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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my first post here and what a great and informative site you guys have.
I have a 2002 Odyssey ex with 196k miles currently on it I had the trans rebuilt on it at around 182k. I was told by the mechanic that it was a good idea to add a trans cooler and some type of inline filter. He also suggested that I not use the Honda fluid but Amsoil or even Max life over the factory Honda stuff and to service the trans more often. I would like to make this trans last as long as the original but is all of this necessary? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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People try a lot of things to prevent Ody transmission failures. It makes people feel better (smarter) to do these things but there's probably no proof that they are prolonging their transmissions. If there were truly a way to prevent the trannies from dying, everybody would do it, and no additional Ody transmission would die. But Ody transmissions continue to die at high rates and nobody has a guaranteed prevention.

I have a Magnefine in-line filter, but that doesn't prevent internal damage such as my 3rd gear clutch pack disintegrating.

The only way to prevent it from dying is to not drive it or just drive it on the highway where it stays in high gear the whole time. Driving around town, up and down through 2nd and 3rd gear will end up killing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input I think I will go ahead and put in a cooler and an in line filter it can't hurt right. As far as the fluid goes should I go with max life or amsoil over the honda fluid and should I just drain the pan and top of the trans?
 

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....The only way to prevent it from dying is to not drive it or just drive it on the highway where it stays in high gear the whole time.....
Not true. Staying in top two gears is the way for it to last a very long time.

.... Driving around town, up and down through 2nd and 3rd gear will end up killing it....
This I can believe for 2002-2004 trannies, according to the NHTSA report I linked in joefi's big thread on "Root Cause and Fix?". That report is over 100 pages long, and details how different circumstances acting together (timing of an installed plug & spring, plus port size into third clutch pack) can yield insufficient ATF flow into the third clutch, resulting in very high temps, fluid degradation, and clutch pack temps over 300-deg celcius. It's a self-feeding disaster. Honda made engineering drawing & production changes in the last half of the 2004 model year for the BYBA coded transmission, and these have shown markedly improved reliability, on par with what we expect from a Honda.

My big gripe is that Honda won't tell us what the cut-in VIN or date was for these very positive changes.

OF
 

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OdyFamily, So you agree with me that if it stays in gears 4 and 5 the Ody transmission shouldn't have a problem?
 

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Yup. swedepower, and other users who primarily run the nation's highways with their 2002-2004 Odys, have gone over 200,000 miles on a single tranny. The weak link is that 3rd clutch pack and its deficient ATF flow (read this as insufficient flow to perform needed heat exchange duties). As you correctly pointed out, frequent 2nd to 3rd gear shifts can be a real problem if one has a tranny with the mis-timed bits installed. Honda fixed this, but again I have no idea when in 2004.

The problem is, we can't stay in top gear forever (which again, I think you are correctly and eruditely alluding to). Eventually, we have to slow down, get into lower gears, and do some city driving, no matter how many highway miles we pile onto these things.

Also, even in 4th gear, if you're climbing a monster grade, it's no insurance against high temperatures. I had two Yakima boxes up top, 25-knot headwinds, and had to fight that wind resistance going up So Cal's Cajon Pass on I-15 heading north. My thermocouple datalogger recorded ATF exit temps of 255-deg F, and the stock cooler was knocking this down to 202-deg F before returning it to the tranny. I've got the front end of my Ody removed right now, sizing up how to install my Tru-Cool ATF cooler (and throw away the stock Honda finned drinking straw masquerading as a cooler). I'd have done this long ago if I'd used my head and bought a Tru-Cool 4544 (easy to fit, huge capacity, great heat exchange properties). Like a numbnuts, I purchased a monster Tru-Cool 4739-1 ATF cooler. Great cooler, but I'm tearing my meager hair out, trying to figure a way to make it fit!

A guy named Ben Wymore fitted one, but had to settle for behind the bumper bar:

http://www.wymore.net/benandtricia/blog/ben3/?p=653

My goal is to fit it a bit higher without getting crushed by the bumper cover & grill.

OF
 

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Sorry, bad link. Here it is:

Ben Wymore's Tru-Cool Max Install

Holy smokes, how did I write that? I do agree with you, aaron! It's just I put the word "Not" in front of "true" on that post, and ran out on the edit clock. I can't change it.

Yes, yes, yes, keeping it in top gear is good. You are so correct.

Really, I don't write like a blithering fool every day...only on weekends.

OF
 

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OK, I was just confused by the "not true." I've wanted to edit posts before but didn't do it quick enough also.
 

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Thanks, aaron. Anyways, now for me to get back on track...

atl3128, welcome to the site. New Dad New Van is one of our resident mechanically-minded gurus. He's usually on-the-money with good suggestions.

