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(This should be in Problems and Concerns, my apologies in advance if this is in the wrong folder. This is my first ever post to this forum!)
This spring I inherited a beautiful 2002 Odyssey all of 80,009 miles. It came from my parents who took good care of it. These two issues happened about the same time, I really can't say which started first. After putting 5,000 miles on it the timing belt housing started making a racket. The mechanic said the timing belt hadn't been put on correctly last year (when it had been done) so I paid for a new TB. He remarked that it had been done in time, it was ready to "blow." Also, the engine started slipping at low gear upon acceleration. It started getting more pronounced with a second slippage at the 4th/5th gear and then the TCS and check engine lights came and stayed on. Two different shops said the transmission is failing and advised a rebuilt one, to the tune of $3850 (1 yr/12k miles) or $5664 (3yr/36k miles). Should I sink money in this or kick it to the curb? I've read many posts on this legendary Ody transmission problem. I'm the type to take good care of my cars and I've always had Hondas and never had one with a bad tranny before. In turn for my responsible upkeep, my cars do need to be reliable and be there for me. Ugh, what a dilemma.
 

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Because you just paid to have the timing belt redone, I might try doing at least one drain& fill on that transmission. Use real Honda fluid. If you get any improvement, do it again a couple more times*. I bet your parents never changed that fluid. Also, look at the fill bolt on top of the trans. It should have a pipe added to it. That was a recall that may have never been done.

*you must drive in between, like out on the highway, way more than around the block.
 

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I'd definitely try to see if the current transmission can be saved before putting in a new one. Pressure switches are a common weakness with your year that could contribute to slipping gears. Check the condition of the fluid and do a drain/fill, perhaps multiple drain/fills.

Anyways, assuming your car DOES in fact need a transmission, I wouldn't hesitate to put the money in. The 02 Odyssey's biggest problem area is the transmission; if you put in a rebuilt unit, assuming the rebuilder did a good job, you should be able to get many more years out of it. You've already done the expensive timing belt job. I would imagine the car should be largely free of expensive issues over the next few years with the new transmission.
 

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At such low mileage, I would go for the tranny rebuild.

(Just one caveat though - they usually reuse the external solenoids and switches. If any is bad, the new transmission will inherit it. Get those tested beforehand, or make sure the rebuilder tests them if you go that route.)

Other than the tranny, this is a stout vehicle. It also has less electronics to go bad than newer cars. It should have a lot of trouble-free miles awaiting.
 
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