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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last summer I thought my IMA battery was dying and bought a grid charger, but it turned out the problem was actually a broken ground strap, so I could have fixed the car for like $10, but spent quite a bit more with buying the grid charger.

Also to get my car to pass inspection last summer, I had to have the one of the motor mounts replaced. Perhaps the broken motor mount was the reason for the broken ground strap.

Anyway since I had the car inspected and the motor mount replaced, I have been noticing a noise during acceleration. Once I am at a steady speed I don't notice the noise. I thought the noise might have been related to the motor mount being replaced, like maybe one of the other motor mounts is shot and the motor is moving around during accleration. However I just took it to the shop to have the oil changed and asked them to check out the noise. The mechanic thinks it is the transmission. I was hoping it might be something cheaper, but thought I would ask the forum for an opinion. Do you think this might really be the transmission? Is this a common problem? Or do you think it might be something else?

If the transmission is going bad and making a noise during acceleration is that something that needs to be addressed soon? The reason why I ask that is a bunch of years ago, I had a 1995 Civic that was noisy in 5th gear, but I just ignored the noise in 5th gear for at least 100K miles, until I needed to get the clutch replaced. Anyway with that car, I bought a rebuilt transmission from a place in California, I think it was called Synchrotech transmissions. So is a noisy MT in an Insight something that is just a slightly annoying noise, but you can ignore it (like I did with my 1995 civic) or is this a sign that the transmission might fail at any moment and leave me stranded? Also if I were to replace the transmission, what would you recommend? A used transmission? A rebuilt transmission from say Synchrotech? Or rebuilt by a forum member?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It seems like the noise is only while accelerating, related to engine rpm. Not while idling. Not at a constant speed. Maybe only in low gears?

I will drive it later today. Would it help, if recorded what the sound? Maybe video from my phone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not a grinding noise. More like a bumping noise that increases with engine rpm while accelerating. There is no trouble shifting into any gear. On rare occassions the transmission may pop out of 2nd gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Let's see if I have a clue of what a cv joint is. :unsure:

I got the car in the garage out of the snow for a while. I turned the steering wheel to left lock. Here is the driver's side by the wheel.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Automotive exhaust Automotive exterior


Here is the driver's side by the transmission.
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Here is the passenger side by the wheel.
Automotive fuel system Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Rim

Here I tried to use an inspection camera on the passenger side by the transmission.
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Well at least for the first 3 pictures I can see the boots pretty clearly. I don't see holes or grease leaking out.

So if we suspect a cv joint, but the boots appear intact, how do you tell if a cv joint is bad?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That sounds like a CV joint. See if any of them are loose and replace the axle if you need to. I’m surprised that your mechanic didn’t check this. It’s pretty obvious.

Sam
What do you mean by see if any of them are loose? With the car on the ground and the steering at left lock, I tried tugging on the axles to see if there was any play and they did not move. But maybe I can't check to see if they are loose with the wheels on the ground?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was looking at some videos on youtube about how to tell if you cv joint is bad. One suggestion was listening for clicking when driving in a tight circle. I tried driving in circles slowly at full lock (both left and right) in a cul-de-sac and did not notice a clicking sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I could be wrong, but I kind of got the impression that the clicking noise I could hear in the video seemed to be more tied to engine RPM than the speed of the vehicle.
The noise does seem to be related to engine rpm. I hear it during acceleration. It seems to be louder with harder acceleration. I don't notice the noise during constant speed or deceleration. I would say the "crunchy" upshifts are due to sloppy shifting on my part as I was trying to accelerate quickly. Shifting is normally smooth when driving normally.

The cv joint problem is a theory here. I am not sure if that is the actual problem here, but it does not hurt to see if that might be the real problem in case my mechanic might have misdiagnosed the problem. However, the cv joints seem intact and I don't hear a clicking noise when driving in tight circles, so I am not sure a cv joint is the problem.

The Insight has been used infrequently with me working from home for the past 2 years and not having the long commute. I have been driving my Civic Si mostly. Actually the Insight was not driven for several months, which is probably bad for the battery. I thought I should start driving it again since I may need to start commuting to work again and it is much cheaper to drive the Insight 80 miles a day than my Civic Si when I commute to the office. When I took the Insight out the past couple of days, I also noticed a noise when coming to a stop. It reminded me out a brake noise, but maybe it is related to this clicking noise?

It seemed like the clicking noise may have started when I got the car inspected last summer and the engine mount needed to be replaced to pass inspection. But with me infrequently driving the car, maybe the clicking noise was already there and it is just a coincidence that I think it started about the time the engine mount was replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have a feeling that this might be the ISB tranmission problem.

