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Family project - No movement with CVT transmission

714 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Joule
I have inherited a family-owned 2002 Insight CVT with 104k miles that has been sitting for ~3 years since the death of a family member. I have experience with the car and I have medium mechanical skills, but I'm still learning about the Insight.

After a check-up at the local tire place, I drove the car 40 miles home and noticed twice that the transmission seemed to be "slipping" up hills and from a start (engine revved to ~4k, but the car didn't accelerate).

I changed the transmission fluid with Honda genuine CVT fluid and drove the car for 10 minutes, gently up and down hills, and it felt good. The next day, I couldn't get the car to move at all in any gear - the engine revs and it won't move.

-No movement in gear
-CEL for P0505 and P1648
-IMA light is on (IMA battery has been recently turned off and BCM harnesses are disconnected)

Diagnosis so far:
-Changed the transmission fluid using a fluid extractor through the dipstick
-Checked shift linkage
-Checked for broken drive shaft
-Reset 12V battery

What's next? I fear it could be the flywheel splines, but I'd like to rule out other less expensive possibilities before I look for a transmission expert in the DC area.

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I wanted to share an update, even though it's somewhat embarrassing:

I do not recommend using the fluid extractor for removing transmission fluid. I pulled the drain plug (after a second fluid extraction) and got about half a quart of sludge out of the bottom of the transmission pan.

I refilled the transmission with fresh Honda CVT fluid and we have gears again.
Time to remove the trans pan, and replace the filter also.

Since you are going to be owning this car for a while, you should consider picking up paper copies of the Service Manual and Electrical Troubleshooting Manual off eBay. They are a lot easier to use than PDFs when working on the car. (However, the command line program "pdfgrep" available on linux or on Mac via homebrew) can help you find which PDFs or pages hold what you are looking for.)
Time to remove the trans pan, and replace the filter also.
Thanks! Putting the trans filter on my maintenance to-do list.
3,000+ miles later and I'm observing transmission slipping again once the car is warmed up. Seems OK when cold.

The car was recently serviced for an O2 sensor and I have changed the CVT fluid (correct fluid) and the two filters this time (OEM parts).

Any ideas? Is there a calibration procedure I can do?
Flywheel splines could be starting to go. A common symptom is no movement when in gear with engine running.
Flywheel splines could be starting to go. A common symptom is no movement when in gear with engine running.
Thanks. Is this usually a slow decline? Or is it all-or-nothing?

I went 3,000+ miles with no symptoms (until now).
It can be a slow decline, or like @ttsgeb you can nuke them all at once by driving down the Tail of the Dragon and accelerating / braking between 75 and 25mph every 12 seconds, 40 times in a row.

Still, he drove another 60 or so miles before his input shaft was like

... yeah, sorry. I wouldn't expect a 3000-mile death of the splines.
I maintain that my driving on the dragon had absolutely nothing to do with the splines failing. They just timed their departure nearby.
But don't forget, correlation can equal causation.
Update: Car is driving again. The "clutch relearn procedure" fixed the slipping as well as the judder that I didn't even realize wasn't normal.

Here's a link to the post for anyone in the future:

Thanks insight community!
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Result! Thanks for posting the resolution.
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