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Is a 2002 Odyssey with 261K miles and in need of a trans rebuild, worth keeping?
It has been a great van but clearly is showing its age: a small power steering fluid leak as well.
I NEED a van and do NOT want a monthly car payment. -What think ye?
 

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Sounds like you just answered your own question.

If your engine is running fine and you have been keeping up with the maintenance I'd say its worth it. These engines can easily go over 300K if you treat it right. The gamble is in the new transmission you are planning to get. Look for a remanufactured one instead of a rebuild with at least 2 years warranty. You should expect to spend between 2-3K. Adding an oil cooler is a must and change the rear main seal. Many post answering your question. I just did this tranny swap with my 99 a year ago at 226K then when it died on me. 7+K after and its running good so far.

If you think of resale value after then you'll never do it. The value is in the years of service the van can give you after without having car payments and higher insurance.
 

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It costs money to drive a car. Just how much per mile are you willing to spend? New car is more per mile. Your car may be the cheapest per mile. And no monthly payment is always a good thing.
For me the answer is always - as long as the body is in good shape and not rusty then fixing the mechanical parts is worth it.
 

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Since you're asking this, the answer is ... no.

Forget about car payments, interest rates, the Fed's monetary policy, and the new 2020 models for a moment. If you like your car, the relevant comparison is what you would pay to buy a similar car on cragislist for (with a working AT) vs. what you would pay to have your current car repaired. That is a fair comparison. Comparing a 2002 with repaired AT to a 2020 is not a relevant comparison.

There are people out there that do this stuff for a living - fixing broken ATs on old Hondas appears to be an industry. People advertise on craigslist offering to buy Hondas with broken ATs. I'll bet that they are pretty efficient at fixing them and re-selling them. That's not me, and probably not you or most of the people on here.

If I still had my '99 and the AT failed (prob now at 240k+), I'd sell it on CL as is for $500-$1000, and could buy a similar replacement with working AT for $2000+. Or I could upgrade to a 2007+ (with significantly better AT design) for $4500.
 

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Since, money is an issue. Agree with other posters. If van well maintained. I would go for a rebuild. Here's my
experience. 2001 (4 speed), Your's 2002 (5 speed, more reliable). ON 4th transmission. 214,000 miles on engine.

What I learned is, most places, Remove the transmission, send it out to local "re-builder", And I assume after the re-build, get back the original transmission, and re-install. (which adds to the expense. Re-builder has to make a profit, also).

ON my 4th transmission. I found a local, independent transmission shop. (highly recommended from friends and other mechanics). The owner, does the rebuild. Buys the kit, and removes/rebuilds/installs. Cost me $ 1999. Included
replacing one engine mount.

I also, added, magnefine filter, AND, change the tranny fluid every 8,000 miles. (other's recommend, every other oil change). So, far, my 4th transmission, has gone more miles than my previous tranny failures. (they average about 50,000 +/- before failing.

OH, not sure where you live, I'm in S.F. bay area, CA. (if you live here, I could PM you the mechanic I used).

Also, ask around, friends, mechanic, other 2nd generation owners you see. ASK, for recommendations...

Good luck.
 

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Since, money is an issue. Agree with other posters. If van well maintained. I would go for a rebuild. Here's my
experience. 2001 (4 speed), Your's 2002 (5 speed, more reliable). ON 4th transmission. 214,000 miles on engine.

What I learned is, most places, Remove the transmission, send it out to local "re-builder", And I assume after the re-build, get back the original transmission, and re-install. (which adds to the expense. Re-builder has to make a profit, also).

ON my 4th transmission. I found a local, independent transmission shop. (highly recommended from friends and other mechanics). The owner, does the rebuild. Buys the kit, and removes/rebuilds/installs. Cost me $ 1999. Included
replacing one engine mount.

I also, added, magnefine filter, AND, change the tranny fluid every 8,000 miles. (other's recommend, every other oil change). So, far, my 4th transmission, has gone more miles than my previous tranny failures. (they average about 50,000 +/- before failing.

OH, not sure where you live, I'm in S.F. bay area, CA. (if you live here, I could PM you the mechanic I used).

Also, ask around, friends, mechanic, other 2nd generation owners you see. ASK, for recommendations...

