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Transman - Your knoweldge has been called upon, can you help?

I pasted in a preivous post to this one in which another cartalk person mentioned you. I suspect my car might be having transmission problems. Below, I am describing a specifc symptom. The car also does what is described below at low speeds (under 40 mph) when I go from accelerating to coast. When I let off of the gas, it feels like the car slows down way faster than it should almost like the engine wants to lock up and not go. I hope it is not a wildly expensive problem, but I do know after having owned the car for almost three years, it’s not performing the way it used to.

Thanks for your time!


Dear knowledgeable people:

I know you all prob. think I’m OCD and are prob. right. BUT - I can give you a specific example of what the 98’ Honda does that makes me worry about the transmission.

This morning, on my daily route to work - I was driving down this notorious hill at 40mph - the hill ends at a traffic light and is fairly steep. In order to stop at the light, I take my foot off of the accelerator at (40 mph). There is a slight jump, and then the tach needle drops rapidly from 3000 rpms to 1000 rpms, then I brake to a stop at the base of the hill/traffic light. No CEL, no other jumps or jolts.

This happens everytime I drive down that hill, unless I creep down it at a lower speed.

Is this normal??

For those who may not know:

The car is a '98 Honda Civic EX w/ 118k automatic, 4 -cyclinder, v-tech engine. Bought it at 81K.

Trans fluid flushed last Oct.

Fuel filter changed last Thanksgiving

Spark plugs replaced last Thanksgiving

Trottle body cleaned - low idle issue

New distributor - late Sept./Early Oct. this year

IAC cleaned (not replaced)- low idle issue

Reg, oil changes

Timing belt 105K

Checked my trans fluid last week after driving and while running parked in p-lot- fluid was clear pink - Good level

Use to run more smoothly up until the last 6 mos.

Thanks again! Maybe it’s just old, but I feel like this issue could be improved if I had a better idea what might be causing it.



 Your post doesn't make any sense to me.  From what you are saying here, you are having two opposite problems.  In your first paragraph, you said when you let off the gas it feels like the car slows down too fast and the engine wants to lock up.  That, in itself sounds like the transmission is failing to upshift and is staying in a lower gear.  You also describe the RPM's dropping from 3k down to 1k when you release the gas.  Can you clarify this for me??  You're describing two different problems.



Yes, When I take my foot of the gas to coast - the revolutions drop rapidly from 3000rpms to 1000rpms - particularly on steep downhills and I feel a jerk - it was not always as noticeable as it is now. I have owned the car for almost three years.

On flat stretches of road, it jerks a bit and the tach needle jumps when I take my foot off the gas to coast. It is very noticeable in bumper to bumper traffic when I am constantly transitioning from coast to idle, to accelerating at low speeds. If I drive at low speeds - residential areas with lots of stopping and starting - the transitions are also noticeable.

If I dirve on the highway at speeds of 45 and up, the car seems fine.

The symptom seems to be related to coasting at low speeds and idling. I hope it’s not the transmission - but want to make sure I address whatever is causing it.

Thank you for your interest.


 I saw your other posts and no, you are not being ignored.  I own and operate by myself, a transmission rebuilding shop.  Lately for the past couple of months I have been there 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week.  Right now I'm running 4 days behind so getting to the computer is not as easy as it used to be. When I get home, my 2 year old daughter occupies my time.   I try to get here as much as possible during the week and do some catch up on Sundays.  Try to bear with me.  From what you are describing with the jerking and the RPM's dropping that low while coasting, it seems like one of the clutches is dropping out.  This could be due to a number of things such as a leak in the clutch, cavitating in the pump.  (Hows the fluid level now??) This is one time where I would probably need to drive it to tell you for sure.  A good transmission technician can tell you just about anything about your transmission by just driving it and feeling what it does along with hearing what it does.  This helps him target the area of concern when he disassembles the trans.  You are going to need to let someone drive it to tell you for sure.  Sorry I cant give you anything definate.  All I can do is throw out suggestions.


Transman - I see that you are busy. I appreciate your time! Thank you for the hints - I have been trying to develop at least a basic of what the issue could be to keep from being thrown for a loop again. Several ppl have made posts indicating I’m worrying too much or over reacting to normal symptoms, but I have owned this car for several years and know the difference.

Not all women are hysterically emotional over nothing. Bottom line is, I need to determine whether it’s worth it to keep putting money into this car, or to decide to get a new one - and predatory salesmen are not going to level with me - based on what I have experienced.

I got the same sort of thing at the dealership “everthing is fine - don;t worry about it” even though the guy was in the car with me and had a scan hooked up to the computer while the car idled inconsistently (one guy even hint at the transmission, said, well it could be the transmission - but siad nothing further even though I pressed him) - but I know that the dealership ripped me off because of some of the parts they said were fine turned out to be in need of replacement - such as the fuel filter. Found this out at an idependent shop.

Some parts I have paid to have replaced - at a local chain - I later found out they did not actually replace, but charged me - I had to go fight them over that. Inspite of all Honda says it has done - incl. diagnosis, the car defintely does not run like it should. But whatever the issue is, I have yet to find a shop that has offered more than I trial and error approach for a problem on a ten year old car that is a common model - so it makes you think, shouldn’t the Honda reps. know Hondas in and out?

So it’s frustrating dealing with mechanics that change out parts without really addressing or solving the problem - and they charge you for that - plus there is the cost of a rental. I work odd hours and often can’t get rides.

I see your point about someone driving with me being the best way to address it - Honda had a tec. drive with me and they said the car ran normally. But, the issue is intermittent - so one day it will run fine and another day it will have symptoms. I can’t always get rides so I can leave the car with a mechanic until they can reproduce the symptom - wch could take a a few days or a week. I have already spent moeny on rentals.

But, I have to have a car that’s reliable for my job. So these people really have me over a barrel. And I’m sure with autosales being so low, they have a lot of pressure to make their commission in other ways.

Not all women are hysterically emotional over nothing.

Speaking for myself, I didn’t assume you were a woman. I thought you might be a man. So sexism probably isn’t the issue here.

Previous users, not you. I got frustrated because those salesmen are not honest with me, yet online - to their credit - not being able to actually drive in the car - some users were blowing off my descriptions of symptoms as normal, and I know they are not. The closest hint I got was regarding the TCC - an issue like that - based on what I read online about lock up converters best describes the symptoms. But some would give me their relax and don’t worry about it line and then the discussion would fizzle out without further help. I’m attempting to learn about these mechanics so I can make more iformed decisions in the future when issues come up, thats all. Worst case, I need a transmission rebuid which means I can prob. get a new car for less. But, if I can save the car, that would be ideal b/c my money’s funny.

I know there must be other people who have had to address this sort of issue, and I know my descriptions are not that diffcult to understand. in lower gears, the car has hesitation when shifting. I have stated this same basic symptom in serveral different ways looking for a “yeah I had that problem too and this is how it got resovled…etc” response, but then ,ppl write of what I am saying and everyone ignores the post.

I believe you feel it when the Converter unlocks. I know, you said it didn’t use to do it, but I have driven new cars when you could feel and hear a thump when the converter unlocked.