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Hookmaster

Honda Odyssey Maintenance - Transmission Fluid and Radiator Flush

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2003 Honda Odyssey

In the manual it says to change the transmission fluid this way:

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill.

Is there a better way to do this? What about changing the filter? It says to fill through the dipstick, is there another way? Should I add anything other than the transmission fluid? It says to use Honda brand but Dexron III is OK, for awhile.

For changing the anti-freeze it says to drain the radiator and the block and refill, run, let cool and top off. How hard is it to get to the drain on the engine block? Should I add any stop leak as a preventive action? Don't new cars come with a stop leak? What brand, Bar's? Do I need to flush the radiator with any other chemicals?

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The easier way is to have the transmission flushed at a shop. Most shops will have a transflush machine that will replace 99% of the trans fluid. Specifically request them to not add the flush chemicals!

As far as the filter, if its the trans I'm thinking of there is a filter on the top of the trans that kind of looks like a fuel filter. One end threads into the trans and then an oil line fits into the other.

If you do it yourself use the Honda fluid. Regular ATF should only be used to top off when Honda fluid is not available. Shops will use either Honda fluid at your request, or like our shops, use a product called versatrans which covers a large number of manufacturers fluid specs. To date after using this product for a few years we have not had any issues with it.

Yes the dipstick tube is small and no there is not another place to fill that I am aware of.

Depending on where you are you can expect the transflush to run from around $89 on up. More than likely the upper side because of the fluid.

As far as the coolant again the shop is the easier route. There equipment will get a good majority of the fluid exchanged with clean fluid. Much better than you will be able to do in the driveway. Not to mention the mess and having to dispose of the old coolant. A coolant flush will typically start at around $49 and go up from there.

If you end up doing it yourself I would not recommend using a "stop leak" product. Hondas use some pretty small passages around the throttle body that can have issues with stop leak products.

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If you are not having transmission problems there is no need to flush the trans fluid, a drain and fill once will do. As far as re-filling the trans there is a 17mm headed plug on the top of the transmission look straight down between the intake hose and brake master cylinder. You will need a breaker bar and extension to remove it. As far as a filter is concerned if the transmission has no issues don't worry about the filter. I must stress the use of honda atf only. Not detract from airjers recommendations of versatrans it may be fine but I have had many many a Honda come into the dealer with a transmission shift issue and customer stating I just had my trans fluid replaced. Just my recommendation.

As far as the coolant if you are following the maintenance schedule a drain and fill of the radiator will do no you will not replace all the coolant but if you follow the schedule there is no need as it will be done often enough.

And as airjer said do not use stop leaks of any kind ever even if you have a leak. The removal of said stop leak may exceed the repair needed to fix the leak.

Good Luck!!

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Don't get me wrong I prefer to use the O.E. lubricants. I have called Kendall many times to get information on vehicle coverage and was leery when we first started using it. We have had no problems using it in appropriate applications. Whenever possible definitely use the O.E. recommended fluid!

Most of the vehicles that we flush have fluid that looks like tar so at that point drain and fills are not really an option. I have replaced one Honda transmission filter that I can recall so I would agree that its really not that big of an issue. Honda trannies are pretty tough and will usually keep pace with the motors.

I would bet the Hondas with the shift issues had Dexron in them?

Now that you mention it Norm I do recall adding fluid to one a while back (its not that common) and the fill plug rings a bell. Seems like it was a bear to get loose!!!!

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I have a Odyssey and contacted two different Honda dealers to get a quote on doing the scheduled tranny maintenance. The puzzling thing is that I got two different answers on the way they perform this maintenance and insisted that it was the correct way.

(1) Berkle Honda - said they do a "flush" as airjet describes for the same reasons stated.

(2) Hopkins Honda - said that they recommend just a drain and refill. Explicitly said they don't recommend a flush because it may cause contaminents that settle in the bottom to get stirred up into the tranny which is not what you want do.

So being very confused ... I went with the drain and fill. It was a little cheaper. Couple months later, a oil change place told me I need a tranny fluid change because it looked dirty. I confirmed that it did look dirty (based on my untrained eye). I don't tow or drive in poor conditions, so I assume that this is from the method used to replace the fluid by Hopkins, or they just did not do it.

** Sorry for the long story, but given the conflicting Honda Shop recommendation - does anyone know the official Honda recommendation on method for doing the tranny fluid service?

Thanks.

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From my first post, the manual says to:

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill, drive a short distance;

drain the fluid in the pan, refill.

I'd call Hopkins Honda and ask them how many times they drained the pan.

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Drain and fill every 30k and don't worry about it. If you have not kept up with the maintenance then you should do the flush procedure. Honda ATF-Z1 does not smell like normal transmission fluids you are most likely used to and is quite a bit darker. So that being said the drain and fill is adequate if the maintenance is done at the correct intervals. By the way follow the severe schedule for fluids.

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