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The victim of my exploits. A 2006 Honda CR-V EX AWD with the 5-speed automatic transmission. At 173,000 miles, the transmission failed entirely. The car wouldn't move. I found a replacement transmission from a 2005.

Here are some symptoms of a bad transmission:
- Slipping, hesitating, or revving between gears.
- Gearshift does nothing in any gear.
- Transmission fluid looks/smells burned.
- Car does not move.

The tools you will need for this job are:
- A full metric tool set, 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive.
- Cheater bars
- a 36mm socket (and a 3/4" drive ratchet to go with it)
- Allen wrenches
- Ball joint removal tool
- A hammer
- Engine support bar.
- Torque wrench (for reassembly).




Start on top of the engine. Begin by removing the upper air intake tube. It connects to the engine on one side, and to the air filter box on the other.

You'll have to disconnect a few electrical connectors here. The best way to remove the electrical connectors is NOT to break the tabs on them with a screw driver. Instead, use your meaty hands to squeeze the tab until it clicks, then stick a flatblade screwdriver between the two connectors and twist. Most of the connectors will be pretty seized up.




Remove the air box lid. There are about 5 screws around the perimeter. They take either a Phillips screwdriver or a 10mm socket. Opt for the socket, as these screws strip easily.




The top of the air box is removed. This is picture is a good reference for where things go. Put a new air filter on order, because you may as well replace the thing.

The part number is 17220-PNB-003.




This is at the front of the car, just behind the radiator. You are now removing the lower air intake hose. A 10mm socket will take these off. It can be tricky to remove this part, since the battery tray and wire harnesses are in in the way.




Now you can remove the rest of the air box. There are 3 10mm bolts here.




Now that the air box is out, we will start to remove the radiator. This part is optional, but unless you want to be driven insane by one-click bolt removals, I recommend taking it out.

Remove all of the plastic snaps holding the front plastic cover on.




This is on the underside. There are a few hose connections to the radiator. Take them all off. You'll see the lower coolant hose and a couple transmission oil hoses. There will also be two electrical connectors for the fans. Get your catch pan ready here, because your CR-V is about to lose a lot of fluids.

Replace the ATF filter here while you're at it. Fortunately, it is easy to get to. Part number is 25430-PLR-003.




Take the top bolt out of the coolant reservoir. You won't be able to remove this until you remove the radiator, so hold tight.




Now remove the radiator brackets. These are absolutely awful to remove. There is a bracket on each side of the radiator, each has 2 10mm bolts. The top one is easy, the one down in the side will require small hands, a good 1/4" ratchet, and an extra swear jar to fill up.




Now remove the top bolts on the radiator fans. The radiator should be free to pull out now. It is easiest to push the two fans away from the radiator as much as possible, then wiggle it out. The coolant reservoir should come out at the same time.




Now that the radiator is out of the way, you can pull the fans out. Easy enough.




Start removing the connections on the front of the transmissions. There are quite a few connectors here.




Remove the ground strap from the driver's side of the car. It's easier to remove it here than to remove the other side of the harness.




Start removing all of the electrical connections on top of the engine and transmission and disconnect most of the hoses. One of these is fuel, so now would be a good time to quit smoking.




Now to the underside. Remove the drive shaft (on 4WD models). (sorry, no picture of this) It is straightforward. There are 4 bolts holding the front to the transfer case and 4 more holding the rear to the differential. These 8 will take a 10mm 12-point socket. There is a drive shaft holder in the center that will need to be removed (2 bolts), and then another protector (2 more).

Disconnect the exhaust at the header. All of the exhaust bolts will probably be rusted on pretty well, so I recommend soaking everything in a heavy coat of PB Blaster.




This was my strategy for getting the downpipe bolts off.




Remove the 3 14mm bolts at the catalytic converter. The gasket will likely be shot, so order a new one. The Honda part number is 18393-SH3-S00. The nuts are probably too rusty to work with, so replacing them is not a bad idea. They are part number 90212-SA5-003.




Disconnect the two electrical connections of the exhaust, then remove the bracket holding them on. This is just 1 10mm bolt.




When you go to assemble everything, put anti-seize on all of the exhaust parts to save you a little headache in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·


Remove the front wheels and you'll see this.

