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Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

 
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:19 AM
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Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

Hey guys, I've recently had a new experience with my Prelude that I've never had with a car before.

Yesterday after a little spirited driving I noticed my transmission acting funny in two (seemingly) separate ways. First, in taking off, the clutch seems to chatter or shudder somewhat violently until it is fully engaged. By the clutch, I'm referring to the driveline literally shaking the car - it's very similar to how the stage 2 RAM clutch behaved in my Thunderbird - it chatters and makes a bit of noise until it is fully engaged.

In addition to that I noticed that it is very difficult to downshift into any gear (5-4, 4-3, 3-2, 2-1) unless I rev match. I have had some problems with my 2-1 syncro already, but it has never been this bad, and it seems out of nowhere.

Now, in looking for possible problems, I found that I have a small leak in my clutch fluid lines (I believe it was the slave cylinder), and that the line had been sucking air because the reservoir was almost completely empty (my bad). So I replaced the slave cylinder and bled the system pretty thoroughly, but the problems are still happening. (Granted, tomorrow I'm going to double check to make sure I got all of the air out of the system).

After driving around tonight under mixed circumstances, the chattering seems to be getting slightly better, but not gone yet. Here is my hypothesis, correct my logic if I'm wrong: I've recently had a leak in the vtec solenoid, and it was a pretty bad leak, mind you. I replaced the gasket, but not before there was a nice puddle of oil on top of my transmission housing. Is it possible that some of that oil leaked into the bell housing and contaminated the clutch plate? That would cause it to heat up under friction and cause the chatter.

While that still doesn't solve the hard downshifting, it's possible I supposed that I may still have air in the line. I'll keep you all posted, but I'm looking to find out if anyone else has had a similar experience with a solution?

Thanks for the help, and I apologize for the length of the post.

-Seth

P.S. the clutch pedal is adjusted correctly, and the actuation point is above half-way.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:09 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

Only way to really tell is to look. If you have the time, crack the transmission open / look at your clutch and flywheel, something easily could have broke that is making it wobble. That's a valid hypothesis I think, except you'd have to have a leak everywhere in all the right places... Has the car ever had and transmission work done?
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:02 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

This same thing happened to me too. I have a thread on the 5th Gen lude forum titled clutch chatter. Ended up blowing the seals out of my slave and clutch master cylinder after getting on it, after that it was difficult to get it into any gear, but I got the car home. The chatter could be oil that got into the bell housing or in my case the flywheel has hot spots. The car would shake crazy in ist but the rest of the gears were fine, I've been driving the car for a month now and it doesn't really shake at all in first gear anymore, thank god. I look around on the web and some ppl been saying the clutch disc would actually smooth the flywheel surface to where u should get smooth engagement again. I think I'm done beating on my car, hell it has a 154,000 miles lol. Good luck
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:05 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

Garurumon, No, as far as I know there has never been any transmission work done to it. So it's pretty surprising the clutch has lasted this long.

At this point the shudder isn't too bad, it's the downshifting that makes it difficult to drive. And I'm sure if I keep driving it this way it will put more stress on the other components.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:57 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

Get under the car, and take off the clutch cover, held on by 3 10mm bolts. It's just a sheet metal cover that prevents debris from going into the clutch area.

Once you take that off you'll be able to visually see the clutch/FW, and see if there's any oil that got into the clutch area.
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:10 PM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

[QUOTE=twokexlv6coupe;746165]Get under the car, and take off the clutch cover, held on by 3 10mm bolts. It's just a sheet metal cover that prevents debris from going into the clutch area. QUOTE]

Oh really? Wow, I guess I haven't spent enough time under there to notice. Thanks, I'll check it out.
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:11 PM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

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Originally Posted by twokexlv6coupe View Post
Get under the car, and take off the clutch cover, held on by 3 10mm bolts. It's just a sheet metal cover that prevents debris from going into the clutch area.

Once you take that off you'll be able to visually see the clutch/FW, and see if there's any oil that got into the clutch area.

Oh really? Wow, I guess I haven't spent enough time under there to notice. Thanks, I'll check it out later today.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:42 PM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

Its very unlikely the vtec solenoid leaked into the transmission, usually when clutches slip or chatter from oil in the transmission its because of the rear main leaking which is inside the bell housing, well behind the flywheel.

If you've replaced only slave cylinder then look into master cylinder before you replace the clutch, is it still loosing fluid? have someone pump the clutch and watch the fluid for movement and check for leakage around the pedal (there is a little boot you pull back, sometimes this will have a little grease there anyway but not excessive amounts.)