It seems your mechanic has the right idea. The old spec Honda ATF-Z1 fluid did not seem to prevent our Gen 2 trannies from turning into grenades, so a lot of people (myself included) made the switch to synthetics. I'm running AmSOil Universal ATF in both of our Odys. Here's the cooler I'm attempting to fit:

Cooler fit check & HID's.JPG

If you get a cooler, I recommend the Tru-Cool 4544. You can attach it to the air conditioning condensor, or use the hardware and follow Mel's definitive thread here:

Mel's ATF Cooler Install Thread

OF

P.S. The headlights look goofy because I baked them apart to install HID projectors.
 

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Like a numbnuts, I purchased a monster Tru-Cool 4739-1 ATF cooler. Great cooler, but I'm tearing my meager hair out, trying to figure a way to make it fit!

A guy named Ben Wymore fitted one, but had to settle for behind the bumper bar:

http://www.wymore.net/benandtricia/blog/ben3/?p=653

My goal is to fit it a bit higher without getting crushed by the bumper cover & grill.

OF
I guess that makes me a numbnuts by association, eh? :)

-Ben
 

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Welcome to the forum, Ben! :)

No, Ben, you're not a numbnuts...you actually got yours to fit, plus you added some elegant engineering solutions:
- Tee fitting for digital ATF temperature readout
- Magnefine in the right spot (as in serviceable)
- Thermostat bypass to enable proper operating temperatures

The proof of your ATF cooling system design effectiveness? You successfully towed one of the larger TrailManor trailers all over America with ZERO trans problems. That's a huge load for the little Ody tranny. I urge all to take a look at Ben's blogs on his trailer travels. I mean, that's a lot of trailer!

I'm actually trying to copy your setup without knocking off my PSF cooler (a 9-row job who's height doesn't permit me to use your clever behind-the-bumper bar setup you tried). I say clever, because all of the other heat exchangers behind the bumper bar work just fine, so why wouldn't your setup? Well, you proved that it worked, and now I'm trying to fit the beast cooler, too.

I still haven't been able to get this thing mounted straight, and the cooler been sitting in a box for a couple years (hence the self-deprecating numbnuts declaration). The clearance is very narrow up top on the left and right sides of my intended cooler position. I'm going to buy some aluminum channel this week for mounting my electric fan in front of the ATF cooler.
 

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I have a Odyssey 2003 with 165000km (102000 miles). I towed my travel trailer (3100lbs) for 6000 miles since 3 years without any problem. I have the original tranny. Of course I have installed a Tru-Cool 4544 cooler and a tempo gauge at the exit of the torque converter. The maximum temp I saw was 205 degrees F during towing with the trailer at 62mph on New Jersey turnpike on a 100 degrees sunny dau of July. Usually the trans temp is around 170-190 degrees when I tow. Without towing the temp is below 140 degrees. I have replaced the trans filter once at 65000 miles and I flush the trans once a year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After speaking with the mechanic about extending the life of the trans I have decided to install the Tru-Cool 4544 cooler as well as a remote filter I am thinking of going with the B&M Amazon.com: B&M 80277 Universal Remote Transmission Filter Kit: Automotive mainly because the filters are readily available and easier to change. It has been about 10k since the trans was rebuilt and the van has since seen mostly highway miles so the fluid is still a bright red I was thinking of draining whats in the pan and just toping it off with either max life or Amsoil ATF and doing it again every other oil change. Which fluid it most recommended between the two and is it beneficial just to drain the pan and add 3.5 or so quarts?
 

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Welcome to the forum, Ben! :)

No, Ben, you're not a numbnuts...you actually got yours to fit, plus you added some elegant engineering solutions:
- Tee fitting for digital ATF temperature readout
- Magnefine in the right spot (as in serviceable)
- Thermostat bypass to enable proper operating temperatures
I can't emphasize enough the value of having a temperature gauge. As soon as the torque converter unlocks as the grade increases, the temperature starts to climb. Downshift, and the temperature drops. I wouldn't tow without it.

The proof of your ATF cooling system design effectiveness? You successfully towed one of the larger TrailManor trailers all over America with ZERO trans problems. That's a huge load for the little Ody tranny. I urge all to take a look at Ben's blogs on his trailer travels. I mean, that's a lot of trailer!
It's been a while, but I think I was generally below 200 degrees, and always below 210. And I was running just ATF-Z1. I checked the fluid after several trips, and it was till pink like new!

I'm actually trying to copy your setup without knocking off my PSF cooler (a 9-row job who's height doesn't permit me to use your clever behind-the-bumper bar setup you tried). I say clever, because all of the other heat exchangers behind the bumper bar work just fine, so why wouldn't your setup? Well, you proved that it worked, and now I'm trying to fit the beast cooler, too.
I had installed Honda's "heavy duty" PSF cooler (see Car Crash! « Ben's Blog). In retrospect, I could have purchased a third-party solution for much less.

