How to change Transmission Oil on 1.5T CVT

  1. bubbaleenc

    bubbaleenc Owning the country roads.

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    Honda CVTs are relatively trouble-free, but ONLY when you keep the oil changed. I found lots of good info scattered all over these forums, so I’m just going to compile it here.

    Tools & parts:
    Ramps, jack stands, floor jack, Phillips head screw driver, stubby slotted screw driver, oil pan, 3/8 male pipe plug socket, breaker bar, 12mm socket, ratchet wrench, long necked funnel, 18mm crush washer, 4qts HCF2 fluid (or better)

    Procedure:
    Drive car to get engine to normal operating temperature. Drive front wheels onto ramps, set parking brake, then cycle through gear positions waiting 3-5 seconds between each position change. Keep idling in park. Using floor jack on rear jack support (location depends on exhaust position), raise back of car just above point of being level. Set jackstands under rear-side jack notches and let floor jack down just enough to share support with stands. Turn off engine.

    Remove under-engine cover using Phillips driver on 2 screws at front and slotted driver on 6 quarter turn fasteners.

    Remove filler plug:
    upload_2018-12-4_21-44-53.jpeg

    Closer shot:
    upload_2018-12-4_21-45-30.jpeg

    Using 3/8 pipe plug socket attached to breaker bar, loosen transmission drain plug:
    upload_2018-12-4_21-47-53.jpeg

    With oil pan placed sufficiently far from the plug (initially oil will come out very strongly), remove bolt wearing gloves. Oil will be hot!

    If you removed the fill plug, emptying of about 4qts will take just 3-5 minutes at most. If not, it will take significantly longer.

    Once oil stops coming out, replace crush washer and install bolt & washer. Using long-neck funnel, refill with all 4qts of CVT oil. Replace fill plug.

    Carefully get into car and start. With foot on brake, shift through gear positions waiting 3-5 seconds per position: PRNDSLSDNRP. Allow to idle 3-5 minutes then turn off engine.

    Carefully get out of car. Find check bolt just above and forward of the drain bolt, and loosen using 12mm socket. With drain pan below hole, remove check bolt while wearing gloves:
    upload_2018-12-4_22-4-50.jpeg

    If nothing is dripping after 3-5 minutes being open, add more CVT oil until it begins to drip out. You may have to replace bolt and repeat shift procedure above if you add more than a couple ounces.

    When oil is very slowly dripping, reinstall check bolt and washer (I didn’t replace the washer). Wipe oil off all surfaces on engine and transmission. Remove the drain pan from under car and replace under-engine cover.

    Slightly jack up rear of car and remove stands. Slowly lower rear of car and set floor jack aside. Drive off ramps.

    In all, it will take about 30-45 minutes the first time but 15-30 minutes once you do it once. It is just as easy as changing engine oil - in fact I’ll probably do it every other engine oil change (at least every 3rd engine oil change).
     
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  2. ski-line900

    ski-line900 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the write up. How do you remove the filter plug? Is it a screw in or what? Never seen that kind of plug.
     
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  3. OP
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    bubbaleenc

    bubbaleenc Owning the country roads.

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    The filler plug is just pulled straight up. It is a little stiff to tug on at first but it comes out easily with a slight rocking motion.
     
  4. Snoopyslr

    Snoopyslr Senior Member

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    Are you aware of any data out there showing different lubricants performing better than HCF-2? My research has yielded very little data and lots of speculation. It seems that people don't agree with putting something other than OEM fluids in CVTs.

    I'm very happy with how my AMSOIL SS is performing in my engine and I see they make a CVT fluid as well. I've always been a believer in higher quality fluids, but CVT is pretty new to me. My CVT fluid change is in 4k miles, so I gotta figure something out quick.
     
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  5. OP
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    bubbaleenc

    bubbaleenc Owning the country roads.

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    I have also liked AMSOIL in my other cars. My research on CVT oils has mostly yielded marketing crap. That said, I suspect Honda's HCF-2 will perform similarly to AMSOIL CVT, with AMSOIL slightly outperforming in some aspects (as it usually does). I am actually going to use AMSOIL on my next change. On this change I wanted to keep using the Honda HCF-2 since it was my first attempt at the job and I didn't want to introduce any variables in case I did something stupid along the way. In retrospect that concern was totally unfounded.
     
