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Old 03-16-2017, 12:21 PM
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My $600 Acura TL-P

Here's my story of buying my TL, if you wanna skip all that, head to the second paragraph of all the repairs. If you're just after a summary, skip to the 3rd paragraph

Well, I've been on here for a few months searching, learning and fixing things as I went and here I am. I had an Acura Legend Coupe 6 speed years ago and have always been a fan of the big brother Acura TL ever since. Fast forward about 8 years and I now have an Infiniti G37 that's being built for 600hp+ so I needed a daily driver to get around otherwise. I came upon this 2000 TL-P with 242k a few months ago on Craigslist for $1200. The owner was selling it as is and said it needed some TLC and had some dings and dents (perfect for a daily beater). I met the kid for a test drive and wow, what a mess. One tire was super low, the tensioner squealed like crazy, there were tons of scratches and paint chipping on the bumpers, headlights were completely fogged over, a rear door handle didn't work, it was bad. I took it to AutoZone to pull the codes and got multiple misfires, a bad o2 and some other little things. It also shook violently while braking, had a wobble at around 50-55mph, blower fan was out, heated seats didn't work, subwoofer buzzed, courtesy lights were burnt out and the interior was completely filthy. I was tempted to burn it to the ground but again, I have always loved the TL's and I saw a fun project. I offered him $250 from his $1200 thinking worst case it would at least be worth that at a salvage yard or part out. He declined and we parted ways. A couple hours later, his parents text me and said if I'd do $600, we had a deal. I accepted and went over and signed the clean title and limped it to my driveway.

First thing I did was hop online and start doing some research. I found you guys here and started reading everything. To my surprise, the blower motor and misfires were a fairly common/simple problem. I tackled the misfires first to see if the engine was good and the car worth keeping. I took the intake manifold plate off, brushed and cleaned everything, replaced all the spark plugs for fun, reset the ECU and it ran much better but still missed. I found a bad coil by process of elimination and replaced it, then it ran like butter. I drove it around the block and didn't get any new CEL's. I then got under the passenger dash and like everyone had said, the blower motor harness was melted and ruined. I drove over to Acura, grabbed a new harness, plugged it all up and now have cold AC and hot heat. Next, I grabbed a new Acura parts tensioner and belt, put those on over an afternoon and fixed the squealing. I grabbed some plastic polish and buffed the headlights, they look like new now. I ordered a couple LED bulbs for the interior and license plate lights and everything is lit up and legal now. Next, I took the rear passenger door apart and replaced the lock actuator clip and the door opens again. The vibrations while braking/driving were most likely the rotors so, I ordered some Acura OEM rotors and pads all around and took it in for a tire rotation and balance all around.

At this point the car is practically done, I had fixed all the problems that were required to pass inspection and were obvious to me to be a comfy daily driver. I bought the car for $600 and since my brother in law is a service advisor at Acura, I got all of those parts at cost (lucky I know). After purchase and parts, I'm probably at about $850 altogether. The only good things the previous owner did was install a decent Bluetooth head unit and tint the windows. Otherwise, he should never drive a car again! All in all, I'm really happy to have found this car and that the fixes were all pretty straight forward repairs. I have attached some pictures of the final product. Yes, there's still a bit of paint chipping and scratches but this car isn't worth the cost of body work to me so they're going to stay.

Now, if the trans goes out, I'll be doing the AV6 swap but other than that, its staying bone stock forever. Thanks for reading my novel!















In case anyone's interested, here's my G. Instagram - Kris9884 for more pics.




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Old 03-16-2017, 12:30 PM
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I just skipped to the pictures...