-Ben
 

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Ben, thanks for posting some real-life numbers. Your experiences definitely prove that extra cooling and filtration under severe duty conditions is a good thing. I'm amazed that you did this all on ATF-Z1, during summer months no less. BTW, I'm glad you didn't take the self-deprecating humor the wrong way...I purchased the same 4739-1 you did without checking to see if it would clear other equipment (namely, a PSF cooler the size of a Tru-Cool 4920-1 with large mounting tabs), hence me using the "numbnuts" term on myself. Your success motivates me to finish this installation. I've had the front end apart twice this week alone.

Martin, thanks for the real-life numbers with your Tru-Cool 4544, too. I know there may be a couple Gen 2 Ody owners with 4544's and temperature gauging, but I couldn't recall any numbers. Both you and Ben effectively set a desired ATF exit temperature upper limit for continued reliability while towing (205 to 210-deg F or 96 to 99-deg C) and using ATF-Z1.

atl3128, many of us who tow (and many who don't) use AmSOil Universal ATF with good results. I'm going to do a single drain-refill this week with about 9,000 miles on the current load of fluid (I've already done 2 drain/refills with AmSOil, so I've got about 67% AmSOil in there right now...it takes 4 drain/refills to push it up to almost 90%). I don't know what your OCI (oil change interval) is, but a number of us do a single drain/refill with every other oil change...I'm doing it with each oil change until I finish my 5th drain/refill, and am on nearly 100% AmSOil (I use AmSOil in both Odys). I did use Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc for many miles, but switched to AmSOil because our local Wal-Mart suddenly stopped carrying any ATF except their "Super Tech" house brand; also, 110-deg F summers with towing was a consideration. MaxLife was great, and with such a reasonable price I did a drain/refill on every oil change.

Our Gen 2 5-speed trannies hold 8.3 qts. of ATF. The sump holds 3.5 qts., so each drain/refill replaces about 42% of the fluid volume. Doing it this way with each oil change, or every other oil change helps keep the average level of contaminants down, and keeps the additives package fresh. This "add pack" contains anti-foaming, lubrication & anti-wear additives, and these degrade over time, more quickly with exposure to hotter operating conditions (hence, the need for a cooler). As well, ATF decomposes over time (more quickly under high temperature conditions), so periodic drain/refills are a good idea in any vehicle. dvpatel's discussion on ATF drain interval (<<LINK) is worth reading. Also, read RinconVTR's thread with lab oil analysis reports (<<LINK) that he posted a while back. RinconVTR's numbers-based approach with oil and ATF samples from his 2009 Ody was a great help to all of us, and he graciously posted the lab results he paid for.

The spin-on mount and filter is a great idea. I think that filter, even though it has a B&M label on it, is a Purolator, which is just fine. The AmSOil EaO15 is a direct replacement for these filters on this B&M mount that uses 3/4"-16TPI threads (i.e., like the generic Fram PH8A). By the way, stay away from Fram...they have documented issues.

Like New Dad New Van said in fewer words, extra filtration and cooling is always good. By the way, you must have been doing something right to get 182,000 miles out of it.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Odyfamily- first off thanks for the advice I wish I would have found this site much sooner but I guess 182k out of the 1st trans is pretty good. The only thing I did was change the fluid out every 15-20k and have it flushed every 50k I used stock Honda fluid with. My wife drove it mostly on the highway and she drives it pretty easy plus we did zero towing. I have decided that since the van is in such great shape and I have invested over $3,800 in it this past year that we are going to keep it so I want it to last.
As far as the trans filter goes would the magnefine be better than the B&M?

Would you recommend the Amsoil ATF over the maxlife + lubegard red or black and why?
 

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I'll do my best with the questions.

I've seen literature from Ashland (Valvoline's parent company) that supports MaxLife being a synthetic blend. MTPockets80 (our own Joel on Odyclub) noted that MaxLife is highly regarded by the people on BITOG (the Bob is the Oil Guy forums).

People like funfinder4 (also one of our forum members) towed under severe Texas summers up and down some steep grades with good results from MaxLife. He had two coolers in series (Hayden 401 tube-and-fin cooler followed by a Hayden 678 plate-and-fin cooler). His tranny lasted to 128,000 miles, and he would see as high as 260-deg F on long grades while towing his camper. Those are incredibly severe operating conditions. I think a larger Tru-Cool 4544 or bigger might have helped, but he has since switched to a big truck for his towing duties, and uses the Ody as a family hauler...his current cooler setup is way more than what he'll need for his current application, which is a good thing. Herrhaus (another Odyclubber) runs the 4544, and he's had no problems with "overcooling" on some pretty harsh eastern winters, and his Ody runs fine on ATF-Z1.

