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Old 27th May 2013, 22:08   #1
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Default Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

A couple of days ago while driving back home from work I noticed that the car wasn't accelerating properly. Paying more attention to it, as the problem progressed I realized that the gears were not shifting properly. In most cases depressing the accelerator pedal was causing the engine to rev higher, but speed was not increasing. The revs would go as high as 4500 rpm, but speed would not go up.

I tried switching between D, D3, 2, and 1. They all behaved the same. The situation became worse, and getting the car to go above 40 kmph was a task. The worst was when Id stop at a red light, and the car would not start to move after putting it into D when the light turned green. The car would remain stationary, and after 3 to 5 seconds it would slowly jerk and start to move forward.

On reaching home and trying to park I switched to reverse for the first time, and I heard a noise as the gear switched to reverse. The next morning the car started up okay, but putting it into D caused it to start to move forward very reluctantly, unlike its usual behavior. Once moving the gears seemed to shift okay for the first few minutes, accelerating properly, but after 5 minutes started to give trouble just like the previous night.

I spoke to the reps at the Honda dealership/service center and they said that it seemed like a Gearbox issue. Being just a couple of kms from home, I drove it this morning to the place and they took it for a road test and felt it was the same thing. As a first step they said they will check oils, but they are fearful that the gearbox may need to be opened up, and several parts changed including the torque converter. Cost estimates are exorbitant, so Id like some thoughts and suggestions from the experts in the forum.

The car is a 2006 model, and currently has 84,000 kms on the odometer. It has been maintained at the Honda dealership regularly, and the post 80,000 service was also done. The car is in stock form, with an exception of a tire and alloy wheel change. The only major replacement was suspension related (lower arm), due to regular wear and tear, last year as per the recommendation of Honda.
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Old 28th May 2013, 09:27   #2
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Auto Gearboxes are very sensitive to quality of Oil and Oil Levels and this could also be due to incorrect oil level or a dirty transmission oil filter- which the Service centre has mentioned they will check first.

If indeed a component in the Gearbox has failed it will as mentioned by them be quite expensive.

A much cheaper alternative would be to look in the Car breaker yard in your town for a second hand part. You could have your local mechanic start off on checking for that and if found then take back the vehicle from the ASS and get the local mechanic to fix the second hand part.
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Old 28th May 2013, 11:02   #3
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Auto's dont have clutches. I would start with refilling the fluids, then consider the valves. Auto boxes do not go so early unless heavily abused or the engine has been modded extensively
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Old 28th May 2013, 11:11   #4
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualdanger View Post
so Id like some thoughts and suggestions
Here's what you need to do:

1. First check whether the D sign blinks on the dashboard when the problem happens.

2. If it does, you're in luck because the problem will most likely be sorted out with changing of the oils and re-calibration of the gearbox (without opening it up) with the pressure gauges used for this purpose.

3. If the problem is minor, change of the engine oils and re-calibration would solve the issue. If it doesn't the next step would be to open up the gearbox to check what is wrong.

4. It is very unlikely that your torque convertor will have a problem. They very seldom do.
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Old 28th May 2013, 11:41   #5
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Auto's dont have clutches. I would start with refilling the fluids, then consider the valves. Auto boxes do not go so early unless heavily abused or the engine has been modded extensively
Is it? This is news to me . Then how will the transmission engage/disengage the gears?
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Old 28th May 2013, 12:09   #6
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

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Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
Is it? This is news to me . Then how will the transmission engage/disengage the gears?
That what the torque convertor is for!
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Old 29th May 2013, 07:47   #7
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Accord v6's are known to have tranny issues, though that was mainly on 2004/5 accords. Do you have an aggressive driving style, and do you put it into N at signals? Im not too optimistic about this buddy.
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Old 29th May 2013, 15:24   #8
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Drain and refill fluid.
Clean the lock-up solenoid valve filters.
Change the oil filter.