Gorgeous G and pretty cheap daily !! congrats!
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:39 PM
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Also, I've put about 4000 miles on it since I bought it in November and its been a dream. It rides like a cloud and has been 100% reliable, I've even used it to jump a buddies car lol. Since all the original repairs, I've replaced the saggy hood struts and changed the oil, nothing more. I feel as though the gas mileage could be better since everyone is saying they average high 20's but I'm lucky to get 250 miles out of a full tank of 91. I drive this thing like a grandpa, haven't even hit VTEC since the day I bought it and don't intend to. Any ideas?
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:47 PM
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fairly heavy car and engine works pretty hard in stop and go

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Old 03-16-2017, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by justnspace View Post
fairly heavy car and engine works pretty hard in stop and go

True, I'll have to get an almost all highway mileage run and see how it does. Thanks
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:24 PM
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New plugs, engine air filter, higher tire pressure, and seafoam'd engine brought me up to 29+

Sweet ride!
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:19 PM
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I am at a constant 24mpg City now but I only use SS..
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
New plugs, engine air filter, higher tire pressure, and seafoam'd engine brought me up to 29+

Sweet ride!
Plugs, filter and PSI: Check. I was thinking about sea foaming, might as well at this point. Thanks

Originally Posted by Skirmich View Post

I am at a constant 24mpg City now but I only use SS..
Lol fair enough
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:47 PM
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I didn't get the higher mpg until running 91 or 93 octane ... Did you use the expensive OEM plugs?
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
I didn't get the higher mpg until running 91 or 93 octane ... Did you use the expensive OEM plugs?
I always use 91 without ethanol. As for plugs, I used some cheap NGK's but after reading around, our J motors really prefer the platinum or iridium plugs. I think I'll do the Seafoam procedure first, then replace the plugs later that day after it all burns off. Ideally, that'll smooth out the idle a bit too, its a tad rough for my liking. Thanks
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:08 AM
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I *think* the plugs were $9 each at Auto-Zone. Seven years ago. When I sold the car in '13, the engine sounded like a sewing machine. Far FAR smoother than the new truck I was buying, in fact. Which disappointed me at the time (still does a bit).

If I'm reading my numbers correctly, a six-pack of these plugs is currently $55.71 delivered via Amazon.

There is an engine block plug on the back of the engine block. One of my more satisfying services was removing the radiator drain cock and the block plug, sticking a hose in the radiator on a trickle, and running the vehicle for about ten minutes. I swear, it seemed like residue from the original block castings came out of the drain, from the smell. Gave it a nice long flush.

Then I shut everything off, let the block/radiator drain for a couple hours, closed the ports, and refilled with fresh coolant.

It was "satisfying" because, for me, it was hard to find the plug. Took several tries.

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Old 03-23-2017, 01:15 PM
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Oh nice, I may as well do that too! When I replaced the pads and rotors, I flushed out the COMPLETELY BLACK brake fluid. I can only assume the coolant has seen the same amount of miles. Pretty sure I need a front motor mount but besides plugs, cleaned EGR and Seafoam, any other tips for a smoother idle?
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Old 03-23-2017, 05:22 PM
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Wow, bet the brakes felt TOTALLY different with new fluid. I remember it was night and day for me, and the fluid coming out was only a dark brown.

I used Sea Foam in the fuel and in the oil. Fairly noticeable difference in the sound of the engine afterwards, and the feel of the engine when you changed RPM via the pedal while in PARK. Very smooth. The only thing I didn't do was the Sea Foam aerosol into the throttle body.

My brother beat the snot out of this car before I got it. No maintenance, 87 octane only. At 105k / 10 years, the cabin air filter was still the ORIGINAL; the AC worked so much better with a new filter. It took three days of detail cleaning to sort out the cabin; I finished it with rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:19 PM
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I've gotten a lot done in the last few months. Just small things that make it more enjoyable as a daily though, nothing performance related, nor will I ever.

New rear brake calipers
New plugs
Replaced the leaky rear view mirror
Bought a set of TSX wheels and will have them sanded and powder coated a slight darker silver color before mounting and balancing on new all seasons.
Wired the stock sub to an aftermarket HU, wrote a DIY for it.
Fixed the banging wiper arms
Replaced the old dirty intake filter
Removed the giant intake resonator

Probably missing a couple things but that's about it for now.










