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Transmission, Motor Mounts, or 200K Service?

1038 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  pkrface
I will try to make this brief. We just purchased a 2006 Odyssey from a private owner. 234k, automatic transmission. She did regular oil changes, had a transmission replacement 3 years/50k ago, had the fuel pump replaced, and several other maintenance things done in the 4 years she owned the vehicle (only 1 owner previously, and they had all the servicing done at the appropriate intervals at the dealership).

About 2 hours after the purchase was made, we noticed the van began feeling... Off. Shifting hard between gears when accelerating and when braking. Not all the time, but often. We messaged the previous owner and asked about the issue. She said she had noticed this for the last YEAR AND A HALF (thanks for the heads up, lady), and that it wasn't as bad if you let off the gas when you felt it about to shift gears and to just baby it in general and not "drive it too hard."

We let a friend who knows a little about cars drive it, and he said we needed to return it immediately, all of that had to be the transmission. So we panicked a little ourselves. We had been thinking maybe a trans fluid change would help since it looked a little murky and brownish, but now we were scared.

Took it to what we were told was a reputable trans shop locally. The tech scanned the Odyssey, said there were no codes at all from anywhere, specifically not from the engine or transmission. He popped the hood and directed us to brake and accelerate at the same time in various gears, then said it was the motor mounts because of how the engine moved while we did that. We were relieved and agreed to bring it back later for an official diagnostic and estimate on the lift (for a fee of course). He seemed 100% sure the issue was the mounts and not the trans, and did mention the one thing left off the maintenance list the owner gave us was the 200k service and that could be causing some issues.

Fast forward to today, when they call with the news... Now saying the mounts are totally fine but they found an issue deep in the transmission and it needed replaced to the tune of $2800. No specifics, no explanation for the lack of check engine light or codes, just a vague, "it's your transmission, that's $2800, authorize the work or come get it and pay the lift fee."

I'm confused how it went from 100% sure it was the mounts, 100% sure it was NOT the transmission, and awaiting an estimate to 100% sure it's the transmission, period, with no explanation or details.

There are no lights or codes. There are no leaks. I've had the transmission go out on a vehicle before, and it didn't feel the same as this does. It's a thunk when you brake sometimes or a thunk when you accelerate sometimes. No shaking. No whining. Plenty of ATF, but it does look a little murky and more brown than red. Drives smooth when it's not doing this.

Could it just need an ATF change and tune up? We are getting a second opinion on the motor mounts as well, but trying to figure out what else could be going on as well. Previous owner drove it like this for a year and a half... When my trans went on my other van, it didn't last 2 weeks, and the problem was much more clear much quicker, and definitely not intermittent like this,or even intermittent in severity like this is.

I really love this van. I don't want it to be the transmission. But I also don't feel like all this adds up... Help please!
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You should start with a single trans fluid change, just a normal drain & fill. If that improves things a little, do it again in a week or two. Then again a week or two after that. Honda Odysseys require regular transmission fluid changes. It's just maintenance. Sounds like the previous owner drove it until the trans died, had it replaced and just drove it again without the required fluid changes. Make sure whomever does these fluid changes knows that fluid compatible with a Honda automatic is required. OEM or better! DO NOT let anyone "flush" the fluid. You want to replace it gradually.

Also, that van is past due for a timing belt replacement and probably spark plugs. That interval is every 105k, so it should have been done again at 210k. If that was not done, you are dangerously over. If the belt breaks or the tensioner for it fails, the engine is ruined. You will have nothing.

Try to find a shop that specializes in Hondas, they are kind of unique. Experience will help.

I hope you didn't pay too much for this van. If you got it cheap enough, it is probably worth fixing. But it was definitely a fixer.
 

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In addition to the advice already given I would get a second opinion. Highly suspicious on the turn of events. Could it be the transmission? Of course, especially if the rebuild job was done half way instead of doing it right, but based on your description of the events I would certainly try a fluid change before I spent $2,800 for a new trans.
 
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