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Honda Civic GX Transmissions Troubles

I can't believe I have been without my GX for 26 days. On New Years Day after doing a job in Palm Springs while returning to the O.C. the CVT failed. 48,500 miles with no CVT problems at all. I had the CVT fluid replaced by the dealer. As soon as I got it back from service it started the freeway surge thing. It only took 3 days to totally fail. Even though the CVT is not supposed to be opened up.
The GX tech at the dealer really wanted to see what broke in the CVT. His opinion was that the oil pump in the CVT failed.
WELL CVT's cannot be rebuilt. They are a replacement item only. The first CVT that the dealer ordered was damaged in shipment to the dealer. The second CVT seems to be fine. It comes with the 3 year 30,000 mile warranty from Honda. I can't believe how much I missed the GX and driving in the car pool lane solo. Plus going back to driving my full sized Ford Van was a real pain, in the wallet. Make sure that you service your CVT before the recommended 40,000 service; it may save you a lot of money.
Deon
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Comments

  • rsivakrsivak Posts: 6
    Deon,

    I can relate. My 2001 GX smoked it's first cvt at about 32K miles. It took the lame dealer about 10 days to get a new one. Now at 52K miles cvt number 2 is surging. I took it in about 4 months ago and they conned me into only changing the fluid (for which I paid $90 :( ). Now I think I'll be getting number 3. Wonder what the lemon law says about this? :lemon: Does anyone know if the 2006 GX has a cvt?
    Bob
  • 26 Days ? Who ? . The dealer in torrance, Sc.tt Rob..son ,
    never needed more than 4 business days to R and R my 3 cvt transnissions including paperwork and shipping, (the job only takes 3-4 hours to swap the unit).

    John.
  • Nope. From everything that I've heard, the 2006 Honda Civic GX's will have a "standard" automatic transmission.

    I wish that the manual transmission was an option. :P
  • Wow, at least I am not the only one with CVT woes! I’m not surprised that the Torrance dealer can turn around CVT's so quickly. All they have to do is go across the street to Honda's corporate HQ for the parts. RSIVAK & LAKEWOOD90712 how long ago did you have your CVT replaced? My new 2005 CVT seems to be WAY better than my original 2001 CVT. I was only able to get barely over 200 miles on a PHILL filled tank of gas. On my trip to Big Bear on Monday I got almost 250 miles and I still wasn't even on empty yet. With the old CVT, 80 mph would show a little over 4,000 RPM on the tach. Now 80 mph shows just a little over 3,000 RPM on the tach. Because the CVT's cannot be rebuilt is it possible that the newer CVT's are better that the original ones? RSIVAK I can't believe you have been having problems with your CVT for several months. Mine failed within 3 days of having it serviced in late Dec. and remember I wasn't having any problems with the CVT when I had it serviced.
    I have seen several 2006 civic hybrids around town. I hope my 2001 GX last's at least a couple of more years till I can find a used 2006 GX to buy.
  • vix4vix4 Posts: 52
    I'm losing track, just how many of you have had CVT failures. Can you list by model year and mileage? when CVT was replaced?

    mine -

    2003 15,000 mi: CVT noises and occasional surging - no replacement yet
  • I bought my 2001 GX in Sept 05 with 42,000 miles. I drove it for 3 months(5,000 miles)without any problems with the car at all! At 48,000 miles I figured I better have it serviced at the dealer. Within 3 days driving the car after having it serviced, it went from the first freeway CVT surge(bouncing from 3,000 to 4,000 RPM) to completely undriveable. Deon
  • Deon,

    I had the first cvt replaced in May of 2004. It basically gave me no warning and just died. I would think the newer ones are better but who knows? After I had the fluid changed in number 2 (about 16 months later), it ran fine for a couple of months. It doesn't do the "freeway surge" but instead surges off the line, usually around 20 mph. It feels like a definite "slip". It's getting progressively worse, so I better get off my butt and take it back. Both of my tranny's pulled about 3000 rpm for 70mph and 3400 for 80.
    The other day I set a personal record of 206 miles (8 miles into low fuel light) after filling up at clean energy's Irvine station. Which, by the way, is a MUCH better fill than it used to be.
  • 1st replacement in 2002 , lasted almost 60,000 with fluid changes every 15K, 2nd in 2005 , 5,000 , 3rd in 2005 , still working fine at 6,000 miles.
    (1st replacement failed 600 miles After a fluid change).
    70 mph/3,000rpm 80mph/3,400rpm.I was told the belt get,s fractures. Good info on cvt theory on howstuffworks.com
    John
  • A co-worker at my office had his cvt (hybryd , not gx) fail at 52,000 , out of warranty, and THE DEALER opened it up and fixed it , cost $1200. So the dealers who proclaim that the cvt has some special" Voodoo technology ", and cannot be repaired by a mere mortal mechanic , is BS.
    John.
  • 2001 Civic GX
    -------------
    ~ 39K miles
    ~ 92K miles
  • I'm thinking about buying a '01 gx with 93,000. It already has a broken motor mount (seems a mystery to me how it got broken!?). What is the likelihood of needing a new cvt? (Sounds high from the discussions here.) And what is the COST or a new cvt? Is it possible to simply replace the cvt with a standard transmission? (Running the mechanics for the clutch, shifter, etc...?)
  • bank1avpbank1avp Posts: 78
    Be careful of the 2001. The majority of the CVT issues were limited to this first year they placed CVT's in the GX. If the tranny HAS ALREADY BEEN REPLACED THEN GO FOR IT. iF IT HASN'T it will probably go sooner or later. (sorry about the caps, too lazy to go back on fix it)