You will have a better chance asking about this on international Accord (driveaccord or v6performance) forums. This isn't a rare issue either. As much as the members might know about AT gearboxes here, you need specific instructions, or else the dealership or your mechanic will make you sell your car.
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Old 29th May 2013, 20:40   #9
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Mod team note: Back to back posts, use Multi Quote (Quote+)

I heard back from Honda today; their response is that based on their check, the gearbox does need to be replaced. They did mention something about a pressure check in relation to gear changes and supposedly that confirmed that the gearbox replacement was required.

They went on to say that the gearbox, including the torque converter needs to be changed, and that the spare parts alone would approximately come to 3.5 lakhs. This excludes labor and taxes. Assuming I choose to go ahead with it, the parts will be ordered and will come from Noida. The time estimate is 1.5 to 2 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Auto Gearboxes are very sensitive to quality of Oil and Oil Levels and this could also be due to incorrect oil level or a dirty transmission oil filter- which the Service centre has mentioned they will check first.

If indeed a component in the Gearbox has failed it will as mentioned by them be quite expensive.

A much cheaper alternative would be to look in the Car breaker yard in your town for a second hand part. You could have your local mechanic start off on checking for that and if found then take back the vehicle from the ASS and get the local mechanic to fix the second hand part.
Thanks ACM.

I have spoken to a mechanic who has said that he will check on this. In fact, as I suggested it, he said that looking for a second hand part was his first thought/intention as well. He has asked for some time, and will get back to me on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Accord v6's are known to have tranny issues, though that was mainly on 2004/5 accords. Do you have an aggressive driving style, and do you put it into N at signals? Im not too optimistic about this buddy.
Hi Akshay, thanks for your note. I remember following your detailed and fun thread on your V6 a while ago. Was quite the source of inspiration.

From my reading online I came across some transmission issues on the pre 2003/2004 Accords; so my guess was the 6th gen Accord. This is the first i'm hearing of 2004/2005.

My daily drive is fairly passive, and I usually always put it into N at the signals. During the occasional late nights and road-trips I will admit that I drive with a heavy foot, in a more aggressive manner.

I agree that I am not feeling very optimistic about this.

Mods: My apologies; just figured out how multi-quote works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranavt View Post
Drain and refill fluid.
Clean the lock-up solenoid valve filters.
Change the oil filter.

You will have a better chance asking about this on international Accord (driveaccord or v6performance) forums. This isn't a rare issue either. As much as the members might know about AT gearboxes here, you need specific instructions, or else the dealership or your mechanic will make you sell your car.
Thanks pranavt. I will talk to Honda again tomorrow to check on whether any of this has been done. If not, I will ask that they do it. The car was sent for general service recently; will look through the paperwork to see if oil filter was changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
Here's what you need to do:

1. First check whether the D sign blinks on the dashboard when the problem happens.

2. If it does, you're in luck because the problem will most likely be sorted out with changing of the oils and re-calibration of the gearbox (without opening it up) with the pressure gauges used for this purpose.

3. If the problem is minor, change of the engine oils and re-calibration would solve the issue. If it doesn't the next step would be to open up the gearbox to check what is wrong.

4. It is very unlikely that your torque convertor will have a problem. They very seldom do.
Thanks for the detailed instructions VeyronSuperSprt.

Though the car isn't with me to check right now, I can confirm that the D green light on the dash was not blinking. When this problem surfaced I was desperately looking for indications or differences on the console and everything was normal. Was specifically observing the gear change light indication.

I would like to think that the torque convertor does not need to be replaced. From my experience with Sundaram Honda and Capital Honda in Chennai, for any small problem they just suggest changing everything that might be related or connected. A friend of mine with a 2.4 Accord who had a power-steering hose leak was asked to change the power steering motor and all related components. The total estimate was 1.32 lakhs and he finally replaced the cracked hose for around 4-6k. Thus my apprehensions with this exorbitant replacement suggestions from Honda (though they maybe fair).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Auto's dont have clutches. I would start with refilling the fluids, then consider the valves. Auto boxes do not go so early unless heavily abused or the engine has been modded extensively
Thanks Ajmat. There have been no engine mods whatsoever, and with the exception of some occasional spirited driving, my daily drive has been quite passive. The only source of ambiguity is that I purchased this car used in 2010. The service adviser at Honda who I inquired with at the time gave me good feedback on the cars history, and the mechanic who checked it signed off.

