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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning all,

So, the day before the latest Mid-Atlantic meetup, my 2002 CVT started "misbehaving." It was subtle, and so I questioned whether or not something was actually different. A little more time in the car confirmed that something just wasn't right. I've got a few symptoms to throw out there, and some ideas... but I don't want to pollute the waters too much. When it comes to troubleshooting CVTs, I'm on the hairy edge of educated guessing, at best! Anyway, here are the symptoms.

1) The FIRST thing I noticed was while driving around on a usual route near my house. As I was pulling out from a complete stop, the engine seemed to "bog" down more than usual. It made the car vibrate just a bit. At first I thought that an engine mount might be going. After a while, I figured out that it just seems like the transmission is engaging too hard, or too soon, or is in too high a ratio. It's not unlike pulling away in a manual in too high a gear, with the accompanying vibration. I REALLY felt it yesterday, and was able to look at the RPM guage, and indeed, it was way lower than it normally would be, and stayed low for too long (like 2 bars, maybe about 200-250 RPM).

2) The second thing I noticed was while driving up to Columbia, MD for the meet. It was smooth "sailing as usual" while cruising, but when confronted with a steep climb that required the CVT to get into a lower ratio (lower gearing), the car would “pulse” at a cycle of about once per second(ish). I could REALLY get it to do it by climbing a hill and using the “sport” mode button to get the RPMs up. The car would accelerate, RPMs climbing smoothly, but then they would fall back down approximately 500 RPM, build back up 500, fall, build back up, fall… you get the picture. Every time the RPMs would drop by 500, the car would surge forward just a bit, just like you’d expect from the inertia of the engine pushing it ahead with a sudden, higher gearing. I haven’t felt the transmission make moves like this before. It’s always been very smooth and linear in it’s changes. If I held the accelerator in the same position while climbing the hill, sometimes the transmission would eventually “catch” and perform as expected.

To me, it was acting like it needed to build up more oil pressure to finish moving the pulleys inside and keep them where they needed to be. Again, I don’t want to muddy the waters here with my guessing.

3) Finally, and this symptom is a little harder for me to describe, the transmission seems to “coast out” just a bit… a tenth of a second… when I’m at moderat acceleration and then let off the gas. I can’t be 100% sure, but it seems that when I let off the gas, the RPMs drop more precipitously than expected, and I get that MOMENTARY surge forward. This symptom may simply be the same as the second one, just exhibited at a lower RPM/speed.
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OK, so in an effort to fix it, I’ve replaced the fluid and both filters in the transmission. As usual, the fluid looked great. The old filters were black, but in good shape. I was hoping that they had become restricted and it was a pressure issue because of that. However, after driving yesterday, the symptoms are still there. I can’t speak to the CVT service history before 58K miles, but from that point and beyond the longest interval for the fluid has been 30K, and that was between 58-88K. Since then it’s been done every 15-20K, and the car now has 150K on it. The manufacture date stamped on the larger filter that I removed was 99, and the one I replaced it with was 15, so I assume the old one was original. At any rate, it now has new fluid and filters, and still isn’t acting right.

I did a little research into the Honda Multimatic, and I see that it does have a pump, and some kind of proportioning valve system, as well as electronic controls and sensors. In fact, I woke up this morning and was excited to see that there are two pick-up assemblies (speed sensors, part# 28810-P7W-004), one for each pulley. Again, I don’t want to limit the troubleshooting here because of my guess work, but I’m thinking that maybe one or both of those sensors could be malfunctioning, and causing the transmission to not know what the rate of rotation is of the CVT pulleys.

I will be picking up my OBDII C&C from one of my buddies today, and I know that I can have it display CVT ratio… maybe there is more information that it can pull from the ECM/TCM?

Anyway, I GREATLY appreciate your input and suggestions. There are no weird sounds, no grinding, no clunking. The transmission works “fine” and cruises smooth. But something isn’t right. And I really love this car so I want it to work properly! I also don’t want to damage the transmission. I do have another vehicle that I can use for a while.

I took a little video of the RPM guage while it was bumbing back and forth between 3K-3.5K. I’ll see if I can link/post that somehow.

I haven’t really been able to find anything like what I’m experiencing on IC. How exciting… a problem all my own… ugh. ;-)

Thanks again!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Atikovi, think the OBDII C&C will pull some codes? I don't have any kind of lights on the dash indicating trouble. I'll have the OBDII C&C tomorrow.

Cobb, yeah, mileage is still good and EGR valve isn't that old. Also cleaned the passages about a year ago, so I'm pretty sure all is well in that regard. I've had the herky-jerky before, and this doesn't seem like that.

