ATF abnormal UOA report, 2002 Honda Odyssey transmission, Honda ATF

Messages
777
Location
Herndon, VA
Hello everyone, First, a little background...The 2002 Honda Odyssey 5-speed automatic transmission does not have a good reputation -- Looking on the Odyclub.com website, failures are frequently seen anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 miles. Rumour has it that it's the 3rd gear clutch pack that fails. At any rate, Honda has been replacing these transmissions under warranty. Honda's policy is not to repair transmissions, but to replace them with factory rebuilt units. Anyway, my 2002 Honda Odyssey is driven primarily by my wife, with typical soccer-Mom style use. The transmission had 29,941 miles on it when I drew a sample of the ATF for analysis. The transmission had the original fluid in it and had never been changed. No fluid has ever been added during this time, either. When I bought the van new, I had an ATF cooler installed by the Honda dealer, which is a dealer installed option along with a power steering cooler. This is part of an optional towing package. I never intended to tow anything with this vehicle, I just wanted the extra cooling. That said, I have purchased about a year ago a very small, probably 400 pounds unloaded, trailer. I use this trailor to haul things from my garage to another building about 3 miles away. I also use it occasionally to haul mulch or fertilizer from a garden shop to my home. These trailer towing trips are never more than 5 miles at a time, and total weight loaded is no more than about 800 pounds. My wife has commented that on a couple of occasions, the transmission acts like it is slipping, and sometimes "jerks" into gear. The Odyclub.com website reports that these are generally the first signs of impending transmission failure. I have not personally been able to recreate these symptoms, despite repeated trying. Since the basic warranty on the vehicle runs out at 36,000 miles, and the interval for replacing transmission fluid is at 30,000 miles, I decided it prudent to analyze the transmission oil. As I said, this sample is the original fluid, probably Honda ATF-Z1, from the factory, with 29,941 miles on it. The analysis was done by Analysts, Inc. Iron: 95 Chromium: 1 Nickel: < 1 Aluminum: 98 flagged as significant Lead: 6 Copper: 15 Tin: 1 Silver: < .1 Titanium: < 1 Silicon: 15 Boron: 305 Sodium: 10 Potassium: < 10 Molybdenum: < 5 Phosphorus: 18 Zinc: 333 Calcium: 325 Barium: 12 Magnesium: 187 Antimony: < 30 Vanadium: < 1 Water % VOL < .10 VIS CS 40 degrees C: 24.7 TAN: 1.35 The recommendations in the report indicates abnormal conditions - Noted Elements are generally associated with Pump wear. Aluminum may indicate torque converter or pump wear. Check for rough shifting, unusual noise or vibration, and excessive metal in the filters or sump. Change the oil and filters if not already performed. Resample at 1/2 normal interval. Unfortunately, the filter or strainer on this transmission is not user-replacable - the transmission has no pan and must be disassembled to get at the strainer. I drained the fluid, disconnected one of the lines to the cooler, and used compressed air at 30PSI to push as much of the old fluid out. Then I refilled it, ran it for a few miles, and repeated this process. Finally, I did a third drain, only from the drain plug this time. I ran a total of 18 quarts of Honda ATF-Z1 through it - Sump capacity is a bit over 8 quarts I believe. At this point, I'm not sure what else to do - As I said, I can't seem to reproduce any symptoms - In fact, it shifted quite smoothly. I'm sure if I took it to the dealer at this point they would tell me to keep driving it as nothing is wrong. I have over 5,000 miles left on the basic vehicle warranty, and have purchased a HondaCare 100,000 mile warranty. Comments? Reactions? What would you do in my case? Thanks, Dennis
 

btanchors

Thread starter
Messages
777
Location
Herndon, VA
I forgot to note a couple of things. The first time I drained the transmission, the color of the fluid was almost as dark as used motor oil. It was brown instead of red. Also, the drain plug is magnetic, and had probably about 1/4 teaspoon of sludgy type material in it - appeared to be very small metallic particles. Quite frankly, though, I've seen a similar amount on the drain plugs of trannys and differentials that were perfectly fine. The 30,000 mile service interval I quoted above is for severe service. I think the normal interval for transmission fluid change is 45,000 miles. Meanwhile, the wife is afraid to drive the van on any long trips away from home... Dennis
 

Jay

Messages
1,607
Location
Idaho Falls, ID
My 2002 Acura RSX has a 5-speed auto also. I'm not sure how similar the transmissions are, but here's my ATF at 29,500 miles for comparison:
code:
Fe    81
Cr     0
Pb     0
Cu    19
Sn     0
Al    17
Ni     0
Ag     0
Si     8
B    300
Na    13
K      5
Mg   235
Ca   302
P     11
Zn   400
Mo     0
'
Water <.1%
Visc (40C) 23.4 cSt
TAN 0.91
Oxidation 38.00
Nitration  8.00
  

