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ATF magnetic drain plug more "stuff" than normal. Opinions Please.

4675 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Green-Jimmy
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 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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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.
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.

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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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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