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I have heard this concern before and I myself have experienced it with my 5-spd Ridgeline. I catch it when I am at a constant speed and the transmission is about to upshift, but I hit the gas enough to cause it to downshift. The hesitation is because of the 'perfect' scenario of things to go a bit weird.

Your tire squeal is the throttle position dictating the proper gear, and the harsh engagement due to it being 'inbetween' gears. This happens to every single transmission under low speed, low engine load, and high throttle position. Similar to the clunk one would experience when in reverse and then going into drive while the vehicle is still in motion.

First off, what the dealership told you about the 'software fix' in the works is a load of crap. This is not how a TSB or a Recall works.
Have you taken it to a different dealership to get a second opinion?

9spd is made by ZF. Controls are Honda, but hardware is ZF. These guys make transmissions for many makes and models out there. Similar to the Takata airbags. Similar to the fuel injectors. Similar to the intake manifolds. Just because it has a Honda part number, does not mean that it was made by Honda. The best they can do is document the problem and work with the supplier to get a resolution to your issue.

First year models are always prone to disaster. Seen it in practically every single first year models in Honda and Acura. The '17 Ridgeline, '19 RDX, '18 Odyssey, '06 Ridgeline just the few that is relatable by some here. Word of advise, dont believe everything you hear from someone at the dealership; just because they wear something that says Honda, does not mean it is the truth.
 

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Good points, Smufguy. Especially interesting that Honda has very little control when a third party (like ZF) has supplied the part. The only leverage Honda has is to cancel all future orders, which they have in this case as evidenced by the 10-speed being installed on all 2020 trim levels.

This begs the question: when Honda does make the part, how does one get through to them that they royally screwed up? So far, they aren't listening to the people here who have this annoying rattle noise. It's their engine. Why aren't they doing anything to help us? They have no one to blame but themselves. They can't pin this one on ZF :(! Your ideas and insights are most welcome on this topic.
 

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Good points, Smufguy. Especially interesting that Honda has very little control when a third party (like ZF) has supplied the part. The only leverage Honda has is to cancel all future orders, which they have in this case as evidenced by the 10-speed being installed on all 2020 trim levels.

This begs the question: when Honda does make the part, how does one get through to them that they royally screwed up? So far, they aren't listening to the people here who have this annoying rattle noise. It's their engine. Why aren't they doing anything to help us? They have no one to blame but themselves. They can't pin this one on ZF :(! Your ideas and insights are most welcome on this topic.
FYI, Honda has not cancelled the use of the 9 speed. They just stopped using it in the Ody. They still use it in their other products such as the MDX. Historically, in their past generations of Ody, they have also done the multiple transmission thing before. The previous models had a 5 spd and a 6 spd. And then after 2 years, they got rid of the 5 spd and made all trims 6 spd so this is nothing new for Honda. This is just a way of how they keep peak interest in their product lines.
 

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The 9-spd is rumored to be installed in the Ridgeline and we will see if the headaches are fixed in the AWD version. The Honda 10-spds, for the most part, as trouble free.

I am not sure if the active dampers are to blame for some of the vibration issues. We cannot ignore quality control concerns across all models as of late, even though the actual product is indeed robust in many ways.
 

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The 9 speed is still also used int eh Passport as well.
 

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Let's be clear. My 2018 Honda Odyssey is a dangerous vehicle to drive. If you're also having Honda Odyssey transmission issues, PLEASE make a formal complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The only way to get this fixed is to pressure Honda, and posting on the ODY Club forum won't do that.

Why is the Odyssey dangerous to drive?

In some cases, and from a standing start, the engine will rev for a time period between a half second and a full second before engaging and before the vehicle will start to move.

When the vehicle does start moving, sometimes engagement will be abrupt, causing the van to "peel out."

Other times, the engagement will occur gradually, causing the van to accelerate sloooooowly, despite the driver having significant throttle applied.

This means that the Odyssey van is highly unpredictable on acceleration, making it dangerous to try to pull into traffic, for example, since the driver never knows whether the van will accelerate on demand or not.

These issues occur in Eco mode, with Eco mode off, and even after having the dealer flush the memory cache for the adaptive driver effects to the transmission. These options don't fix the problem.

So to summarize, Honda Odyssey vans of recent vintage ALL have SERIOUS SAFETY PROBLEMS with their transmissions. Honda needs to fix this, and the only way to have this done is to not only file a complaint with NHTSA, but also to complain to Honda directly. PLEASE DO SO.

