2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems - Honda Civic Forum

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2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

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Old 04-30-2009
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2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

My sons 2001 Civic that we acquired about 3 months ago comes equipped with an automatic transmission. The AT developed a problem that forced us to park the vehicle.
When warmed up it won't engage into gear, period. A whining noise about where the tranny connects to the engine suggests an internal problem (internal oil pump?). Funny thing is, when the car is cold it will operate for a while (without the whining noise), until that noise starts again and it quits service.
The car has about 160k miles on it now, it was well maintained by the previous owner (service records), the tranny oil level checks out o.k., and the fluid is clean and doesn't smell bad (but I do not know if the previous owner used Honda ATF).
Before I start now assuming the tranny is toast, and yank out the entire drivetrain to get to it for a rebuilt or swap, are there any suggestions on trying a fix that is less labor and $$$ intensive?
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Old 04-30-2009
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

its toast. the 01-02 and maybe later models have a defective clutch pack that wears out faster than the rest and once pieces of it clog the pump, thats the whine you hear just before its about to fail. needs a complete rebuild before it will shift again. if you search around there is even a honda issued TSB about the issue regarding defective secondary clutch pack early failure. im shocked the trans lasted that long. mine started slipping at 50k miles and i have around 90k now. lucky im still doing okay with it.
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Old 04-29-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
its toast. the 01-02 and maybe later models have a defective clutch pack that wears out faster than the rest and once pieces of it clog the pump, thats the whine you hear just before its about to fail. needs a complete rebuild before it will shift again. if you search around there is even a honda issued TSB about the issue regarding defective secondary clutch pack early failure. im shocked the trans lasted that long. mine started slipping at 50k miles and i have around 90k now. lucky im still doing okay with it.
you seem knowledgeable on these. Mine that I just bought on the cheap from my sister (knowing it needed the tranny fixed.) Is doing exactly what his is. I drove it to work to use the steam cleaner to wash it off before I pulled it, and now it slips in all and has the whine. I thought pump too, but problem, I cannot find one aftermarket, and I need a tc too, won't rebuild it without putting a convertor in it and flushing out the cooler, will the filter catch the debris from the clutch, or did it most likely stop up the cooler and stuff too?

by the way, salvage trannies seem to be out of the question, they want 950 plus for one on the ground, I wouldn't put it in without building it too, so trying to beat that price by a whole lot. I am certified mechanic, so no problem doing the work, just need help finding parts, I don't have much history with imports, I am a ford chevy guy...
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Old 04-30-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

its possible the filter inside caught alot of junk, but im not sure what you will need until you get in there and start taking stuff apart. TCI makes a rebuild kit with new clutches and seals. for the other parts its gonna have to be thru honda or junkyard

http://www.compperformancegroupstore...ngOverhaulKits
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Old 05-02-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Thanks, I found a master kit from rock auto for 135, but that one includes more and tci is a good name. Plus, better quality I would assume.

I did find transmission on craigslist though, maybe. His is a b4ra from a 2000 model, is that remotely compatible with mine? I want my electronics and everything to work too.....oh yeah, he doesn't have a convertor, so I would have to use mine, would it work? I don't know what engine it came off of or anything, but he only wants 150 for it..
I know mine has a d17a2 in it, 1 7 vtec, american car, not jspec
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Old 05-02-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

any 2001-2005 civic auto trans should work. im not sure if there are differences between lx and ex due to the ecu and shift points being different, its possible.
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Old 05-09-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
its possible the filter inside caught alot of junk, but im not sure what you will need until you get in there and start taking stuff apart. TCI makes a rebuild kit with new clutches and seals. for the other parts its gonna have to be thru honda or junkyard

http://www.compperformancegroupstore...ngOverhaulKits
Hey Gearbox, thanks for all the info you provide in the forum.
couple of questions.
1. I ordered the tci master racing kit from tci, but they canceled the order saying the parts were difficult to get. are their any other good kits priced similarly for city driving? Do you think the master kit from rock auto mentioned above is any good?