You will need a gargantuan 36mm socket to loose this nut. I found a 3/4" drive wrench to turn and a crow bar to hold the rotor in place. I just thought that if you had an assistant in the car, they could hold the brakes while you turn. I haven't tried this.

I replaced the hub nuts since they are the "dent to retain" type. Part number 90305-SD4-003.




Now we need to remove the lower control arms.

You'll need a 17mm socket, a ball joint tool (looks like a hot-dog roasting fork), and a large hammer.

Remove the cotter pin on the bottom of the ball joint. Loosen this nut by about 1/4", but do not completely remove it.

Jam your ball joint removal tool between the control arm and your wheel hub, grab your hammer, and proceed to beat it like a rental car. This usually takes a substantial amount of effort. The metal was noticeably hot when this joint finally broke apart. Finish removing the castle nut when you are done here.

You're guaranteed to damage your ball joint boots in the process. Go ahead and order new ones. The part number is 51225-S5A-003.

New cotter pins are part number 90701-SX0-003.




Remove the sway bar end links (just one end or the other). Theoretically, you stick an Allen wrench in the end of the bolt, then turn the nut with a box wrench wrench. If you're lucky, this will actually work. If you're me, you'll strip out the Allen hole and need to cut off the end links with a cut-off wheel.

New end links are part numbers:
Right - 51320-S5A-003
Left - 51321-S5A-003

New nuts are part number 90212-SA5-003





Remove the sway bar mounts. This is simple. Check the condition of your sway bar bushings in the process. If they are brittle or cracked, replace them. The sway bar should now drop free.

Sway bar bushings are part number 51306-S7B-014




Remove the 17mm bolts holding the control arms on. There are 2 on each side. The control arms can now be removed.




Now is a great time to check your bushings. The left one is good. The right one is bad. The condition of these will have a huge effect on your vehicle's dynamic performance, tire wear, and cabin noise.




This part is tricky. You need to support the engine/transmission combo from the top somehow so it doesn't fall out of the bottom when you do the next part. I used a cheap Harbor Freight engine holder across the strut towers and chained it down around the exhaust on the back of the engine.




Remove the 17mm bolt that runs through the middle of the front motor mount. This is also a good time to check to see if it is worn out. Remove the bolt in the rear motor mount as well.




Now start removing the subframe. There are 4 17mm bolts holding it on.




This is easier with another person (I didn't have that luxury). The subframe is quite heavy and will drop when you remove the bolts. I used this holder thing to support one half while I dropped the other.




Set the subframe aside as you get down to business.




Remove the 3 10mm screws to get access to the flexplate.




Start removing the flexplate bolts. They are 10mm. The engine will want to turn, so make sure to put a ratchet on the crankshaft pulley bolt to hold it still.

During assembly, do NOT overtorque these bolts. They require only inch pounds.




You can put a wrench here to turn the flex plate to reach the rest of the bolts.




Remove the shifter cable cover. All bolts are 10mm.




Once inside, remove the shifter cable pin.




Now remove the shifter cable bracket.




There are 4 large bolts holding the transfer case on. Remove these. The transfer case is a tight fit into the transmission, so it might take a few hammer taps to loosen it up.

There is a large, thin O-ring that seals this guy on. Replace it. Part number is 91301-PH8-005.




You can now remove the driver's side half shaft. Swing the wheel hub up and out of the way, then give the shaft a good tug to get it out. It will feel like something is holding it in, but there really isn't.




On the passenger's side, remove the half shaft cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·


Now you'll have to remove the half-shaft bracket.




The oil filter isn't terribly easy to get to. Now is a good time to put a new one on and clean up the gasket mating surface.




Back on top, disconnect the power steering fluid line. The tilting of the engine might cause the hose to stretch too much.




Finish removing the wire harnesses from the front of the engine.




Remove the wire harness near the firewall to allow the engine to sag.




Remove the motor mount bolts connected to the transmission. With this, the engine and transmission weight will be supported entirely by your strut bar engine holder, and the remaining engine mount. You can now control the tilt of the engine with your engine holder.




This large harness on the back needs to be disconnected. Take your time, as this connector can get very delicate.




Remove this cover on the side of the transmission.




