1998 Honda CRV 2.4 - fluid/mtce recommendations

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2,026
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Winnipeg MB CA
Hello all -

Our daughter-in-law's sister (so sort of honorary niece) has asked me to help her learn to do some basic maintenance on her '98 Honda CRV, 2.4 l automatic. I think it's AWD. The timing belt is thought to have been changed recently, by the previous owner.

Here's a list of maintenance stuff that comes to mind:

- Oil & filter (probably Mobil 1 5W-30 & Wix)

- Air filter

- Spark plugs (NGK)

- Distributor cap & rotor (if applicable)

- Coolant (drain and fill)

- ATF (drain and fill)

- Transfer case gear oil (replace)

- Differential gear oil (replace)

- Syringe out some PSF, and refill

- Syringe out some brake fluid from MC, and refill. Possibly bleed brakes as well. Replace with DOT-3 BF.

- Inspect brakes and front end (CV boots, ball joints, tie-rod ends)

Questions:

1. What coolant? Genuine Honda, or NAPA or OE Asian mix, or something else?

2. What ATF? I suspect Honda ATs are picky.

3. Transfer case - any good synthetic GL-5? What weight - 75W-90?

4. Diff - any good GL-5? 75W-140?

5. PSF - Dedicated PSF, or ATF?

6. What am I missing?

Thanks all - I appreciate your advice on all this. I don't know a lot about Hondas.
 
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7,090
Location
Roanoke Virginia
I would say any of the coolant would be fine as long as it meets the specs for Honda.
PSF I always try to use actual power steering fluid in the power steering reservoir. Just make sure if you do go with the ATF that it is specced for that. Some vehicles are some aren’t. The rest of the answers I would let the others chime in on because I’m not sure on those 🙂.
 
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12,336
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OH
Only Honda dedicated PS fluid in it. You can use aftermarket fluid just make sure the bottle says ok to use in Hondas. There should be some choices at Walmart. Maybe even ST or Prestone.

The list you have going is excellent. A new oem pcv valve would be good. May help prevent oil burning. Teach her how to check oil level.

Battery service, clean, grease and maybe even charge it up. Honda wiper inserts are top notch if it still has oem wiper blades. Atf drain and fills only on these. Ideally three of them. If list gets too long these services can be broken up so as not to go overboard.
 
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Caldwell Idaho
[- Syringe out some brake fluid from MC, and refill. Possibly bleed brakes as well. Replace with DOT-3 BF. ] What is that supposed to do? Brake fluid doesn't "circulate".
 

Number_35

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2,026
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Winnipeg MB CA
[- Syringe out some brake fluid from MC, and refill. Possibly bleed brakes as well. Replace with DOT-3 BF. ] What is that supposed to do? Brake fluid doesn't "circulate".
There's been much debate on here about Brownian motion, and whether brake fluid does, therefore, circulate.

I agree with you - I don't think it circulates to any significant extent. Nevertheless, starting with clean fluid in the MC makes the bleed at the wheel cylinders/calipers go more quickly later. It likely helps the seals in the MC as well.
Only Honda dedicated PS fluid in it. You can use aftermarket fluid just make sure the bottle says ok to use in Hondas. There should be some choices at Walmart. Maybe even ST or Prestone.

The list you have going is excellent. A new oem pcv valve would be good. May help prevent oil burning. Teach her how to check oil level.

Battery service, clean, grease and maybe even charge it up. Honda wiper inserts are top notch if it still has oem wiper blades. Atf drain and fills only on these. Ideally three of them. If list gets too long these services can be broken up so as not to go overboard.
Thanks, these are really good ideas!
 
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11,558
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USA
The 98 CRV has the B20B, a version of the legendary B-series. If you really want to have fun,. you can even swap in a B18C :sneaky:
It does have a distributor.

Zerex Asian Blue, Pentofrost A3, Recochem OEM Asian Blue, or Peak OET Blue. In Canada, Napa's house brand coolant is Recochem. There is nothing wrong with it.

Napa oil is on sale if you're a rewards member. You have to order it online and be signed in to your rewards account in order to get the 50% discount. Since Napa Gold is Wix, you can pick it up there, too.

Their house brand air filters are also Wix, but this is something you could get at Walmart since Super Tech air filters are US-made.

You can use Maxlife with no problem. Another good choice is Castrol Full Synthetic. Honda wasn't using Z1 in 1998. That came a few years later.

Any DOT 3 or 4 will be fine. Changing the brake fluid regularly is more important than what brand you use. Speed bleeders are awesome.

Honda does use a special PS fluid, but Napa sells that, too. They have a house brand Honda PSF, and they also carry Idemitsu PSF.

NGK spark plugs and wires. Their wires are a nice blue color and are also numbered.

When it is time to replace the timing belt, get the Aisin kit.

The 98 CR-V has a cabin filter, so replace that, too. They weren't common back then, and you didn't list it, so that's also something to keep in mind. I suggest something with charcoal.

Rustproofing is also a good idea.

