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Honda Civic manual transmission whine

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here Honda Civic manual transmission whine

This topic contains 25 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Lorrin Barth 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #616547
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    Justin
    Participant

    My 1994 Honda Civic LX make whiney noises in 1st and 2nd gear. Shifting is smooth and the gears never grind. I changed the fluid with Honda MTF less than 1k miles ago and the noise is still there. Is there anyway to fix this or does the transmission need a rebuild?

    It doesn’t feel like it needs work, the car drives normal and shift like butter. Reverse sometimes will grind unless I put it in 1st then reverse then it always go in smoothly.

    Is it safe to drive in higher rpm while it whines like that?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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  • #616595
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    Mike
    Participant

    I’ve replaced a few input shaft bearings in Civics due to that kind of noise. In most cases, you will also notice that idling in neutral the trans is noisy and it stops a few moments after you hold the clutch pedal down and the insides of the tranny stop turning. The noise you’re talking about should change pitch with engine RPM and not with road speed if it is input shaft bearings.

    There’s 2 bearings supporting the input shaft (the one that is spun by the engine). Normally the one closer to the engine wears out because 1st and 2nd gear are next to it and those gears produce the most torque multiplication and therefore that’s where the highest forces in the trans are. The one on the other end with 3rd, 4th, and 5th near it just doesn’t see much force in comparison and lasts much longer.

    If it is that bearing, the trans needs to be opened to change it, but not really a rebuild. Honda input shaft bearings are the easiest internal trans jobs I’ve done. You basically get the case open, pull the 2 shafts out, change the bearing off the input shaft, put the shafts back in and put the case back together. The other thing that makes it easier is that the bearings come off and go back on the shafts with light hammering and prying, although you have to know where and where not to hit the bearing. Most trans models, you need a puller set and a press for this kind of work, but Honda gives you an easy time of it here.

    Anyway it will just get louder and louder until it’s insanely loud and has to be addressed. You can milk it out a little while longer by accelerating very gently and changing the fluid to get some of the metal debris being produced out of there. You would expect to be charged 8-10 hours of labor and around $100 in parts that should come from the Honda dealer.

    To be clear, it’s engine speed and not road speed that turns that shaft with the noisy bearing so you want to keep your engine RPM down, road speed doesn’t matter.

    Also, the thing with putting it into a forward gear for a second before going into reverse to prevent that grinding noise is common to most manual transmissions and does not indicate a problem.

    #617355
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    Justin
    Participant

    In neutral my car makes no noise and revs like a regular car should. The 1st gear whine is quite loud that it is almost embarrassing.

    The transmission fluid was clean when I changed it.

    #617721
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    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    It does sound like a bearing issue. It doesn’t take much for a bearing to make noise. Meaning, it may be some time before it becomes a mechanical issue that effects the transmission operation. In the end you’ll likely have to replace the bearing however. More info here.

    http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-transmission-problems

    #619014
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    Justin
    Participant

    I don’t have a video to show you guys but first gear makes the same whine as reverse and we know that sound is normal for reverse. Input shaft bearing right? I wasn’t able to find a related video for this.

    Is it still safe to drive at high rpms or at all?

    I took it to a mechanic and he just said to rebuild it.

    #619039
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    Mike
    Participant

    [quote=”kazienova” post=110918]I don’t have a video to show you guys but first gear makes the same whine as reverse and we know that sound is normal for reverse. Input shaft bearing right? I wasn’t able to find a related video for this.[/quote]
    That is a good way of putting it, it actually does kinda sound like that on Hondas.

    [quote=”kazienova” post=110918]Is it still safe to drive at high rpms or at all?[/quote]
    Like I said before, that bearing turns with RPM, not road speed, so more RPM = more wear. Also, more gas pedal = more wear. Safe? Usually, but I don’t know for how long. Usually the noise/vibration gets the car in before anything safety-wise happens. If you push it too far and it seizes, you will come to an abrupt stop and will need to deal with it quickly in whatever situation in at the time (it will probably be scary). Nothing will explode or anything, but the transmission case cracks and is destroyed any time I’ve seen it go that far and is junk (you put a used trans in it).

    [quote=”kazienova” post=110918]I took it to a mechanic and he just said to rebuild it.[/quote]
    I’m a mechanic and I’ve already said a lot more than that. The trans needs to come out and come apart. It is not a full rebuild and is about the simplest internal work on a transmission that I could imagine, but there is no shortcut. Someone will have to spend the time to do that work and it will not be cheap to pay for. It should be on the very cheap end of trans rebuilding, but that is still a lot of work.

