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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I performed a tranny fluid change on my 2015 CR-V. Given the way automatics break in I thought it would be a good idea to get the original fill out of the tranny before 10,000 miles. Per the owners manual the capacity of the AWD CVT is 4.5 quarts. Given that Honda recommends a 3 flush change due to the fact that you cannot drain the fluid completely, I was anticipating getting 3 quarts out at most. To facilitate the drain, I drove the rear wheels up on a 2 inch high plank. I was shocked to recover 5+ quarts on the drain. I am not quite sure what to make of this but it is very worrisome to me. I did not want to run the tranny short of fluid, so I refilled with the specified 4.5 quarts of HCF-2 fluid ($11/quart!!!) The nagging question is how much fluid was left in the transmission to which I added a full 4.5 quarts? I do not think that the 2 inch lift on the rear wheels would make that much of a difference to the drain volume. Thoughts?
 

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Raising the rear of the car could have allowed more to drain.

Two other comments:

First, I'm not sure the "3 flush change" applies to the CVT, especially if you get 3 of the. 4.5 quarts out. With a conventional automatic you're lucky to get 30 or 40% out with a single drain.

Second, there is an inspection plug to check fluid level. The idea is to remove the plug and fill with fluid until it comes out of the inspection port, just like with many manuals. I know exactly where this is because my dealer checked my CVT fluid level and didn't fully tighten the inspection port plug, causing a leak.
 

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I agree with dan15s comments, I think Honda recommends vehicle to be on level ground. Did you follow the instructions from the manual ?

Above all this it is an overkill to change trans fluid so early at less than 10k miles. Its a new vehicle and I have never really heard the need to change ATF fluid in a new car.
 

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My '15 CRV has only 3k miles, so I'm not ready for a tranny refill and so I haven't looked into the details yet... But I appreciate these threads because I do service my cars DIY as much as possible.
I believe the HONDA CRV still has a torque converter, even with the CVT tranny. The torque converter is usually where the 'hidden' fluid resides as it is pumped in there under pressure, but does not drain back into the sump every time you stop. (That's why conventional automatics say to check fluid level while idling... in case some did leak back into the sump when the engine was off).
I am sure the wear factors on a CVT are much different than a conventional automatic with clutches, so I am hoping that HONDA designed it for durability (durability is a greater concern for me than minor vibrations, etc.). I believe the CVT is a valid concept, and that's why I bought it, but that will depend whether HONDA's implementation is based on solid engineering.
Are there any spec's on the CVT regarding 'typical drain/refill capacity, vs. full rebuild (incl torque converter) capacity? It is hard to believe 2" at the rear would affect it that much.
 

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CVT is drain and refill, not the drain and refill procedures of the Automatic transmissions. Yes, there is an inspection plug on the side of the CVT to check the fluid level. The fill port is at the front of the engine under the hood, and is marked "For Fill Only". Recommended fluid is Honda HCF-2 and change amount is 3.9 U.S quarts for 2WD models and 4.5 U.S. quarts for AWD models.

"Found in the 2015 Honda CRV Owners Guide: "Driving in mountainous areas at very low vehicle speeds or trailer towing results in higher transmission temperatures. This requires transmission fluid changes more frequently than recommended by the Maintenance Minder. If you regularly drive your vehicle under these conditions, have the transmission fluid changed every 25,000 miles (40,000 km)."

Severe Conditions: Every 25,000 Miles
Normal Conditions: ?

My guess for normal conditions would be 50,000 mile intervals, and that is what I will do.
The fluid change process will be different than regular automatic transmissions, but still doable, and will use Honda CVT fluid when the the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Raising the rear of the car could have allowed more to drain.

Two other comments:

First, I'm not sure the "3 flush change" applies to the CVT, especially if you get 3 of the. 4.5 quarts out. With a conventional automatic you're lucky to get 30 or 40% out with a single drain.

Second, there is an inspection plug to check fluid level. The idea is to remove the plug and fill with fluid until it comes out of the inspection port, just like with many manuals. I know exactly where this is because my dealer checked my CVT fluid level and didn't fully tighten the inspection port plug, causing a leak.
Hi Dan
Can you tell me where the inspection plug is located?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I agree with dan15s comments, I think Honda recommends vehicle to be on level ground. Did you follow the instructions from the manual ?

Above all this it is an overkill to change trans fluid so early at less than 10k miles. Its a new vehicle and I have never really heard the need to change ATF fluid in a new car.
The manual only specified a capacity 4.5 quarts, there were no other no other instructions listed. Having 5+ quarts drain out has caused me a bit of concern.

If you saw the transmission fluid that drained out, you would not think it overkill. The bottom of the oil catch pan was full of glitter with several larger flakes of aluminum and the fluid was opaque and the color of strong coffee. Holding a quart to the sun in a mason jar let no light through where the virgin fluid has the appearance of canola oil. As MNOldGuy suggests' a transmission breaking in is a different animal entirely. I only plan on doing an early change once, and now that the break in materials are out, I will likely go to a 30k change interval. Given the condition of the fluid after 9k miles, I will absolutely not exceed 30k under any circumstances. I was shocked at the overall appearance of the fluid as well as the amount of metal flakes that drained from this transmission. In this application I will use only the expensive HCF-2 fluid.
 