Cordially - Glenn Young, Certified Safety Professional
 

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Excellent points, Glenn. Thanks for the input. I've often wondered about this technology where a computer "watches" us drive for a while and then sets the dozens of physics parameters based on our driving habits. In theory, it doesn't seem like a bad idea but there are a few issues, as I see it:
  • Even if the technology was flawless, what happens when another family member drives the car using totally different driving habits? Will the computer instantly adjust to the new driver? I doubt it because in my experience and based on what my service manager said, it takes a few months before the software provides consistent results for one driver.
  • If the computer makes the car respond according to driver A's habits over a period of time, what happens when driver A drives differently on some days. Some days he or she may be very casual and others, more in a hurry and need more "get up and go" from the car. Does the software compensate? Current evidence is to the contrary.
  • How intelligent is the software? I too have experienced severe hesitation when power was suddenly needed. Such events are not simple inconveniences like Microsoft throwing an update at you at a most inconvenient time. This falls under the category of safety issues.
  • In the event of a failure or large repair, what happens when the dealer resets the software? Do we need to undergo a terrible drive response for another few months before the car "feels" better?
The last point is what I noticed in the first few months after delivery. Like many others, I turned off the ECON mode and voila - the car felt as normal as my 2002, except with a little more power. Problem: the gas was draining out at a horrendous rate. The "little boy in my right foot" grew up about 48 years ago, so it wasn't my driving habits! I use ECON all the time now and to be fair, the response is pretty good - except for the odd hesitation which has put me in some dangerous situations.

I really don't think the software is ready. We're all beta testers for something that could prove to be great someday. I still believe that the most reliable software is where the only parameters that are used are the car's weight, horsepower, gear ratios, and probably dozens of other things I know nothing about. Our cars all weigh roughly the same. The differences are whether we tow a device of some kind (boat, trailer), the number of hills we traverse in a day, and weather conditions. As some have mentioned before, Honda has likely been pressured into trying to achieve the best gas mileage possible and this is one way they try to achieve it. It's a great idea but it also may cost lives someday. Let's hope not.
 

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The nine speed is not a Honda transmission. The 10 speed is though.
I have a 2018 EX-L with 25K, no problems with the transmission.
My 2018 EX-L has had problems since it was about 3 months old. I had 3 Toyota Sienna's with never an issue, but I thought the features in the Odyssey were nicer so I thought I would give it a try. Of course, it went from being Consumer Reports favorite van to the bottom of the pile after I purchased it. Transmissions problems with it lunging between gears, or in some cases, feeling like the transmission isn't in gear at all and then jerking forward. Really disheartening when taking a left turn across a multi-lane road and when you get an opening and hit the gas, it sits there for a couple of seconds before engaging. Of course, the dealership tells me this is "normal", although the technician confided that "all of the 9 speeds" have the issue, Honda just won't admit it. As soon as I can get the loan down enough that I'm not having to pay a huge amount out of pocket, it's gone. Features or not, it's not worth chancing my life that someday the transmission decides not to engage and someone broadsides me. I thought that the 10 speed might be better, but from what I've seen on this site, it has issues of its own.
 

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I have a 2019 with the 9ZF, and while kind of clunky, I think it works perfectly well. After having it a few months I kind of like it, except for the occasional delay upon engagement from a start, but I've gotten used to that. I also wish that the manual gear selection would shift faster, but I've never met an automatic transmission that allowed manual shifting as fast as I'd prefer. The manual gear selection is clutch for towing though.

My mom and dad both have the same transmission in their 4-cylinder and 6cyl Jeep Cherokees that are a few years older. In the 4cyl it's VERY clunky; less so in the 6 - I think it's due to the extra torque, but I'm not sure. The Jeeps both like to hunt for gears a lot more than the Odyssey, especially the 4cyl. The extra weight and torque in the Odyssey might smooth things out, but it could just be better programming.

The 9ZF seems to be mechanically well-designed, just poorly programmed. It's fast and efficient, but clunky. I think it was rushed to market without sufficient testing. Given more time and some updated programming I think everything should work itself out.
 

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The 9ZF seems to be mechanically well-designed, just poorly programmed. It's fast and efficient, but clunky. I think it was rushed to market without sufficient testing. Given more time and some updated programming I think everything should work itself out.
It's been in the Ody for 3 years now. If a programming fix was going to happen, it would have happened. Same thing with the infotainment issues.

At this point, Honda is probably writing off major software fixes for this generation and focusing on improvements in the next generation.
 

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It's been in the Ody for 3 years now. If a programming fix was going to happen, it would have happened. Same thing with the infotainment issues.

