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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just want to give you guys a heads up, my name is Mark been following your site and all the transmission issues.

Many of your problems with the trans, as well as my own having been an owner of 7 Hondas in the past 5 years is reflected in this article my group wrote.

So I wanted to thank you guys for the site and keep the opinions even if they are negative rolling.


Honda 6 Speed Manual Dilemma

"Can't Replicate the Problem."

Written By: Mark Sanew, Savagegeese.com, Automotivetech.org, Greg Nelson, Abram Zednoski.

Editor: Jaroslaw Szymanski


Mobile Version of Article

  • Certain Honda 6 speed manuals problematic for most owners.
  • Dealers not trying hard enough to troubleshoot issues with owners.
  • Problem demonstrated in video below.
  • Problem is real and Honda may have mechanical fix in the works for certain models.

Story:

Not long ago in the adolescence of the compact car market were Hondas running around with intakes, headers, body kits and the required spoiler generating 50,000lbs of rear down force. The automotive market and drivers have changed remarkably in the past 10 years. In that time we have seen the dawn and now near death of the large SUV. We have seen cars of all makes and models grow in size, safety and power. And now as the world debates energy changes and policies we have an evolving car market.

But this article is not going to discuss any of that. We are here to take a look the current lineup of the vehicles manufactured with Honda 6 speed manual transmission. Every car group has a few models that create a buzz that fills internet search engines with data for analysts to observe. Be it the GM ZR-1, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, or the Honda Civic Type R, enthusiasts love new sports cars.

In the 90s some of the North American market had a taste of the Acura NSX and the Integra Type R. While millions had their heart in Civic's and Integras. The message boards filled up with questions on how to make these cars faster and more extreme. Fast forward to year 2000 and Honda has provided the market with the S2000, a more powerful Civic Si with limited slip and 6 Speed manual transmission and near 300HP versions of the TL and Accords.

This past decade has been one exciting time for Honda owners. But before we send Honda a box of chocolates and flowers we must address a nagging issue that owners all over the internet have been posting and blogging about. The issue is that of the 6 speed manual transmission problems in several major Honda models. The complaints range from gear grinds, difficulty shifting, and loss of gears all together.

The Problem:


Our experience started in 2000 with the Honda S2000 praised as having one of the worlds best feeling gearbox. But as the number of owners increased so did the cries of frequent 2nd and 3rd gear grinds and owners losing 5th or 6th gear all together. As time advanced owners of the car had learned from hard core owners and mechanics that skipping gears such as shifting from 3rd to 5th could cause loss of a synchronizer on that gear. Or that the Honda transmission fluid was not up to the task in wear protection for the long term. Owners tampered with different trans fluids, fluid levels and shifting techniques. As the 2002 model rolled in manufacturing improvements were said to be made but no one could really decide what they were. In 2004 the transmission synchronizers received an update in materials in hopes to alleviate balky shifting and grinds. As owners brought in their cars to the dealers the same story like a broken record was heard in many cases, dealers suspecting abuse or refusing service due to modifications.




To take an unbiased approach there were hundreds of stories we had read where some of these owners were very negligent. One day on the message board they were posting on how they accomplished a massive burnout in front a Corvette and the next day they lost a gear or clutch. We understand that many sports car owners of all makes and models like to drive and many don't want to leave their car stock so dealers tend to be very cautious about honoring warranties. But moving away from the S2000 problems we come to the Honda Accord released in 2003 for the first time with a 6 speed manual. Also the nearly brand new 2006 Honda Civic Si also equipped for the first time with a 6 speed manual gearbox.




Trying to Fix the Problem:


There are other models such as the Acura TL and TSX with 6 speed transmissions and much of what will be discussed will apply more so to the TL. One of the females in the group loved the Accord Coupe and decided to buy a new 2006 EX with 6 Speed and navigation. After test driving older models and being upset with clutch take-up it seems the 2006 and 2007 models did not suffer from the issue so the purchase was made. After 1000 miles 3rd gear seemed difficult to engage or sometimes refused to engage at all and popped out when attempts were made. The female owner suspected it may just need to be broken in further. At 3000 miles the issues continued and the first trip was made to MotorWerks in Barrinton, Illinois . This dealer has a good reputation in terms of repair and sales and most likely due to them selling higher end vehicles such as Porsche, BMW, and Maybach. After the usual day in the shop the owner got the call from the service manager saying that "They could not replicate the issue." This is a quote most Honda owners of these types of cars dread and have heard often.



