1998 Accord: Disreputable Auto Transmission? - Honda Accord Forum - Honda Accord Enthusiast Forums


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Old 01-31-2017, 09:13 PM
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Default 1998 Accord: Disreputable Auto Transmission?

I have read that the auto tranny from this 6th generation Accord fails quite often. I just bought one with 170k, but it seems to be shifting ok. Am I on borrowed time? The fluid looks red and does not smell. Should I do a drain, filter, and fill?

I also read in the owner's manual that Honda stresses using ONLY Honda products in this vehicle. Typically I like to use Zerex G05 coolant after several gallons of distilled water flush to get the old crud out, and am wondering if this coolant will cause problems. Transmission same deal, do have to buy a Honda product?
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JLPicard View Post
I have read that the auto tranny from this 6th generation Accord fails quite often. I just bought one with 170k, but it seems to be shifting ok. Am I on borrowed time? The fluid looks red and does not smell. Should I do a drain, filter, and fill?

I also read in the owner's manual that Honda stresses using ONLY Honda products in this vehicle. Typically I like to use Zerex G05 coolant after several gallons of distilled water flush to get the old crud out, and am wondering if this coolant will cause problems. Transmission same deal, do have to buy a Honda product?
For the trans, use Honda ATF only. too have asked about the 98-02 AT used in those Accords, as my wife has one in her 2000 Accord LX. It currently has 235+K on it, and still shifts just fine with no slipping or any codes (knock on wood). It's due for a drain and fill though, and I'll probably do it when I do the next oil change on it. Her's has the 2.3L 4 cylinder engine, which I understand is more friendly with the 4 cylinder engine. Most common issues are the solenoids clogging up and acting up, setting a code.

As for radiator fluid, I've been using Peak in it, and haven't had any issues. But then it had green fluid in it when we got over 2 years ago. However, it does require Honda only power steering fluid (found this out a couple of months ago while working on my 99 Accord), so I have to change it when the weather warms up again as I used the wrong stuff back then.
Brake fluid is standard DoT 3 or 4 whichever is your preference. I've been using DoT 3 in our Hondas, as I have a few other cars in the fleet.

If you don't know what maintenance has been done, I'd definitely look at having the timing belts replaced, as these are "interference" engines, meaning if a belt goes, you'll do severe damage to the valves and pistons. On the 3 Hondas I have here, I've replaced the belts in all of them, as cheap insurance against a failure.

Last year, we took my wife's Accord on two trips to Texas and back (2600+ miles round trip), and didn't have any trouble other than my wife hitting a ratchet strap (load tie down off a semi), and slicing open a tire about 100 miles from home (on a return trip). Stopped by Discount tire, and they replaced it for 12 bucks (road hazard warranty), and we were on our way again and home a couple of hours later. We'll probably take another trip down there this year as well, and probably take her car too.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:56 AM
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Thanks a ton for your reply, exactly what I was looking for. I guess I am a bit 'gun shy' about draining and filling an Auto transmission with that many miles on it. Not having any experience with Auto's, the World Wide Webz experts say that if your tranny has been neglected and lots of miles, then it's best to let it be. I am not sure of the reasoning behind that 'wisdom' I guess it has something to do with the viscosity of the old fluid allowing the internal clutches to work better, hell I dunno. Automatics are voodoo science to me anyway. My mechanic says the same thing, he also says there are no internal filters to change on these trannies.

Anyway, thanks again.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JLPicard View Post
Thanks a ton for your reply, exactly what I was looking for. I guess I am a bit 'gun shy' about draining and filling an Auto transmission with that many miles on it. Not having any experience with Auto's, the World Wide Webz experts say that if your tranny has been neglected and lots of miles, then it's best to let it be. I am not sure of the reasoning behind that 'wisdom' I guess it has something to do with the viscosity of the old fluid allowing the internal clutches to work better, hell I dunno. Automatics are voodoo science to me anyway. My mechanic says the same thing, he also says there are no internal filters to change on these trannies.

Anyway, thanks again.
I hear you, as I come from the world of domestic AT's myself. In those if it has more than 100K on it, leave it alone. But, those vehicles have filters, so it's a bit different than Hondas that don't use a filter.

