05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders - Honda Civic Forum

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05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

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Old 12-15-2011
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05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

When I am driving slowly, around 30mph, and come to a slight incline the car shudders as if I had a manual transmission in too high of a gear. The rpms are low, around 1500. If i shift from D to 3, it downshifts and is fine. To me it seems like the car is shifting into 4th too soon.

This happens more in the warm weather. In cold weather, it takes too long to shift!

The car has about 63K on it.

Anyone have or heard of this type of problem?

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Old 12-15-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

seems normal and ive noticed the same since i bought the car new in 2002. in the cold, the trans works completely differently. gears change much slower with more lag, and the torque converter will not lock out at all until the engine coolant warms up. this is to warm the car up faster (both the engine and trans). the car does shift into higher gear way too quickly, altho still better than the 2006+ civics. just above 30mph you can be in 4th and the torque converter will lock, basically leaving you with no power at all. i do not recommend using D (1-4 gears) unless you are driving over 40mph or are driving on flat ground. if you drive mostly below 40mph and live in hilly areas, it is best to keep the trans in D3 (1-3 gears) for best performance and less wear and tear on the trans (so it does not have to constantly lock/unlock the converter and switch between 3rd and 4th, which makes extra heat). in the city, i almost never use anything except for D3. the engine is too weak to do anything in 4th except maintain a highway speed on relatively flat road.
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Old 12-16-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

Thanks for that response! I have been reading about problems others have been having with their transmission and was afraid I was headed for trouble.

I have never changed the ATF in this car, do you think it would be a good Idea?

Thanks,

Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
seems normal and ive noticed the same since i bought the car new in 2002. in the cold, the trans works completely differently. gears change much slower with more lag, and the torque converter will not lock out at all until the engine coolant warms up. this is to warm the car up faster (both the engine and trans). the car does shift into higher gear way too quickly, altho still better than the 2006+ civics. just above 30mph you can be in 4th and the torque converter will lock, basically leaving you with no power at all. i do not recommend using D (1-4 gears) unless you are driving over 40mph or are driving on flat ground. if you drive mostly below 40mph and live in hilly areas, it is best to keep the trans in D3 (1-3 gears) for best performance and less wear and tear on the trans (so it does not have to constantly lock/unlock the converter and switch between 3rd and 4th, which makes extra heat). in the city, i almost never use anything except for D3. the engine is too weak to do anything in 4th except maintain a highway speed on relatively flat road.
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Old 12-16-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

Not sure about shudder.

6 year old original fluid at 63k....? Yes, I would do a single drain and fill with Honda DW1. Unless you can come up with some Z1.
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Old 12-16-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

first check the condition of your fluid by removing the dipstick and looking at the color and texture. if the fluid feels gritty instead of smooth, and looks black/orange instead of red, do not change the fluid. it will do more harm than good and you could end up with slipping gears. leave the original fluid in there and drive til it breaks. many trans have gone 100-200k miles on original fluid, so that is your best option. if the fluid is red color and just a little dark (but not black), then you are okay doing one drain and fill to replace 1/2 of the total fluid capacity. if everything goes well, do it again a month later. i would recommend valvoline maxlife dex/merc atf over the honda stuff. works much better, especially in older honda trans. i recently switched from z1 to maxlife in my 2002 auto and it feels like a new car again. slipping is nearly gone, fluid starts warming up and working much faster in the cold, shifts are far smoother. i have around 100k miles on it now and wish i wouldve switched sooner.

Originally Posted by dlabrie View Post
Thanks for that response! I have been reading about problems others have been having with their transmission and was afraid I was headed for trouble.

I have never changed the ATF in this car, do you think it would be a good Idea?

Thanks,
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Old 12-19-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

I checked the fluid. It's red but feels gritty. The car actually has 73K miles on it not 63. Should I change it or let it be?



Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
first check the condition of your fluid by removing the dipstick and looking at the color and texture. if the fluid feels gritty instead of smooth, and looks black/orange instead of red, do not change the fluid. it will do more harm than good and you could end up with slipping gears. leave the original fluid in there and drive til it breaks. many trans have gone 100-200k miles on original fluid, so that is your best option. if the fluid is red color and just a little dark (but not black), then you are okay doing one drain and fill to replace 1/2 of the total fluid capacity. if everything goes well, do it again a month later. i would recommend valvoline maxlife dex/merc atf over the honda stuff. works much better, especially in older honda trans. i recently switched from z1 to maxlife in my 2002 auto and it feels like a new car again. slipping is nearly gone, fluid starts warming up and working much faster in the cold, shifts are far smoother. i have around 100k miles on it now and wish i wouldve switched sooner.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Re: 05 Auto trans shifts early/shudders

its a tough call. red means the fluid is still in okay shape but the grit means there is friction material from the clutch discs. sometimes removing that grit causes the gears to start slipping when you change the fluid. if it were me, i would change it and hope for the best. the maxlife fluid does help stop slipping, so maybe it will even out any problems of changing the old stuff out.
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