Low Speed TC/Transmission Shudder 2012 Civic Org Fluid at 180K.

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HI, i have a client / friend who owns a 2012 Civic automatic with about 180K on the clock. They mentioned to me that the car "shakes" at low speed and they have to apply more throttle to make it stop, so i offered to give it a test drive, and sure enough, it does "shake" as they call it at low throttle/low speed.
To me it feels like a most definite low speed torque converter shutter as i've had a few cars i bought used that would display the same symptoms with old shot fluid, just usually at 45 ish though. I asked the magic question of "when is the last time you had the transmission serviced"... Answer: Never.

So they did offer to take it to jiffy lube to have the transmission serviced, would this be wise? New fluid even if not honda oem has to be better for it then the shuddering.. right? lol or could i do a simple drain and fill a couple times to get the old fluid out? Im a little hesitant to touch it as its their only vehicle, and i'd hate to be blamed for changing it, then having transmission failure or something major. But at the same time this shudder has gotten much worse over the year, i notice it last year but it was very minor so i gave it a pass. Its not the engine misfiring or anything like that, as the honda 4 cyl is smooth as can be.

How would i advise them correctly? Again my thinking is jiffy lube would be "acceptable" as long as they then change it every 20-30K from here on out. The dealer (what i would recommend) has a waiting list a mile long, and i think the shudder is doing damage in the long run. They are the farthest thing from a car person, although i make sure they check and add oil if needed and they do that, but everything else to them is a mystery. lol. They are the fill up the gas a drive type, and wait for the OLM to tell them to change the oil, then drive another 5,000 miles before getting to it. I even thought about offering to put M1-EP in it so they have protection for the 15K+ intervals, but again they do not understand that the fluids are the life of your vehicle... That would be a another thread though lol.

Thanks for your input!
 

09 GLS

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Often that is caused by a bad CV joint.
Did not give CV's a thought, they dont click, or vibrate under normal throttle, or highway speeds. This vibration feels like drive line, i'd say rubbery, like the TC is slipping and gripping. I've been in cars with bad CV's and they usually vibrate under load, and on the highway, and vibration goes away when not under load. This Civic only "shudders" under light load say 10-15% throttle, and only while starting out. I will check CV's just to be safe. Anything specific i should be looking for? Thanks!.
 
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This is a known issue in that generation of Civics that are running "old" fluid. Change the ATF (someone, if not you, but I understand your hesitancy to touch it).

Why not tell them to take it to a Honda dealer where they will use the safest fluid vs Jiffy Lube ? Sure, Jiffy Lube will be a little bit cheaper but they'll use a "universal" fluid. If the transmission had had the ATF serviced routinely, even with universal fluid, I wouldn't say not to keep doing it but in this case, use DW-1.
 

09 GLS

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So i called the local jiffy lube, and they use synthetic Versa trans LV ATF...(https://phillips66lubricants.com/product/versatrans-lv-atf-transmission-fluid/) BUT they told me they will not touch it because of the TC shudder. Maybe i should of not told them that part... But they extract from the fill port, then add the fluid, and said its "kinda" like a flush.
Next i'll call the dealer next to see what they have to say.
 

09 GLS

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Called the dealer, and they told me they do a drain and fill... once with DW-1 Honda genuine fluid for $139.99

im very tempted to tell them get 9 qts of honda DW-1 fluid, and i'll change it 3 times for them on a 3X3 method.
 
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Just a thought--What if you had the friend actually help you with the drain & fill process? Have them get under there and loosen/tighten the drain plug, and pour in the new fluid. Then ride with them as they test drive the car. That would show them exactly what is being done, and might head off the tendency to blame you if the problem doesn't change or eventually gets worse.
 
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Called the dealer, and they told me they do a drain and fill... once with DW-1 Honda genuine fluid for $139.99
That's not a bad price for a dealer service. $10* x 3 = $30 for the fluid and ~1/2 labor. Yes, I know people can do this job in 10 minutes :)rolleyes:) and they buy the fluid for $7.50/bottle....

im very tempted to tell them get 9 qts of honda DW-1 fluid, and i'll change it 3 times for them on a 3X3 method.
At the mileage it's at, I'd be a little bit hesitant. Does the transmission operate good otherwise ? If it's good, I might proceed but with a lot of CYA (or CMA) explanations ! Depending on this person, they may start Googling and run across the commonly held belief that "you shouldn't change ATF in a high-mileage vehicle or you'll cause problems" and now some might want to blame you... :(
 

09 GLS

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Okay, so DW-1 fluid it is, from the dealer! Im going to take this job on, and do a 3X3 method for them for 9QTS total then i know most of the fluid is changed, and its done to spec and the correct way.. I informed them already honda recommends 30-60K transmission fluid changes, and they are way over, so if something get worse, we tried, but changing the fluid via drain and fill 3 times, when done correctly should not blow the transmission up, unless its already on its way out..
 