If it is the transmission, should I just take it to a transmission shop for a rebuild? Or see if I can get a used rebuilt transmission, like I did years ago from Synchrotech?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have a feeling that this might be the ISB tranmission problem.

If it is the transmission, should I just take it to a transmission shop for a rebuild? Or see if I can get a used rebuilt transmission, like I did years ago from Synchrotech?
Well I tried calling Synchrotect and they don't do Insight transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
It's exceedingly hard to diagnose noises from long distance. So I can't say for sure what the culprit is. However, I would be inclined to believe your mechanic. If you decide to go the transmission rebuild route, here's some food for thought.

Scott (KLR3CYL) and I specialize in rebuilding Insight transmissions. I'm confident in saying nobody does it better than we do.

Every transmission gets completely disassembled, thoroughly cleaned and inspected. We replace all of the bearings. We do the 1st and 2nd gear syncro tab-ectomy. This permanently fixes the downshift grind issue. We restore the ball detents on the shift forks if they are excessively worn. There's more, but you get the idea.

We also do core exchanges where we send you a fully rebuilt transmission and then you send us your original transmission back.
I think the sound is like the sound in the video from this post: ISB sound video

So I am thinking ISB is the problem.

OK, so you and Scott do this as a joint venture? Or do I have to choose between you and Scott to get a rebuilt transmission?

It looks like you are both out in California and I am in Pennsylvania. Years ago when I bought a rebuilt from transmission from Synchrotec, they were in California too. I don't remember how long it took to ship the trans across the country.

My mechanic shop should probably be OK with me having a rebuilt transmission to them. I have had other parts shipped to them in the past. The mechanic who looked at my car seemed OK with it, saying it would be similar to replacing a clutch and the transmission is small. Still I would need to check with the shop manager to make sure it is OK to send them a transmission.

What does one of your rebuilt transmissions cost? And what does the shipping cost for across country to here and back for the core? The zip code for the shop I use is 19475.

You and/or Scott can send me a PM with details.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I do not think that it is a CV joint. The sound matches the RPM, not the wheel speed. And I question the transmission diagnosis for the same reason.

Start with the simple, cheap stuff (which will make your car sound nicer anyway) before replacing transmissions. The following are easy to check and do if you do them yourself, the first being, to me, the most obvious and the most challenging (because of rust.)
  • The amount of sound the car makes vs the road noise makes it sound like the donut gasket between the first and second catalytic converters is shot. I would start by verifying, then replacing that. The frequency of the note sounds like it is 1/3 of the ignition rate, which makes me wonder if another engine issue is contributing (see second and last bullets)
  • Do a valve adjustment - which is really easy - to see if this changes the idle smoothness and exhaust note.
  • Also verify that the air filter box is solidly connected to the engine. The rubber bushings may be shot.
  • Doesn't sound like loose catalytic converter covers, but check those too.
  • There are three engine mounts. Verify that all are in good shape. (Examine them visually, don't take a mechanic's word that they were done correctly.)
  • The engine harness is attached to the frame on the cross-bar that also holds the battery. This frequently breaks and may squeak or rattle when it hits that bar.
  • Verify that all spark plugs are tight, though if one is so loose you could hear it at all you would probably hear it a lot.
  • Is there a problem with a spark plug or ignition coil? Verify all are good and the gap is proper.
  • Do a compression test while you have the plugs out.
The fact that your car failed an inspection because of an engine mount suggests one of the above is quite possible, since the engine would have been shaking more. Replace the remaining motor mounts, so that whatever you fix doesn't get trashed again by a bad motor mount.

Exhaust pressures will be greatest when the engine is under load, which is pointing me to the exhaust donut gasket as the first item to check.
OK, more things to check before considering the rebuilt transmission...
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I do not think that it is a CV joint. The sound matches the RPM, not the wheel speed. And I question the transmission diagnosis for the same reason.

Start with the simple, cheap stuff (which will make your car sound nicer anyway) before replacing transmissions. The following are easy to check and do if you do them yourself, the first being, to me, the most obvious and the most challenging (because of rust.)
  • The amount of sound the car makes vs the road noise makes it sound like the donut gasket between the first and second catalytic converters is shot. I would start by verifying, then replacing that. The frequency of the note sounds like it is 1/3 of the ignition rate, which makes me wonder if another engine issue is contributing (see second and last bullets)
  • Do a valve adjustment - which is really easy - to see if this changes the idle smoothness and exhaust note.
  • Also verify that the air filter box is solidly connected to the engine. The rubber bushings may be shot.
  • Doesn't sound like loose catalytic converter covers, but check those too.
  • There are three engine mounts. Verify that all are in good shape. (Examine them visually, don't take a mechanic's word that they were done correctly.)
  • The engine harness is attached to the frame on the cross-bar that also holds the battery. This frequently breaks and may squeak or rattle when it hits that bar.
  • Verify that all spark plugs are tight, though if one is so loose you could hear it at all you would probably hear it a lot.
  • Is there a problem with a spark plug or ignition coil? Verify all are good and the gap is proper.
  • Do a compression test while you have the plugs out.
The fact that your car failed an inspection because of an engine mount suggests one of the above is quite possible, since the engine would have been shaking more. Replace the remaining motor mounts, so that whatever you fix doesn't get trashed again by a bad motor mount.

