Honda Service Policy

My cousin has a 2002 Honda Primus, which was experiencing transmission problems, like jerky stops. Luckily, he had taken out an extended warranty with
Honda, so he is covered for this repair. At first, Honda tried different transmission fluids, which did not fix the problem. Then they said the transmission was faulty, and they needed to replace it. After getting the OK from the extended warranty people and the dealership to replace the transmission, another group in Honda vetoed that decision and said it could be fixed by replacing his start clutch. This involved pulling the transmission from the car to replace it. After waiting over a week, he was told that the part was on back order. It finally arrived Friday and he will pick up the car tomorrow. When he asked the dealership why they didn't just replace the entire transmission, he was told they prefered to try the start clutch first. Honda wants to know if this approach will fix what is evidently a widespread problem. Then they can keep a goodly stock of start clutches in the dealership inventory for such purposes.
What appears to me is that my cousin is getting short changed here. It is not the customer's job to do field testing of Honda fixes. There is no guarantee that this start clutch will fix the problem, so he may be back to the dealership for more work. Also, it occured to me that since 2002, there must have been several upgrades to the entire transmission. Is he getting short changed because they are not doing all the upgrades, which might be inside a rebuilt transmission? Maybe the stop clutches themselves have been upgraded and the rebuilts they have in stock don't have that newer version. Not knowing what upgrades Honda has done to the transmission makes it difficult to determine if Honda is just doing the expedient thing for themselves, or the best solution for the customer.
Sherwin D.
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wrote:

I think you are a little off on this one...
The warranty covers the broken component. Using your logic if they replaced the entire transmission then there must have been upgrades to the engine as well since 2002. So should they should just give him/her a whole new car?
In some cases it is easier and more cost effective for the local dealer to replace an entire unit, like a transmission, with a factory rebuild than it is to pay local labor to rebuild that component. It sounds like in this case they have decided that it will be easier and more cost effective to replace the single failed component than it would be to replace the entire unit. Should this repair not resolve the problem the vehicle is still under the same warranty that it is under now so your cousin can take it back. I know what you mean about this might not fix the problem but a replacement transmission might not fix the problem either... it could turn out to be electrical issue or an engine problem or a suspension problem or.....
Also consider that sometimes you are "better off with the one you know". Rebuilt isn't always all that it is cracked up to be. You could get a transmission that was rebuilt by the plant drunk first thing on Monday morning or you could get the transmission that belonged to little Stan down the street who put 200k on it jumping hills at the dirt track.
Steve B.
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"Steve B." wrote:

My personal experience with this kind of problem was with my 1990 Plymouth Voyager. I had my transmission replaced after one year, and that lasted me another 9 years. That was around the time when these vans were having loads of problems. My replacement transmission was a rebuilt, but re-engineered transmission which had all the design corrections that Chrysler should have put in the first place.

Since they have to pull the entire transmission and take it apart, I don't think there is any savings here in labor. Honda is just trying to 'field test' this problem at the customers expense ( time and frustration).

I suppose you would tell the same thing to your surgeon. Well if you don't cure me, you can always cut me open again and try something else.

The chances of that are pretty damm small. If Honda can't pin it down to the transmission, they have even more serious problems. Besides, this is a relatively common problem with this model of Honda.

You could say that about a new car rolling off the assembly line. I would hope that these rebuilt transmissions are tested before installation. If Honda were supplying less than satifactory rebuilt parts, there would be a big scandal about that.
The issue here is, are there other upgrades to this transmission besides the start clutch. Even the Honda dealer was not certain that this start clutch would solve the problem. Evidently, they had cases where it didn't.
Sherwin D.

