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9 speed transmission longevity

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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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2007 Odyssey EX-L
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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.
Interesting... I was under the opposite impression, that the 9 speeds had a higher failure rate than the 10 speeds. I've heard of a lot of 9 speed failures, especially in other applications (namely, Pilot and MDX), but haven't heard too many reports of 10 speed failures on this forum.

Regardless, I'm not sure how much confidence I have in the 10 speed's longevity. Honda has had a spotty reliability record with transmissions, and 10 speeds is a lot of gears. That much shifting creates a LOT of heat. Time will tell, I suppose.
 
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Interesting... I was under the opposite impression, that the 9 speeds had a higher failure rate than the 10 speeds. I've heard of a lot of 9 speed failures, especially in other applications (namely, Pilot and MDX), but haven't heard too many reports of 10 speed failures on this forum.
Oh man there are several 10 speed failures here. Most don’t have a lot of responses. Oh yeah blamed on selinoids etc. and move on. As soon as the 9 speed is mentioned everyone comes out and the complainants start. Lol 😂

Get some popcorn y’all.
 

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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.

So I tried the method of draining (~3.5 qt) and refilling the exact amount, but the ATF started spilling through the fill hole after about 2.5 qt. I then had to put the vehicle in maintenance mode, run the engine, bring the tranny to 104 F and then fill the remaining fluid while the engine is running. Be prepared to go through this process if you're planning to attempt a drain and fill.
 

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You could also go by weight instead of by volume. I doubt that any contaminants would cause a differential in the weight.

If the fluid expands/contracts that much, you could fill it fun the top fill port and not the side. Then you'd be sure to get as much back in as came out, regardless of temperature.
 
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