The second generation 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey was designed to be reliable and family-friendly. They got the usability part right, with power sliding doors, a fold-into-the-floor 3rd row seat, and side airbags. Unfortunately, the reliability bit wasn’t as well executed, because many owners experienced complete transmission failure due to faulty components used in the Honda B7XA 4-speed automatic, and Honda BYBA 5-speed automatic transmissions.
Honda claimed the faulty transmission parts were manufactured by outside suppliers. “Obviously, these components were not made to specification,” Honda spokesman Mike Spencer said. He went on to explain that Honda engineers had identified the root of the problems a few months prior, and have since redesigned the transmissions. “The four-speed models were afflicted with a bad bearing that could break apart, scattering fragments of metal that clogged fluid passageways in the transmission, causing it to shift erratically”.
Regarding the later 5-speed BYBA transmission problems, Spencer stated “The five-speed models typically were damaged by premature wear of the third-gear clutch pack. As the clutch friction material abraded, it scattered bits inside the transmission case, clogging fluid lines and causing erratic shifting. Drivers might suffer slipping, poor or no shifts, or sudden down-shifts from 5th gear to 2nd gear”.
But wait, there’s more! In certain situations, a second 5-speed BYBA transmission problem can arise, in which case 2nd gear itself would overheat and break. If this happens, the transmission would completely lockup, and your Odyssey will come to a sudden halt.
Does something seem wrong with your Odyssey? Let’s look at some of the most common Odyssey transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your van back on the road.
2004 Honda Transmission Recall
Back in 2004, Honda was forced to admit there was a problem, and recalled some 1.1 million vehicles, at a cost of $153 million dollars.
The recalled Honda models included:
- 2002–04 Odyssey
- 2003–04 Pilot
- 2001–02 Acura MDX
- 2003–04 Accord V–6
- 2000–04 Acura 3.2 TL
- 2001–03 Acura 3.2 CL
2006 Honda Transmission Class Action Settlement
Honda settled a class-action lawsuit over the matter in 2006, where they were accused of misleading consumers by selling them vehicles with defective transmissions. Naturally, Honda denied the charges, and settled so they wouldn’t have to admit there was actually a defect.
1999–2001 Honda Odyssey owners that were covered by the lawsuit were given an extension to their transmission warranty from the date they first purchased the van, which amounted to 93 months/109,000 miles (whichever comes first). The plaintiff’s lawyers also got nearly $5.5 million, plus expenses. However, a majority of the Odyssey’s covered by the lawsuit had already exceeded the time/mileage limits of the extended warranty. So these owners were forced to pay the $2,000-$4,000 repair bills themselves.
Honda Odyssey Recalls
Recall ID – Honda: P30 / NHTSA: 04V176000 – 2002-2004 Odyssey
After numerous customer complaints, Honda recalled the 2002-2004 Odyssey because certain operating conditions can cause the transmission to overheat. If this happens, extreme heat buildup between the countershaft and secondary shaft second gears, could result in broken gear teeth or complete gear failure.
If the internal components heat up to the point that the 2nd gear breaks, the transmission could lockup, bringing your minivan to a sudden halt, and possibly cause you to loose control.
On vehicles with less than 15,000 miles, Honda dealers were instructed to modify the oil cooler return line so that it provided more lubrication to the second gear. For vehicles with over 15,000 miles, dealers would look for discoloration on the gears, which signaled that overheating had already occurred. If overheating damage was found, the entire transmission would have been replaced. If no damage was found, the dealer would have simply modified the oil cooler line. Owners can contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009 (refer to Honda Odyssey recall P30). Or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall 04V176000). This recall was issued on April 21, 2004
Recall ID – Honda: S73 / NHTSA: 12V573000 – 2003-2004 Odyssey
On certain Odyssey vans, the interlock lever inside the ignition switch may become deformed, allowing the ignition key to be removed without the gear selector being in the Park position.
If the ignition key is removed before the transmission is shifted into Park, the Odyssey could rollaway unexpectedly, increasing the risk of injury or property damage.
Dealers were instructed to install an updated shift interlock lever, or an entirely new ignition switch. Owners can contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009 (refer to Odyssey recall S73). Or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall 12V573000). This recall began on Issued February 7, 2013
Honda Odyssey Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)
2011-2012 Odyssey – TSB 12-064 / 10046880
A software issue can cause a slight hesitation, a surge, or a judder as the transmission shifts into 2nd, 3rd, or 4th gears.
To correct this issue, the PGM-FI software will have to be updated to the latest version, and the ATF will have to be changed as well.
What Transmission Does a Honda Odyssey Have?
How to Diagnose & Fix
- Check the OBD Codes
- Check the fluid level
- Test transmission pressure
- Drop the transmission pan
- Repair, replace or rebuild
What to Read Next
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Over to You
What Problem Does Your Odyssey Have?
Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!