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I bought a 99 gs coupe last June and the trans revs up between 3rd and 4th when its cold. Smooths out once it warms up but jumps in and out of overdrive. What can I do to fix this without a rebuild. Has 227,000 miles on it.

40 Posts
Automatic transmissions are bizarre feats of engineering. They contain almost as many parts as the entire remainder of the car combined, but at the end of the day...they're very similar to the engine. The transmission fluid in the Integra 4AT's are supposed to be changed every 3 years/ 36,000 mi. It can cook and wear out just like the oil in your engine. Foolishly and I can't explain why...Integra AT filters are internal which makes them infinitely more dangerous to replace as your risk of damage during dis/assembly or contamination is high. Here are some possibilities that might help steer you in the right direction:
  • Fluid level is too low or too high and making transmission run erratically. Use yellow dipstick hidden under air intake pipe & check level, color, and smell. Should be red, slippery, and not-burnt smelling. Top off or drain and refill. This is a sealed system so find out where it's leaking (cooler hoses, CV axle seals, rear main seal, etc.). DO NOT use stop leak in your transmission. Locate and fix the leak properly. I use a Lisle 17252 transmission funnel to replace ATF and it works amazingly at not spilling fluid while filling into a port that some idiot located in an unreachable place. (14-98)
  • Fluid is cooked or full of crud and needs to be changed. Replace with Valvoline ATF, Castrol ATF, Honda OEM ATF. I list Valvoline first because I use it, it's readily available ($20/gal at Walmart), and relatively cheap. You might also need some Lucas Stop Slip, but I would do a regular drain & fill and see how to drives first. There are methods for doing a more thorough DIY flush that I might cover in a second post. Fluid issues might account for 80% of all AT problems...mostly because of people being lazy and not replacing it every 3 yr / 36,000 mi along with ALL of the other fluids Honda says to replace every 3/36 (coolant, brake, etc.).
  • Shift solenoids are gunked up and need to be VERY carefully cleaned or replaced.
  • Valve body has debris blocking passages. Clean everything surrounding the transmission, clean it again, drain ATF, remove pan, VERY carefully remove valve body and clean thoroughly with brake cleaner, looking for bits and pieces of clutch packs that have broke free and made their way to somewhere they shouldn't. This is a good time to replace filter. You will need to watch MANY valve body rebuild videos, feel comfortable with what you're doing, and have the factory manual in your hand and read the section (14-121) at least TWICE before beginning. This op is not for the faint of heart.
  • Filter is clogged limiting fluid flow and overworking pump. Same as valve body above.
  • Torque Converter could be having issues. This one is the probably the least lilkely. Replacement is involved, but not too terrible (14-118).
  • Clutch packs are worn out and are fubaring everything as they send pieces of junk into the ATF and then circulate throughout the whole system. This requires professional repair or entire AT rebuild/ replacement with reman. But why do the clutch packs wear out? Answer: Because fluid wasn't changed at regular intervals and, or overheating issues.

40 Posts
There are three methods to replace your automatic transmission fluid. They are all relatively easy; however... I and TI take NO responsibility for your actions in regards to your transmission. If you attempt, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. Read this MULTIPLE times before even considering anything you read here.

A. Professional Flush ($$$, super easy) - Mechanic will connect machine to your ATF cooler hoses and will pump old fluid out and new fluid in. This will get all of the fluid replaced, however, if you have excessive bits and chucks of clutch material or metal flakes floating around, there's a possibility that they can get lodged into any of one million crevices in the valve body. Speak with your car care professional to understand everything involved. If you are not mechanically inclined, this choice is your best bet.

