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Honda Odessey that (sort of) doesn't shift


My 2002 Honda Odessey (150k mi) seems to not shift lately. The RPMs do drop at the right time, but the engine still seems to be straining. I wait for the drop in G-forces (or however you want to describe it), but it doesn’t come, although the RPMS do fall at the right time.

Any ideas?

Pitt Cairn

Check-out some Honda Forums or do some googling and check into any help from Honda (they did extend some goodwill in the transmission area but your mileage is quite high for goodwill).

Like when you step on re gas from a stop the car will go but it’ll shift to second very late and it’ll feel like some one rearended you? If this is so my cousin has a 2001 Honda accord v6 that does that and the problem was that he needed transmission fluid

Drop by a good independent transmission shop and get the car scanned for any codes.

At that mileage, and considering the history of these problem prone transmissions, odds are that it’s time for a rebuild.

If the transmission fluid has never been changed on a regular basis then you can just about bet that it’s toasted.

To throw something else into the mix, weak fuel pressure or a partially clogged catalytic converter can also cause problems like this; assuming I’m reading the complaint correctly.

Getting the transmission scanned might (?) weed that out anyway.

You are correct,plugged cats. often end up at the transmission shop. Even though I am not a transmission man I like to read “Gears” magazine (a transmission industry trade magazine) and they had a article how this frequently happens.

An Update -

I now notice that, after starting the car, I can’t shift below “D” into “D2”, “D3”, etc. with regularity. It does sometimes, but not consistently. I just wanted to see if I could shift, I didn’t need those gears at the time.


Please explain this more completely.

Do you mean that you cannot move the shift lever into those positions, or do you mean that when you move the shift lever to those positions there is no power?


When I start the van, in park and not moving, I sometimes have trouble shifting any lower than “D” on the gearshift. The van does run okay, and I can get it up to 60-70 MPH, but it feels like it’s straining, although the RPMs are 2,500 +/-. Methinks (hopes)this may be a computer glitch.

Can anybody explain why the RPMs would drop as they should if the van isn’t shifting?


The transmission shop can,really you need the transmission scanned. The car can be driven with the scanner hooked up and all will be known. It does sound like you have a additional linkage problem,all is not so clear here.

Hi All,

It turned out to be a front wheel bearing. The straining sensation wasn’t the transmission, it was the wheel. That’s why I couldn’t figure out why the RPMs would drop, and yet it still felt funny.

Sorry for any red herrings, but all I could do was explain the problem to the best of my ability, which wasn’t very well done, I guess.


Absolute strangest result from symptons I have ever heard,a front wheel bearing,and we are giving instructions to check the transmission,someone save me.


All along I said it seemed that it was shifting, but the van was straining. I also aked why the RPMs would drop if it wasn’t shifting. I never said that I thought it was the transmission.

Next time I’ll just take it in (this time I had to wait until a couple of more paychecks came in). Thankfully my mechanic has been with me 15+ years, and is both good and honest.


This shows there are pitfalls to diagnosis over the internet. It’s scary to think about people getting medical diagnosis this way.