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Discussion Starter #1
I took my 2003 CVT in to Beaverton Honda last week for it's 105000 mile service with a no issues evident except a noisy rear wiper.

When I got it back from them ($383) they commented it was in good shape fr a car wit 100K.

The next morning and whenever it has cooled down it now stutters and almost stalls when starting to move, but drives fine otherwise.

The dealer says "what a coincidence, we didn't touchit but you need a new transmission!" Does anyone know a good place to have the transmission worked on around Portland?

Is it really likely that the transmission needs to be replaced instead of repaired? Lifetime mileage is still 53 mpg.

Any advice appreciated
 

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Was a transmission fluid change done as part of your 105K service? If so, ask what type of transmissin fluid they used, regular Honda ATF or CVT specific fluid. I would argue with the service dept before I had any repairs done at your expense. Explain to them that the car ran fine prior to their service.
 

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Check the fluid level on the dipstick. And check to see what type of ATF you were billed for. Unless MTF was added :oops: :!: I can't see it as anything but an unfortunate coincidence.

As far as the ATF, Insights were originally factory filled with "mere" genuine Honda ATF. Its later that the CVT specific ATF was re-introduced. So their "interchangeable", but the CVT specific blend will have better long-term benefits.

I'd then try having them re-"home" the start clutch. Citrus has the proceedure posted in here somewhere. IIRC its a DIY process too. :)

And PLEASE let us know the outcome :!: :D

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Progress report --

Beaverton Honda and Honda North America have decided this is a premature failure and will replace the transmission without cost!

The transmission is being shipped in and the car is supposed to be returned to me next week.

I'LL report how it turns out when it is done, but Beaverton Honda (if not their Red Team service staff) is on my good list again. They stepped up to the plate.

Still no idea what really happened to the car or what the long-term result will be.

Thanks for your help and information.

Looks like I can cancel the drive to Kennewick to buy Billy's 5-speed tomorrow -- or maybe I shouldn't. I'm in a bit of a quandry right now.

RWV
 

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rvivian said:
Looks like I can cancel the drive to Kennewick to buy Billy's 5-speed tomorrow -- or maybe I shouldn't. I'm in a bit of a quandry right now.
You could always rent-a-car to go and pick it up. ;)

JoeCVT - Just your average CVT owner
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OPPS!! New decision --Beaverton Honda is not 1st class after-all!!!

They just called and recinded yesterday's decision to replace my transmission at no charge.

They were willing to give me about $500 off the cost of replacement.

Tomorrow I'm going to Kennewick to buy Chynthia's car from her & Billy.

Maybe I can convert the 2003 to an all-electric.
 

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Next step:

Call Honda customer relations (paitent politeness wins over pugilism ;) ) and see if Honda will offer more. And maybe find out why such an offer was made then recended.

(sorry Billy if this fouls up your for sale vehicle)

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Apparently a "Salvage Title" from before I bought the vehicle in 2004 changed their minds.

There is no longer any hope.

No more non-repairable CVT for me. I got 72,000 good miles for my $12,500 investment, but this is the first of five Honda cars I've had that failed to reach 200,000 miles.

Honey does work better than vinegar, but the way the Beaverton Honda Team treated me from the beginning of the problem has created someone who will NEVER go there again for any reason, even though I work three blocks away. "I brought in a car without any symptoms for regular service and got back a broken car that needed major repairs -- all in one day and at a cost of $383" is my story for any who will listen.

I'll find a way to repair it (maybe a used transmission) and then sell it to someone for a reasonable price with full disclosure. Meanwhile I'm leaving that problem behind and moving on to a newer, better car.
 

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rvivian said:
There is no longer any hope.
rvivian: You asked for suggestions and you got them but you never replied back on the transmission fluid level or if they even changed it. Or if you have already performed the clutch reset procedure mentioned earlier. My guess is that you haven't and you seem to be already convinced that the transmission is bad by the word of a dealership that you say you will never go back to. You have to do your part to post as much detail as possible and answer the earlier questions if you want other menbers to post ideas for troubleshooting.

Did they say any detail as to why you need a new transmission or what is wrong with it?

Is there a breakdown of what they did for the service that you originally brought it in for?....Did they do something like replace the 12v battery up front causing they transmission controller to be reset?

Another thing to consider if I understand what you are saying, it runs ok once the car is warmed up. This could be the ATF fluid level or something else. Since you say that it almost stalls when taking off and when cold, are there any vacuum hoses disconnected since they claim that they did not touch the transmission?

