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1999-03 Acura TL’s and CL’s Pattern Failurers

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Common Problems/Pattern Failures 1999-03 Acura TL’s and CL’s Pattern Failurers

This topic contains 20 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Jake F Jake F 8 months ago.

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  • #586820
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    These cars had a laundry list of failures. In fact, they get my vote as the worst Honda’s ever made. Here’s some of the issues I recall from these vehicles.

    Transmissions. These go out wholesale. If you haven’t had yours replaced yet, plan on it. Also, don’t think if you’ve had yours replaced you’re safe. I’ve seen these transmissions fail multiple times. They did extend the warranty period, but at this point I would think most of them are out of that period. If you wonder if your’s is covered, contact American Honda with your VIN.

    These cars warp front brake rotors like it’s going out of style. In fact, I’ve often suggested to customers that they upgrade to slotted rotors to help eliminate the problem.

    Front wheel bearings are also a common failure.

    Coolant leak in the crossover passage that runs along the back of the engine above the transmission. This is an easy fix with a couple of gaskets.

    EGR passages clogging. Although they changed the design during the model run, it still continued to have issues. Sometimes this problem shows up as a misfire code.

    Timing belt tensioners. If you have the ‘grenade pin’ type of tensioner, replace it when doing a timing belt. They have a high failure rate and when they go, they can cause the belt to jump time.

    Serpentine belt tensioners. This is less common but should be checked when doing a timing belt.

    Struts. Once again less common but they seemed to fail more than pervious year Acuras and Hondas. Look for leakage from the strut to confirm failure.

    Heated seat elements are also a common failure. BTW, the passenger seat does not have an upper lumbar heating element. This is because of the SRS sensor that’s placed there.

    CD changers and radios. I think we were replacing these weekly.

    Rear view mirrors. If you have one of these car’s you probably already know this. That said, be VERY careful during replacement. It’s very easy to crack the windshield when replacing this component.

    Window regulators. This is a common failure on a lot of Honda’s if I’m honest. You can help extend their life by not using the power window’s if the window is frozen shut. This overstresses the mechanism and can cause it to fail early.

    Hood switches for the security system. This can sometimes cause the security system to go off at random times. To verify this all you need to do is unplug the switch. If the problem goes away, you’re good. The computer won’t know that you’ve unplugged the sensor. However if someone tries to break into the engine compartment the security system will not activate if it’s unplugged.

    Outside temperature sensors. These can cause inaccurate readings of the outside temperature. You can also adjust these a few degrees up or down. I honestly don’t remember the procedure though. See if you can dig up the service manual for that. In fact, it might even be in the owners manual.

    One last note. These cars are VERY sensitive to the tires you put on them. If you use anything but Michelin, you’ll likely experience excessive road noise and uneven wear.

    Those are the ones I can think of for now. If I remember more, I’ll add to the thread later.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #630729
    César Morgan
    César Morgan
    Participant

    I have a question… In fact, I just posted a new topic about it, but in the case of the 97 2.2 CL… will some, if not all, of these issues apply to that vintage? I see you specified 1999-2003, but 97 is pretty close, and I’m worried about it.

    #630758
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”TheXDS” post=111978]I have a question… In fact, I just posted a new topic about it, but in the case of the 97 2.2 CL… will some, if not all, of these issues apply to that vintage? I see you specified 1999-2003, but 97 is pretty close, and I’m worried about it.[/quote]

    Not at all. Just the vehicles mentioned are the ones that had these issues. The 2.2 CL is really just a rebadged Accord of the same vintage. Those were very reliable vehicles.

    #664071

    yeah just bought an 00 Accord put 80 miles on it and lost 1st- 3rd and rev at a red light. I started to pull the trans and dumped over a quart of engine oil out of the bell housing where the guy had used caulk to seal it in from the main seal leak. :pinch: Wish I had read this post first, LOL.

    #666155
    Erin
    Erin
    Participant

    my brother wanted to sell me his 01 TL. I ended up buying a 97 CL instead, which turned out to be the worst POS I ever owned, but it had way high mileage and had been wrecked and fixed at some point.

    It had front-end noises I could not locate and plus the trans finally crapped out. Sold it for scrap, never looked back.

    Glad I didn’t buy my brother’s TL or I woulda been out $3000 instead of $2000.

    #836475
    Don Radvan
    Don Radvan
    Participant

    Two more things to add to your list.