09 GLS

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That's not a bad price for a dealer service. $10* x 3 = $30 for the fluid and ~1/2 labor. Yes, I know people can do this job in 10 minutes :)rolleyes:) and they buy the fluid for $7.50/bottle....


At the mileage it's at, I'd be a little bit hesitant. Does the transmission operate good otherwise ? If it's good, I might proceed but with a lot of CYA (or CMA) explanations ! Depending on this person, they may start Googling and run across the commonly held belief that "you shouldn't change ATF in a high-mileage vehicle or you'll cause problems" and now some might want to blame you... :(
The transmission shifts beautifully, with no slipping, quick engagements, and no flaring or any other issues. If it did not have this light throttle shudder you would think the fluid was changed yesterday.

Dealer transmission fluid DW-1 is $9.33 a qt.
 
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This Civic only "shudders" under light load say 10-15% throttle, and only while starting out. I will check CV's just to be safe. Anything specific i should be looking for? Thanks!.
Classic inner cv joint failure. Does it only exhibit a brief shudder when starting out, then goes away?
 

09 GLS

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Classic inner cv joint failure. Does it only exhibit a brief shudder when starting out, then goes away?
Kinda, but it will shudder from stand stall under light throttle, from most forward gears unless you just give it a little more throttle then it feels fine.. Im still going to change the ATF to be safe, and will look at the cv joints, what should i be looking for on this Honda if it is a cv? play? torn boot ect? I've never had a bad CV give me light throttle vibration,(never owned a civic either so IDK) that goes away if more throttle is applied. It has always been the opposite, hard throttle vibration, while accelerating, or on highway that goes away with no load? But i've had many cars with TC shudder that goes way after fuild has been changed. Im sure the origina DW-1 ATF is shot as it has 180K on it, so either way it can not hurt.. It just feels rubbery, and not a direct vibration like a cv.. i picture the TC slipping and gripping under light throttle, and once you give it more throttle, it "locks" and feels perfect. I could be wrong, and google has a ton a "hits" on civic transmission shudder, so it seems to be a very common "issue" that is fixed with DW-1 fluid changes more frequently then 180K miles lol. Again i will look over everything, to be sure. I jut need to know what to look for specific for this honda civic.
 

09 GLS

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Good call. Honda DW-1is best. Avoid Jiffy-etc.
I feel much better about this transmission service using OEM DW-1 fluid with a 3X3 method. I would never take my own car there or recommend jiffy unless absolute last resort. - even then there are better options. I did talk them out of jiffy very quick thankfully and a "flush" with aftermarket fluid did not sit right with me.
 
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If it’s an inner cv failure, at least on these cars, it will shudder under hard acceleration and also when accelerating from a stand still.

But the shudder should not reoccur with each gear shift. If it does, then that is not a cv issue.
 

09 GLS

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If it’s an inner cv failure, at least on these cars, it will shudder under hard acceleration and also when accelerating from a stand still.

But the shudder should not reoccur with each gear shift. If it does, then that is not a cv issue.
Thanks for the info. It does not shudder under hard acceleration. just very light 15% throttle and below, give it more throttle, and it goes away instantly, and its fine on the highway.
 
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It does not shudder under hard acceleration. just very light 15% throttle and below, give it more throttle, and it goes away instantly, and its fine on the highway.
If you watch it closely, it basically occurs at a certain RPM (or within a very narrow range) in combination with a certain amount of throttle application. I know that sounds like some strange combination of factors but not really. Just casual acceleration from a stop while getting up to speed. A heavier foot on the throttle can keep it from happening but for how the average person drives, it will happen fairly reliably.
 

09 GLS

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If you watch it closely, it basically occurs at a certain RPM (or within a very narrow range) in combination with a certain amount of throttle application. I know that sounds like some strange combination of factors but not really. Just casual acceleration from a stop while getting up to speed. A heavier foot on the throttle can keep it from happening but for how the average person drives, it will happen fairly reliably.
You nailed it!
 

09 GLS

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Doing the 3x3 now. It’s definitely torque converter shudder , as if you put it in d3 it does not do it. I drove it and experimented with different throttle inputs and using d3 and it will not shudder if it’s in d3 no matter how little the throttle input. Also if it’s shuddering and you click it in to d3 it goes away instantly, or if you jab the throttle quickly it goes away. It also does it in first - third like clock work in normal drive. No shudder in d3 on same road and same inputs. The fluid looks black and there is a ton of sludge on the magnetic drain bolt. It’s definitely looking original. And for your guys here are some pics
 

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