    Murphy
  • Hey Murphy - Is that the murphy from CNG Motors? :-)

    Thanks for the insight. Any idea what it costs to have one of those CVT's replaced? (guesstimate). And since they are replacing the transmission anyway, wouldn't it be only slightly more complicated to put in a manual transmission and just bypass another potential problem altogether?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Lance
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Posts: 108
    As a 5 year owner of a cvt gx on my 4th factory transmission in 95,000 miles , I can state that I am THE ANTI-CVT TROLL.

    List price at the honda dealer for a complete factory rebuilt with exchange of core is $4500 + 3-4 hours of labor.
    About $ 5000 . And guaranteed 3 yr/ 36000 miles. My 01 lost it's first cvt at 2500 miles in 2002, second at 62,000 in 2005 and 3rd at 88,000 in 2007 , all factory fresh complete honda oem units. All covered under warranty. The one replaced at 62,000 started having trouble at 68,000, but was not bad enough to replace until 88,000.All of the replacement units were with honda's internal upgrades.
    I'm not a hot rod and change fluid more often than required.
    The tires on the car outlasted 3 transmissions ! . As to swapping with a manual,or a 4 speed auto, I would do that on mine , but it will prob. not pass emissions testing due to modifications. Don't think it would actually change the emissions output.
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Posts: 108
    Oh , forgot to mention, had broken motor mounts replaced at 95,000. Be carefull on that car. If driven a lot with broken mounts and the engine shaking, it could damage the cng lines, VERY EXPENSIVE to replace the lines.
  • xpacificxpacific Posts: 16
    Considering the purchase of a low mileage 1999 GX. Probably safe as to CVT issues?
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Posts: 108
    No cvt, regular 4 speed automatic.
  • bank1avpbank1avp Posts: 78
    In the after market such as a used tranny from a wrecked GX would run you much less. Poss $1500 to $2500 installed. I have yet to come across an alt fuel vehicle with a manual tranny. I am no engineer but it may have something to do with the precise control the ECU has over the CNG delivery into the engine. If you are going to purchase a 2001 I recommend you find an extended warranty with it. The 2002 and newer the CVT issue is more uncommon than it was common with the 2001

    Yes by the way same Murf at CNGMotors
  • beancivicbeancivic Posts: 4
    Can you replace the transmission with 2001-2005 reg 4sp automatic (KA4AT)? I looked it up. The block is the same so it should bolt up? May need to change the torque converter?
  • bank1avpbank1avp Posts: 78
    Never thought of that, but I don't see why not, the older GX's had the convential tranny. If I had a weekend and the few hundred bucks I would give it a try, expecially if you already burned up your 01 CVT

    Murphy
  • beancivicbeancivic Posts: 4
    wasn't talking about older gx 1999-2000. They have a different motor 1.6L. But reg civic motors 20001-2005 had same 1.7L block as the 1.7L gx. Should be a lot easier to find and should bolt up. 2006-2007 motors were 1.8L dont know if there 5sp auto would bolt up or not?
  • What about the dreaded ECM that keeps popping up in the discussion? Will it work with the non-CVT (NCVT?) :-) I'm guessing the linkage, vaccuum connections, etc. would be the same?

    What a nice solution that would be! Any Honda techs out there that would care to find out?

    BTW - Murph: I've talked to you on the phone. Really nice and helpful. Thanks.
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Posts: 108
    Hey Murphy. Phonix transmission (the one on Roosevelt)does remanfactured cvt's for the honda civic hx and the honda civic hybrids at a reasonable cost.(under 2 k with exchange) The internal parts on all honda cvt's have common parts. With you being in the car business , can you talk to them and see if they will help us 01 - 05 owners?. Also , do they have a good reputation for the rebuilt's they supply ?

    Also , off the trans topic, how about you becoming a supplier of cng filters without honda's "Gold Plated price".

    Thank's . John.
  • kate_gkate_g Posts: 8
    Hi all, glad I found this forum, lots of helpful info.

