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Discussion Starter #1
I know trans problems with the 03 are nothing new and I expected the time to come. My pilot has 115k so I was bummed because i thought it may take longer. Anyway.. the problem goes like this. Some months back the tranny started to shutter intermittently at highway speeds. I did a fluid change and it was good for a while. At this point traveling down the interstate at 70 It will just down shift hard out of nowhere. I’m not hitting the gas or anything trying to speed up it just downshifts at random and it’s going into the lower gears to the point that it slows down and the rpms fly up. No shifting issues from a dead stop to OD but it does seem to want to hang on to second gear when slowing to a stop. I expect to have to replace it but I guess I wanted to describe it and see if there is a possibility that’s not the case. I’ve read of others doing this but basically locking up to a screeching halt on the interstate so for safety concerns I don’t want to chance it. I found that autozone has a replacement that is supposed to address the faults of the oem trans for 2200 with a decent core charge and 3 year warranty. I guess Im wondering if anyone has any experience with it or this particular issue.
 

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It sounds like your transmission is going into "limp mode". The vehicle computer is sensing a shifting problem, and is limiting you to a lower gear just to limp home or to a service center. You may need a rebuild, or perhaps new fluid and control solenoids would help. A professional diagnosis with trans codes read might be worthwhile before you pull the trigger on a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good to know. If that’s the case would I have the indicator lights flashing or something because I havnt so far.
 

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Some basic code readers may not be able to get the trans code(s). Post up any codes you are able to get for further discussion. Attached is a sample of a trans issue code, P0700 (general) that needs further diagnosis to isolate the issue.
 

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Sounds like possibly a valve body issue with the downshift and no codes. The only hail mary you could do, is replace all the transmission pressure switches, they commonly fail and are simple to replace, and cause weird behavior sometimes without codes. It would be worth that to me to try.... along with a few more drain/fills with fresh fluid. 115k is not a lot of mileage.

Autozone just resells drop shipped reman trannies with a big markup. Don't do that. You can research those and buy direct, or on ebay. You could also buy a used LKQ, or a JDM tranny for near half that amount, but expect pretty substantial labor costs to install. Talk to your local well-respected tranny shops and see if they have a reman brand they like. Do lots of research up front if you go down the tranny swap direction.
 

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The only hail mary you could do, is replace all the transmission pressure switches, they commonly fail and are simple to replace, and cause weird behavior sometimes without codes. It would be worth that to me to try.... along with a few more drain/fills with fresh fluid.
I was gonna say. Worth a shot. Do 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I havnt been able to get a scan yet to see if there any codes but in the meantime to prepare for the worse case scenario I’m shopping my options if I were to have to buy a trans. Taking it to a shop is not an option if it’s for a rebuild and I am capable of pulling and installing another one. If I do end up having to replace it. As I’ve mentioned autozone has several options but I’ve called the companies supplying those and they won’t sell direct to me it has to be purchased through the parts store. Other remanufactured options that I’m seeing are in a similar price range. 1400 give or take. I’ve found some jdm and lkq options in the 800 to 1100 range. I found some a little cheaper but with quite a few miles on them. My concern is if I buy a used one for not much less than a reman that I’ll be back in the same boat sooner than later. If I buy the reman it at least has 0 mileage and a warranty. If I get it from a parts store there wont be a shipping charge, which has been an additional 150 to 300 from what I’ve seen. Like I said I’m just looking at all scenarios. Does any body have a particular supplier they have used or trust for jdm or a reman. I’ve seen guys mention cheaper options but I’m not finding them. At least nothing with less than 150k and the track record of these transmissions I just can’t see myself buying that.
 

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I believe that the 03 bvga was unique to that year, which means that a used one is gonna be 17 years old, no matter what the claimed mileage. At least a guaranteed reman should have all new clutch frictions, new seals and o-rings, and probably has the redesigned valve body parts for better shifting. If you cannot revive your existing transmission, and you want to make the effort to swap it yourself, I would agree that a high quality, guaranteed reman is the way to go. Since you are planning to do the R and R yourself, is there a local shop that you would trust to rebuild your old unit?

