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2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

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  • #31
    Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

    Originally posted by Curtis View Post
    Here you go John, I've attached both requested bulletins.
    Hello Curtis,
    I am trying to download the two PDFs that you have posted, but every time I try to do so it get a message stating that I am either not logged in, which I am, or that I don't have the permission to do so.

    I own a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid and I have a history of CVT issues. I was a heavy duty mechanic for 22 years, working on mostly Allison Automatic Transmissions. I have rebuilt thousands of them; therefore, I have a pretty good knowledge of the workings of an automatic transmission. Although the CVT is obviously not your standard automatic transmission from what I can find the start clutch works on the basic principle of any multiple plate clutch regardless if it is activated by hydraulic pressure, spring pressure, or electro-magnetic application.

    When the CVT develops a judder it is most likely because the friction plates in the start clutch have crystalized, glazed, or burnt to the point they have lost their friction properties. My understanding of the burnishing process is to remove this failed outer layer of the friction material and get down to undamaged friction material which will then again hold properly without removing and disassembling the transmission. To my understanding the burnishing process is to hold the brake down and accelerate until you reach a stall condition to purposely slip the clutch until it removes the damaged material. The transmission fluid is then flushed to remove the debris lifted off the plates. This may not be completely accurate, but it is how it has been explained to me.

    That said, when considering the thousands of CVT failures, I would suggest that the judder is a secondary condition as the result of what I would think is under design. This clutch cannot hold the combined torque of the engine in front of it and the weight of the vehicle behind it; therefore, over time, it damages the friction plates to a point where they can no longer properly function. This presents a couple of issues. First off the burnishing is only delaying the inevitable complete failure of the clutch for two reasons. 1) The original cause of the torque to weight ratio has not been resolved. 2) There is only so much friction material on a given clutch plate and every time it is burnished there is less and less material to work with, which will eventually result in complete failure. Moreover the steel plates between the friction plates are being exposed to temperatures they were never designed to function under. Every time a friction clutch slips the temperature between the plates reaches extremes. This burns, crystalizes, or glazes the friction plates and eventually reduces the hardening of the steel plates by continually being heated to extremes and then slowly cooled by the transmission fluid. We all know that the faster you cool metal (as with cooling with cold water) the harder the metal will be. If you slowly cool the metal (as with oil) it will be less hard, but more malleable. Malleable steel plates in a multi-plate friction clutch will eventually fail. I have seen steel plates that have failed in Allison transmissions resemble the temper of rubber more so than steel upon removal after similar failures.

    The under engineering can most likely be easily fixed. I don't know if Honda has done this, but I worked with Allison to solve a similar problem in one of their transmissions. The friction plates are pressed between a piston and a backing plate. There is usually either a series of small springs or one large spring to return the piston when the pressure behind the piston is relieved. By using a thinner piston and a thinner backing plate you can usually create enough room in the clutch for an additional friction and steel plate or maybe even two of each. This increases the overall surface area of the clutch and will allow it to properly function under heavier conditions. Doing so will generally work without reworking any of the other components in the clutch pack.

    To get to my beef with Honda, when I purchased my 2003 Civic Hybrid, knowing that most of this was new technology, I purchased Honda's 100k bumper to bumper warranty. It paid off with the many other failures of my 2003 Hybrid, not related to the CVT issues.

    I first noticed a judder at roughly 80k. When Honda told me what they were going to do, burnish the clutch, I told them that based on my knowledge they were only delaying the inevitable complete failure of the clutch and my suspicion was that they were doing this to buy time until my warranty ran out. The Dealer told me that they had to go by Honda guidelines and that they could not replace the start clutch until after the burnishing was performed.

    About 10k later the judder came back; although, it was intermittent. They claimed they couldn't duplicate the problem, but replaced all of the engine/transmission mounts. At this time their service writer told me not to worry, Honda had extended the warranty on the CVT to 150k. I wish I had of requested that in writing.

    The transmission continued to judder intermittently. It became constant at just over 108k. I called Honda America and talked with them about my concerns as explained above. They gave me a case number and requested that I once again go to the dealership, Coggin Honda in Orlando, FL, and have them diagnose the issue. Now that my warranty has run out they have stated the the start clutch needs to be replaced, not a surprise. I knew it was coming. I have reached an agreement with Honda America to split the cost of the repair. If I had the time I would do it myself and get a good look at the inside of this transmission and really get down to what is causing the failure in the first place. I am leaning toward filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or whatever governmental authority handles this sort of consumer complaint. The numerous failures are certainly widely documented on the Internet.