Good luck.
They only avg around 50k miles?
Wow. You must be really hard on them, or?
Did you also install a cooler. Most of the experienced AT folks here say that it is the MOST important thing to add to make the tranny last longer.
I don't have one on mine and I bought it used and it has just over 200k miles on it.
I bought it at 126K miles or so and it is the original. It did pull a small trailer before I bought it.
If the AT goes out, I will get rid of the Ody. It still shifts 'crisp' and solid. :D
Since I bought it, I make sure the ATF stays clean and I did have the ATF fliter replaced at around 165K miles. I do a single drain and fill around 20k miles.
Buffalo4
 

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A 2001 and a 2003 are different animals. I still have my original trans in my 2002 at 245k with 15k trans fluid changes. The 4 speed in the 1999-2001 were just weak.
 

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Agree, the 4 speeds, very weak. Nope, I drove "regular", city/ freeway/, well maintained. ON the 4th tranny, I thought
about installing "cooler", but got lazy. So instead, installed the magnifine filter, AND now change the tranny fluid
as mentioned 8000 miles. (bought couple of cases on Amazon) (Dealers started raising their prices).

Way, back in time, on this forum. I asked. Why does, changing the fluid so often help. It looks "clean" like brand new!
A Mechanic, replied. The problem is not dirty fluid. The odyssey's tranny are too "small", and it is the "heat" produced that is destroying the fluid.

I guess, that is why a cooler, seems to fix the problem.

My friend, 2000, used the same tranny rebuilder, and put 130,000 miles, on his 3rd tranny. (still running when he got rid of it). No cooler, BUT, he did increase the frequency of tranny, drain and fills. (so I'm hoping I get similar result).

OH, I think I'm at around 60,000 miles on the tranny, so far so good, (y)
 

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Since you're asking this, the answer is ... no.

Forget about car payments, interest rates, the Fed's monetary policy, and the new 2020 models for a moment. If you like your car, the relevant comparison is what you would pay to buy a similar car on cragislist for (with a working AT) vs. what you would pay to have your current car repaired. That is a fair comparison. Comparing a 2002 with repaired AT to a 2020 is not a relevant comparison.

There are people out there that do this stuff for a living - fixing broken ATs on old Hondas appears to be an industry. People advertise on craigslist offering to buy Hondas with broken ATs. I'll bet that they are pretty efficient at fixing them and re-selling them. That's not me, and probably not you or most of the people on here.

If I still had my '99 and the AT failed (prob now at 240k+), I'd sell it on CL as is for $500-$1000, and could buy a similar replacement with working AT for $2000+. Or I could upgrade to a 2007+ (with significantly better AT design) for $4500.
Very good answer. In addition remember that newer vehicles have better safety technologies. If the cost of repair is more than retail value of similar year/make/model don't repair it. If you really love that year/make/model buy another one which is less than cost of repair.
 

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It really depends... on what the car will need soon. Maybe you had a recent timing belt replacement, new tires, new brakes, new radiator, etc. and all you're looking at is the $2K transmission repair for the next 2-3 years. In that case, I'd say it's probably worth it to repair and keep driving it.

I agree with the other posters above that it's not about comparing your 2002 to buying a new 2020. The right way to analyze this would be the cost of keeping the 2002 vs the cost of buying a newer or lower mileage used version. Seems like you can get a 2002-2004 Odyssey with around 100-120K miles for under $2-2.5K. Since you mention that your current car also is leaking power steering fluid, my vote would probably be to buy a newer used version.

Also, if you get a 2007+ model, the transmissions are much stronger. I just purchased my 2007 with 82K miles for $3,500. There are deals to be had if you look around and negotiate with private sellers... used minivans have very low demand.
 

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Lot's of variables. Agree, if you can get a newer van, lower mileage, as above poster mentioned, at a "good" price.
Way to go. However, if you cannot find a good deal. Repair is usually cheaper than buying new/newer.
Also, depends on you. How mechanically inclined are you? DIY?.....do the easier repairs yourself.

Well, good luck. :)
 

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Is a 2002 Odyssey with 261K miles and in need of a trans rebuild, worth keeping?
It has been a great van but clearly is showing its age: a small power steering fluid leak as well.
I NEED a van and do NOT want a monthly car payment. -What think ye?
We replaced the auto trans on our 2001 Honda Odyssey EX a few years ago, the "rebuilt" cost about $3500. The van still runs like a fairly new car!
We did the tranny rebuild at 175000.

