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Ok I had the same car. It's the luck of the draw. Some people get one with a good automatic transmission (AT), others like me get the shaft (no pun intended). I don't want to scare you but it sounds like the bands are slipping, not bad but it's worth paying attention to. Since the car was given to you, I'd be prepared to save up for an eventual replacement for the AT. Ideally, a really good tranny shop can rebuild it with an exterior cooler. Or you can search for a low mileage used 05 AT, which is what I did. The good news is the rest of that model Accord, engine, interior, steering, suspension, you name it, is really good stuff and shouldn't be problematic. In closing FYI let the grouchy members be grouchy 'cause they really know their stuff.
 
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Maxlife is what I'm running also. I don't recommend Maxlife because the trans is dropping out of gear even at rest. No fluid is going to save the trans if it's on its way out. But it doesn't hurt to try. The price to try is between $200 to $300 if you decide to change the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches, plugs filter change, plus fluid changes. I tried Maxlife before it went for a rebuild due to torque converter clutch wear, Maxlife did not help.
 

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Maxlife is what I'm running also. I don't recommend Maxlife because the trans is dropping out of gear even at rest. No fluid is going to save the trans if it's on its way out. But it doesn't hurt to try. The price to try is between $200 to $300 if you decide to change the 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches, plugs filter change, plus fluid changes. I tried Maxlife before it went for a rebuild due to torque converter clutch wear, Maxlife did not help.
Unless the previous owner over heated the transmission and just drove this car like a maniac and you got shiny metal shaving on the magnet or the fluid is black syrup from all the clutch material.., this transmission will be good for another 100k+.
The slipping will go away with a $54 investment at Wal-Mart on 3 jugs of Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF to do a 3 x drain and fill. Drive 10 miles or so after the 1st, then drive 100 miles or a week after the 2nd. Then do a 3rd.
You can thank me later.
For further preventative maintenance it would be good to replace the inline transmission filter. Its likely deteriorating due to age.
 

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03 to 05 V6 trans have serious issues if you don't know already, with the 3rd gear not getting enough fluid for lubrication and a recall was done on that with a retrofitted metal pipe to reroute and spray fluid on top of the 3rd gear. That's why there was an update in the year 2006 for a revised V6 transmission. If OP's car didn't get that done then it explains the issues he is having. Then there is also the valve body issue that causes the torque converter to overheat. This trans' torque converter overheats itself from a design defect. If you've never driven this gen's Accord and know its quirks, then a general suggestion doesn't always work. Been there and done that and had my trans rebuilt at 275k with an external cooler, still overheated. Valve body needs to be upgraded to cure the overheating issue. The valve body seeps fluid instead of channeling through to cool the converter which causes its external body to scrape against the case, in severe cases, the torque converter turns blue. No fluid with little FM can help. You can prolong its life but the root issue isn't fixed. But using fluid with too little FM can cause this trans to flare during shifts.
 

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03 to 05 V6 trans have serious issues if you don't know already, with the 3rd gear not getting enough fluid for lubrication and a recall was done on that with a retrofitted metal pipe to reroute and spray fluid on top of the 3rd gear. That's why there was an update in the year 2006 for a revised V6 transmission. If OP's car didn't get that done then it explains the issues he is having. Then there is also the valve body issue that causes the torque converter to overheat. This trans' torque converter overheats itself from a design defect. If you've never driven this gen's Accord and know its quirks, then a general suggestion doesn't always work. Been there and done that and had my trans rebuilt at 275k with an external cooler, still overheated. Valve body needs to be upgraded to cure the overheating issue. The valve body seeps fluid instead of channeling through to cool the converter which causes its external body to scrape against the case, in severe cases, the torque converter turns blue. No fluid with little FM can help. You can prolong its life but the root issue isn't fixed. But using fluid with too little FM can cause this trans to flare during shifts.
Quite possibly this transmission has a defect. I would expect to see evidence of a damaged fail transmission when I drained the fluid. My opinions are based on old transmission fluid clogging fluid passages. In comment # 8, the OP said the fluid had never been changed. I would assume there would be a check engine light with transmission codes proving failure?
Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF has stopped my transmission flares. Never caused them.
 

