Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Is it my Transmission?

In the past 3 months my 2000 Honda Odyssey has taken to doing this random thing. Doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to it. When you first get in it for the day, and this has only happened 4 times in the past 4 months, it will “lurch” when it first gets going but stops after 5-7 minutes. After the first time this happened, I took it to my Honda mechanic, he replaced the fluid, found some sediment, and drove it, then replaced the fluid again, of course it didn’t recreate for him. Yesterday, it did it again, and my fear is that the transmission is going out. Could it be something else, like a short somewhere? The tranny has about 87,000 miles on it. I would like to keep from having to replace or rebuild the transmission, so does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for the help!!

These transmissions do have a history of being very problematic, with early failures common. That is why Honda gave an extended warranty on the transmission for certain model years of the Accord and the Odyssey.

Is it possible that you are covered by an extended warranty, despite the fact that the van is now 10 years old? Probably not, but if you give the VIN to a Honda dealership, they can tell you for sure. You could also try phoning Honda of America at the corporate level, in order to request “good will” assistance with the costs of a trans rebuild.

Incidentally, if the trans fluid change that was done 4 months ago was the first one, that did not help the transmission. With the age of your vehicle, it should have had the trans fluid changed at least 3 times at that point. What is the maintenance history of your transmission?

Well, I have to admit that I am a bad vehicle owner and that was the first fluid flush since the new transmission. It does have 87,000 miles on it and this was the first time I have had any issues.

I called the dealer that put that transmission in and, fortunately for them, they purge their records after 3 years and have no record of that repair. We had that service in 05.

I could try the corporate level, but I am really hoping that it is something simple. I hear that can be the case sometimes. I have not had any fluid leaks, and it occurs very randomly. Thank you for your reply!!

Oh–this is the second transmission. That was not really clear in your first post.
Obviously you are aware of Honda’s transmission problems from that era.

Even though you did not maintain it as well as you should have, I would certainly hope that the rebulds that Honda provided were better-made than the original transmissions. Perhaps not.

Anyway, it is possible that this is something less involved than the need for another trans rebuild. Rather than relying on your regular mechanic, I suggest that you take the van to a local independent transmission shop for evaluation.

DO NOT go to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission or any other chain unless you want to be told that you need a rebuild whether that is really true or not. If the indy shop tells you that the trans is shot, call Honda corporate and politely express your dismay with the second transmission failure on the vehicle. Maybe you will get lucky.

You don’t have the receipts from when the transmission was replaced?

Even if you did, Honda probably isn’t going to buy you another transmission.

The “sediment” in the tranny fluid was probably part of a bearing that’s disintegrating. The bearing comes apart, and pieces of it end up clogging small passages in your tranny so it doesn’t shift right, ultimately destroying itself. This is what eventually happens to all 1999-2001 Odysseys. Honda knows about this but isn’t going to tell you.

No, I don’t have any receipts, I don’t remember them even giving me any, but that was 5 years ago. I assume they aren’t going to give me another, I just want to make sure it isn’t falling apart. I want to sell the vehicle, decided this BEFORE the “problem” occurred, and I want to be able to tell a possible buyer what the deal is. It is just so random that I am thinking it might be a short or a loose wire. I have no lights on and it doesn’t happen much, just enough to make me worry - ha!! I am in the process of trying to find a transmission company that I might be able to trust to help me find the answer.

Thanks for your reply!!