Don't Judge a book by it's…VIOLENT symptom?

Brian Diagnostician Willoughby, Ohio Posted   Latest   Edited  
Case Study
Trained By Techs
2013 Honda CR-V LX 2.4L (K24Z7) 5-spd (B5RA)

I'm sure we all can agree that one of the first steps to repairing any vehicle that may visit the shop would be to verify the concern. Customer comes in and explains to me this horrible bucking/shudddering/shaking symptom with her car. 2013 Honda Cr-V. 

OK, So I take the vehicle for a short test drive. I say short because it most certainly was short! I made it around the block and decided to turn around due to the severity of the symptom. Long story short, today wasn't going to be the day that I lost my front teeth or put my face through the windshield :) 

This vehicle was doing everything the customer was explaining. Violent bucking, shaking etc. 

I pull the vehicle in and do my homework. I check the transmission fluid level and condition. Fluid is full and not discolored. Fairly bright red color without any weird odor. 

I do a quick Pre-scan to see if there are any available DTC's. There are none. 

My next step was to check for TSB's. I attached the TSB here and here. I find one regarding a slight shudder under light acceleration. Hmm ok. This vehicle does not have a "slight shudder" by any means but I'll read the TSB anyways.

The TSB mentions to perform a Transmission fluid drain and fill (3 quarts) and a PCM calibration update. 

OK, can this fix the issue or not? I don't have a slight shudder I have a VIOLENT bucking/shudder/banging symptom. I confirm that my current calibration ID is an older calibration and the update has not yet been performed. 

I end up talking to the customer to see if she would be willing to try this repair first to see if the symptoms subside. She was hesitant and could definitely feel my lack of confidence when explaining the issue at hand. I was absolutely SURE in my own mind that this was going to resolve absolutely nothing. I however explained to her that if the transmission were to be replaced, the calibration update should be performed anyways and the only additional expense would be the potentially "unnecessary" drain and fill. She realized the minimal risk and decided to move forward by approving the fluid drain/fill and PCM Update. 

So, I drain the fluid. Again, the fluid is fairly clean and there is nothing out of the ordinary. I put 2.7 quarts of fresh DW-1 Fluid directly from Honda in the transmission.

My next step is the PCM Update. I visit NASTF​.​org for all of the programming information/subscription prices/hardware requirements I need when performing a flash on any vehicle. The Honda HDS and J-2534 suite subscription is a very affordable 10 dollar a day subscription. 

I unfortunately did not have the Honda Software installed on the PC I was using at the time so I had to download a fresh copy. This, unfortunately, takes a LONG time to download and install. It took me approximately 3 hours to have the software up and running. Not a big deal as I had other things to do while it worked in the background. 

The software installs successfully and we can now proceed. 

I'm using a Cardaq-M for this flash and also a Mid-tronics battery maintainer.

Once the software is installed and the interface connected to the PC and vehicle, I open the J-2534 re-write software. The home screen looks like this.

I click the start button and the software connects to my vehicle. It automatically retrieves the current calibration installed in the vehicle and lets me know an update is available. 

The next screen brings you straight into programming. The flash is in progress and very quick, maybe 1-2 minutes max. After the update is performed I'm greeted with a very satisfying SUCCESS window. At the bottom of the screen you have three options, print ( which I did for the customer), System, and Exit. I clicked System and the software re-scanned the vehicle and let me know there is an update available for the AWD module. 

I performed this flash as well and received another equally as satisfying SUCCESS window. This is an extremely easy to use re-flash software. The genuine HDS software can also be used with a Cardaq-M, however I decided to use the J-2534 suite instead. 

I start the vehicle up, warm it up as described in the transmission fluid check procedure. Shut the vehicle off, check fluid level. It's perfect. OK, now for the money shot. IS IT FIXED?!?!

I take the vehicle out on the road and the vehicle shifts like a brand new vehicle. Every gear smooth as glass. I take it down side streets/slow speeds/highway/rapid acceleration etc. EVERY driving condition results in this vehicle shifting as if it was brand new. 

I never in a million years would have thought that 3 quarts of fluid and a 10 dollar subscription would have fixed this vehicle. The customer was just as ecstatic as I was. I've fixed many Honda differentials with fluid changes in the past but have yet to fix a transmission. Also, I've never had ANY vehicle buck this violently without needing some type of major drive-train overhaul. I'll never forget this one that's for sure :) :)

Tomi Diagnostician
Chicago, Illinois
Tomi Default

Amazing write up Brian. Yes HDS can be a pain to download but once it's done it's a great tool and makes programming a breeze. Kudos again!!

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Brian Diagnostician
Willoughby, Ohio
Brian Default

I didn't have any issues downloading it other than it simply taking a long time. Nastf​.​org directed me exactly where I needed to go . I made my purchase for the script and began the download in no time. The only issue was it taking so long. Not the end of the world as I had other stuff to do in the mean time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael Default

Fantastic writeup and great that you got the approval as it could of ended with a unneeded transmission. I think that if this would of ended up at another shop thats exactly what would of happened as I see way to many skip the TSB'S or even the recalls. This is a loud statement about having a procedure in place as well as you certainly demonstrate here.

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default

Shazam Brian! Nice write up! I once had a similar scenario. We were rebuilding transmissions in house at the time and we rebuilt a 41TE (I think that's the designation). I often joke about being so confident about repairs by stating that I'm so confident that I'm not even going to start the vehicle. I'm just going to push it out of the bay, into a parking spot and call the customer to tell

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Default

I'm betting the lady totally left-out that it USED TO BE a light shudder, just like the TSB, but she kept driving and driving and driving and driving......

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Robby Mobile Technician
New Market, Alabama
Robby Default

Nice Brian. I've had to perform that reflash in the past myself. You're right, you need to allow a few hours to install the Honda software. Updating the software takes a while too. I tried to update mine before leaving for work one morning. I waited as long as I could and finally had to swap over to my hotspot and let it finish updating while I was driving. I usually try to do updating at

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Brian Diagnostician
Willoughby, Ohio
Brian Default

Yep no issues at all.

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Tyler Technician
Hammonds Plains , Nova Scotia
Tyler Default

I have fixed a few light shutters with this tsb procedure but I had one that came back a few months later for the same concern. Did another drain and fill and it was fine. I have heard since sometimes it can take up to three drain and fills to correct it completely.

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default

Oh, but this begs the question- What resolved the issue? The fluid or the software? I must be a little messed up, but the lack of knowing the answer would bother me severely.

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Brian Diagnostician
Willoughby, Ohio
Brian Default

Yeah! I thought about that as well. I'm guessing a little bit of both? New friction modifier package in the fluid coupled with the flash that possibly raises line pressure a little? There isn't specifics on what they changed in the software program but I'm equally as interested to know. Considering the gentlemen above mentioned he had the vehicle come back with a shudder 2 or three times makes

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Brian Diagnostician
Seneca, South Carolina
Brian Default

I had a 2016 Cadillac Escalade with a violent shudder come in last week. GM released a TSB to flush the trans fluid 3 TIMES and change the filter. No reprogram was required, it was simply a fluid exchange. GM had installed Dex 6 from the factory and it need Dex HP Fluid, filter and labor if it was customer pay was almost $1,000.00. GM did it under warranty, problem fixed.

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David Owner
Metter, Georgia
David Default

We had a 2012 Honda Odyssey that was in for other repairs and during test driving I noticed the transmission just didnt feel quite right for how it shifted. I checked and found a software update was available for the transmission operating characteristics. We recommended the software update and a trans fluid change to the customer and they accepted. This is the 6 speed transmission and we used

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