My car is paralyzed

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Some of y'all may remember the My Project Thread a few years back. That car has been so good to me but for the first time in 4 years of ownership, she stranded me today. I was entering I-65 when I heard a pop and then a rapid clicking noise, accompanied by some light smoke out the back. Pulled over to check it out and I found an oil like fluid pouring out of it. Too clean to be motor oil (close to needing a change), only thing else it could be is... uh-oh. MTF...Manual Transmission Fluid.



...Transmission done gone kaplooy.

SO, my brother and I figure 1 of 3 possibilities. Since we didn't feel any MTF on the axles, it's likely a cracked casing, ($420 plus labor to transplant parts if internals OK, but doubtful), busted differential ($80-250 depending on where I get it plus labor), or a cog exploded and flew into the diff (new transmission or a rebuild, either way, expensive as hell).

Engine still runs like a champ, but has no way of transferring power to the wheels. Before it leaked itself empty of MTF, it would still pull so it may be repairable. I'm hoping it's just the diff since that's the cheapest but knowing my recent luck and VERY few hours at work, it's gonna be the rebuild/replace option.

If it's worst case scenario, I'm likely to no longer be Honda Boy, or well at least not in the sense of ownership, but rather Toyota or even possibly Volkswagen Boy. Right now I'm driving my dad's 98 Toyota Tacoma, which he has been hinting that he might give it to me in a few months anyway. But my brother said if it's gonna cost more than I can afford to fix it, he'd buy my car from me. He also offered to sell me his 07 Jetta but that's very doubtful. It's a possibility if I can get a new job, or more hours at my current job but it's very unlikely.

But I still have my eye on a Prelude I've just spotted though. Looks immaculate, bone stock, but possibly automatic. I'll look at it next week if it's still there (it's back in my hometown).

As much as I love my car, I wasn't too broke up about it. Yes, while I was on the side of the road, I was cussin up a storm but I stopped and thought for a second. "Ya know, I can't be too mad. It took FOUR YEARS for this beater that I originally found in pieces to leave me stranded." Back over 3 years ago, the poor thing had a destroyed clutch, but managed to limp back home from another town. If it does turn out to be super expensive, it's gonna be a tough choice between a loan for repairs or selling her.

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Hi HB,

I think TT's suggestion is a good one. Time and money wise it's probably your best bet. I know how you feel, between spring and summer my truck gave me fits with several problems.good luck and let us know how you make out.

take care,


Edited by novi
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Transmission replacement on this thing isn't necessarily a cheaper option. USDM/UKDM/EDM B16A transmissions are hard enough to find in good shape,and when you do, they ain't cheap. JDM B16A transmissions are probably more plentiful, but fetch a higher price. It's very likely that I could buy and swap an entire B18B (1.8L Non-VTEC Integra RS/LS/GS engine) setup for less than what a lot of people ask for these things. However, if I luck out and find one at Pull-A-Part, it'd be pretty cheap.

isteve, it still could move under it's own power before it the transmission leaked itself empty. And you're right, I'm not particularly thrilled about the VW but it is MUCH newer and 100% stock and well taken care of.

If I get another car, I'm steering clear of anything modified most likely.

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Since he hasn't opened back yet and he has other cars in front of it, my mechanic hasn't had a look at it yet but after listening to what happened, he thinks the transmission is toast. He thinks he can source me a rebuilt one for $800 if need be which is better than what they normally go for without a rebuild.

My Christmas present this Christmas is looking to be a transmission replacement, timing belt job, and new catalytic converter. Not exactly the motherboard, games, and external hard drive I wanted but I guess reliable transportation is always good. But, the transmission I am gonna have to pay back at least some of it since my parents are gonna borrow the money from my granny apparently.

I'm gonna start bothering the management at work for more hours and if I don't get them, I'm hunting for a new job that will give me hours.

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OK, what happened was the exact opposite of what my brother thought. Instead of a piece of cog getting shot into the differential, a piece of the differential was shot into the cogs pretty much destroying the transmission. I was actually advised about 3 years ago that the diff was a little worn but not an immediate concern... well I kinda forgot about it and it finally gave out.

SO, the damage... to the family wallets. My mechanic managed to negotiate with H Motors Online to get me a Civic Si transmission fully rebuilt for about $850. Now, these transmissions, that's cheap and since it's rebuilt, that's dirt cheap. Helps to know people. It's also getting a timing belt job since it's probably due for one. I supply the parts, he does the work. All in all, it's gonna about $1500 to do everything... then it's gotta go to an exhaust shop to get a new catalytic converter put on but that's cheap compared to everything else. $70 for the cat, and I'd guess $50 or less for the install. This shop made and installed an entire cat back exhaust for me for $100 so it may be cheaper.

So it's not costing NEAR as much as I feared. So I'm basically takin a car that was worth around $3500 before the problem, about $2000 after the problem and jacking the value back up to about $4500-5000. Not a bad deal if you ask me. But I plan to continue driving this car till the wheels fall off.

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If it were an American car with Rear Wheel Drive , I would definitely go with going to the junk yard for a used transmission.

Given it is a honda, well probably a transverse mounted engine with the transmission shoved into the engine compartment.

Basically need to pull the engine to get to the transmission.

I'd probably let a pro do it or junk the car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And she's back in action... although I haven't driven her yet. My dad called me last night and said "Guess what I'm driving?" So it's all done except the catalytic converter since it has to go to a muffler shop for that. My dad told me that my mechanic, being the always awesome guy he is, has fixed a bunch of other crap while he was at it. So now my inside hatch release works again, my fuel door release works again, and I just need to acquire one little piece and my back-up lights will work again. I think he did some other stuff too but I'm not sure what all he did. All I know is, it's gonna almost like a new car.

Man I can't wait to go home and get my baby back. I don't get to go home until Tuesday though cause of work.

Edited by Honda_Boy
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No emissions checks in my home county where it's registered. It wouldn't pass even with the new cat cause it's OBD2 and is throwing a code for a non-existent Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor. The engine swap and ECU are from a car that had one (99 Civic Si) but my car is a 96 hatchback which no hatchback had the FTP sensor.

And the back up lights, if you just back out slowly, you're good. Most people don't notice the dang things anyway. I do still want them working though. It's annoying backing up somewhere with no light.

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I've had my car back a few days now and baby is she ever driving sweet. Smooth shifts, power has fully returned, oh it's just great. Turns out, I do not need a new cat. I scanned my car at work yesterday and the only code that came back (other than the ignored FTP sensor codes) was just that my upstream o2 sensor was putting out high voltage. So, just order a new Denso sensor from Amazon, pop it in and it's runnin like new.

Even without that my fuel economy has skyrocketed back to it's old numbers. I was getting 18 MPG at the worst of it. Upon last check it hit 24 MPG when my dad filled it up and with this most recent tank that I haven't finished yet, it looks like it could be getting 30+ MPG.

Aside from the o2 sensor, all I have to worry about at the moment is the alignment. It's pulling to the left.

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