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Honda Accord transmission problems

My 2001 Honda Accord LX automatic transmission with 103,000 miles has been shifting roughly for about a year. The car is in excellent shape otherwise. I’ve changed the oil & filter regularly @ 3,000 miles, just had the rotors turned. Last year, based on what the manuel says to do, I had the transmission fluid drained and replaced. It seemed better for about 6 months. The rough shifting seems to happen most when going from 2nd to 1st and vice versa. Last week when I accelerated to take off @ a traffic light it made a huge clunking sound & it was like I went over a speed bump as I took off. That sent me to a transmission shop!

Through a test drive & putting on the scanner, shop #1 says it has a major transmission malfunction & said it would cost $2500 to $2600 to take apart, rebuild & put back together. Shop #2 does the same testing & says basically the same thing & all they can tell me is that it will cost $750 to take it apart & put it back together, with the unknown being what is wrong & what will be the total cost! Shop #3, same testing, but they went a step further and dropped the transmission pan & found the forward clutches in there. They recommended rebuilding transmission, replacing forward clutches which includes torque converter, pump, gasket seals, etc. with a cost of $2,000 maximum.

Need your input here! My specific questions are: 1) What is the function of the forward clutches? 2) Does the diagnosis & remedy sound correct & is the price reasonable? 3) Do you think repairing is worth the cost? I regularly get letters from local Honda dealers telling me they’ll buy my car & the last 1 quoted a price of $4,815.

I can’t comment on the prices, but it does seem like you have transmission problems. And that price would be for a car with a decent transmission. You can take ti to the dealer and ask them for an appraisal. Take the letter with you. It is possible that they might pay you$4815, but expect a reduction for the transmission. BTW, you need not tell them about the transmission. They are experts and should be able to figure it out themselves.

One more thing: change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles in the future. The transmission will function much longer without repairs if you do.

This model (1998 to 2002 Accord) is known for transmission problems. On the flip side they are also known to be very reliable otherwise. I have a 1999 Accord with a standard transmission with 197,000 miles and it is mechanically sound. Fix the transmission with the most comprehensive service and keep your fingers crossed.

I’m assuming that what they found in the pan was a lot of clutch material. The clutches themselves consist of a bunch of different parts (see the clutch pack pic about 1/2 down the page ~ and can’t really end up in the pan - though parts of them can.

In any case, as bloody_knuckles said the transmissions in those were very trouble prone. Yours will need to be rebuilt or replaced with a remanufactured unit and if you get back on the road for $2500 you’re doing well.

First of all lets start with shop #3. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. If they happened to drop the pan on a transmission that has no pan and found “Forward” clutches in there then you need to not darken their doorstep. Honda 3 shaft transmissions do not have “Forward” clutches. They have four separate clutch packs, one for first, one for second, one for third and one for fourth gears. Reverse uses the 4th clutch and an idler gear to complete reverse engagement. The transmission case is an aluminum 3 piece case. Shop #2 doesnt sound right because if you were to remove and disassemble and reassemble this transmission its going to cost you more than $750. This leads me to believe that they are going to do something else OTHER than disassembling and reassembling. Shop #1 although the most expensive sounds in the ballpark with this. What I believe that has happened to yours is the converter clutch has come apart and trashed the transmission with clutch material. This is very common in these Honda’s. Converter clutches, shaft bushings are very common failures. It sounds like shop #1 is the one you should be inquiring with. What trouble codes did the shops pull from the computer??


Transman beat me to it. I was thinking the very same thing about the 3rd shop. Either something was misinterpreted or misheard, or they’re outright telling falsehoods, but there is no pan to drop on your transmission. That would be like me telling you your chimney needs repair when your house has no fireplace. Stay away from them.

Without knowing the specific fault codes you had, hard to tell what the trouble is, but unless it can be repaired with an externally accessible solenoid, it’s likely to cost you $2-3K.

It’s not likely to be any more expensive to rebuild if you drive it until the transmission has a major malfunction, then rebuild it, which is what I would do–drive it until it dies. The exception being if it is driving you crazy or shifting so violently that you fear the rest of the drive train could suffer damage.

Can you confront #3 about their lie (Print this thread) and please share with us their reaction.

I would go with #1 or #2. $2000 is not a lot to spend on a car that has LOTS of life left. You prefer to spend $20,000 on a new car? You said your car otherwise is in great shape. I loved my 1999 Accord until I crashed it.

Keep the car.
Pay the $2000.