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Discussion Starter #1
I was hoping to consolidate the CVT fluid and filter change DIY, and add a more descriptive one with pictures.

I decided to change the fluid in my car at 20k miles. Honda says it should be done at 30k miles, but from the looks of it people (Civic CVTs, Insight CVTs, ect) recommend changing it around 20k along with the filter. The fluid on the CVT dipstick will look nice and clean, but when you change the fluid you will see it’s black.

Depending on the mileage and regular maintenance of your car, you may want to consider doing a flush. If you want to go this way, you will have to do the DIY 2-3 times or until the fluid is a normal orange color. The CVT transmission is NOT the same as a normal automatic transmission that use ATF. Automatic transmissions that use ATF more than likely have a torque converter, elaborate fluid mazes with check valves, ect. Those can easily hold GALLONS of ATF fluid and SHOULD be flushed by someone with machines than can force new fluid in while removing the old fluid.

I ordered Honda CVT fluid because from what I’ve read its best to stick with it. I ordered the fluid off Ebay for cheaper than what a dealer wanted, so shop around. I also ordered the CVT filter and crush washers online just because it was easier lol.

You're supposed to change the fluid when the car is hot, but I let it cool down for 20 minutes first.

Here is what you will need:

A. 4 quarts of Honda CVT fluid
B. Phillips screwdriver
C. 2 Flathead screwdrivers (one large and one “normal” sized)
D. 3/8 ratchet
E. 3/8 torque wrench
F. Transmission filter 25430-plr-003
G. Long neck funnel
H. Drain pan
I. A way to put the car in the air
J. I believe a 10mm wrench (Sorry, I can't remember what size it was. I will update it when I change the oil)
K. Gloves. I used latex gloves I picked up from some auto chain store. I use these mostly to protect from hot liquids.
L.18mm crush washer
M. Pliers


So on with the DIY:

1. Open the hood and remove the CVT fluid dipstick (this will make the exiting fluid flow better)

2.. Put the car in the air safely.

3. Remove the large front underbody cover. It’s the same underbody cover you need to remove to access the motor oil drain plug and filter. There will be Phillips screws and those plastic, “push clips” that you use a flathead screwdriver to pry the centers up. I would also recommend removing ALL the little metal clips that were used to hold the phillips screws in place for the covers (see step 18 for reason).

4. Remove the CVT drain plug access cover (picture below)


5. Insert the 3/8 ratchet into the CVT drain plug and place the drainpan more towards the outside of the vehicle. The fluid stream will come out a few inches at full flow, so be ready.

5A.If you jacked up only the front of the car, you will want to lower the front of the vehicle down to get more fluid out.

5B. Once the fluid stops coming out, safely put the car back into the air.

6. Inspect and clean the CVT drain plug. Its magnetic, so anything stuck to it is metal. Remove the old crush washer and put the new 18mm crush washer on.

7. Torque the CVT drain plug to 36 lbf-ft (49 N-m).

8. Next is the CVT transmission filter change. Here is a picture of the filter in the red box:


9. Leave the CVT filter bolted in place. Using the pliers move the hose clamps away from the filter so you can remove the hoses. Place the drainpan under the filter and hoses.

10.This will be the hardest part of the whole job; removing the hoses. I ended up having to use a huge flathead screwdriver to help pry the hoses off. Once you remove both hoses, unbolt the filter from the engine block.

11. Install the new filter, connect the hoses, and move the clamps back to the original position.

12. Remove the drainpan and if the car is not level, make it so.

13. Under the hood, insert the long funnel into the CVT dipstick hole:



14. Put one quart in and see if there are any leaks under the car. If not, then put in another 2.5 quarts.

15. Start the car. Immediately check for any leaks under the car.

16. If there are no leaks, you have to let the car warm up to its operating temperature. You can speed up the process by running the car at a higher RPM, but do NOT drive the car. You will want the radiator fans to turn on. Always continue to check for any leaks.

17. Once the radiator fans are on you can turn the car off. Remove the funnel and use the CVT dipstick to check the fluid level. Add until the fluid line is at MAX. The total CVT fluid used should be ~3.8 quarts.

18. Now go drive for a few minutes while being cautious for any smoke, fluid on the ground, noise, ect. If you did not remove the little metal clips, you will probably lose a few.

19. Check the CVT fluid level. If the fluid level is ok put the car back safely in the air and check for any leaks. If there are no leaks, put the metal clips back in, put all the covers back on; you’re done son.
 

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Do you remember what the filter cost? My local Honda is asking $75 for one. They also didn't replace it when I had them change the fluid the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you remember what the filter cost? My local Honda is asking $75 for one. They also didn't replace it when I had them change the fluid the first time.
$75? Wow, talk about rape. This was the first result I found using Google, $18.11

25430-PLR-003 - Honda FILTER (ATF)

You could probably find it cheaper if you look around.
 

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I thought they were wrong. The service manager stated that they never have to be changed in a Honda. I also found that statement interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Never changing a filter is a long time lol. For a $20 part I'll replace it every time with a fluid change. CVT transmissions cost like $4500 from Honda if I remember correctly. I plan on having the car for a very long time, hopefully the CVT lasts.
 

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When I first started looking for this filter on my Insight, I found 2 Honda dealers where the parts/service guy was talking about a filter screen that is inside the transmission. It's a somewhat honest mistake, because if you use the Honda parts catalog and look in the transmission section for filter, that's what you find. This filter we are talking about is found in the radiator section.
 

