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97 Accord Transmission Issue

Have a 97 Accord V6. Trans shifts harshly at light throttle - up shifts and downshifts feel very clunky. If I coast at 30 to 40 mph, I can feel the trans decelerate the car and I can feel the downshifts as it drops through the gears.

Interestingly enough, at moderate to heavy throttle, shifts are smooth, perfectly timed, and no flare or any other wierdness - again both up and downshifts.

I have drained the fluid and replaced with Honda ATF 2 times. Improved shift quality some, but still is clunky at light throttle. Sometimes it is more noticeable than others, especially the dragging feeling (deceleration) when coasting - that is not always present - just sometimes.

Well, one thing that you can do is to test the throttle position sensor. The computer will use info from this as part of controlling shift. This is an easy thing to check if you have a digital volt meter.

But its more likely that you just have a 14 yr old transmission with [how many miles?], and [what kind of lifetime service history?] There are all sorts of gizmos in there that control the shift points & line pressures and they are likely getting around to being some combination of gummed up and/or worn out.

If the TPS is behaving itself, and you don’t want to have it rebuilt then I would be looking at two options. One is to keep driving it and do nothing (short of keeping up the normal maintenance). I once had a '97 Escort transmission that started some hard shifting. I had 2 separate places tell me I just needed to rebuild it. Not worth it. I just kept driving…and driving…and driving…

The second will draw varying opinions. If you are doing your own trans services (which I do), and wanted to give something short of a rebuild a whirl, I’d drop some SeaFoam TransTune in it for a couple hundred easy miles and then do the pan & filter again.

It has 144K and good service history from the previous owner. I don’t think they were anal about it, but they kept up with it…and the fluid I replaced looked in pretty good condition - it wasn’t burned or anything - so at least it isn’t slipping that I can tell. Now that you mention the escort - my family had one that was stuck in 3rd gear (reverse worked too)…and they drove that for years…just took awhile to get rolling from a stop - everyone said it would burn up in a couple weeks - but it proved us wrong.

Does anyone know of an easy way to check the TPS on this car? I don’t want to go to a shop to put it on a computer… does someone have maybe the Ohm readings or something i can do with a multimeter?

You can either get a repair manual for about $20 from and auto parts store that will give the TPS specs - or if you go register at Autozone’s website & put in the car info they have bare bones online repair info that will likely contain the specs.

You’re looking for voltage readings and even without the specs you can probably learn what you need to know. Just back probe the connector, put the ignition in run. At closed throttle the typical TPS should be at or near zero (maybe as high as .5V or so) and as you open the throttle it should increase completely smoothly up to something in the neighborhood of 4.5-5 V. That’s typical anyway. The trick would be in identifying the wires - there are probably 3 of them - one is ~ 5V reference signal & should get about 5V with the key on. The other 2 will be the actual circuit that sends the position signal.

There is a cable that goes from the throttle body to the front side of the transmission. Check that this cable is just taunt at the idle position and it follows the throttle exactly. Sometimes this cable stretches, or some mechanic thinks that there is suppose to be some slack in it and misadjusts it. Back off the cable until you get some slack, and then tighten it until the slack just disappears.