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Discussion Starter #1
Was driving our 04 4WD MT today and it suddenly dropped out of gear and the check engine light came on. Was able to get it home (about 5 miles) by changing gears (usually selecting up) every time it dropped out of gear. I have called Honda and have an appointment to have it looked at on Monday but was wondering the following.

1. Any idea what could be wrong.

2. Do you think I can make it the 20 miles to the dealer?
 

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Without knowing what gear it is dropping out makes it difficult to answer your question. If it is 1ST and 2ND, it is probably a linkage problem. Does the shift mechanism feel sloppy or different?
 

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do you have any towing covrage??? if so why chance it,,if you can have it towed for free,,,then just tow it..good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The shift mechanism feels fine, and it tended to drop out of 4th or 5th. I was able to successfully get it to the dealer without too much trouble by putting it in 5th at running around 50mph with the cruise on. It was a straight shot on mostly out of town roads without lights so not varying the throttle much seemed to help.

The dealer put it on the computer where he was told its an internal transmission problem :shock: (Who could have predicted that). They have to pull the trans out to see whats wrong to the tune of $350. Hopefully its just a throwout bearing or something clutch relanted and I'll have them just do the clutch. I'm at 140K so no point in paying for one issue now and a clutch in 6 months to a year.

I'll keep you posted.
 

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That is very odd that the check engine light came on right when the tranny popped out. I didnt think there was anything on an MT Element transmission that could trigger a CEL? Are you 100% sure it was related?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes the check engine light and trans problem both occurred at the same time.

Just talked to the dealer and they have the tranny out but not opened. He said it definitely needs a clutch but also there are some broken gear teeth (Thats all I have at the moment).

Too bad I can't get them to do the six speed upgrade while its all in pieces :)

I'm afraid the bill for this is going to be staggering.
 

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Yes the check engine light and trans problem both occurred at the same time.

Just talked to the dealer and they have the tranny out but not opened. He said it definitely needs a clutch but also there are some broken gear teeth (Thats all I have at the moment).

Too bad I can't get them to do the six speed upgrade while its all in pieces :)

I'm afraid the bill for this is going to be staggering.
If I were you I'd start shopping around for a used tranny right now. Probably a lot cheaper than a rebuild.



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Discussion Starter #10
So the verdict from the dealer is in. The main differential is broken and metal has contaminated the entire transmission. Here are the three options all basically amounting to the same solution.

Used transmission with new clutch - $3100
New transmission with new clutch - $3775
Rebuild transmission with new clutch - $3300

Realizing the dealer will be higher, are these prices at least in the ball park for the work being done?

I haven't decided what to do at the moment. Putting to E out to pasture may also be on the plate.
 

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Find a local mechanic and have them source a used tranny and install it with a new clutch, it will be way cheaper then the dealer!!

John
 

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First of all, DO NOT REBUILD this transmission. If the contamination was so bad from the disintegrating diff that it lunched everything else, there is no guarantee that even the most conscientious cleanup job is going to fix it. I learned to overhaul M/Ts very early in my life because a bonehead dealership mechanic didn't thoroughly clean things after replacing a synchro. I was replacing shaft bearings one at a time over a three-year period, naively thinking every time that "this one" was going to be the last.

I would be most concerned about bearing seating tolerances, esp. around the diff races. Also, I'd have reservations about selector assembly bushing slop and fork wear since these are mild bearing surfaces that don't have published specs for wear tolerances.

Given the high miles on yours, if your dealer finds a clean used transmission with under 70K miles, go for it. It should last the remainder of the no-hassle life of the rest of the vehicle.

The quotes are a touch high overall since a transmission R/R should take a pro about 8 hours, with $100/hr a typical shop rate. Backing into it, they're charging you ~$1200 for the labor. (Actually, that's somewhat reasonable. A high-mileage vehicle like yours will have hidden issues, so we need an additional four hours' allowance for cuss-word time.)

This all said, I'm scratching my head at what would cause the problem in the first place. That's a pretty major cascading failure for something not especially known for it.
 

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Crazedlist element transmissions for sale...
Oops. None of those had prices, none mentioned M/T, and one specifically stated "automatic".

Not to mention... considering that <10% of Elements are M/T, the chance that any random E being parted-out on Craigslist would have a suitable replacement in the timeframe needed is like, well, zero. Chances are better with the lottery. Which would solve the problem, too, I guess. :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Am waiting on a call back from a local trans shop with a decent reputation. I'm going to see what they have to say and go from there. My intent was to drive the E till it died and it may just have.

Mike, I agree with you about not rebuilding the current trans, what I'm trying to decide is if I have the dealer fix it, is it worth the $600 to just get a new trans all together. The warranty on the used is 90 days. On the new and rebuild is 12month 12K.

The dealer is also going to give me a quote on taking the e off my hands as is (The wife wants a minivan) Realizing this is a shot in the dark question, any idea what it might be worth?
 

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According to KBB, trade-in value - what the dealer would offer you - is in the $5500 range after it is fixed. The high mileage is what's killing you. Anyway, as it sits, it's worth around $2K.

Yeah, you're definitely at that point where you have to ask yourself if it's worth the hassle and uncertainty after such a drastic fix. One thing for sure - it's not worth $700 more for a new transmission. That "90 days vs. 1 yr" on the parts warranty is mostly meaningless. This is a go/no-go situation. The used transmission will more or less be proven on the trip home. If it's good out the door, and they replaced the oil and checked or replaced the seals between the inboard CVJs, there shouldn't be much of a concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Talked to the local trans shop and the two used transmissions they found would be $3235 (77K) or $3435 (57K) so there isn't really any advantage not using the dealer. Am going to talk to one more shop and then decide.

At the moment scrapping the E may be leading the pack. The dealer is suppose to make me an offer on it. The $2K you indicated Mike is kind of the number I was looking for. I'm guessing they offer me $1K or not at all.
 
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