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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would really appreciate your opinions on this. I have a 2003 Honda Odyssey which many know have a weak auto trans notorious for high failure rate.

I have been running Amsoil Uni Synthetic ATF for some time coupled with a Magnefine In-line tranny filter. This combo I believe has allowed me to get so far 178,000 miles on the original tranny which is not the norm for these transmissions. The other day I did a ATF drain/fill and noticed more "stuff" on the drain bolt magnetic plug than normal...in fact normally I do not see anything on it. This time I did see more than normal which is alarming to me.

1) Question: How did this get by the Magnefine?
2) Question: Is this a sign that the Magnefine needs to be changed? It has only been in the vehicle for 10,000 miles.
3) Question: If I have a Magnefine installed is it even worth changing the OEM ATF filter? I have not changed it yet because of the oil jet recall making it more complicated to do so.

I know I am on borrowed time so perhaps this is the beginning of the end of my original tranny.

Thank you for your help.
 

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Change all the filters, and if you haven't already added an aftermarket transmission cooler go ahead and add one now along with your fluid and filter changes.

Drive till it has actual issues like bad gas mileage, wierd shifts, etc.


The only reason I'd worry is if you had a teenager driving your van leadfooted somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
gregersonke,

This might be a stupid question but the winters are really cold here in MI where I am at. I know this is subjective but do you think since it is colder I could put off the cooler till spring? Also, not sure how well the temp bypass works on the tranny coolers with the bypass for when it is cold?
 

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Just don't put a super large cooler on it. Get one locally (napa or similar place) designed for a 1994 4.0L 4wd jeep cherokee and it should be enough to deal with most of your cooling issues in regards to transmission fluid.

As for the cold winters, I wouldn't worry about it. Amsoil synthetic has the ability to operate in a very wide range of temperatures (double Honda Z1).

As for the cool temps being enough to cool the transmission. Others who installed a temp gauge on the fluid found out that uber cold 0 degree winter doesn't cool the transmission very well even with with the stock transmission cooler it still overheats in the mountains.
 

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You have 178k on the transmission and you are now considering a cooler. For some reason some people here think the cooler is the majic answer to all the Honda transmission problem. The only I would put on an after market cooler is if I was towing or someone in the family has a lead foot. What did the transmission fluid look like? If it was worse than normal I would do a 3 or 4 drain and fill to clean it up. The magnifine will help clean some but it foes not get all the fluid flowing through it as all the flow is not through the cooling tube. Was the gunk on the plug metal or just gunk?
 

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William Wiles said:
You have 178k on the transmission and you are now considering a cooler. For some reason some people here think the cooler is the majic answer to all the Honda transmission problem. The only I would put on an after market cooler is if I was towing or someone in the family has a lead foot. What did the transmission fluid look like? If it was worse than normal I would do a 3 or 4 drain and fill to clean it up. The magnifine will help clean some but it foes not get all the fluid flowing through it as all the flow is not through the cooling tube. Was the gunk on the plug metal or just gunk?
This transmission gets hott quickly, and heat is one of the primary issues. You only need to floor it up to 80mph just once to change the color of stock z1 fluid.


Thats why Jasper requires thier transmissions to be installed with a cooler that they send out with the transmission.
 

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We need a pic of the plug with all the extra "stuff".


Just having a little more or less junk on the plug doesnt mean your filters arent working and doesnt mean your fluid is toast either.

When your filters fill up, flow is reduced. They dont allow more stuff thru...

I can post a pic of my drain plug and a very nice UOA that says the oil was in great shape despite the junk on the plug.
 

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I have the same issue today.

My scenario:
Sept 2010 - 93K miles - installed magnefine filter, installed transmission cooler, replaced tranny filter, did 4x fluid change.

Today - 124K miles - noticed fluid looking brown, decided to replace it. Noticed a lot more gunk on the fill plug, some of it iron shavings, most of the gunk reminds me of moly type lube. Crazy thing is that 2 months ago, fluid still looking bright pink. Did 4x fluid change with the Honda DW1 fluid and replaced magnefine filter. Plan to do another fluid change in 2 months to recheck gunk on plug.

Only thing I can think of is the magnefine filled up, which reduced flow and accelerated the fluid turning brown.
 

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All of your clutch packs receive a flow of pressurized ATF to keep them immersed and remove heat and the smallest debris (that stuff that looks like moly), and it dumps straight into the sump, which is where the magnetic plug resides.

Your Magnefine is probably still working just fine.

OF
 

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It sounds like normal operation ( which is good ). Are there any diagrams showing the fluid flow through the tranny, sump pickup location, etc... Curious on 1. where the pickup is in relation to the drain plug and 2. does the pickup route directly to the external tranny filter and then to the rest of the system?

Has anyone rigged up an external sump with say an extra 4 qts of fluid for some additional fluid capacity to the system. Was thinking of something in series with the external tranny cooler.
 

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The ATF pump inlet is directly downstream from the in-sump strainer. Fluid is sent to all the hydraulic power circuits, some through the OEM cartridge filter, and the rest goes through the external cooling circuit (which has a Magnefine filter...both yours and my 2002 & 2003 Odys).

Yes, normal ops.

OF
 

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Magnefine is good for about 15k at best. Remember that.
 

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Update

126K miles - tranny started slipping 2 days ago. Engine light came on. A weird sensation - pressing down on the gas, watching the tach go up, but there's no acceleration! Drove it sparingly for 2 days while acting like that until it was not drivable and then took it to the Honda dealer. It had 4 different tranny codes ( don't know specifically which ones ) but the bottom line is the tranny is toast. They'll order a Honda rebuilt unit and replace it this coming week. Ouch! No, its not cheap, at least the replacement comes with 3yr/36K mile warranty.

I don't think there's anything more that could have been done to keep this from happening. And there was no signs it was on its way out - other than the above post where I mentioned the additional gunk on the drain plug.. but I had no way of knowing I'd only get another 2K miles out of it. One day working fine, the next it stops working. Its a shame too, because I really like the van. Well, hopefully this helps someone see the signs before the failure.
 

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Jim, seeing as I own two Gen 2 Odys, it's stories like this that make me want to buy a core auto trans from a wrecked Ody, rebuild it, and keep it handy for the day that one of mine inevitably 5h1ts the bed.

Thanks for the update, and sorry about it going south.

OF
 

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Having an extra around is a pretty good idea ( since you have 2 vans ). I think the replacement unit I get will be good for another 120K miles assuming 30K mile fluid changes are done-- but I'm not sure I'll keep the van that long. Dealer says the replacement unit is completely rebuilt unit from Honda. I'm still waiting for the phone call from the dealer when they see the magnifine filter and HD tranny cooler I installed. They may not want to hook those back up since its not the original configuration. And thats ok, I really don't think those helped.

My advice to anyone here is complete fluid/filter changes once per year and check tranny fluid color every 2 weeks. At first sign of brown fluid, get it changed.
 
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