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Discussion Starter #1
To set this up, Im a student in the Caribbean where most of their cars are right hand drive imports. Few days out of nowhere I started the car and I couldn't get it into reverse, it's an auto. So I pushed the car out of the parking spot and put it in drive. It felt like it was in neutral because it let me rev but it was moving slowly, anyway giving it more gas I was able to get going and it was a little better once I got up to speed (felt like it was stuck in 3rd gear). At a about 40mph to maintain the speed I had to give the gas pedal a little kick or else it felt like it was just spinning rpms. Hoping I can get someone that can give me some input, I know it sounds like this could be a PITA espc on this island where parts are hard to find, but I'm hoping its something simple.

Thanks.
 

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BATSLOMAN GIVES NO FUCKS.
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what color is the fluid?
 

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Does the D indicator light come on? This'll indicate that there has been an error code thrown by your trans. I'd recommend downloading the 'Honda civic 96-98 service manual' (I know your's is a 99, but that's the title of the document, and your CVT trans will be the same) and follow the troubleshooting flow charts. If you can't find a download link on google, PM me your email address and i'll transfer it by we-transfer or something.

There's also a 'hydraulic issues' problem symptom/diagnosis chart, but apart from changing the trans fluid there's not alot you can do without rebuilding parts of the trans.

Out of interest, how many km's are on the car? These rarely seem to last past 180,000kms

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not sure about the color of the trans fluid and yes the green D indicator on the cluster blinks. I was able to find the pdf but the local mechanic supposedly knows hondas, I was just trying to get some idea what I could be in for and hoping that its something minor. Oh and I think the car is at about 185k kms so right on schedule haha.
 

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the older CVT transmissions require fluid changes a couple times per year to stay in good condition.

you are probably going to be fine with a fluid change. Id personally change it 2-3 times more with VERY short intervals, like 100 miles, to get rid of as much of the old fluid as possible, as you dont get 100% per drain and refill.

Next time it doesnt want to go into reverse, put it into neutral, give it a few revs, let it settle, put into reverse, and if no movement, rev it up a little, and see if it starts to move.

Fairly good sign fluid is nasty if it acts like a burnt clutch
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I checked the fluid and it was a brownish color, sort of like what older motor oil would look like. I had the local guy take a look at it and he just said the oil "smells burned" and that most likely I will need to rebuild the trans.

Its sad that I can easily find a replacement in the US for about $300, but getting it here to the Caribbean on a cargo ship is a whole different story that I don't want to mess with.
 

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I cannot believe a shop would tell you that horseshit.

old fluid does not indicate a shit transmission, unless it has bits of metal or other materials floating around. It simply is the best tool to measure if the services have been done appropriately. It is not a firm indication of damage or lack of life.


Change the fluid. It is pretty easy.

You can also buy partsstore branded cvt transmission fluid, as its cheaper, do a rough flush (search accord transmission flush on youtube, similar running procedure), then drain it out, and fill with honda oem CVT fluid if you can get it locally


you dont need to replace the transmission unless new fluid shows ZERO improvement.

Ive personally seem massive drivability improvements on CVT and normal automatic transmissions simply by getting nice fresh fluid in there. Some transmissions require multiple drain and refills to be happy, others are fine with a single drain and refill.


My personal automatic. when cold, hates shifting properly into 1st or 2nd, it acts like its in 3rd gear, horrificly slow acceleration when very cold, randomly flared gear, and was perfect when it was fully warmed up. That was on Valvoline synthetic multi-vehicle ATF.

Did a SINGLE drain and refill with Castrol ATF that specified certified with hodna and toyota. Just that single drain and reifll fixed all my issues. Going on 4 days of "testing" aka, just hopping in and driving cold. shifts great when cold now.

Previously, I had not changed fluid in a year or so, due to me not giving a shit while the headgasket was leaking and pooping on my gas mileage (fixed that I think)
 

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Change the fluid. It is pretty easy.
This.

Its sad that I can easily find a replacement in the US for about $300, but getting it here to the Caribbean on a cargo ship is a whole different story that I don't want to mess with.
What model EK was the CVT in from the US? I didn't realise they got them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help, I'm gonna take it to another guy and just tell him to change the trans fluid. Like you said use the cheap brand for a flush and then put the honda cert fluid and pray for the best.

As for the trans I was surprised I found as many as I did on ebay. It won't let me post the link cuz the the low post count, but if you look up JDM 96-00 honda civic cvt tranmission you'll find a few.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The local shop is recommending finding a trans because reverse gear does not work at all. Does that rule out the possibility of trans fluid being the problem? I'm debating to tell him just change the trans fluid and see if anything happens. Any ideas?
 

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changing the transmission fluid is easy. I dont think itsa worth spending $100 or more to pay someone else to do it at a blaoted fluid price.

If you change it on your own, you are only out 15-25 bucks.

well, add another 5-10 bucks for a cheap drain pan and a roll of blue paper towels for cleanup.

it sounds like you dont have forward momentum either.

Look up a diagram on how a CVT transmission works. you will see why bad fluid can cause it to slip to holy hell and not go anywhere.
 

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heres a quick video. I did not watch it, but looks like even the thumbnail is spot on

 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm a student here for just a couple more months, I really don't have the tools nor the time to do it myself. Just curious how likely it is to start working again if I get the trans fluid changed, because the alternative is me cutting my losses and telling the shop guy to give me some money for the car as is.
 

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then maybe having shop do it will be fine for you.

Worst that can happen besides the cost is you get the car sold to him perhaps.

But unless you have been abusing it previously, I think you will be okay.
 
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