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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought a used 2012 Odyssey Touring with about 109k miles. The previous owners had all the service records for all the oil changes, but I haven't found any records mentioning anything about the transmission fluid. I checked the fluid a few minutes ago, and the fluid looks a little brown, but not too bad. But what really worries me is all the tiny black flecks that came up with the dipstick.

So, what should I do? Drain and fill? Or do the black flecks mean it's to the point that I shouldn't touch it and pray the transmission lasts a bit longer?
 

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Definitely change it.

Pour some of the removed fluid in a clear container. You will get a much better idea of the color, and hence its condition. If it looks "a little brown" on the dipstick, chances are a larger quantity will look much darker.

You will probably need one or two more changes to get pristine fluid again. But there's no rush - drive normally for a few weeks before doing each change.

No idea what the black flecks would be. They are not normal though.

Dave
 

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3x drain and fills over an extended period of time (like one per weekend with driving in between). Honda transmissions do not fall under the old wives tale of “beneficial” particulate or shavings in the fluid. What you would never want to do is flush the transmission with a machine. Draining and filling it won’t harm it.
 

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I recently bought a used 2012 Odyssey Touring with about 109k miles. The previous owners had all the service records for all the oil changes, but I haven't found any records mentioning anything about the transmission fluid. I checked the fluid a few minutes ago, and the fluid looks a little brown, but not too bad. But what really worries me is all the tiny black flecks that came up with the dipstick.

So, what should I do? Drain and fill? Or do the black flecks mean it's to the point that I shouldn't touch it and pray the transmission lasts a bit longer?
Change the ATF 3x with few hundred miles between changes, don't change all the ATF at once.
I also recommend changing the ATF filter on your van:
 

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Also: at 109K, it is due for a timing belt, water pump, tensioner, & very expensive spark plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just did a drain and fill. I got about 4.5 quarts out. It was very dark red, much darker than the fresh fluid, but definitely didn't look like used motor oil. And I couldn't see any black flecks in the fluid. I couldn't get the fill bolt loose, so I just used a funnel and hose to fill from the dipstick tube. It might be the placebo effect, but it does seem like it shifts a bit better. The shifts seem a bit quicker and more decisive. I'll do another drain-and-fill in a couple weeks.
 

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It's not a placebo effect. You can do the 3x drain and fills with just a few miles of driving in between. Honda calls for 3x drain and fills with driving through all the gears 4-5 times on a lift. If you drive it 5-10 miles through all the gears I'm sure that more than circulates it all through.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I did drain-and-fill #2 yesterday. I got 4.5 quarts out again. The really weird thing is I put in three quarts, checked the dipstick, and it was full. I checked multiple times- engine off, engine running, after shifting through the gears, after a short trip around the neighborhood. Three quarts and the transmission was full.

Now I'm worried. Either I don't know how to do something basic like read a dipstick and the transmission is low 1.5 quarts, or I somehow overfilled (or it was overfilled before?) and it had 1.5 quarts too much.
 

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You're right - 4.5 quarts is about a quart more than what should drain out.

Sometimes, a fluid level can rise due to the unexpected introduction of another fluid. Engine coolant is the only other fluid with which ATF comes close to making contact (the in-radiator ATF cooler). However, a leak there should lower the ATF level, not raise it, as ATF would be forced into the coolant. [Just thinking out loud...sorry no good ideas...]

Next time you change it, check the dipstick level first. If it's overfilled, the dipstick will show it.

Dave
 

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3x drain and fills over an extended period of time (like one per weekend with driving in between). Honda transmissions do not fall under the old wives tale of “beneficial” particulate or shavings in the fluid. What you would never want to do is flush the transmission with a machine. Draining and filling it won’t harm it.
A 'total fluid exchange' device is perfectly safe. its not a 'flush' and the only power used is the transmission's own internal pump.
 
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