2. You said the trans. has to be dropped to see what needs changing. I changed the trans. fluid to try and clean the debri from the trans., but the pump whines in park but not in drive. Do you recommend changing the trans. pump as well. TIA.
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Old 05-09-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

hmm thats bad news. i think someone mentioned a berg-warner kit you could get at parts stores, but i think its only an oem replacement type kit and not a "racing/upgrade" kit.

the trans pump usually needs to be changed at that point as well. if it is whining, its already damaged.

as a side note, i was doing a bunch of work on my brothers rsx with auto trans and noticed even that car had the honda external trans fluid filter hooked up. same as the 2001+ civic HX with cvt. dont know why they skipped the filter on 01+ civics with auto, but it prolly wouldve saved the pump by catching debris.
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Old 05-10-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I drove my civic around the block yesterday, no whining, no check engine light, trans. changed gears fine. The trans. died on me in a day, driving home at night it started whining and the following afternoon it died going to work. Will drive it around town and see if it whines and slips again. I wonder if it could be something else that could be fixed and add a B&M filter kit.

Would have loved to get the tci kit and trust my civic not to strand me again. Thanks.
EDIT:
Drove it today, got it up to 60mph and the trans. is shifting right. there is a slight whining from the pump though.

Last edited by vsual; 05-10-2010 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 07-17-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

old post I know, dropped the tranny and just now getting it apart, I took the tranny apart today and the 2nd gear clutch is toast, only problem, there is no problem, all the other seals, sealing rings, piston rings, valves in body, etc are fine. Only thing I can find is the the regulating part that splines in the convertor is oddly loose in the convertor. I am not generally a Honda guy, so I don't know the theory of operation in the convertor, is is supposed to be loose or not; keep in mind I did have noise at one point before pulling it, the pump is fine, not even a scratch, is the convertor screwed up?
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Old 07-17-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Hi gearbox,

You mentioned:
as a side note, i was doing a bunch of work on my brothers rsx with auto trans and noticed even that car had the honda external trans fluid filter hooked up. same as the 2001+ civic HX with cvt.
Do you remember where the external filter was connected? Was it in line with the cooling lines? Additional connecting points on tranny?

I'm planning to use an aftermarket tranny cooler and external filter to help keep things cooler and cleaner on my LX (BMXA tranny). I've killed several trannies in my time (GM products, due to HP, racing, failures, etc), so finding out about this Civic's weak point makes me nervous.

Would love to improve shifts as well, but haven't seen any "shift kits."

Last edited by DJFCivic; 07-17-2010 at 10:37 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 07-17-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

2nd clutch is defective, thats really the only problem these trans have.

atf external filter is connected to trans cooler lines, yes. the hx also has a second oil cooler. not sure why all our other trans got left with nothing. #10 is the filter, and dont forget to also buy the brackets and mounting hardware.

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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I put the tranny back together, as I find nothing wrong with it, gonna use the compressor tommorow and see what comes out of the cooler, gonna flush it with a/c flush I have laying around, I know it will dry out of there, it has to in a/c systems, so.....
See my other post, previous to this repair, but anyway

https://www.civicforums.com/forums/3...sue-parts.html

Had a 3RD gear flare, then lost it all with a click, no click when it was pulled, but still weak drive, had to rev it to the moon to get the rear end on the ramps. Anyway, 3rd clutch pack was fine, 2nd had burnt steels, 1 and 4 clutch packs were fine, rebuilt all of them, used the correct steel but the frictions still had material on them, it was slipping, but was intact. There was some junk in the filter, but nothing out of the ordinary for 142k. All piston seals, accumulator orings, shaft seals, feed tube seals, etc were fine.
1st and 4th clutches were fine, but rebuilt all with new steels and frictions using the right steel combos to make the correct clutch pack play on all clutches. I put it all back together with all the new gaskets and such. I don't want to put it back into the car without some definitive answer, don't want to put in the labor and still not have it fixed. Again, the 2nd clutch pack was burnt, just don't see any reason to loose everything like it was doing. Does the cooler stop up enough to starve out the system? maybe thats my troubles, gonna try the cooler thing tommorow, until then any ideas anyone?
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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

