'98 Accord shifting hard

honda
accord

#1

I have a '98 accord that I just acquired, and it’s shifting hard from 1st to 2nd under hard acceleration, but not in any of the other gears. There are no issues when shifting from 2nd to 1st on decelerating.



When the engine is first started up, with my foot on the brake, not moving, when I move the shift selector through each gear, D4, D3, 2, 1, the transmission makes a distinct ‘jerk’ into second gear from D3, and when going from 1 to 2, it’s the same result.



I talked to the dealer, who said that on a '98 Accord, the only way to fix is to replace the transmission, and he didn’t recommend doing so because of the cost, relative to the vehicle’s worth. He said that it’s likely caused by a stuck accumulator. He said that it shouldn’t affect the performance of the transmission, and that’s it’s nothing to worry about.



My question: is there any way to remedy this without replacing the transmission? Would a transmission flush be helpful? Could this be a stuck accumulator? What about something like Marvel Mystery oil? Would that help free a stuck accumulator?



I change the transmission fluid regularly, every year, and I check the fluid often to make sure it’s clean and topped off.


#2

You say that you change trans fluid regularly, but also that you just acquired this car - so do you know the history of this transmission in terms of its maintenance?

I think it would be worth a trip to your best local and independent transmission shop (i.e. not a national chain transmission shop) to have it scanned for any error codes. Some will do this for anything from free to a nominal charge (like 1hr labor or something).

See what they have to say about it.

DO NOT put any additives in it. The only thing that I would be willing to try in your place would be a pint of Seafoam’s Transtune added for a couple hundred easy miles just before a pan drop/filter change and fluid exchange. If there is just something sticking, this is the kind of thing that might help free it up. But the only thing that should be run in the transmission is Honda’s recommended fluid.

Hard shifting, within reason, is also not all that terrible for the transmission. It actually reduces wear on the clutches - though it does put a bit more stress on the hard parts.


#3

Yes, contradicting statements on my part. This was my girlfriend’s car, and I did the regular oil changes on it. But not having driven it, I wasn’t aware of the severity of the shift from 1st to 2nd. And I didn’t know if it was getting better, worse, or staying the same. Now that I’m driving it, this is what I’m seeing. I may be jumping ahead of myself here, but I’m noticing that the more I drive it on the highway, the better it gets when it shifts up from 1st to 2nd. I’m already in 2nd when I am accelerating up the on-ramp, and well into 3rd by the time I’m merging into traffic. But I’m wondering if the highway speeds are causing more ATF flow, thereby cleaning deposits from the accumulators. My girlfriend mostly does in-town driving, and typically doesn’t reach speeds more than 55 mph.

In all my Honda’s, the only thing I’ve ever run is Honda ATF.

Thanks for the help.