Possible to replace the CVT belt? - Honda CRZ Forum: Honda CR-Z Hybrid Car Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Possible to replace the CVT belt?

My 2011 CVT has just under 100K miles on it and during a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco up the 5 freeway I noticed that after around 150 miles of driving at 80MPH the car required significantly more rpms to hold speed than it did during the first part of the drive. It got so bad that by the time I was near SF the car was struggling to stay above 72mph at the same rpms. The result was a total trip mpg of around 33mpg. I was expecting a bit less than average as 80mph requires more gas but I fear the higher and higher rpms didn't help.

I feel like the need for higher and higher rpms to keep the same speed is a result of transmission slippage, and in this case, possibly due to the belt stretching after more and more constant use. Day to day driving is still fine now but I have encountered this problem before on that long drive, just never this bad. I feel like once the car cools after the trip then the belt returns (somewhat) to its tighter form.

Has anyone else experienced this? Also, does anyone know if it's possible to replace just the belt or would it be a whole new tranny? Maybe theres another solution too? I know I'm due for a CVT fluid change, maybe that's my issue? Just looking for some feedback from those with experience, thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 11:37 PM
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I don't know much about cvt's, but doesn't it have teeth like a timing belt? It it rubber or metal? I would ask a dealer to diagnose. My condolences to all those with the cvt. Lol jk, but not really.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 12:08 AM
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It's certainly possible, but you never know what a dealership will do. I had the oil pan and the oil filter on my CVT replaced after a rock punched a hole through them and the car's running fine 15k miles later. Everyone on the forum was recommending a full transmission replacement, but the Honda guys seemed to know what they were doing by just replacing those two parts.

In summation...idk

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Originally Posted by ski-line900 View Post
I don't know much about cvt's, but doesn't it have teeth like a timing belt? It it rubber or metal? I would ask a dealer to diagnose. My condolences to all those with the cvt. Lol jk, but not really.
The CVT belt/pulley assembly is supposed to look something like this. No teeth. Just the two axles and the belt. What boggles me is that I can't figure out how there isn't more slipping that we actually feel.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that awesome image. I've been looking for something like that for a while now.

Looking at that picture I have to imagine there is some sort of rubber on the underside of that, but looking online most belts are metal on both sides with a metal belt/band in the middle, no rubber anywhere.

I wonder if it's not my belt expanding with use, but something else, like maybe the actuator that squeezes the two cones together wears out after a while. Or maybe the clutch plates slip with high heat and lots of lubrication? I'm going to do the drive again on Sunday and will report back with specific rpm/speed details for a better analysis.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 12:09 PM
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Yeah, I would get a transmission expert, preferably Honda trained, to diagnose it.
Could be belt, I suppose, or could be clutch(es), or who knows what else.
At 100K miles, how many times have you (and when was the last time you) changed the CVT fluid? I know you said it was "due", but is that because you just thought of it, or are you keeping to the recommended schedule or better?

2 hours at 80 shouldn't really kill a transmission. Especially at highway speed (which is probably pretty constant, unless you have lots of hills and traffic tie-ups - sorry, but I don't know the highway in question).

Also, if your brakes are dragging even slightly, after 150 miles at that speed they would definitely heat up and drag more (meaning that the drive train would have to work a lot harder to keep speed). That might explain why city driving is no issue. Just a thought.

One or two CVT failures in thousands of cars, and we all jump on the "rebuild" band wagon. I'm not so cure that is warranted. Be careful about posting in panic. If it gets diagnosed as a tranny fault, then let us know. But I'm sceptical.

Good luck with it, in any event.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 12:11 PM
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Well, let me throw this one in here too (this is from a Nissan tho). This is a cross section of the belt. I believe the yellow part is some sort of plastic or composite material that holds all those little metal pieces in line. I could see the plastic being prone to plastic deformation after x amount of miles. I can also see how the metal pieces might grind down too


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 01:27 PM
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CVT belts are not supposed to slip , they are under extreme pressure to prevent that . The belt never makes contact with the pulley . The oil is what provides friction to move the belt . That's why it's critical to have not only clean fluid but the correct OEM fluid and not some generic type .
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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So it sounds like:

1. Probably can't replace just the belt as it is part of a pre-assembled unit (for $2,000...)
2. There is in fact no rubber in the belt, only high strength metals
3. There is no actual contact between the belt and the pulleys. Friction is generated by high pressure oil passing between them.
This is good info.

Here's the deal though. I have had this problem on long drives before and it's always the same, start out at lower revs and end up with higher ones, it's just never been so noticeable as this last trip. It's not a problem around town day to day or even on moderate freeway drives (ie around an hour or two), only after that. Something changes during long drives. It could be the belt or the computer or ...

I can't imagine it's dragging brakes because those tend to lock up with heat after a while. The drive in question is about 7 hours which would surely lock the brakes if they were dragging at 80mph.

As for my CVT fluid, I bought the car at 80K miles a year ago. It's last fluid change was at 66K according to the records I have. My dash hasn't given me the maintenance minder yet but the guy at Jiffy Lube said it was due soon according to his charts. I will take it to Honda next week but I love to have forum member suggestions so I can tell if they're BSing me or not (really hate dealerships )
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 07:30 PM
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Last fluid change at 66k and you're just under 100k now...? I reckon that's it. My started acting out under high stress (sport mode spirited driving) around 20k, and after a fluid change it's been fine.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 07:40 PM

 
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I really need to change my CVT fluid.

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