1998 Honda Civic Transmission Flare

Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • 1998 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • 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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Monday, June 6th, 2011 AT 6:22 PM

92 Replies

Tiny
MERLIN2021
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With several electric problems, check all grounds.

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Monday, June 6th, 2011 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
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I wish that was the problem, but all grounds are clean, polished and conducting nicely.

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 AT 12:01 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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First step is to scan for b and u codes these won't turn on the check engine light

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 AT 2:00 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

I'm familiar with the b-code (body codes) but not the u-codes. What are u-type codes and why would I be looking for b-codes? Also, when scanned recently by the tranny shop it came up with two codes P0117 and p0118 and nothing else.

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-1
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 AT 2:48 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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U codes are data line codes they tell us if a module stops "talking" to the other modules and the PCM, or if a data line is no good. P0117= engine coolant temp circuit low input, and P0118=engine temp coolant circuit high input, recheck grounds for engine, and test temp sensor, if improper reading are input to the computer, it can affect shift quality. The most important grounds are the negative cable both ends and the ground for the PCM and TCM on right rear of the engine.
DTC P0117 - ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE (ECT) SENSOR LOW VOLTAGE
INPUT
1. Turn ignition on. Check ECT using OBD-II scan tool. If 302 F (150 C) or more
is indicated, go to next step. If 302 F (150 C) or more is not indicated, problem
is intermittent. System is okay at this time. Check for poor connections or loose
wires at ECT sensor connector and PCM 16-pin connector "D". See WIRING
DIAGRAMS article.
2. Disconnect ECT sensor 2-pin connector. Check ECT using OBD-II scan tool. If
302 F (150 C) or more is indicated, go to next step. If 302 F (150 C) or more is
not indicated, replace ECT sensor. 3) Turn ignition off. Disconnect PCM 16-pin
connector "D". Check for continuity between ground and ECT connector terminal
No. 1 (Red/White wire). See Fig. 4. If continuity exists, repair short in
Red/White wire between ECT sensor and PCM 16-pin connector "D" terminal
D2. See WIRING DIAGRAMS article. If continuity does not exist, substitute a
known-good PCM and recheck. If symptom or indication goes away, replace
original PCM.
DTC P0118 - ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE (ECT) SENSOR HIGH VOLTAGE
INPUT
1. Turn ignition on. Check ECT using OBD-II scan tool. If -4 F (-20 C) or less is
indicated, go to next step. If -4 F (-20 C) or less is not indicated, problem is
intermittent. System is okay at this time. Check for poor connections or loose
wires at ECT sensor connector and PCM connector. See WIRING DIAGRAMS
article.
2. Disconnect ECT sensor connector. Install a fused jumper wire between ECT
harness connector terminals. Check ECT using OBD-II scan tool. If -4 F (-20 C)
or less is indicated, go to next step. If -4 F (-20 C) or less is not indicated,
replace ECT sensor.
3. Turn ignition off. Using backprobe kit, install a fused jumper wire between PCM
16-pin connector "D" terminal D2 (Red/White wire) and terminal D11
(Green/Black wire). Turn ignition on. Check ECT using OBD-II scan tool. If -4
F (-20 C) or less is not indicated, repair open in wire(s) between ECT sensor and
PCM connector terminals. See WIRING DIAGRAMS article. If -4 F (-20 C) or
less is indicated, substitute a known-good PCM and recheck. If symptom or
indication goes away, replace original PCM.

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Friday, June 10th, 2011 AT 7:05 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

I have discoverd the temperature issue to be a head gasket failure due to a warped head. I'm in the process of repairing this particular issue. But, it makes me wonder why it took the car running hotter than normal opperating temperature for the transmission to stop flaring.

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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 AT 12:00 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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Why don't we fix the head and see if it's normal

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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 AT 12:26 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

Alright, the head gasket was replaced, planned head, new seals, new water pump and timing belt, cleaned the IAC valve, new fuel/air filters and the car is no longer running warm/hot. The shifting continues to flare after first shift from 2nd to 3rd. If I put the shift selector into second and drive around a bit, I've noticed when I move the selector into the 3rd or D position it will shift fine once then flair continually after that unless doing a hard acceleration.