At this point, Honda is probably writing off major software fixes for this generation and focusing on improvements in the next generation.
Sounds about right.
 

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If the newer transmissions still have adjustable solenoids they guy that turned the screws that day didn't do a good job found that out on my 09 as the springs in the solenoid get hot over time they got out my tranys got 70k and it started not down shifting and up shifting to lag
 

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Our 2019 has had transmission issues from day 1. Today the dealer admitted that there is a known issue with the 9 speed transmission. Honda is aware of it, but hasn't publicized it. The dealer said they've seen at least 30 Odyssey's with the same issue.

For our van, the transmission has difficulty selecting the proper gear. Many times, I'll pull up to the stop and then take off right away. But, the transmission isn't engaged. Then, it finally engages and launches forward. Sometimes it squeals the tires.

We purchased our van about a year ago. About 6 months ago, I took it into the dealer. They came back and said there was nothing wrong with the transmission. Since then, the shifting has gotten worse. I took it back to the dealer yesterday. Now, they say they've known about this issue for about a year. Thanks Honda dealer for wasting my time.

The story they told was that Honda is aware of the issue and they're working on a software fix. The fix could be available around the first of the year.

The dealer also said that Honda has never officially acknowledged the issue. But, the dealer is aware the software revision is in the works.

The dealer diagnosed the issue by hooking up a laptop to the van's diagnostic port below the steering wheel and captured data as we drove around.

If one dealer has seen 30 vans with the issue, just think how many have this nationwide. Probably in the thousands.

They said one owner pursued the issue so vigorously that Honda agreed to have a new transmission installed. But, the new transmission had the same symptoms.

This generation of Honda transmissions are problematic. First the 10 speed and now the 9 speed.

This will likely be the first and last Honda we ever purchase.
YES ! My 2018 EX suffers from the same issues ! Tranmisssion replaced at 74k miles, after 4 previous visits where Honda AutoPark told me that they could not "replicate my concerns". Now, at 134k miles, it's about ready to explode again! Our 2016 CR-V needed new CV Trans at 32k miles.... Never - ever buying another Honda !
 

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YES ! My 2018 EX suffers from the same issues ! Tranmisssion replaced at 74k miles, after 4 previous visits where Honda AutoPark told me that they could not "replicate my concerns". Now, at 134k miles, it's about ready to explode again! Our 2016 CR-V needed new CV Trans at 32k miles.... Never - ever buying another Honda !
Hometechnc,

Could you clarify your typical driving so we can get an idea of what might be contributing to your transmission problems? Not your fault but what your trans can't handle.

Like:
  1. Do you pull a boat or trailer?
  2. Steep grades where you drive?
  3. High speed commutes to/from work, maybe 30 mile round trips at about 50+ mph?
  4. Mostly low speed driving near home with 40 mile round trips about twice a month?
  5. etc.
We have a low mileage 2019 EX and fall into category 4. No problems with our 9 speed trans so far. Trying to figure out what to expect.
 

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Our 2019 has had transmission issues from day 1. Today the dealer admitted that there is a known issue with the 9 speed transmission. Honda is aware of it, but hasn't publicized it. The dealer said they've seen at least 30 Odyssey's with the same issue.

For our van, the transmission has difficulty selecting the proper gear. Many times, I'll pull up to the stop and then take off right away. But, the transmission isn't engaged. Then, it finally engages and launches forward. Sometimes it squeals the tires.

We purchased our van about a year ago. About 6 months ago, I took it into the dealer. They came back and said there was nothing wrong with the transmission. Since then, the shifting has gotten worse. I took it back to the dealer yesterday. Now, they say they've known about this issue for about a year. Thanks Honda dealer for wasting my time.

The story they told was that Honda is aware of the issue and they're working on a software fix. The fix could be available around the first of the year.

The dealer also said that Honda has never officially acknowledged the issue. But, the dealer is aware the software revision is in the works.

The dealer diagnosed the issue by hooking up a laptop to the van's diagnostic port below the steering wheel and captured data as we drove around.

If one dealer has seen 30 vans with the issue, just think how many have this nationwide. Probably in the thousands.

They said one owner pursued the issue so vigorously that Honda agreed to have a new transmission installed. But, the new transmission had the same symptoms.

This generation of Honda transmissions are problematic. First the 10 speed and now the 9 speed.

This will likely be the first and last Honda we ever purchase.
I had the same issue on my Touring. Honda had been telling me that this was normal. Finally today I got rid of this piece of junk. Had owned 13 Honda and Acura over the years. This was my last.
 
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