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If clutch material is clogging passages then there is internal issue already or fluid wasn't changed frequently enough. I had no clutch material on clutch pressure solenoids when I inspected them at 200k plus miles and cleaning those is a futile attempt to fix anything. And I used DW-1 all of my trans' life until 275k miles with 3x3 drain every 15k miles, that meant every year I did that. DW-1 does not cause more wear than Maxlife, although Z-1 fluid did. You just have to change the fluid at least once a year. Maxlife isn't a magic fluid, it's a fluid with less friction modifier that might or might not fix clutch slippage. I was on the verge of using Lubegard red which was another friction modifier but the effect of that is per fluid change and only gets you by until you change the fluid again. No fluid is going to fix the physical clutch wear if the wear is severe enough. It's like putting on high friction gripping shoes on a pair of broken legs. So if the poster's parents followed the original Honda recommendation of fluid change every 60k miles, then the transmission might be on its way out already. I came from the first very crappy 98 V6 trans that it was shuddering severely when I got rid of it at 190k miles, that was when I developed my habit of changing trans fluid every 15k miles. When I did my trans rebuild at the shop at 275k miles, the shop was full of Honda Odysseys and Pilots with bad trans at just over 100k miles because fluid change wasn't done frequently enough according to the technicians. The demise of my previous torque converter clutch was due to lots of low speed city driving allowing TCC to engage as soon as I hit the 2nd gear. One must drive this car in D3 until you hit 36mph if you want TCC to last, especially if you drive in the city a lot. Frequent fluid change is the key, just don't use Redline D series racing fluid, known to cause shift flaring in these trans because there is nearly no friction modifier in the fluid. If you don't want to do frequent fluid changes, then install an external cooler to minimize the fluid's degradation rate due to heat over 200F. I have a cooler and the trans does not act up, no matter what fluid I use.

Honda trans does not throw a code until something serious already happened, such as a stuck open/close solenoid or a sensor noting there isn't enough clutch pressure detected via a hydraulic fluid channel. Physical clutch wear does not always throw a code. The infamous D0740 pretty much means "don't drive it the trans is dead and go spend $2000 for rebuild." I had no code when the TCC clutch was worn to the point of slippage, whenever I drove, the clutch was slipping with a "wavey" power delivery feeling on the streets, momentum came and went as the clutch packs slipped and grabbed.

If you don't know already, this is the valve body defect I'm referring to. Fluid seeping through and not cooling the torque converter. It must be fixed by updating to larger hydraulic channel plungers. This is the reason that the trans overheats and the reason that fluid degrades at a faster rate than usual, and why fluid changes must be frequent. I had this issue fixed using Translab shift kit during my last rebuild.
 

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2003 Accord V6 EX Coupe
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Discussion Starter #27
03 to 05 V6 trans have serious issues if you don't know already, with the 3rd gear not getting enough fluid for lubrication and a recall was done on that with a retrofitted metal pipe to reroute and spray fluid on top of the 3rd gear. That's why there was an update in the year 2006 for a revised V6 transmission. If OP's car didn't get that done then it explains the issues he is having. Then there is also the valve body issue that causes the torque converter to overheat. This trans' torque converter overheats itself from a design defect. If you've never driven this gen's Accord and know its quirks, then a general suggestion doesn't always work. Been there and done that and had my trans rebuilt at 275k with an external cooler, still overheated. Valve body needs to be upgraded to cure the overheating issue. The valve body seeps fluid instead of channeling through to cool the converter which causes its external body to scrape against the case, in severe cases, the torque converter turns blue. No fluid with little FM can help. You can prolong its life but the root issue isn't fixed. But using fluid with too little FM can cause this trans to flare during shifts.
yeah I was told about that recall and the dealership ran my VIN and said it didn't apply to my vehicle
 

