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Honda Accord (1994-1997) Maintenance and Repair



  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    Thanks for the thoughtful and informative replies. I guess they tell me what I suspected - that such a swap wouldn't make sense from any economical standpoint but would need to be a labor of love. I do have a sentimental attachment to this car ... undoubtedly the best one I have ever had ... and it is only because I bought it new and it has served me so well all these years that I would even consider this. It's kind of like a member of the family after so many years - faithful, uncomplaining, dependable and always there when you need it and it won't let you down (actually, that's probably better than most family members, lol).

    So, getting another vehicle of this vintage with an automatic wouldn't be an option - it would have to be this car, but, sentimentality has its limits I guess and rationally thinking it would be better to put the money toward a new car with an automatic transmission.

    Too bad, because I was looking forward to making the 20 year mark with this car and I had visions in my mind of telling people 30 years from now (when I would be 90) that I bought this car and have owned it for 50 years. I came of age of course in an era when a 3 or 4 year old car was already pretty much a piece of junk, and my dad's car was always breaking down (I have plenty of memories of walking home with him on freezing winter days from miles-away
    breakdown sites). It's remarkable how much more reliable cars are nowadays.

    I'll try the suggestions with the mt and clutch fluids to see what kind of a difference they make, but it's possible that my days with a stick shift, after 40 or so years, may be over if my foot continues to bother me.

    Thanks again - this forum is a great resource.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    If the clutch were perfect in that car, the effort to push down on it should be very little---but of course I have no idea how much your foot hurts !

    Yeah, I completely forgot about the electronics hassle of the swap as well.

    If in fact the synchros are bad, that's only what they call a 'small parts rebuild" and shouldn't cost anywhere near the cost of a transmission swap---and besides, with the transaxle out for a rebuild, the clutch is just sitting there, waiting to be swapped out, at very little additional labor cost.

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  • Mr. Shiftright is correct - the transmission can be repaired with a "small parts" upgrade - replace synchros & springs & seals. Replacing the fluids will help a little: a low viscocity synthetic oil will allow the worn-out synchros to 'grab' the gear a little better and provide noiseless shifting (worked for me). A heavier grade non-synthetic is more slippery so the synchros don't grab as well.

    I've replaced synchros in the past, and while the synchro itself (which is kind of a clutch) was new, the gear it meshed with was smooth and polished, so the friction of course wasn't what it was when new, but still better than the old synchro. There are springs inside that have many miles and will have lost some of their flex - replacing these will make the transmission operate much more like when it was new. It is customary to replace all the seals in the transmission / crankshaft to reduce any oil seepage. The expectations should be that the transmission will be much improved, and will give you years of service, but not exactly like when new.

    I agree with you that this series of cars were one of the best ever built - I'm not sure that any new car you get will be an improvement over these. However if your foot is causing enough problems that you can't do the manual shift anymore, then consider putting the money towards an automatic.
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    Thanks for the additional insights. I'd certainly like to continue my relationship with this car if at all possible. I guess it depends then whether my foot gets better (hopefully) and/or I can apply the suggestions and advice which have been given to get to a point where use of the clutch doesn't irritate my foot as much. I have an 09 Accord which replaced this one as the main car
    and the clutch on that one doesn't cause as much of problem for my foot, though I do still kind of feel it).

    To address an earlier question, there has been no grinding of gears or other noise, and gear shifts take place successfully and without any slipping. Moving the shifter seems more rigid or less fluid than it once was, but it has never failed to shift gears while the car is in motion. The only time I have had a temporary difficulty in shifting into gear is when starting up in the morning or for the first time in the day, usually on cold days. I have just attributed this to the cold and the "old girl" being a bit "arthritic" due to age. After no more than a few attempts everything works ok. This doesn't happen all the time - most of the time it doesn't occur.

    Truthfully, if service personnel hadn't mentioned something to the effect that the transmission would likely fail, I wouldn't have suspected something of the sort. Makes me wonder on what they based these predictions (the cars were in for routine servicing or for other issues, not anything clutch or transmission-related).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    They base their predictions on the crystal ball they have at their shop, naturally. :P

    Sounds like a dose of synthetic transmission fluid might just perk up the old car, especially in the cold weather.

    As for the clutch, that should/could be tested by an experienced mechanic.

    Is there "free play"--that is, how far down can you push the pedal with 2 fingers before you meet resistance (measure in inches or fractions of an inch)

    If you deliberately went up a slight hill in 5th gear and low RPMs, thereby lugging the engine and making the car struggle, would the clutch slip on you?

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  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    I believe the clutch is hydraulic slave and master cylinder.

