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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I'm trying to figure out why or exactly how two out of two Acura dealerships in my area get away with not changing the trans fluid per the Acura Owner's manual. Isn't that the whole point in going to an Acura dealership? The owner's manual says to drain and refill the transmission 3 times, driving it a short distance each time, and then drain and refill a final time.

Both dealerships told me they drain and fill once, even after I said that the manual says to do it 3 times. One said ,"Oh, you don't want to do it 3 times, then a bunch of crud will get loose". The other said one time was "all that was required". Do other dealerships do it per the manual and it just turns out the two I talked to don't? I don't want to question their practices to much and get labeled as a pain in the a$$. I don't know if more calls to other Acura and Honda dealerships would get me a differenent answer.

I called the main Acura number and only got a computer entry guy who could only say follow the manual, and could not tell me why the dealers don't follow it.

Additionally...I just had a T-tech flush of the trans fluid with an additive "to match the friction coefficient required for Honda" 100 miles ago at a local shop. After all my googling I've learned I probably should not have done this since they didn't use the Honda trans fluid and I'm unsure if the t-tech is pressurized (the local shop guys say it's not high pressure and just a fluid exchange with 18 quarts). So now I am trying to undo the potential damage now by getting an Acura dealer to do the trans fluid exchange. I did not confess to the dealers that I had a flush at a local shop, and I know that if they do just one drain and fill I'm still going to have a lot of the wrong non-Honda fluid in my trans.

I have 80,000 miles and had the dealer do the drain-fill at 35,000 miles 6 years ago.

I'd get the ATF-Z1 and do it myself but I changed the oil once myself and didn't enjoy that;I often run into not being strong enough to move screws and bolts on my car myself and dealing with the jack and jack stands made me nervous. I want to keep this car forever like my friends have without ever needed to pay big $$ to rebuild or replace the trans.

Thanks!!
 

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Honestly I do not recall ever seeing the transmission fill and dump procedure you describe in any owners manual.

That procedure was developed around 1996 to cure a problem with Legend valve bodies. Because of the tiny passages in the valve body of a Legend automatic, we used to get problems with particles becoming stuck inside the valve bodies causing erratic shift patterns and slippage between gears. Recently, it's been posted all over the internet that this is the "proper and only way to do a transmission service".

It's not, and your dealer is correct.

Can it be done that way? Sure! Is it part of a service? No. Would it cure an issue or perhaps prevent an issue from happening? In some cases. The TSX automatic is a pretty rock solid transmission to begin with. Would I do it if the TSX were mine? Nope, it's a waste of time in my opinion......

I've been with Acura for 18 years, and doing online parts for 12. The best advice I can give you, in all seriousness, is that when you search the internet for problems, you'll find them. Don't waste your time with things like a T-tech flush (which causes more problems than it prevents, TRUST me here....don't ever flush any system), or additives, or Royal Purple anything. Those things CAUSE issues that wouldn't arise normally.

Please don't end up worrying more about issues and this and that, and end up losing the fun of driving and enjoying the car, which is why you bought your TSX in the first place :) .

The internet's full of opinions, but unlike 99.99% of the people posting them, I work here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your response! Getting a response from someone who actually works for Honda is helpful.

What started this whole thing is that I happened upon the Edmunds Confessions series on their website. And I saw that my local mechanic had a coupon for trans service at 30% less than dealers ...which ended up costing the same amount because they charged $25 for "trans additive required by Honda to meet coefficient of friction requirement". Then I wanted to see if I got ripped off by that charge and started googling and found all of this info...I had no idea before this there were different ways you could do a trans service or that different trans fluids could effect different vehicles so differently.

I'm certainly not looking for stuff to worry about with my car but after reading that the flush I did and fluid I got is some sort of cardinal sin, I am now looking to undo the damage by at least getting the "bad" fluid out. I keep my cars for at least ten-fifteen years, I bought this Acura instead of a BMW since they have WAY better reliability ratings, and so I'm dissapointed to learn from these online forums after-the-fact that the flush I did is supposed to be so bad for a Honda trans. I wish it had said *that* in the owners manual.

I found a downloadable 2004-2008 TSX service manual online yesterday and it says to do the 3x3 flush like the owners manual says, so I still don't understand why if that is what the service manual says, it's not what they do at the dealerships. I couldn't find any later model year manuals online to see if that's been revised since then.

What is bad about there being a mismatch between the dealer and the manual is that a lot of people follow the mileage/time service guide in the manual and not their dealer recomendations. A 1x flush only changes about a third of the fluid. If you only change a third of the fluid at the much longer mileage/times in the service guide, you're not changing your fluid enough. Especially if you follow the normal service guide and not the severe service guide.

Are there any other services like this that if I get them done elsewhere to save a few bucks and not at a dealer that will potentially screw up my car???

I've seen people on these threads who also replaced their ATF filter. I skimmed the whole trans rebuild section in the service manual and they don't replace the filter or even disconnect the filter from the hoses when doing a trans rebuild. They do clean an ATF strainer and ATF magnet. Since those two things are impossible to get to without taking the trans apart, I'm going wait and see if changing the filter looks easy enough for me to change when I'm changing the fluid since it's only a $20 part. My fear is that I'll introduce a leak by changing it and somehow managing to screw up putting the hoses back on it. People who have opened their filters did see a lot of metal shavings and crud in there so it does seem like a good idea to me to do.
 

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Let's get some background here so that I can give you some precise answers. What year is your TSX, and how many miles are on the odometer?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have a 2004 TSX with 79,500 miles and had the dealer do the drain-fill at 35,000 miles 6 years ago (short commute). Bought October 2003.
 