From what I understand, it's just a matter of getting 3 quarts of Honda ATF, removing the drain plug, drain the old fluid out, then put the plug back in and fill it (almost exactly like doing a regular oil change). The big thing to keep in mind is that you check the fluid level with the engine off. This is also something new to me as well, and I have to remember that.

The idea behind changing the fluid is to get any sludge or particles that are in the oil fluid out, as that keeps the solenoid screens clean. Like I said above, those are the most common problems related to the AT. Do a search on here, and you'll find it's a very common problem (clogged solenoid screens).
Also "live2rice" on here believes they are the absolute worst transmission Honda ever made. Myself, I haven't formed an opinion on them yet, as I/we haven't had any problems with ours, and we've already put 20K on it in 2 years. What he says might be more related to having the V6 engine though, as they seem to have more problems related to the AT.
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:52 PM
 
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I own a 2000 accord lx with the 2.3l engine and my AT went out at 140k.
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottermac View Post
I own a 2000 accord lx with the 2.3l engine and my AT went out at 140k.
It happens. I had a 4L60E trans let go in my S-10 at 141K, and the normal for them is 140K. It was right on schedual for failure. As for the Honda trans, nobody knows when they will quit, as there's no known "normal" for them. I am however a big maintenance guy, and prefer to keep it caught up. Hondas do live for a very long time, but they also need to have things done so that they will live a long time.

Last edited by The Toecutter; 02-10-2017 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:46 PM
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my accord 98, has mileage 230,000 now no problems with auto transmission, in 2013 it was shifting hard from gear 1 to 2 on accelerating, we discovered one of the solenoid was bad, we just replaced it then all shifting returns to normal
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Rilex View Post
my accord 98, has mileage 230,000 now no problems with auto transmission, in 2013 it was shifting hard from gear 1 to 2 on accelerating, we discovered one of the solenoid was bad, we just replaced it then all shifting returns to normal
Well, as far as I know, the trans in my wife's 2000 LX has never had any work done on it other than fluid changes. It's got 235000+ miles on it, and it still shifts fine. Maybe it's a good one.
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Old 03-14-2017, 05:19 AM
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So you check fluid level not running? Hell I just did a drain and fill and Honda dealership said it took 4 quarts, well I was confused I got about 3 quarts + draining out so I put 4 in, cycling the shifter was rough, ended up draining probably 2-3 quarts back out because I've always checked fluid level with engine running. Well after several spins around the block seems that 1st and 2nd gear are the only gears I'm getting. I guess I'm going to tackle the solenoid a to see if either on of those are shorted or just clogged. Also, I have an intermittent shifter that sticks in park, I already changed the brake switch which I thought was the problem but was not. So looks like I need to add a couple quarts back for the transmission and take a good look at the solenoids. This car had some high water from Huricane Mathew so maybe the solenoid wiring was wet and fried the solenoid? Do different solenoids control the shifting? Seems like at 4000 RPM I'm either stuck in 2nd or 3rd. I really hope it's not an expensive fix!
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stevenstrack View Post
So you check fluid level not running? Hell I just did a drain and fill and Honda dealership said it took 4 quarts, well I was confused I got about 3 quarts + draining out so I put 4 in, cycling the shifter was rough, ended up draining probably 2-3 quarts back out because I've always checked fluid level with engine running. Well after several spins around the block seems that 1st and 2nd gear are the only gears I'm getting. I guess I'm going to tackle the solenoid a to see if either on of those are shorted or just clogged. Also, I have an intermittent shifter that sticks in park, I already changed the brake switch which I thought was the problem but was not. So looks like I need to add a couple quarts back for the transmission and take a good look at the solenoids. This car had some high water from Huricane Mathew so maybe the solenoid wiring was wet and fried the solenoid? Do different solenoids control the shifting? Seems like at 4000 RPM I'm either stuck in 2nd or 3rd. I really hope it's not an expensive fix!
Have you checked for any codes? Some code readers do all of them, but you can count the flashes of the D4 light to get AT codes.
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