    If either one is failing the clutch may not be releasing correctly.
    This will cause the transmission to be hard shift in gear. this will eventually destroy the synchronizers
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    If I push down on it with 2 fingers there is resistance right off the bat, but at about 2 inches down the resistance definitely becomes more significant. Put another way I guess you could say the resistance becomes pretty significant about a third of the way down, but I probably still could have pushed it a bit further with the fingers.

    I can try the hill/5th gear test tomorrow when it's light. Do I try to shift to a lower gear at some point while going up, or just see what happens in 5th gear? And to make sure that I am understanding slippage in the same way you are, what should I be experiencing if the clutch does slip?

    My conception of slippage is that essentially the car seemingly goes into neutral and the engine starts to race, but the car won't stall like it would if the gears were still engaged - am I understanding that correctly? or do I have that wrong?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Yep that's slippage---if your car does that, your clutch is pretty much toast anyway.

    As for free play in the clutch, there should be perhaps 1 to 1 & 1/2" of pretty much no resistance. You should be able to press it down with your pinkie finger.

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  • Ok, if the shift is difficult when cold, you need to try a lower viscosity oil in the transmission. The manual (if I recall correctly) calls for 30 weight oil. Has this oil been changed recently? While the recommended change interval is quite lengthy, there is nothing wrong with changing it sooner.

    When my car was new, I check the oil at 30,000 miles and the transmission oil was still clear. I checked again at 80,000 miles and it was black. There is no reason for it to get black in the transmission, so obviously I had waited too long to change it. The oil should always run clear.

    If you drain your transmission oil, check to see if it is clear - if not, then it is definitely due for a change-out. If it is black, it probably needs to be changed twice - once to get rid of the black stuff, and then again at 3000 miles to change it again.

    The second thing to consider is using a full-synthetic oil. The 'weight' of the oil depends upon where you live and the type of driving you do. If you live in Arizona then you need a slightly thicker oil than if you live in New York.

    Since you mention that it gets harder to shift when it is cold (it is never cold in Arizona), then you can choose to use a lighter weight synthetic oil. There are synthetic oils in the 5W-20 range that *better* film and shear strength than a petroleum 10W-30 grade (the recommended grade).

    Why a full synthetic? Petroleum oil is a mix of heavy and light 'fractions' that 'average' to 30W. The manufacturer more tightly controls the range of viscocity in a full synthetic which means there are less 'heavy' (and less 'light') oils in the mix. Heavy grades of oil cause the gear shift to be hard to engage when cold.

    Comparing synthetic 5w20 motor oil to a petroleum 5w30, or 10w30, will have better film and shear strength, but won't be hard to shift on a cold day. It is also the reason that a full-synthetic is more expensive because of the tighter control on the product. There are 'hybrid' products that are a mix of petroleum and synthetic - they are less expensive, but aren't what you want here. Look for the text "full synthetic" on the bottle.

    Mobil1 is one example brand but there are others. JiffyLube doesn't generally carry these because of their expense - Wal-Mart does (in fact they have their own generic brand of full-synthetic). Why does the Honda recommend 30W? It's cheap. It may be just fine for a new car, but a high-mileage transmission may need some help.

    What you will see is that the gear shifting will be improved (cold or hot).

    Make sure that all the other mechanical items in the clutch mechanism are tuned up too: change out the hydraulic clutch fluid so that it is clear to help the clutch operate smoothly.

    The clutch 'slave' cylinder connects to the clutch lever via a 'ball' type bolt. This connection needs to be greased (water proof grease is best) so that the motion is smooth. Driving through the rain tends to wash the grease away and put grit in its place (and makes noise too), so make sure this operates smoothly. The other end of the clutch lever is inside the transmission bell and it too has a connection that needs to be grease, but is very hard to get to, so I'd ignore it.

    If you try these things you may find the clutch may operate smoothly enough to get you by. I've been driving this way for 10 years now and it is still working well.
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36

    Looking at my records, the transmission oil was last changed in December of 2011, a bit under 5000 miles ago at Valvoline. The notation says that 10w30 conventional motor oil was used. The Valvoline web site says that they also carry Synthetic motor oil, so I can try getting that put in. I'll try to implement some of the other suggestions as well.

    It snowed last night here in upstate NY, so I may not get get to try the slight uphill in 5th gear test until they get the road cleared off, but I will report back on the results of that as soon as I can.

    Thanks again - you guys have gone above and beyond with your help.
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    I tried doing a couple of uphills at low speed in 5th gear. There didn''t seem to be any slippage. There was no racing of the engine and the car made it over the hills ... there was just the feeling that the car might stall.