    Because of my experience with Honda and the CVT issue, I would suggest that anyone who has a Honda product with a CVT that judders and is still under warranty, DRIVE IT UNTIL IT QUITS. This way you will get a replacement under warranty. I did everything I could to mitigate the damages to mine and Honda rewarded me by buying time and pushing my repairs beyond the warranty period. I will state it again. If it is under warranty drive it until it quits.

    My wife has a 1993 Honda Accord with over 215k. This car has been virtually trouble free except the normal wear items and a failure of the master relay, which controls the fuel system. This one really threw me for a loop, but I eventually figured it out. The performance of this car weighed heavy in our decision to purchase a Honda hybrid rather than the Toyota. The manner in which Honda has handled my CVT issue both at the dealership level and at the national level will weigh just as heavily when we go to replace my wife's 1993 Accord.
    Last edited by glennr1; 12-11-2009, 04:31 AM.


    • #32
      Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

      Glen, sorry for the problem opening the attachments. I'm not sure why you had an issue. I just opened them with no problem.

      I'm glad you were able to come to some sort of agreement with Honda regarding your impending repairs. The CVT has had an obvious history, one of the few items in the Honda line up to be problematic. That's the reason I continue to work for Honda. Their engineering has remained second to none in automotive history. I hope that this issue will not dissuade you from staying with the product line. As much as this may leave something of a bitter taste in your mouth, most other brands are far more problematic.

      Just remember the hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles delivered by your Accord and know this is the benchmark to which Honda aspires. This is why 84% of customers that buy a Honda, stay with Honda. I got a bad apple at the store the other day... it didn't make me swear off apples... or the store. It was just one of those little turds that life throws at you from time to time.

      I hope all this works out for you and that the car gives you many more years of trouble free driving. Happy Holidays.


      • #33
        Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

        Hello Curtis!

        I recently purchased a used 2005 honda civic hybrid that has roughly 69,000 miles on it and a great car history report. Unfortunately, after purchasing the car I immediately began noticing that it shuddered during acceleration from a dead stop. After reading your posts, it seems that the most likely culprit is the clutch or drive belt. Do you know if this should be covered under the service bulletins 07-49 and 07-50? Or are only original owners covered? My mileage is still good compared to most cars (36 mpg) but not the 40+ I hoped. I would appreciate any suggestions for correcting the problem. Thanks a bunch!



        • #34
          Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

          I would recommend taking the car to your nearest Honda service dept. This may be a "Slip/Judder" issue, or it could be another issue. I've seen similar issues caused by people putting the wrong transmission fluid in the car. Let Honda have a look at it and they can tell you if it is actually your problem.


          • #35
            Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

            very good info. does anyone have a recommendation on a bay area dealership that is easier to deal w/ on this issue?
            once the tranny is repaired woudl u still have the same potential issues?

            on a side note, does anyone also know for a cvt tranny what the code 780 refers to. its something to do with mis-shifting so wanted to know if its this shudder issue or something else that requires expensive repairs?
            Last edited by venomous99; 09-17-2010, 07:22 PM.
            98 civic gx - the hov lane runner
            97 supercharged mustang - 440rwhp gas hog
            02 pathfinder


            • #36
              Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

              Hi Curtis,

              I bought a 2004 Civic Hybrid from the original owner. I only recently found out about the juddering problem and that the first owner brought the car to the dealership to Honda Tysons Corner (in Virginia) to repair the problem in April 2010. Honda Tysons burnished the clutch then but the problem came back at the end of May around the time when I bought the car.

              I've replaced the transmission mount per Honda Tysons recommendation that it was why the juddering problem came back after the first burnishing. But the juddering problem has only gotten worse and I took the car back to Honda Tysons Corner to ask them to diagnose the problem, hoping that they would replace it and quit putting bandaid on the problem (burnishing the clutch again) b/c I've read on this forum burnishing does not fix the problem.

              Honda Tysons Corner technicians diagnosed the car and verified the juddering and the service rep told me he thinks the starter clutch should be replaced because the burnishing failed after 1 month back in April thru May this year, and they would have to wait to hear from a Zone Rep to make the decision to repair or replace. However the zone rep refused to replace the part and instead claimed that there is a possibility the burnishing wasn't done right the first time, thus causing the juddering problem to persist & said to burnish the clutch again (without my consent).

              I'm faced with the extended warranty coming to an end in February 2011 and it seems like all Honda wants to do is keep repairing the problem until the extended warranty goes out. Do you have any suggestion on what I should to ask Honda to replace the start clutch so I don't end up paying for it when the warranty expires b/c Honda keeps trying to delay fixing the problem at its root.

              Thank you for your time and I'd really appreciate your feedback.