None of your wear metals look out of line except aluminum, but that might be from your oil cooler if it's aluminum. Your TAN is OK. The fluid was in good shape when you changed it. I don't think a worn or failing clutch pack would show up on a UOA. [ April 12, 2004, 10:29 PM: Message edited by: Jay ]
 

btanchors

Thread starter
Messages
777
Location
Herndon, VA
Jay - Many thanks for posting your results. Your results would seem particularly pertinent since you drove almost exactly the same number of miles. I also do not know if the transmissions are identical. Your point about the cooler is good - I will see if I can find out if it is aluminum (It probably is). Interestingly, my engine report showed high copper, and one of the possible reasons might be that the Honda 3.5 liter V6 might have an oil cooler in it. I wonder why metals leach out of coolers so much, since there should be no mechanical wear, just fluid circulating through it.
 
Messages
5,069
Location
Saratoga, NY
btacnchors, I wouldn't be worried about the oil in your engine (I skimmed the results) but this tranny result does seem abnormal. The lab said the aluminum may be coming from the torque converter or the pump. Is this another trouble spot for this tranny, in addition to the 3rd gear clutch pack? Sounds like this is a bad egg ... and you could go two ways with it. Abuse it some and make sure it breaks before the warranty expires or give it a really good service or two and nurse it along as well as possible. It seems to me that you've chosen the latter. So, I'd save all the documentation on this thing and if it goes, you may be able to get a free tranny out of Honda. There might be a silent recall on this thing by then (if there isn't one already - search the FTC website) or a letter to Honda after a tranny replacement might get them to reimburse you for part or all of the expense. --- Bror Jace
 
Messages
6,091
Location
northern Alabama
Has Honda not extended the transmission warranty on the Odyssey? They did on the 2000-2001 Accords with the 4-speed automatic. Here is my UOA on my 2002 Accord tranny: http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=001373 They had problems with all 6th generation (98-02) Accord automatics. They have been doing some "goodwill" repairs for those 'cords not covered under the warranty or past the warranty, just depends on the service advisor at the dealer. [ April 13, 2004, 10:58 AM: Message edited by: benjamming ]
 
Messages
1,412
Location
Falls Church VA
If all you had left was 5,000 miles of warranty, I'd say take the car into the dealer, give them the list of symptoms and a copy of the oil analysis for their records, and get it documented. Since you have already purchased a 100,000 mile warranty, not much reason to be concerned.
 
Messages
764
Location
Fairfield County, CT
I had a '99 Accord EX V6 with the supposedly troublesome automatic transmission, and found that partial ATF changes smoothed out the shifting a LOT. Had I kept that car, I would have done partial ATF changes at every (or every other) engine oil change (I was using M1 5W-30 & factory oil filters with a 7,500 mile OCI). IIRC, about 3-4 quarts comes out of the ATF drain, and it's very easy to do. The tranny really seems to like it, so it's worth it IMO. Be sure to always use the Honda fluid. Also be sure your wife is operating the transmission correctly--the vehicle must be fully stopped with the brakes before shifting from reverse into drive, or vice-versa. And tell her to wait a few seconds after shifting to let the gears fully engage, before accelerating... I find that I have to correct a lot of other driver's bad habits--LOTS of people love to slam it into gear while the car is still moving in the opposite direction...
 
Messages
1,130
Location
California
I would take the car to the dealer now with all of the information you have and ask them to check the transmission. In fact, you should have done so with the original fluid still in there. Honda might have done their own testing on the used ATF fluid to find out if there was a problem. Extended warranties are almost never as good as the original warranty. At the very least you want to get your problem documented and on file. John
 
Messages
8,756
Location
RI
Save the UOA for the recall inspection. Honda will only repair transmissions that are/have failing/ed. Excessive wear is an indication of problems. Next time use a 'running engine cooler line drain'. Compressed air can cause problems. Also, go to the dealer and complain about excess noise. Use that warranty. http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0404/14/autos-122832.htm Some people that I know have purposely run the ATF dry, blown the tranny, topped it off, and then went for repair. It may even be worthwhile to have a "dealer flush" performed beforehand to blame them.
 
Messages
94
Location
Republic of Texas
FYI ... my understanding is that there were/are design changes in '98 and up Honda automatics that cause some of them to be less durable than before. Because of this (so I'm told), Honda warranties most automatics produced from this point to present with 100,000 mile warranties and some out to 150,000 mile warranties. This info is not readily published but has been relayed to me from a credible Honda Tech source ... Thus, no need to purchase an extended warranty for just the tranny. Instead, be sure to take your vehicle to a Honda dealership when it's time for repair ... otherwise you'll never know about the warranty. Honda does not use a replaceable sump filter/strainer because their clutch packs are designed to have minimal shedding. Typically, the only time the strainer ever becomes clogged is if the vehicle has seen water high enough to enter the transmission. At that point, water begins to react with the clutch material in the torque converter(only spot)lockup clutch causing it to fall apart. Eventually this ends up in the strainer. P.S. My wife and I have an '03 Odyssey as well. -JHH
 