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 AT 5:04 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

By "flare" I presume you mean rev? The fact that it wasn't happening when the engine was in the "warmer than normal" range tells me that it could be one of the solenoids as mentioned or seals that aren't sealing properly anymore. What was the condition of the old fluid when it was changed? Brown and nasty smelling? Try putting 2 tablespoons of brake fluid into the transmission. This will swell the seals. If they are causing the problem, the problem will go away.

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Friday, July 1st, 2011 AT 6:00 AM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

Yes, by "flare" I mean that the engine revs slightly before the transmission can finish shifting into 3rd gear. The fluid itself was not in real bad condition. It had the color of fairly good transmission fluid, didn't have a burnt smell and there were filings as normal on the magnet. Following the schematics there seems to be only one solenoid that is used to shift the transmission from 2nd to 3rd, but I'm a bit confused as to why an "above normal operating conditions" temperature would cause the solenoid to start working correctly again. Could you explain? Also, I've heard these transmissions are pretty finicky when it comes to additives and non-Honda tranny fluid. I wouldn't blink twice to try the brake fluid suggestion in my 700-R but is this gonna cause later issues that I should flush after I try this?

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Monday, July 11th, 2011 AT 7:17 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

Yes, you should flush after trying it.
What I'm thinking is that parts expand when they heat up. So, there may be leaks while everything is cold that either get smaller or go away completely when everything gets properly warmed up.
Electronic parts sometimes tend to fail when cold and work somewhat properly when warmed up.

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Monday, July 11th, 2011 AT 9:22 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

I'll give it a whirl, but the catch with your suggestion being that (reference begining of thread) the car shifts perfectly fine when it's been sitting for a while and if it's been cold out and gradually, after one or two shifts from 2nd to 3rd, starts acting up. So when cold or sitting for about an hour, it's okay. Also when the engine temp reads above normal, it's okay.

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 12:03 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

Yeah, I read right past that part. Have you ever used a cooling system thermometer to see how hot the coolant really was when the gauge was reading high? With the way you describe the problem, I'd first start and rule out anything electrical before anything else.

Most temperature sensing units are resistors that are adjusted by heat, so when the sensor sees an extreme in temperature one way or the other, the resistance of the sensor will change to an extreme value, either high or low.

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

Actually no I didn't. Since it was a bad head gasket, I assumed it was an air pocket that was being sensed. This car in particular has three sensors for the coolant. One that runs to the dash guage, another to the ECM and one for the cooling fan. I have not been able to follow any schematics that show a direct correlation between the temp sensor for the ECM and the transmission.

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 6:03 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

If the ECM is modifying the voltage it sends to the transmission based upon the voltage/current received from the temperature sending unit, it may be sending too much or not enough voltage.

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 10:56 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

From what you described above I did some more quick troubleshooting. I disconnected the TCS and the car would shift fine from 2nd to 3rd every time with the exception that it wouldn't shift into fourth. Once I reconnected the TCS the car began to "flare" from 2nd to 3rd and it would allow the car to shift to 4th gear. I then decided to swap the TCS for another one from my other civic and the problem continued. Because of this I'm wondering if the ECM is bad?

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Thursday, July 21st, 2011 AT 1:16 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

Without looking at it myself, that's what I would say, also. It doesn't seem to be a ground loop issue, since all grounds are in great shape. "Unless doing a hard acceleration". THAT tells me that there is an outside chance it's the valvebody. Which, as far as I know (not being a transmission tech), requires swapping valve bodies to verify.

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Thursday, July 21st, 2011 AT 6:56 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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You might also check with honda to see if any pcm reflashes(updates) are available or needed.

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Thursday, July 21st, 2011 AT 9:11 PM
Tiny
IHBIGRED
  • MEMBER

I went ahead and put another ECM in the car that I got with a car I purchased that had 140k on it. The purchased car also has the same issue and it has been converted over to a VTEC from Non-VTEC using the VTEC ECM. My personal car still had issues with the shifting after swaping ECMs. The next thing I'm going to do is replace the A & B shift solenoid pack to see if that resolves issues.

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Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 AT 11:46 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER

Let us know how that goes. I'm still thinking that it may be a valve body issue.

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Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 AT 11:02 PM

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