Automatic Transmission Symptom Troubleshooting

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
When you turn the ignition switch ON (II), the D indicator comes on and stays on in all shift lever positions, or it never comes on at all Communication line between multiplex control unit and gauge assembly defective Check if the MIL indicates a code for the communication line between the multiplex control unit and gauge assembly. 
The D, 2, or 1 indicator does not come on while the shift lever is in that position Communication line between multiplex control unit and gauge assembly defective Check if the MIL indicates a code for the communication line between the multiplex control unit and gauge assembly. 
The transmission still shifts into 4th gear in D even though the D3 switch is pushed A problem in the D3 switch circuit Check the D3 switch circuit. 
Shift lever cannot be moved from P while you're pressing on the brake pedal A problem in the shift lock system (interlock system) Check the interlock system - shift lock system circuit 
Shift lever cannot pass through R from N A problem in the reverse lock system of interlock system Check the interlock system - reverse lock system circuit. 
Ignition switch cannot be moved from ACC (I) to LOCK (0) (key is pushed in, shift lever in P) A problem in the key interlock system (interlock system) Check the interlock system - key interlock system circuit. 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Engine runs, but vehicle does not move in any gear 1.
2.

3.

4.
5.

6.
7.
8.
9.

10. 
Low ATF level
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
ATF pump worn or binding
Regulator valve stuck or spring worn
ATF strainer clogged
Mainshaft worn or damaged
Final gears worn or damaged
Transmission-to-engine assembly error
Axle disengaged 
  • Check the ATF level, and check the ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush the ATF cooler lines.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Check the line pressure.
  • Be careful not to damage the torque converter housing when replacing the main ball bearing. You may also damage the ATF pump when you torque down the main valve body. This will result in ATF pump seizure if not detected. Use the proper tools.
  • Install the main seal flush with the torque converter housing. If you push it into the torque converter housing until it bottoms out, it will block the fluid return passage and result in damage.
  • Check if the ATF strainer is clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused the debris, and replace the torque converter.
  • Inspect the differential pinion gears for wear. If the differential pinion gears are worn, replace the differential assembly, replace the ATF strainer, thoroughly clean the transmission, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
 
Vehicle moves in 2 and R, but not in D or 1 1.
2.
3. 
1st accumulator defective
1st gears worn or damaged
1st clutch defective 
  • Check the 1st clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Vehicle moves in D, 1, and R, but not in 2 1.
2.
3. 
2nd accumulator defective
2nd gears worn or damaged
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the 2nd clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Vehicle moves in D, 2, and 1, but not in R 1.
2.
3.
4.

5.
6. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
Shift fork shaft stuck
Shift valve E defective
4th/reverse accumulator defective
4th clutch defective
Reverse gears worn or damaged 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-rings for wear and damage.
  • Check for a missing shift fork bolt on the shift fork shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the reverse selector gear teeth chamfers, and inspect the engagement teeth chamfers of the countershaft 4th and reverse gear. Replace the reverse gears and the reverse selector if they are worn or damaged. If the transmission makes a clicking, grinding, or whirring noise, also replace the mainshaft 4th gear, reverse idler gear, and countershaft 4th gear.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D;
stall speed high in 2 and 1, and in D in 1st and 2nd gears 
1.
2.

3.
4.

5.
6. 
Low ATF level
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
ATF pump worn or binding
Regulator valve stuck or spring worn
ATF strainer clogged
Torque converter check valve defective 
  • Check the ATF level, and check the ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush the ATF cooler lines.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Check if the ATF strainer is clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused the debris, and replace the torque converter.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D;
stall speed high when starting off in 2 
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the 2nd clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D;
stall speed high in R 
1.

2. 
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
4th clutch defective 
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure in the D and R positions.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Poor acceleration;
stall speed low in 2 and 1, and in D in 1st and 2nd gears 
1.
2.

3.
4.

5. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
Torque converter one-way clutch defective
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-ring for wear and damage.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 
Poor acceleration;
stall speed low in R 
1.

2.
3.

4. 
Torque converter one-way clutch defective
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective 
Replace the torque converter. 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Engine idle vibration 1.
2.
3.

4.
5.

6.
7.
8. 
Low ATF level
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
Drive plate defective or transmission misassembled
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
ATF pump worn or binding
Lock-up shift valve defective
Misadjusted engine and transmission mounts 
  • Check the ATF level, and check the ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush the ATF cooler lines.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Inspect the ATF strainer for clogging with particles of steel or aluminum. If the ATF strainer is clogged, replace it, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-rings for wear and damage.
  • Check for a misinstalled/damaged drive plate.
  • Set idle rpm in gear to the specified idle speed. If still no good, adjust the engine and transmission mounts.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 
Vehicle moves in N 1.
2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

