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Discussion Starter #1
I've been watching all the transmission threads with great interest. Our 2002 EXL trans crapped the bed at 72k with the usual symptoms...flaring between shifts, 3rd gear free revving, setting of the $$$ code, etc. Dealer wanted almost $5k and Honda wouldn't give more than a couple hundred in goodwill since I had done my own fluid/filter change (at 45k). After I told them both what I thought of their service, I tried another 3X drain/refill and also cleaned all the solenoid screens. This helped a little bit and we got to 75k, but the symptoms returned.

Not wanting to spend $3-5k on a trans, and wanting even less to have a car payment, I decided to attempt to rebuild it myself. I will say up front that I've been wrenching as a hobby all my life...I've rebuilt engines, swapped drivetrains, built kit-cars (see my avatar!), etc. If you don't consider yourself a pretty advanced wrencher, this is not a job for you! ;) You'll need a couple of floorjacks, jackstands, an engine hoist or trans jack, an engine cradle, gear pullers, slide hammer, etc...along with some special Honda tools like an input shaft holder, clutch spring compressors (I built one out of scrap), etc.

I suscribed to ALLDATAdiy.com for $26 and can highly recommend it. They have very good step-by-step instructions for removal, overhaul, and installation. I also took a zillion digital pictures as I disassembled the trans and referred back to them often when re-assembling.

It took a full day to remove the trans, and a week's worth of evenings to clean/rebuild. Cleaning was the worst part since I don't own a parts-washer. Finally, another day and a half to re-install. I used a Transtec master rebuild kit from Makco Distributing and purchased the needed hard-parts from Bernardi. I did have one major setback when the threads on the countershaft galled on reassembly ($237 plus almost 2 weeks wait!), so the van was down over 3 weeks total.

From Makco Distributing:
Master Rebuild kit.....$358.31
External filter....$17.45
Internal filter....$16.91
Tru-Cool LPD external cooler.....$56.40
Magnefine filter.....$15.44

When I opened the trans up, everything looked like new EXCEPT the 3rd gear clutch pack. It was fully worn out...metal-on-metal. I'm not why it didn't slip 100% of the time, but it didn't. The complete wearing away of the friction material allowed the 3rd gear clutch piston to over-stroke, which deforms the 3rd gear clutch return spring enough that it can contact the inside of the 3rd gear....then it spins (it's not supposed to!) and takes out the spring, piston, spring seat, retainer clip, etc. My 3rd gear clutch pack had gotten so hot that the end plate turned a nice shade of purple/blue!

The spring, piston, and seat needed to be replaced. I played it safe and also replaced 3rd gear, thrust washer, and the thrust and needle bearings. Parts were sourced from Bernardi and totalled about $200.

I completely disassembled the valvebody and removed every single piston, check-ball, spring, etc. A couple of the valvebody bores and a couple of the accumulator piston bores had very minor scuffing that cleaned up with some light wet-sanding (600 grit paper w/ ATF).

During re-assembly, I ignored the ALLDATA instructions not to use an impact wrench to install the big end nuts on the mainshaft, countershaft, and secondary shaft because I didn't have the special Honda tool to hold the input shaft. Unfortunately, the threads on the countershaft galled...lesson learned. $60 for the special tool and $237 for the countershaft, and 2 weeks later, I then got to disassemble the trans AGAIN to replace the countershaft. :( The input shaft holder made the reassembly much easier and everything went together smoothly.

One other hugely interesting observation.....I cracked open the internal oil pick-up filter and found the filter media had become COMPLETELY clogged with clutch material and the pump suction had caused the media to balloon itself against the inside of the housing. This caused the media to rip at the seam, allowing full unfiltered oil flow to the trans. In retrospect, I'm pretty happy I decided to open this thing up when I did or the damage would have extended well beyond the 3rd gear clutch pack.

I added the trans cooler and Magnefine when I put everything back together. Knocking on wood here...but it's all back together and shifting fine. It was a very tedious, but very satisfying project, and I saved myself a bunch of money.

Some interesting pics will follow.......