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a big scandal about that.

besides
start
didn't.
Son has a relatively new Honda hybrid. Very nice car, but recently began to have problems with the tranny under warranty. The dealership seemed to be trying to avoid the issue, but he had all his documentation, and they finally checked it out and came up with the recommendation to 'backflush' it. They wanted to charge him a few hundred bucks to do this and said it 'might' solve the problem. Anyway, they finally capitulated and flushed it for free. And, believe it or not, it seems to have solved the problem. (All of you know what a skeptic I am! )
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

I hope they fixed it, but my cousin said his transmission worked ok for a while, after they changed to a different fluid. It then went bad again. Sounds like your son's car is newer than my cousin's, since it is still under the warranty (3 years, I believe). Looks like this problem is not restricted to the first year models. I guess like Chrysler Vans, it will take a few years to iron out the problems. Don't these car manufacturers ever learn from each other?
Sherwin D.
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Don't these car

Nope, I dont think they learn. He had the extended warranty, and I am surprised that they did anything, but they did..
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wrote:

Apparently you just want people to agree with you. In the future if this is the case you should state that in the beginning instead of pretending like you want other opinions. Steve B.
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What I was looking for was useful technical information, which you obviously could not provide. You're the kind of guy that dealers love to deal with, or maybe you work for one yourself.
"Steve B." wrote:

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The only complaint you really have is how long it's taking for the repair, esp if you don't get a free loaner car. The extended warranty is to repair what's broke. When it comes to transmissions its usually cheaper to just rebuild them once they are out and apart and not risk putting used parts back in and have them go bad in a month. But I doubt your policy says you get the whole thing rebuilt if only one part needs replacing. Luckily you do usually get a rebuild but sometimes you don't.
wrote:

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It seems to me that the only safe way to repair a transmission is to bring it up to factory specs. Anything else is a partial repair job, which is subject to some other kind of failure, later on. There is ususaly a very good reason why they do these service upgrades. As long as they are tearing the transmission apart anyways, seems like they should do a complete job. It would really be helpful to know what service upgrades Honda has suggested for the entire transmission. I get the impression they are just guessing at a cure, like trying different trans oils, and installing start clutches to see if they fix the problem, so they can decide how many of these they should stock. If I were my cousin, I would accept nothing short of a CURRENTLY rebuilt transmission. It's also amazing that one department of Honda okayed the replacement transmission, while another vetoed it.
Sherwin D.
Ashton Crusher wrote:

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I agree with you that what you describe is the ideal way to do it. But if the only thing wroing is the broken part and if it works like it used to when they replace it you are back where you were before it broke. Is this a Genuine Honda Warranty or a third party warranty? When the transmission on my Mustang went out the Ford Dealer didn't even bother to disassemle it, they just ordered a completely rebuilt/new one from "the coast" and put it in.
wrote:

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Ashton Crusher wrote:

The issue here is that Honda does not have enough data to know for sure that the start clutch is the culprit. The dealer told my cousin that this fix did not always work. Again, it seems like Honda is doing this engineering in the field by letting the customers test it out. Also, since 2002 Honda may have discovered other potential design problems, so as long as they are tearing apart the trans, they should bring the whole thing up to factory specs.

It is a Genuine Honda Extended Warranty. Their Warranty department okayed a complete transmission swap, but some other group vetoed it.
My cousin was smart enough to realize he was buying a first year model, and that he needed extra protection with an Extended Warranty.

Same with my Plymouth Voyager, and I never had any more problems since they did more than simply replace the broken part. Honda is trying to cut corners here at the customer's expense.

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sherwindu wrote:

Sounds like a reasonable approach so far. Why replace the entire transmission if a replacing a single part could fix the problem.

No big deal - that happens.

There is no guarantee that any one repair job will fix the problem the first time. There is however a warranty to fix the problem. And if this fix doesn't work then it's back to the repair shop. I had a comparable problem with the AM reception on a Volvo car. Several fixes were tried until they figured out that it was a poor ground connection in a closed in location. There are times the repair shop and the car manufacturer are faced with some new problem and finding the best solution may take several tries. It sounds like that is what you have. I think your expectations are a bit unrealistic.

