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97 Civic auto trans issue.

Discussion in '6th Generation Honda Civic (1996-2000)' started by Chevsica, Sep 29, 2017.



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  1. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    My daughter bought a 97 Civic LX sedan from a buddy of mine that owned the car for 3 years. Drove it for a few weeks and then the trans started acting up. We were in stop and go traffic. My daughter went to accelerate and if felt like we were driving over the rumble strip on the side of the road from 0-5mph and then again when it shifted to 2nd. Car wouldn't shift into third. I had her pull over so I could drive. We did not turn the car off. When I placed the car in drive it did not engage. Just free rev'd as though it was still in neutral. I turned the car off and immediately started it back up. I put it in drive and it engaged as it should. I accelerated normally and the car shifted from 1st to 2nd and from 2nd to 3rd just fine. When I reached approx. 50mph the car downshifted into 2nd on its own. I exited the highway. When I tried to take off from the stop sign at the bottom of the off ramp, it just free rev'd like it was in neutral. Once again, I shut the car off and then started it back up and it engaged just fine. At that point we parked it and had it towed home. Now, I can start the car and drive it about an 1/8th of a mile without issue. After about an 1/8 of a mile the car acts like you throw it in neutral. I tried "cleaning" the solenoids on top of the transmission and it seems like I can drive it a little further now. I have a hard time believing the trans is shot simply due to the fact that it drives great for that 1/8th of a mile. I know these transmissions are different from normal automatics so I figured someone in here could tell me whats wrong. Here are the codes that it is throwing: Check Engine light=code 7; D4 light=code 41. The D4 light was showing the code for the shift solenoids, but it is not now since I cleaned them. I have not tried the drain and refill procedure.

    Before someone says search, I did. I couldn't find anything that pertained to what this car is doing.
     
  2. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    Reset the ECU to clear the codes. Do both codes return after the reset?

    The first thing to try in a situation like yours is:

    Minimally do it three times with Castrol Import ATF.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  3. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    Went home on lunch today and pulled the car in the driveway. Grabbed my socket wrench and my drain pan and drained the transmission fluid. Pretty sure it isn't supposed to be brown!
    20171001_124146.jpg
    So, how much metal is ok to have on the drain plug?! Lol. Sure hope this transmission isn't shot.

    If so, I bought a 94 EX 2-door as a donor. It has the Vtec head and a 5-speed.

    Might just sell the 97 and fix up the 94...
     
  4. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    Drain and refill until fluid is clear.

    Idle engine and move shifter slowly through each gear 4-5 times between each drain-refill cycle.
     
  5. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    I bought 3 quarts of Castrol Import ATF, that's all they had.
    20171001_161853.jpg
    Can't believe how expensive transmission fluid is now! I will fill it tonight and then do it at least 2 more times next weekend. We aren't driving the car right now so it shouldn't hurt to not flush it all 3 times tonight.

    I will report back the results when completed. I absolutely hate it when I read through a thread only to find out the op never reported back if their issue was resolved!
     
  6. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    What did you pay per quart?

    You may be able to buy 1 gallon for $20 at Advance Auto Parts and also get a 20-25% discount if you purchase online.

    Shop around.

     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  7. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    Around 5.60 a quart at Wal-Mart. Probably been 15 years or more since I bought any though. I plan on checking online this evening.
     
  8. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    Advance auto parts has the lowest price I could find -- $16/gallon ($4/quart) with the 20% off coupon online. Sometimes they have 25% off coupons. Good luck.
     
    Chevsica likes this.
  9. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    That's awesome! Thanks for checking for me!
     
  10. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    :thumbup:
     
  11. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    Just stopped at AutoZone. Bought the gallon jug and 2 quarts. They had the gallon for 21.99 and the quarts for 7.39. Advance Auto had the quarts for 5.50, on sale. AutoZone gave me them for 5.30 a quart and then gave me 10% off of the gallon! 6 quarts of Castrol Import ATF for 30.39!!

    I have already performed the drain and fill once. Hopefully 2 more will be sufficient! I will post the results.

    Edit: I will clear the codes from the ecu between each drain and fill. Is there a special way? I have always pulled the battery terminals and then turned on the headlights to release any stored power.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  12. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    Unfortunately it didn't work. I now hear a slight buzz from the transmission once it warms up. It is also now slipping on occasion when accelerating from a stop. It does drive a little farther now though! I do think that if I had performed the drain and fill prior to the trans acting up, it probably wouldn't be in this predicament. I still need to pull the codes but ran out of time today. Plus, I pulled the battery and put it in the 94 EX so I could have a car to drive while we fix the 97 since my daughter is driving my Blazer.

    I am heading to KC this weekend to go to the big Operation Outlaw no-prep race at the Kansas Speedway! My buddy is racing his Camaro. Here is his car last weekend.
    Blue Dragon.jpg
    I will pull the codes when I get back.
     
  13. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    Pull codes and continue drain-fills. Don't expect immediate fix. Be somewhat encouraged by the car driving a bit farther.
     
    Chevsica likes this.
  14. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    I appreciate your response. I would rather just swap in a known good transmission and make sure that it is correctly maintained from here on. This car is my daughters and I don't want to risk the transmission abruptly going out again. There was a lot of metal/debris on the drain plug.

    I can get one locally for around $200, with a warranty. These transmissions, as you probably already know, are really easy to swap.
     
  15. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    :thumbup:
     
  16. Chevsica

    Chevsica New Member

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    We swapped out the transmission and she has put about 500 miles on it. So far, so good on that. We were tightening up the power steering belt this morning, it squeals occasionally, and I had her check the tire pressure. One of the tires was low so she followed me down the gas station to air it up. She was on her way to work so I had her stay in the car with it running while I aired the tire up. As she was driving away from the gas station I noticed blue smoke puff out of the exhaust. It only does it after idling for a few seconds and then pressing the throttle. Valve stem seals?

    I don't plan on putting too much more money in to this car.
     
  17. boofoo

    boofoo Respected Registered VIP

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    :thumbup:
     


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