CVT already?

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by pasadena_commut, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    So yesterday I stuck an arm under the front of the car with a mirror (didn't have time to break out the jackstands and crawl underneath). The front bottom of this car looks like it has scraped over more than one parking stop. The rubber air dam was popped out of most of its holes in the bumper, but luckily wasn't actually damaged, and went back in easily enough. The bottom of the bumper cover is cracked in one place, where it is held together by a tie wrap. (They must have been out of duct tape.) The front splash shield (right behind the bumper) has a foot wide chunk chewed out of the middle. Behind that there is a metal frame open in the middle, that looks like it's about 2 ft on each side. The oil filter can be seen hanging down in this space - presumably the lower engine splash shield covers that entire rectangular hole. So, given the state of the front splash shield and the completely missing engine splash shield, I think both will be replaced.

    Anybody have a picture of what the front bottom of this looks like on a car which isn't ripped up? I have found exploded pictures of all the "fender" parts, including both splash shields, but nothing which shows how the front shield is supposed to hook into the front bumper. There are a some tabs which seem to go from the shield into the bumper, and holes where it looks like some more tabs used to be before they were broken off.

  2. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    Getting back to the original topic, last night the car did the high RPM thing again, for the second time. The symptoms were exactly the same, and as before, turning off the car, and turning it back on again cleared the issue. It did not reappear in another 15 minutes of driving last night or 20 minutes this morning.

    Now the odd thing is, it did it right after I adjusted the climate controls while stopped at a light. I distinctly recall that the first time this happened I had also been adjusting the climate controls at the stop before. Since I have not touched these in weeks, and it throws this problem again immediately after touching the dials, it seems like a heck of a coincidence.

    A/C compressor or related logic issue? Climate controls are normally left at mode=auto, temp=blue (all the way counterclockwise), (fan,recirc,a/c,econ)=off. Last night it was a little cold so I moved the temperature up to 75 or so, then decided it wasn't that cold after all, and put it back to blue. I don't recall for sure if I touched the fan or mode dials, but I don't think I did. Then immediately at that start, the RPM issue. Would that transition have possibly changed the state of the A/C compressor, or the clutch for it, assuming it has one? I'm thinking maybe when it first starts, sometimes the compressor has an issue that requires more power to drive it, and the motor might have to go to higher RPMs to keep from stalling. It isn't an outright failed compressor though, as the A/C so far has always worked when I intentionally turned it on. Still, would the car ever turn on the compressor if the fan is set to off???

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  3. paratwa

    paratwa Well-Known Member

    I have a 2003 HCHI that just crossed over teh 100k mile mark this week.

    I bought the car at 87k (from a Honda dealer). CVT was glassy smooth a a true pleasure to drive for the first 5k or so. After that I started getting what you're seeing with the high RPMs every now and then. Over the course of the next 6 months it only got worse.

    Reading these forums and others I scheduled a Honda dealership servcie visit (not the one I bought it from) and figured I needed a Burning and CVT fluid change. Because the service center was VERY busy the service writer didn't communicate properly the issue and the tech changed the fluid and said "We didn't find any problem". Knowning that a fluid change will cover up the issue for awhile I was upset. They noted the mistake in their records.

    After the fluid change the car ran perfectly for another 5k-6k miles. I've had only a couple of the high RPM events since.
  4. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    Have you noticed any pattern as to when they occur? With only two events my data sample is extremely limited, but in both cases it was only on starting from a stopped condition, and only after adjusting the climate controls.

    Turning off the car "reset" whatever the problem was both times for me. Did you also observe that? That is the odd thing, I have had cars with clutch problems before, and when the clutch is bad, the clutch is bad. Here it is like the computer just forgot to let some clutch out all the way. I suppose a clutch might be getting a bit of grit or something jammed in somewhere, and that shutting down and restarting releases it.

    Have you ever had it go to high RPMs while it was already in motion and at normal RPMs?

    Were you getting any judder? Mine isn't doing that, except possibly twice, when starting from stop going up one particular hill, where it did shake a lot below 5 mph. That might have been judder, but it felt a bit more like the transmission wasn't in a low enough gear so that the motor was lugging.
  5. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    On a normal car the water pump, alternator, starter, and AC compressor are attached by a belt to the engine. How does this work on an HCH1? There is no alternator of course. Is the water pump driven by an electric motor, or does it just not run at an auto stop?