you know way more about transmission rebuilding so i cant really offer any advice there. other than rebuild the clutches and replace the internal filter. the trans cooler should not be a problem. ive had my small B&M on there since 20k miles and im now at 94k with the trans still working mostly okay (it still slips 2nd-3rd when cold, but it already did that before). the only issue with a cooler is in cold climates or winter, the trans fluid takes a bit longer to warm up. the entire capacity of the cooler is barely 0.5 qts i believe, while the trans housing capacity is 9 qts.
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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I was looking at magnefine filters that go inline going to the factory cooler. Even with it slipping the fluid smelled fine, wasn't burnt at all, I think the factory cooler is keeping up, no extra heat anywhere except in the second clutch pack, which was expected anyway. Like you said, low trans temps, while not as bad as too hot, aren't good either. I don't know what to do at this point, the only oring on the convertor itself is the one on the outside that seals on the front bearing inner race, but it was fine, replaced it anyway. Still wondering what the splined part that goes to the regulator does in the converter. Seems like it may have some kind of one way clutch, turns easy one way, more resistance the other. I just hate the prospect of getting in back in and the car on the ground only to not fix the problem.
Thanks by the way for the knowledge comment, I try to be like a sponge on mechanical stuff and its really nice to hear someone say that.
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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Checking for updates to the thread; updated my sig, wanted to see it too.

on edit, obviously didn't work

on edit again, got it fixed

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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I just went out and first off flushed the cooler with just air alone, no debris to speak of and it was not stopped up at all. Flushed it with a/c flush then, it is now spotless and flows very well. I did take a second look at the filter with a good flashlight. I can see that the screen is covered throughout with a fine grit, the kind that looks kinda normal for 142k trans, not chunks, just fine stuff, the only place that it is not is where I wiped it with a rag right by the opening when I pulled it out, can't even see the screen anywhere else, just where I wiped it. I cleaned off the transmission side, clean side, and sucked through it by mouth(no stupid comments guys), and it gave resistance at first almost like it was plugged, then it started to flow. It had to be restricted to say the least, even if it wasn't plugged all together. Other than the burnt up 2nd clutch (expected that, not suprising), the rest of the trans was fine, just replaced the seals, orings, and clutches and steels, and cleaned it up, after 142k, the fluid was dirty, so was everything it had touched. There was alot of material on the magnet, but again no more than to be expected with high mileage. I guess the wear from the steels went to the magnet and the wear of the friction material went in the filter. I am pretty impressed with how good of a job the filter did though. No debris in any clutches or anything, just dirty fluid residue. By comparison, have had many American transmissions apart and the filter just keeps large chunks out of the pump, doesn't stop anything else really. It is no wonder these things typically go several hundred thousand miles. It is built really well, the shafts and such remind of tractor transmissions, and you know their environment. With 170hp behind it, it is no wonder they last so long. This thing is built like it is behind a 500hp and tq smallblock. It is built heavier than alot of transmission I have had apart in truck applications, I am impressed. I hope it is good to go after the 2nd clutch has been repaired. I really think the clutch pack play was too much on the oem 2nd pack, may have been why they fail in the first place.

In short, are these things that persnickety on fluid flow that a restricted filter will make it slip in all gears? I am kicking myself in the butt over and over for not sticking some gauges in it before I pulled it, but hindsight is 20/20! If my pressures were low across the board I could see this as a possible problem........

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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

there is no user reason for the second clutch to go. its just the way honda made it and actually there was a TSB released to address the problem by honda. too bad by then all the affected vehicles were out of warranty. but they did finally admit is was a meterials defect that causes abnormal wear on only the second clutch pack. it may have even been fixed in later 04-05 models.
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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

If it was a materials defect, then rebuilding the pack should fix that problem, good to know. Still up in the air about wether to keep this car and sell the wifes or the other way around. Comes to pure money I guess, if this one has 150k more in it, would kinda be stupid to sell it. Its paid for free and clear ( so is my wifes car), but it is probably worth grand, and looking at getting maybe 4500 out of the civic, and it would get better mileage than hers would. Her 4cyl malibu does good to get 22 back and forth to work, does good on the highway, like 31 or 32, but not on the highway often. I bet the civic would get 30 easily everyday and maybe close to 40 on the highway if you drive it sensibly instead of hot rodding it around...
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Old 07-18-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