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Hi Dan
Can you tell me where the inspection plug is located?
I think you already found the answer on BITOG. Without a schematic it's hard to describe but is easily seen on the front side of the CVT - a smallish, innocuous-looking bolt. Mine was easy to find 'cause of the lubricant dripping from it!
 

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The CVT trans fluid will always have that 'look' to it. Just the nature of the beast and a result of the design. It ain't like a good ol' auto trans of the past.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think you already found the answer on BITOG. Without a schematic it's hard to describe but is easily seen on the front side of the CVT - a smallish, innocuous-looking bolt. Mine was easy to find 'cause of the lubricant dripping from it!
Yes, I found it, it is on the front of the tranny, about 4 inches higher and inboard of the drain plug. I did the check and found I was only 2-3 ounces low on the original fill. While different, this level check system will be no problem on future fluid changes. Mine will likely leak now as well since I was unable to change the washer because the dealer insisted that there is no washer on this bolt and would not sell me one. Grrrrr.
Thanks for the assistance. I posted on this forum because I thought the information would be useful to Honda owners who don't visit BITOG.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The CVT trans fluid will always have that 'look' to it. Just the nature of the beast and a result of the design. It ain't like a good ol' auto trans of the past.
Thanks, that is good to know. I am still quite pleased that I got all of those metal flakes out of the tranny. I am hoping for a long service life and it cannot hurt to do one extra change. Going forward, I will follow the specified interval.
 

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Thanks, that is good to know. I am still quite pleased that I got all of those metal flakes out of the tranny. I am hoping for a long service life and it cannot hurt to do one extra change. Going forward, I will follow the specified interval.
It sure can't hurt. Just curious - what did your dealer charge for the CVT fluid? I have a couple coupons from my dealer for $89.95 transmission or differential fluid changes and am thinking it may well be worth it.

And, fwiw, my dealer explained the leak was caused because the inspection port bolt wasn't fully tightened by the tech that checked the fluid level. So maybe there isn't a washer? And if there is a washer but they won't/can't sell you one, a little Teflon tape or thread sealant may solve the problem if you have a leak. That's the routine for fluid changes in a Ford CD4E, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It sure can't hurt. Just curious - what did your dealer charge for the CVT fluid? I have a couple coupons from my dealer for $89.95 transmission or differential fluid changes and am thinking it may well be worth it.

And, fwiw, my dealer explained the leak was caused because the inspection port bolt wasn't fully tightened by the tech that checked the fluid level. So maybe there isn't a washer? And if there is a washer but they won't/can't sell you one, a little Teflon tape or thread sealant may solve the problem if you have a leak. That's the routine for fluid changes in a Ford CD4E, anyway.
I paid $11 a quart from the dealer located close to where I work. I needed an extra quart and purchased it from the dealer closes to my home and he dinged me $12.77 for the quart. I see the HCF-2 fluid for $8.50 + shipping at several online retailers. It would seem that the coupon that you have is a nice deal. I checked the drip bolt and it did have a washer from the factory. No evidence of any leaks either. Hopefully I am good to go for another 30k miles.
 

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I have had success with getting my Honda dealer parts to "match" the on-line prices for the ATF DW-1 tranny fluid if I buy a case. Worth a try.. I have 3 hondas at home so doing drain and fill will wipe out a case in a hurry.
 

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I have had success with getting my Honda dealer parts to "match" the on-line prices for the ATF DW-1 tranny fluid if I buy a case. Worth a try.. I have 3 hondas at home so doing drain and fill will wipe out a case in a hurry.
That is a great idea and worth a try! Thanks very much. The dealer would only have to get close, as shipping fluids can get expensive really quickly. Buying a case wouldn't scare me at all.
 

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I just changed CVT fluid out on our 2015 (purchased in 2016) for the first time. There is a crush washer on the check plug. It is a 12mm (or could use 1/2") aluminum washer. I couldn't get it off, and it didn't look like it had been crushed, so i reused it. I'll keep an eye out for leaking and plan to get it off and replace next time.
I bought 6 QT of HCF2 on ebay (2 x 3QT) for <$11/qt. because they didn't charge additional S&H for the 2nd 3 qts.
 

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I just did our 2015 for the first time. I too drained 5+ qts. More worrisome was that I could only replace about 4 QT. On the first fill, I dumped all of the 4th quart into the funnel. Several ounces ran out the check port, so that ends up being < 4QT. Then, after running the vehicle slowly through all the transmission positions for about 5 seconds at each stop down and back, I was able to add maybe a quarter of the QT before fluid began running out the check port. So I figure maybe 4.1 - 4.2 QT.

That's when I verified by refilling the empty fluid bottles that I had drained 5 QT.
Like Iowa, it appears it came overfilled from the factory.
I believe I had the CR-V pretty level. Judging by the shape of the pan and location of the check plug, I don't think being off a few degrees would make any difference.

So, after closing the check port, I added the rest of the 5th quart.

My question: what do folks think about being 1/2 qt over the designed capacity of 4.5?
Should I remove the check plug again and let it drain as it will?
 

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Personally, I would feel better and sleep easier knowing I refilled exactly as instructed, vehicle level.:nod: Wouldn’t take but a few minutes to pull the “full level” plug and let the overage drain.
 
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