I did use Lubegard Black with the Valvoline MaxLife, but in retrospect I should've used the Lubegard Red all along. The LG Black has clutch friction modifiers, and while they make for smoother shifts, the common opinion on this and other forums (by people much smarter than me) is that modifiers can somewhat shorten the life of the clutch plates due to a little more slipping between clutch engagements. The LG Red is primarily high-temp-resistant esters like LG Black, but has no friction modifiers. Frankly, Valvoline MaxLife works just peachy without any friction modifiers, and I did switch to LG Red with Valvoline MaxLife about halfway through my 42,000 miles of MaxLife usage in my 2003 EX. I used the LG products to help with operation under hot conditions. All of those products have done well for me. I think Jerry O (another Odyclubber) is a devout LG Red user on all of his vehicles.

I don't know if I would recommend AmSOil over using MaxLife with LG Red, or vice-versa. It's almost like apples to apples. The MaxLife price is so reasonable, so if you change oil every 7,500 miles and drain/fill the ATF at the same time, you're doing about as much as you can to assure longevity of the transmission. However, if you do a drain/refill of AmSOil ATF every other oil change (15,000 miles), the cost seems to work out almost the same. That said, I'm using AmSOil because I tend to scorch my ATF during boating season (towing on hot summers in the local mountains), and a pure synthetic will hold up better under those conditions. Also, MaxLife was tough to find for a long while in my locale, so I purchased some big jugs of AmSOil ATF... I might as well use what I've got on hand.

One thing to consider...draining and refilling ATF on a Gen 2 Ody is a real easy job.

A magnetic filter can pull ferrous particles out of solution that a regular pleated filter may not catch. That said, a big quality pleated filter can catch a lot. The ferrous particles may be too small for a cellulose filter to catch, or even too small to cause damage (i.e., less than 10 microns, and thus stay within the bounds of the oil film on bearing surfaces...i.e., they remain hydrodynamic), but iron acts as a co-catalyst for oxidation, thus lowering the total base number (TBN) of the ATF. If you pull all that ferrous stuff out of solution with a magnet and bunch it up in one place (like in a Magnefine filter), it does less damage to the chemical state of the ATF. If you get the B&M setup, you can always add some neodymium magnets to the filter like springpop did to his ATF filtration setup on his F350 truck:



For his whole setup, see this link: springerpop's ATF filtration setup

BTW, that B&M filter is probably a cellulose filter that will catch most particles 40 microns or larger. The AmSOil EaO15, which will fit 3/4"-16 TPI threads (just like the B&M filter), will catch nearly everything 15 microns or larger....essentially, it grabs almost anything that could cause bearing damage. I'm using the Magnefines on my Odys and Accord. If you add magnets to the B&M setup, you're really going to catch a lot of stuff. I think sinbad (yet another forum user) uses Filtermag products, and he's been amazed by how much stuff it catches. Also, bbylon5 (also an Odyclubber) has dissected a Magnefine, and also noted a good bit of captured ferrous material. In short, there are a lot of great ways to add extra filtration. It just depends on personal taste, I guess!

Hope this helps. BTW, 182,000 miles on a Gen 2 tranny...I'd be ecstatic with that.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again Odyfamily!
I think I will probably go with MaxLife and LubeGard red and the magnefine filter along with the cooler and I should be fine. I currently change the oil every 5k miles so I think I will drain the trans and top it off every 10k and that should be pretty good.
I think I was very fortunate 1st trans lasted as long as it did but it was driven mostly on the highway and now will see a majority of local/city miles so I want to be extra cautious.
How often should the magnefine filter be changed?
 

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I probably should change mine more often, but I'm on my second Magnefines for each Ody, and I think I'm changing them and the OEM spin-on filter (that little black cylindrical ATF filter on top of the tranny) every 25,000-to-30,000 miles. They're both coming due for another change on both of my Odys as I use up my last ones in my rollaway...thanks for the reminder, I need to buy more! :coolio:

The OEM filter has no listed service interval in the owner's manual or shop manual. I think Magnefine recommends 15,000 miles for the change interval, but a lot of people on the BITOG forums leave them on for 30,000 miles with no ill effects...that's what I've been doing. I actually intended to change all of them sooner, but life gets in the way! :)

I'll probably cut open my OEM used filters to check how much material they caught, and disassemble the used Magnefines {you can actually unscrew them with a pipe or strap wrench(es)} and report back.

Here's the thread on the OEM ATF filter: Meet Your Honda ATF Filter

This is a good thread on the Magnefine change interval on BITOG: When to change the Magnefine

Now that I know all this fancy stuff (all gleaned from people much smarter than me), hopefully it'll help the longevity of vehicles I help my kids to obtain when they go to college.

OF
 
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