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I have to pay $1500 to replace a $2 part there has to be another way!

I have a 2003 Honda Odyssey - recently the gear shift when I switch gears has gotten really smooth. like the grooves have worn out. It stays in gear but it moves really smoothly. I brought it to my mechanic who said a spring fell out or is misplaced. The part is only about $2, but he has to take the transmission out to the tune of $1,500 to replance it. Does anyone know of another way to fix this problem other than taking out the transmission?? HELP!!!

Is this the dealership mechanic? Regardless, I’d get a second opinion.

Get a second opinion, but this is a minivan. On a minivan, it’s not easy to get to anything under the hood.

If you had a car, truck, SUV, or even most crossover vehicles, you would have more access to the engine and transmission than on a minivan. I’ve mentioned this issue often, that everything under the hood of a minivan is hard to get to, so if you are going to buy one, budget extra money for labor costs on repairs.

Please describe the problem in more detail - you’re talking about the feel of the shift lever as it moves?

Can you keep driving it the way it is? Odds are the transmission will die eventually, these Odyssey transmissions usually die early. Then when you have to get the transmission replaced, the shift lever issue will get fixed in the process. This will be a $3500 fix though.

Is this an automatic or manual transmission? I’m a bit dubious at this point about the diagnosis.
Any spring referred to is a detent spring.

Based on your description it sounds like a manual that’s lost the spring that “loads” the shifter toward the next gear up, the “detent spring” as OK4450 referred to it.

If my understanding about the problem is correct, driving without this spring will have no adverse consequences as long as you continue the habit of moving the linkage sideways when switching gears. Its primary function is simply to assist the driver in moving through the gears properly. It “loads” the shifter to the right.

Be sure you use your parking brake routinely. It also helps the shifter stay in place, and it could slip out of gear while parked.

As long as the trans stays in the gear you select, get used to the new “feel” and live with it. This is not a functional problem, so leave it be. If the whole trans goes bad, not an unlikely event with an Odyessy, then have it fixed when the new, used, or rebuilt tranny is put in. Otherwise, drive on.

It’s an auto trans.

"I’ve mentioned this issue often, that everything under the hood of a minivan is hard to get to, so if you are going to buy one, budget extra money for labor costs on repairs. "

Not true. My minivan negates Your entire statement.


“I have to pay $1500 to replace a $2 part there has to be another way!”

Have you paid several hundred dollars to replace your $40 timing belt, yet ? If you haven’t then you’re due for one. Otherwise it could break and leave you stranded and possibly do thousands of dollars in damage to the engine.

While the transmission is being replaced / rebuilt, have the timing belt replaced if it’s due.


Thank you all. To answer some of your questions, its an automatic transmission which we already replaced 3 years ago. He is not a dealer mechanic and said that if it does not get replaced, its going to burn out my transmission because the computer will not read the gears correctly and therefore the transmisison will not respond correctly. He is not just a mechanic, but happens to be a transmission guy. Finally, it is the feel of the shft when I change gears is smooth. Any more advice??

You should still get a second opinion for an expenditure that large. If you don’t like the first 2, consider getting a 3rd. BTW, is the shop a general repair garage, an independent transmission shop or a chain shop?

If its an Auto trans…the spring “loaders” are most likely within the tranny very near where the shift arm attaches to the trans. I have also seen them externally near the same shift lever…so dunno. I’d have to see an exploded view of the tranny to see where they put these springs… The mechanic may be correct in saying that the trans needs to be removed…But its impossible for me to say without seeing that exploded view…which are out on the net somewhere… At any rate the springs we are talking about are there just to define the spaces between the gear selector…it really shouldnt affect the trans at all in its ability to function…those are there primarily for you and the human operation of the tranny not for the trans functionality. Let me take a peek and Add to this comment…Stay tuned.

SH&^ ! Yeah it looks like the spring is deep within the tranny…

Go to this link… OOPS link not working…

JUST go to You Tube and type in “Inside My Odyssey Transmission” to see the video

You will see the device Clearly in the video at 1:23…ALSO really well at 1:59/2:00…again at 2:45 on the left…see the wavy piece of steel with the long shift rod attached to it?

The item I am talking about will be on the left side of the view screen…It has a LONG shaft pointing up from it and at the base of this shaft you will see a pie shaped piece of steel with a WAVY EDGE…at the wavy edge is a ball bearing and a spring…this is where you get that “notchy” feel when moving the shifter…HOW OR WHY this item slipped off or otherwise broke is beyond me… but… I am fairly certain that this is the device we are talking about…

GUYS? OK4550?..TRANSMAN? Cigroller? Mountainbike? Whitey? Please double check my info for me to see if I am paasing on correct info? Anyone? Anyone? LOL… ANYWHO…this is the Odyssey Trans “exploded” I wish that guy in the video luck lol…

Yep, looks like a detent, HB…any chance there’s one on the shifter? If not, the mechanic might be right, and I wouln’t want a broken spring bouncing around inside the transmission…but a 2nd opinion is needed.

Yeah TEX…I thought that too for a minute…Sometimes they put those detents within the console where the actual shifter pivots… But on this vehicle and after viewing that video…I believe the only thing the shift cage under the console does is provide the locking solenoid and the gates that the pushbutton on the shifter nestle into…

Its clear from that You Tube vid that the “clicking detents” are provided by that rod and “Wavy Pie Shaped Steel Device” in the pic…Methinks… Sucks but looks to be right. Now WHY on earth something happened to that mechanism is beyond me…I have never seen any of them fail like that before… Have you guys?

This happened to a friend’s 2003 Honda Pilot. The dealer ended up replacing the whole transmission.

Why flag or disagree? Who are you to say that this didn’t happen? Honda doesn’t open up transmissions and repair them.

You say the transmission was replaced 3 years ago, is it still under warranty?

A replacement transmission could have a warranty of 5years/50,000 miles or something similiar.

Good catch Willey, pursue the warranty on the replacement transmission.

Ya mon