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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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BD:
While you are there, PLEASE change the transmission fluid on the LRR.
 

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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.
 

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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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Instead of sending me a PM, Willie hijacked your thread with a message to me. Must be those new meds. 😁

LRR is Willie's turbocharged Insight a.k.a. the "Little Red Rocket".



The Airbox bushings being shot is no surprise. You can still get news ones from Honda, or go out to pick-a-parts and scavenge them off of other Hondas.
 

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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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So I looked at the air filter box. The bushings seem to be shot.
Yep, that will rattle audibly.
Is this where the engine harness might break off of the cross bar?
Yep, of the two circled, it's the one on the right that fails. If you wiggle the harness up and down and the bracket doesn't move, you're good (for the moment.) Mine squeaked when it failed.
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?
Yep, that's it. The challenge is that the bolts rust on. I sprayed mine with PB Blaster every few hours for two or three days, then worked the bolts back and forth, tighten, loosen, tighten, loosen, not even turning the bolt, back and forth, until enough of the rust in the threads started to break up and the bolt started to turn ever so slightly, more tighten, loosen, tighten, loosen, always making sure never to exceed the bolt torque, until it starts finally loosening.

Or you can just snap them off and drill it out and install new bolts and new nuts like normal people do. I have nightmares recalling things I've had to drill out which did not go well, thus the days of PB Blaster spray and every so careful procedure to break up the rust.

I think the exhaust can drop enough to provide room to swap out the donut gasket.

If the donut gasket is not leaking, no sense messing with it. But it was shot on my car when it had 145K miles, and the car was a lot quieter after that.


Remember that if you don't replace the other engine mounts and they are bad, you'll risk wearing out the new bushings, gasket, etc from the shaking.

These might not fix the noise you have, but if it is like my car was when I got it, getting it in top shape is like peeling an onion. All the work you are doing is good and will help make it identify real issues rather than mask them.
 

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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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Video of car making sound

I am accelerating to get the noise, so hopefully the exhaust noise is not drowning the mystery noise out.
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...
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
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Well read a bit about adjusting valves, watched a few youtube videos and got out the shop manual.

I think I managed to adjust the valves properly. I think the engine is quieter now, but I still hear the noise.

The honda dealer has not gotten in my air filter box bushings or spark plugs yet, so maybe if those parts show up soon, I can try them next.
 

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@FadedBlue That's a great photo of your valve adjustment in progress; there is another owner replacing her engine and this is something she should do before she puts the new engine in.

That's one less layer of the onion to peel. I remember feeling great when I did this to my car. It was a little thing, but having the engine run a little smoother was satisfying.

Oh yeah - another thing. The engine looks VERY clean. This is great!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Well, when I ordered the air filter bushings over the phone from my local dealer either I told them the wrong part number or they entered it into the system wrong.

Material property Font Magenta Cable Electronics accessory


To avoid futher mistakes, I just ordered the correct part, 17212-P2J-J00 , online today.

So I will have to wait a bit longer to see if the bushings are the noise problem or not.
 
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