acura honda transmission

Honda Accord and Acura TL Automatic Transmission Service and Repair

Honda Accord and Acura TL automatic transmissions are engineered in a manner that makes them categorically different from all other automatic transmissions. These inherent distinctions are responsible for transmission service and repair issues that have plagued owners for many years. While all of these units share the same unique characteristics of design, there are some models that experience more problems and subsequent failure than others, landing them in shops more often. Because there are so many models on the road, such as the Honda Accord and the Acura MDX, it is difficult to statistically determine how much more often owners of these cars and SUVs experience transmission problems than the owners of other makes of vehicles.

acura parallel shafts image

Typical Transmission Designs

Most automatic transmissions are engineered and manufactured using planetary gear sets. Acura and Honda, however, do not use planetary gear sets within their transmissions, but instead use a gear configuration that more closely resembles that of a typical manual transmission. These transmissions also vary widely between different models and engine sizes. Honda and Acura transmissions cannot be interchanged, and specific unit types are not typically used for more than 3 years. Producing so many different transmission models offers some performance advantages. For instance, the internal gear ratios can be tailored for each specific model, according to vehicle weight and engine torque powerband. Also, typical driving conditions and habits can also be considered. This makes replacement of a transmission more difficult. In contrast, many manufacturer’s transmission designs are used for years, within many different vehicle models. Most popular transmission designs maintained their original gear ratios for over 20 years. In the past, some of the same designs were used in rear wheel drive cars with small engines as well as trucks and SUVs with 8 cylinder engines and 4WD.

acura clutch pack image

Acura TL and Honda Accord Design

The TL, CL and Accord automatic transmissions have opposing shafts that lie parallel to each other. Each gear ratio within the transmission is produced by a pair of gears, one called the drive gear and the other called the driven gear. Each gear rests opposite the other on two of the parallel shafts with the teeth on the two gears meshing together. Different gear ratios are produced by using differing numbers of teeth between the drive and driven gear set, each set being used exclusively to produce one gear ratio. This type of gear train layout is the same as that of manual transmissions made by all automobile manufacturers, including Honda and Acura.

friction deterioration image

Design Limitations Causes Slipping Transmission Clutches

Transmission Slipping within the Honda and Acura automatic transmissions is due to its unique design, which creates a limitation in the overall diameter in the frictional clutches that are used within the transmission. For this reason, the diameter is generally smaller than those used in the transmissions of other automobile manufacturers. This is because the opposing shafts are placed within a close proximity of each other. In order to install larger frictional clutches, a larger clutch drum would be required, and the distance between the two shafts is not sufficient enough to facilitate a larger clutch drum. Smaller frictional clutches require much more force against them to achieve proper engagement than larger frictional clutches. The additional force used within Honda and Acura transmissions is chiefly responsible for causing these elements to prematurely wear out and begin slipping. This issue will not improve over time and will only get worse until the transmission needs replaced or overhauled.