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If clutch material is clogging passages then there is internal issue already or fluid wasn't changed frequently enough. I had no clutch material on clutch pressure solenoids when I inspected them at 200k plus miles and cleaning those is a futile attempt to fix anything. And I used DW-1 all of my trans' life until 275k miles with 3x3 drain every 15k miles, that meant every year I did that. DW-1 does not cause more wear than Maxlife, although Z-1 fluid did. You just have to change the fluid at least once a year. Maxlife isn't a magic fluid, it's a fluid with less friction modifier that might or might not fix clutch slippage. I was on the verge of using Lubegard red which was another friction modifier but the effect of that is per fluid change and only gets you by until you change the fluid again. No fluid is going to fix the physical clutch wear if the wear is severe enough. It's like putting on high friction gripping shoes on a pair of broken legs. So if the poster's parents followed the original Honda recommendation of fluid change every 60k miles, then the transmission might be on its way out already. I came from the first very crappy 98 V6 trans that it was shuddering severely when I got rid of it at 190k miles, that was when I developed my habit of changing trans fluid every 15k miles. When I did my trans rebuild at the shop at 275k miles, the shop was full of Honda Odysseys and Pilots with bad trans at just over 100k miles because fluid change wasn't done frequently enough according to the technicians. The demise of my previous torque converter clutch was due to lots of low speed city driving allowing TCC to engage as soon as I hit the 2nd gear. One must drive this car in D3 until you hit 36mph if you want TCC to last, especially if you drive in the city a lot. Frequent fluid change is the key, just don't use Redline D series racing fluid, known to cause shift flaring in these trans because there is nearly no friction modifier in the fluid. If you don't want to do frequent fluid changes, then install an external cooler to minimize the fluid's degradation rate due to heat over 200F. I have a cooler and the trans does not act up, no matter what fluid I use.

Honda trans does not throw a code until something serious already happened, such as a stuck open/close solenoid or a sensor noting there isn't enough clutch pressure detected via a hydraulic fluid channel. Physical clutch wear does not always throw a code. The infamous D0740 pretty much means "don't drive it the trans is dead and go spend $2000 for rebuild." I had no code when the TCC clutch was worn to the point of slippage, whenever I drove, the clutch was slipping with a "wavey" power delivery feeling on the streets, momentum came and went as the clutch packs slipped and grabbed.

If you don't know already, this is the valve body defect I'm referring to. Fluid seeping through and not cooling the torque converter. It must be fixed by updating to larger hydraulic channel plungers. This is the reason that the trans overheats and the reason that fluid degrades at a faster rate than usual, and why fluid changes must be frequent. I had this issue fixed using Translab shift kit during my last rebuild.
I'm not trying to minimize your personal experience. I have experiences of my own and am currently living 2.
The OP is at 130k with likely an old mix of Z1 and DW-1. DW-1 will not clean through this transmission like VML will.
Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF is a far superior fluid in many aplications. Especially for vehicles that were originally specd for Z1. If the OP would do just 2 drain and fills with MaxLife, he will have his answer. I would spend $18×3 and $20 for a new filter to try and save or delay a $2500 repair bill.
I'm all for transmission coolers.
 

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yeah I was told about that recall and the dealership ran my VIN and said it didn't apply to my vehicle
Then the clutch packs probably already overheated in the past due to lack of fluid flow. You should inquire whether this can still be done. You can get it done but whether it makes a difference now I cannot say.

Honda TSB 04-037, and oil jet kit needs to be retrofitted onto the transmission, applies only to 2003 and 2004 Accord V6.
 

