Honda Element Owners Club banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello-

New here. I'm the original owner of a 2006 element with about 65K on it. It runs as well as it did when I drove it off the lot. However- the transmission now lurches in to 2nd gear after it warms up a bit. Any strong acceleration will make it happen, but driving gingerly will avoid it- at first. It occasionally lurches a bit on 3rd and 4th. No leaks.

When it started I realized I hadn't changed the tranny fluid yet thinking because of the low mileage it was just about time to do so, but then realized it's not just mileage but age of the car that's important. I had the fluid replaced, which seemed to solve this at first, but it's now just as pronounced. So I may have caused this by my neglect.

Obviously it needs to be looked at, but I was hoping for some advice/experience before taking it in since I have no idea what I might hear from a mechanic and don't I want to get soaked. Thanks!

Jay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I would change the fluid again and see how that affects the function. You need to replace the fluid in stages as there are many more quarts of fluid in the transmission than is changed at one ‘change’ of three point four quarts. Basically you removing 3.4 quarts with each change of the total 6.8 to 7.2 quarts. With three changes there will still be a quart or more of the old fluid left diluted in the new fluid.

It doesn’t cost much and is certainly worth doing this before going for a mechanical repair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would change the fluid again and see how that affects the function. You need to replace the fluid in stages as there are many more quarts of fluid in the transmission than is changed at one ‘change’ of three point four quarts. Basically you removing 3.4 quarts with each change of the total 6.8 to 7.2 quarts. With three changes there will still be a quart or more of the old fluid left diluted in the new fluid.

It doesn’t cost much and is certainly worth doing this before going for a mechanical repair.
Thanks- I did supply the shop with a full suggested amount (7+ quarts?), but you're meaning is that it wasn't a complete swap of fluids? Out with the old and in with the new?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Thanks- I did supply the shop with a full suggested amount (7+ quarts?), but you're meaning is that it wasn't a complete swap of fluids? Out with the old and in with the new?
They can only remove 3.4 qts at a time. Then the car needs to be run around the block and changed again and then the same yet again. So yes it was not fully changed.

Due to the torque converter holding a large portion of the fluid it takes multiple changes to dilute it down to a minimal amount of old fluid.
 

·
Registered
2007 EX AWD AT (two!); 2008 LX FWD AT
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
Many owners have reported getting almost four quarts to drain out (they measured). Assuming there are 7 quarts in the system total, then:

If you drain and replace four quarts (with a little driving in between):
1 drain and refill: 3/7 = 43% old fluid
2 drain and refill: 3/7 x 3/7 = 18% old fluid
3 drain and refill: 3/7 x 3/7 x 3/7 = 8% old fluid

If you drain 3.4 quarts (what the manual indicates IIRC):
1 drain and refill: 3.6/7 = 51% old fluid
2 drain and refill: 3.6/7 x 3.6/7 = 26% old fluid
3 drain and refill: 3.6/7 x 3.6/7 x 3/6.7 = 14% old fluid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Many owners have reported getting almost four quarts to drain out (they measured). Assuming there are 7 quarts in the system total, then:

If you drain and replace four quarts (with a little driving in between):
1 drain and refill: 3/7 = 43% old fluid
2 drain and refill: 3/7 x 3/7 = 18% old fluid
3 drain and refill: 3/7 x 3/7 x 3/7 = 8% old fluid

If you drain 3.4 quarts (what the manual indicates IIRC):
1 drain and refill: 3.6/7 = 51% old fluid
2 drain and refill: 3.6/7 x 3.6/7 = 26% old fluid
3 drain and refill: 3.6/7 x 3.6/7 x 3/6.7 = 14% old fluid
I'm a maintenance luddite and the local garage I took it to probably smelled it on me. I bought some fluid and gave it to them so I have no idea how they went about it. I doubt if it was fill a bit at a time, drive around the block and repeat kind of thing. I assumed they drained everything and replaced it all at once.

I'm gathering you think that old fluid is causing it to clunk into gear. I hope that's the case vs a new transmission. I guess I could return and ask them how they did it. Right? Thanks for your responses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I'm a maintenance luddite and the local garage I took it to probably smelled it on me. I bought some fluid and gave it to them so I have no idea how they went about it. I doubt if it was fill a bit at a time, drive around the block and repeat kind of thing. I assumed they drained everything and replaced it all at once.

I'm gathering you think that old fluid is causing it to clunk into gear. I hope that's the case vs a new transmission. I guess I could return and ask them how they did it. Right? Thanks for your responses.
It isn’t possible to drain all of the fluid out in one go. As stated above each drain and fill reduces the percentage of old oil.

it would be worth asking what they did.

