So much for Honda transmissions...

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Aug 30, 2004
Family friend called last night, and said their 2001 Odyssey's transmission had failed, 87,000 miles.

This was the infamous B7TA, 4-spd unit, covered under factory extended warranty until 7-yr/100k due to the high # of failures due to 3rd gear clutch issues.

Hondacare picked up the tab, but I'm curious as to what updates are being implemented in these units now.
Here is what I heard for the 4-spd tranny:
1) Beefier gears
2) Heavier bearings in the case
3) Improved oil flow during lockup to critical areas
4) Improved design around third clutch

There was also a reverse shaft bearing failure of some sort that was rather common. I heard it was a metalurgy problem with the bearing itself. It failed on my '00 Odyssey 1 year ago and they replaced the entire tranny, torque converter, and starter under warranty.

The 5-spd trannys had other problems not covered here - I think that the 5-spds were used starting in 2002.

Everybody is saying that Honda finally fixed all of their trannys (Odyssey, Accord, other?) in the mid-2004 model year with newer, better designs. We will have to get more time & miles on them to fully verify this, but I hear, "so far so good". I hope so!
We have an '03 Odyssey that we got used at 43,000 miles. So far so good. I later learned that the van had the oil jet recall done at 14,000 miles. So, I'm flushing every 15,000 miles or so with Z1, but next will probably use the Mobil 1 with Lubeguard.

Dissapointed with Honda. Only reason I got this one over the Sienna was the extra horsepower. Now, I wish I'd gotten the Toyota. I need this van to go 250,000 hard miles without major $$$, but now I'm not so sure...
Yep, the 98-03 Siennas were one heck of a tank. The A540/541E transmissions are rock solid, know of people with 250k+ on those units. $250 timing belt swaps, less than half of what the Hondas cost.
That's really funny that you would post this Critic. Just last night I found out that my father-in-law's '01 Odyssey trans took a dump at 104K. From what he said, Honda pays for them if they have 100K or less on the vehicle. Somehow, someway he got them to pay for the repair of his.

What's really weird is that now that he's got a new transmission for free, he's selling it to CarMax and then leasing a new Toyota Sienna that allows him to drive 20K/year. I've leased once before and I'll never do it again because I drive a lot and I just don't like the fact that you have nothing to show for it when your term is up. I think he's making a mistake b/c him & my mother-in-law keep their vehicles 4-5 years at a time. Between the high miles/year and the fact that they keep them for 4-5 years, I think leasing is a stupid thing to do on their part.
Honda is generally covering most of these units if they fail around 100k, even if its slightly over. They've been known to cover higher mileage ones as well, on the basis of goodwill, but not always completely. 50/50 is not uncommon. Its really important that if one has a 5-spd unit, and its well past 100k, that they attempt to work out a deal with Honda, as I don't think the aftermarket has "updates" avaliable yet to address the durability problems in the 5-spd units. 4-spds I don't know. But ATRA is having a seminar on Honda 5-spd units as a lot of them are going into shops now, supposedly.

Heck, its a Toyota, not a GM.
He could buy it, and resell it years later for a good price.
I've an '05 Ody, so far so good. Honda did some minor upgrades on this unit over the 04's to get around the need for putting the "fix" oil jet unit in the ATF fill hole.

The new Ridgeline OTOH has a fairly substantial redesign which is intended to be fit for that application. I have not heard of either 05+ Ody's or Ridges having much tranny problems.

I heard that for '07 Honda is putting the Ridge tranny in the Ody.

I use Honda ATF in my Ody and do a 3.5 qt drain and fill at every oil change.

BTW - it sounds like Honda is standing behind the product. Ody still rated best mini-van.

I bought a used '89 Accord for $1,000 with the 4-speed autotragic from a co-worker couple years back for a son. I do ATF drain and fills pretty regular on it. I enjoy how easy it is to do this on a Honda. At 198k miles it runs great.

All in all, I much prefer a manual tranny for my personal use vehicles. Regular doses of Redline MT-90 and use the clutch right and I've had zero problems.
Automatic transmissions never seem to be as durable as manual transmissions in my experience. No matter who makes them.
My dad bought a Dodge Dart (basically a restyled 1960 Plymouth as Dodge's entry level full size sedan) in 1960 and ordered up the 2-sp "Powerflyte" with the 318 cu. in. V8. (mistake in retrospect - the 3-sp "Torqueflyte" was only about $50.00 more). In 1966 that sedan became my goin' to school car when I entered optometry college. Still runnin' strong at graduation four years later with 225,000 miles on it. The only extraordinary service that Powerflyte needed above fluid changes and band adjustments were periodic taleshaft seal replacements - a half hour job if you had the right tools. I don't know how much more durable you could ask for.
I don't think Honda has solved the 2001 transmission issues. Ours failed 3 times. We sold it after the third rebuild. It was driven normally, never abused. I think it was designed for a 2800 pound car. It will never be able to handle 240 HP in a 4500 pound van reliably, even with all the tack on fixes.
I heard the reason some of the remanufactued trannys on the ody were failing because of bad supplier parts and a dealers not flushing the transmission lines out.

If you want more info goto

Lots of people are getting good will as long as they show that they were doing the maintenance on the fluid.

I heard that Honda is beefing up the ridgeline transmission and that the Odyssey will be getting the same tranny.
Despite all this we bought the 2006 Ody. Toyota was close but was not a good fit for us. And honestly if it weren't for the funky brakes on the three test drives, we may have ended up with a Toy Sienna.

Good info ex_MGB!!!!

I guess we could have waited until 2007.

Anyway so far nothing of note with our van. Mike -since you REALLY watch this stuff - are there any reports on 2005 strangeness? Maybe some folks have hit 50K on 2005's???

Next oil change in goes drain pan worth (3.5 qts?) of Amsoil ATF.

Originally posted by Pablo:
Next oil change in goes drain pan worth (3.5 qts?) of Amsoil ATF.

It'll be interesting to see how the 50/50 mix of Amsoil ATF and the Honda Z1 ATF play together. I was able to score 18 qts of the Honda Z1 ATF for about $3/qt a while back, but it's ridiculously expensive now. Would be nice to find a %100 compatible replacement.
I can still get genuine Honda ATF-Z1 for $3.60/qt, including shipping.
Don't link to a non-paying sponsor website. Thanks.

[ August 27, 2006, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: Go_Hogs_Go ]

Originally posted by Pablo:
All reports say they play together just fine.

Yep, I just read a post where someone was running Amsoil ATF in three Hondas he owned. If your experience is as good, that'll seal the deal for me. Although, if you still can get the Z1 cheap, it may be worth it to perform a 3-change flush of the tranny first and then convert over to synthetic over time.
Z-1 is almost $6 a quart at my dealer, that's crazy. Only problem with buying on line is paying for shipping, can negate savings. Others have reported good results with Amsoil in Honda's, maybe my next drain and fill I'll give it shot.
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