btanchors

Thread starter
Messages
777
Location
Herndon, VA
UnDummy, The sample I extracted for the UOA was from the dipstick tube, not from using compressed air. The only time I used compressed air was to help remove the fluid from the ATF change, which was well after the sample was taken...
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,909
Location
Iowegia - USA
The original fluids generally contain all kinds of crud, especially aluminum sloughing off from the case. If it is shifting normally (whatever normal is for the tranny) then it is probably OK. Change as much fluid as possible and then sample in another 10,000 miles and see if the wear metals drop. [ April 15, 2004, 06:29 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
Messages
2,053
Location
Sequim, WA
I saw on the late news last night that Honda (Acura) has recalled these vehicles to replace the transmissions. The reason stated was inadequate lubrication causing localized heating and gear failure. Ed
 
Messages
107
Location
Richmond, Va
Although Honda warns not to use other ATF's, and I have actually had trouble using Mobil 1 in the older 4-speed Honda automatics, I have successfully used Amsoil's latest "universal" ATF in the 5-speed automatic in my 2004 TL. I did 3 drains/refills to get the level to over 80% Amsoil. Being very sensitive to this topic, I paid a lot of attention to any changes in shift feel, shift quality, odd noises, etc. In 10k of driving, I have not had any troubles at all, and the fluid remains a very nice "nipple pink". [Smile] It also passes the "blotter paper test - paint strainer paper is also good for this - and passes RR's "smell test" - a crude but effective indicator of oxidation in ATF. Considering the rather poor rep of the Honda (Aisin is it?) auto tranny, I am hoping that this quality synthetic will prolong the service life of this slushbox. One issue to consider is that the box only contains about 7 quarts total in the TL!! And swap out is only about 3 quarts. Keeping the ATF clean and fresh is always important, but likely essential in this tranny. BTW, the TL has an oil cooler for the tranny - it is up near the fill bolt, and looks like an oversize aluminum hockey puck. I would assume the Odyssey has one as well, but if not, I would consider adding a cooler, esp if you tow more than people. Good luck.
 
Messages
522
Location
New York
Did you have transmission jet recall done? Apparently the tranny on the 2002-ealry 2004 had a lubrication problem where 2nd gear was not getting lubricated. A recall was done to add an oil jet for the transmission and also to inspect 2nd gear. If you have have read the odyclub site then you probably know about it. Honda has been pretty good about covering the tranny even after the warranty is up. I am a member of the odyclub web forum and have read alot about the tranny. Take it to the dealer and have them check the transmission and make sure your symptoms are well documented.
 
Messages
23,886
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by Road Rage: Although Honda warns not to use other ATF's, and I have actually had trouble using Mobil 1 in the older 4-speed Honda automatics, I have successfully used Amsoil's latest "universal" ATF in the 5-speed automatic in my 2004 TL. I did 3 drains/refills to get the level to over 80% Amsoil. Being very sensitive to this topic, I paid a lot of attention to any changes in shift feel, shift quality, odd noises, etc. In 10k of driving, I have not had any troubles at all, and the fluid remains a very nice "nipple pink". [Smile] It also passes the "blotter paper test - paint strainer paper is also good for this - and passes RR's "smell test" - a crude but effective indicator of oxidation in ATF. Considering the rather poor rep of the Honda (Aisin is it?) auto tranny, I am hoping that this quality synthetic will prolong the service life of this slushbox. One issue to consider is that the box only contains about 7 quarts total in the TL!! And swap out is only about 3 quarts. Keeping the ATF clean and fresh is always important, but likely essential in this tranny. BTW, the TL has an oil cooler for the tranny - it is up near the fill bolt, and looks like an oversize aluminum hockey puck. I would assume the Odyssey has one as well, but if not, I would consider adding a cooler, esp if you tow more than people. Good luck.
RR, M1 ATF didn't work because it did not contain the correct FMs for the Honda/Acura app. Check out my link to determine the number of drain/refills necessary to reach 80% new fluid in the TL. Link Michael
 
Messages
23,886
Location
CA
BTW, I've spoken with btanchors and the oil jet kit has been installed and the transmission is still functioning, at least for now. Michael
 
Messages
597
Location
Salisbury, MD
Yeah, I'm curious if Honda has it right in my '05 Ody. After all the trouble they've had, I sure hope so. This tranny has been beefed up for the new Ridgeline which has the engine transversely mounted! Anyhow, I like the idea that there is no user serviceable filter, just a drain plug. Very easy for a shade tree mechanic to drain 3.5 qts and with the help of a ginned up funnel, add fluid in the dip stick hole. I do this every oil change with Honda ATF and at 30k miles will do it 4 times per Honda's recommendation. I won't be hooking up compressed air to my Ody's transmission.
 
Top