I would say any of the coolant would be fine as long as it meets the specs for Honda.
PSF I always try to use actual power steering fluid in the power steering reservoir. Just make sure if you do go with the ATF that it is specced for that. Some vehicles are some aren’t. The rest of the answers I would let the others chime in on because I’m not sure on those 🙂.

Hondas need a special PSF. You cannot use ATF in a Honda PS system. Aftermarket fluids are available, so as long as it says Honda on it, it is OK to use. It's the only fluid that Hondas are picky about.
 
Messages
7,090
Location
Roanoke Virginia
The 98 CRV has the B20B, a version of the legendary B-series. If you really want to have fun,. you can even swap in a B18C :sneaky:
It does have a distributor.

Zerex Asian Blue, Pentofrost A3, Recochem OEM Asian Blue, or Peak OET Blue. In Canada, Napa's house brand coolant is Recochem. There is nothing wrong with it.

Napa oil is on sale if you're a rewards member. You have to order it online and be signed in to your rewards account in order to get the 50% discount. Since Napa Gold is Wix, you can pick it up there, too.

Their house brand air filters are also Wix, but this is something you could get at Walmart since Super Tech air filters are US-made.

You can use Maxlife with no problem. Another good choice is Castrol Full Synthetic. Honda wasn't using Z1 in 1998. That came a few years later.

Any DOT 3 or 4 will be fine. Changing the brake fluid regularly is more important than what brand you use. Speed bleeders are awesome.

Honda does use a special PS fluid, but Napa sells that, too. They have a house brand Honda PSF, and they also carry Idemitsu PSF.

NGK spark plugs and wires. Their wires are a nice blue color and are also numbered.

When it is time to replace the timing belt, get the Aisin kit.

The 98 CR-V has a cabin filter, so replace that, too. They weren't common back then, and you didn't list it, so that's also something to keep in mind. I suggest something with charcoal.

Rustproofing is also a good idea.



Hondas need a special PSF. You cannot use ATF in a Honda PS system. Aftermarket fluids are available, so as long as it says Honda on it, it is OK to use. It's the only fluid that Hondas are picky about.
Yeah that’s what I was thinking. The few Honda’s I’ve worked on I remember that.
 
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12,336
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OH
Sometimes the Hondas of that era have hard to replace cabin filters. Requiring a fair amount of dismantling of things behind glove box, just FYI. That it may take some time or do it at a later time.
 
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394
Location
San Diego, California
Replacing the 24-yr old fuel filter might be a good idea too.

Do check the valve lash on that 2.0 liter engine. Burned exhaust valves are the result of tight valves on the B20B engine. IIRC the intake clearance is .009" and .012" for the exhausts.
It’s actually .004-.006” intake, and .006-.008” on the exhaust. Probably why so many of these die of burned valves.
 
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7,481
Location
California
You’re off to a good start - stick to Honda ATF though. Honda automatics are essentially a manual gearbox shifted via wet clutches in place of the synchros and a mechanical fork to switch between forward and reverse. Also, use only Honda Dual Pump Fluid and PSF. Otherwise, the most important and often neglected thing on Hondas is the valve adjustment - an easy task if you have the tools.
 

Number_35

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2,026
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Replacing the 24-yr old fuel filter might be a good idea too.

Do check the valve lash on that 2.0 liter engine. Burned exhaust valves are the result of tight valves on the B20B engine. IIRC the intake clearance is .009" and .012" for the exhausts.
Is there an external fuel filter, or is it in the tank?
 

Number_35

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2,026
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Spent some time earlier today checking out the CRV. It's in good shape for a '98, but needs some work.

The owner had a garage do an inspection on it, and they missed a rear stabilizer-bar end link. One nut is missing, and that end has fallen out of its attachment point on the strut. The nut on the stabilizer-bar end has worked loose. With any luck I can reinstall the link. It's a skinny little stabilizer bar, but presumably does the job. I would consider it essential in a relatively high and narrow vehicle like this.

The air filter was good.

The one plug I removed was clean, with no carbon buildup or oil-fouling, but with quite the gap. My wire gauge only goes up to 0.045", and this was way past that - perhaps 0.060". New plugs are in order.

The distributor cap is held on with small bolts - I soaked them with penetrating oil, but didn't try to remove them yet.

The tie-rod ends use castellated nuts - one of them was missing a cotter pin.

All of the CV boots look good.

The brake fluid was moderately discoloured - syringed a fair bit out of the MC, and refilled it with fresh, but will bleed the brakes next time.

The AC belt is very loose, and screeches upon start-up. Watch a YouTube video - it's a bit of work to tighten it, and even more to replace it. Nevertheless, we'll replace any or all of the three accessory belts as required.

That was about it.
 

