More Advice On Acura TL Transmission Failures And Recall

Q: I read your article and I felt a knot in my stomach hearing about the Acura TL with transmission problems. Full Story
GIBBY

Wallingford, CT

#253 Oct 9, 2013
03 TL, 119K, TRANNY SHOT LOCAL ACURA DLR WANTS $4553 TO REPLACE, ZERO HELP W/ACURA CUSTOMER SUPPORT. LAST ACURA FOR ME
Passerby

Morristown, NJ

#254 Oct 11, 2013
Jon wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm looking to buy a Audi A4 Quattro 2003 or a Acura TL, but im scared cuz of the TL tranny problem. Do the 2004-2007 Acura Tl have transmission problems as often as their previous generation ? and ive heard that the manual Acura TL doesn't have transmission problems is that true ?
For anyone else thinking about a 3rd gen TL: DON'T DO IT.

I have a 2007 Base TL. I have 70K miles on it, and the transmission has been hinky since 35K miles, and it keeps getting worse. I get stuck in 3rd or 4th when accelerating onto highways, the car jerks between gears at lower speeds, and it sometimes drives like the transmission might die at any moment. Meanwhile, the dealership insists there's nothing wrong with it.

I wish I could go back in time and buy a different car. The stellar reliability ratings are a big fat joke on us poor souls who bought these cars.
FreeEnteprise

Cincinnati, OH

#255 Oct 29, 2013
Back in 1999 I purchased a brand new Acura 3.2 TL, this was with the 4 speed automatic tranny. I put 300,000 miles on it and am currently looking for another of this generation TL to put miles on again... Here is what I learned in my experience. The transmission issue seems to be an actuator problem, where the computer doesn't tell the tranny to "shift" so it goes into neutral for a second or two or five...(especially when the car is COLD). You can easily destroy your transmission by continuing to accelerate while it is in neutral, and you will feel a BANG when it finally engages... THIS action is what is hurting your transmission. Since TL's have AUTOSTICK on them, all you need to do is manually shift it when it is cold.(typically for the first 20 miles or so). Shift it and WAIT for it to engage the transmission, and then continue driving normally. If you don't give it gas during the shift it won't hurt the transmission.

Now, here is what you can do to GREATLY alleviate the problem. You want to change the tranny fluid 3 times. This is VERY easy to do,(like changing your oil...). Drain it,(you will need a tiny funnel to refill it. I used a piece of rubber tube into my transmission dipstick holder). It will be dirty, and you then close it back up, and refill it with new. Now, drive it for around 200 miles. And then do it again. It will be dirty again as you are actually cleaning out the actuators by doing it and DRIVING it between each change, this is why the dealers don't do this as they would have to drive that kind of mileage between each change, and clearly they aren't going to do that! Then after 500-1,000 miles change it a third time. This will GREATLY reduce the lag when shifting from 1-2nd gear, and might even eliminate it. You don't want to FLUSH the tranny, just change the fluid as described. I drove mine for 300,000 miles and started having the dreaded tranny slipping at 150,000 miles. But, by doing this, it was fine. I finally sold it, because it had 300,000 miles, but I wish I had kept it as it was such a nice car!
Chris C

Monroe, NC

#256 Nov 15, 2013
Acura failed me. Everything you guys described happened to my transmission and Acura did nothing to fix it. Will never own a Acura again, buyer beware!!! When you have thousands of Acura owners screaming the same issues and the company extends warranty rather than replacing and fixing properly is just sad. Would never recommend Acura to anyone. What a waste of money, time, effort, and everything else to do with Acura. The dealer near me wanted to charge me to diagnose a problem they are already very well familiar with, only to tell me they can replace the transmission to the same shit they take out... Horrible experience again in my opinion I would strongly suggest any other car over Acura, possibly a company that acknowledges their costumers.
Matthew B

San Jose, CA

#257 Nov 30, 2013
I am in the process of selling my 2002 Acura TL and it's tranny is failing AGAIN. They replaced the first one for free when I called about and found out about the extended warranty. Didn't matter because it failed within another 50K, replaced again and I've been nursing the current tranny as it slips constantly. Acura is a piece of trash, overpriced and lacking in quality, they don't back it up at all. Never will touch one of their cars.
Richard

