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Honda Civic GX Transmissions Troubles

thatdeonguythatdeonguy Member Posts: 52
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.


  • rsivakrsivak Member Posts: 6

    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?
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    26 Days ? Who ? . The dealer in torrance, 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).

  • terence626terence626 Member Posts: 9
    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
  • thatdeonguythatdeonguy Member Posts: 52
    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 Member 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
  • thatdeonguythatdeonguy Member Posts: 52
    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
  • rsivakrsivak Member Posts: 6

    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.
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    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
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    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.
  • aclaypoolaclaypool Member Posts: 7
    2001 Civic GX
    ~ 39K miles
    ~ 92K miles
  • mlancecolvinmlancecolvin Member Posts: 5
    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 Member 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)

  • mlancecolvinmlancecolvin Member Posts: 5
    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.

  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 16
    Considering the purchase of a low mileage 1999 GX. Probably safe as to CVT issues?
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    No cvt, regular 4 speed automatic.
  • bank1avpbank1avp Member 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 Member 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 Member 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

  • beancivicbeancivic Member 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?
  • mlancecolvinmlancecolvin Member Posts: 5
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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?
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    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 Member 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?)
  • 3003eripsa3003eripsa Member Posts: 1
    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 Member 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.

  • kate_gkate_g Member 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?

  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    The Civic hybrid also uses a cvt . Go to the civic hybrid forums and look at the posts on cvt transmission problems. Far more civic and insight hybrids are on the road than gx and hx models.

    p.s. The cvt fluid was not developed until 2003. It is recommended when changing the fluid on all cvt models. Before that they said just use the honda Z automatic fluid as was in all honda automatic transmissions.

    Cvt failures on the Insight are rare , but that is a much lighter car (2 seat aluminum body)and a 3 cyl. 1 L. engine.
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    Hey all you CVT owners , especially Deon, Honda is covering the 01-05 cvt for 100k miles,covers gx , hx , and hybrid. And if you paid to have one fixed, it's retroactive!!!!!!! See your dealer or call 800 999-1009. And if you owned one and paid for a cvt repair, then sold it, you can get reimbursed too !!!!!
  • nostrom0nostrom0 Member Posts: 44
    My CVT failed at 37k miles. The car stalled in the 115 degree heat of Las Vegas. I was able to drive it back at night, but the transmission was surging, especially when I exited the freeway. Also, the "D" indicator on the dash was blinking. Took it in and Honda replaced the CVT, under the extended warranty.
  • tsmith5tsmith5 Member Posts: 5
    took my gx in for a fuel issue that cost 2700.00 but while it was there the service manager asked how the car shifted? I told him it shook and jerked taking off and then shifted fine after that. He said they had a recall that amounted to flushing the fluid in the tranny. I explained that I had already done that and it helped but didnt fix. So they changed a couple of Servos under the pan and now it shifts perfectly. I am also aggravated that I payed 600+ dollars on diagnostic. They don't know these cars very well and the customer pays for their lack of experience. They should pay us until they get it figured out.
  • lakewood90712lakewood90712 Member Posts: 108
    If the car has less than 100,000 miles and the in service date is less than 7 years , Honda pays for the trans. repair. The servo issue was one of the first cvt upgrades.
    Someone in my office with a hybrid cvt got that same B.S. about a "deductible/diag. fee. Many dealers put the least experienced technicians on warranty jobs because the factory will only pay clock time , not book time for a repair. Honda , Ford , GM , Toyota and the rest will not reimburse the dealer for guess work on warranty issues,so they try to get the customer to pay.

    Call Honda customer service at 800 999-1099. Stay cool on the phone , and you will prob. get your money back.
  • freedmlfreedml Member Posts: 43
    I have a 2001 and a 2002 GX. Both have had the CVT replaced recently under the new 100k warranty. The 2001 was at 110k miles, so the dealer got Honda to pay for the transmission and I paid $550 in labor (I decided not to fight for the last $550 although I probably could have).

    I had been having trouble starting at 70-80k miles so it can go on a long time before it gets bad.

    The 'flashing D' means the trans is in 'fail-safe' mode and won't go into 'high gear.' It will reset when you turn the car off and on again. I found that a 10 minute rest was enough to get rid of the slippage problem, at least for a while.

    A 'rebuilt' trans from Honda is either $2000 or $2500. A new one is $6000.
  • mimblermimbler Member Posts: 1
    Honda paid for my repair under their extended warranty. Did you have the Service Dept check your vin to see if your Honda was one on the extended warranty list?
  • freedmlfreedml Member Posts: 43
    My 2001 GX was at 107k when the work was done. I paid $500 to have a rebuilt installed instead of around $3000. In this kind of case, I think that Honda supplies the parts for free and the $500 goes to the dealer for labor.

    I was upset because I had been having problems for 30,000 miles and had been to several Honda dealers who advised me to just keep changing the fluid and hoping for the best. Honda sat on the extended warranty mailing until after I passed 100k. So, I was irritated that I had to pay $500 to replace a poorly designed transmission for exactly the same component, but I guess it's a lot better than paying $3000.

    I'm also pretty upset that a major component like a transmission from a company like Honda can't be repaired.
  • paulslcpaulslc Member Posts: 1
    Thanks for the reply. Was it difficult to get Honda to do this? Did you arrange it thru a dealer or directly with Honda? Thanks, Paul
  • freedmlfreedml Member Posts: 43
    You have to go through a dealer service department. Honda's help line is only useful if you're having problems with a dealer doing what they say or should do. Be prepared to leave your car with them for a while -- diagnosis, negotiating with Honda, getting the transmission and putting it in can take weeks.
  • 107main107main Member Posts: 33
    I have a 2005 and it began to shutter around 60K. I had changed the CVT fluid at 30K as required. I then changed it after the shutter at 60K. It started the shutter again at 70K, changed fluid yesterday and it seems to be working OK for now. I believe my book said change due every 30K. You gotta be sure that whoever changed it used the CORRECT fluid, I had it done each time at Honda dealer, but as for being sure, I am not. Yesterdays change should be correct fluid as I spoke with the old time Honda mechanic about it.
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