Now remove the connector from the transmission. This one has a lot of pins and is difficult to remove.




This bracket has to be removed. This is on the back of the engine.




Remove all of the large transmission bolts. You do not need to remove the starter, but you will need to remove one of the starter bolts.

Begin splitting the transmission from the engine.




Continue splitting. I left one bolt partially threaded do that the transmission didn't just fall out.




Once they are split, get the car close to the floor and finish the split. You can now remove the transmission from the car.




There she is, removed from the car. The automatic transmission is massively heavy. You won't likely be able to manhandle it in by yourself like you can a manual transmission. Installation will require some tricky work with scraps of wood and a jack.




This is the torque converter. It just sits on the transmission input shaft. Keep this in mind while installing it, because it will want to fall right off of the shaft as you're lining things up.




If you slide the torque converter off, this is your view.




The 2005-2006 had a 5-speed automatic, while the earlier models had a 4-speed. They might interchange, but I can't guarantee it.

You're done now! Installation is the reverse of removal. Be sure to replace the hard to replace parts, such as the rear main seal (a separate guide) and bushings while you're doing this. It will reduce your work in the future. Make note of parts to replace that I have pointed out throughout the guide.

When you're refilling the transmission, you will need about 8 quarts of Honda ATF-Z1, part number 08200-9013.

Don't forget to refill the coolant if you remove the radiator. You may have also lost some power steering fluid in the process.

When you have it all buttoned up, start the car, hold the brake, and shift it slowly through the gears to get the transmission fluid pumping throughout. You should be ready to drive away.
 

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Now you'll have to remove the half-shaft bracket.




The oil filter isn't terribly easy to get to. Now is a good time to put a new one on and clean up the gasket mating surface.




Back on top, disconnect the power steering fluid line. The tilting of the engine might cause the hose to stretch too much.




Finish removing the wire harnesses from the front of the engine.




Remove the wire harness near the firewall to allow the engine to sag.




Remove the motor mount bolts connected to the transmission. With this, the engine and transmission weight will be supported entirely by your strut bar engine holder, and the remaining engine mount. You can now control the tilt of the engine with your engine holder.




This large harness on the back needs to be disconnected. Take your time, as this connector can get very delicate.




Remove this cover on the side of the transmission.




Now remove the connector from the transmission. This one has a lot of pins and is difficult to remove.




This bracket has to be removed. This is on the back of the engine.




Remove all of the large transmission bolts. You do not need to remove the starter, but you will need to remove one of the starter bolts.

Begin splitting the transmission from the engine.




Continue splitting. I left one bolt partially threaded do that the transmission didn't just fall out.




Once they are split, get the car close to the floor and finish the split. You can now remove the transmission from the car.




There she is, removed from the car. The automatic transmission is massively heavy. You won't likely be able to manhandle it in by yourself like you can a manual transmission. Installation will require some tricky work with scraps of wood and a jack.




This is the torque converter. It just sits on the transmission input shaft. Keep this in mind while installing it, because it will want to fall right off of the shaft as you're lining things up.




If you slide the torque converter off, this is your view.




The 2005-2006 had a 5-speed automatic, while the earlier models had a 4-speed. They might interchange, but I can't guarantee it.

You're done now! Installation is the reverse of removal. Be sure to replace the hard to replace parts, such as the rear main seal (a separate guide) and bushings while you're doing this. It will reduce your work in the future. Make note of parts to replace that I have pointed out throughout the guide.

When you're refilling the transmission, you will need about 8 quarts of Honda ATF-Z1, part number 08200-9013.

Don't forget to refill the coolant if you remove the radiator. You may have also lost some power steering fluid in the process.

When you have it all buttoned up, start the car, hold the brake, and shift it slowly through the gears to get the transmission fluid pumping throughout. You should be ready to drive away.
I joined the owner's club just to thank you for this write up! Thank you for taking the time to document and share!
 

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Great Job!!! I currently have a transmission whine, very noticeable in park & neutral. Going to try to replace the fluids and filters first. Then possibility the left cover plate w/bearing, if the problem persist. Hopefully it won't come to this; but it's good to know I have this neat guide waiting for me...

Thanks again for all the detailed information.Mike
 
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