Number_35

Thread starter
Messages
2,026
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
You’re off to a good start - stick to Honda ATF though. Honda automatics are essentially a manual gearbox shifted via wet clutches in place of the synchros and a mechanical fork to switch between forward and reverse. Also, use only Honda Dual Pump Fluid and PSF. Otherwise, the most important and often neglected thing on Hondas is the valve adjustment - an easy task if you have the tools.
Found an owner's manual online, with the following:

ATF:
Always use Honda Premium Formula ATF. If it is not available, you may use a DEXRON III ATF as a temporary replacement. However, continued use can affect shift quality. Have the transmission drained and refilled with Honda ATF as soon as is convenient.

Does this indicate an automated gearbox? It may - the manual also calls for checking the ATF with the engine turned off!

PSF:
Always use Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid. If it is not available, you may use another power steering fluid as an emergency replacement. However, continued use can cause increased wear and poor steering in cold weather. Have the power steering system flushed and refilled with Honda PSF as soon as possible.

Is this the Honda Dual Pump Fluid?

If the special ATF is more like a GL-4 gear oil for an automated manual, I understand why it wouldn't be appropriate as PSF. But why not a generic dedicated PSF?

Rear Diff:
(Use) Genuine Honda CVT Fluid unit ... If CVT fluid is not available, you may use Honda Premium Formula Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) or a quality DEXRON III ATF as a temporary replacement. However, continued use can cause noise, vibration and performance problems. Have the differential drained and refilled with Honda CVT Fluid as soon as it is convenient.

CVT fluid??? Strange! :unsure:

Thanks!
 
Messages
11,558
Location
USA
Found an owner's manual online, with the following:

ATF:
Always use Honda Premium Formula ATF. If it is not available, you may use a DEXRON III ATF as a temporary replacement. However, continued use can affect shift quality. Have the transmission drained and refilled with Honda ATF as soon as is convenient.

Does this indicate an automated gearbox? It may - the manual also calls for checking the ATF with the engine turned off!

PSF:
Always use Genuine Honda Power Steering Fluid. If it is not available, you may use another power steering fluid as an emergency replacement. However, continued use can cause increased wear and poor steering in cold weather. Have the power steering system flushed and refilled with Honda PSF as soon as possible.

Is this the Honda Dual Pump Fluid?

If the special ATF is more like a GL-4 gear oil for an automated manual, I understand why it wouldn't be appropriate as PSF. But why not a generic dedicated PSF?

Rear Diff:
(Use) Genuine Honda CVT Fluid unit ... If CVT fluid is not available, you may use Honda Premium Formula Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) or a quality DEXRON III ATF as a temporary replacement. However, continued use can cause noise, vibration and performance problems. Have the differential drained and refilled with Honda CVT Fluid as soon as it is convenient.

CVT fluid??? Strange! :unsure:

Thanks!

Yes, that is the automated gearbox. Honda's in-house automatic transmissions don't use planetary gears.

Yes, you check the ATF with the engine OFF, after the car is warmed up. So you warm up the transmission, turn the car off, wait a minute, then check the fluid.

Honda's OEM ATF has a lot of zinc in it, enough to be toxic to non-Honda automatic transmissions.

No, Honda Power steering fluid is NOT the dual pump fluid. It's called Honda Power Steering Fluid. The Dual Pump is for the rear differential (see below)

Yeah for some reason, Honda said to use CVT fluid on the first-gen CRV for the rear diff. They later back-spec'd it to the Dual Pump fluid, but you can still use the CVT fluid it originally called for. The DP was offered starting around 2000 or shortly after. CRV's from then on say to use Dual Pump in the rear diff and stop mentioning CVT fluid.

I was able to find the owner's manual here, and a thread on CRV Owners Club regarding the CVT fluid in the rear diff.
 
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A Warm place to live in
It’s actually .004-.006” intake, and .006-.008” on the exhaust. Probably why so many of these die of burned valves.
You are right. .005 intake, .008 exhaust. What I posted, on hindsight, were the approximate numbers used by some serious CRV enthusiasts in the now defunct hondasuv forums in their own vehicles as a soft cushion vs tight valves should the next inspection/adjustment be delayed. They did warn though, that valve stem noise aka sewing machine sound would expectedly increase.

The official inspection interval was 105,000 miles but later changed to 30,000 miles.
 

Number_35

Thread starter
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2,026
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Winnipeg MB CA
No, Honda Power steering fluid is NOT the dual pump fluid. It's called Honda Power Steering Fluid. The Dual Pump is for the rear differential (see below)
Thanks, you're right, I reread what I'd written last night, must have been tired.

So, the consensus here seems to be:

PSF:
Genuine Honda PSF, or at minimum a dedicated PSF (not ATF) specifically stating that it's for Honda

ATF:
Genuine Honda ATF only - no substitutes!

Rear diff fluid:
Genuine Honda Dual Pump II only - no substitutes!

Coolant:
Any reputable Asian formula

Thanks all!
 

Number_35

Thread starter
Messages
2,026
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Picked up the fluids this afternoon - played it safe, with genuine Honda PSF, ATF, and diff oil, and an aftermarket coolant appropriate for Hondas. Parts man at Honda was good, taped the washers to the bottles. Note the snow remnants from Monday night. Will go fast with milder weather coming back tomorrow.
20210331_134842.jpg
 
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