yeah i love the civic esp now that im driving 80 miles a day to work and back total. i can get home friday and still have some gas left so around 40 mpg is usually my average on the highway. its a great commuter car.
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Old 07-19-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Just gotta figure out whats up with the transmission first, can't complain though, as it stands, with the expensive fluid, the kit, filter, some trans assembly lube, and a new magnet I only have like 200 bucks in it now, so don't think that I'll get hurt on it, just want to know its ok before I put it in. Gonna call precision tourqe convertors in NH tomorrow and see if mines messed up first off, and see how much a new one is. With the noise I heard at one point I was thinking tc problems then, but it went away, so kinda put that in the back of my mind...Out for now, I gotta get some shut eye before work....
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Old 07-19-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

Did some converter research today. The splined thing I am talking about is splined to the stator. Main-shaft splined to the turbine, and the pump gear splines to the center hub of the converter itself. The stator does have a sprag in it, and now that I know the theory, I can honestly say I don't think there is anything wrong with the converter either. I priced a convertor from precision of NH (have the part at a warehouse 30 miles from me too). $189 plus my core. I only have 2000 in the car and 200 plus my time to pull and rebuild the transmission, so another 189 is cheap cheap cheap peace of mind. I did hear noise at one time, but it did go away, again pointing to converter... I really think that my only real problem was that the filter was restricted, and restricted fluid flow through the whole transmission; and the 2nd clutch of course, but no suprise there. I am gonna get a converter after payday Friday, hopefully will get it put back in this weekend or first part of next week. The tranmission is laying in the floor fully assembled, the cooler is flushed too, all that is left is to spline up a converter and put the transmission back into the car, just a matter of parts now, probably only be 3 or 4 hours labor, so downhill from here

The precision tc is not a "race" converter, just a replacement, but there is no plans to make race rocket out of this thing, just a family/commuter car

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Old 07-21-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

johndeerebones, thanks for posting your observations. That's very interesting. I have '02 Civic EX and I have no issue with my AT yet but I have noticed a slight whining sound in the transmission so I'm a bit nervous about it. I wish we knew what the acceptable transmission fluid flow rate is at a return or inlet side of the cooler so we can perhaps gauge the condition of the filter in the automatic transmission. I guess we could also use just inlet or outlet pressure indication as a gauge if flow meter is not practical. Since this is a common problem, maybe someone can rig up such a diagnostic tool and market it?

QUOTE=johndeerebones;4479345]I just went out and first off flushed the cooler with just air alone, no debris to speak of and it was not stopped up at all. Flushed it with a/c flush then, it is now spotless and flows very well. I did take a second look at the filter with a good flashlight. I can see that the screen is covered throughout with a fine grit, the kind that looks kinda normal for 142k trans, not chunks, just fine stuff, the only place that it is not is where I wiped it with a rag right by the opening when I pulled it out, can't even see the screen anywhere else, just where I wiped it. I cleaned off the transmission side, clean side, and sucked through it by mouth(no stupid comments guys), and it gave resistance at first almost like it was plugged, then it started to flow. It had to be restricted to say the least, even if it wasn't plugged all together. Other than the burnt up 2nd clutch (expected that, not suprising), the rest of the trans was fine, just replaced the seals, orings, and clutches and steels, and cleaned it up, after 142k, the fluid was dirty, so was everything it had touched. There was alot of material on the magnet, but again no more than to be expected with high mileage. I guess the wear from the steels went to the magnet and the wear of the friction material went in the filter. I am pretty impressed with how good of a job the filter did though. No debris in any clutches or anything, just dirty fluid residue. By comparison, have had many American transmissions apart and the filter just keeps large chunks out of the pump, doesn't stop anything else really. It is no wonder these things typically go several hundred thousand miles. It is built really well, the shafts and such remind of tractor transmissions, and you know their environment. With 170hp behind it, it is no wonder they last so long. This thing is built like it is behind a 500hp and tq smallblock. It is built heavier than alot of transmission I have had apart in truck applications, I am impressed. I hope it is good to go after the 2nd clutch has been repaired. I really think the clutch pack play was too much on the oem 2nd pack, may have been why they fail in the first place.

