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Discussion Starter #1
2004 with Transmission issue....

So for the last month i have been driving and having some vibrations coming through the steering wheel when cruising at 45 mph. Now this has happened at speeds from 25-70 but mostly around the 45mph range. I finially took it to my local mechanic who drove the element and said from feeling and hearing the noise he is guessing it is the torqe converter. Now they advised my of the suspected problem prior to any further diagnostic tests run.

So luckly i paid for the extended warranty offered through my dealer which covers the power train until 7 years 70000 miles. So i called them up and they notified me that if the problem is deamed a transmission issue that i would be covered minus the $50 deductable. So i have made an appointment at my local honda dealer tomorrow to run some tests to figure out the problem.

I will keep everyone advised. At this point i am hoping it is a Transmission issue so it will not cost me......keep your fingers crossed. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ok, This problem started in June 08 but here is the story..


When cruising at about 40-50 mph with a steady foot i get a horrible vibration that i can feel in the steering wheel and the gas pedal. As soon as i let off the gas or accelerate it goes away. This only happens in this speed range. Never in a neighborhood and never on the highway.

I brought it to the dealer in June 08 who drove it left and right and could not get it to make the vibration. So i paid them $40 and said i will bring it back when it gets worse. Now here we are almost a year later and it is still happening. It happens almost every day. There are no codes and no check engine light. Honda tells me they run the normal tests and all are negative. I am about 12000 miles from the end of my extended warrenty and i fear this may be transmission related. I really don't want the E breaking down on a road trip.

I have surfed the forums and can't find anythign too similar. I have tried fuel ingector clearner, getting my alignment checked and have preformed all preventative maintenance.

Please throw out your ideas.
 

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sounds almost like a wheel balance issue. A tire alignment would cause constant (not speed related) problems. Have a reputable shop check tire balance in your front tires.
 

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sounds like the axles are going bad to me. I had this issue with my integra. Its the fact that its there when cruising and goes away under acceleration or deceleration that makes me suspect this is the problem.

Wheel balance is independent of acceleration/deceleration.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i have been thinking this too. I am almost positive i have had the tires balanced by Firestone (where i bought my tires) in the past year....i will check reciepts though...

I have been told that there are certain tire balanacing machines that tend to work better than others.... any truth to this? Where do you get your tire work done?

Thanks for the help.
 

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When cruising at about 40-50 mph with a steady foot i get a horrible vibration that i can feel in the steering wheel and the gas pedal. As soon as i let off the gas or accelerate it goes away. This only happens in this speed range.
If you've been driving with this problem for a year and its suspension-caused, there should be some evidence of uneven tire wear, and the wear patten should help you locate the problem. If the tire is hopping or fluttering from imbalance, there should be significant visible wear on one part of the tread. A toe-in or camber misadjustment can produce steering vibration in a speed range, and will also show uneven wear across the entire tread belt from inside to out. An out of round tire can be in balance on the wheel and still cause vibration. A warped rotor plate can cause front end shake.

To identify wheel balance or tread squirm, rotate the front tires straight back and see if the problem stays in the front. If it moves to the back, it's a wheel/tire issue. If it stays constant, the problem is in the front suspension. WHile the wheels are off, look for any evidence that the wheels are either bent or were not seated squarely on the hubs when they were last mounted. A tire rebalance may be called for; you should have this done yearly or whenever you detect uneven wear. Realignment is called for whenever a shake or pull in in the steering is noticeable. During alignment service any abnormal wear in the suspension should be be detected.

Also look at what work was done on the vehicle just prior to when you first detected the problem. When did you buy the Firestone tires?

Just fyi, I've been getting my rebalancing done by Discount Tire where I bought the tires. Their installation price includes "free" rebalancing, which should be done every 5-6000 miles or at least once a year. If it were me, I would have gone back to Firestone as soon as I felt a front end shake. A good tire tech can tell if a tire, balance or suspension problem is the problem, and you would want to know to preserve your treadlife warranty coverage.
 

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i have been thinking this too. I am almost positive i have had the tires balanced by Firestone (where i bought my tires) in the past year....i will check reciepts though...

I have been told that there are certain tire balanacing machines that tend to work better than others.... any truth to this? Where do you get your tire work done?

Thanks for the help.
I always buy my tires from Discount Tire Co b/c they have free lifetime balancing. They will also price match anyone (including online tire prices, if you include shipping). If I even suspect that the tires are out of balance, I take it in. It makes it a lot easier to diagnose shaking problems when you have no hesitance to get it rebalanced.
 

