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· Registered
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys imnew here and just brought a 2003 TL-S with ALOT of miles....230k
i picked it up pretty cheap for $3000 Everything works great on the car. Very clean body. just alittle faded front bumper. but everything else works fine.

Now i have been reading on here of the nightmares with these transmissions, This car had the trans replaced at 90k the guy said by acura. And i drove the car 150miles to get home. It shifts fine "no problems".

Now i have a question or two. Is this transmission guaranteed to fail no matter what? Or are the people that are going through 3-4 transmissions dogging the hell out of theses cars?
now my racing days are behind me i just need a car to drive to work and home. I drive all highway, im 1 mile from the highway drive 50miles and back home.

I hope to keep this car for awhile, Im looking into getting a spare engine just in case this engine gives out. But i usually maintain my cars real well....

any info you guys have will be greatly appreciated...... thanks

· Old Parts Slinger
5,185 Posts
I kinda hate to say it, but yes, these transmissions are a ticking time bomb. Some just tick slower than others. It's an internal component design flaw that's the issue (from what I've seen from my own eyes, 2nd or 3rd gear clutch packs end up burning off for some reason). The engine is something I wouldn't worry too much about. As long as there was good fluid maintenance, the belts and water pump have been replaced on time, the J-series engines are very stout. Typically, I don't mind buying higher mileage vehicles because it typically indicates a highway driven vehicle where load is pretty low and that also means wear should be fairly low as well. Suspension components may need a refresher, but all should be fine in a vehicle like that.

· Registered
43 Posts
I've always wondered about those who have gone through 3-4 transmissions in 60K miles. My first one (the original) lasted 90K before it showed any sign of problems and I got it replaced just under the warranty deadline. Now on my second transmission, I have close to 40K miles on it and no issues. But as the previous post stated, my miles are mostly highway, which does make a difference.

The issue of the transmission is with the 2nd and 3rd gear pack, but in the revised transmissions, they added an additional oil jet to that space to improve lubrication and reduce heat. Now long term will that solve the problem - I don't know, but so far all seems to be good.

I think if you don't beat your car up and take good care of it, which it sounds like you do, you should be fine. At some point or another all transmissions go how, it's just a matter of when.

· Registered
3 Posts
New owner of an 03 TL type-S. I dont know a whole ton about the car(except it goes pretty fast for being stock) but i was curious if anyone could help me out.

What would be the "best" way to increase horsepower and top speed in the car.

Planning on straight pipping it as well.

Any thoughts? yays? nays?

· Registered
4 Posts
I am new to the site as well, but I am not new to Acura TL's. I'm on my 3rd Acura TL currently in the same model range (1999 to 2003). My 1st was a 1999 Acura TL which I bought in 2006 with 136,000 miles from the original owner who was an elderly lady. She had the water pump and timing belt replaced at 100,000 as recommended by her local Acura Dealer. She had all regular maintenance done to it but is still had the original transmission in it. I used it for almost 3 years from the beginning of 2006 till the end of 2008 adding another 50,000 miles to it. I did all regular maintenance to it all the time I had it. The transmission nor the engine gave me any problems.

My 2nd was a 2001 Acura TL that I purchased in the beginning of 2009 with around 120,000 miles on it from its second owner who purchased it from a dealers used lot with about 25,000 miles. This person liked likes his car and wanted to pull back from selling it to me after I test drove it and was going to buy it for sure. He took good care of his car. Again the timing belt and water pump and all regular maintenance was done with the original engine and tranny. Car never gave me any problems and I sold it after using it for about 2 years till the end of 2010 and adding about 35,000 miles to it.

At the beginning of this year (2012), I bought a 2002 Acura TL Type S with Navi. Again this car was from a female 2nd owner who bought it from a used lot with very low miles and always had it serviced and maintained at her local dealer including the timing belt and water pump. I have already added 13,000 miles on it with no problems with the engine or tranny so far. Except one minor problem which is it shakes a little while accelerating which is a problem a lot of 02 to 03 Type S owners are having for some reason which has nothing to do with the transmission because someone said on a forum that he continued to get that problem even after he put in a brand new transmission.

I think these transmissions may have some problems but if you take care of your car, it shouldn't give you any problems. Honda makes good cars and ever since I switched to Honda's back in 2001, I have always bought Honda's (except for one Nissan that I bought in 2006).

Some tips for taking care of your transmission:
-Check transmission fluid all the time and make sure it has recommended levels of the right type of fluid
-Do a transmission fluid change or flush at recommended intervals
-Do not shift from "Drive" to "Reverse" or "Park" until your car has come to a complete stop
-Do not shift from "Reverse" to "Drive" or "Park" until your car has come to a complete stop
-Try and accelerate through the first 2 or 3 gears slowly and step on it hard (if you want to) only after its in running mode (3rd or 4th gear and above)
-Do not hill stop your car on gear by holding down on gas. When you are stopped at a red light while going up a hill (like if you are driving in San Francisco, CA) always use your brakes or parking brakes to stop. I have seen some people let go of their brakes and slightly step on the gas to hold the car at stop while stopped at a up-hill red light or stop sign (like in manual transmission cars). Never do that with automatic transmission cars.
-Make sure your parking brakes work and always apply parking brakes when parked on an inclined driveway or any inclined surface for that matter. This will keep the pressure off of your transmission.

I am 35 now and I have been owning cars ever since I turned 18. In those last 17 years, I have had 12 cars so far. I know that I have been through a lot of cars but I like buying cars for a deal, using it for a couple of years, and then selling it before it loses much value. But all my cars have been used cars and out of all the cars I've had, none developed any transmission problems so far (knock on the wood...I do not wanna jinx myself). I have never blown a transmission or an engine for that matter in any of my cars in my whole life so far (except for my very first car which was an old ford escort and it did not blow anything but the engine seized on me one day).

The reason is because I take care of my cars. I do oil change every 5,000 miles. I know the dealer says 3,000 miles but they just wanna make money. The manufacturer says 7,000 but I like getting it done sooner at 5,000. I use STP and other fuel system cleaning agents at every oil change. I use engine flush agents to clean out the deposits in the oil system before doing my oil change at every other oil change. I use only top quality fully synthetic oil in my cars. I fill up top quality gas only at Shell or Chevron gas stations and only use the recommended grade fuel. I do tune-ups and other service and maintenance as recommended (including timing belt and water pump if/when needed). I always keep an eye on engine temperature and check coolant level all the time. I take care of my transmission like I have mentioned above which is something that I was told by one of my dad's friends who was a great mechanic.

So if you take care of your car like I do, your Acura will take you long ways. Good lucks with your new car and as an Acura fan, I hope your car makes you proud. If you get a chance, can you look at your gauge cluster and see if it says something like "Use Premium Fuel Only" on it somewhere. My other TL's said Premium only on the gauge cluster but my 02 Type S doesn't so I am thinking that I should be using regular gas in this car...because I only fill in the recommended grade gas and if its supposed to be regular and I am filling premium, it might harm the car in the long run. So just wanna double check with someone who has pretty much the same car. Or if you have the owners manual for the 02-03 TL Type S models only, can you please check what the manufacturer is recommending in the manual (my currrent car did not come with an owners manual and it doesn't say anything about premium gas on the gauge cluster). Please let me know, I'd appreciate it.
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