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Old 08-09-2017, 05:58 PM   #1
Chitowndude
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Default Transmission Question

Today, I took my 1992 Acura Legend LS 4 door with 72,000 miles on it (city driving only) to my trusted Chicago mechanic for a thorough going over for a cross country drive. He and another mechanic called me shortly after I dropped it off and noted "harsh shifting" in the automatic transmission. He said the transmission is likely to give out very soon and that I should unload this car as soon as possible. Here's the thing, though: I've never noticed a transmission/shifting issue. OK, I'm not a car geek/buff nor do I do my own car repairs except lights and stuff, but I really didn't feel a major problem. Also, the RPM doesn't go jumping all over the place. It seems to drive like it always has. Then again, when you drive something for 25 years, maybe it just is something I don't notice, but others in the car have never commented on any shifting issues when they're in it.

So I went online and read that Acuras in general shift "more hard" as a result of their performance roots. The thing is, this is a highly regarded mechanic who talked me out of probably at least $1000 of maintenance repairs to send me to Carmax (or the like) to sell it ASAP. I'm looking at trying to get another opinion, either at an Acura dealership or another local shop. Any thoughts? How does one know if the Acura's transmission is about to go? I keep on top of maintenance and fluids, BTW.
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Old 08-10-2017, 12:18 AM   #2
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Have you checked the level on the dipstick? (Normal operating temperature and ENGINE OFF)
You have very few miles how often are you changing the fluid?

From the Owner's manual pg. 159:
The transmission should be drained and refilled with new fluid every 24 months or 48,000 km (30,000 miles), whichever comes first.
Does it clunk when you put it into D4 and R?
What AT fluid are you using?

I have 196K on my original transmission shift from 1->2 gives a jolt on mine; my Honda mechanic pretty much puts DW-1 in all Honda/Acura cars. I am going to try Castrol Import Transmax or Idemitsu Type H (Z-1 manf.)

Let us know what you find out. Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:18 AM   #3
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First, I don't think your mechanics know anything about Legends. My experience is that Legends shift harder than most other cars.

Second, for the sake of argument, suppose they are correct. How much will it cost to either rebuild or replace the transmission?

How much do you like your car?

How many miles per year do you drive, and if you add in the cost of a transmission repair to all your operating costs, and divide those costs by the number of miles you drive annually, what will it cost you for each mile driven? Now compare that to the cost per mile for a new car.

Mechanics are used to dealing with people who are blinded by blue book value and don't understand that you can spend more than that and still come out ahead on mileage cost.

-Kennon
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chitowndude View Post
He said the transmission is likely to give out very soon and that I should unload this car as soon as possible. Here's the thing, though: I've never noticed a transmission/shifting issue. The thing is, this is a highly regarded mechanic who talked me out of probably at least $1000 of maintenance repairs to send me to Carmax (or the like) to sell it ASAP. .

Did he change fluid using a Z-1 equivalent (NO DW1)? Did he clean/inspect/replace the tranny screen? Did he check the rear tranny mount?

G2 Legend auto tranny's shift harder. That's the way they are built.

Not sure that your mechanic is a Legend expert.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:55 PM   #5
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Default Thank you!!

First off, thanks for your input. Here's the scoop so far:

Background: 1992 Acura Legend LS 71,000 miles. I live downtown in Chicago and drive so rarely that I had to put a battery disconnect switch in the car when I park it in my garage. So, minimal miles get put on it. Maybe 2,000/year.

However, I plan on a couple of cross country trips. In 2011, I had a good mechanic do about $3200 worth of sparks, belts, tuneup, etc that hadn't really been done for the prior 10 years. In 2014, the same mechanic did another full eval and tune up, for about $400 since nothing more needed to be done.

Since then, I've done a back and forth drive to South Carolina with the car HEAVILY laden, and it did just fine.

Now, I'm looking at driving it to California. So I wanted to make sure it was maximally 'tuned'. It handles fine, still around 18-20 mpg, no noises, and nothing really remarkable when I drive it.

Hence my surprise when a mechanic I know and trust told me to ditch the car because he didn't like how the automatic transmission shifted. So today I took it to another mechanic my family trusts...he said the transmission fluid was clear and pink, and there are absolutely no leaks along the transmission. HE felt that the 25 year old catalytic converter MAY be starting to get clogged, but he also felt that until the check engine light goes on, it doesn't yet need to be replaced. HE advised on principle that my 25 year old struts be replaced, even though it still handles pretty well.