    I take it this is a good sign .... that the clutch may not be too far gone and that some of the other measures proposed, like the synthetic oil might possibly make this easier to shift then (and hopefully easier on my foot)?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Well that tells you that the clutch DISK is not completely worn out, yes.

    You might still have pressure plate issues, but I'd certainly try synthetic transmission oil before doing anything else.

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  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    That'll be my next step. Thanks again to all who gave advice. :)
  • I need help. I have a 1996 Honda Accord EX. It quit running so i had to replace the distributor now I'm getting pretty bad Gas mileage. I was getting around 29 mpg and over 400 miles to the tabk. Now I'm getting less tgan 350 to the tank. I did it myself. I made sure the 1 piston was top dead center by lining the timing mark up. It runs smooth and drives good just the gas mileage has dropped significantly. Help!!
  • You should understand one thing: gas mileage is controlled by the computer-controlled injectors. Anything that affects this will cause an increase in mileage. The system can be somewhat complex, but let's take a look at your situation.

    You were getting 400 miles to the tank, and then the distributor timing was adjusted (?). If I understand you correctly, it sounds like you adjusted the timing mark to Top Dead Center (TDC) by rotating the distributor assembly, not just a simple cap remove and replacement (?).

    If that is so, then you ought to get poor mileage. It should run smooth and drives good, just the gas mileage will drop significantly. To make up for possible delayed timing you might have to depress the accelerator slightly more to make up for lost power. You probably wouldn't notice that but could measure it in reduced gas mileage.

    There is a procedure for adjusting the timing. Normally with electronic ignitions, the distributor body does not need to be rotated or adjusted as part of an ordinary distributor cap replacement.

    You can usually find the parameters for adjusting the timing on the inside hood of the engine. Depending on your model car, the ignition is usually set to a few degrees before or after TDC, typically with the vacuum line to the distributor plugged, and using a timing light. I have found it easier to take a little white fingernail polish (with the tiny brush) and mark the flywheel at the TDC groove, the advanced ignition mark on the flywheel (there is one), and the index pointer to make it easier to see under the timing light.

    Following the procedure (which you can look up on Google), you need to have the engine at idle and warmed up, vacuum line plugged (if this applies to you), and using a timing light rotate the ignition point to line up with the flywheel ignition mark. Sometimes you have to jumper the computer. I forget if this model is 5° Before TDC or after - it is listed on the inside hood - but you must follow that.

    If you are always burning premium fuel, you can advance the ignition mark *slightly* ahead to get more power. You will also avoid knocking under load with premium fuel.

    However if you are like me buying the cheapest gas, you must not advance the ignition mark at all, or you will cause knocking in your engine under load. 'Knocking' is really damaging to the piston rings and is not desirable at all. In fact, with the cheapest gas, if you hear knocking under load (lugging the engine), you will want to slightly *delay* the ignition mark if anything to preserve your engine. Just depends how you drive - if you drive normally and not agressively, setting the timing on the mark is best with the cheapest fuel.

    Remember, you are really not setting the actual ignition point in your engine (that went out with carbureted engines), you are really establishing the synchronization of the ignition system to the engine under preset conditions. The computer actually controls when the spark occurs and can vary dramatically during the operation of the engine - you really have no control over this. All you can do is "synchronize" at idle when the spark is supposed to occur, and let the computer control it from then on.

    You can't do this without a timing light, because you can't tell when the electronic ignition sensor has 'closed' and fired the ignition. If you don't have an ignition light, go to one of the big auto supply stores and they will lend/rent you one to complete the task.

    If this is not your situation, take a look at the ignition wires. It is not as likely that this is the problem, but there could be cracks or shorts to ground. They were disturbed during the ignition work and might be a factor. There is an ignition module that can fail also, but as you have indicated the car appears to start and run smooth, so I'd double check the ignition timing.
  • I actually set it tdc by turning the crank and aligning the timing mark. I had googled it prior to me actually doing so because i had to buy another distributor. I don't have a timing light but I had thought that would be the problem. Just wanted some opinions before i went spending alk the money that i don't havet fix it. Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a shot.
  • greenloopygreenloopy Posts: 1
    Ive searched all over for this code but nothing. i have 1994 honda accord EX I had the D4 light blinking I went and checked for the code and code 25 came up. I can not find this code any where nor can the local tranny mechnic. would you know what it is.
  • tomascattomascat Posts: 2
    96 accord,4cyl auto, 200k. i have an anoying loud dull droning/huming noise in front area. its still their with enging off, in neutral at 40 mph. almost sounds like the blower is on but all outlets are closed. that isnt it but sounds about like it. anybody??
  • Need a little help here: you say the humming sound comes from the front. Front of what? Interior car dash? Front of engine compartment?