10. 
Excessive ATF
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Relief valve defective
1st clutch defective
2nd clutch defective
3rd clutch defective
4th clutch defective
Clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance incorrect
Needle bearing seized up, worn, or damaged
Thrust washer seized up, worn, or damaged 
  • Check the ATF level, and drain the ATF if it is over-filled.
  • Check the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th clutch pressures.
  • Check if the ATF strainer is clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused the debris, and if no cause for contamination is found, replace the torque converter.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve (3rd and 4th), and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal (1st and 2nd) for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Late shift after shifting from N to D, or excessive shock when shifted into D 1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.
12.
13.
14.
15. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve B defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve C defective
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
 Input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor defective
Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective
 ATF temperature sensor defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Servo control valve defective
1st accumulator defective
1st check ball stuck
Lock-up shift valve defective
1st clutch defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor and output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the 1st clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondry shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 
Late shift after shifting from N to R, or excessive shock when shifted into R 1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.
9.

10.
11.

12.
13. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
 Input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor defective
Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective
 ATF temperature sensor defective
Shift fork shaft stuck
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Shift valve E defective
4th/reverse accumulator defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
4th clutch defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor and output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Check for a missing shift fork bolt on the shift fork shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the servo valve and O-ring.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
The transmission does not shift 1.

2. 
 Input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor defective
Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors.
  • Check the input shaft (mainshaft) and output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
 
Excessive shock or flares on all upshifts and downshifts 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6. 
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve B defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve C defective
 Input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor defective
Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective
 ATF temperature sensor defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor and output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
 
Excessive shock or flares on 1-2 upshift or 2-1 downshift 1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve B defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve C defective
 2nd clutch transmission fluid pressure switch defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
1st accumulator defective
2nd accumulator defective
1st check ball stuck
2nd check ball stuck
Lock-up shift valve defective
1st clutch defective
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 1st and 2nd clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Excessive shock or flares on 2-3 upshift or 3-2 downshift 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.
7.
8.
9. 
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve B defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve C defective
 3rd clutch transmission fluid pressure switch defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
2nd accumulator defective
3rd accumulator defective
2nd check ball stuck
2nd clutch defective
3rd clutch defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 2nd and 3rd clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve (3rd), and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal ( 2nd) for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 
Excessive shock or flares on 3-4 upshift or 4-3 downshift 1.

2.

3.

4.
5.
6.
7. 
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve B defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve C defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
3rd accumulator defective
4th accumulator defective
3rd clutch defective
4th clutch defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 3rd and 4th clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end-plate-to-top-disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate height. If the height is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and the O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Noise from transmission in all shift lever positions 1.
2. 
ATF pump worn or binding
Mainshaft bearing, countershaft bearing, or secondary shaft bearing defective 
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Be careful not to damage the torque converter housing when replacing the main ball bearing. You may also damage the ATF pump when you torque down the main valve body. This will result in ATF pump seizure if not detected. Use the proper tools.
  • Install the main seal flush with the torque converter housing. If you push it into the torque converter housing until it bottoms out, it will block the fluid return passage and result in damage.
  • Inspect the ATF strainer for clogging with particles of steel or aluminum. If the ATF strainer is clogged, replace it, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
  • Inspect the mainshaft, countershaft, and secondary shaft for wear or damage.
 
Vehicle does not accelerate above 50 km/h (31 mph) Torque converter one-way clutch defective Replace the torque converter. 
Vibration in all shift lever positions Drive plate defective or transmission misassembled 
  • Check for a misinstalled/damaged drive plate.
  • Set idle rpm in gear to the specified idle speed. If still no good, adjust the engine and transmission mounts.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Shift lever does not operate smoothly 1.

2.

3. 
 Transmission range switch defective or out of adjustment
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch for operation.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
 
Transmission does not shift into P 1.

2.

3. 
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
Park mechanism defective 
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the park pawl spring installation and the park lever spring installation. If installation is incorrect, install the spring correctly. Make sure that the park lever stop is not installed upside down. Check the distance between the park pawl shaft and park lever roller pin. If the distance is out of tolerance, adjust the distance with the park lever stop.
 
Torque converter clutch does not disengage 1.
2.

3.

4.
5. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 
Torque converter clutch does not operate smoothly 1.
2.

3.

4.

5.
6. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Torque converter check valve defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Torque converter clutch does not engage 1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.
8. 
 Shift solenoid valve E defective
 A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
 Input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor defective
Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Torque converter check valve defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check the input shaft (mainshaft) speed sensor and output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
 
A/T gear position indicator does not indicate shift lever positions 1.

2.

3. 
 Transmission range switch defective or out of adjustment
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch operation.
  • Check for a loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
 
Speedometer and odometer do not work Output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor defective 
  • Check the D indicator, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch operation.
  • Check the output shaft (countershaft) speed sensor installation.
 
The engine does not rev to high rpm, and the transmission upshifts at low rpm VTEC rocker arms defective Check the VTEC rocker arms as described.