Pasadena, CA

#258 Dec 17, 2013
FreeEnteprise wrote:
Back in 1999 I purchased a brand new Acura 3.2 TL, this was with the 4 speed automatic tranny. I put 300,000 miles on it and am currently looking for another of this generation TL to put miles on again... Here is what I learned in my experience. The transmission issue seems to be an actuator problem, where the computer doesn't tell the tranny to "shift" so it goes into neutral for a second or two or five...(especially when the car is COLD). You can easily destroy your transmission by continuing to accelerate while it is in neutral, and you will feel a BANG when it finally engages... THIS action is what is hurting your transmission. Since TL's have AUTOSTICK on them, all you need to do is manually shift it when it is cold.(typically for the first 20 miles or so). Shift it and WAIT for it to engage the transmission, and then continue driving normally. If you don't give it gas during the shift it won't hurt the transmission.
Now, here is what you can do to GREATLY alleviate the problem. You want to change the tranny fluid 3 times. This is VERY easy to do,(like changing your oil...). Drain it,(you will need a tiny funnel to refill it. I used a piece of rubber tube into my transmission dipstick holder). It will be dirty, and you then close it back up, and refill it with new. Now, drive it for around 200 miles. And then do it again. It will be dirty again as you are actually cleaning out the actuators by doing it and DRIVING it between each change, this is why the dealers don't do this as they would have to drive that kind of mileage between each change, and clearly they aren't going to do that! Then after 500-1,000 miles change it a third time. This will GREATLY reduce the lag when shifting from 1-2nd gear, and might even eliminate it. You don't want to FLUSH the tranny, just change the fluid as described. I drove mine for 300,000 miles and started having the dreaded tranny slipping at 150,000 miles. But, by doing this, it was fine. I finally sold it, because it had 300,000 miles, but I wish I had kept it as it was such a nice car!
I have the a similar story. My 2001 CL has 230k miles, tranny recalled by Acura at 100k miles. I had slipping at 190k miles, but researched online and did the auto stick method described above. I changed tranny fluid with every oil change at 10k miles mark, and it works fine until I recently. I lowered my guard and didn't change tranny fluid until 12k miles, and I started to feel the roughness from 1st to 2nd again. I sometimes also have lagged response from 2nd to 3rd. The dealership wants 4400 for it, my local mechanic needs 1700. I will give it a try to see if I can continue to make it work... Otherwise I might fix it for 1700 and figure out which other make to change into 3 years later.

The tranny is really a bummer. Other than that the car is incredibly reliable. I had no repairs in 230k miles over 13 years, never overheated and all electronics work. AC never fail at all. My wife's 2003 Infiniti with 80k miles already had stuck window, gas gauge doesn't work, stuck sunroof and ignition problems etc.
Ross

Roseland, NJ

#259 Dec 17, 2013
Add me to the List.'02 TL with 50K miles. Incredibly low miles for the age as it is an extra car we've had set aside for my son to drive. Only problem was the chunking shifts and the dangerous slam down into 2nd gear while driving 40 mph. All of the classic symptoms described in the Acura customer advisory.$2400 later we are on our way (for now). Not impressed with the accountability shown by Acura. Yep will send me to another brand when selecting a car in the future. Vote with your wallet!
Hartbeatkid

Farmington, CT

#261 Dec 30, 2013
Americannegr0 wrote:
<quoted text>
Depends on the color. I'm looking for the blue type S
I got a blue 03 acura tl type s in the blue, you still looking?
Rob90230

Los Angeles, CA

#262 Dec 30, 2013
Until now, I have had no problems with the transmission of my 1989 Acura Legend. It has always shifted smoothly until now.

After a freeway round trip drive, I exited the freeway and as I came to a stop, the transmission downshifted (I believe) from fourth to second. After that point, the transmission would not shift into 4th.

I tried fixing the problem by cleaning the shift control solenoid valves and its screens. There was some “grit” in the screens but not as much as I anticipated. I cleaned the screens with soap and water and cleaned the shift control solenoid valves with carburetor cleaner (without applying voltage to the solenoids).

I then test drove the car. It shifted smoothly without any problems for the first 2 or 3 miles. It then downshifted from fourth into third unexpectively during normal driving. When this happened, I drove it home.

I don’t know if any of my work corrected the problem or if the transmission problems only occurred when the transmission warms up.

The S3 indicator light does not display an error code nor does the LED display on the A/T control unit flash any error code.

Any suggestions? Please help.