Thanks guys!
 

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If the cvt actually has a problem it recognises itself then the D or S indicator should be flashing. The OBDIIC&C can activate the scs line which should flash out any stored codes via the lights on the dash.
It can also reset the TCM trouble codes via one of the menus, although it does not display them directly.

If there are no codes stored or tcm codes etc then it's going to be more tricky and you will need to follow the service manual complicated diagnostics and trouble shooting guides.

Perhaps do the start clutch relearn procedure anyway...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Peter, all,

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try the relearn procedure and let you know. Can't hurt!

I got the OBDIIC&C hooked up and activated the SCS and just got a constant blinking from the EPS light. I assume that means no code.

I have in the past successfully used the OBDIIC&C to show the CVT ratio, but I was unsuccessful this time. I tried all the positions on the right hand side. I also tried the parameters having to do with the drive and driven pulleys and servos. All resulted in XXXX, although I had never tried them before. Are they supposed to go on the left side instead?

Thanks for the help! More testing tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will give that a go as to positioning on the OBDIIC&C.

Now to sheepishly ask for some help. Can someone point me to the CVT relearn procedure? I'm away from the house so do t have easy access to my off warehouse ;-). I've searched, but the best I can find is to drive at 40 and let off the gas until you come to a stop.
A Google search gives me stuff about having the headlights on (but that's for a Jazz).

Thanks guys. Ugh!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK, so before I had to head out of town, I ran the CVT relearn procedure. It's more involved than I thought it would be but still pretty easy. This is the procedure I found in the online manual:

1. Apply parking brake, and block all four wheels securely.
2. Warm up the engine to normal operating temperature (the radiator fan comes on).
3. Make sure that the MIL does not come on and the D indicator does not blink.
4. If the MIL comes on or the D indicator blinks, check the PGM-FI control system or the A/T control system.
5. Turn the ignition switch OFF.
6. Connect the HDS to the DLC, and follow the screen prompts to short-circuit the SCS signal terminal using the tester menu. (This is where I used the OBDIIC&C to turn on the SCS. The EPS light started a steady blink.)
7. Press the brake pedal, and continue pressing the pedal until completion of the calibration.
8. Start the engine, and shift to the N position. Shift to the L position and return to the N position. Repeat this shifting three times within 20 seconds after the engine is started.
9. Check that the D indicator comes on for one minute with the shift lever in the N position, then goes off.
10. If the D indicator blinks, or the D indicator comes on, and stays on (it does not go off after one minute).
Turn the ignition switch OFF, restart the procedures with step 6.

11. Shift to the D position, and check that the D indicator light comes on for 2 minutes, then it goes off.

12. If the D indicator blinks, or the D indicator comes on, and stays on (it does not go off after 1 minute).
Turn the ignition switch OFF, restart the procedures with step 6.

13. Turn the ignition switch OFF to reach completion.
14. Test-drive the vehicle to verify that a problem does not occur on the start clutch control system.
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Everything went fine, but it step 11 the D indicator light came on after one minute and was blinking rapidly.
I did the procedure two times with the same result. I know the manual that I had access to was for a 2006. Maybe it's a little different for my 2002?
So, after performing the procedure, I do perceive that the car is smoother on initial take off. But, the rest of my issues still exist. The RPMs still oscillate about 500 under accelerating load, and the transmission seems to want to be in to high a gear when starting out.
I also finally got my OBDIIC&C to display the CVT ratio. I had to put that parameter on spot seven and eight. I'm not really sure what I should be looking for though! I did observe that once, while pulling out, it displayed .99 as the ratio. I'm pretty darn sure that that's too low a number.

I'm away from it now, but as soon as I get back I'll see if I can get some of the other parameters to work on the display.

How likely is this to be something to do with the sensors that are mounted outside the transmission that have to do with speed of the pulleys inside?

Thanks again everyone, it's driving me nuts not having the little Insight running perfectly!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, I got the OBDIIC&C to display the CVT ratio. It basically boils down to what combination of paramaters you have displayed. I haven't figured out the pattern yet, but I'm guessing if you have too many TCM items displayed, it just doesn't work.
Anyway, I was able to use it, and am able to confirm that when I experience the "pulsing" under load, the CVT ratio changes in lock-step with the RPM guage. So it seems that the transmission is indeed starting it's "shifting" procedure, and gets to about where it seems it should go, but then drops to a higher gearing, repeating the cycle about once per second.
Now, I don't know HOW it's related, but I also notice that the behavior of my IMA regen has changed... or at least, the DISPLAY of the regen has changed. It used to be that as SOON as I let off the gas completely, the display would show at least 4 bars of regen (dependent on speed). Now, for some reason, sometimes it doesn't show ANY bars of regen, until maybe 1-4 seconds later. I'm pretty sure that I'm getting regen, it just isn't showing (because I can see it happening on the OBDIIC&C).