So to minimize the amount of old fluid, three changes gets you to a decently low level of old fluid.

Yes its worth doing this versus just going to a new/rebuilt transmission.

Replacing the fluid is a good DIY activity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Hello-

New here. I'm the original owner of a 2006 element with about 65K on it. It runs as well as it did when I drove it off the lot. However- the transmission now lurches in to 2nd gear after it warms up a bit. Any strong acceleration will make it happen, but driving gingerly will avoid it- at first. It occasionally lurches a bit on 3rd and 4th. No leaks.

When it started I realized I hadn't changed the tranny fluid yet thinking because of the low mileage it was just about time to do so, but then realized it's not just mileage but age of the car that's important. I had the fluid replaced, which seemed to solve this at first, but it's now just as pronounced. So I may have caused this by my neglect.

Obviously it needs to be looked at, but I was hoping for some advice/experience before taking it in since I have no idea what I might hear from a mechanic and don't I want to get soaked. Thanks!

Jay
Random throughts.

Trans fluid condition is one of the things to observe when diagnosing a transmission concern. By changing the fluid in hopes of solving an operational issue part of the evidence is lost.

Fault codes for the trans must be checked if present. That also gives direction.

Harsh shifting can be the result of an external trans control fault or internal trans fault. That is why a diagnosis is required. Diagnosis does not mean read fault codes and start throwing parts.

Fluid maintenance is done on a time or mileage basis, whichever comes first. People who do not drive their vehicle much lose sight of this and sometimes it causes problems.

Honda transmissions should only use original Honda transmission fluid of the type specified for the transmission in question. No exceptions.

Some shops service transmissions by draining and refilling the fluid. As stated this doe not change all of the fluid. Some shops have a flush machine that pushes new transmission fluid into the transmission through one of the transmission cooler lines that go to the radiator. If they do it correctly that pushes the old fluid out though the other cooler line to the machine. That changes more fluid but not necessarily all of it.
 

·
Registered
2007 EX AWD AT (two!); 2008 LX FWD AT
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
Good point Rustedwrench, goddboxx didn't say anything about codes, but good to check. Like you say, it could be a solenoid which beats changing out a transmission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi

Thanks for all the comments. Since I'm not able to work on the Element, tomorrow (Friday) I'm taking it in to the local garage that changed the fluid. They say they can check the codes. As you can tell from my questions I'm not familiar with transmission issues, and I'm sure that's obvious to the mechanics.

Years ago I had a nightmare scenario with a transmission shop (different car) that was egregious enough that the NYS DMV intervened and forced the shop to refund the $1200 I had paid them. I don't want to be taken advantage of- what should I be aware of? I'm afraid, of course, of being overcharged for something like a new transmission when it could be a simpler problem. If there's any tips on how to go about this, I'd be appreciative. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
2007 EX AWD AT (two!); 2008 LX FWD AT
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
How much do you trust the shop? Ask them all the questions we asked in the posts above. Just like doctors, get a second opinion. Ask friends/family about shops they trust.
 

·
Registered
2009 Honda Element EX
Joined
·
13 Posts
Hello-

New here. I'm the original owner of a 2006 element with about 65K on it. It runs as well as it did when I drove it off the lot. However- the transmission now lurches in to 2nd gear after it warms up a bit. Any strong acceleration will make it happen, but driving gingerly will avoid it- at first. It occasionally lurches a bit on 3rd and 4th. No leaks.

When it started I realized I hadn't changed the tranny fluid yet thinking because of the low mileage it was just about time to do so, but then realized it's not just mileage but age of the car that's important. I had the fluid replaced, which seemed to solve this at first, but it's now just as pronounced. So I may have caused this by my neglect.

Obviously it needs to be looked at, but I was hoping for some advice/experience before taking it in since I have no idea what I might hear from a mechanic and don't I want to get soaked. Thanks!