Do you know that for a fact or are you just guessing.

Specifically which upgrades have you found that were not done.

Why don't you or your cousin cousin find this information out instead of guessing.
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"John S." wrote:

Who said a single part will fix the problem? The labor here to bring a trans up to specs by replacement vs. tearing it apart to replace a single part is neglibable.

How can you compare an 'oddball' occurence of a badly connected ground connection to a design flaw affecting maybe thousands of cars?

I am basing this partly on common sense and also on my experience with my Chrysler Voyager that also had trans problems with the earlier year models.

That's one reason I put this thing to the forum, hoping that someone could give me more feedback. It appears as if Honda has not fully solved this problem because this fix they are putting in doesn't always work. If they haven't gone over this trans with a fine tooth comb, that doesn't say much for them as a car manufacturer.

I already tried an extensive internet search, but Honda doesn't put out this information. I found zero references to this start clutch replacement, yet we know from my cousin's dealer that it is a common problem.
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sherwindu wrote:

There is no guarantee that any one fix will fix a problem. You have awarranty that says they will fix the problem not that they will fix it in one try. That said it is in their interest to repeat this process as few times as possible because it costs them lots of money to do it over. I think that you are expecting way too much.

Actually in my situation it was a common problem that involved thousands of cars over 2 model years. And it took over a year for volvo technicians to figure out where the problem was and let everyone know. The fix was simple - solder in a copper ground strap. Remember that problems are solved by people like you and me looking at a problem and trying to figure out a solution. Sometimes it takes a bit of digging and trial and error.
I would count on Honda and Volvo to do the right thing because it is in their best interest to do so. Honda along with the rest of the Japanese big three have excellent reputations and they work hard to maintain them.

Well, before you lock yourself into a position of thinking the car maker is somehow shortchanging you be sure to check the facts first.

How do you know it doesn't always work in other situations with symptoms exactly like yours.

They are solving a specific problem, not combing a transmission.

I suspect that what you or your cousin heard was an off-hand comment from a service writer - correct? Look, you can agonize over the motivations of Honda until the cows come home. But in the end they are on the hook to make the transmission work. And it is in their best interest to make it work or they stand to tarnish their excellent reputation for making solid cars. And that would hurt car sales.
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The end result of all this is that it is an inconvenience to the customer to keep coming back to the dealer, or worse yet, having the problem re-appear after the warranty is up.
If this were an airplane engine, I would hope the airline would not only fix a broken part, but bring the engine up to full engineering specifications. Here the issue is not human lives (hopefully), but human inconvenience.
As far as I'm concerned, Honda has already damaged their reputation. Firstly, they rush a design in 2002 out on the market without the proper testing. Secondly, when they discover design faults, they put customers through agony of repeated returns for repairs. Thirdly, they let the customers do their testing for them by evaluating fixes
in the field, they should be doing themselves in the factory. I'm sorry, I would not ever buy a Honda automobile.
Sherwin D.
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wrote:

Really? You think every time there is a delay because of some mechanical problem with an aircraft they replace the entire assembly of whatever is not working rather then just fix what is broken? I rather doubt it. There's something to be said for not fixing things that aren't broken.
Here the issue is

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Pretty much, yes, and it's because they are losing revenue every minute that a plane is down. It's faster to swap an entire assembly out and ship it off to the repair depot than try and troubleshoot a problem while the plane is sitting on the ground sucking up money.
Note that aircraft are also designed for quick replacement of modules... on a lot of modern passenger craft, dropping an engine and replacing it is a fairly simple task. Passenger cars, sadly, are not designed for easy and fast repair. --scott
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Scott Dorsey wrote:

That flexibility comes at a considerable cost that most consumers would not want to bear.

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sherwindu wrote:

The problem is, whose are you going to buy? I can think of a couple mfgrs. that your description could apply to, Honda would have been about fourth at best on my list had I to guess which mfgr. to whom you were referring.
nate
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