    Mostly though I want to know about the AC compressor. What I have seen so far could have been consistent with the compressor going into an almost locked state when turned on (by fiddling with the climate controls) while in auto stop. I never heard a drive belt shrieking, but the dealer said it was worn (not that I trust them very much considering all the unneeded service they tried to foist off on me.) If the belt didn't slip, and the compressor can (occasionally) enter a mode where it is very hard to turn, the motor would presumably have gone to high RPMs to keep from stalling. In that scenario, the CVT adapts by going to a very low gear ratio so that the car doesn't surge forward. Turning the car off gets out of this condition, so far anyways, possibly by releasing the compressor. On a "normal" car the AC compressor clutch is never engaged except when the motor is running. Can it engage with the motor off on an HCH1?

    Anyway, it does seem very odd that since the high RPM events have only happened twice, both times it was right after the environmental controls were adjusted in auto stop, especially since I only very rarely touch those controls. The only thing attached to the drive system that should change with the climate controls is the AC compressor, right?
  6. paratwa

    paratwa Well-Known Member

    Not really. I've been watching for a pattern too.

    I assume you're turning off the ignition while the car is in motion. No I haven't done this when I've had the issue, but I'll try it the next time.

    Yes. When its doing this it seems to be a high torque situation. When going at highway speeds up a decently steep hill the engine will do a rev-release type of thing like the CVT is slipping. You can feel it on the pedal and see it on the tach.

    I'm getting just a tiny bit of judder but only going from Reverse into a forward gear.
  7. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    No way! I pull over, shut it down completely (key to the off position), wait a while, and turn it back on. Turning off the power, and hence the computer, while the CVT is in motion and already in a strange state sounds like a really bad idea to me.
  8. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    It started slipping again yesterday while the wife was driving and I was in the passenger seat. Definitely no involvement of the heater/compressor this time as all of that was off, even the fan. The car has been juddering a bit more lately, and while I have learned to ease up on the gas to minimize that, she doesn't drive this car very often and so just pushes through the shaking. The judder isn't that terrible yet. Anyway, she put it through a good judder and the car once again started having RPM like it was stuck in a very low gear. Once again pulling over, turning it off, waiting a few seconds, and turning it back on fixed it. Guess it has to go back in to the dealer, not that they could find it or fix it the first time. Not so much for the incipient judder, that probably just means that it's time for a transmission fluid change and a burnishing, but for the "stuck in low gear" problem.
  9. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Well-Known Member

    I just stumbled upon this thread again having forgotten about it. An independent shop repaired the CVT in September 2013. It wasn't cheap, but at least it wasn't being paid to Honda. The problem was with the the little tube that feeds fluid into the starter clutch through a bushing. The tube apparently seized in the bushing, which broke loose from its normal position in the starter clutch housing and was stuck to the tube. That is, normally the bushing is in the housing and both spin around the tube. After it failed the bushing was stuck to the tube and the housing was spinning around the bushing. (When they took it apart the bushing went with the tube, rather than staying in the housing.) This chewed up the outside of the bushing and the inside of the housing somewhat. Normally there is a tiny amount of leakage between the tube and the bushing. After it failed like this that path seems to have been completely sealed, but now there was (presumably) somewhat more leakage between the bushing and the housing. The seal was tight enough to hold pressure so that it didn't slip in normal driving, but at startup things were not quite right, so judder. Somehow or other it still mostly worked like that. Probably the wildly spinning transmission events involved the bearing shifting around. Some of the parts involved in theory were only available by buying half a new transmission. The mechanic had a machine shop fabricate a new bushing, they pulled the old bushing off the tube, cleaned up the tube and the place where the bushing mounts into the starter clutch housing, pressed it all together, and it works. I also had them replace the starter clutch plates while it was torn apart. Those may or may not have been playing a role, but it would have been crazy not to replace them on a CVT with 117K on it with the transmission already open.

    edited to improve explanation of failure mode.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  10. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Thanks for following-up! It's always good to hear about real repair solutions vs. swapping entire trannys, engines, etc.
  11. jbart

    jbart Well-Known Member

    I agree its great to hear about repairs rather than entire replacement. It seems too often these days its "cheaper" to replace the whole thing (like the car!!!) than to fix a complicated thing like the CVT or IMA etc. Thanks for posting!!!
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks for the detailed posting, bookmarked this.
  13. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Anybody have a clue as to the life expectancy of Honda's newer CVTs now used in non-hybrid Accord, Civic, and Fit? Evidently they've replaced the troublesome starter clutch with a torque converter+lock-up clutch?

    I MIGHT consider purchasing a CVT Fit, IF there's good reason to believe it would last. (If only the manual Fit offered an appropriate top-gear ratio ... )
  14. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    My opinion is, if they use the same CVT in a bigger car, it should be aight in the smaller car..... (But don't put your life savings into the larger one)
  15. nogasbiker

    nogasbiker New Member

    If the repair worked out well, could you share the name of the independent? I have a 2003 HCH1 whose CVT is acting up.

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