At 261,000 I wouldn't do it, I'd buy a fairly late model Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey for maybe $10000 before I'd spend $3500 on your vehicle...but..it's YOUR $...
 

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Did a rebuild on a 1999 cause the car had been trouble free. After that had to do a ton of repairs elsewhere. Steering , suspension, oil leaks, cooling system..all age related. Still have the car and it runs good, but would go buy a 2007 or so with low miles if I had to do it again.
 

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Is a 2002 Odyssey with 261K miles and in need of a trans rebuild, worth keeping?
It has been a great van but clearly is showing its age: a small power steering fluid leak as well.
I NEED a van and do NOT want a monthly car payment. -What think ye?
I’m interested in what steps have occurred to determine %100 that it needs a rebuild?
Have you tried draining the AT and refilling with new fluid?
I have a 2002 w/ 354,800 miles and I’m on all original equipment. My AT seems to burn fluid after some time, but I lve in a cold weather state, which I think that has helped me keep it running.
Keep in mind that I purchased this van for $350.00 (yes - three hundred and fifty dollars) over two years ago, and it has never left me stranded...

all that to say, I definitely believe that draining the transmission fluid every other oil change has helped me keep this van alive.

I have looked into doing a transmission removal and I am very much a DIY person, but without the proper equipment such as a vehicle lift I do not think it would be an easy job by any means.

I would suggest trying to get the transmission up and running, possibly with a drain and refill, and then start budgeting and saving up for your next vehicle so that you can continue to live freely without a car payment...

🤙🏼
 

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Is a 2002 Odyssey with 261K miles and in need of a trans rebuild, worth keeping?
It has been a great van but clearly is showing its age: a small power steering fluid leak as well.
I NEED a van and do NOT want a monthly car payment. -What think ye?
Absolutely worth saving.. I have a 2005 which has a reputation for bad transmissions. I cheaped out when the trany went out and bought a low mileage used one. It only lasted about 40k. Put in a remanufactured with 2 year warranty. Has more than 150k on it and running strong The van now has 440k miles. No engine work. Burns about a quarter quart of oil between changes. Still gets 27mpg on the hiway. Still has great get-up-and-go. I know a guy with a 2004 who regularly travels from Phoenix to Seattle and has 580k miles on it. (1 trany change)
 

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One other thought. Also, depends where you live. Snowbelt, or sunny California. My 2001, SF Bay area. NO rust.
Engine bay, etc, very clean. Been watching you-tube, Was really surprised to see cars in New York, being repaired and the amount of rust. All over. If in the "rust belt", agree, better to buy something newer, if it's in the budget.
 

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I would base my decision on the total amount of repairs required. I bought a 2001 Ody about 7 years ago. Paid $4K range and there were few options for minivans where I lived at the time. I ended up replacing motor mounts (except expensive front), AC comp and condenser, rear shocks, door switches, sliding door rear bearings, rear window motors, 2 or 3 tranny drain and fills, added tranny cooler, oil pan, tranny rebuild, front wheel bearings, valve cover gaskets, tires (cause I didn't know the loud noise was the front wheel bearings), power steering return hose, and dash lights. This was all done over the 2.5 years I owned it, and I had more time than money.

When I sold it and bought a new 2016 Ody LX it needed all new door locking solenoids, new valve cover gasket, valve adjustment, timing belt and water pump service, and sliding door latch mechanisms. I bailed on it because I was no longer in a place I could spend as much time maintaining it. Also the repairs it did need would cost over $2k in parts alone.

From an economic standpoint if you can keep up with the maintenance (both time and cost) then keep it till the wheels fall off. A $3K rebuilt tranny is still less than 5 years of $500/ month car payments. Having the benefit of hindsight (which you don't have) it worked out to my advantage to get a 2016 Ody instead of waiting for the 2018+ less reliable models. However, if I would have known about VCM before buying the '16 I would have waited and bought a Sienna when the wheels fell off the '01 Ody.

Good luck....
 

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I would base my decision on the total amount of repairs required. I bought a 2001 Ody about 7 years ago. Paid $4K range and there were few options for minivans where I lived at the time. I ended up replacing motor mounts (except expensive front), AC comp and condenser, rear shocks, door switches, sliding door rear bearings, rear window motors, 2 or 3 tranny drain and fills, added tranny cooler, oil pan, tranny rebuild, front wheel bearings, valve cover gaskets, tires (cause I didn't know the loud noise was the front wheel bearings), power steering return hose, and dash lights. This was all done over the 2.5 years I owned it, and I had more time than money.