Just for information, there are some good videos done by a rebuilder from Texas on the Honda 5 speed. Check out Hiram Gutierrez on YouTube, BYBA teardown. Very similar to our BVGA. The guy is good, fun to watch.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That was pretty much my concern with a used one.. and that Fact that I’m liable to be back in the same boat when it goes. I’m gonna call around today actually to see what it would cost to have this one rebuilt locally.
thanks for the info I’ll check his videos out
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I’ve called a few places so far. Coleman Taylor which idk if they are everywhere but in my area they have about 10 shops in a 100 miles radius. They said around 2300 for a rebuild including pulling it. That’s cheaper than I would expect. They said about 1600 for a bench rebuild if I pulled. Another reputable shop said he didn’t wanna give me a price until he could scan it because he has hardly ever found a problem within the trans of 03-05 that it was usually something electronic causing it. He mentioned the engines throttle body or possibly something else controller related. This sounds like nonsense to me given all the evidence but I wanted to mention it and see if anyone else has ever heard this or been told this. If the other shop sticks to 2300 then that doesn’t seem to bad once I realized what a pain it’s gonna be to pull it myself. But what should I look for as far as what all they are gonna do? At that price are they gonna do the bare minimum and neglect some stuff or could I be getting a quality rebuild for that?
 

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Just for information, there are some good videos done by a rebuilder from Texas on the Honda 5 speed. Check out Hiram Gutierrez on YouTube, BYBA teardown. Very similar to our BVGA. The guy is good, fun to watch.
Hiram is amazing. I can watch him rebuild just about any transmission, even ones I don't own or not particularly interested in. I believe his shop is down in Houston?
 

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Watch that Hiram video on the BYBA. He talks about exactly that issue, with cheap shops that flat rate the build and use a bunch of old frictions, no new gaskets, no new o-rings or seals.
 

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I’ve called a few places so far. Coleman Taylor which idk if they are everywhere but in my area they have about 10 shops in a 100 miles radius. They said around 2300 for a rebuild including pulling it. That’s cheaper than I would expect. They said about 1600 for a bench rebuild if I pulled. Another reputable shop said he didn’t wanna give me a price until he could scan it because he has hardly ever found a problem within the trans of 03-05 that it was usually something electronic causing it. He mentioned the engines throttle body or possibly something else controller related. This sounds like nonsense to me given all the evidence but I wanted to mention it and see if anyone else has ever heard this or been told this. If the other shop sticks to 2300 then that doesn’t seem to bad once I realized what a pain it’s gonna be to pull it myself. But what should I look for as far as what all they are gonna do? At that price are they gonna do the bare minimum and neglect some stuff or could I be getting a quality rebuild for that?
At $1600 for a bench rebuild, I think that you should get a very complete job, if the shop does quality work. New clutch frictions, new steels if needed, all new internal piston seals, new o-rings, (all the "soft parts"), an upgrade kit for the valve body to correct some issues that were in the 03, all new gaskets. New solenoids/pressure switches where needed. If you have worn or damaged gears or other hard parts, that may be extra. The builder should strip it right down to the valve bodies and take them apart for inspection. Upgrade the main body, as noted above. The pump should be checked for proper clearance. All gears and bearings should be inspected and worn parts replaced. The case should be steam cleaned and all internal parts cleaned before reassembly. And a decent warranty.
 

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Sounds like possibly a valve body issue with the downshift and no codes. The only hail mary you could do, is replace all the transmission pressure switches, they commonly fail and are simple to replace, and cause weird behavior sometimes without codes. It would be worth that to me to try.... along with a few more drain/fills with fresh fluid. 115k is not a lot of mileage.

Autozone just resells drop shipped reman trannies with a big markup. Don't do that. You can research those and buy direct, or on ebay. You could also buy a used LKQ, or a JDM tranny for near half that amount, but expect pretty substantial labor costs to install. Talk to your local well-respected tranny shops and see if they have a reman brand they like. Do lots of research up front if you go down the tranny swap direction.
M88, before you drop a lot of $ for a rebuild, you should do the 3x drain and fill routine, like boom suggests. He's right, 115k is not that many miles for that transmission. Get it checked for any tranny codes, and do fresh fluid, fresh fluid, fresh fluid!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for taking the time and your responses I appreciate it. I guess I was quick to assume the worst because of all the bad I’ve read. Some people were barely getting half of the mileage I have before having serious problems but I’ll apply the info provided and go from there
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I drained the fluid and it’s really dark. With light shining through it as it come out it looked purple almost black. The plug had gob of metal on it.
 

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I drained the fluid and it’s really dark. With light shining through it as it come out it looked purple almost black. The plug had gob of metal on it.
Hmm. I wouldn't say that having metal on the drain plug is super concerning, because the fact that they made it a magnetic drain plug means there is supposed to be some metal shavings. Drive it a few miles and do another drain and fill. If the fluid keeps becoming super contaminated then you obviously have a problem.

At that point I'd definitely really have to think whether a 2003 car would be worth putting that kind of money into.
 
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