B. DIY Drain & Fill ($, easy) - Buy more ATF fluid (1 gal = 4 qt) than you think you will need.
  1. Park car with wheels turned to the left.
  2. With engine cold, use 1/2" socket wrench or 1/2" breaker bar to open drain plug. Drain ATF.
  3. Replace plug & crush washer. Screw in plug by hand and use 1/2" torque wrench to torque plug to 36 ft-lbs. DO NOT overtighten.
  4. Use Lisle funnel to refill transmission at the dipstick port. The amount you replace should equal the amount you took out if the level was correct before you began. Fill less than the amount listed in the diagram above and use the dipstick to check the cold level. Add a little more and check again. Slowly and meticulously repeat until full. DO NOT overfill.
  5. Start car and allow to reach operating temperature. Test drive car on back roads starting off slowly to check for changes in shifting...shifts should be faster and smoother now.
  6. Park car, wait for it to completely cool, and check levels again. DO NOT overfill.
  7. Optional: In 2-4 weeks, you can drain & fill again if you feel the need. Why would you feel the need??? Drain & fills only remove about 1/3 of the fluid per instance and mixing will occur between d&f's. The more of the fluid in the transmission that is clean vs. old, the better it will run.
C. DIY Flush ($$, med. difficulty) - Buy more ATF than you think you're going to need. This procedure is more risky than a drain & fill but should catch 90-95% of the fluid. Automatic transmissions are basically giant pumps. The pump moves the [hydraulic] fluid through every component and then dumps it back into the drain pan [sump] where the pump picks it up and it cycles through again. You can use this to your advantage to allow the transmission to pump its own fluid out where you collect it for proper disposal. You will need 3 clear gallon jugs (e.g. clean 1-gal milk or water jugs) to complete this procedure so drink up. Use a measuring cup and water from your kitchen to mark 1-pt increments on all three jugs with a sharpie. (8 oz = 1 cup), (16 oz = 1 pint), (32 oz = 1 quart), and (4 qt = 1 gal). Mark one jug NEW and two OLD. Wear safety glasses.
  1. Optional: One week before your DIY Flush, add Seafoam TransTune to your transmission according to Seafoam's directions. This is NOT regular Seafoam so pay attention at the store. Drive car for a week. This will cause all of the crap to go into suspension in the fluid so that when you change the fluid, the crap will come out with it.
  2. With car parked on level surface, set parking brake, and chock rear wheels. Lift car using a floor jack and set on jack stands (AKA safety stands). Verify everything is solid before getting under the car. DO NOT climb under a car supported by only a floor jack.
  3. With engine cold, complete Drain & Fill as listed above in part B.
  4. Remove the fuel pump relay or fuse.
  5. Take the air intake pipe off of your filter housing and throttle body.
  6. Disconnect both hoses from your transmission cooler (typically built-in to your radiator, the pair of small hoses) and place into OLD measured gallon jug.
    • If these hoses are cracked, gooey, squishy, leaking, hard, or otherwise nasty, now is the time to replace them. I think they're 5/8" ID Transmission hose--you will confirm by taking them with you in a bag to the parts store...they will leak into the bag. Generic AT hose is acceptable for this application.
    • You will have to HOLD the hose into the "OLD" jug because the hose will want to jump out and shoot fluid everywhere. This is why it has to be cold.
  7. With a friend at the wheel, have him or her turn the key to start the car and allow the starter to turn the engine. The turning engine should turn the transmission (even in Park) and cause the fluid to start to flow. Shout out to your friend to STOP when you get to 1 pint ( =1/2 quart =16 oz) (or after 12 sec so that you don't burn out the starter).
    • This is a process and as the diagram above tells you...there's about 6 qt total. That's 12-13 resets if you're pulling a pint at a time. Patience pays off here. If you get greedy and take out too much at once you run the risk of SEIZING your transmission...AKA FOREVER DEAD. Don't do that.
  8. Measure one pint of new ATF with the CLEAN jug and pour it into your Lisle funnel to refill the amount you just took out.
  9. Repeat steps 7-8 slowly and meticulously until the new fluid comes out (clear red).
  10. Reconnect the transmission cooler hoses, re-use the stock spring clamps, and check for a secure fit.
  11. Use the transmission dipstick to check & adjust the fluid level a little at a time. DO NOT overfill.
  12. Reinstall the AT dipstick and air intake pipe. Run the starter again to move the fluid through the ATF cooler. Check for leaks.
  13. Lower the car, remove the chocks, reinstall the fuel pump relay, start the car and allow it to reach operating temperature. Look, listen, smell. Before going ANYWHERE, check for leaks again.
  14. Take car for an EASY test drive on uncrowded back roads. Have your friend follow you in their car. Drive easy for 10 minutes (less than 45mph including stop and go's). See how it feels. If good, go somewhere where you can accelerate faster and stop & go so your transmission can work through all of the gears.
  15. Park car, wait for it to completely cool, and check ATF fluid levels again. DO NOT overfill.
If you elect to do #B or #C above, mark the jugs "ATF" and bring the old transmission fluid to your local hazerdous waste recycling facility (typically at your county or city landfill). DO NOT pour it into your used motor oil container or else the autoparts stores will reject the mixed concoction. DO NOT be a douche and pour it onto the ground, down the drain, or in a storm drain or we will all HATE you FOREVER. Just drop it off for free recycling at the hazmat place. It's not that hard.

Good luck and I hope this helps you.

Mods, feel free to make this its own DIY thread if you think it's warranted. Thanks.
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