Jay
Hey Jay. Wish I would have seen this earlier, before you sent it to an auto shop. I have an 09 Element that had the exact same issue. Took it to a transmission place that was recommended in Queens. I also wanted to have the transmission oil replaced, but he said there was no need. He ran diagnostics and it was found to be an oil pressure sensor on the transmission. A known issue. $50 part. Purchased it, came back the next week and the owner proceeded to berate the young mechanic because he, the owner, wanted to charge me for a complete rebuild. Cursed me out for wasting his time when I declined. In the week before returning, I researched the part and its problems associated with it. The signs and symptoms were exactly what you and I experienced. I replaced it using a neighborhood mechanic and haven't had a problem since. It's called a 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor. Research it using youtube and you will see. Hope this helps. (Don't let these transmission shops jerk you around. They are the worst, especially in NY)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey Jay. Wish I would have seen this earlier, before you sent it to an auto shop. I have an 09 Element that had the exact same issue. Took it to a transmission place that was recommended in Queens. I also wanted to have the transmission oil replaced, but he said there was no need. He ran diagnostics and it was found to be an oil pressure sensor on the transmission. A known issue. $50 part. Purchased it, came back the next week and the owner proceeded to berate the young mechanic because he, the owner, wanted to charge me for a complete rebuild. Cursed me out for wasting his time when I declined. In the week before returning, I researched the part and its problems associated with it. The signs and symptoms were exactly what you and I experienced. I replaced it using a neighborhood mechanic and haven't had a problem since. It's called a 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor. Research it using youtube and you will see. Hope this helps. (Don't let these transmission shops jerk you around. They are the worst, especially in NY)
Well, fate intervened twice- first, your post, and second- I didn't go today! Wow, that's very good news. However, there IS gear slippage in other gears, but seldom and not nearly as strong. When it first warms up, it's okay, but the longer it's driven the worse it gets shifting into 2nd.

Any kind of forceful acceleration will cause it to jerk into 2nd, but if I baby it and let up the gas a little before it shifts it can be finessed. Does this still sound like your issue? Thanks so much! So glad I checked this again. Googling 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor now!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Hey Jay. Wish I would have seen this earlier, before you sent it to an auto shop. I have an 09 Element that had the exact same issue. Took it to a transmission place that was recommended in Queens. I also wanted to have the transmission oil replaced, but he said there was no need. He ran diagnostics and it was found to be an oil pressure sensor on the transmission. A known issue. $50 part. Purchased it, came back the next week and the owner proceeded to berate the young mechanic because he, the owner, wanted to charge me for a complete rebuild. Cursed me out for wasting his time when I declined. In the week before returning, I researched the part and its problems associated with it. The signs and symptoms were exactly what you and I experienced. I replaced it using a neighborhood mechanic and haven't had a problem since. It's called a 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor. Research it using youtube and you will see. Hope this helps. (Don't let these transmission shops jerk you around. They are the worst, especially in NY)
I have 03 4wd 4A 149k. I have the 1-2 jerky shift. Second gear pressure switch did not fix mine. Tried that first because it's cheap and I can do. My work around is slide through all the stop signs and lights so it won't go down to 1st. Actually very light throttle gives a smooth shift. Really hard throttle gives a good shift. The problem is light to medium throttle we all use all the time gives hard shift. Now I drive it like a stick. Medium throttle up to about 3k rpm then lift throttle, wait for the shift, then drive normally.

There is an extensive discussion of this problem on this site. Type "transmission" into the search bar. When I can get a hole in my garage, I am going to remove the actuators and test them, and check the screen etc. Hard to motivate for 2k miles per year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dear Daddy Don- A lot of different stuff comes up when I google 'Honda Element 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor'. Hard to determine what's what. Could you please send a link to the part you found? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
2009 Honda Element EX
Joined
·
13 Posts
Dear Daddy Don- A lot of different stuff comes up when I google 'Honda Element 2nd gear transmission oil pressure sensor'. Hard to determine what's what. Could you please send a link to the part you found? Thanks!
Sorry for slow response Jay. Drove down to NC and was sleep most of the day. Yes, that is the exact part. It’s actually really simple to replace. The only reason I had someone do it was because I couldn’t take the bumper off to get to it. And yes, those are the exact same symptoms I had. If you really want to be sure, go to Autozone and let them run a diagnostic check. They don’t charge. But as Ricktheace stated, this is a common issue with a couple of reasons. This is just the cheapest and the one that worked for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry for slow response Jay. Drove down to NC and was sleep most of the day. Yes, that is the exact part. It’s actually really simple to replace. The only reason I had someone do it was because I couldn’t take the bumper off to get to it. And yes, those are the exact same symptoms I had. If you really want to be sure, go to Autozone and let them run a diagnostic check. They don’t charge. But as Ricktheace stated, this is a common issue with a couple of reasons. This is just the cheapest and the one that worked for me.
No problem. Thanks so much! I was anticipating a huge bill 💸. I just ordered the part. I don't have the resources to work on it so once I get the part I'll take it in to a local shop. Will the fluid need changing or topping off during this procedure? I'll need to put in an order for that too if so.

The local Autozone said they wouldn't test it because the engine warning light hadn't come on.

Once again, thanks so much for the advice.
 

·
Registered
2009 Honda Element EX
Joined
·
13 Posts
No fluid change needed. You’re very welcomed. This site has helped me tremendously since I bought my Element last year...just paying it forward.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top