THEN, I took it to an Acura dealership, known to be a little heavy-handed when it comes to making repair recommendations. They said it drove fine, and they'd recommend an engine tune up the next time I need an oil change, but that's it.

So I've got one more mechanic to check with tomorrow, another trusted source.

I like the car. It's reliable, after 25 years I know it's not a lemon (grin), and I like the way it handles. It's got scrapes and dings, but the guys at the Acura dealership were in awe of seeing an Acura Legend. I want to keep it going until it really is on its last legs. To me, a car is a tool, and I just want it running reliably and safely.

Soooo, with all the above said, what do y'all think should be done for what seems to be a perfectly functioning 1992 Acura Legends LS with 71k miles on it and no major work done on it except replacing sparks? Should a catalytic converter be prophylactically replaced after 25 years if no engine light is on? What about preventatively replacing 25 year old struts if the car handles fine?

Really appreciate all the input!!!! Thank you guys!
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:51 AM   #6
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Hey I'm in Chicago suburbs, Palatine. Be more than happy to look at it for you.

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Old 08-11-2017, 10:53 AM   #7
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Default Drive to California, you are good to go...

These cars Auto Trannys shift hard, especially from 1st -->2nd gear. if the Acura dealership said you are good to go, then you are good to go. The stealership would tell you if something was truly wrong, believe me. I'm surprised they didn't give you a laundry list of things they could repair or replace at thousands of dollars. LOL. Also, I wouldn't bother replacing the struts just on principle, as long as you feel everything is tight and it handles fine to you. it's just not worth the expense, especially if you are not going to do the work yourself. So on that note, enjoy your Legend and trip to Cali !! EDIT, Matt is near you. Go have your car checked out by this man. Make him your last and only stop and truly put your concerns to rest. He knows Legends, like no one else. I can personally vouch for him as well as anyone on this forum. Good Luck !!

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Old 08-11-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chitowndude View Post
. In 2011, I had a good mechanic do about $3200 worth of sparks, belts, tuneup, etc that hadn't really been done for the prior 10 years. !
I'd say that mechanic took you for a ride.......Spark plugs, belts for $3200.

Has the transmission ever been properly serviced? If not, I'd have that done before you go to Cali. Fluid changed AND screen checked.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:22 PM   #9
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Default First off, thanks..

Action, so you know, there was a bunch of the exhaust system that was replaced with that $3200 job, and some fuel line work. I just didn't list everything.

So, one last bit of follow up. I went to yet another mechanic I trust...same thing. Everything is fine, except it rides hard over bumps, so he recommended replacing the struts if I planned to keep the car another 10 years. It wasn't a safety issue for the Cali trip, just a matter of comfort and protecting whatever stuff might be carried in the car.

My impression is the car shifts like it always has, but you do feel every bump you go over in it, more than when I first got it 25 years ago. The strut thing seems right. The second guy who advised this said he couldn't do it, because he couldn't get the high end Monroe struts through his suppliers, but the other mechanic can get the lifetime warranty Monroes, so I'll have them put in.

One thing I didn't know...today's mechanic mentioned that the VIN in my car starts with a J, meaning it was made in Japan, and probably explains why it's still going strong. That was news to me.

Thanks to everyone for their input.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:27 PM   #10
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Default Also, Matt

Matt, thank you for the offer to look at the car. Having now been to 4 mechanics, three of whom say there's absolutely nothing wrong with the transmission, and two of whom confirm my impression that it rides hard over bumps (?I wonder if the first mechanic mistook a bump in the road for shifting between 1st and 2nd? Not very savvy if he did...), I'm just going to get the struts done and nothing more. I appreciate your offer to look at it, but based on what everyone here says and what the 3 other mechanics noted, I'm pretty comfortable with this approach.

Although, the first reliable mechanic I saw who drove the car and then put it up noted that the catalytic converter was very hot at the front AND back. He told me technically it should be fine if no warning lights are on, but an early sign of it getting clogged is it being just as hot on the front end of the cat as as the back end. What do you think?

Again, thanks for everything.
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