Manual Transmission whining in neutral?

I have a 1997 Honda Civic 5-speed with about 200,000 miles. It is making a low-pitched whining noise when I let the clutch out in neutral. I took it to a mechanic who immediately diagnosed it as the throwout bearing. Being mechanically inclined, I dropped the tranny and changed the clutch and bearing, but started it back up, and the noise is still there - as if I did nothing at all. It is not constant volume - sometimes it is louder than others. It is usually loudest first start of the day. I live in Houston, so its not like it is “cold”, just not hot. To be fair to the mechanic, the bearing was quite corroded, but everything else seemed to be working properly.

Maybe the oil level is low. If not the idler/pilot bearing between the input and output shafts is worn and it will likely begin jumping out of 4th gear when coasting.

With the clutch OUT…then it’s NOT the throw-out bearing.

The throw-out bearing would make noise when you depress the clutch.

Symptoms sound like it could be an input shaft bearing.

Agree with Mike, in neutral with the clutch out the transmission is spinning. So, transmission shafts are moving and a bad bearing could make some noise. How often has the transmission oil been changed? It could just be low, so change the transmission fluid now and see if it helps.

You might be on the lookout for a used transmission, or start pricing a trans rebuild of the current one. If the noise persists and gets louder at some point you are looking at some transmission work.

Oil was clean when I pulled it out. Hadn’t been changed in a while, though. I did put new back in. As far as which bearing it could be, are you guys talking about the pilot bearing in the flywheel?

Not the pilot bearing…

The input shaft of the transmission…it’s INSIDE the transmission.

The oil could be low…HOWEVER…if the bearing is making noise…then you have a problem.

The main shaft in the transmission is 2 pieces. The front and rear are separated by a pilot bearing. If this link works look for the IS and OS in the drawings. Maybe that will explain the setup.

Is this something a DIY can tackle? Even a rebuilt tranny is worth more than the whole car…

I’d say you need to be an advanced DIY to tackle this. But, you might qualify. You must have a good manual to go by that goes over transmission tear down. You also need a good work area to make sure you save all the parts for putting humpty dumpty back together again.

Get a manual, or review the process on line and see if you feel up to the job.

Thanks for the feedback, folks. I wouldn’t say I’m advanced, exactly, but I understand the concepts, am mechanically inclined, and can follow a good manual (especially one that doesn’t leave out steps that I “ought to know”), so maybe this is worth a shot. I can pull apart a 10,000 hp compressor, so it can’t be too much harder. I suppose the worst that can happen is I screw it up and have to junk the car out, which is about where I am now.

How are the bearings installed in a transmission - shrink fit or anything like that? Do I have to use a rosebud to get them of or a press to get them in or anything specialized? Would I need any special tools or a high quality mic set or something?

If you are going to take the transmission apart, a few special tools might be required…Basically, you will find it’s put together with circlips and snap-rings. Plan on replacing ALL the bearings at this point…Syconizers too. A rebuild kit may be available containing all the wear parts…The bearings supporting the counter-shaft are usually loose rollers, which can be very tricky to re-assemble…The syncros can have little spring-loaded do-dads that like to fly around…The first one you do can be a challenge… Find an exploded-view parts diagram for your transmission and study it…

Sometimes a used salvage-yard transmission provides a good option…

If it is the idler/pilot bearing, it is often loose needles that are wrapped around the output shaft and inserted into the input. It is a tricky procedure and just getting the input free of the case is often a pain. I have never dismantled a transaxle (FWD transmission) but the newer 5 speed RWD transmissions are so much less friendly than the old Muncies and Saginaws. As caddyman suggested, a good used transmission is probably your best option if there is internal damage in yours.

For DIY you can save $$ by taking the trans out yourself and taking it to a transmission shop.
Let an expert go into it.

I agree with CS. You sound like you might be able to handle getting it out (go over a Haynes or Chiltons carefully first, this is a pretty big job), but you have no experience working on transmissions, you’d do well to pay an expert to go inside the tranny.