    #619052
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    Justin
    Participant

    Alright so if the noise comes from first and second gear then driving on those gears as minimal as possible will prolong its life? The car is used for mostly highway driving, will it seize in 5th gear if the noise is coming from first and second?

    #619060
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    Mike
    Participant

    [quote=”kazienova” post=110936]Alright so if the noise comes from first and second gear then driving on those gears as minimal as possible will prolong its life?[/quote]

    Correct.

    Cruising in 5th gear at low RPM will cause the least possible amount of wear. I can’t say how long you can milk it out for, or if/when something will seize. I can only say that it will be very loud before that happens.

    #619099
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    Justin
    Participant

    Do you know the average cost for this kind of rebuild?

    #619103
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    Mike
    Participant

    [quote=”Fopeano” post=109710]Anyway it will just get louder and louder until it’s insanely loud and has to be addressed. You can milk it out a little while longer by accelerating very gently and changing the fluid to get some of the metal debris being produced out of there. You would expect to be charged 8-10 hours of labor and around $100 in parts that should come from the Honda dealer.[/quote]

    #619213
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    Justin
    Participant

    Well first gear is louder than reverse. Should I be scared yet?

    #619232
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    Mike
    Participant

    That’s about the time someone bites the bullet and has it fixed. Every one I’ve done on Honda is like that by the time it gets to me. I don’t know how far beyond that it will go. As far as being scared, just fear that if it does seize or fail catastrophically, it will certainly cost more to fix or need a used trans put in. If that happens and you get it towed to a shop telling them to replace that bearing, you may also end up paying to have your existing unit pulled and opened up before finding that out for sure.

    If you can get a used trans for under $400, it would be cheaper to just do that than have the bearing replaced, although I tend to favor repairing the existing unit.

    There is a whole other route that might be worth looking into. Honda guys with these turbo civics that make 500+hp end up having to deal with tons of broken gears and transmissions, and hence end up learning how to rebuild them out of necessity. If you can find a guy like that to do it on the side for cash, that could cut the cost a lot. Downside is no warranty or accountability on the work, and some of those guys are morons or morally bankrupt and it’s hard to know if a stranger is going to fix it right the first time. If I was doing that as a side job, I’d charge no more than $300 in labor.

    #619289
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    Justin
    Participant

    Is it easy to learn for an average person? I don’t have much experience with cars but I am very interested in learning how to fix things myself. I do most maintenance myself and I have some tools at home, I’m just quite sure what I’ll need for this job yet.

    #619367
    Avatar
    Mike
    Participant

    It’s kind of hard to answer that, I would say that it is above the level of the average mechanic. It’s A level work, but not all A level techs can do internal work on engine/trans. The other side of that is that there are many hobbyist mechanics like I used to be that are better at whatever they work on than the average mechanic. Some of the hobbyist work I’ve seen in forums for the cars I deal with is insane and eclipses anything professionally done, so I can’t ever say anything is beyond the hobbyists ability to learn.

    You don’t need any crazy special tools for the job, but I would say that it would be a pretty intimidating job if you don’t have much general experience. You would certainly need to be comfortable taking the trans out and have enough tools for that. There are many aspects to it that do require you very comfortable utilizing your mechanical aptitude. You need to be very good with your hands and have a comfortable understanding of bearings, preloads, clearances, shims, and sealing with liquid gasket to be inside a trans.

    #619514
    Avatar
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    To be honest we really can’t accurately predict how long your transmission will last or if the noise will become a big issue. We are after all only getting our information second hand via text. That said, If you’re concerned about the rebuild and you feel you could remove the transmission yourself, then perhaps you should attempt that and either replace the transmission with a salvage unit, or take it somewhere to be rebuilt. That will bring down the labor costs. BTW if you decide to go this rout, it would be a good idea to replace the clutch while you have the transmission out.

    #621776
    Avatar
    Justin
    Participant

    Ok so I had an estimate at around low 400s for input shaft bearing. Does that seem fair?

    Also the car jerks alot in 1st 2nd and a bit of 3rd. I driven manual for 5 years daily so it’s not me. When the car decelerate by releasing the gas pedal and letting it slow down on its own, the car will at random jerk hard and everyone in the car gets a nice whiplash.

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