Honda Insight Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to forum members, I was able to keep from being ripped off for a rebuilat transmission when the real failure was the flywheel.

Two different shops (one of them was a dealer and shame on them) diagonsed the problem as the CVT and said i needed a new one.

In the end, thanks to the forum, I was able to make progress, and the car is at a dealer now and the flywheel is being replaced (same dealer that told me I needed a new transmission.. Call to Honda America I think helped me get this moving in the right direction.

Anyway, the forum pointed me to the flywheel.

The symptom one member reported was that when he started off one day, he hear a snap, and the car went dead. No transmission fault codes were reported.

In his case, investigation showed the failure to be the splines inside the flywheel that mate to the output shaft on the transmission.

My symptom was a bit different. I to, had no fault codes, and prior to, and during the failure, made no snapping or rumbling sounds. Was working perfectly.

I stopped at a light, and when I started to roll, I could feel the start clutch engage, but at about 2 or 3 MPH, it sounded like the clutch was slipping.

I could feel the CVT shifting, but it was also jerking at steady speed, and when decelerating, I was not getting a charge on the battery monitor.

When the dealer let me look at the flywheel they removed (and they did indeed say that the failure was the flywheel), I was surprised when a prove with my fingertip resulted in not feeling any damage to the splines inside the flywheel.

The Tech told me that the dual flywheel has some material between the disks and that this materail can fail, and the result is that the flywheel faces will slip against one another.

There was the appearance of a ring where grease came out from the seal. The spline condition is apperenty caused by improper lub, but in my case again, the spines were fine.. But the Tech said that this ring of grease or whatever it was indicated the kind of failure where the flywheel faces slip.

Now, I don't know if this is true, but is sure matches my symptom... Behaves like a slipping clutch, no fault codes displayed.

Just wanted to share this failure mode with people here so that if you encouter it, you will know that it is a good chance that the flywheel has failed.

I am having them put in a new start clutch (it was worn, and it did seem reasonable to do it even though I am going to sell the car in all likelyhood. Knowing it was worn thin would have made me feel like I was cheating someone when I sold the car, and for the extra $600, I have the peice of mind that this high wear item will not fail for the new buyer).

This hole ordeal has left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth though. While the common conception that transmission shops sometimes cheat people, I left the dealer feeling as if they tried to cheat me by saying I needed a $4800 transmission (and of course they were going to make me a great deal on the trade-in....).

If someone out there has a CVT though, we know that there are two symptoms that can result in no-go condition. The "Total" failure (Loud pop or snap, no fault codes) and the "Slipping" failure (feel the start clutch engage, but starts to slip at 2/4 MPH).

My advice is not to let anyone sell you a remanufactured CVT if you have any of these symptoms with no fault code until you check the flywheel itself.

Good news for me was that all other visible components appeard in excellent condition.

Hope this prevents someone from being ripped off one day.

And just to be clear. I do not know if the dealer lied to me. I am not calling it that. But that is the way I feel. Clearly, the tech that I worked with was famalier with this kind of failure so why I was told I needed a new transmission on the first trip is a "Mystery."

· Premium Member
2001 5S "Turbo"
12,399 Posts
That's because you probably talked to a "Service Writer" first.


· Registered
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
On my first visit to the dealer, they had the car overnight. The said that the diagnosis was that the transmission had failed and it needed to be replaced.

I took it to an independent garage, and they also said the transmission had failed they also said the transmission needed to be replaced.

Funny thing... When they put in the remanufactured transmission, it did not fix it.

They then tried to tell me that there were two problems. One with the transmission and one with the flywheel.

I then asked on the forum for what the problem was and quickly got the answer that if there were no codes, the flywheel probably failed.

I felt as if the independent shop was going to eat the cost of the flywheel and use the transmission sale to offset the cost of the flywheel. What they told me when I came to pick up the car was that the car was not ready and they normally get a new flywheel when they get a new CVT, but since it did not come with one, they were going to be nice and put it in at their own cost.

I had the independent shop take the remanufactured transmission out and put the old one in.

With this info, I called Honda USA and did a complaint about the dealer misdiagnosing the transmission failure and being incorrect about the availability of parts.

But after the first visit and being given bad info about parts availability, and then being told the transmission was bad, and then quickly being told that I could get a great deal on a new car (after spending $4800 on a rebuilt transmission) I can only tell you how it made me feel.

It made me feel like they were intentionally misdiagnosing the problem hoping I would pay them (GASP) $4800 for a repair that cost them $1000, then taking the car in trade, fixing the Insight, and wholesaling it out.

I can't prove it of course, but that is the way it made me feel. I was very disappointed by this transaction and whether it was out-right incompetence, or some kind of systemic abuse, I cannot say.

But either way, it left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.

But it was not the service advisor (unless it was systemic abuse), but the shop that said the transmission needed to be replaced. Incompetence or abuse..

· Administrator
14,251 Posts
Glad you got it resolved.

A massive problem is the CVT is complicated, generally reliable, unusual and quite rare.
So they won't see many or have much experience with it.

The absence of fault codes is a big hint the problem lies outside the box.

They probably just didn't know for sure. :(

· Registered
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hear this all the time (CVTs are complicated), but to me, they appear almost simple compared to most standard automatic transmissions.

There is are threads on here were people have re-built their own CVTs, and after reading them, I realized that it was something within my own capabilities.

If I were going to keep the car, I would consider buying a used CVT and rebuilding it myself the next time this happened.

In the case of the independent garage, it was not that the missdiagonsed the problem the first time, but that I felt like they were not going to take the new transmission out and put the old one in. Rather, it felt to me like they were going to bite the bullet on the flywheel, but just tell me that both parts were bad, so at least they could break even. They would have had to pull the new transmission out to put in the flywheel, but rather than put the old one back in, they had to tell me the new one was bad to get away with it or I would not have gotten the warranty.

But I have no doubt that the independent just made a mistake in the original diagonsis and that this part was incompetence/lack of experience, though they also lied about parts being available.

But no forgiveness for the dealer. The Service Adviser said they had four people that were transmission specialists. They also said parts were not available. For them to keep the car overnight and tell me that it was the CVT, when the last tech was clearly famaliar with the problem, makes me feel that it was a systemic abuse.

I can't help it. Nothing anyone can say will change how it made me feel.

Now, I will get the car back having only spend $1800 for a flywheel and a start clutch, rather than spending $4800 for a rebuilt CVT (and a new flywheel, but would they have discoused this or just put in the flywheel and ate the parts costs?).

I think they just got caught at it, and now are trying to save face.

The Service Department director is trying very hard to make me feel better (and I do, only because now they are doing what I originally asked them to do, which was find the problem, repair it, and make the car go), but I just don't feel good about them anymore. I feel as if it was a tactic to sell a new car (with a 10 year old car, most people would not want to spend $4800 for a new transmission, and hence the Service Advisors quick offer to get a sales rep to get me a great deal on a new car... Hmmmmm).
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.