Exhaust pressures will be greatest when the engine is under load, which is pointing me to the exhaust donut gasket as the first item to check.
OK, getting back to these suggestions, I figured why not see what is the easiest thing to check here. So I looked at the air filter box. The bushings seem to be shot.

I am pretty sure that I loosened the air filter box when I put in the new ground strap, so maybe that caused the demise of the bushings?


Also as I mentioned my mechanic replaced the lower engine mount to pass inspection. Well I can sort of see it looking down the firewall. But if I was going to make sure that it is mounted correctly, how exactly would I do that
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I thought your noise sounded like ISB, but it wasn't clear enough for me to comment, but this other video you found sounds just like my ISB problem. Mine came on fast and got worse really fast so within a month or two it was embarrassing leaving my neighborhood, it was so loud. I rebuilt the transmission myself so I know that was the solution. I knew the trans was a weak point so I was always gentle with it and I scoffed when Scott said they all lose the ISB around 200K, but then I hit 200K and sure enough, me too.
Well I am at 234K, so I suppose I am about due then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Sean,

Is this the donut gasket between the 2 cats? Part 13?
You say this is challenging? It looks like 2 bolts with springs holding that together. If you get the 2 bolts out, is there enough slack to replace the donut gasket? Or do you also have to say un-bolt cat 16 from the engine too?
I suppose if I attempted this, I should get some jack stands for the car so I can under the car to get at the bolts? I probably cannot get at those bolts from the top.

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Well I will start with replacing the air filter box bushings and see if that makes any difference. I was going to order them online, but the first site I tried had a variety shipping rates. The cheapest rate was estimating I would get the parts the end of March or beginning of April. The fastest shipping rate was for a few days but rather expensive. So yesterday I just called the local dealer to order the parts for me. That apparently might even take a week. The local dealer is slightly more expensive than online, but I will save on shipping and possibly get the parts faster than the cheap shipping rate for online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
In terms of Sean's suggestions. I just ordered a set of feeler gauges on Amazon after watching a couple of youtube videos on valve adjustment. Adjusting the valves looks like something that I could do.

As for checking the plugs, I should just look into replacing them.

I am not sure if I have something to do compression testing. I used to have something that could do vacuum testing back when I had a twin turbo RX7 with a bunch of vacuum lines running all over the place. I will have to look for that. Maybe that kit could also check compression?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Did the noise start only after you had the rear transmission mount changed? Hard to say what noise is the noise in your video, as there seems to be a lot of extra noise. But one of the noises, a kind of throbbing, thumping noise on acceleration, seemingly commensurate with engine speed, sounds to me like it could be engine/transmission mount related, like maybe when the rear mount was replaced it wasn't properly centered and 'balanced' with the other mounts, so maybe the engine/transmission are little off-center/kinked and rock and move in a weird way upon acceleration, putting weird stresses in weird places and making weird noise. Just a guess, hard to diagnose these things unless in-person.

You might consider crawling under the car and looking at the position of the rear mount - does it look centered, in a 'state of repose', at rest, or maybe the rubber stuff in the middle, like the 'arms' in the bushing, look stressed? Is the aluminum mount body seemingly straight/aligned properly with the holes/car body? Take a look at the front side mounts too and see if you can see any weird angles and potential stresses when the engine is just sitting there, hanging...
If it is an engine mount problem, that sounds less expensive than rebuilding the transmission, which would be nice. I think that the noise may have started at the point that the rear transmission mount was changed, but it is hard to say if that is the case because I have not driven the Insight much since the pandemic started and have been working from home instead of commuting 80 miles a day. With driving the car so litte it is possible that I did not notice the noise before the mount was replaced, but only noticed it afterwards?

I thought I would at least try replacing the spark plugs last weekend, I went out and looked at the car and saw that it needs the "c" plugs, drove to the local dealer and they did not have the plugs in stock, so I ordered them. Hopefully the dealer will get the plug and the air filter box bushings in soon.
 
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