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Old 05-12-2017, 06:33 PM
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Oh and as of now, I'm about $1100 all-in for purchase of the car and parts. I plan to get new tires on the TSX wheels and Legend front calipers. Maybe a better speaker setup but otherwise, rockin' it until the wheels fall off as-is.
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:57 PM
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Maybe a 3x3 DW1 ATF D&F?
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tosh View Post
Maybe a 3x3 DW1 ATF D&F?
Not a bad idea but I'm not touching the trans haha. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells as it is. I'll just AV6 swap it if/when it goes out.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:43 PM
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Wake up and smell the dipstick!
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:53 PM
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Why? It performs just fine. I know what I'm doing
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:12 PM
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OK, but just to put the rest of us veterans at ease, please show a pic of the AT dipstick! And describe the smell too.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:56 PM
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Great thread. Really makes me miss my TL. $600 was a steal, and to be <$2000 into this car is fantastic. Keep the quality posts coming!

Originally Posted by Tosh View Post
OK, but just to put the rest of us veterans at ease, please show a pic of the AT dipstick! And describe the smell too.
This too please, lol. I'm not a vet but certainly curious. Any info on the trans history? The trans in mine went out in 2005 at 90k miles and was replaced by Acura under warranty. Blue bolt replacement trans failed 10 years & 130k miles later- had replaced the fluid 2 years before. It was pretty dark but wasn't burnt. Wasn't slipping, either. Not even any metal shavings on the drain plug magnet.

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Old 05-23-2017, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tosh View Post
OK, but just to put the rest of us veterans at ease, please show a pic of the AT dipstick! And describe the smell too.
Haha ok, are you guys just curious? I bought it with 242k and have no idea how many transmissions its had, hell, it could already have the AV6 for all I know but don't know how to tell. That would be awesome lol. Either way, I'll check it out but I only work on the car on the weekends so it'll be a few days.

Anyway, I fixed the cruise control! I tested the unit under the hood and it made some clicking noises but didn't seem to work, I replaced it with a salvage yard unit and still no dice. I went back and grabbed the pedal switch from the same donor car and it looked very different than the one on my car so I was a bit shocked but, it WORKED!

I think I've fixed pretty much everything at this point. I'll follow the DIY to fix the heated seat before next winter but otherwise, its finally done.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:38 PM
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Erm, I'd say we are more than just curious: The AT is the singlemost worrisome weak link, and keeping it full of fresh ATF is key to staying on top of it.

Thanks for diving in and keeping one of these nice old things running!
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Tosh View Post
Erm, I'd say we are more than just curious: The AT is the singlemost worrisome weak link, and keeping it full of fresh ATF is key to staying on top of it.

Thanks for diving in and keeping one of these nice old things running!
Oh I'm more than interested too, I'd hate to be on a road trip just to get stranded somewhere. I'll check the fluids color and smell this weekend and see if it needs attention. Thanks for following!
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Old 03-07-2018, 11:59 AM
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Been almost a year since I posted any updates. A lot has changed in my life haha, I'm moving to Idaho in June and for winter/mountain uses, decided all of my RWD cars had to go so, I just sold 3 of my cars and am just keeping the TL and her Camry for now. I ended up flipping those TSX wheels and just grabbed some Goodyear Assurance A/S tires for the stock 16's. In the last month I replaced the driver side axle, grabbed a new battery, ordered a set of motor mounts and still need to tackle the heated seats BUT I feel like just getting a set of heated seat covers instead. They would actually warm the butt and back for both of us and not have to tear the brittle seats apart, we'll see. The trans is always in the back of my mind. There are no signs of issues but as we all know, they tend to come out of nowhere...