    Ignition switch. This had a recall in 1999 and the replacements still break.

    Odometer backlight. This dims and dies. You need to replace a circuit board on the back of the cluster known as “Print Panel” part no. 78147-SOK-A01. I fixed mine by replacing the 2 D1947A transistors on the board. $2 vs $40+

    BTW, the 1999 has the more robust 4 speed auto. I agree about the Bose stereo. Every TL I have seen from this era seems to have an aftermarket unit in it.

    PS: One more item… engine mounts. I have seen a few TL owners complain about needing new engine mounts after about 150K miles.

    #847770
    Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    [quote=”random” post=144035]Two more things to add to your list.
    PS: One more item… engine mounts. I have seen a few TL owners complain about needing new engine mounts after about 150K miles.[/quote]

    I just sold a 2003 TL (type-s) after 12 years of ownership. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge was the motor and transmission mounts needing replacement at 140,000 in addition to transmission #2 (an ‘updated’ unit put in sometime during 2007; the original somehow survived a years) finally approaching death. I managed to tick off about 60% of the items on this list over the years, but kept it chugging along since it was a very engaging vehicle to drive.

    I’d like to add one thing to the list. Myself and a couple other 2nd generation TL owners I know had the passenger’s seat SRS sensor fail. In my case, the SRS light would stay off after a reset until somebody sat in the seat or the Honda gods failed to receive their daily quota of transmission sacrifices.

    #847791
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”Hesphos” post=155295][quote=”random” post=144035]Two more things to add to your list.
    PS: One more item… engine mounts. I have seen a few TL owners complain about needing new engine mounts after about 150K miles.[/quote]

    I just sold a 2003 TL (type-s) after 12 years of ownership. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge was the motor and transmission mounts needing replacement at 140,000 in addition to transmission #2 (an ‘updated’ unit put in sometime during 2007; the original somehow survived a years) finally approaching death. I managed to tick off about 60% of the items on this list over the years, but kept it chugging along since it was a very engaging vehicle to drive.

    I’d like to add one thing to the list. Myself and a couple other 2nd generation TL owners I know had the passenger’s seat SRS sensor fail. In my case, the SRS light would stay off after a reset until somebody sat in the seat or the Honda gods failed to receive their daily quota of transmission sacrifices.[/quote]

    Yes, I missed that one. The sensors in the SRS sensors in the passenger seat were also a common failure. You have to remove the outer covering and replace the sensors on the seat pads. It’s a real PITA, but I learned plenty about upholstery doing those replacements. Thanks for the reminder.

    #853749
    Greg
    Greg
    Participant

    As the owner of a 2002 TL Type S with 203,000 miles, I can confirm most of these issues. The vast majority are not a big issue IMO except for the transmission and the pulsating brakes. My thoughts below in regard to mitigating these issues below (FYI I plan to keep this car unit it can’t run any more):

    [quote=”EricTheCarGuy” post=90896]
    Transmissions. These go out wholesale.
    [/quote]

    I bought my TL used with around 50K miles, the tranny had been replaced before I bought it, and luckily it appears to be a post-2005 (blue bolts w/NO oil jet kit installed). It has taken me to 203K miles, unfortunately I think I feel some issues developing though. What most people are doing is putting in a transmission from a 2006 or 2007 Honda Accord. They are almost a direct replacement with a couple parts that need to be swapped (gear range switch & trans fluid warmer). This will most likely solve the tranny issue for the life of the car. Tranny can be obtained for around $700 – $1000. Look up “AV6 Swap” on Acurazine.

    These cars warp front brake rotors like it’s going out of style. In fact, I’ve often suggested to customers that they upgrade to slotted rotors to help eliminate the problem.

    Slotted rotors didn’t help me, but being tenacious about torquing lug nuts exactly to spec has helped. It took me a while to figure out my brakes started pulsating shortly after either getting new tires or getting my tires rotated. I would then put up with it until it got so bad I would put new rotors on. Now I re-torque the lug nuts every time someone else has removed the wheels. I torque them with the car slightly jacked up, and first torque all nuts to 40 lb-ft, then 60, then 80. I use StopTech rotors (not slotted or drilled).

    EGR passages clogging. Although they changed the design during the model run, it still continued to have issues. Sometimes this problem shows up as a misfire code.

    I finally opened the top of the intake manifold when I did my timing belt service @ 200K, and everything was clogged. This should probably be done every 50K, it was a bit of work to clean mine after waiting so long.