At 10,000 miles the problem continues and the second attempt at dropping it off at the dealer returned the same result, nothing. Frustrated and upset the owner asked friends and a local Honda mechanic and they pointed her to a few websites that printed a Honda bulletin from the tech line about a different transmission fluid that may help her issue. She attempted to order it online and could not find it. After arguing with 3 dealers about the part number that dealers could not locate MotorWerks discovered their software for updates from Honda was out of date. Once they updated it they found the part number. At 14,000 miles the owner paid to swap out the transmission fluid in hopes it would help the issue. While she claimed it felt better, a few weeks later the gear pops were happening again. To avoid any comments on why the owner did not want to swap to GM or Penzoil Syncromesh, it was mainly because she wanted Honda to address the root of the problem and make a manufacturing fix.


Could Not Replicate the Problem:


Another call was placed to Motorwerks for an appointment, this time she wanted to ride with a mechanic. They agreed and had the shop foreman go with her and he drove the car. In the 10 minute ride he could not replicate the problem. He was very nice about the issue until he made the following comments:

"You have to press the clutch down all the way."

"These cars all have this problem it is normal."

"You cannot skip gears when you drive these cars."




The shop foreman confirmed the obvious for her. But the disturbing fact was they had no fix. After this visit she made appointments to the now out of business Crystal Lake Honda, Crystal Lake, IL, and Schaumburg Honda. Both visits were almost exactly the same which they recommended that she change the transmission fluid and that this was normal for the car.




Proving the Problem Exists in 5 Minutes:


Soon after we got a call from her about it and that she was thinking about selling the car. We recommended she try calling Honda customer support. We started our own research on the matter which involved hands on. Doing some simple searches on Google revealed a few web forums and blogs discussing issues on the trans problems in the TL, Accord, S2000 and the 2006-2007 Civic Si which proved this is not a random problem.

Edmonds

8thGenCivic

V6 Performance.net

S2ki

AcuraZine

After the web search we started driving random samples of used Civic Si MY2006-2007 and Accord V6 with 6 speed manuals between the MY 2003-2007. The VIN numbers of the cars are listed below.


Civics

2HGFG21526H708350 2006 27k Miles

2HGFG21567H701080 2007 10k Miles

2HGFA55597H706304 2007 7k Miles

2HGFG21526H702998 2006 17k Miles

2HGFG21576H711583 2006 21k Miles

2HGFA55557H714786 2007 5k Miles

2HGFG21536H710303 2006 6k Miles

2HGFA55507H705381 2007 6k Miles

2HGFG21537H710240 2007 13k Miles

2HGFA55527H706998 2007 10k Miles



Accords

1HGCM65556A010942 2006 25k Miles

1HGCM81625A012611 2005 36k Miles

Our Test Car



Conclusion:

The reader may notice we stopped our research on the Accord models. The main reason was that the trend of problems was fairly obvious. 8 of the 10 Civic Si's we drove had problems getting into 3rd gear mostly during the first 10 minutes of driving. One of the Si's transmission was smooth but had a short shifter kit and a 120db exhaust. And the second Si that past the test really did not pass because 2nd and 3rd gear ground so badly that we could not confidently say it suffered from a manufacturing defect.

The three Accord's driven in the test also had similar issues with 2nd gear smoothness and 3rd gear popping out. The final Accord was our female owner who let one of our most competent drivers behind the wheel to shoot the test videos below.

The two videos should be standard viewing for the dealers who can't seem to "replicate the problem." As we were able to re-produce the problem on our test car in less than 5 minutes and in nearly every test drive we were on.

In conclusion we must say that it's obvious there is a problem and Honda needs to address the issue with a mechanical fix. Rumors are now flying that Honda has a fix in the pipe due this month. (01/2008) Likely this will not be a recall but a TSB and in usual dealer fashion they will need to replicate the issue in order to service the car. So while the proof has been out there here is our video documentation of the issue.

