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Discussion Starter #1
I'm the owner of a 2002 CVT with 56k miles and no major problems until now. The problems occur in cold weather when I've just started the car and the engine is still heating up (ie, the first 10 minutes). Here are some symptoms.

(1) When I press just a bit on the gas, the car accelerates and continues to do so on its own. When I stop at a stop sign, once I take my foot off the break (and without pressing the gas) the car accelerates on its own, up to 20-30mph. At this time I sometimes see the ASST light up, even though I'm not pressing the gas.

(2) The brakes almost seem to lock. It's as if the car doesn't want to stop. When I come to a stop sign and press the brake pedal to the floor, the car delays before coming to a complete stop.

(3) When stopped at a stop sign, the rpms fluctuate up and down between 500 and 1500.

(4) If I put the car in reverse, it trembles violently.

(5) If I put the car in park, the rpms jump up to over 2000 (from 1000).

I have taken the car to two different Honda service departments but neither has been able to solve the problem. Once I've driven the car to the service department, it's already warmed up, and they haven't been able to duplicate the problems. The first service department ran some diagnostics and told me that the transmission fluid needs to be flushed, so they did that. There seemed to be some minor improvement for a few days, but the problem came back and has gotten worse. The second service department told me that it's normal for the rpms to fluctuate while stopped (I don't believe them) and they took apart my brakes to check them, and said the brakes are fine. They couldn't identify any problem.

I have been reading around on this site and found a few people who reported similar problems, but it's not clear to me which of those problems corresponds to my own. (Is the problem with the tranmission? The EGR valve? Or something else?) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I really like this car and would like to have it back in good working condition. Thanks in advance!
 

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I don't have a CVT, but it sounds like your warm up RPMs are too high. The key would be to use the service manual to find out what the normal idle speed for a CVT cold and a warm engine are.

If the idle speed is too high your car will think you are trying to accellerate and the transmission just does what it is supposed to and propells the car forward. A varying idle speed could be related to fuel supply and mixture. A consistently high idle speed when warmed up could be a missadjusted cable or idle speed setting.
 

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I am no mechanic but with this only occurring when the engine is cold, it sounds to me as if the automatic choke is faulty.
 

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This doesn't seem to be a problem with the tranny...and maybe that's what is tripping off the dealer.

I'm not sure how the fast-idle setting is controlled on the insights (ecu, part of a choke mechanism, etc)...but for whatever reason, it's clearly set too high.

Scan for any codes? Sometimes the throttle posistion sensor may be faulty (if it has one) or possibly the idle air control valve...one would think that this would be one of the first things done by the dealer, so I don't know...did they give you the results of any OBD-II scans?

If they haven't, many stores will run a scan on the car OBD-II (autozone, advanced, pep boys) in which case something might turn up. It's not as thorough as the dealer scans, but should reveal any stored codes that might indicate the problem.
 

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I agree about going to (autozone, advanced, checker auto, pep boys) and have them scan your car. They do it for free. I was having problems with the transmission on my 2004 GX CVT throwing a check engine light. I went to Checker Auto and they were happy to scan the car. I had this information in hand when I went to the dealer. I felt empowered!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all of these suggestions - this is a great help!

The service manual does not seem to list specs for idle speed, but I will record what my car is doing and take it to the dealer. I'll also get the OBD-II scan done. I'm taking the car back to Honda on Monday and hopefully with your suggestions, we can get this problem resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
After two more visits to Honda, they have now diagnosed the problem and told me that I need to replace the idle control valve. (I asked if just cleaning it would solve the problem, and I was told that it won't.) I'll be very glad if this solves the problem, but it's a bit painful because the price I was quoted for the part is $490. Ouch.
 

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OUCH! I hope you didn't pay that. You can get the part at a discount from majestic honda, and if your somewhat adept with tools, you can most likely replace the part yourself or find a friend that can do it for you.
 

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The CVT Insight on a stand that I am preparing for hybrid technical training does a similar idle oscillation.
http://www.99mpg.com/Projectcars/BlueBird1/

The engine will rev back and forth from 1000 RPM to ~2500 RPM . The car was hit in front, and the intake manifold was cracked, causing a vacuum leak. We are gluing the cracks to see if that fixes the hunting.
You may suggest that they do a vacume test?
We will be digging back into the project in the next few weeks. and will let you know if we find anything else.
Good luck with the idle control valve. Hope that fixes your problem.
 
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