I will talk to Honda about refilling the fluids and checking the valves.

Last edited by Jaggu : 29th May 2013 at 21:53.
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Old 30th May 2013, 22:53   #10
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

my 2 cents: I drive an Accord with a refurbished AT.

1. I'm guessing this deterioration would have happened over time, usually it is never sudden. You would have noticed jerks during shifting, felt downshifts/upshifts especially while coming to a halt/N to D etc.

2. Ask Honda to get you a print out of the error codes. That'll help you zero in on the problem(s).

3. I suspect the gearbox is far too gone - doing a simple ATF change will be a waste of money (incidentally, you would need to do FOUR drain & refills to fill the gearbox with fresh ATF and NOT one)

4. I suggest a good independent AT repair guy. The full extent of the problem would usually be known only by opening up the gearbox even after the codes are known. There are hosts of trans repair kits available abroad. Some items like accumulator,switches aren't very costly and can be imported quite easily. Everything depends on what the guy finds.

5. Pretty tough to find salvage units - do try your luck. Again, there's no guarantee that it's in good shape.

6. An independent mechanic would take at least 15-20 days depending on his time. Honda takes far longer. Either ways, arrange for an alternate car.

All the best!

Last edited by d_himan : 30th May 2013 at 22:54.
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Old 30th May 2013, 23:33   #11
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

I think the oil from the Torque converter has leaked out and this is causing the loss of power. The difference in time between you jabbing the accelerator and the car actually moving is because the Torque converter due to lack of fluid is taking its time to build up pressure and transfer the power to the gearbox as the torque convert transfers power on the basis of fluid pressure. Once the cause of the leak is detected, maybe it would be a matter of refilling the oil and you will be back on your way. Just an assumption and I could e wrong.
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Old 31st May 2013, 00:04   #12
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualdanger View Post

They went on to say that the gearbox, including the torque converter needs to be changed, and that the spare parts alone would approximately come to 3.5 lakhs. This excludes labor and taxes.
Ouch! Looks like Honda dealers in India are not set up to do rebuilds.

You can buy a rebuild kit in the US for about $800-1000 but you have to have some one with expertise to do the job.
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Old 31st May 2013, 12:37   #13
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by humyum View Post
I think the oil from the Torque converter has leaked out and this is causing the loss of power. The difference in time between you jabbing the accelerator and the car actually moving is because the Torque converter due to lack of fluid is taking its time to build up pressure and transfer the power to the gearbox as the torque convert transfers power on the basis of fluid pressure. Once the cause of the leak is detected, maybe it would be a matter of refilling the oil and you will be back on your way. Just an assumption and I could e wrong.
Not necessary for a leakage to happen. The #1 enemy of an AT gearbox is HEAT. Bumper to bumper driving conditions can cause the ATF to reach higher than optimal operating temperatures. Once this happens, internal friction massively increases. The debris/iron the fluid picks up usually starts clogging the filters and if left unchecked, will cause internal damage to the parts. So, if someone's been driving for a while with bad symptoms, it WILL get worse until some parts start failing due to accumulated debris/gunk.

In the US for older Accords, most repair shops carry out preventive maintenance for harsh driving conditions - addition of a radiator (trans cooler), external filters to catch debris (eg. Magnefine) and additives like Lubegard (keeps the ATF cooler).

So, I reckon this gearbox is too far gone for fluid changes to work effectively.
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Old 12th July 2013, 20:45   #14
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

The update on the current status:

I took the car back from Honda, and spoke to a few independent mechanics. I've done some general service work and minor repair for my OHC with Red Line Automotive in Porur, Chennai, and was quite happy with my experience with them. I decided to take the Accord to them, a large part of my decision being based on the sense of subject matter knowledge/expertise they have.