Now, I have the guage set up to show me vehicle speed taken from the ECM, the MCM, and the TCM. I'm going to see if one of them is wonky, tomorrow. Maybe a bad speed sensor? I also still have to get the drive and driven pulley ratios up there, so I can see how they are behaving. Anyone ever replace part #
28810-P7W-004 017 003 PICK-UP ASSY. (MATSUSHITA)

There are 2 on the transmission, one for each pulley to check it's rotational speed.

How about the pump? Is there a procedure for checking the pressures in the system?

No flashing lights... can the actual TCM get out of whack?

Thanks in advance, everyone!

John
 

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Now, I have the guage set up to show me vehicle speed taken from the ECM, the MCM, and the TCM. I'm going to see if one of them is wonky, tomorrow. Maybe a bad speed sensor?
IIRC all these units get there speed info from the single vehicle speed sensor on the transmission. If you look at the circuit diagram i think that will confirm each has a feed from the VSS sensor.
 

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I just had a similar experience with a CVT in which I also thought it was an engine mount. No codes. Engine mount checked out fine. Then all of a sudden I get a CEL and it's a p0505 and p0134. The P0505 has to do with the idle air control on the throttle body. I simply (and no it was not simple) switched out the throttle body and cleaned out the egr plate since I was down there and codes are gone and cvt hesitations, jerks, bogginess are all gone and car runs great. Not saying this is your problem but I also thought it was a broken motor mount it ran so bad and I had no codes at first. Just a thought.
Gerald
 

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Discussion Starter #15
IIRC all these units get there speed info from the single vehicle speed sensor on the transmission. If you look at the circuit diagram i think that will confirm each has a feed from the VSS sensor.
Peter, you're probably right, I just notice that the readout of vehicle speed from the MCM "dances" while the other two sources are pretty solid. I'd say the MCM readout fluctuates 4-6 MPH constantly at about 60 MPH. I'm going to plug the OBDIIC&C into my buddy's car and see what kind of consistancies I can find.

Galevin, thanks for the ideas. I've done the EGR and plate in the not too distant past, so I think (for now) that they are good. The bucking/herky-jerky that I got from them was pretty different. But, I will file this info away for future use!

Probably the best new "clue" that I can add so far is that the "charging" bars vs. the OBDIIC&C Amps indicator really don't agree, sometimes. I thought I was seeing it, and now I can confirm. Basically, when I pull off the highway into a side road, and have my foot off the gas, the car charges... depending on speed, let's say around 20-35 Amps indicated. The IMA Charging lights on the dash would always be very agreable, showing 4 - 8 (ish) bars of charge, depending. But, ever since the car has been shifting weird, sometimes the charging bars just don't appear... sometimes delayed by just a second, sometimes for many. It's definitely not normal behavior.

I'm not sure what component(s) tell the indicator bars on the dash to show "charging," but I have to think it's related to my shifting issues.

I'm really starting to lean toward some sensor problem, rather than a mechanical kind of CVT issue. I'm attempting to attache a couple video links, here. Let me know if they work. They both show the "pulsing" that the car does under acceleration. For some reason the transmission in moving into a taller gearing in a rhythmic pattern. The shifts are also a lot more sudden than I'm used to in with the CVT. Normally they are far more gradual.

OK, happy Thanksgiving everyboday! Thanks for the help!

https://plus.google.com/u/0/113594610937959718927/posts/1BhpuNnfmyi?pid=6221513298150605826&oid=113594610937959718927

John

P.S. The videos didn't play for me in whatever embedded player it tries to use. I had to click on "More" and download the video, first.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey, a few folks have contacted me about the CVT issue. I’m curious what years seem to match my symptoms. I’m starting to suspect this is a 2001-2003 problem... just anecdotal observation at this point.
I can say that after doing several clutch burnishings and relearns, it’s still doing it. Rough at low speeds and takeoff and still behaving strangely at higher speeds/loads. I’ve even tried the CVT fluid for the Gen2 Insight. No change.
The good news? No change! I’ve daily driven her for 3 or so years and it’s still the same.
I suppose I suspect the start clutch as it is directly in action at the lower speeds.Is it involved at highway speeds in some different way? I don’t know. I wish I had a fresh one laying around to just put in!
I have motor mounts that I was going to try. I have to say they look good, though. More to come, but status quo for now!
 
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