When I sold it and bought a new 2016 Ody LX it needed all new door locking solenoids, new valve cover gasket, valve adjustment, timing belt and water pump service, and sliding door latch mechanisms. I bailed on it because I was no longer in a place I could spend as much time maintaining it. Also the repairs it did need would cost over $2k in parts alone.

From an economic standpoint if you can keep up with the maintenance (both time and cost) then keep it till the wheels fall off. A $3K rebuilt tranny is still less than 5 years of $500/ month car payments. Having the benefit of hindsight (which you don't have) it worked out to my advantage to get a 2016 Ody instead of waiting for the 2018+ less reliable models. However, if I would have known about VCM before buying the '16 I would have waited and bought a Sienna when the wheels fell off the '01 Ody.

Good luck....
If you're concerned about VCM, which you should be... you can install a Muzzler that prevents it from activating 99% of the time, pretty much preventing excessive oil burning or premature engine mount wear.
 

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Is a 2002 Odyssey with 261K miles and in need of a trans rebuild, worth keeping?
It has been a great van but clearly is showing its age: a small power steering fluid leak as well.
I NEED a van and do NOT want a monthly car payment. -What think ye?
lots of good advice and relatable stories already, but I can still add mine. I got a 2000 in 2015 with 283,000 miles and it’s second trans failing. For about $3500 I had the best tranny shop in the city rebuild that unit (it was a dealer replacement, not some unknown sourced unit) with the magnefine filter and external cooler. Overall, including the modifications and upkeep I did in 2016 I put about $7000 into the car overall not including wear items. The van took us to central CA from SE AZ 2x, SoCal, northern AZ, up and over mountains, and then after the move, back to AZ along I-10 2 more times before it was totaled trying to get to the Keys. 327,000 miles. FWIW, the van stopped feeling “New” and was getting loud. It was on the original suspension, as my retired Honda master tech steered me towards other systems like the steering rack instead of rubber bits, stating they were still good back at 290,000. But it was strong and still capable, even though I lost 2 mpg highway in those 3 years. the op hasn’t come back but if he/does read these, I would say that if the van is still complete and in good shape, and you don’t feel the urge to get Apple car play or semi-autonomy, then repairs will always be more affordable than a replacement. Sure you MAY get a great used car for a few grand, but probability states the other is more likely, and new or almost new will cost more in payments and insurance. BTW, my van’s original owner bought it new for $25,000 and put $25,000 more into maintaining it over 15 years, so I think I got the better deal being the second owner.
 

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Since, money is an issue. Agree with other posters. If van well maintained. I would go for a rebuild. Here's my
experience. 2001 (4 speed), Your's 2002 (5 speed, more reliable). ON 4th transmission. 214,000 miles on engine.

What I learned is, most places, Remove the transmission, send it out to local "re-builder", And I assume after the re-build, get back the original transmission, and re-install. (which adds to the expense. Re-builder has to make a profit, also).

ON my 4th transmission. I found a local, independent transmission shop. (highly recommended from friends and other mechanics). The owner, does the rebuild. Buys the kit, and removes/rebuilds/installs. Cost me $ 1999. Included
replacing one engine mount.

I also, added, magnefine filter, AND, change the tranny fluid every 8,000 miles. (other's recommend, every other oil change). So, far, my 4th transmission, has gone more miles than my previous tranny failures. (they average about 50,000 +/- before failing.

OH, not sure where you live, I'm in S.F. bay area, CA. (if you live here, I could PM you the mechanic I used).

Also, ask around, friends, mechanic, other 2nd generation owners you see. ASK, for recommendations...

Good luck.
@Iozawa thanks so much for the great suggestions - I think I will soon be in need of a new tranny and I see a lot of post like yours that mention ASKING around for recommendations. This is where I get a little stuck. No friends with Honda vans (and not old ones), never really trusted the local dealership who always tries to sell more than you need, and don't know anyone who has done this before. Is there a way to ask for recommendations on this forum for a zip code, or other place you might suggest online where one could go for recommendations like this? Any thoughts appreciated!
 
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