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post #1 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Metal shavings in ATF

Today I did the ATF drain-and-refill on my 03 V6 AT, the 3rd one in a 12k mile span. I found some tiny metal shavings (see attached picture) in the drained ATF. The biggest piece is about 1/8'' long, and very thin.

Do you think this looks normal? Or the end is near for the transmission? Any insightful comment is appreciated.

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post #2 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 08:06 PM
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More pictures please.

What type of fluid are you using? Switch to Honda DW-1 if you haven't.

Some metal shavings is normal.

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

Ah, that's the only picture I took. The drain plug has sooth on it but no metal pieces, and the fluid is mostly clear without any burning smell.

I have been using DW-1 in the last three drain-and-refill.

Any other symptom of transmission failure shall I look for?


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Originally Posted by t-rd View Post
More pictures please.

What type of fluid are you using? Switch to Honda DW-1 if you haven't.

Some metal shavings is normal.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 10:52 PM
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How you found that piece? Through the dip?
The fluid colour is rather dark. I would say change the ATF again.
How many miles you have on your accord?

I also notice some metal shaving through the dip from time to time.
I think the only way to prolong the transmission life (especially V6) is TO drive it easily and change the fluid more often.

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post #5 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

This was the paper towel after wiping the bottom of the drain oil pan after pouring the drained ATF into a bottle. It probably get the leftover soot from the previous engine oil. The drained ATF in the bottle looks better than this.

The car has 71k miles on it, mostly highway.

About the best driving style to prolong the transmission life, I read somewhere on this forum before that driving it hard actually is better, as suggested by a Honda mechanic? I don't remember exactly the reasoning, but it has to do with less transmission hesitation. But I might be wrong. In any case, this is my wife's ride and she certainly doesn't drive it hard enough.


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Originally Posted by Cleankill View Post
How you found that piece? Through the dip?
The fluid colour is rather dark. I would say change the ATF again.
How many miles you have on your accord?

I also notice some metal shaving through the dip from time to time.
I think the only way to prolong the transmission life (especially V6) is TO drive it easily and change the fluid more often.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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I took a couple of more pictures of the ATF.

Here's the drained out ATF from the bottle:
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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And here's the clean ATF:
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-04-2011, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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So is it too dark?
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-05-2011, 02:43 AM
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It's hard to tell by the color, it looks a little dark but still red. It's also hard to tell by the smell unless it smells burnt. Fine metal dust, for lack of a better word, that sticks to the drain plug magnet is normal and I've seen them on trannys from many makes. I would say metal shavings are not normal and I've never seen them on a healthy transmission. Not saying that your transmission is dying but it wouldn't hurt to have a mechanic you trust check it out.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-05-2011, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the comments.

It seems I need to find a good mechanic now. I did all the maintenance on our cars myself except a few recalls at the dealers and tire jobs at tire stores. No repairs and hence no connections with mechanics. That's the down side of owning Honda :-)



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It's hard to tell by the color, it looks a little dark but still red. It's also hard to tell by the smell unless it smells burnt. Fine metal dust, for lack of a better word, that sticks to the drain plug magnet is normal and I've seen them on trannys from many makes. I would say metal shavings are not normal and I've never seen them on a healthy transmission. Not saying that your transmission is dying but it wouldn't hurt to have a mechanic you trust check it out.
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-06-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriecanal View Post
That's the down side of owning Honda :-)
Some might beg to differ. I believe that all auto makers have their ups and downs, but why bother getting into that here.

As for your question, As someone said fine metal dust is, fine (no pun intended) but shavings could cause a bit of concern. I think the most common sign of failure in the V6 is when the car does hard downshifts (expecially on hills). Thats what I've gathered from here atleast. If the car isnt doing this then I am sure it is fine. On a side note, 71K is nothing, mine has 206,000 KMS (so 128 002.466 miles) and no significant problems other then O2/emissions problems.

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-06-2011, 07:28 PM
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I didnt catch if you were the original owner and if so how many times the ATF has been dropped.

If you are not the original ower, do not sweat the shavings. The first time the fluid is dropped you'll have some junk fall out and the plug magnet will have crap on it.

Even if you are the original owner who has done a few drops, still dont sweat a few shavings. This does NOT mean failure at all.

Failure will be BLACK fluid, sometimes a burnt smell, and/or a ton of metal shavings/dust. And often you'll notice it acting funny, may be slipping during shifts or not shifting when it should.

In short...your fine. Dont spend anymore money looking for a problem that doesnt exsist!!!
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-06-2011, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your reply.

I'm the original owner, and has done the single drain-and-refill 5 times after the transmission recall at 15k miles. The last 3 times was intended to be a "flush". The car shifts fine (actucally smoother than when it's new).

So I decided to just keep an eye on the transmission fluid stick, and maybe do another drain-and-refill in 6k miles again.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-06-2011, 10:14 PM
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sorry to post jack, but i have an i4 auto and my fluid still looks fairly red-ish but when i check my ATF fluid it smelt a little burnt. should i be concerned?

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post #15 of 17 Old 11-07-2011, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriecanal View Post
Thank you both for your reply.

I'm the original owner, and has done the single drain-and-refill 5 times after the transmission recall at 15k miles. The last 3 times was intended to be a "flush". The car shifts fine (actucally smoother than when it's new).

So I decided to just keep an eye on the transmission fluid stick, and maybe do another drain-and-refill in 6k miles again.
Because you're looking for shavings every 6k sounds reasonable...but I can confirm with UOA's that changing every 15k or one year (just dropping 3qt and refilling) keeps the ATF plenty fresh even at 100k+ miles. The ATF UOA is posted on this forum.

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