I have a 2005 Acura TL with the 6MT. As previously stated there is a long, long history of this complaint with late model Honda/Acura 6 speeds. I agree that if Honda won’t foot the bill for the TSB then John should definitely try GM Synchromesh Transmission Fluid - Friction Modified (GM Part #12377916). It’s imperative that you use the “Friction Modified” version. Honda came out with their own improved MTF about 2 years ago and it didn’t solve the issue. I’m not sure if the MT is the same as on the TL but the symptom sure is. The GM fluid completely eradicated any symptoms in my car. Many TL and Honda S2000 owners have lots of miles racked up using this fluid and have nothing but continued praise.

Actually I had the same issue with my 2006 Acura TL and initially Honda corporate was the one that recommended changing the fluid periodically to reduce the wear on the 3rd gear syncro.

Some time in May they issued a TSB to fix the issue. I had it fixed in August under warranty and it has been much better since then… though they messed up my alignment while doing that.

You can download the TSBs from this link

And there is a note in them about out of warranty vehicles… “Any repair performed after warranty expiration may be eligible for goodwill consideration by the District Parts and Service Manager or your Zone Office. You must request consideration, and get a decision, before starting work.”

Odd to hear Honda having a problem with a manual tranny–usually it’s the autos that die prematurely. I wonder if this transmission is in the same family as the 6-speed in the 3.2CL-S a few years back that had all those issues?

I’ll bet the rattle you’re hearing is the passenger side speaker on the dash near the windsheild. I went twice for it…and got the “we can’t duplicate the sound” answer. On a 6 hour road trip, the passenger figured it out and the speaker is slightly loose on the side closest to the windshield. Not sure what they did, but it’s not rattling now.