No first gear

Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 HONDA ACCORD
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
My car will not move in first gear once warmed up. Works okay cold. Took out solenoids and cleaned filters in one. Only one filter had any trash and was not totally clogged. All tested to work. When I put them back in and ran the car, it shifted normally when first driven, as though this fixed the problem, but D4 light was flashing. Once it was restarted, the D4 light no longer flashed and shifting went right back to not having first gear. Other gears shift normally. Have to manually select second to get going once the car is warmed up. It will not go when first is manually selected either. It can be put in first but barely can move much at all even when revved. Acts like torque converter has no fluid when warmed up or that fluid is too light a weight. First gear only.
Just got car for junk price, from "little old lady" who did not drive it much and knows nothing about it or what she might have done or had done.
Gambling that it can be fixed without spending a fortune.
Reset ECU by pulling battery cable. No change.
How will overfilling affect this? Dipstick shows it to be way over full. How much I cannot tell.
Engine light is on. Transmission fluid looks like new, red and clean and no sign of debris. Donot have any idea of what kind of fluid is in there.
This is DIY only project. No shops or dealers, so exact and correct answers are needed and appreciated.
Took car to parts house and had them run their scanner. It returned the following codes:
P1491 - Emissions.
P0705 - Range sensor circuit malfunction.
P0706 - Transmission Circuit Range/Performance.
These seem to indicate Neutral Safety Switch problem.
Swapped the old switch out for a new one. Set it to click (neutral) and installed with transmission in neutral. That took a couple of tries to get the gearshift lights to come back on.
Result was that it operated exactly like the old switch - no first gear, no matter if D4, D3, or first gear is selected. Information found, as well as diagnostic codes, all direct me to the "neutral safety switch".
Still have no first gear. How to get it to work is the question. First gear only works when the car is first started and the fluid is cold. Once warmed up it does not. No problems shifting between other gears once first is bypassed. Having to take off in second then shift to D3 and/or D4.
Can overfilling the fluid do this? Which solenoid can cause this?
Neutral safety switch does not look like it is the problem. Even though the error codes pointed to this part as the issue, replacing it with a new unit did not fix problem. Click stop is not audible. Can be felt when devices are rotated, but not heard. Car will not move until this click is set.
The car runs fine escept it has no first gear after initial warm up. It will only pull the first few minutes while the fluid is cold. Might this be the indicator of what the problem actually is? If it can pull with cold fluid, then the transmission itself is probably not bad.
Can overfilling the fluid do this?
Is it possible that a solenoid is the culprit? If so which solenoid(s) can cause this? Please post diagram. Only found one that had screens/filters. Cleaned it even though it was not dirty. When it was put back in, the car drove normally on first startup but the D4 light blinked. I restarted the car and the D4 light went out and so did first gear.
Fluid is healthy red.
Need information for this model with this exact problem. Did extensive searching on web for information on this without success. No information on having first gear only, not working.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 6:30 AM

10 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
If way over full then pump may not be working. Have a transmission professional scan for codes may be a valve body problem.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 9:47 AM
Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
Codes are listed. Need something more definite than what it "may" be. This is a DIY project. No shops or dealers affordable.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 11:13 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Unfortunately with transmissions normally if it is an electrical code it will send it even though it may be a clutch pak or valve body problem. However, you are sending a range circuit malfunction which tells the computer which gear you are in so try a new switch, but it still may not be the problem. Especially with the mileage on it. For the 1491 follow picture instructions and try to clean EGR if it does not clear it.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 12:08 PM
Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
Thank you.
That diagram is helpful. It is going take me a while to try all the solenoids and sensors, but this definitely is useful information. Need to let the snow stop before I am working on this again, but will post the results when I get them.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 1:40 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Well I am sure if you replace the switch a lot of it will be cured instead of messing around with stuff like solenoids. It probably does not know what gear it is in causing your problem.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
To what switch are you referring? If you are talking about the "neutral safety switch"? Please re-read the question.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
Same one as mentioned in original question. I swapped that out with a new one. No change.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 4:52 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Drain out the fluid and refill to the correct level. For now you can use what is in it. Once we get your shift issue fixed then you can change it out. Do not try to do the pressure tests with it overfull.

The codes say circuit malfunction. There are a lot of other transmission codes that indicate that the internal solenoids are not working. In this case the codes are not for internal transmission parts but for the external control circuits.

As such you will want to verify the actual wiring harness for damage first. When the problem happens does the gear indicator for first gear stay lit?
Look at the picture. Put the car in first gear and check for continuity between pin three (red wire/white stripe which changes to black at the connector and is a ground connection that goes to the engine at the left front) to pin four (brown wire which tells the indicator and PCM you want first gear).
Follow the harness and be sure that wire is not near the exhaust or engine block or has been damaged. Inside the car it has a splice that sends a signal to the dash gear indicator and goes to pin fifteen in the D connector on the PCM, (it will be next to a blue wire and a green one in the sixteen pin connector). If that wire is intermittent you would lose first gear. Heat causes expansion so if it was broken inside the insulation it could open when hot. (Easy way to test it would be to run a bypass wire from the wire on the transmission to the PCM connector)
Now if the wire tests out okay the issue will almost have to be inside the PCM.

All of the above should sort out the electronic codes.

To check the mechanical parts you need a pressure gauge that reads to at least 300 psi.
Look at the second picture. With the engine and transmission warm.
Connect a pressure gauge to the line pressure test port. Start the engine and bring it up to 2000 rpm. Line pressure should read 120-135 psi. With the transmission in Park or Neutral.
Low pressure usually points to a bad pump or torque converter.

Shut down and remove the gauge. Connect it to the first clutch inspection port.
Start up and bring it up to 2000 rpm again. With the transmission in first gear the pressure should read the same as the line pressure test.
If it does not you have a problem with the first gear clutch, first gear accumulator or a transfer port is blocked.

For the 1491 EGR code. Great diagnostic from Honda. It is a. Pdf file.
Www. Driveaccord. Net/forums/attachment. Php?Attachmentid=14258&d=1218558434
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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 AT 8:01 PM
Tiny
BBHANK
  • MEMBER
This rocks! Thank you much. It's gonna take a few days due to bad weather in this part of the world before I can start on this but will post results to share with folks who need it.
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Friday, January 27th, 2017 AT 3:18 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
BTDT, always seemed like the days I'd get called for a no start it was either raining and windy, or snowing and below zero. Boy do I miss that. NOT!

Be sure to post back either way.
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Friday, January 27th, 2017 AT 6:24 PM

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