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Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? #4977588 01/13/19 01:04 AM
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y_p_w Offline OP
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Finally got my wife's 2002 Civic LX (4AT) working again. Cost about $1600, but otherwise the car runs well. But it's got a rebuilt transmission from an engine/transmission rebuilder. I've noticed it smells a little burnt. It smelled a lot more when I just picked it up. After a while I only notice an odor when I'm stopped.

Take it easy? Drive it normally? I figure the odor will go away.

Of course the car could have a host of problems. Had to charge the battery twice because it was sitting in the driveway for months and not driven. Not sure if it's sulfated as a result, but it would be easy enough to buy a new battery.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4977592 01/13/19 01:14 AM
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02SE Offline
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Well, it will be one of three things: Worse than stock, equivalent to stock, or better than stock. Depending on the skill of the Mechanic, and the quality of parts used.

As for a burnt smell, without smelling it myself, it could just a be little ATF that got onto surfaces during the removal, rebuild, install, refill process, in which case it will likely go away shortly. Assuming he's competent, and used good parts, it should be at least as good as a new OEM trans. In which case I would just drive it normally. I assume he also has some sort of warranty period on the rebuilt trans.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4977629 01/13/19 03:07 AM
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Linctex Offline
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Drive it normally - transmissions don't really have a "break in period"....

Well, modern engines really don't, either....


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: Linctex] #4977659 01/13/19 05:52 AM
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JC1 Offline
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Originally Posted by Linctex
Drive it normally - transmissions don't really have a "break in period"....

Well, modern engines really don't, either....


And make sure you check the fluid level. What happened to the Original Tranny? Lack of maintenence?


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Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4977689 01/13/19 07:59 AM
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joekingcorvette Offline
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You can change the fluid yourself on those very easily. Its just a drain and fill without a filter. I can change mine on a 2012 just as easily as I can change the engine oil. You said the smell is not as bad now as when you first got the car back and that is a good sign. If it kept getting worse it would be a problem. Check the fluid level and if it's ok keep driving it.


2005 Chevrolet Corvette
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Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4977836 01/13/19 10:55 AM
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spasm3 Offline
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When should you change the fluid in a rebuild? I had my 4l60e rebuilt. has dex 6 in it. I do have some amsoil dex 3 in the garage.


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Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: JC1] #4977873 01/13/19 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JC1
Originally Posted by Linctex
Drive it normally - transmissions don't really have a "break in period"....

Well, modern engines really don't, either....


And make sure you check the fluid level. What happened to the Original Tranny? Lack of maintenence?



It was 17 years old. That is what happened.


make the inside of your engine oil cap white.
don't use.
Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: JC1] #4977924 01/13/19 12:52 PM
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y_p_w Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JC1
Originally Posted by Linctex
Drive it normally - transmissions don't really have a "break in period"....

Well, modern engines really don't, either....


And make sure you check the fluid level. What happened to the Original Tranny? Lack of maintenence?

Not sure really. The only scheduled maintenance is 4 straight drain and fills at 100k miles. I kind of split the difference and did it twice a few years ago. Figured I'd do it again. I used Honda ATF from a dealer.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: spasm3] #4977929 01/13/19 12:54 PM
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y_p_w Offline OP
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Originally Posted by spasm3
When should you change the fluid in a rebuild? I had my 4l60e rebuilt. has dex 6 in it. I do have some amsoil dex 3 in the garage.


Not sure on that either. I thought that brand new transmissions have whatever fluid is in them and then that's what's expected to be there until scheduled maintenance comes up.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4977982 01/13/19 01:47 PM
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SatinSilver Offline
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That generation Civic was notorious for having bad automatic transmissions.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4978034 01/13/19 03:08 PM
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Gebo Offline
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I'd drive it normally and change the ATF in a few thousand miles (may next oil change). I see you used Honda ATF in the past. Did you use it in this transmission?

Oh, and I don't know the proper procedure for checking the ATF level in you car but I would do that as well. If you are smelling something burning, I wouldn't want my ATF
to be leaking out and dripping on something hot.

Last edited by Gebo; 01/13/19 03:10 PM.

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Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: Gebo] #4978053 01/13/19 03:27 PM
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y_p_w Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gebo
I'd drive it normally and change the ATF in a few thousand miles (may next oil change). I see you used Honda ATF in the past. Did you use it in this transmission?

Oh, and I don't know the proper procedure for checking the ATF level in you car but I would do that as well. If you are smelling something burning, I wouldn't want my ATF
to be leaking out and dripping on something hot.

Used Honda DW-1. It was a pain too. I ended up damaging the drain bolt head when it slipped and bought a new one (at an Acura dealer strangely enough because it was cheaper but the correct part). I also didn't have a breaker bar/flex handle and bought one at Sears. I've never had a problem using a 3/8" ratchet on a Honda/Acura manual or auto transmission until this one. I also couldn't get enough leverage to break it open so I raised it about 4 inches on ramps. I basically couldn't insert it in and get enough room to actually move it until it got a little higher.

Checking is really easy. The dipstick plugs into the fill hole and is easily accessed. The transmission is recirculating fluid without a filter.

However, I've never had a rebuilt auto transmission before. The mechanic said that he would expect at least 150k miles out of it, even without a fluid change. He's got a similar generation Civic himself. I hadn't checked the fluid myself in a while, but he looked and there was plenty of fluid. I guess it was just kind of random that it failed.

I still have some transmission fluid, but a change only replaces about 40%. Any other suggestions here about if/when would be a good time to do it?

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4978057 01/13/19 03:33 PM
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I would add a bottle of Lubegard Red to it. That's kind of how the product got its start from trans rebuilders using it after a rebuild. One of the Honda mechanics that I know swears by the stuff and is against just about any other additive except for that one. Use the entire bottle during the next drain/fill which I would do sooner rather than later.

Maybe some atf spilled on the hot exhaust causing the fumes. Which would get better in time.

Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: spasm3] #4978058 01/13/19 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spasm3
When should you change the fluid in a rebuild? I had my 4l60e rebuilt. has dex 6 in it. I do have some amsoil dex 3 in the garage.

The guys who rebuilt my 4L65E told me 30k mi. I'll probably change it at 2 years although it won't be there in miles.


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Re: Rebuilt transmission - how to treat it? [Re: y_p_w] #4978059 01/13/19 03:36 PM
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anndel Offline
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Drive it normally. Change the ATF 30,000 miles from now and you'll be fine.


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