On my long drive over to Porur, I used the manual 1, 2, and D3 gears to shift, and the car shifted flawlessly. I'd go as far as say it performed normally. On D though its a different story. Driving on D causes the car to run okay for the first 5 minutes after a cold start, but then progressively deteriorates with time, making the maximum achievable speed lesser and lesser with time (60, then 40, then 20), eventually even fussing to start moving.

The plan initially was to try the flush, following which next steps would be considered, if indeed it was necessary. As of last evening, Thursday, the flush was done, and based on their testing, though the magnitude of the problem seems to have reduced, shifts don't feel smooth. The next step was to open the gear sump below, review and ascertain how to proceed. That update is due tomorrow.

If indeed at this point there is a need to open the gearbox, that's most probably what we will have to do next. I will post updates once I have them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by d_himan View Post
my 2 cents: I drive an Accord with a refurbished AT.

1. I'm guessing this deterioration would have happened over time, usually it is never sudden. You would have noticed jerks during shifting, felt downshifts/upshifts especially while coming to a halt/N to D etc.

To the contrary, the problem happened like a flip of a switch. It was functioning properly, and then mid drive it happened. Prior to which there were no deterioration symptoms. It was a harsh change.

2. Ask Honda to get you a print out of the error codes. That'll help you zero in on the problem(s).

The most Honda was able to do, was show me some hand written details on the existing service sheet. The service engineer said it was an indication of the pressure readouts they measured. Gears 1 and 2 had some number, but 3, 4, and 5 were 0.

3. I suspect the gearbox is far too gone - doing a simple ATF change will be a waste of money (incidentally, you would need to do FOUR drain & refills to fill the gearbox with fresh ATF and NOT one)

I did end up doing this, but not with Honda. Details are available in my update.

4. I suggest a good independent AT repair guy. The full extent of the problem would usually be known only by opening up the gearbox even after the codes are known. There are hosts of trans repair kits available abroad. Some items like accumulator,switches aren't very costly and can be imported quite easily. Everything depends on what the guy finds.

Yes, that's the direction I went. Details are in my update.

5. Pretty tough to find salvage units - do try your luck. Again, there's no guarantee that it's in good shape.

Agreed, have not had any luck on this so far.

6. An independent mechanic would take at least 15-20 days depending on his time. Honda takes far longer. Either ways, arrange for an alternate car.

I have an OHC, but I've decided to use this opportunity to cut costs and use public transport for a while. I'm letting my sis use the OHC. To your point, yes, the problem on hand requires for an alternate car.

All the best!

Thank you. Honestly hoping for the best
d_himan - Thank you for all your suggestions. I found it quite useful as I got to the stage I am at now. My responses are in bold, within the quoted section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by humyum View Post
I think the oil from the Torque converter has leaked out and this is causing the loss of power. The difference in time between you jabbing the accelerator and the car actually moving is because the Torque converter due to lack of fluid is taking its time to build up pressure and transfer the power to the gearbox as the torque convert transfers power on the basis of fluid pressure. Once the cause of the leak is detected, maybe it would be a matter of refilling the oil and you will be back on your way. Just an assumption and I could e wrong.
humyum - Not sure if this is the problem yet. Will post an update if indeed it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Ouch! Looks like Honda dealers in India are not set up to do rebuilds.

You can buy a rebuild kit in the US for about $800-1000 but you have to have some one with expertise to do the job.
Mpower - Agreed; and that bothers me, being a hardcore Honda fan. I'd have liked for better and more capable A.S.S.
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Old 23rd July 2013, 14:59   #15
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Default re: Honda Accord: AT gearbox problem

Update as on Mon, July 22:

Heard from Red Line Auto over the weekend; after a period of driving the problem seems to return. Thus the oil flush and other basic checks have proved insufficient. The only option now is to go ahead with opening the gearbox. The plan is to order a gearbox rebuild/refurbish kit, open up the gearbox, and fix whatever parts internally may be damaged. As the cost is considerable, I have made an advance payment, and will be making additional payment in parts. Red Line Auto has been nice enough to agree to start on the work in the meantime anyways.

Will post the next set of updates when I get them.
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