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Just because you had you tires balanced when you bought them doesn't mean they are still balanced.......the "weights" can get knocked off or even fall off - just my personal experience
 

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Consider the AWD driveshaft and the front half-axles. Driveshafts - especially long ones - can get into a frequency-specific harmonic vibration situation if everything "isn't just so". Even crud/mud on the driveshaft can give you this sort of problem, so it might be worth peering under the car.
 

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Besides all the things above witch sound very plausable have you put any thing like Fix a Flat iin one or more of your tires? When I was doing tires I had a person with a BMW say that no one can get rid of the shaking in his car and when I was balancing the tires one would not come to zero. Pulled the tire off the rim and it had a full cans worth of that stuff. Also check and see if you have a tire out of round as you can balance that out but it will still shake the car a little. The reason why it does it at only that speed is there is a thing called ressonance frequency where the shaking will get amplified. As tired as I am I hope I spelled that right!:twisted: Another thing is if you can get ahold of another set of wheels and tires throw them on and see if it changes or goes away.
 

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My 2cents worth-----I like pss's idea of rotating your tires and wheels from front to back for a quick check. Also, when you purchased your tires, did you purchase all four and of same make for your AWD Element?
Wheel balancing is mostly wrong when done off the car. Some are better than others, but all are off some. It is done this way for their convenience, not for better accuracy. The only true balance is under sidewall load and can be done on the car (not sure about Honda's AWD) and on a special off-car pressure balance machine usually found only in very high end wheel stores. We had a shop here with one until they closed up. Good luck;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
UPDATE:

Ok Honda called and they finally got it to make the vibration. They assured me it was not a tire balance issue because you can't just "drive out of" a tire imbalance. Basically he was saying that they vibration would go away if you continued to accelerate but not with mine if you just hit the gas it is then gone.

They are now thinking it is the Torque Converter. Which i believe is Transmission related. They have been on the phone iwht Honda Hotline and sending them data to confirm the diagnosis be fore they rip my E apart. I think they are trying to ge tthe E to make the vibration while on a lift and taking some data from the CPU and sending it off...

The good news is i have an extended warranty for the engine and Transmission. So please tell me the torque converter is part of the transmission!!! Also i got a BG Tranny Flush on the E and that technically warranties your transmission as long as you continue to get their flush every 30K so i could try them if my extended warrenty falls through. I hope i don't have to pay for this but either way i want my E fixed. I should know today or tomorrow the estimate and then i can call the warranty people. I will keep you gys posted.

On a lighter note i only have 1 more E payment. :)
 

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Just curious---what is a BG trans flush all about? Actually, you can drive out of most light weight tire balance issues---most often felt, more strongly, in the 40 to 60 mph range.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
from bgfindashop.com

Problem:
After 30,000 miles, transmission fluid begins to show its age as it turns brown in color and oxidizes due to the combination of time and heat. Deposits begin to form around the transmission’s many moving parts, resulting in valves that stick and gears that slip or are sluggish and chatter as they shift.

Solution:
Rather than just removing the fluid found in the bottom of the pan, the entire transmission is cleaned and replenished with the use of special equipment. The transmission and its torque converter have all of their old contaminated fluid removed while new fluid and premium conditioners are added.

One of the hardest working parts of your vehicle will shift smoothly and effortlessly for many more trouble-free miles.


Bascially my father in law swears by it and if you get them done every 30k miles they garuntee your transmission for life...ie they will pay like up to 2000 to fix it if it goes. Some people are not a fan because they feel that it can put "pressure" on the trans lines. But all in all i have heard positive things. Although Honda recommends just a normal fluid change many dealers offer BG services.
 

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I figured it was the same method the local fluid shops use. I have had the fluid changed in my truck like this and it still works great. I don't let them use the varnish remover. I only found out through this forum about Honda recommending not to flush. I have had one experience flushing a Honda Accord. It had been shifting fine, I just wanted to be nice to it. It resulted in 3rd gear shift slippage immediately afterward, so we do our Element the Honda recommended way of drain/fill, drain/fill---67,000 and still shifting perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK it is the torque converter.... you cannot buy just a torque converter from honda so i am getting a new Tranny. It is going to cost around $2900 but after my extended warrenty kicks in i should pay $50.

So i will let you know how this plans out. And at least i get an additional 3yr 36k mile warrenty on my new Tranny.

Looks like i will be without the E for about a week :(
 

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I have heard of the torque converter going out of balance but you will also get it to shake just by pressing on the gas even in neutral or park. and yes you can gas it to get out of a tire balance. The other thing is if a tire is out just a little and there is something a little loose in the front end you might be feeling one of the tires wobbling just like a shopping cart and when you gas it the car actually goes a little toe in and that could be stopping the shaking. Its hard to diagnose without seeing it.
 

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