April 15, 2004
Honda recalls 600,000 Odysseys, Pilots and MDXs
Torrance, California – Honda announced a recall of approximately 600,000 minivans
and SUVs equipped with V6 engines and five-speed automatic transmissions to inspect
and repair a potential defect in the transmission.
Affected models include certain model year 2002, 2003 and early 2004 Honda Odyssey
minivans; 2003 and early 2004 Honda Pilots; and 2001 and 2002 Acura MDX
The situation is created by insufficient lubrication of the transmission’s secondary
shaft second gear that can occur under certain driving conditions. Prolonged
operation under these conditions can lead to heat build-up and under certain
circumstances may eventually result in chipped or broken gear teeth or breakage of
the gear. In the event of a chipped or broken tooth, the owner will likely
experience abnormal noise from the transmission and seek repairs. In rare instances,
this condition may lead to gear breakage and possible locking of the vehicle’s
transmission, creating a potential safety hazard.
This more severe condition is extremely rare and affects only vehicles with high
mileage. To date, the company’s records indicate only ten confirmed instances in the
United States and Canada of this type of transmission failure, with no injuries or
accidents as a result.
Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted via mail and will be asked to take
their vehicle to an authorized Honda or Acura dealer to be repaired free of charge.
In most cases, the repair involves a simple gear inspection, which is accomplished
without removing or disassembling the transmission, and a modification to increase
the flow of transmission fluid to the affected gear. If during the inspection the
service technician discovers discoloration of the gear indicating heat damage, Honda
will replace the transmission assembly at no cost to the customer. Owners will be
notified by mail when parts are available for their model, with notifications going
first to the oldest affected units. Customer mailings will begin in May and should
be completed by September.