              • #37
                Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                Sorry to hear of your Transmission trouble. Sounds like it's time to contact Honda of America Customer Service and start a case . (800) 999-1009 6 am-5 pm pacific time.


                • #38
                  Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                  I was going to suggest that you do the same thing Lakewood just did. The Zone Rep for Honda has the last word on the issue and there is little recourse if you don't like his call. I haven't had this issue with my '04 and we usually hear about it on the '01-'03. It seemed to be less present in the '04 and later. The exception that I've noted has been situations where the vehicle owner has taken the car to other than a Honda dealer and had the wrong fluid put back in. It took out the trans because they used the fluid recommended for the regular Civic. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, so talk to Honda Corp and see what they can do to help you.


                  • #39
                    Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                    Would you please tell me how did Honda fix CVT transmission problem (by using retrofit parts to cure this problem for good or just replace the same part and wait for it to fail again)?

                    Is there any recall about CVT problem?

                    Thank you.
                    Last edited by ggcc; 12-24-2010, 11:34 PM.


                    • #40
                      Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                      There was no repair [parts] involved, but a process known as burnishing was done to eliminate the problem. The 2001-2003 seemed to have a ongoing problem, but I don't know the specifics of what the specific problem. The formulation of the CVT fluid was changed in 2004 and the problem seemed to go away. There may have been actual changes to the trans, but I don't know if that was the case or not.


                      • #41
                        Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                        Hi Curtis,

                        Thank you very much for your answers. You mean 2004 CVT fluid has changed, and possible (99%) also transmission has changed too right? If only CVT fluid changed for 2004 then why not apply fluid change for 2001-2003 too.

                        Thanks again.


                        • #42
                          Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                          As I said, the fluid changed, but I'm not sure if there were actual changes to the trans (I suspect there were). I suspect that you can only buy the new formulation of the trans fluid now, so that would be the case. Your local GX svs dept should be able to answer your technical questions more acurately than I can, as I am not a tech.


                          • #43
                            Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                            Does anyone have an idea on how replacement transmissions hold up? I am considering purchasing an '02 with a known tranny judder. If I can get the seller to factor a replacement tranny into the purchase price, I am go for it. But I don't want to if even the replacements have the same problems ultimately.....
                            02 GX


                            • #44
                              Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                              Hi Curtis,

                              I replace my bad M4VA CVT with the secondhand from Japan. I've used it almost 2 Weeks and there's a new problem. It was Shudder during hard accelerating. I try to change the CVTF and the last fluid is HMMF but still Shudder. Fyi , I did replace the small filter inside as well the metal filter.

                              Please advice, how to solve it.


                              • #45
                                Re: 2001-2005 CVT transmission Warranty Extension for Slip/Judder

                                Hi All,

                                Problem fixed. Remember I told that I replacing a new second hand CVT M4VA transmission? Here are the story.

                                During the installation, I did asked mechanic to replace both the transmission O seal, but the mechanic told me O seal are still ok.

                                Going back home traveling at 220km distance, I found out it was leaking transmission fluid at both inner joint.

                                The next day, I went to nearer workshop to replace O seal and replace the CV inner boot as well due to dry and almost crack.
                                When the job done, I drive my Civic very soft accelerate as before until a week I start to hard accelerate , then my Civic start to vibrate/shudder and some noise. I stop by and open front boot and found out my Crank pulley fell off due to broken crank key and crankshaft slot. But the mechanic said ok to put a new Crank pulley and Crank key.

                                After the job done, my Civic still vibrate/shudder during hard accelerate and worse on non flat road. This vibrate can fell on Steering, and my dashboard. Slow accelerate no vibrate.

                                I did change all engine mounting but still the same

                                I did change fluid 3 to 5 times from black fluid to clear clean fluid but still the same.

                                Thought my drive shaft bend due to hard impact previously , replace it but still the same.

                                I did a search Goggle for CVT Shudder / Vibrate and mostly fluid change , add Oil Extreme or replacing Start up Clutch or the worse replace another Gearbox.

                                Then I do a search Google for My car vibrate during acceleration I found out, Balancing, Alignment, Bend Rims, Engine mounting, EGR, Tie Rod , steering U joint, Steering Rack loose , bad tire, bad axles (Broken CV Boots/ aftermarket inner Joint) , Valve set etc.

                                Almost everything I've checked but still the same vibrate.

                                Until I recheck as above in Bold mention. I remove the inner joint found out that the mechanic installed all 3 Bearing roller backwards

                                So the culprits is the mechanic install it wrongly OMG

                                Now replace with the new Honda Inner joint and make sure the 3 bearing in position... no more Vibrate.

                                Tq for reading
                                Last edited by Lakewood90712; 05-26-2011, 12:47 AM. Reason: reduce font size