1989 Acura Legend
Mileage: 47,000
Transmission flushed at 43,000 at dealership on 3/2012
Mark

Mobile, AL

#263 Jan 2, 2014
Drew The Honda Salesman wrote:
and it is nice not having a car payment Muuuuaahhhh
Why on earth would someone keep spending that much time and money on a car? I purchased a tl because I expect it not to have those kinds of problems. If my tl starts acting like that I'll sell it.
EnvyRL

Denver, CO

#264 Jan 8, 2014
owned more acuras then most individuals-
integra gs-r fully built motor and body ( built from salvaged junk )
after taking care of all the vital fluids and tune up and new motor from japan with 45-60k miles. made 250whp with N/A setup and beating the living hell out of it everyday for 2 years before installing a PeakBoost Turbo setup at 10psi on stock internals making 372Whp/290ft-lbs on a mustang dyno. this car visits 8,100 RPMS at least once a week.. and has been over 10 years of ass whooping and compression ratio on all 4 cyclinders are 180+ 180+ 190+ 180+ across all cyclinder. let me set this straight, do a few red line pull with a dodge or some shit domestic built motor and see what the inside will look like after a short period of time and abuse. honda/acuras enjoy pulling so much that the red isnt even remotely close to an issue. when it comes to longevity and durability honda and acura block and internal are bullet proof and rev/ turbo happy.

2004 Acura MDX brand new ---> 170,000 miles needed nothing but tbelt change and tires/brakes....... drove from Colorado to Minnesota to California to Nebraska to Kansas to Washington.. need i say more??
heres a quick SUV example/comparison.. we rented a hemi dodge durango in california for extra room and seats, WOW.. was the interior cheap like a dollar store... HEMI motor?? uhhh my 3.5 MDX will smoke this 5.7 Slug from 0-60 or 0-100+...... i told myself "yea lets get the hemi!" drove off the lot for 5 mins and i had a frown on instead of a smile. 5 mins in another SUV is all it takes to compare its quality. im not comparing to a Rover or Cay but anything close to its price range CANNOT match in quality and craftsmentship.

2005 Acura RL 2nd owner ---> 82,000 miles needed nothing but i changed the 4 piston oem pads to EBC RED STUFF. super handling all wheel drive is stupendous.. went 85+mph in a sharp chicane meant for 50mphs violently turning out..... trying to throw the car off the road but it just wont happen. this model RL out handled my integra with 2000$ in suspension setup.. amazing vehicle with all the bells and whistles. and being 24 at the time and owning one was a major bonus executive ride status. got ppl looking at me everytime i hop into my car thinking im stealing it or some weird stuff... o.O

2004 Acura TL6MT avoided the auto tranny issue, 0-60 in 5.5 sec stock on a warm day w/ good tires.... can you say that isnt fast for a 4 dr luxury car? with minor bolts on these 3.2's - 3.5's TL-s has been known to kill sti/evo at 20/40/60 ROLLS even with its rediculous LSD/torque steering

pls dont think im bias or anything.. ive owned over 12 cars before the age of 26 and am a mechanic and avid car tuner as well. drove awd- turbo dsm, VW, Lexus, BMW, Ford, Chevy (blown z06) ect.. ive always beat the hell out of every car i hop in as thats my hobby, run something till it breaks and repair and run it again. and honda/acura has been impossible to murder and stupid in reliablity.

ps. my nieghbor is a Law Enforcement Office here locally and also owns a 2005 TL (auto tranny) lucky his tranny hasnt went out on him due to meticulous care but i sense it will give up its last leg sooner or later. these are his exact words in a conversation with me " theres times i drive it like my squad car and after 180,000 miles shes still heaven to drive and look at " LOL ... bring tears to my eyes after owning my RL for 3 years i havnt went to the StealerShip for 1 issue..... not even to a mechanic.... OIL CHANGEDsss, FRONT BRAKES... in 3 years ownership in a high end luxury flag ship vehicle. need i say more?

friends own AUDI, BMW, BENZ constantly on a crying rampage about how many lights their car has thrown.. sounds like early christmas too me.
all i have to say is if you want a car you can drive and enjoy buy yourself a honda/acura and your set.
Jack

Pittsburgh, PA

#265 Jan 10, 2014
I own a 2002 TL that I bought new in 2001. My dealer is the only one to touch my car and I have adhered religiously to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule including the recall notice. I only have 68,000 miles on it. I have never had any problems with my car until now. The transmission is slipping from 2nd to 3rd just as the others have described above. I have a friend who bought the exact same car and experienced the exact same problem. Clearly this is not an age- or mileage-related problem. It's an engineering or quality related issue. My estimated repair charge is $8,000! I called Acura Customer Relations and they declined to cover even a portion of this charge. I am very disappointed with Acura.
Jim

Olney, MD

#266 Jan 15, 2014
alex wrote:
My 2006 Acura tl tranny went with about 80,000 miles on it. So disappointed in Acura and the way they handled the.situation. I will never buy a Honda Acura product again.and I.will try and.stop anyone who does.... Acura sucks
Mine went today at 82,000. In the shop and I await the bad news. Not much warning to the problem.
Elie