Is it better to just leave the trans alone until something happens or should I take a chance and do the 3x3 drain etc and see what happens? Note, I have no idea what fluid is in there and how long its been there, could be the original 250k fluids as far as I know.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:45 AM
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I'd say go ahead and do the 3x3. My trans wasn't showing any real issues, but after the drain/fill the driving experience was so much smoother.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Kris9884 View Post
Been almost a year since I posted any updates. A lot has changed in my life haha, I'm moving to Idaho in June and for winter/mountain uses, decided all of my RWD cars had to go so, I just sold 3 of my cars and am just keeping the TL and her Camry for now. I ended up flipping those TSX wheels and just grabbed some Goodyear Assurance A/S tires for the stock 16's. In the last month I replaced the driver side axle, grabbed a new battery, ordered a set of motor mounts and still need to tackle the heated seats BUT I feel like just getting a set of heated seat covers instead. They would actually warm the butt and back for both of us and not have to tear the brittle seats apart, we'll see. The trans is always in the back of my mind. There are no signs of issues but as we all know, they tend to come out of nowhere...

Is it better to just leave the trans alone until something happens or should I take a chance and do the 3x3 drain etc and see what happens? Note, I have no idea what fluid is in there and how long its been there, could be the original 250k fluids as far as I know.
You can probably just do a simple drain and fill. If you leave the trans alone especially in these cars then it's just a ticking time bomb that could go off without warning.
A drain and fill will just swap out 1/3 of the fluid and will revitalize the current fluid that it has and you're not flushing contaminates through places they don't belong either and if the trans winds up slipping or acting weird then it's on its way out anyway.
Also the car also has an external filter sitting on top of the transmission and if it's never been touched then I HIGHLY recommend you change it, even if you don't wind up changing the fluid at all.
If you could find the post I made where I cut open the trans filter after its been on my car for 2 years and just over 20k then you'll see how caked up it can get in such a short period of time.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
I'd say go ahead and do the 3x3. My trans wasn't showing any real issues, but after the drain/fill the driving experience was so much smoother.
Originally Posted by Darksyne View Post
You can probably just do a simple drain and fill. If you leave the trans alone especially in these cars then it's just a ticking time bomb that could go off without warning.
A drain and fill will just swap out 1/3 of the fluid and will revitalize the current fluid that it has and you're not flushing contaminates through places they don't belong either and if the trans winds up slipping or acting weird then it's on its way out anyway.
Also the car also has an external filter sitting on top of the transmission and if it's never been touched then I HIGHLY recommend you change it, even if you don't wind up changing the fluid at all.
If you could find the post I made where I cut open the trans filter after its been on my car for 2 years and just over 20k then you'll see how caked up it can get in such a short period of time.
Ok cool I'll do the drain and fill, worst case I do the AV6 swap and be done with it. I actually already replaced that trans filter about 10k ago, I just tossed it and didn't think to open it up. I guess I should get another when I do the fluid change just for fun.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:36 AM
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I had the Goodyear tires put on this weekend in place of the super dry rotted and cracked tires and wow, its like a new car. Absolutely no vibrations now and far less road noise, I cant believe how many vibrations and noises you can get just from bad tires. I'll be putting on at least the front engine mount this weekend, being my only car now, I have to be cautious and make sure I can get repairs done in a weekend now. So weird only having one car :/
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:19 AM
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keeping tabs on your build out / repairs - so fun!
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:11 PM
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Thanks man, not a lot going on with it, just getting it ready for the 1500 mile move to Idaho and daily driving for a few months. I ended up only replacing the front motor mount with the vacuum line and it completely fixed the vibrations and clunks so I have several extra mounts that I'm just gonna toss in the trunk and probably never look at again lol. This car has nickel and dimed me quite a bit but I'm still probably only at like $1400 all in including the purchase so, meh. I am starting to get the common front brake pulsing issue so I'll probably go ahead and get the Legend calipers and replace the rotors AGAIN after only like 8k miles. To be continued....
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:22 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I purchased an 02 for $500 ......currently has 217k on the clock.A battery, a engine resistor , timing belt /water pump, a couple of fuses and 2 years later the tranny has started to stumble in and out of 3rd gear. I have changed the tranny filter and most of the selonoids , shift switches and about 1/2 of the tranny fluid. What are the chances the torque converter is faulty?
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:50 AM
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Hey Kris, did you go with an aftermarket front engine mount, or OEM? I'm looking at replacing mine this summer as the vibrations are just driving me insane haha
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DJL03TLS View Post
Thanks for sharing. I purchased an 02 for $500 ......currently has 217k on the clock.A battery, a engine resistor , timing belt /water pump, a couple of fuses and 2 years later the tranny has started to stumble in and out of 3rd gear. I have changed the tranny filter and most of the selonoids , shift switches and about 1/2 of the tranny fluid. What are the chances the torque converter is faulty?
Pretty high. My trans shuddered from 1st -> 2nd for a long time before it went out, but it was the torque converter that finally failed.