Inside shot after splitting the case
 

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I couldn't be down for 3 weeks like that. They have people around here that will sell a predone one for for 1200 bucks.
 

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This is why I bought a 1998 Accord...in case of extensive Ody downtime. If / when my A/T kay-rapps the bed, I'll be doing this.

What do you mean "Holy crap! What have I done???" ... that's a neat workbench! :cool: Sounds like you know what you're doing, +1 and +1.

Thanks for splitting that strainer. I've always wondered what would happen if it clogged. Now we know it won't hold up against the fluid pressure versus clogged media, but that's not 100% bad. At least fluid is flowing, and other filters (the OEM canister and Magnefine plus those who install a remote spin-on full-flow) can catch the stuff.

Makes me wonder...we have guys on this forum who had difficulties, cleaned the solenoid screens, and had the tranny function well. Not too long later, difficulties re-emerged, and they had to clean the screens again...maybe only weeks later. Sounds like a situation of a split strainer slowly dumping its load of debris.

Thank you for the pictures. Awesome stuff.

OF
 

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I have a 2001 Ody on its 3rd xmission (replaced under warrenty) and waiting for the next failure. I rebuilt a '96 accord V6 xmission a year ago and your pictures look very similar. Did you review the other posts for other fixes or did you just focus on the failures? Would you do anything differently beyond the special tool? I will be following your lead but hopefully not too soon. Can't afford a new ride but I'm sure my wife can't wait for a new car. Thanks for the info & pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
scottca48 said:
I have a 2001 Ody on its 3rd xmission (replaced under warrenty) and waiting for the next failure. I rebuilt a '96 accord V6 xmission a year ago and your pictures look very similar. Did you review the other posts for other fixes or did you just focus on the failures? Would you do anything differently beyond the special tool? I will be following your lead but hopefully not too soon. Can't afford a new ride but I'm sure my wife can't wait for a new car. Thanks for the info & pictures.
I've read most of the big transmission posts here. Not sure what other fixes you're referring to. I've done the solenoid screens and even replaced a few solenoids "just because", but that was wasted money. All the fluid changes, cleaned screens, etc will probably band-aid the problem for a little while. If you've rebuilt the accord box, you can probably handle this one without too much trouble. I'd get the input shaft tool for sure. The other stuff (clutch spring compressors, etc) you can rig up or build yourself.
 

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I plan on tackling my transmission as well (2000). I would like to leave the engine in its place. I'm lazy.

Can I lower the tranny out the bottom? It looks like I may have to remove some suspension components and some sort of brace (front to back).

Is there enough room to split the tranny from the motor in its place?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yup....you hold up the engine with a chain (or cable, strap, etc.) and a brace of some sort that spans the engine compartment, then disconnect the engine/trans mounts, exhaust, steering rack mount, balljoints, sway bar, etc, and drop the entire subframe out. Once that's done, it's easy to disconnect the trans and lower it out the bottom. Not sure about the 2000, but my 2002 even had brackets on the trans to attach chains to...so it was easy to lower down w/ an engine hoist.
 

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Good job and nice pics, thanks! What comes with the rebuild kit? Mainly the clutch packs and misc gaskets? Makes me wonder if the aftermarket clutch material is any better than OEM. I'm almost at 50k with my rebuilt, hopefully I get at least 80k out of it but need a plan when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The Transtec master kit came with all new friction plates, new steel plates, all o-rings, all gaskets, and all seals (input shaft, axle, etc). The friction material and pattern of the new plates looked identical to what was in there from the factory. The new steel plates also had "Raybestos" printed on them, so they're at least a recognized name brand and it wouldn't surprise me if they manufactured for the OEM's as well. The seals were also the same manufacture and part# as the ones I took out. The only parts that didn't look exactly the same were the flat gaskets (case, solenoids, etc).
 

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Wade, I have been researching this subject ( transmission rebuild ) for some time and am very glad for the information you have so timely provided. This information is exactly what I needed to get me primed to open up my tranny. I now have some idea of the parts required and the time involved. I am a DIY type of guy who needs knowledge before jumping into a major project such as this.

Keep us informed as to how the repair stands up to normal and extra heavy work outs.
 
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