1996 Acura Integra - shifting problem, axle click and a clunk....?

Hello All! I am the owner of a 1996 "Dad"Tegra, 4 door auto with 159k miles.
Bought it from a friend and brought it back to life, I got some help from the group here when getting her on the road.

1st issue - major overcooling. There is a thermostat in there - when I went to change it I didn’t have a thin wall 10mm deep well to get the bottom bolt off the housing. Guessing I just need to get that swapped.

2nd - sometimes when cold, rarely when warmed up - the transmission kind of slips. It’s usually at the end of the 2nd to 3rd shift, sometimes a little blip at the 3rd to 4th shift. Fluid is nice looking, and full. It was a little more bubbly than I would like to see, on the dipstick, when I checked it today. Not what I would call foamy - it wasn’t milky etc. Not sure what to do about this one…

3rd - clicking on right turns, drivers side axle - need a new CV axle, boot is split. was thinking about just cleaning the joint & regreasing it as it’s barely a click, and booting it - this is an extra care and may likely be sold in the next few months. Any benefit to that?

4th - when traveling slowly and coming to a complete stop, sometimes, there is a clunk, driver side front. Not sure if it’s from the axle, or a failing ball joint, or the brakes.
I checked out the suspension when I got the car, and replaced the driver side upper control arm for bad bushings, both upper & lower ball joints were OK then, but there is and has always been lots of squeaks in the many bushings on this car;s suspension. Also had to do a fair bit of cleaning, greasing, and fiddling with the brakes when I bought it. Any suggestions on some easy checks?

Thanks all… I pretty much know what to do for most of this - the transmission is my main question


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1st issue, you already diagnosed what to do.

2nd issue might not be a big deal. I had a friend with a '95 automatic Teg. Did the same thing yours does. The transmission simply wasn’t smooth all the time, but there wasn’t anything wrong with it.

3rd issue: If the joint is already damaged then cleaning it won’t fix the damage, and that means it could fail somewhere down the road. For the price, it just makes more sense to replace the axle.

4th issue: Clunking on stopping can also be caused by bad CV joints. Fix the 3rd issue and see if the clunk is still there.


Failed thermostat can cause condensation in your engine oil and transmission fluid.

3rd issue; I agree with @shadowfax and replace the entire axle shaft. Pulling it apart and back together is more time consuming and is not worth the time.

4th issue; I would replace the ball joint on both front sides.


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I’m probably going to sell this car within the month either do a friend for
very cheap or to stranger for cheap so there’s that to keep in mind.

I figured I needed thermostat but I thought I’d check and see if there was
any weird cooling issues with this type of car

the car warms up fine it just takes a long time and there’s no evidence of
oil and water mixed in the transmission or the engine so I don’t think
that’s a problem.

I was going to clean out the axle regrease it and putting oversized boot
on it without pulling the axle to try and make it last a little while but I
guess I’ll either change the axle or not at this point.

definitely not changing out the lower ball joints on both sides.
Last time I checked they were fine anyways I guess I’ll just have to get
things up in the air.

I think my transmission question has been answered and I’m hoping the clunk
is just related to the axial it probably is

I’m not that familiar with the Integra.

The clunking also could be from a broken “Stabilizer Bar Link”.


no my stabilizer bar links are okay. okay well I guess I wouldn’t say no
for sure. the stabilizer bar links are okay at least they were last time I
checked and it hasn’t been that long and they were totally fine at the time
although it is possible that the rubber baby buggy bumpers have worn out a
little bit more but in my experience that’s probably not the case and also
in my experience I need to just get under there and look and quit being
lazy LOL back injuries stink!

stabilizer bar links also known as sway bar end links FYI everybody should
know what those are they’re a little double mini ball joint type thing that
comes off the sway bar and hooks into the a arm also known as the lower
control arm also known as the thing that holds the lower ball joint

Since you’re selling the car soon and want the most bang for your buck . . .

Replace the cv axleshaft with a cheapo remanned or new, whichever is cheaper. Just don’t expect it to last long, if you wind up keeping the car

Replace the front sway bar bushings and links. Even though they may look okay, they sure make a lot of noise when they’re worn. I’ve diagnosed and replaced many. In most cases, the owner swore up and down they were okay, yet they were in fact not okay and were causing the noise(s). There are several types of sway bar links, and the ones with the ball joint end tend to make the most noise. They should be tight, not sloppy.