    I have a humming sound coming from the heater fan blower. Funky noise. The blower fan is known to wear out the brushes in the motor - perhaps it is a failing fan? It makes noise anytime the fan is on (car doesn't have to be moving). Honda doesn't carry replacement brushes (you can get them from a RV dealership - they must be 12V brushes).

    Front of car could be unbalanced tires, or tires with delaminating treads. Swap front tires to rear to see if noise changes. Does the steering wheel vibrate at freeway speeds? Could be unbalanced tires, but could also be the ball joints (a car with 200k miles needs new ball joints). You can't tell when the ball joints need to be replaced by 'wiggling' the tires, but there is a symptom you can try: when you depress the brakes while in neutral coming to a stop, does the noise reduce or stop? That's ball joints.

    The noise sounds like it is NOT sensitive to any power being applied. Does it get worse with power applied? If no, then it is in your 'rolling gear' - things like driveshafts (Constant Velocity Joints (CVJ)), wheels, ball joints. Have you inspected your CVJ boot condition? If they are broken, eventually the grease leaves and the joints wear out, resulting in a humming sound (but it gets worse with power applied).

    Confirm your wheels are balanced, tires are newish, and then replace the ball joints (it's time).
  • tomascattomascat Posts: 2
    yea jim sounds like a muffled,deeper throated drone but similar to the blower motor noise, which btw is noisey as well. for sure a rolling part. just got the doesnt pull, click or chatter, steady pull down when stopping. im kinda mechanical but cannot find the atf dipstick. i will check what u mentioned and will update u. thanks
  • I need to locate the voltage regulator on my Accord and have no clue where to look. Can anyone help me locate this, or tell me where to search.
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  • I thought because of modern electronics they put the regulator inside the alternator (used to be external). There is a test procedure for a 1997 Honda to determine if the the alternator is even working properly or not at this location:

    You might need a voltmeter.
  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    It is built into the alternator. Some are replaceable.

    Start the car, disconnect the battery negative cable, if the car keeps running the alternator is working, if it stops the alternator is most likely dead.

    Have checked at Auto Parts Store, its free

    Works for me.

    Save money, search for coupons codes especially Advance.
  • I just got the car(4 cyl manual) and need to perform any needed maintenance as well as some repairs, looking for advice. The car has been in the family since new, maintained well for first 55K, then hardly maintained for last 80k miles. Known repairs needed are:

    1. Radiator
    2. Bad contact on instrument illumination
    3. Left rear window won't roll down (don't know if it is a switch or the motor)
    4. Missing/broken coin compartment, driver's side door light cover
    5. Switch for sunroof coming off, not sure if it is working right.

    I'm in LA,CA and plan to replace the radiator/thermostat/hoses today and change all fluids.
    Not sure where to get reasonably priced hardware (coin compartment/light covers, etc.- don't need to be new)
    Not sure how to approach the electrical items (2, 3 and maybe 5).

    Looking for some good advice on how to approach these items (any good guides/links for these types of things out there?) and what I should make sure to do soon given that this car has been neglected for the last 80k/4 years.

    Thanks in advance to all the knowledgeable folks out there.

  • mathsmaths Posts: 1

    I know it's been a long time for you, but did you ever figure out the cause of all these problems? I have the same things going on. It's clearly electrical..

  • 97 Accord EX 2.2 2 door.

    190,000 Miles

    Just replaced my clutch/pressure plate/throwout bearing.

    It was 2 AM, forgot to grease the throwout bearing before I put it all back together :surprise: . I have a bit of a squeaking noise, assuming it is the bearing, it goes away when I engage the clutch, comes back a few seconds after I let go.

    A. How severe is this if I do not go back in and grease it?

    B. If I do not, will it eventually stop squeaking?

    Thanks everyone.
  • 9accord69accord6 Posts: 4
    Hi, I have a 96 accord ex, and have had issues with what I now realize is the master cylinder. Abs system also does not work 90% of the time. I recently had a shade tree mechanic replace a front wheel bearing, and now the car squeaks and squeals loudly and constantly. Master cylinder hasn't been replaced yet, and now I have almost no brakes at all. The emergency brake, which worked great before, now almost non functional as well. Any ideas about what might have gone wrong?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570

    Well hard to say from this distance but going by your symptoms, I'm wondering if your rear brakes are so worn down that they exceed the normal reach of the rear wheel cylinders, thereby allowing air into the master cylinder. This would also affect your ABS and your emergency brake.

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  • 9accord69accord6 Posts: 4
    Do you think that would also cause the squealing? It does it even in reverse when Im not hitting the brakes, but only since the bearing was replaced. Its LOUD
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