In short, are these things that persnickety on fluid flow that a restricted filter will make it slip in all gears? I am kicking myself in the butt over and over for not sticking some gauges in it before I pulled it, but hindsight is 20/20! If my pressures were low across the board I could see this as a possible problem........[/QUOTE]
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Old 07-21-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

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Last edited by honda-99; 07-21-2010 at 08:29 PM. Reason: redundant post
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Old 07-21-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

That is a good idea. No way you could condemn pump/valve body, or filter, but flow rate is a good way to gauge something in the area of fluid flow. I don't have any idea what "good" is though. That would be an easy gauge to make for personal use. Get a flow rater in the range of gpm or lpm and adapt it to the lines. Just have to have one that is oil compatible.

I picked up the new convertor today, so Friday I will bring my tools home after work and get started. Post back if it works either Friday night or Saturday morning.
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Old 07-24-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I got it put back in and test drove and didn't set any lights and stuff. All is good, works fine at full out throttle and part throttle. Didn't even start putting it in till about 9 it is so hot here that I wait until dark falls to do anything manual labor wise. test drive and everything in around 4 hours. Just bought the car and didn't think about the radio code, thankfully my sister's dealer wrote it in the back of the op manual, so I had it. Everything works fine. Oh yeah, took the cabin filters out and blew out the dust, bugs, and leaves and put a smell good scent thing in there on top of it, smells good coming out of the vents now. Now that it is good I will detail it out. Well theres the update.... I put a convertor and a kit in it, but really I think all that was wrong was the filter was stopped up. Of course 2nd gear clutch, but that was expected.
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Old 07-24-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

glad it worked out. what clutch brand did you use for the 2nd gear?
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Old 07-25-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I got the parts from Makco, tourqe convertor from Precision of New Hampton Iowa.

Drove it a couple days and here is what I got now. I have a re-occuring P0740, cleared it several times and it still comes back. Tried to pull the tcc solenoid and couldn't get the bolt out at home. At lunch tommorow gonna pull it out with my tools at work and look at it. Hoping it it just dirty from the debris before, but that would be luck.

The valve body was fine and the convertor is new. Plus it is a CKT code, so I'm hoping electrical or debris in the passage. Gonna pull it and disconnect the coils and crank it to flush out the tranny passage and brake clean the solenoid.

The other thing, I have a flare going to third gear, like a real short 1/2 second slip if I am in it, I let off now and just wait for it.
I used autozone's multi import castrol transmission fluid. What are the symptoms of fluid alone? It says right in the manual that shift quality will not be good with "dexron" type fluids. Worse thing is, to change it right and do it 3 times like honda says; and using the honda fluid you are talking like 150 bucks, just for FLUID!!!!Rediculous.
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

yeah these trans are very picky about their honda fluid. i would stick with the ATF-Z1 honda recommends. usually other fluid will cause rough shifting. ive experienced this before in two other hondas and changing to Z1 fluid fixed it. the honda stuff is semi synthetic and they have a new version due out next year that is full syn.
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Old 07-26-2010
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Re: 2001 AT Civic Trans slip problems

I just looked at the bottles when I got home and the Castrol stuff says it meets the Honda ATF-Z1. Even goes so far as to say recommended. I pulled the TCC solenoid at lunch today. Powered it up with my power probe and the electrical part worked fine, but the pintle inside the valve moved very little and I couldn't move it further with an oring pick. I breifly tried to figure out how to take it apart, I am sure it just has debris from before the repair under the pintle. I am gonna jack with it later, I think that is my p0740 reason. So I have direction there, not worried about it, will probably replace the solenoid when I get paid, or by a stroke of luck may be able to unstick it later tonight.....
As for the flare, it is worst when it is cold. Lot of 3 flare and a little 4. As it gets to normal temperature (fluid thinner?) the 4 flare completely goes away and the 3 flare is a whole lot better but never fully goes away. Where do you stick a gauge for the system pressure on these things? Also, if you want to engage stuff to check the 1 2 3 4 ports do you just have to jumper it on the solenoids? My rebuild kit has which solenoids are on and off in each gear..I could atleast see what the pressures are doing and know if its hydraulic or mechanical...It seems like the pressure are slow in coming up to me, 3 lugs out and pulls fine once it is engaged; never slips, just has the flare going in.
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