2004 4 speed AT whine
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Thread: 2004 4 speed AT whine

  1. #1
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    2004 4 speed AT whine

    I have a 2004 4WD EX that I bought new. It has 40K miles on the clock and has been towed about that many miles behind my motorhome (towed miles don't register on the odometer). So a total of about 80K miles on the running gear. Recently, I started hearing a whine that shows up at about 30 mph and varies in frequency with speed. Don't hear it much above 45 mph because it's drowned out by road/wind noise. Whine does not change if I shift into neutral.

    The transmission had a drain and fill (by the dealer) about 4 years ago (~25K miles driving + 20K towing). Manual says change the ATF at 120K miles or 6 years then every 90K miles or 5 years. Honda does not consider towing behind an RV to be severe service.

    Took it to my local Honda dealer today. They hooked up their diagnostic gear and took it on 3 test drives. They say there is a loss of pressure in 3rd gear and the transmission needs to be replaced at a cost of ~$4000 including labor.

    I'm not trying to find the cheap way out, but throwing away an otherwise good transmission for a whine that I can't even hear when the radio is on seems extreme to me. The transmission has never slipped and the shift quality is as good as the day I bought it.

    I'm 70, so not really up to any big DIY project, but could probably manage to do the drain and fill 3 times that I've seen described. If you think that would help, is DW-1 truly the replacement for Z-1 ATF. When I searched the net for a good price on Z-1 all I could find was DW-1.

    What do you think? Thanks for any replies/advice...

    Tom

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  3. #2
    crv|oc Rank: Sophomore
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    Hi tomsm, The new Honda fluid is DW-1 and is supposed to be the correct fluid to use. The following statement is from the 2012 owners manual and may not be what the 2004 manual says. If you tow your vehicle behind a motorhome the transmission fluid must be changed every 2 years or 30,000 miles which ever comes first. To avoid damage to the AWD system the vehicle must be towed with all four wheels on the ground. They go on to give a specific sequence to follow to prepare for towing. Start the engine and move the shift lever through all of the positions, then shift to drive and hold for five seconds then to neutral and let the engine run for 3 minutes and then turn it off. Severe damage will occure if the vehicle is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed. Again this is from the 2012 manual. As far as the drain and fill goes if you can change engine oil then you can change the transmission fluid no problem. A further statement says if you tow more than 8 hours at a time the before towing procedure should be repeated to circulate the fluid again.
    Last edited by Blue12EXL; 01-23-2013 at 04:41 PM.

  4. #3
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Blue12EXL - Thanks for the reply. The '04 manual has a very similar tow procedure and I have always followed it. We never drive more than about 4 hours a day and never over 65. I think one of the greatest joys of retirement is not having to hurry.

    Now the bad news and why I'm angry at myself. I just got out my manual and it DOES say 2 years or 30K miles if towing! It's the last thing on the 2nd of 2 pages of instructions for towing behind a motorhome. Somehow I missed it which really bothers me because I'm usually very careful about such things.

    Assuming they are referring to odometer miles, I'm within bounds with that, but not with the 2 year part. Still seems like a stretch to me that a minor whining warrants trashing the tranny.

    Thinking I should at least try the fluid change...

  5. #4
    crv|oc Rank: Sophomore
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    I would at least try the fluid change, do a three time drain and fill with enough miles between changes to get up to full temperature. You may get lucky. There is no telling how long it will go with a slight whine. As far as mileage I would add the towed mileage to the odometer miles just to be safe.So with that in mind 25k driving plus 20k towed would be 45k total since a change. You can buy a case of fluid on line for better than dealer price, get the crush washer for the drain plug and replace it after the third refill. Good luck !

  6. #5
    crv|oc Rank: Freshman
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    This is an all wheel drive crv correct? How many times have you changed the rear diff fluid? It should be changed I believe every 20,000 miles. If this has been neglected, it will make a whining noise. I would suggest that you change it once (you must use Honda Dual Pump Fluid (the dealer will know the correct fluid). After changing it, make several slow complete turns (go to a parking lot). Do a 360 to the left and a 360 to the right with the idea of getting the rear wheels turning at different speeds. THis is called Burnishing. Then change the fluid a second time.

  7. #6
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    crvmpls - Thanks for the input. Yep, it is all wheel drive. The rear diff has been properly maintained.

  8. #7
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Just an update and a big kudo to Honda! My dealer talked to Honda and Honda agreed to a 50/50 split on the cost of replacing the tranny - this is on a 9 year old vehicle! The dealer service rep even replaced (at no cost) a couple of hoses going to the tranny cooler because he didn't like the way they looked. Because Honda was involved, the labor was done at the warranty rate. Total cost to me was $1757 out the door... The new tranny has a 3 year, unlimited miles warranty. I see a lot of criticism of Honda on the forum and I'm sure most of it is well deserved, but I wanted to add a positive report...

  9. #8
    crv|oc Rank: Senior
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    It's is great that Honda picked up part of it. Usually those trannys are very reliable and long lasting.
    Hadn't heard the part "Severe damage will occur if the vehicle is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed" but I would sure be aware of not doing that.
    I would continue to do a least one drain and refill with DW-1 every 20,000 miles or 2 years (or if the tranny is under warranty and requires Honda service, do it their way, at least until the warranty period is over).
    Do a drain and refill on the rear differential according to the schedule unless you hear a rubbing or screeching noise (may even sound like it is coming from the front wheels) while making slow tight turns, such as turning around in a parking lot). If you hear that sound, do a change then, even if it is below the recommended interval.
    Don't forget to have your brake system bleed completely to get rid of all the old fluid according to the recommended interval to help prevent corrosion and rust in that system.
    Have your (or do it yourself) cooling system flushed and put in new antifreeze according to schedule (esp if your overflow reservoir is dark or dirty) to help prevent corrosion in your cooling system.
    And since you take a lot of trips, make sure your belts are in good shape (ie:alternator, ac, water pump).
    One last thing is to see if your cabin air filter has ever been changed. If you get good airflow from the ac and heater vents, it is probably still in decent shape, but changing it can give you more airflow.
    Hopefully you will have good carefree and fun vacations.
    Buffalo4

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