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Old 07-28-2015, 12:02 AM   #1
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2003 Honda CR-V / Transmission Failing / Can I Tow It Home?

I'll give just a short background on this:

-I bought my sister-in-laws 2003 Honda CR-V to be our "Toad" (named "Todo"). Car was in OK shape, had hardly every been on a road trip and only had 110K miles on it since she bought it new in 2003.
-Got "Todo" ready just in time for a big trip from Oklahoma to Seattle and back via Yellowstone. Spent time getting SMI Air Force One installed as well as hooking up lights and Blue Ox tow bar.
- Headed out one week ago and "Todo" tows like a dream, at least until tonight. We unhitched outside Yellowstone and put maybe 300 miles on "Todo" cruising the park over 2 days time. Went on to Seattle and used "Todo" for multiple errands into/out of the downtown area from Everett area. Did just fine.
- Stopped in Rawlins, Wyoming to rest up from the big wind blowing through here. Went to unhitch "Todo" and it would not go into reverse. At least it did not seem to react at all. I revved the engine slightly and it 'bucked' into reverse with a loud bang.
- We drove "Todo" to WalMart and back but just barely. Sometimes it would just rev up without engaging gears, other times it bucked and banged into gear. I felt lucky to get back to the RV park.

I think I'll be putting a rebuilt trans in "Todo". I'd prefer to do this at home.

My question: Is it safe to tow "Todo" home using normal procedure (trans in "Neutral", key in ACC position)? Or...will I have even more damage done to transmission/engine?
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:50 AM   #2
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Did you check the transmission fluid ?

The towing procedure on my Honda Civic may be different than yours, but this is what Honda says to do., (mine is a front wheel drive automatic)

Start engine, with foot on brake, place it in each gear for about 7-10 seconds in this sequence: P - R - N - D - D2 - D1 then back from D1 - D2 - D - N.

Important - The sequence is important and must be followed, DO NOT put it "N" from the "R" position. You must come from the "D" position into "N"

This evidently leaves a valve open inside th4e tranny and allows a small amount of fluid to move. But if you put it in "N from the "R" position, that valve closes and no fluid can move.


I'm not sure if I'd flat tow it or not. I believe if it runs ok in the "D" position, yo might be OK.

Check the tranny fluid on a regular basis - Honda says change every 30k miles if your towing.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:06 AM   #3
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2003 Honda CR-V / Transmission Failing / Can I Tow It Home?

Did you read, and follow the instructions in the owners manual for flat towing? If not, than a new transmission may be the consequences... On the other hand, if you followed those instructions, with a 110K prior mileage, it may be that other driving habits had already caused the transmission issues....
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:25 AM   #4
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From everything I have read...... if the car will start and you can follow the required procedure........ Shifting from Park to Drive, Stay in drive for 6 seconds, then Shift to neutral and let engine run here for the required time for your car. (my 2012- 3 minutes ) Then you should be OK.

Check the fluid level and make sure it is sufficient for your Trans.

Do the above procedure every day or after 6 - 8 hours of driving.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:28 AM   #5
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When my 2009 Honda Fit transmission went out I had no prior warning the wheels locked up when I was towing and it would not got anywhere - had a heck of a time unhooking it so the tow truck could tow it away

$4000 later it was fine
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:24 PM   #6
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Well, we have towed for about 650 miles since Rawlins without an issue. I checked the fluid. It does not look great, but is not getting hot while towing. By the by, I do follow the Honda procedure every morning before we head out.

I think that this problem was waiting in the wings for me. Looking at service records, it looks like my SIL only had a simple drain/refill done about every 30,000 miles. That means that some of original fluid is probably still in the tranny. I think the original tranny is going to be replaced or rebuilt.

Hindsight is 20:20. I might have averted this problem if I had done a complete fluid change (not flush) before leaving. A complete change can be done by draining/filling about 3 - 4 times; driving a few miles between each drain/fill. Oh, well...some lessons cost more than others. Hope my experience can help others avoid a big bill.
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:52 PM   #7
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i can see the problem... honda tranny is notorious on premature failing, mostly before 100kmi. i have seen some articles suggesting the relatively small capacity of honda's trans fluid holding, plus a super hot temp, making it loose lubrication way before the 30kmi interval. some enthusiasts choose to change fluid on 15kmi interval, that seems helped a lot. for my fit, i drain and fill at 10kmi interval. only 3.8q fluid, with a mityvac, done in 5 minutes.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryFit View Post
i can see the problem... honda tranny is notorious on premature failing, mostly before 100kmi. i have seen some articles suggesting the relatively small capacity of honda's trans fluid holding, plus a super hot temp, making it loose lubrication way before the 30kmi interval. some enthusiasts choose to change fluid on 15kmi interval, that seems helped a lot. for my fit, i drain and fill at 10kmi interval. only 3.8q fluid, with a mityvac, done in 5 minutes.
Sounds like good insurance. I'll probably do the same once I recover from this disaster.

By the way, "Todo" is back in Oklahoma. I managed to drive it into the garage. It won't go into reverse, but it will go forward.

First quote for a reman transmission came in at about $1,900 net if I do all the work to remove core and install the reman unit.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Boy View Post
Sounds like good insurance. I'll probably do the same once I recover from this disaster.

By the way, "Todo" is back in Oklahoma. I managed to drive it into the garage. It won't go into reverse, but it will go forward.

First quote for a reman transmission came in at about $1,900 net if I do all the work to remove core and install the reman unit.
i would go the route of rebuild. your trans isn't a total lost yet, maybe just one gear or something stop the gear movement for reverse. call around, tirelessly, also look at local craigslist, i bet you will find an experienced tranny guy to rebuild it for less than a grand cash, while your gloves are still white.
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