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I'm not trying to minimize your personal experience. I have experiences of my own and am currently living 2.
The OP is at 130k with likely an old mix of Z1 and DW-1. DW-1 will not clean through this transmission like VML will.
Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF is a far superior fluid in many aplications. Especially for vehicles that were originally specd for Z1. If the OP would do just 2 drain and fills with MaxLife, he will have his answer. I would spend $18×3 and $20 for a new filter to try and save or delay a $2500 repair bill.
I'm all for transmission coolers.
And that's why I said to change the fluid first, doesn't matter what fluid, just change the fluid. Like I said, when the damage is severe enough, no new fluid of any kind will help. My trans slipped also, on Maxlife. It's not a magic elixir. It might or might not work. Up to OP what he'd like to do.

The filter does not make a difference whatsoever, if damage already started. The filter change makes a difference only if it's completely clogged with pasty clutch material, even then the fluid goes into bypass mode around the filter, that's what that spring does inside the filter housing. I also changed the filter, no effect on the worn clutch packs.
 

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new here, first post...

03 V6 AT, 130K. im the second owner (the first was my mother) this car has been meticulously maintained at the dealership cause that's the kinda guy my dad is and its been babied and garaged kept its whole life until it was given to me. I know these trannys have issues, nothing major with mine yet but it does drop out of gear when coming to a stop sometimes so it'll feel like its in neutral when I get back on the gas so I have to stop, shift into N, then back to D and its fine, this happens about twice a month and its daily driven to work. basically Ive read enough to know whats coming and id like to be proactive before it strands me somewhere so....what are my options? id love a manual trans swap but honestly I don't wanna spend the money and id rather it be stock anyway. if I have it rebuilt is there a kit out there that has everything the shop will need? Are there part or kits that will make it stronger and less prone to the issues they have from the factory? I've seen a lot of people recommend a trans cooler but besides that im kinda lost here. any help would be appreciated, thanks

Shawn
First out,, check the color and level. If it's low, find out where it went. Then, as others have suggested, drain and replace fluid and install a inline cooler with a big magnet. Regular fluid changes according to how and where you drive. Don't let anyone do a flush.
 

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Regarding Valvoline MaxLife ATF:

"...it should be noted that MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF is not an OEM licensed product. The respective vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor endorsed MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF..."

I hate to tell you but DW-1 is petroleum based. Not full synthetic.
"Synthetic oils are typically created from chemically modified materials such as petroleum components, but the base material is almost always distilled crude oil."

 

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Regarding Valvoline MaxLife ATF:

"...it should be noted that MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF is not an OEM licensed product. The respective vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor endorsed MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF..."



"Synthetic oils are typically created from chemically modified materials such as petroleum components, but the base material is almost always distilled crude oil."

Literally thousands of Honda vehicles being driven at this very moment with "Full Synthetic" Valvoline MaxLife ATF in the transmissions. I presently own 4 and I know of 3 family members with it in their transmissions. This is not just a recent development, it's been that way for years. Even Honda's I've sold and traded had MaxLife in the transmission. My 5-speed 246k mile Crosstour alone has logged almost 150k miles on MaxLife. I haven't had to replace any parts, transmission related on this vehicle. I don't need an endorsement from Honda. I have my proof and proving it every day.
 

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To get an "endorsement" from Honda would require paying a hefty fee.
 

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I don't care what people use since I don't buy used vehicles. However, it's in one's best interest to use the fluid specified by the manufacturer at least through the warranty period (whether that's the 5/60 powertrain limited warranty or up to 8/120 for Honda Care). :)
 

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However, it's in one's best interest to use the fluid specified by the manufacturer at least through the warranty period (whether that's the 5/60 powertrain limited warranty or up to 8/120 for Honda Care). :)
The 7th gen cars ended production in '07.
Any warranties written or implied by Honda are part of history, now.
 

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I don't care what people use since I don't buy used vehicles. However, it's in one's best interest to use the fluid specified by the manufacturer at least through the warranty period (whether that's the 5/60 powertrain limited warranty or up to 8/120 for Honda Care). :)
Obviously you do care, or you would not have posted. That's a good thing.
Warranties are great until they are gone and your left with the adverse after effects on a vehicle you were planning to keep for 200k miles +, But that's another thread discussion.
 
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