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Discussion Starter #1
So old faithful has decided to sit there and grind gears when I want to put it into reverse. All of the forward gears are just fine. Sometimes it'll click into gear in reverse and move under it's own power but most of the time now it just grinds. I checked the fluid and added a quart. I didn't realize that you've got to change the fluid every 15k otherwise I'd have done it 5 times by now.

I talk to some people with credibility and they're thinking that my valve body is filled with varnish and that a high pressured flush will solve the problem. I bring it to the flushing guys and after getting it up in the air, they think it's more of a mechanical issue than a fluid issue. (they weren't so convincing) I bought a can of seafoam (says it can remove varnish) and I'm thinking about dropping it in there. My options are as follows:

1: Part out the van or sell it and get something else.
2: Attempt to repair the transmission myself with a "rebuild kit" for $130 on ebay.
3: Buy a used transmission for $500 shipped, and attempt to swap it out.

I have access to a lift and a decent tool set. I've changed axles, timing belts and starters so I'm not mechanically inept. What should I do?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just went outside and pulled the solenoids off to check the filters on them. They're spotless. Poured in my seafoam and ran a few laps around the neighborhood. After I got back, I tried 10 times to switch into reverse and the one time when i got it, I left it there for a few minutes hoping that the sea foam would go in and clean the reverse valves/pipes/whatever... And after that time I tried to get it into reverse again with no success... Also, I couldn't get it to drive in 4th or 2nd and couldn't get it out of 3rd into 1st without manually putting the shifter into 1st. I think it's toast. What do you think?
 

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I would check the shifter cable. If has worn or is out of adjustment then the trans will not work as requested.

If cable checks out okay, buy a low mile used trans and spend an afternoon swapping in. There must be 100's of good used 95-97 trans kicking around. I hate to see a good used Ody left for dead.
 

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You may be having problems because of the Seafoam affecting the fluid's ability work in the tranny. Before you do anything, go get about 9 bottles of Dexron 3 tranny fluid. Just buy the cheapest brand and your manual states to use that anyway. Do a drain/refill of the tranny 3 times with some driving inbetween. Now that you have used the Seafoam you want to get it out and put in fresh fluid. That is what I would do before anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I took a look at my handiwork from last night and realized that I forgot to plug the solenoids back in. I plugged them in and the transmission works perfectly through all forward gears. Reverse is still not engaging. It's still grinding most of the time I try to put it in reverse. I just talked to some friends with garage space I can use to make repairs. I'll drop the transmission and break it open this weekend if all goes well...
 

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Check the shifter cable first. The inspection cover is on the bottom cover. Pull the screw clip off and the cover comes off. There is a cap holding the cable to the shift lever. There are two holes that should line up, turn the cable threaded part to adjust.

Maybe somebody has a picture they can post of the adjustment procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I popped open the little cover and couldn't find any kind of alignment device. Maybe it's up in the steering column? So I did the next best thing. I had someone shift into all gears with the engine off and I made sure there wasn't any slack or tension still on the cable when it got into each gear. I think it's safe to say that the gear shifting cable is not the cause of the problem. I'm going to bring it to a garage where I can drop the trans this weekend.

I'll be using these references:
http://www.honda-tech.com/showthread.php?t=2443459
http://www.xm-parts.com/articles/hgear/gear.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The transmission is out of the van on sitting on a workbench right now. The clutch packs look good and everything generally looks clean. However, the reverse selector ring does look a bit chewed up. (part #75 on this PDF: http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda4speed3.pdf part #833 on this pdf http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda_px4b.pdf )

My friend is thinking that the gear is not the problem but rather a symptom of a problem with seals in the servo that controls it's movement or the valve body that controls the servo. So i'm looking into getting a rebuild kit with all new seals and rebuilding the trans myself even though he'd rather just fix one small thing and glue it back together. What do you think? (keith, if you're reading this, I'll try to bring my own table to work on so I'm out of your way.)
 

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The transmission is out of the van on sitting on a workbench right now. The clutch packs look good and everything generally looks clean. However, the reverse selector ring does look a bit chewed up. (part #75 on this PDF: http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda4speed3.pdf part #833 on this pdf http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda_px4b.pdf )

My friend is thinking that the gear is not the problem but rather a symptom of a problem with seals in the servo that controls it's movement or the valve body that controls the servo. So i'm looking into getting a rebuild kit with all new seals and rebuilding the trans myself even though he'd rather just fix one small thing and glue it back together. What do you think? (keith, if you're reading this, I'll try to bring my own table to work on so I'm out of your way.)
The transmission is out of the van on sitting on a workbench right now. The clutch packs look good and everything generally looks clean. However, the reverse selector ring does look a bit chewed up. (part #75 on this PDF: http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda4speed3.pdf part #833 on this pdf http://www.automaticchoice.com/Catalogue/honda_px4b.pdf )

My friend is thinking that the gear is not the problem but rather a symptom of a problem with seals in the servo that controls it's movement or the valve body that controls the servo. So i'm looking into getting a rebuild kit with all new seals and rebuilding the trans myself even though he'd rather just fix one small thing and glue it back together. What do you think? (keith, if you're reading this, I'll try to bring my own table to work on so I'm out of your way.)
What was the final outcome? It sounds like I am having the same issue. 1997 ody with 187000 miles. Grinds when trying to shift in reverse.
 

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Not sure that AkkerKid will be replying. His last visit was 2014 when he posted that he was parting out his Ody after 300,000 miles. :(
 

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Not sure that AkkerKid will be replying. His last visit was 2014 when he posted that he was parting out his Ody after 300,000 miles. :(
Thanks Kernel. Good to know. I am still attached to mine, though the pragmatist in me thinks the rest of my brain would be nuts to go too far down the rabbit hole of repair and the potential high cost Of repair compared to what the car is worth. These first gen odys are something special though. I’d really love to get it back on the road. 187,000 seems like its only half way through its lifespan, rust free as well!
 

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Putting in a remanufacture transmission vs. tearing apart and fixing your current transmission is something you have to weigh out.
 
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