View Full Version : transaxle damage

Valentine One Radar Detector

12-16-2008, 04:42 PM
We have a 1999 Honda CR-V with about 150,000 miles on it.

A couple of weeks ago, when I wasn't with her, my wife heard and felt a "bang" on the freeway big enough that the car next to her was affected also. She is sure she hit something., but didn't see it. She was able to complete her trip normally; the other car exited immediately.

A couple of days later there was a heavy jolt and noise when driving. We took it to Honda, where they told us the right front axle and transmission were broken. The service tech said he had never seen that before, and that the CV boot was ripped. It was fine at a recent service.

My insurance company initially said they would cover it, but when they inspected the car, could not see any evidence of something hitting the axle.

Could something she hit have caused this kind of damage without an obvious mark somewhere? Or do Honda transaxles blow up on their own?

12-16-2008, 05:02 PM

I personally don't have much experience with Honda, but I do know all transaxles can have blowouts. Something as simple as an internal bolt coming loose can cause a huge bang noise while underway (feel and sound just like hitting something big, even cars next to you will be able to hear it). There may not be any external evidence, but when you drive you know the problem is there.

As far as the torn cv boot, that could have just happened and have nothing to do with the transmission going out.

I have seen a lot of vehicles over the years with torn/ripped boots and drive with no problems. Yes, eventually the juice/grease runs out and the joint goes dry (then it starts to make all the wonderful crackling noises, sometimes even with non-torn boots).

If there is no obvious signs of impact (it is an impossible sell), it is going to be a maintenance issue and regular coverage insurance is not going to cover it. This is all my opinion, of course.

12-16-2008, 05:09 PM
CV joints do wear out, but there is almost always some warning. You'll hear a clicking sound as you make sharp turns from the joints.

Boots will also sometimes tear from ordinary wear. But most often they tear because the driver ran over something. A torn boot can be repaired, but it's usually not economical -- it's usually better to replace the CV shaft. And if both CV shafts are a little old, you might as well do both sides to save yourself a second trip to the service center.

Any Honda will have the chance of the shafts going bad -- sometimes bad stuff happens. In my 5 years of ownership, I've had to pay less than $200 on stuff that just broke. And half of that was due to mechanic error (stripped lug nut meant wheel bearing needed replacing). The CR-V is really an amazingly reliable car, on the whole.

Some questions for you:
1. If your CR-V is 4WD, have you been changing the rear differential fluid every 30,000 miles? Because you should. You can do the parking-lot test to see if you're overdue: Roll down your window and make a sharp left-hand circle in the parking lot. If you hear a moaning or groaning sound from the car, change the fluid immediately. Always use genuine Honda Dual-Pump or Dual-Pump II fluid -- accept no substitutes.

2. Have you been having the valves adjusted every 15,000 miles to the LOOSE side of the specification? Because if not, you'll burn an exhaust valve (or two), meaning the head needs replacing. The owner's manual for the USA says to do it every 105,000 miles (or if you hear noise), but the manual for all other countries where the CR-V is sold says 15,000 miles. This typo is the #1 killer of CR-Vs.

Chip H.
2000 CR-V EX, 129,000 miles

12-19-2008, 02:50 PM
I have now seen the car. There is no visible marks from something hitting it, but the CV boot is torn into 2 pieces and has slung grease on the transaxle.

When you turn a wheel, the transaxle locks up and actually moves up and down.

Has anyone out there had a properly serviced Honda blow a transaxle suddenly like this? The service rep says he has never seen it.

12-19-2008, 03:18 PM
Is the bearing locked up in wheel hub? Or is indeed the transmission locked up?

The axle moving up and down is not so bad, I mean it's broke and all, but easily replaced. The pressed wheel bearings are pretty easy to replace too.

If the transmission is wiped out, that is not so easy to replace.

12-19-2008, 06:57 PM
It's possible for a CV joint to go bad without warning, but it's very uncommon. Go ahead and replace it.

You're not likely to get any consideration from Honda for this repair, as you're right in the middle of the mileage range where they normally start to wear out.

The transmission, on the other hand, I'd want more proof that it's bad before shelling out big bucks to have it replaced (Honda doesn't repair transmissions -- they only replace them, selling the bad ones to someone else for repair)

If you can show records that the transmission was properly and regularly serviced at the/a dealership, you might could get some help out of Honda (be nice!)
Provided of course, that the transmission is actually bad.

Chip H.

12-23-2008, 03:10 PM
Thanks to all for your help.

We are replacing the whole unit, and our insurance agent is pursuing a road damage claim.

Unlikely to get approval, but worth a try.

12-23-2008, 03:33 PM
Thanks to all for your help.

We are replacing the whole unit, and our insurance agent is pursuing a road damage claim.

Unlikely to get approval, but worth a try.

Hope we were able to help - at least by providing a sounding board. I'm still a little (make that a lot) uncomfortable with the transmission failure. I wish we could have had the car looked at it by another technician. Just seems like a lot of damage for what sounds (based on your description) like not much more than hitting a bad bump on the road....

12-23-2008, 03:34 PM
Ask your agent how much your premium will go up and for how long, if you put a claim in.

It might actually be cheaper to pay for it yourself, if it's more than $100/month for 3 years...

Chip H.