    I'm considering buying a 2002 GX with 72,000 miles from a private owner. On the test drive I noticed the transmission "shudder" when accelerating from a stop. I didn't get on the freeway so I don't know if it does the surge too. The current owner bought it at 64K miles and hasn't had the fluid changed. He didn't seem to know how long the shudder had been going on. In general he seemed kind of clueless. :P

    Should I run? Carfax says it was a fleet vehicle, then a dealer bought it and sold it to this guy. No records of previous maintenance. Sounds like the 2001 was the really bad year, but my fear is that the fleet dumped it when the CVT trouble started, this current owner has been driving it obliviously for 10K miles, and I'll end up stuck with thousands of dollars of repair work. I'm planning on having a pre-purchase inspection done by a Honda shop, but will they be able to tell if it just needs a fluid change or if the problems are deeper?
  • tsmith5tsmith5 Posts: 5
    I recently purchased an O1 GX with a shudder i thought i would fix by replacing worn motor mounts. That helped the torque flop that occurred at take of but realized the tranny also had an issue. I looked into it and found flushing 8 quarts of 9 dollar a quart tranny fluid in 2 flush and fills helped somewhat. This car only shudders at take off. If I accelerate slowly it doesnt do it at all. However, after hearing and reading all that I have concerning these cvts why hasnt honda stepped up and recalled these trannies and replaced them with a quality part?
  • If you can get the car for about $5000 , great, that will factor in a major cvt repair ($2000 - 5000 depending on if the dealer will repair it or need to exchange it with a rebuilt unit). 01 and 02 had a transmission servo recall . Any honda dealer can check to see if this has been done. The shudder thing can start thousand miles before the 'freeway surge stage".

    Why do you want a GX ? For carpool lane and bridge toll perk's ? ok. If it is about fuel cost , the only place with really cheap cng is Utah.

    In 99,000 miles my 01 GX has had had 3 sets of front brake pads , motor mounts, normal fluid and filter changes, tires at 78,000 and cvt transmission replaced at 2500 miles ,62,000 miles and 88,000 miles (the last one was a bearing , not surging), and an electrical switch recall that was on all civics , not just cng powered.

    Honda care extended warranty covered the motor mounts and 3 transmissions.

    The cvt problems Go back further than 01. the automatic HX gasoline civic was the first cvt model.The weak link is in the starting clutch assembly". It is simular to a design used on hondas automatic clutch motorcycles in the 1960's and 1970's. The starting clutch is used instead of a torque converter . This design is more efficient and has no slippage at all when working properly. The cvt is also used on the Civic hybrid , mainly because it needs no hydraulic pressure to work.The transmission is designed and supplied by Jatco , one of hondas major suppliers.

    Now, CARFAX. All of my service was done at the honda dealer. I ran a Carfax on my own car and NONE of the warranty repairs showed up, a smog check 3 mos. ago also did not show up, only the electrical switch recall did.

    Carfax only guarantees the data that they get from other sources. An example is major body damage and the owner had it fixed with no insurance claim. That may not show up. Not the fault of Carfax, but it is a database only.

    I will most likely will buy a Honda next time . With a Hondacare warranty , as it saved me after the original coverage ended.
  • kate_gkate_g Posts: 8
    Hey lakewood, thanks for the thoughts. $5K is, needless to say, much less than this guy's asking price. But I did tell him the transmission would be $7K to replace (a figure I saw elsewhere), so maybe he won't be too surprised if I offer a few thousand less than he's asking...

    >>Why do you want a GX ? For carpool lane and bridge toll perk's ?
    Yep! :shades:

    Actually, maybe this is the question I should have asked y'all... From others' reports, it seems you can make the CVT shudder go away for a while by changing the transmission fluid. So... In your various experience, once the shudder develops, is it guaranteed to fully crap out and need to be replaced eventually, even if the fluid changes help for a while? Or might it go forever (say, another 100K miles) with nothing more than regular fluid changes?

    Oh and... This guy has only had maintenance done at a gas station and the transmission fluid dipstick surprisingly doesn't say "use Honda CVT fluid only" like I thought it was supposed to. So if by some chance it had been filled with regular A/T fluid...? (Would that cause shudder, and is it permanent damage or would a flush & fill set things straight?)
  • I just bought a 2001 that shuddered only when going from 0-15 mph (appx) but it also seemed to be underpowered. My local mech. ran the codes and found it was more likely a tune up issue. Tuned it up (coil packs and plugs as the packs were sparking) and she now runs great. This CVT was not the culprit this time. :)
  • dejapoohdejapooh Posts: 40
    So, Is there an opinion here. Is the trouble pretty isolated to the 2001 or the 2001-2005? I have a friend looking at a used 2005, and I would hate to have him get into trouble with it.

    Thanks.
  • kate_gkate_g Posts: 8
    Also, a broader question for anyone in the group with more general Honda experience...

    '01 was the first year for the CVT in the GX, and it seems this one model year had an abnormally high incidence of CVT trouble.

    But the *HX* (regular gasoline) had a CVT starting I think in '98.

    Does anyone know whether the '98-'01 HX CVT is also problematic? Or maybe it was just one bad year and the HX and GX both had problems only in '01? Or is it a problem totally specific to the '01 GX?

    :confuse:
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