You have the classic symptoms of a bad thermostat . . . not getting up to proper operating temperature within a reasonable timeframe

I suggest buying storebrand parts locally, in case they don’t fit or are defective. Returning defective parts, which you ordered online gets old real fast

Afterwards, just sell it as is, and price it to move. If you price it too high, somebody’s going to show up, thinking it’s a creampuff and was pampered from day one.

If you sell it to your friend, tell him not to complain if something breaks down next month. After all, how are you to know if the starter will last another five years or another five weeks. Many friendships have been compromised when one friend sold something to the other . . .

There’s several valves and orifices that could be among the culprits, as well as a worn out 3rd clutch. Does the shifting point seem to be correct otherwise? I’d start w/a proper service. If that doesn’t help, you’ll have to visit a transmission shop for a diagnostic by an expert. If the transmission has never been rebuilt or replaced, my guess, you’re probably looking at one sooner than later.

I do a remove, clean, lube & reboot service on the cv joints on my Corolla as a routine maintenance item, never had to replace an axle yet in over 200 K miles. But once it start clicking, and w/a torn boot, I think you are probably looking at a new axle.

I think you are correct to suspect the clunk being play in a suspension or steering component. The overheating may or may not be related to the thermostat. If it looks ok upon removal, put it into a pot of water on the stove and see if it opens at the correct temperature and correct opening dimension.


The Integra was a hugely underrated vehicle. Even the 4-door dad trims. Acura has never had a car model since that sold as well. Too bad it’s an Auto. I’m with Shadowfax. 3 and 4 are the same problem. CVs. Not a bad thing to fix or have fixed. Is the car a manual? The great news is you may only have one real problem (trans).

I’m not sure how underrated it was, at least in import circles. A lot of us back in the day had GS-Rs and lusted after the Type-R. Many of us wish today’s Civic Type-R had taken a page from the “understated” design book used on the Teg. The Fast and the Furious look doesn’t really do it for us.

That was a stellar car in any trim level. Even the automatic LS was fun to drive. Helps that it had an absolute gem of an engine. The B-18 is still sought after today for engine swaps.

Agreed. One of my colleagues has a Type R stored away. It is a fantastic car and I hope to drive it someday. I had a Civic SI of that era and thought it was pretty hot stuff until I drove an Integra of the same year. They were worlds araprt in refinement.

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Don’t forget the same-era Acura Legend. The Type II 6 speed LS coupe? My god what a car that was. I came very close to buying one once, but stumbled on an MR2 that was priced too aggressively to pass up. Still have the MR2, but I wish I’d owned a Legend at some point. In some ways it was even better than the much newer TL I drive now.

Acura peaked in the late 90’s. It had a brief resurgence in the mid 2k’s, but since then they make good, nice, reasonably luxurious cars, but they’ve forgotten how to make exciting cars.

Indeed. Anyone who drives a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 or A7, or Mercedes E Class should occasionally thank Acura. It was the Acura Legend and Lexus LS that raised the bar to the place it is now and kept the rest of the luxury market honest. I used to be a big Acura fan, now it just makes me sad. I can’t even name the cars anymore.

I also forgot to mention that although the car is basically solid and the
interior is in great shape sunroof Works etcetera the radios missing it
needs a new AC compressor there’s a dent in the driver side door the back
bumper is a little crooked the paint wearing off the lower part of the
front bumper the paints faded on the roof and the hood there’s a gnarly
exhaust rattle around 1200 RPM the blower only works on high there’s a nail
in the tire and when you sit down in the passenger seat the horn honks (
okay I’m kidding about the last two but you get what I’m saying )
it’s a totally solid car that’s had the timing belt changed with
relatively low miles especially low miles for the year and a solid car for
somebody who is aware of the issues. I’m going to drive it out for the next
month off and on and sell it as is with a good price I think

I guess I should say I will probably service a transmission first but
that’s about it

Exhaust rattle is probably easy to fix. It’s most likely the upper heat shield on the cat. Just rip it off.

yeah it’s an easy fix but it doesn’t bother me given that I’m going to be
selling the car really cheap in the near future, and I always disclose
everything I know about a vehicle - I think I’m going to try the
transmission service and leave it at that. Thanks for your help everybody