I would check out all of this other stuff mentioned before looking for another transmission. It does not take too much time. Since some of the suggestions are normal everyday mechanic stuff and if you don't know how to do it yourself, ask a friend that knows a bit about cars to take a look.

JoeCVT - Just your average CVT owner
 

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Discussion Starter #12
JoeCVT -

I intend to address the tests and suggestions on Monday. Spent today driving the 442 miles to Kennewick and back to buy Cynthia's 2005 5-speed from Billy. I drive between 2500 and 3000 miles a month and can't be without a reliable car for long. On Thursday I bought gas twice at a total of $78 for the day.

Beaverton Honda changed the plugs, oil (charged me for 4 quarts of Mobile 1 0 - 20) and oil filter and the engine air filter and drained and re-filled the brake fluid for $383. They did not change the transmission fluid but claimed they tested it and it was good for another 10000 miles. They also said that they did not disconnect the battery and that the problem is not the clutch "if it was the clutch it would get progressively worse as the car is driven and that is not the case." Dealers are just great.

Ihave an acquaintance with a transmission shop that I'm calling on Monday to try the clutch reset procedure and evaluate the tranny.
 

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rvivian said:
They did not change the transmission fluid but claimed they tested it and it was good for another 10000 miles. They also said that they did not disconnect the battery and that the problem is not the clutch "if it was the clutch it would get progressively worse as the car is driven and that is not the case." Dealers are just great.

Ihave an acquaintance with a transmission shop that I'm calling on Monday to try the clutch reset procedure and evaluate the tranny.
First off they do "owe" for at least 1 qt of Mobil 1 since the Insight hold an (arguably) maximum of 3 quarts. Its the principal.

Their assessment of the start clutch isn't unreasonable but just how 10K miles of remaining fluid life was derived is a mystery. And it does establish the fact they were "in" there. Your symptoms are consistant with a start clutch that is _NOT_ slipping correctly. Given their "goofs" to this point I personally believe its within the realm of possibility something was oopsed in relation to the CVT fluid. A flush (3 changes back-to-back with a rev up in between while still on the lift, use genuine Honda brand CVT specific ATF) would be relatively low cost vs. damning the entire transmission.

On the first drain have the transmission guys inspect the stream for any metallic sparkle (if their worth their salt they'll know what this looks like) and its always bad news. No fluid changing will be of benefit. They should also be well versed in "burnt" fliud and its degrees. Any transmission with severely burnt fluid will have a poor flush recovery prognosis vs. a mild to moderate vintage removed.

Should you wish to keep the door open in relation to a full refund of your maintenance and possible damages, have a sample of ATF saved with the appropriate notes on the repair order. Do an Internet search and have _this_ shop send the sample in for lab analysis, specifically a wrong fluid contamination report. Should the report come back contaminated with something that shouldn't be in there you've now got the evidence needed for a successful prosecution. If it came to that. Hopefully in the face of such evidence a refund + your additional costs would be expedited.

Its doubtful that your transmission shop acquaintance has any experience with a CVT, its internals and their conceptual functioning. But he should be able to do the flush, evaluate the fluid quality making the approprate recomendations and reset the start clutch (with your instructions).

Please keep us informed. :)

HTH! :)
 

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For what it is worth.
I had to repair a broken bottom CVT cover, and got a chance to peek into the bottom area of the valve body.
There are three magnets to capture the metal, one of which is the drain plug, the other two are mounted in the bottom cover.
The CVT I was looking at had 75K on it. The magnets had only a small amount of an extreemly fine black metal dust on them.
The full replacement of CVT oil is about 5.8 quarts at $11.95 each at the dealer I went to. Thats $72 just for the juice.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Progress report

I performed the slip clutch reset procedure posted by the Citrus Smoothie this morning on the way to work.

The whole thing took about 10 minutes and I have not had any transmission symptoms in the 15 miles since performing it. ( I did not have any problem lights after the procedure as suggested at the bottom of the procedure post either.)

The real test will be when I start up cold for the return trip home and again tomorrow morning.

Thanks for the help. Next step is to change the transmission fluid.

Looks like the next problem will be to decide whether to keep the gray 2003 CVT or the red 2005 MT I bought from Billy. The new one seems to be one fine car. I'll know when I make my next trip over Mount Hood (4800 foot elevation gain) next Thursday.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for your help!!

The car seems to be running OK since the slip clutch adjustment and topping up the CVT fluid. I'm going to schedule two CVT fluid changes next week and drive it a while to verify the transmission is not broken.

Time for me to go back to lurking and try to leave the last two weeks of car turmoil in the past.

After all: there is more to life than cars.
 
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