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...I found 2 Honda dealers where the parts/service guy was talking about a filter screen that is inside the transmission. It's a somewhat honest mistake...
Hi, I think it's not a real mistake, because there is a real filter in the CVT pan as the other automatic gearbox, even if equipped with a torque converter:

Transmission Filter for HONDA of JT492

part n. 2: http://www.lingshondaparts.com/honda_car_parts_large_image_C50.php?block_01=17TM8A01&block_02=ATM0800&block_03=19751

have you ever changed this filter in your CVT? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi, I think it's not a real mistake, because there is a real filter in the CVT pan as the other automatic gearbox, even if equipped with a torque converter:

Transmission Filter for HONDA of JT492

part n. 2: http://www.lingshondaparts.com/honda_car_parts_large_image_C50.php?block_01=17TM8A01&block_02=ATM0800&block_03=19751

have you ever changed this filter in your CVT? :)
In the 2011-2012 Honda CR-Z Service Manual that filter is not mentioned. I also looked in the CVT teardown and I did not see it.
 

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That is (most likely) because it is not really a part of the transmission itself. It is associated with the cooling system going up through the radiator (see first post).. I have the Honda Service Manuals and agree there is no mention of it when looking at the CVT maintenance requirements..
 

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ADDITIONAL DIY INFORMATION based on my experience

First of all, I wanted to thank the original poster for creating this DIY in the first place. I thought I would add what I learned after doing this fluid change:

Regarding steps 3 & 4: I also suggest removing ALL of the stainless steel screw clips from the covers. I think there are ten stainless steel clips in total between the two covers. It's very easy to simply pull the clips off and it prevents losing them. FYI, I think the stainless clips are also known as "Tinnerman nuts".

Regarding step 5: Just to be clear, there is no socket required to remove the drain plug. Simply insert the 3/8" socket wrench directly into the plug to remove (a pretty neat solution). Be advised that the plug is on very tight from the factory. When reinstalled @36lb/ft, the factory check marks on the drain plug even lined back up!

Regarding step 6: I wonder if the black "crud" on the magnetic drain plug is actually some kind of molybdenum or break-in grease and is supposed to be there. Whatever this grease on the drain plug may be, I'll bet it was designed to fly off transmission components pretty quickly and collect on the magnetic plug. Although I changed my fluid at pretty low mileage, I didn't see anything scary with the actual CVT fluid.

Regarding step 9: Be sure that the hose clamps are moved beyond the flared tips of the filter pipes (note the length of the pipes on the replacement filter). Be sure to fully compress the clamps with the pliers to easily move them away from the filter. If you don't slide the clamps far enough, they'll still be clamping onto the old filter.

Regarding step 10: Be sure your drain pan is below the filter before removing the hoses. I removed the lower hose from the filter first. A firm grasp and slight twisting will allow removal. I didn't need to pry anything with a screwdriver. About a half-cup of CVT fluid will spill out of the hose/filter at this point. I then removed the 10mm bolt that holds the filter before going after the other hose. With the filter hanging free, it's easier to twist the filter a bit while holding the hose - the hanging filter will also drain more fully at this point.

Regarding steps 16-19: The CVT dipstick appears to have three marks (holes, actually) on it. The lowest mark indicates the required fluid level when the CVT is cold. The middle and upper marks indicate the acceptable range for fluid level when the CVT is hot.

EDIT: After letting the car sit overnight, it appears that 3 quarts (as noted earlier in the thread & shown in the Owner's Manual & Factory Service Manual) is indeed the correct amount for a fluid/filter change. I assume that over-filling the CVT will be the same as over-filling an engine with oil - the fluid will cavitate/foam and not lubricate as effectively.

Remember that there are two different "full" levels on the CVT dipstick. It appears that the CVT fluid has a substantial coefficient of expansion. Those that have filled their CVT's to the top hole on the dipstick (when cold) should consider draining off some of the excess fluid.
 

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Does anyone know if I'll need to remove my Takeda for the dealership when I take it in for the fluid change? It doesn't look like you can get at the dipstick with it on. I could do it in minutes and wouldn't trust them with anything aside from making sure the fluid is at the appropriate level at the end.
 

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Soooo, I took my CR-Z into my local Honda dealer yesterday to get the fluid changed and a new filter. I was shocked to learn that they want over $200 for labor just to install the new filter.
I don't have the means to put the car up on stands to do this work the work myself and cannot afford this high charge.
Does anyone know if I would be able to change the filter myself without putting the car on stands?

The only thing I can think of is to change the filter myself from the top side and then have the dealer do the fluid change. I'm just not sure how much fluid I am going to lose when changing the filter.
 

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Soooo, I took my CR-Z into my local Honda dealer yesterday to get the fluid changed and a new filter. I was shocked to learn that they want over $200 for labor just to install the new filter.
I don't have the means to put the car up on stands to do this work the work myself and cannot afford this high charge.
Does anyone know if I would be able to change the filter myself without putting the car on stands?

The only thing I can think of is to change the filter myself from the top side and then have the dealer do the fluid change. I'm just not sure how much fluid I am going to lose when changing the filter.
They have no idea what they are going to be doing. My Honda dealer thought you couldn't change it, then that they had to pull the tranny to get to the filter. After I convinced them that wasn't the case they did it for a reasonable price.

Show them the picture of the filter location in the first post and let them know it unbolts easily, people have changed it on Jack stands, etc. They will change their tune.
 

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I read the owner manual, it said 3 quarts CVT fluid, but you said it need 3.8 qt.
Why so big different?
CVT tranny needs 3.0 quarts of oil. However, the manny tranny needs 1.5 quarts of oil. I guess the 3.8qaurts is the engine oil, not the transmission oil. (All this fluid info is found on page 313 of the owners manual) Hope that helps.
 
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