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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having read through many 2018 threads that discuss the 9 speed transmission, I’m wondering how to maximize its longevity?

  • maintenance for sure!
  • driving style?
  • driving with a heavy load?
  • anything else.
Unlike many folks I tend to keep vehicles 20-25 years (my ‘98 ML320 is still a daily driver), and do my own maintenance and repairs. Thanks for your insights!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! After writing my question, I’m wondering if enough have failed to pinpoint the root cause in the tranny? Or are they being replaced under warranty and we never see the results of the postmortem?
 

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Thanks! After writing my question, I’m wondering if enough have failed to pinpoint the root cause in the tranny? Or are they being replaced under warranty and we never see the results of the postmortem?
I think Honda looks at things case by case....if there is a larger issue they may do a wider recall or else case by case fix is probably better strategy (cheaper)


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No doubt, a recall is the last straw. Are we past 20 yet on this generation?:ROFLMAO: ...guess I shouldn’t be laughing.

Sure looks like it’s in many applications:

9HP4886 kg480450Acura TLX, Acura MDX, Chrysler 200, Chrysler Pacifica (2017– gas versions only), Fiat Doblò, Fiat 500X, Honda Pilot, Honda Odyssey, Honda Passport, Jeep Cherokee (KL), Jeep Renegade, Ram ProMaster City, Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Jaguar E-Pace

Technical Imperfections - from da web
The transmission has been problematic, as customers of Jeep, Chrysler, and Acura models equipped with the transmission have experienced problems in their vehicles regarding slow shifting and noisy operation. ZF has said this is due to software problems, not mechanical issues.[5]
 

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Short of changing the fluid regularly, there's not much you can do. Changing the fluid regularly is very important, though.

Perhaps adding a transmission cooler, especially if you're going to be hauling heavy loads.

At the end of the day, this transmission was not manufactured by Honda and its reliability will be a bit of a crapshoot, unfortunately. I would stay on top of maintenance and drive it gently and hope for the best.
 
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While by no means this is an accurate statistic of the 9-speed ZF transmission's reliability....

I've seen multiple threads here of people reporting their Honda-built 10-speed going out and had to be replaced and have only seen one thread for the 9-speed. Again, this does not indicate much.

Like others have said, be sure to follow Honda's maintenance schedule especially with the ATF flushes and have the dealer perform the TSB on it to fix some of its hard shifting.

I bought a used 2018 EX-L and immediately had its ATF flushed and changed out at the dealer the next day. It's not cheap. Honda charges $37 per pint of fluid. Each gear requires 1 pint so it was about $350 after tax for me.
 

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I’m wondering how to maximize its longevity
On the same boat. follow this: Any happy 2018-19 9 speed transmission (ZF 9HP) long...

My comment form: Revisiting the Odyssey for the 3rd Time (2018, 2020 and... below.
There are couple ZF 9HP fails and several more 10AT fails reported here where the AT required complete replacements.

Now the ZF 9HP has been out for a while. Also used in many other Honda/Acura models, and still used in a few. (not to mention other brands) I consider the 10AT fairly new still so it may or may not have issues. What’s for certain is that even this 10AT will continue to be refined as it gets more application over time. Is 9HP the best transmission? Absolutely not. Is the 10AT better? I think so, I hope so because my next Honda will certainly have this AT. Also, historically Honda AT on v6’s have not had the best track record.

lot of failures with 9HP in the early Pilots and MDX are due to coolant and atf mixing. This has been addressed at h/w level and with extended warranties. 2019+ has other internal h/w improvements.

Most complaints are about shift quality, particularly from 4-5 & 7-8 up/downshifts. This is due to the dog clutch mechanism. It’s different and takes a little getting used to. Personally I only get this noise if the conditions are just right (I intentionally drive choppy/crazy)

No one knows the longevity of these vehicles yet. Everything is new and we don’t have any long term usage/mileage to report back
I am content with my 2019 EX-L. I has not had anything crazy as others have reported here. I too keep my vehicles for a long time also. So I am keeping an eye on the topic and logging it on the link above. Would love to have few more folks report back on there too.

Cheers!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I bought a used 2018 EX-L and immediately had its ATF flushed and changed out at the dealer the next day. It's not cheap. Honda charges $37 per pint of fluid. Each gear requires 1 pint so it was about $350 after tax for me.
I too bought my 2018 with 60,000 miles and immediately changed the fluid with the procedure recommended from this site. $39 per quart as I recall, though they didn’t have any in stock. It wasn’t terribly dirty when I changed it, but I have no records from past owner(s).
 

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I believe you're correct that it's in quarts and not pints.

While not cheap, I am definitely going to have the dealer flush the ATF every 30k miles. I'd rather pay $350 every couple of years than to risk the transmission going out.

I also read somewhere that the ATF needs to be flushed at a certain pressure level and the new fluids need to be put in at a specific temperature. While I don't mind changing my oil, I certainly would not attempt to do an ATF flush on my own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My wife, like most I know, drives the van aggressively around town (enough so I don’t like traveling with her, but that’s another story :p). I will likely do the ATF change every 20k and call it good. Likely fluid’ll drop in price once another company duplicates the spec. I’ve put inline ATF filters on other vehicles (not the plastic magnefine) without issue, but I’m not seeing an ATF cooler.
 

