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Discussion Starter #1
My 2000 CRV Sport AWD with the 4sp Automatic trans is slipping in first gear when taking off under load or uphill.

Since purchasing it in December last year I have done 4 Auto Trans fluid drain and refills which seemed to fix the slight flare I had on the 3-4 upshift and smoothed out downshifts as well but the slipping issue remains. I've noticed it most when driving with air con and 2 or more passengers or anytime I come to a stop and then takeoff uphill.

The revs raise to around 2000 rpm and the car vibrates a fair bit and takes off in a way that makes it feel as if it is dragging, revs continue to raise as the car accelerates slowly until first gear either 'catches' and I gain full power or the trans pops into second gear with what feels like a sudden power surge/kick as second gear engages, no slip in second gear though.

I was baffled by this issue and tried a torque converter stall test with the car in drive and my foot on the brake, engine reached a maximum of 2700 rpm which rules out any issue with the torque converter. Now here is the part that confused me, if I lock the trans gear selector into 1, there is no slip! If I were to pull up on a steep hill and take off in D then the car would slip in first gear as described avove, yet if I lock the car into first gear there is minimal slip and the car pulls off without the vibration and second gear kick.

Does anyone have any idea as to how I could fix this issue? I was thinking I might need to clean a solenoid of some sort as it seems like first gear isn't being engaged correctly unless I manually force it into first gear. I currently am driving an automatic where I'm manually having to select the gears, seems a bit ironic. Though I am planning a 5 speed conversion in the near future so if this issue is unable to be fixed then I think I'll go ahead with that plan instead.

Thanks for any help, Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh and yes I used Genuine Honda Transmission Fluid for the fluid changes, all services with the previous owner are unknown.
 

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I have the same issue with my CRV. I have a 99 w 147,xxx on it. I'm on my 3rd transmission flush and refill w genuine honda ATF that I bought at the dealer. After the 2nd flush the car felt better when shifting, it was smoother and more responsive. I'm still having the slipping issue when the car is warm and taking off from a dead stop and specially from a dead stop going uphill. I'm thinking the flush and refill precedure will not get rid of this issue completely. The car drives fine when it gets going and shifts nice on all gears. I thought about taking a look at the trans solenoids or maybe installing an aftermarket trans cooler... Any help on this issue would be appreciated.
 

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I posted, but it went in to never-never land...you should change your filter (assuming that it has one). Also, IMHO, every auto-trans should have an external cooler on it and an external filter.

If your trans has a filter, it will definitely inhibit things. Some auto-trans only have a screen on them. Also, it sorta sound like you are stuck in a gear, and then when you shift it manually you overcome that.

You can also put on the ones that look like a fuel filter. You can get them at NAPA.

I have 2 vehicles w/external coolers and a mount for an external oil filter. I route the oil through the filter, then the cooler, then the radiator. Then I change the external filter at least 1x a year and also dump the fluid 1x a year.

If you can get to your pan bolts then a solenoid can be easy to get to( they can also be a bear). Sometimes they can be changed in 5 minutes (once you get the pan off).
 

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Unfortunately, the CRV's do not have a filter or screen or bottom pan like many of the automatics we grew up with. There is a strainer in the torque converter valve body, but it is tricky to access. I believe there are also some small filter screens located under the solenoids. If you haven't already, you should download a copy of the Service Manual and review the Transaxle chapter as it has a lot of good information and test procedures.

I believe the difference between D and 1 is that D will shift into N when stopped to save fuel, so when you start off in D you start with the shift into 1st, as opposed to the selector set to 1 where it locks it into 1st gear and you rely on the stall speed of the torque converter to get you going. So your issue seems to be related to the 1st gear clutch, which is active in D but not 1. You could try checking the appropriate solenoid and the screen if there is one under it. But unfortunately these automatics are complicated little beasts and you might want to at least talk with a transmission shop tech for advice. I know there are several ports for pressure checks and such but that requires specialized equipment.
 

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Also, the CRV already has an ATF cooler built into the radiator, so unless you are towing near max capacity you probably wouldn't benefit from an aftermarket cooler. A remote filter inline with the existing cooler line might be beneficial, but I have no experience with them. I do know that as a result of patent issues in the early days, Honda uses a completely different automatic design that is unique to them that uses clutch packs with sliding gears opposed to planetary gears and bands. As a result, they have a history of issues with the clutches wearing and problems resulting either from worn surfaces or the clutch debris getting into the system. Given that you are considering upgrading to the 5 speed, it might be a better investment to go that route rather than repair the existing 4 speed. Note that the 5's also have some history of shudder in the 2->3 shift at low speed.