Check your MPG and RPM. At 70MPH in D5 my trans is just a hair under 2K RPM. If you're up above 2000 (like 2100 or so) then that's a very good sign that your torque converter is ready to go.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
Hey Kris, did you go with an aftermarket front engine mount, or OEM? I'm looking at replacing mine this summer as the vibrations are just driving me insane haha
I went with the cheapest kit I could find on eBay, came with all 5 mounts for like $60. Dont take my advise though, this is just my side project/hoopty car. If it were my daily and I would need to rely on it, I would get OEM Honda mounts. The front mount under the exhaust manifold is likely the only one that needs replacing, it sees the most stress.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Kris9884 View Post
I went with the cheapest kit I could find on eBay, came with all 5 mounts for like $60. Dont take my advise though, this is just my side project/hoopty car. If it were my daily and I would need to rely on it, I would get OEM Honda mounts. The front mount under the exhaust manifold is likely the only one that needs replacing, it sees the most stress.
Hmm, alright. When I start my big repairs this summer I'll swap out the front mount for a new OEM one. I got a used but very young passenger-side mount from the junkyard and that helped a ton, but I feel there's still more bad motor mounts left haha. Thanks!

Originally Posted by Chojun View Post
Pretty high. My trans shuddered from 1st -> 2nd for a long time before it went out, but it was the torque converter that finally failed.

Check your MPG and RPM. At 70MPH in D5 my trans is just a hair under 2K RPM. If you're up above 2000 (like 2100 or so) then that's a very good sign that your torque converter is ready to go.
At 70 MPH in D4 (1999 TL-P) mine sits at 2.5k RPM. Would you say I should start worrying about my torque converter then? It's been this way since I got the car and I haven't had any issues with slippage,....
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:04 AM
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Whoops your year is an important piece of info that I overlooked. The '99 is only a 4-speed so your RPM will be different than one with D5. 2.5K sounds right for a 4-speed (based on how my 2000 honda accord 4-spd does). Generally the Honda 4-speed is very well known to be a good, solid transmission so likely just keep up on maintenance and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chojun View Post
Whoops your year is an important piece of info that I overlooked. The '99 is only a 4-speed so your RPM will be different than one with D5. 2.5K sounds right for a 4-speed (based on how my 2000 honda accord 4-spd does). Generally the Honda 4-speed is very well known to be a good, solid transmission so likely just keep up on maintenance and you'll be fine.
Oh thank goodness, I was about to get real worried hahaha
I do have a question regarding my transmission though. It's started being louder during the first couple of gears, after the recent 450-mile trip I took it on. I'll upload a video of the noise and RPMs later, I recorded it this morning on the way to the office.
It's about time for me to do another tranny sauce drain & fill, so maybe when I do that and clean out the filters the sound will leave, but I'd like some opinions from someone more experienced with this.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
Oh thank goodness, I was about to get real worried hahaha
I do have a question regarding my transmission though. It's started being louder during the first couple of gears, after the recent 450-mile trip I took it on. I'll upload a video of the noise and RPMs later, I recorded it this morning on the way to the office.
It's about time for me to do another tranny sauce drain & fill, so maybe when I do that and clean out the filters the sound will leave, but I'd like some opinions from someone more experienced with this.
hmm, could just be in need of a fluid change but DO upload a video in a new thread of your own and we'll comment our thoughts on it.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:59 AM
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Here's the video and thread, feast your eyes!
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