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Old 01-02-2010, 06:59 AM   #1
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Default 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

I've got a 1996 DX Hatchback with an automatic transmission that's shifting really sluggishly.
The car is 100% stock. D16Y7 engine, 4 speed automatic.

It's not slipping in any way, but a lot of times when I press the throttle, it takes a couple seconds to downshift.

Sometimes when starting from a dead stop (IE Stop sign or red light), it almost feels like a neutral drop.

It's the same way on upshift when I let up on the throttle (IE I'm on the highway and I do not need to accelerate any more), the upshift takes a few seconds and it'll actually be engine braking for a second or two before it upshifts.


I'd normally assume that this would be a loose kickdown cable that goes from the throttle to the transmission. I could not find this cable on the car.

Then I thought it my be a vacuum modulator that uses engine vacuum to determine when to shift. I could not find any vacuum lines from the engine to the transmission.

This brings me to one major question, how does the automatic transmission know when to shift?! There has to be some connection between the engine and transmission aside from the torque converter to flexplate.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

I'm not surprise, honda makes horrible automatic transmissions. I know I have replaced over a hundred atleast, you see the V6's crap out more often though. They had a recall for the V6's, whether it's accord's or Tl's, almost all the same. Do you have any Cels up? I would definately start from there.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Only CEL was for PO171 "Bank 1 too lean". I cleared it and it's stayed clear for a week now, so I assume it was a fluke.
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

time for a new tranny
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

well the automatic transmission is complicated, that's why most people just replace them to save them the hassle. i know there are pressure switches and what not that communicate with the ecu, i'm sure there are more things, more variables, that communicate with ecu telling the trans when to shift but your guess is as good as mine if you don't have any CELS. If the trans is slipping, you probably will just need a new one.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

The ECU gets signals from the input shaft sensor, countershaft sensor, TPS and few other things IIRC and determines when to shift based on this.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Crap. I knew I shoulda kept that EG sedan and just replaced the front end.

I hate automatic transmissions.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Do a google search for the service manual. Look in the drive-train section and you should find a trouble shooting guide. From the research I have done I believe it may be your linear solenoid; I have a 99' LX with the exact same problem. I replaced a broken motor mount in hopes of fixing the problem, no luck unfortunately.
I just flushed my transmission (always use honda ATF) and I plan to clean the linear solenoid and install an axillary transmission filter this weekend; my trans shifts much smoother now but it still has a harsh downshift. I believe the transmission only has one filter inside the case that can only be changed by opening up the trans. The solenoids are really sensitive to debris such as clutch and friction disk wear. I am hoping the aux transmission filter will significantly reduce debris in the trans. fluid and increase reliability.
A guy with an Acura TL on another forum had the same problem as you and me, he removed, clean and reinstalled his linear solenoid and harsh shifting disappeared.
I am hoping that I am right on my conclusions. If I get to it before you I'll post again.

I hope this will help.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Quote:
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I hate automatic transmissions.
Its pretty simple to swap in a manual. Especially on a '96 - '00.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

dump the slushbox
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

I recoment the auto to manual. I did it in my 97, it wasn't to bad. I have the auto trans out of my EX, if you want it let me know.
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

I may be interested in your auto trans. Any idea how much it would cost to ship it to Jacksonville, Florida?
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

hey friend what you can do is remplace the oil with atf zr1 that is the genuine honda atf, and put a half of lucas oil for transmition on it, and every 30.000 milles doit again if you want continuos with that transmition if you want to fix it just clean the valvle box that it has but you has to make a hard work for do that
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Ok, so I finally got around to looking at my transmission... I was wrong about the Linear solenoid, it ended up being the shift solenoid. To check the solenoid all you need to do is unplug them from the engine harness and check their resistance with an ohm-meter. Here are the specs.

Lock-up solenoid: 5-25ohm
Shift solenoid: 5-25ohm
Linear solenoid: approx. 5 ohm

My Linear Solenoid was at 5.4ohm and my shift solenoid was at 28.x ohm. I ordered the part from O'reilly's w/ a lifetime warranty for $138!!! on the higher side of the normal price but when it fails I get a new one for free!!! yea baby!
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

Oh yea, those specs are for the 99' LX w/ a D16Y7 engine. Check the for yours in the shop manual.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:10 AM   #16
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Default Re: 1996 Civic DX Hatch (Automatic Transmission) Shifting improperly

I have the same problem with my 96 ex automatic, wont shift sometimes would just stay in 1st gear, then sometimes it would shift, need to warm it up, cleaned at fluid change, but still the same honda dealership rob my wallet for the fix they did but never fixed, need help on probably converting it to manual tnx
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