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Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

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Old 06-05-2015
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Question Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

I've been reading an old thread in the 7th Generation section titled "7th Generation Transmission - failure cause investigation".


That thread is closed now but I think I'm having the same problem on my 97 DX Coupe at 110,000 miles. That's right, I don't drive around much. Anyway, I suspect that my internal and hidden transmission filter is plugging up with clutch material.

It shifts fine in the morning for about 3 or 4 miles of stop & go driving and then will start to flare (slip) real bad getting off the line in first gear. It will then shift into second, third and fourth firmly with no slipping. I've been driving around town by manually starting out in second gear and then after passing first gear speed, shifting into D. No problem!!!

I am perfectly happy to drive like this and save the $2-3,000 rebuild cost. I admit it, I'm a cheapskate! After all, the car is probably not worth as much as the value of the rebuild. I bought the car new and have done all the work (timing belt, water pump, thermostat, radiator, brakes, and CV axles) myself. The car has never been in any repair shop and it still drives like new with the original struts.

I should just get a new one but I love my 97 DX. The new ones have that "cab forward" design that I hate because they look like they would be hard to work on. Those tiny little windows in the back make it hard to see things in your blind spots.

The problem is, I have to now get it smog tested (California) and the transmission will set a "Check Engine" (TIL) light if the car starts off hot in first gear as the smog test will surely require. This will be an automatic failure of the smog test.

Anyway this leads me to my "bright idea" for the "Wrencher" to comment on or for anyone else who wants to comment.

Why couldn't you drill a small hole (say 3/8" Diameter) in the bottom of the case just below where the filter suction opening is located and then use your brake cleaner spray cans to directly blast the material off the filter with a direct hit from below.

Would this clean the filter without having to disassemble the transmission?

The drilled hole could be threaded and a suitable plug installed to seal the opening. It could be removed again if cleaning was needed in the future.
I don't know how thick the case is in this area but from the excellent pictures in the other thread, it appears to be about 5/16" thick. This should be enough thickness to thread and install a plug that would seal. Another method for sealing the hole would be to use an epoxy compound which could be drill out later if another "cleaning" was required.

I know that this either method would probably leave some aluminum fragment inside the transmission. Even careful work and flushing is bound to leave some material behind in the bottom of the case.

Since I'm not a "transmission expert" I don't know how potentially harmful this would be. If the fluid flow rate is not to great in this area, the aluminum remnants may stay in place. Since most of the internal parts are only exposed to the fluid AFTER the filter, this may not me a big problem. I can't tell from the pictures if the differential ring gear runs down in the oil reservoir or not. If it does, the debris could be picked up by this gear with unknown consequences.

Am I "CRAZY" to suggest this? I await any comments from those who are more experienced with this type of transmission, especially the "wrencher" whose excellent pictures allowed me to "see" inside my transmission.

Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.
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Old 06-07-2015
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Re: Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

Well to start off a flare is not slip. A slipping transmission is different from a flaring transmission. BUT a transmission that continuously flares will eventually slip. As for your case honestly i don't think anyone has tried it. Its sounds like a good idea and if it works then you my friend have just solved the famous transmission problem. But the question is (WILL IT WORK) id say try it but sense its probably never been done and that's your daily driver from the sounds of it..i wouldn't do it. The only thing i could see going wrong is when your drilling the hole. I could see the case maybe cracking.. And again maybe it wouldn't.
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Old 06-07-2015
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Re: Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

Make sure you have plenty of money saved for purchasing a transmission before you drill.....
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Old 06-14-2015
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Re: Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

OP..probably won't help your plan at this point but for future reference you might want to consider this:
Amazon.com: 2 Magnefine 3/8" Inline Filters: Automotive Amazon.com: 2 Magnefine 3/8" Inline Filters: Automotive

I have a 98 EX and I tried to install it inline on one of the two rubber transmission cooling hoses near the radiator..couldn't fit without kinking the hose. tried adding new hose but, still didn't work. I plan to bring it to a shop to have it installed in-line at the top of the transmission on the metal tubing return (IIRC). The metal tubing will need to be cut and flared to prevent leaking... not shown in that link is the two rubber transmission hoses (3" each) that it comes packaged with.

When was the last time you did a transmission fluid (x3) drain and fill? If you haven't done one recently you can use Valvoline Maxlife ATF synthetic... it's safe for Honda's. many DIY's on the net to follow. Lowest price for ATF at Walmart. You could at some Lubegard Red to it as well..
Amazon.com: Lubegard 60902 Automatic Transmission Fluid Protectant, 10 oz.: Automotive Amazon.com: Lubegard 60902 Automatic Transmission Fluid Protectant, 10 oz.: Automotive
or buy in local auto parts stores. I used it on mine and helped shift smoother and no issues after adding it.

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Old 06-14-2015
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Re: Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

Try cleaning the screens under the solenoids first? You can get a 5 second 12 volt DC timer off switch. Just wire it to a key on hot wire and run a pigtail to a small bulb lite harness that will plug into the "Check Engine" (TIL) light hole. That will fool even Ezone. Don't tell him I told you to do that.
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Old 06-14-2015
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Re: Automatic Transmission Filter Plugging - Thinking Outside the Box Solution???

Originally Posted by RIPSAW View Post
That will fool even Ezone. Don't tell him I told you to do that.
LOL.
Pretty sure I'm not the one that OP would have to worry about.
It's the California emissions testing that OP has to worry about.
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