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I’ve put inline ATF filters on other vehicles (not the plastic magnefine) without issue, but I’m not seeing an ATF cooler.
Cooler is not required on the 5th gen. The 9 speed has a very specific (German engineering) cooler that is available for the MDX, Pilot, Passport, Ridgeline. The process is quite involved and some of the connectors are onetime use. If you mess it up, you have to buy again. I personally would not touch it. I doubt a dealer would install this on the ODY since Honda does not officially specify it for the ody. I've also read on the mdx forums that the cooler makes this AT noisy-er. (but this may have been a fluid fill level issue after the cooler was installed.)

Part:
ATF Cooler Kit (9-Speed AWD)
Instructions for pilot:
https://www.collegehillshonda.com/instructions/pilot/2021/5ezcooler.pdf

It should work on the ody but the mount points and path for running lines will not exist on the van as is on the pilot.

Idk if the inline cooler is a good idea for this considering its complexity. I'd love to see it if it works.

I'm curious to see how this is addressed on the 10AT on the next generation pilot and MDX.
 
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According to Bernardi, Honda MSRP is $30.30 US for a quart of ATF 3.1. But it would not surprise me for one dealer to charge $30 per pint, or another to charge $39 per quart.
 

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I believe you're correct that it's in quarts and not pints.

While not cheap, I am definitely going to have the dealer flush the ATF every 30k miles. I'd rather pay $350 every couple of years than to risk the transmission going out.

I also read somewhere that the ATF needs to be flushed at a certain pressure level and the new fluids need to be put in at a specific temperature. While I don't mind changing my oil, I certainly would not attempt to do an ATF flush on my own.
The fluid level is difficult to get right when you do a drain and fill. You have to measure it at specific temperature range. One solution that some folks have is to leave the new fluid in its jug right next to the car overnight, so the old fluid inside the transmission and the new fluid in the jug is the exact same temperature. Measure precisely what comes out, and put that exact amount back in.

I too would be very reluctant to do this procedure. Although, for $350, I'd probably give it a shot, taking extra care to measure everything properly.
 

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The fluid level is difficult to get right when you do a drain and fill. You have to measure it at specific temperature range. One solution that some folks have is to leave the new fluid in its jug right next to the car overnight, so the old fluid inside the transmission and the new fluid in the jug is the exact same temperature. Measure precisely what comes out, and put that exact amount back in.

I too would be very reluctant to do this procedure. Although, for $350, I'd probably give it a shot, taking extra care to measure everything properly.
I think that letting the fluids sit at the same temp, like overnight is the way to go, that way you know exactly how much to put in.

Think of this; You take the Ody to the dealer, they hook it up on the machine, make sure the temp is X*, drain it, then fill it back up with fluid that is sitting at ambient temp in the shop, then charge you $300+ for the service. They aren't heating up the fluid to the same temp as the xmsn fluid that is being drained. I have watched them do it!
 

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Some FCA vehicles claim this AT has lifetime fluid. 🤷‍♂️ I don't buy it. Glad Honda has this option to change the fluid.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The fluid level is difficult to get right when you do a drain and fill. You have to measure it at specific temperature range. One solution that some folks have is to leave the new fluid in its jug right next to the car overnight, so the old fluid inside the transmission and the new fluid in the jug is the exact same temperature. Measure precisely what comes out, and put that exact amount back in.

I too would be very reluctant to do this procedure. Although, for $350, I'd probably give it a shot, taking extra care to measure everything properly.
Hmmm...
I teach various sciences at a local JC, I’m tempted to bring a couple quarts of 3.1 to the class lab and precisely check the volume at different temps. What temps would y’all like to see? 50°, 25°, 0°C?
 

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Hmmm...
I teach various sciences at a local JC, I’m tempted to bring a couple quarts of 3.1 to the class lab and precisely check the volume at different temps. What temps would y’all like to see? 50°, 25°, 0°C?
YES! extra credit assignment. 😆
 

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Has the trade in for a 10 speed been suggested yet? 😁
 

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I think that letting the fluids sit at the same temp, like overnight is the way to go, that way you know exactly how much to put in.

Think of this; You take the Ody to the dealer, they hook it up on the machine, make sure the temp is X*, drain it, then fill it back up with fluid that is sitting at ambient temp in the shop, then charge you $300+ for the service. They aren't heating up the fluid to the same temp as the xmsn fluid that is being drained. I have watched them do it!
Yep, that's pretty much what they do from what I've read. I'm not sure about these sealed units, but Toyota has been using sealed transmissions for many years and the dealers are supposed to be able to check when the transmission is at a specific temperature AFTER the fluid is replaced to make sure the level is correct. The specific instructions on the Toyota transmission is that the fluid should be dripping out of the drain plug tube at X* temperature --- no fluid comes out, too low, fluid is pouring out, overfilled. It's hard for a DIY'er to figure out when the transmission is at X* temperature. I've heard of some folks using a temperature gun or similar, but measuring the temperature of the pan isn't 100% accurate.

If the dealer measures the fluid after the fact, then it doesn't really matter if the fluid they're putting is it at ambient temperature since it'll warm up with the transmission. However, I have heard of many dealers not properly measuring the fluid level after the change, though. Kind of defeats the purpose of taking it to them.

I'm avoiding dipstick-less transmissions for as long as I can... just sounds like a headache tbh.
 
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