Download Video 1

Download Video 2
 

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Man, I'm at the point where I will be ordering an Si within a matter of days.

Things like this make me so scurrd to pull the trigger on the Si. :xyxnervou


EDIT: Can anyone offer any reassurance or other suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Si is a great car it really is. If you happen to get one without issues or want to start playing around with alternate trans fluids you may not even have to worry.

This article is not to steer new owners away from the car but to help existing owners.
The girl in the Accord mentioned loves her car, but is so annoyed by the transmission issue she is at a loss.

I know many Si owners feel the same way.
The fix is supposed to be out first quarter but no one can provide solid proof.

If I were in the market I would hold off until we knew Honda will honor and fix the issues.
 

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The Si is a great car it really is. If you happen to get one without issues or want to start playing around with alternate trans fluids you may not even have to worry.

This article is not to steer new owners away from the car but to help existing owners.
The girl in the Accord mentioned loves her car, but is so annoyed by the transmission issue she is at a loss.

I know many Si owners feel the same way.
The fix is supposed to be out first quarter but no one can provide solid proof.

If I were in the market I would hold off until we knew Honda will honor and fix the issues.

GAAAHHH!!! I just don't know! I kind of NEED a car relatively soon so waiting a lot of months is not the first thing I wanted to do (though, I may be waiting 2 months for an Si once placing an order anyway...)

I am quite a perfectionist and I know a 3rd gear popout would drive me insane!

Thing is, My RSX-S never had any of these tranny issues... sometimes 2nd would be notchy only when cold and when the moon was in a waning crescent phase lol... none of that bothered me. But 3rd gear popping out would annoy the crap outta me.

I really don't know what else in the same class as the Si that I could afford at this point in time. I really want a car that I can count on driving for at least 10 years.

Help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would say give it the month and see if the rumors of a fix are true.
If Honda has a real fix, and not some band-aid like they had for the S2000 transmission I would say go for it.

Waiting a month is not all that bad, but I see what you are saying about the ordering.
 

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Thanks for the videos. My car does not have the pop out (which would kill me) but it does exhibit occasional stiffness getting into 3rd and the occasional grind in 2nd at high revs.

I'm running amsoil MTF now.


I'm honestly more worried about 2nd. 2nd gear grenaded on my '01 Civic EX and I'd hate to have the same thing happen in the Si.
 

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i love this thread already. i want to print it out & complain while waving it @ my service manager/director's face.

i WORK for a Honda dealer & i catch nothing but "no replication found of problem stated" as well. weeeaksauce!!
 

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Use Royal Purple 10w30. I put it in 10000 miles ago and haven't had 1 shifting problem since. It was 7 degrees last week and I drove it cold and still didn't have a problem. It works awesome. Everyone who uses amsoil or syncromesh and all have problems after a while. I don't know about the RP but I haven't had 1 single problem in 10000 miles and my car was BAD. I couldn't get it into 3rd gear at all when it was cold.
 

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Use Royal Purple 10w30. I put it in 10000 miles ago and haven't had 1 shifting problem since. It was 7 degrees last week and I drove it cold and still didn't have a problem. It works awesome. Everyone who uses amsoil or syncromesh and all have problems after a while. I don't know about the RP but I haven't had 1 single problem in 10000 miles and my car was BAD. I couldn't get it into 3rd gear at all when it was cold.
Link please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Use Royal Purple 10w30. I put it in 10000 miles ago and haven't had 1 shifting problem since. It was 7 degrees last week and I drove it cold and still didn't have a problem. It works awesome. Everyone who uses amsoil or syncromesh and all have problems after a while. I don't know about the RP but I haven't had 1 single problem in 10000 miles and my car was BAD. I couldn't get it into 3rd gear at all when it was cold.
Well while I agree trans fluid can virtually change a feel of a gearbox and in this case drivability.
It should not be on the owner's arms to play R&D for American Honda.
If the fluid honestly can prevent syncro breakdown Honda should be have it manufactured.

I mean honestly, go in and tell your dealer your transmission problem and tell them GM Syncromesh will fix it.
They may know it would but, they could never use it as a solution and nor should the Honda owners be required to.

Time will tell.
 

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I wish everyone would stop boasting about how Amsoil or Purple supposedly fixed their problem. Stop being a band-aid, and stop hiding the issue.