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Thought I'd pull in some literature from Acura to illustrate my point.

In this image, taken from the 2004 TSX manual under the service guidelines for SEVERE service, it shows that it is only a one time dump and fill......next post to come.
 

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This post is Acura's official bulletin on how to do the procedure. Note that it states that "Some A/T repair procedures call for flushing the trans using Acura Precision Crafted ATF-Z1 (and no substitutes)."

I just wanted to show you some proof to back up my statements. It's part of a repair procedure, it's not standard maintenance. Since you introduced other fluids into the system, it wouldn't be a bad idea, but I wanted to illustrate that the procedure that is the topic of your post is not the dealer failing to do something right.

It does also outline in the bulletin:

"Don’t confuse it with aftermarket flush systems. American Honda still strongly recommends that you avoid using them on any Acura vehicle."

This is why dealership service is highly recommended. The other shop sold you snake oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I see that picture and info in my copy of the service manual, in the "Checking transmission fluid" section, where it’s talking about checking the level, and gives specs on how much fluid the trans takes. When I go to the "Transmission Flushing section" 6 pages later it recommends the 3x3 flush, as seen per my attachment.

What does it show for “Transmission Flushing” in the online service manual you are accessing? I wonder if it is more up-to-date with different instructions in that section.
 

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I posted what it shows for flushing. You're missing my point though, your original post is that dealerships aren't doing what is required for a transmission service. I'm attempting to show you that the 3x flushing is not a maintenance procedure done at specified intervals. You will not find that bulletin in your service manual.

Also, what you posted states "Courtesy of American Honda", meaning that it's not a genuine Acura service manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I missed the pdf file attachment the first time through, my bad. Interesting it says,"you’ll find a few ServiceNews articles on this subject...and none of
them say the same thing." Uhm, exactly, which I think is the whole problem. As in my owners manual says to do it 3x *and* to not to start doing it until 120,000 miles/ten years for normal conditions. I wonder if newer owners manuals have been revised to match what you guys are doing.

In any case, given that I've gotten "snake oil" in my car now I'm going to do the 3x flush now making sure I get it in all the gears per the service bulletin you provided. How often do you recommend I do the normal 1x flush going forward?

Also, I'm curious what kind of repairs need the 3x flush?

Thanks for your time and attention on this.
 

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I missed the pdf file attachment the first time through, my bad. Interesting it says,"you’ll find a few ServiceNews articles on this subject...and none of
them say the same thing." Uhm, exactly, which I think is the whole problem.
Not really, that's more of an Acura service thing. The 3x procedure only has for reference an old bulletin from the mid-90s that as I metioned applied to the old Legends. Mechanics found that this procedure worked so well, that they would try that as a first resolution for shifting issues for any A/T vehicle.

Acura saw the need for some changes to this and updated the procedure to reflect changes in the transmission technology, giving us the bulletin that I referenced above.

Normally the procedure would be used on vehicles with shifting issues that would not be attributable to a sensor failure, similar to an aspirin regimen for a cardiac patient, in which the fluid flush would attempt to remove any particulate "clots" in the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I wonder why the 3x procedure is in my owners manual at all, since the owners manual is really intended to cover basic maintenance and not transmission repair. To satisfy my curiousity I'll have to see what it says in the latest TSX owners manual next time I'm at the dealer.

After the 3x3 I'm doing, going forward I plan to do the normal 1x drain/fill every 30k miles at the dealer so I know that they are not machine flushing it and are using Honda fluid.

Now I wonder if there are any other mainenance items that get done differently in a way to damage Honda/Acuras when done at local mechanics shops.
 

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Hi:
I just went through this with my 2004 TSX (Auto, 48000 miles). Actually, the Owners Manual clearly says to do it 4 times (Drain/Refill, drive a short distance, do this three times, then drain/refill a final time). I've read elsewhere that the TSX should not be flushed, only drained and filled. The manual shows the Trans Fluid capacity as 3 Qts to change, 6.9 Qts Total. This is why it needs to be done multiple times. When you drain it, only 3 quarts come out. 3.9 Quarts is still in there (in the torque converter, I believe).
My trusty regular mechanic, and two transmission shops I spoke to say they only do it once. One said that's enough if you know what you're doing, another said once is enough if you do it right.
You could suspect that the 4x requirement is so Honda can sell lots of Transmission fluid.
It does seem that if you only do it once, more than half of the old dirty fluid will remain in the transmission.
But no one wants to drain/fill more than once. Laziness perhaps..
There seems to be a lot of lore about transmissions and changing fluid about metal particles, black magic, etc.
So-I guess let you conscience be your guide!
 

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Transmission Black Magic

Hi:
I just went through this with my 2004 TSX (Auto, 48000 miles). Actually, the Owners Manual clearly says to do it 4 times (Drain/Refill, drive a short distance, do this three times, then drain/refill a final time). I've read elsewhere that the TSX should not be flushed, only drained and filled. The manual shows the Trans Fluid capacity as 3 Qts to change, 6.9 Qts Total. This is why it needs to be done multiple times. When you drain it, only 3 quarts come out. 3.9 Quarts is still in there (in the torque converter, I believe).
My trusty regular mechanic, and two transmission shops I spoke to say they only do it once. One said that's enough if you know what you're doing, another said once is enough if you do it right.
You could suspect that the 4x requirement is so Honda can sell lots of Transmission fluid.
It does seem that if you only do it once, more than half of the old dirty fluid will remain in the transmission.
But no one wants to drain/fill more than once. Laziness perhaps..
There seems to be a lot of lore about transmissions and changing fluid about metal particles, black magic, etc.
So-I guess let you conscience be your guide!
 
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