New Bedford, MA

#267 Feb 7, 2014
02 tl type s. with 195k. Recall for tranny done at 95k. Car shifts and drives smoothly, until check engine light goes on. Then tranny becomes sensitive and if i gas too hard the vsa light and yelloe triangle with exclamation matk in it light up. D5 blinks as well. Then car seems to ho into some safe mode or limp mode. Minimal accelleration and gears seem slippy as if it eant to only stay in 3rd gear. When i shut car off and tun it back on, the car returns to good with the check engine light on again but other light normal. If i use obd reader to reset the check engine light, the car works great again with no lights for X amount of miles until check engine light comes back on. It has taken 97 miles before check engine light returns and car beccame sensitive again after resetting check engine light...98 miles the next time. I replaced tcc solenoid and the one next to it and it went nearly 300 miles then check engine light came on again. 5 different codes in 3 weeks of just getting lemon. P0740, P0780 before replacing solenoids, flushing fluid with acura brand, and external line in tranny fluid filter, now p1457, P1740, P1750. I also replaced broken 4rth clutch pressure switch/sensor on tranny. Its just a matter of time til this thing goes.

Options to fix by buying used tranny at junkyards include,$800 30 day warranty.$1000 6 month warranty.$1500 lifetime warranty. Labor will cost $300-$750 if done by handymen/mechanics as side jobs at their home garages. No computer will be replaced wether ECM, PCM, etc.

Is buying lifetime or 6 month worth paying more for, especially since the car had nearly 200k miles on it anyway?

Anyone else experience similar symptoms?
Alexkresh

Kent, WA

#268 Feb 20, 2014
Joqster wrote:
I have 2002 Acura CL-S, purchased brand new. Been happy for straight 9 years until the tranny failed. Im pretty much heard about these transmission issue before so what I did is I flushed the tranny fluid more often than the usual - every 15K or 1 year. But what i did is prolonging the inevitable- at exactly 133K miles, my 2nd gear slipped and had some closed call accidents. I went to the dealership - quote me $4500 for rebuilt engine and labor,$1800 if im going to purchase from a rebuilt tranny from local shop (labor not included). Since I was on the tight budget -My acura spent 8 months sitting on the garage collecting dust. I came across this Acura Fan site called acurazine - has made some suggestions that I can use 2006 Odyssey transmission, same exact bell housing, more updated design with exception of this tranny uses a separate tranmission cooler. Took me almost a week to gather all the information about the swap and gathering the tools needed for this project. I found 06 used tranny with 44K mileage on craigslist for $600 - its actually great deal. After almost a month (2 days a week)- I was able to complete the swap with minor modifications . Now my acura CL is back on the road and already put 6K miles with zero issues. I think its a great idea to swap these acura CL/TL with 06 Odyssey transmissions. Gear ratio is a little different - but who cares - as long as this car runs and safe on the road.
Hey my tranny failed on my 03 Acura cl. It'd not my first Acura cl I had. all of them had problems with the tranny. I had one rebuild after they shop rebuild it after 1 year it started to have problems again. I found your post by any chance can you proved me with more details on it? I would be very thankful
Nicole

Greenwich, CT

#269 Mar 18, 2014
My daughter just bought a '99 TL with 160K. When we test drove it in 4th it died on the parkway. We were then told to only drive it in 3rd gear which we did. My daughter was driving up to college and had it in 3rd. The car died again on the highway. We were then told to drive it in 4th. Which one should she drive it in? Of course she is being blamed for the breakdown but she was going by what the mechanic told her to do.
Terrie

Oceanside, CA

#270 Mar 20, 2014
I have an Acura 2001 tl3.2. Had tranny replaced on a recall from Acura dealer. The car had 71990 miles. I've put only 55000 miles on it since they replaced it. Now my car starts up no issues but when you shift from reverse on down thru all the gears it sounds like your running a garbage disposal. Can not drive it and when it's in park with emergency brake on it will roll away. Any takers or ideas.
Forbes

Sacramento, CA

#272 Apr 4, 2014
Can someone direct me to where to find the transmission recall. I am the original owner of an ACURA TL 2005 having transmission issues.
Tls owner

Gold Hill, OR

#273 Apr 5, 2014
john

Baltimore, MD

#274 Apr 11, 2014
Will a honda accord trans work n a acura tl?? I have a good accord trans . Will a 99 tl trans work n a 03.?.

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