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2000 Honda Civic Automatic Transmission and cooling

So I’m the second owner of a Civic, it’s at 130k miles. This is the first automatic car I’ve driven in a ver long time like 10 years. So I have some silly and basic questions about it.

  1. When I am going down a hill and let off the gas, how much drag should I be feeling from the trans? I am leaving it in D but sometimes it does feel like a manual transmission and I’m slowing using the clutch.

All service work up until me has been dealer, and I learned before to use the Honda trans fluid.

  1. Does anyone know what the natural shift points are for this model? I’m used to shifting up sooner.

Now onto the cooling!

Last month the thermostat froze causing a mass ejection of all cooling fluids. I used this as a chance to change all of the hoses and fluids. But now the thermostat gauge takes for ever to get to the mid point. And the heat although strong isn’t the same breath of hell fire I’m used to. I’ve got one of those coolant funnels that attached t the radiator so I’ve done a complete hour of running with that to assure I have no air bubbles.

  1. When I get on the highway sometimes the temp drops to above the minimum temp line, when I have the heat on. I’ve got a 20mile one way commute.

  2. Sometimes it gets close to the mid point very quickly, in maybe 10 minutes, but doesn’t rise above it.

  3. I have noticed a dribbling of coolant on the ground, I think this is a problem with an old clamp, but I haven’t had the chance to get under the car since this started last week.

If you need any other info to help out let me know, I’ve been working on cars for a while and these two things are annoying me.

I would double check the fluid level. It really does sound like air in the system. Did you double check your thermostat install? Not to question your competency, but we have all made mistakes.

Although I assume you did so, you didn’t actually say that you changed the thermostat. You only said you changed hoses and fluids. Did you use a stock thermostat?

I’ve had a '98 and '01 Civic with an automatic, and an '07 with a manual. The attached is from the Factory Service Manual from the '07 which had a 5-speed automatic (yours should be a 4-speed) but it’ll give you some idea of how Honda controls shift points. They can vary widely depending on speed, throttle position, and road gradient. Also, the lock-up torque converter is doing its thing. It will lock up or partially lock up depending on the same inputs.

All of my Civics would quickly (5-10 min) get to half way on the temperature gauge and stay there. As you go further along with strange cooling issues, not finding “easy” solutions, consider a failing head gasket.

The transmission has a lock up torque converter so above 35 or so, it will have engine braking similar to a manual. Honda’s do have high shift points. The temp needle should be around 40% of gauge range, or a little below the half way mark.