Mechanics

TRANSMISSION FLARE

1998 Honda Civic • 4 cylinder FWD Automatic • 164,000 miles

I have a 1998 Honda Civic DX with automatic transmission. When I purchased the car it had a shifting flare from 2nd to 3rd gear. The flare wouldn't occur until the transmission had warmed up by driving and then would persist. The one exception was that with a soft exceleration it would flare, but a hard acceleration it wouldn't flare.
Later I discovered that after some trips of about 75 miles or longer the transmission wouldn't flare anymore no matter how I drove it until after I shut the car off and turned it back on then it returned to flaring again.
I recently changed the transmission fluid and checked all the transmission solenoids for resistances within Honda specs and all activate when energized manually.
The car within the last week had gotten warm while driving so after letting it cool down I replaced the thermostat and bled the system of air.
Now the car's temperature guage fluctuates from normal to hot opperating conditions occaisionally and when it is fluctuating the shifting flare is non existent and when the temperature guage remains at normal position the shifting flare occurs between 2nd and 3rd. Also the left blinker started acting up (first it blinked like a bulb was burnt, then it worked fine, then blinked very slowly and is back to working properly) at the same time that the coolant temperature did. The check engine light is also not on.
The cooling fan works properly and when shorted so fan operates manually it will not cool the coolant temp as indicated by the temperature guage on the cluster.
I took the car to a transmission shop and after investigating it they guessed that one of the "pressure switches" were bad (assuming they were referring to the solenoids). I didn't have them do any further work to the vehicle after that.
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Ihbigred
June 6, 2011.



If all things fails, try using Royal Purple oil for a change. I came across a CRV owner who had shifting problems that were similar and after usng Royal Purple transmission fluids, it seems the problem was resolved.

KHLow2008
Feb 12, 2012.
That would be safer than the tablespoon of brake fluid I was thinking of.

Rivermikerat
Feb 12, 2012.
Rivermikerat, I'll do the test when I can. This weekend put OEM cruise in my other DX so that took up several hours. I'm assuming you're looking to see if 3rd clutch is bad by low pressure?
KHLow2008, I may try the royal purple after the pressure test and figuring out if the PCM is sending bad signals or not. Is Royal Purple more viscous or something? Could you explain what exactly the CRV was doing? I'm curious to see what connections there are because I think some of the CRV's used the A4RA 4-speed also?
Bgorpy, Thanks for your support. This has been quite an experience and I feel like I know almost everything about the car except how the inside of the transmission looks! I don't have any plans on giving up as I have two cars doing identical things. It's good to know now that a Civic EX, V-tec stock from factory with the B4RA transmission can have the same problem. I'm wondering in our case also if the CPC vavle spring may have lost part of a coil thus causing low pressure problems? One thing I would like to know is someone who has this problem and had the car before it started doing it, is if it happened immediately or if the flare came on slowly?

Tiny
Ihbigred
Feb 13, 2012.
The CRV was doing intermittent flaring and at times harsh shifting.

KHLow2008
Feb 13, 2012.
Ihbigred, You are welcome! I am a little confused by your comment about " a Civic EX, V-tec stock from the factory with a B4RA transmission." I thought my 1996 EX came with the A4RA. Is the B4RA only used with the V-tec engines? Also, what does CPC stand for(constant pressure control?)? Thanks!

Tiny
Bgorpy
Feb 13, 2012.
KHLow2008, thanks, but what about the royal purple, what is the difference between it than the Honda ATF besides one being synthetic?

Bgorpy, Sorry, in 97 they came out with a different 4-speed along with the A4RA and I forgot yours was a 96. CPC stands for clutch pressure control. The spring is for the CPC valve in the tranny and is known to fail due to stress.

Tiny
Ihbigred
Feb 13, 2012.
Honda did have some problems with their transmission. No doubt thay had their own recommended brand and it could possibly be that their transmission fluids are not as good as it should be so Royal Purple is an alternative that could work.

KHLow2008
Feb 13, 2012.
Read thru all of this posting. I have a 98 Honda CRV with the same flaring issue. This don't happen when the engine is cold or car has been sitting for a while, also doesn't happen when I floor the gas. Didn't seem to happen over the winter too, as Missouri weather is cold, but then again I had a open thermostat so engine was running cold (after replacement I didn't notice it). Anyway its getting warmer here again and I have seen the symptoms come back again, esp. If the engine is in normal operating temperature. I have been driving the CRV like this for almost 3 years (since 116, 00 bought used); and yet to find a solution.

Things I've done which will relate to this: DRAIN & FILL 4X w/HG Fluids
Inspect/Clean solenoids
Replace thermostat
Flushed Radiator
Timing belt/water pump
PLUGS/WIRES.

Anyways, GOod to know I am not alone with this problem. And thank you!
1998 HONDA CRV 135000

Tiny
Kmomotaro
Feb 17, 2012.
Kmomotaro, Thanks for the input. I don't plan to stop until I find the problem because no one else has found it yet and I'd like there to be at least one thread with the answer to this problem.
I have recently found a friend who I think has a 97 Civic DX that doesn't have this flaring problem, at least he says he doesn't. He gave me permission to have full access to it in which I plan to pull information, run tests, swap out parts and see if anything I do external to the transmission will make it act up. I'll update on this when I have a chance to play with his car.

Tiny
Ihbigred
Feb 17, 2012.
I hope both of you guys come back and post your final results when you figure this out. As you can see, it has many of us here stumped and I, for one, would love to see what fixes this.

Rivermikerat
Feb 19, 2012.
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