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2015 2.4 vs 3.5 Certified Preowned

 
Old 03-11-2019, 10:22 PM
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2015 2.4 vs 3.5 Certified Preowned

Looking at a 2015 certified preowned TLX. Prefer V6 with SH-AWD. However, hesitant considering transmission issues. Should a certified preowned 3.5 V6 be a safe bet? Anything I should be asking, etc.? I know there is a remaining warranty but would prefer a trouble free car and not have to deal with any issues. Thank you!
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:35 AM
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To me, this is complicated and covered ad nauseam elsewhere if you want to research. The simple answer is the 2.4L I4 with 8DCT is a solid package with few issues (some transmission TSBs, but generally very good).

I wanted the V6 and AWD, hence the reason I bought mine. Knowing what I know now, my opinion is that the 3.5L V6 was not ready for primetime, rushed to market and released with serious bugs/defects. It eventually became a decent car after some warranty repairs, but be cautious about these two things:
  • Number 1 is the ZF9. Any 2015 V6 with low VIN (under like 8000) could have a bad one with questionable behavior and hard shifting. These eventually qualified for a replacement (after original owners were put through the wringer), but if the original owner didn't take advantage of this opportunity, any used or certified TLX still has the bad tranny. If considering a TLX like this, test drive the crap out of it - I'm talking an hour or two, cold and warm, up up down down left right left right B A select start, highway, city - to gauge the behavior of the tranny. You can ask the dealer specifically if the tranny has been replaced under TSB 15-040 here. If it hasn't, you could ask for this TSB to be performed before you buy it. You have less leverage after signing the dotted line.
  • Number 2 is the SH-AWD vibration. Not the VCM vibration, but the expressway one. I think it stems from the rear differential. Again, test drive the crap out of it. Get on the expressway for at least 15 minute and get up to 80mph. Coast to 70, accelerate to 80, again and again. If you feel a shimmy, wobble or imbalanced tire, run, don't walk. Fast. Don't even consider it because there is no fix. If you feel nothing, you are good and will be happy with your car for a very long time.
I had enough small kinks with my car ironed out by my dealer that I highly recommend buying certified. This doesn't mean everything has been fixed, but it extends coverage in case anything hasn't been. Familiarize yourself with the TSB list here. Chances are, you will encounter some of these with the 2015. Many 2016 and 2017 owners will say tranny gremlins were resolved by Acura/ZF before they released the updated years model, but the expressway vibration exists throughout the 2015-2019 AWD TLXs.

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Old 03-12-2019, 12:02 PM
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Thanks! I did scan the forum and saw recommendations but nothing whether it was "safer" to go with a certified preowned V6 in the sense they wouldn't sell one with the common issues.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:34 PM
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If you mean that dealers would proactively replace problematic transmissions that were clearly exhibiting the harsh shifting, hesitation and clunking, then no, I'm afraid not. I would have hoped or thought so too. CPO just means they give it the inspection and extended warranty. The goal of a dealership is to minimize trade-in value, invest as little money possible, wash the exterior, vacuum the interior, mark it up and put it on the lot. Who knows if dealerships test drive these cars? Actually, I do, I was just making a point. Many states have laws requiring dealership assure a car is road worthy and meets certain safety minimum criteria before selling it. But do they honestly test drive these cars? Who knows. That's the nature of capitalism and profitability.

Now imagine that same car getting traded in and getting test driven to determine if it had a bad tranny or expressway vibration out of sheer altruism, because they want you to have the best used car possible. They replace every bad tranny for $4,000 and/or rear diff for $3,000 that comes in before putting it on the lot. While they're at it, they change the oil, top of fluids, replace plugs, belts and hoses. Maybe tires too if the treads are just above the legal min of 2/32". Boom. Great car. Right off the bat, they stand to sell it for less than they paid and invested in it. That dealer won't be in business for long, so instead, they sell it with the bad tranny or expressway vibration at maximum profit, then wait to see if the customer complains about anything down the road.

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Old 03-12-2019, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the advice! Quick question - does the 2.4 model have vibration issues too? I saw one or two posts that suggested that but not many. Determined to be rear differential? Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:33 PM
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No problem. These are all just my cynical two cents. I just wish I had been as smart as you doing research BEFORE buying! You are certainly asking the right questions.

There are a handful of 2.4L FWD and 3.5L V6 FWD owners scattered throughout the vibration threads who did/do report vibrations. I drove a 2018 2.4L FWD Aspec as a loaner once and observed it vibrating between 70-80mph too. My guess from everything I've read here and experienced personally is that vibrations in the 2.4 and 3.5 FWD can be eliminated through road force balancing. That is a simple ask of any dealer. No one with vibrations in the 3.5 AWD has found a fix except 172CR, who had a rear diff replaced. Various users have tried removing prop shafts, replacing prop shafts, replacing tires, road force balancing tires, replacing axles and replacing suspension parts. That's why I reached my conclusion that it's the rear diff.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:17 PM
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I have leased a 2015 SH-AWD - did not note any highway vibrations but did notice the VCM around 60 kph - not a vibration per se. I have leased a 2016 2.4 and now a 2018 2.4 and have had no issues with vibrations at any speed.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:24 PM
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I was having the same dilemma you did and I ended up getting a 2.4 CPO. Car runs fine without vibration. However power is lacking (to my preference, especially when driving on the highway when I am on regular and not sports mode) and I did get stuck for the first time in the snow in New England (though I was lazy and didnt want to plow the drive-way running all seasons, coming from a 1st gen RDX previously which had no issues at all in the snow). I probably will get the V6 SH AWD if I have to choose again. Not trying to start the 2.4 vs 3.5 debate here but just sharing my experience

Last edited by wasup1357; 03-19-2019 at 09:27 PM.
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