The "Si" is a badge that used to mean a lot to me. I traded my Si months ago - and lurk here - waiting to hear if Honda offers a fix.

I really hope Honda isn't trying to win a numbers game with Toyota, and they stay true to their pride in engineering. So far - I'm dissapointed. The Civic Si is one of the most fuel-efficient "sporty" cars out there - but boy did the 3rd gear grind wipe the smile off my face while driving - I don't miss that a bit.

If someone on this site would start a campaign to stay on Honda's butt about this until resolved - and coordinate the efforts of the forums members - I bet there might be progress. I have a feeling that the core of this site is embedded with advertising revenue from the adds on the site, and that there's a good reason not to rock the boat.

Great article and write-up. It's too bad that Honda of America VIP's don't love their cars (I assume they drive Honda's) enough to read this forum...

Please Honda - fix this issue with the '09 Mid-year face lift of the Si. It's ruining my love-affair. I learned to drive stick in a CVCC.
 

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I'm not saying that this is the best route to take but I really like this car alot and since I'm a tech and have access to the equipment to change my own oil and do my own thing I'm happy that my car is fixed. Don't get me wrong Honda NEEDS to find permanent solution to fix this but for the people that like their cars and don't mind changing their MTF it was just a suggestion. I was just trying to help out a few people that might not have known this because everywhere I look it's always Amsoil or Syncromesh never Royal Purple. That's all I was saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wish everyone would stop boasting about how Amsoil or Purple supposedly fixed their problem. Stop being a band-aid, and stop hiding the issue.

The "Si" is a badge that used to mean a lot to me. I traded my Si months ago - and lurk here - waiting to hear if Honda offers a fix.

I really hope Honda isn't trying to win a numbers game with Toyota, and they stay true to their pride in engineering. So far - I'm dissapointed. The Civic Si is one of the most fuel-efficient "sporty" cars out there - but boy did the 3rd gear grind wipe the smile off my face while driving - I don't miss that a bit.

If someone on this site would start a campaign to stay on Honda's butt about this until resolved - and coordinate the efforts of the forums members - I bet there might be progress. I have a feeling that the core of this site is embedded with advertising revenue from the adds on the site, and that there's a good reason not to rock the boat.

Great article and write-up. It's too bad that Honda of America VIP's don't love their cars (I assume they drive Honda's) enough to read this forum...

Please Honda - fix this issue with the '09 Mid-year face lift of the Si. It's ruining my love-affair. I learned to drive stick in a CVCC.

I agree with you 100%.
While I also understand the dynamics of trying to resolve an issue like this without having a recall.

A true fix will require a transmission rebuild. That is some serious labor and parts hours for dealers. Honda is going to try and avoid that at all costs.
If anything it will be a quiet announcement that some one will have to dig up or call the tech line on. And you can bet dealers will doing a lot of call ins to Honda about getting pre-approval on many of the jobs.
 

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Hey Dezoris...nice write up. I too bought my car at motorwerks, but haven't brought my car there to get it fixed since its so far away from me. I only bought it there because it was the first available TW 06 Si in IL back in dec 05. I'm also having the same problem with my 3rd gear. It would be great if you could keep us updated on this issue if Honda decides to give out a TSB for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm not saying that this is the best route to take but I really like this car alot and since I'm a tech and have access to the equipment to change my own oil and do my own thing I'm happy that my car is fixed. Don't get me wrong Honda NEEDS to find permanent solution to fix this but for the people that like their cars and don't mind changing their MTF it was just a suggestion. I was just trying to help out a few people that might not have known this because everywhere I look it's always Amsoil or Syncromesh never Royal Purple. That's all I was saying.

Most people buy these cars to drive them daily, and if you know you have a solution temporary or not that will resolve your issue you have to do it.

But that solution has gone on too long.
 

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This should be sent to every Honda dealership in America and Canada.

Especially the five in the Twin Cities, who evidently think I'm crazy, complaining about my "flawless, problem-free Honda quality" transmission every time I go in.

I can't wait for Honda (or even someone bigger than Honda) to step in, so I can get a letter in the mail, slap the bastards at the dealership across the face, and say "I ****** told you so. FIX THE CAR."
 
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