Another trick is to get someone in the car to press the clutch to see if the slave is extending the entire way. Hydraulics are sometimes tricky to find problems as master can sometimes appear like its a good pedal even though its not holding pressure, this is rare though but itd suck to replace the clutch when it was the $100 hydraulics, I had a mate do this.

I recently did a quick 3rd shift and when I later down shifted shifting was extremely difficult and heres the cause, the retainer spring clip broke and the part wedged itself not letting the clutch fully engage hence making gears hard to change, the chatter was minimal but it was there. Hope I helped!
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:50 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

2 weeks ago i had the same exact issue! (minus the down shifting) anyways I figured out I had a bad master cylinder. The same day I took it home and it went out before I could make the full trip back home from school.. Had it towed, then the mechanic told me my clutch was bad too! funny cause I just replaced it 6 months ago. Took it to my Original mechanic who did the clutch, and had to tear out the tranny to find out. The clutch disk had been blown off! Which caused such heavy and violent chattering in first gear. Luckily it was under warranty and had a new clutch kit sent. I also had hot spots on my FW. Id go ahead and take the tranny out if thats an option.. lol and I also wanna know if something can get inside the tranny? My clutch randomly started slipping (HORRIBLY) within the first day i got it back! I found a coolant leak out of a hose as well and it was dripping on the tranny..? but anyways i wouldnt doubt if the same happened to you! did you hear any loud pops or drops in the tranny before this all happened?
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:51 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

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Originally Posted by etomas6 View Post
2 weeks ago i had the same exact issue! (minus the down shifting) anyways I figured out I had a bad master cylinder. The same day I took it home and it went out before I could make the full trip back home from school.. Had it towed, then the mechanic told me my clutch was bad too! funny cause I just replaced it 6 months ago. Took it to my Original mechanic who did the clutch, and had to tear out the tranny to find out. The clutch disk had been blown off! Which caused such heavy and violent chattering in first gear. Luckily it was under warranty and had a new clutch kit sent. I also had hot spots on my FW. Id go ahead and take the tranny out if thats an option.. lol and I also wanna know if something can get inside the tranny? My clutch randomly started slipping (HORRIBLY) within the first day i got it back! I found a coolant leak out of a hose as well and it was dripping on the tranny..? but anyways i wouldnt doubt if the same happened to you! did you hear any loud pops or drops in the tranny before this all happened?


You know you need to properly break in a brand new clutch for at least 500miles, right??
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:53 AM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

I've had new clutches before and never had it act like that before! How do you properly go about it lol?
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:39 PM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

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Originally Posted by twokexlv6coupe View Post
Get under the car, and take off the clutch cover, held on by 3 10mm bolts. It's just a sheet metal cover that prevents debris from going into the clutch area.

Once you take that off you'll be able to visually see the clutch/FW, and see if there's any oil that got into the clutch area.
STI, I found no such cover underneath. It sounds almost like something on an automatic tranny. However, I did find a small rubber plug on the front of the motor just above the flywheel, and it appears there is some oil residue inside. The only thing is that it is somewhat of a dried oil. So that could be it, but I won't know until I tear it all apart.

Also, I got around to replacing the master cylinder and the slave cylinder, and thoroughly bleeding the whole system. For the most part it shifts a bit better now, but I have trouble with it occasionally.

The funky thing now is that the clutch engagement is somewhat erratic, which is very odd. Even in the middle of engaging/disengaging the clutch, I'll feel something catch or release sometimes. This leads me to think that it could be that I have a broken pressure plate finger possibly.

Either way, I just wanted to give you all an update on my situation. It will be about 2 weeks before I have the time to tear into everything. Wish me luck, I plan on replacing the syncros too :/
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:38 PM
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Re: Manual transmisison shudder/hard downshifts

So yesterday I had the chance to pull my tranny and find out what was going on. I had the same thing happen as Euphoria: I found this shard of metal inside the PP/clutch plate area that was interfering with the clutch operation.

Then the clutch plate itself was shot too.

And it's a good thing that I took it all apart because the main seal is leaking pretty badly too.

I posted here SYNCHROTECH *** DISCOUNTS & SPECIAL OFFERS *** - Page 5 - Honda-Tech asking about my synchros. I'm looking at shipping them to Synchrotech and having them rebuild the mainshaft and countershaft for me. Does anyone have any input on what I'm in for there?

It's good to know that I found my problem. I was afraid that I was going to get in there and not know what was wrong, but this is pretty obvious.
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