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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

Haven't posted in a while. I have an '01 Silver Insight with CVT and around 130k on the odometer. My overall lifetime mpg is only between 46-7, but when I do more highway driving it's closer to 50-1. I have the original battery, but it seems like my IMA and stuff are operational. I don't have too much trouble maintaining a good charge, except rare times when I am in very extremely crowded parking conditions and am driving up and down parking lanes at slow speed for excess of 20 minutes - that's the only time when I know for sure my battery gets down.

I have had a noise coming from the tranny since I got it back from an impact repair to the left side, several months ago. The noise was a slight sewing machine type of buzzing. It was not a loud noise. Over the months I mentioned it to a few people, but it didn't seem like an issue. I was sure that it was a drive related issue, because there was no noise with the drive system disengaged whether the engine was running or stopped. I could hear it only when in gear, forward and reverse.

The noise got progressively louder over the months, but even though I needed to have it looked at I didn't. During the last few weeks it was getting loud enough to start to worry me, and it became to the point which it was audible outside the car. The sewing machine sound turned into more of a grindy type of sound. Last week after a longish trip the engine disengaged after getting off the freeway. I let it cool for several minutes, parked and left the car. When I came back I was hoping to be able to drive it to a repair shop, but it disengaged again after only a few miles. I had it towed to the dealer.

The dealer says I need an entirely new transmission. He will guarantee the transmission for three years and 36,000 miles. The problem is that it might be just as expensive to buy a similar Insight used as it would be to pay the dealer for his repair. He is asking for under $5200 out the door (tax and everything).

Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how to save money on this kind of a repair? I don't think I am up to doing an R&R on the transmission myself (in fact I KNOW I'm not). Should I cut my losses with this Insight and go to another car? The dealer says that the engine could last another few hundred thousand miles.

Thanks in advance, Vic
 

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Southern California
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Five thousand bucks? Yeesh. I've definitely seen CVTs for less than that, it's probably your best option.

Or, you can probably find somebody selling a CVT transmission. That would be much cheaper, I'm pretty sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Five thousand bucks? Yeesh. I've definitely seen CVTs for less than that, it's probably your best option.

Or, you can probably find somebody selling a CVT transmission. That would be much cheaper, I'm pretty sure.
OK but who puts in the used transmission? I saw a few on eBay, myself.
 

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Southern California
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You could do it yourself in a weekend, or you could pay a shop to do it. Maybe $500 for labor? I dunno, you'd have to ask them about it.
 

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I went to car-part.com (or something like that) and did a junkyard search for transmissions. Found one with around 120k miles on it for $750 then did the R&R work on it myself.

I'm sure if you looked around you could find a shop that would do the R&R work for you. Most shops will probably turn you away, since if it didn't work you could go after them. But I'm sure you could also find a local mechanic that would do the work if your cash is green. Don't go to a name brand chain store like AAMCO, they most certainly won't do the work. You could also try finding a mechanic on craigslist who would do the work at your house or his.

Did insurance cover the car repairs after the accident you had? I might try getting them to cover the transmission too. The stock CVT lasts 200k miles usually, 120k is very pre-mature.
 

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Same as above at around 250,000 miles. It is an extremely simple transmission to change, it took about 4.5-5 hrs total. The only issue I had was supporting the engine. I found that a 2/4 with a hole drilled in it to put a bolt through and a hardware store turnbuckle looped over the upper exhaust stud on the head did the trick. (one end resting on the front radiator support the other on the aluminum support at the rear of the engine compartment) I was worried about getting the suspension apart but found once the nut is backed off, a little down force with a pry bar (put some protection so as not to scratch or gouge) and a good hit with a plastic mallet was all it took ( a little heat might make it even easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Did insurance cover the car repairs after the accident you had?

I went to car-part.com (or something like that) and did a junkyard search for transmissions. Found one with around 120k miles on it for $750 then did the R&R work on it myself. ...
Yeah, I found one on eBay, and a few others. I don't know about it yet. I know that Honda would guarantee everything for three years though. I don't know how worthwhile having the guarantee would be as opposed to saving a few thousand. Also, isn't there some special procedure needed to disengage the IMA system, then re-engage it and reset it after the repairs are done - any mechanic might not be willing or able to take it on, am I wrong?

Did insurance cover the car repairs after the accident you had? I might try getting them to cover the transmission too. The stock CVT lasts 200k miles usually, 120k is very pre-mature.
Yeah, they fulfilled a claim (kind of expensive too) to replace the left front of the drive system as well as some bodywork. I'm kind of certain that they'd've junked the car if the tranny had've been part of the claim. I don't know what the insurance value of the vehicle is, in any case. What do you think for an '01 with 130K on it? Not even $10K right?

It can't hurt to try, though. I have to call the insurance adjuster. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Also, isn't there some special procedure needed to disengage the IMA system, then re-engage it and reset it after the repairs are done - any mechanic might not be willing or able to take it on, am I wrong?
Nope, it's super easy. You just take out the carpet in the back of the car, take off a little plate (two screws) and flip a switch. It disconnects the 144v battery so there's no chance of electrocution while working on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Does CVT Transmission Have Recall or Chronic Issues?

I have been hearing complaints from auto repair/service people about the Insight CVT transmission having failure issues.

On this site/forum I've searched the posts here, but no one seems to really be concerned with anything similar, in fact it seems like among those having CVT failures, these usually occur with an unruly noise similar to what I've described & this usually happens around 200K miles on the odometer. The only difference with my experience is that it seems to have happened maybe 50K miles early with my car.

Are there chronic issues with the Insight CVT that people have problems with or are these rumors just simply untrue?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I have 160k on my cvt with no issues yet. When the tranny does go, I will get it replaced. The value of the fuel economy will more than pay for the repairs and then some. I would be reluctant to get involved with another car since I am already familiar with what issues my car has (unless absolutely necessary).

..Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #13
CVT Tranny Replaced - 36K/3Yr Warranty Now & MPG is Up Slightly

I have 160k on my cvt with no issues yet. When the tranny does go, I will get it replaced. The value of the fuel economy will more than pay for the repairs and then some. ... Bob
I got the dealer down a few hundred & he covered a rental car for a few days. The new tranny seems to be fine. Very quiet.

Also, my MPG seems to be up and the car cruises better. The fuel economy on my car was always a bit low, even for a CVT model - I'm hoping that I will see overall improvement now.

In any case, I agree with you, these cars are based on technology that has been kind of abandoned. The modern hybrids do not compare with the original Insights. Even the tiny Smartcar's MPG isn't as high as the first generation Honda Insight.

Thanks for all the replies. :rolleyes:
 
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