The trick to Honda automatic longevity is changing the fluid more frequently than specified in the manual, making sure to use genuine Honda fluid as nothing else will work correctly. There are many posts regarding the multiple (~4X) fluid changes due to the fact that only about 25% of the fluid is able to be removed through the drain plug, but after experiencing the shudder on my V, I change my fluid 1X every oil change interval (approx. 7,500 miles) which I believe keeps it fresh enough and have not had any issues since.
 

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aimicop,
If you don't get better suggestions on fixing your problem, do some more searching in these forums (takes some time due to so many hits) or on the Internet.
There are some good AT experts on this forum and hopefully one of them will address your problem.
Honda DW-1 is excellent atf for your Honda, as is Valvoline MaxLife Dex\Merc atf and some others. Honda Z-1 didn't fare so well in actual use for many.
Buffalo4
 

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Discussion Starter #8
After more reading of the Service Manual and following the troubleshooting steps I decided to pull off all the shift solenoids to clean. I connected them to 12V and tested the clicking of the solenoids and then flushed them out with brake cleaner whilst applying and removing 12V to the solenoids. I then refilled the transmission with about 1L of new Genuine Honda ATF Fluid and topped the rest up with the Genuine Honda ATF that I had just drained out (Only 2 months old). The shifts seemed to have smoothed out a lot after this but the slipping remained so I continued troubleshooting.

Completed another stall test in all gears (R,D,2,1) and measured the same 2650rpm in all gears so this ruled out any issue with the torque converter or slipping clutches. I checked my trans fluid level straight after the stall testing and saw that it was slightly low so headed to Honda and topped up to the correct level with Genuine Honda ATF once again.

The slipping issue appeared to be rectified after this, I could take off uphill and there was the usual first few seconds of torque slip and then the gear would catch and I'd get full power earlier than I was when it was slipping badly. I thought the problem had been solved but after a 200km drive home from a family gathering in the country I felt the transmission dragging once again. I recall the SAME issue happening after the last 100km+ high speed trip I undertook, the trans seems to slip and drive terribly after long distance high speed driving. Later that day after cooling off it runs perfectly once again. I'm thinking I will install a trans cooler, solve some minor mechanical issues I have with my CRV and hopefully that'll keep it running well so I'm able to sell the car.

I badly want a manual CRV and although I was planning to convert my auto to a 5 Speed Manual, I have done the research and I think it is financially smarter for me to purchase another CRV that came with 5 Speed from factory. Will be aiming for exactly the same model CRV Sport, hopefully silver this time!
 

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Transmission issues suck. Hopefully the addition of a cooler will help. I agree that a trans swap project can end up being more of a hassle that it's worth (what with adding pedals and shifting mechs) and it's probably easier just to buy a vehicle that came with a manual trans. Good luck!
 

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It almost sounds like the pickup screen in the transmission sump is clogging up. Only way to check that is to remove the tranny.
When you shut off the engine and the fluid cools down, some of the debris clogging the filter also falls off. Even so, is there is enough debris from the clutches to clog up that screen, the tranny probably needs to be rebuilt anyways.
I am only grasping at straws, so no real experience with this.
Hopefully it is something else.
Buffalo4
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Currently in the process of selling my Blue Auto CRV, another fluid change seems to have made the issue a little better once again but its time for the car to go.

I've now purchased a 2001 CRV Sport, Silver and 5 speed Manual! Exactly what I wanted. Higher kms than my auto (235k vs 209k) but the new one feels a lot more solid and seems to be quieter in general (?). Will post more when I have the time and money to work on the new CRV
 

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I also like a manual shift. If it has 4WD, don't forget to check or change the rear diffy fluid using Honda DP-2 fluid.
And, I believe the 2001 is the last year that the CRV had a timing belt, so be aware of that.
Have fun !!!
Buffalo4
 

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It won't help fix the OP's problem, but my wife's 99 CRV AWD AT has nearly 400 000 kms. It's on it's third ATF change. The second and third ATF changes were with non-Honda department store ATF. Never a problem. She throws a smooth firm shift and is very predictable about lock up etc. The current ATF looks clean and bright, and good until the 500 000 km mark!
 
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