    Heated seat elements are also a common failure. BTW, the passenger seat does not have an upper lumbar heating element. This is because of the SRS sensor that’s placed there.

    The seat design crimps the heating element against a metal rod in the leather, which eventually wears and then burns out. This can be fixed by soldering in a piece of wire in place of the burned out area (two spots in the seat cushion, and another two spots in the lower seat back).

    Myself and a couple other 2nd generation TL owners I know had the passenger’s seat SRS sensor fail.

    Same here, if you check the TSB regarding this, it is most often the OPDS module due to a defect in manufacturing, not the sensor in the seat back. The recommended procedure is to replace the module with the updated part, and if the codes continue, then replace the sensor.

    One other note – do not go cheap on the engine mounts. I tried the cheapo set of all five mounts for $120 (DEA is a typical brand for this set) and now have quite a bit of vibration at idle. I’m considering swapping with OEM mounts despite the higher price.

    #854127
    Carmen
    Carmen
    Participant

    As stated above I think it’s also worth noting that Acura and Honda ran a campaign beginning sometime in early 2005 that featured a casing redesign for these transmissions. A tell tale sign that the vehicle has the updated transmission is the blue bolts on the transmission itself.

    Buyer beware: just because you have the updated design doesn’t mean your transmission is any less likely to fail.

    #854170
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”Yoyo” post=161596]As stated above I think it’s also worth noting that Acura and Honda ran a campaign beginning sometime in early 2005 that featured a casing redesign for these transmissions. A tell tale sign that the vehicle has the updated transmission is the blue bolts on the transmission itself.

    Buyer beware: just because you have the updated design doesn’t mean your transmission is any less likely to fail.[/quote]

    Agreed. These transmissions were an issue up through at least 08 if I recall.

    #854346
    Greg
    Greg
    Participant

    One more thing I think is fairly common (Eric, would be nice to get your experience with this) is the ball joint on the upper arm for the wiper blades detaches and the wipers flop around pretty badly.

    #866064
    Christian
    Christian
    Participant

    [quote=”EricTheCarGuy” post=90896]
    Transmissions.
    These cars warp front brake rotors
    Front wheel bearings
    Coolant leak in the crossover passage that runs along the back of the engine above the transmission. This is an easy fix with a couple of gaskets.
    EGR passages clogging.
    Timing belt tensioners.
    Serpentine belt tensioners. This is less common but should be checked when doing a timing belt.
    Struts.
    Heated seat elements are also a common failure. BTW, the passenger seat does not have an upper lumbar heating element. This is because of the SRS sensor that’s placed there.
    CD changers and radios. I think we were replacing these weekly.
    Rear view mirrors.
    Window regulators.
    Hood switches for the security system
    Outside temperature sensors.
    These cars are VERY sensitive to the tires you put on them[/quote]
    How many of these are also issues on the USDM 98-02 4cyl Accord?
    I know the accord does not have heated seats and the outside air temp sensor only applies if you have the automagic climate controls.

    #866415
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”FluxBacon” post=173444][quote=”EricTheCarGuy” post=90896]
    Transmissions.
    These cars warp front brake rotors
    Front wheel bearings
    Coolant leak in the crossover passage that runs along the back of the engine above the transmission. This is an easy fix with a couple of gaskets.
    EGR passages clogging.
    Timing belt tensioners.
    Serpentine belt tensioners. This is less common but should be checked when doing a timing belt.
    Struts.
    Heated seat elements are also a common failure. BTW, the passenger seat does not have an upper lumbar heating element. This is because of the SRS sensor that’s placed there.
    CD changers and radios. I think we were replacing these weekly.
    Rear view mirrors.
    Window regulators.
    Hood switches for the security system
    Outside temperature sensors.
    These cars are VERY sensitive to the tires you put on them[/quote]
    How many of these are also issues on the USDM 98-02 4cyl Accord?
    I know the accord does not have heated seats and the outside air temp sensor only applies if you have the automagic climate controls.[/quote]

    It was the 6 cylinders that were plagued with problems, not the 4 cylinder models.

    #870749
    Sam
    Sam
    Participant

    Specific to the 99TL here. P0401 EGR insufficient flow!!!

    Normally just remove the phylum and spread cleaner into the port and maybe stick something in there to dig the carbon out.

    #870801

    Sounds just like V-Tec module maintenance needed every 20k or so 😉

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