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  6. Physical

    Physical Member

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    I changed my trans fluid about 10k miles back, used some shitty generic STP CVT fluid (Wasn't able to acquire HCF2 or Amsoil in time with service, I figured generic would be fine) after about 5k miles, I noticed some slight slip while at WOT around 5k RPM. I figured it was a one time thing, I was wrong. The slipping only got worse over the next thousand or so miles, it even started slipping during normal driving conditions (especially bad/noticeable in stop and go or slow traffic, maintaining 10MPH was by far the worst/most noticeable, really bad lurch and bite effect.) I bought 8qt of HCF2 and flushed out the trans. Now the transmission doesn't slip during normal driving, but I have a permanent slip at WOT around 5k, it's very brief, but my instincts tell me I did some permanent damage.

    Moral of the story: Don't use shitty generic fluid
     
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  7. Mr Idi

    Mr Idi Member

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    #7 Mr Idi, Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    When changing the cvt fluid, do you simply drain and fill (3.7-3.9 qts) or do a flush if you are using another brand aside from HG’s HCF2? I’m going for amsoil cvt. Or maybe motul multi cvt.

    I’m going to change the fluid next week. I’ll post an update on how that goes.
     
  8. Syco54645

    Syco54645 Senior Member

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    How often are we supposed to change the CVT fluid? Every 3rd oil change seems a bit excessive...
     
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  9. OP
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    bubbaleenc

    bubbaleenc Owning the country roads.

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    I'd just do a drain and fill - give or take 4 qts. I will save the flush until perhaps 150k (if ever).

    As for the brand, I used Honda's but will likely use AMSOIL next time. I wouldn't use anything else personally.
     
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  10. OP
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    bubbaleenc

    bubbaleenc Owning the country roads.

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    Maintenance Minder triggers every 30k miles or so, which is about every 3rd oil change. If you are driving in more severe conditions like mountains then every 25k is recommended, which is about every other oil change.
     
  11. marauderguy

    marauderguy Senior Member

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    I used Amsoil previously in my Accord Sport and it worked very well. I plan on doing 2 drain and fills with Amsoil when I change it in the spring. I'd rather have a higher percentage of the same fluid than a 50 50 mix. All future changes will be 1 drain and fill.
     
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  12. Syco54645

    Syco54645 Senior Member

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    Wow I didn't know it was that often. On my old fit it was roughly 100k when it kicked in .granted that was an AT.
     
  13. Snoopyslr

    Snoopyslr Senior Member

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    I'm about to hit 50k here soon and I've never got a MM alert for CVT fluid yet. I drive almost exclusively expressway (15%city/85%hwy). My oil alerts are saying I have 15% life when I change at 10,000 miles.

    I'm changing CVT at 50k no matter what MM says tho.
     
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  14. Charley-TX

    Charley-TX Senior Member

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    #14 Charley-TX, Dec 9, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
    Great write up, thanks.
    One thing to keep in mind. When you drain and fill this CVT (or any other auto trans) you only changing part of the fluid volume. The reason is that most autos have torque converter and coolers that hold a lot of fluid.
    I believe with this CVT the total fill is near 8 quarts.
    If you use honda HCF2 you are mixing new with old of the same kind of oil/fluid. If you change it with Amsoil CVT fluid you are mixing your HOnda transfluid with Amsoil stuff. What if they hate each other?
    Is it the same fluid? Does it have different additives? I don't know.
    I did my first drain and fill at around 20K miles with Honda HCF2. I let it drain overnight and collected 4.75 qts.
    I know i will not keep this car for long term but still will do annual trans oil changes with honda-juice.
     
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  15. Mr Idi

    Mr Idi Member

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    I changed the CVT fluid yesterday to amsoil CVT at 41,000KMs (about 25,000 miles). I’ve driven the car about 100kms a mix of 60% highway 40% city (60miles) so far so good, drives normal and no issues that I can feel.

    I spoke to three different mechanics from three different shops they assured that it wasn’t an issue to mix Honda’s HCF2 with any other reputable oil brands as long as it meets the manufacturer’s requirement! One of the workshop I went was rebuilding a Nissan Elgrand’s CVT and it wasn’t due to the use of wrong oil; but owner’s neglect 150,000km (93000miles) no trans fluid change.

    I saw other Honda’s (Odyssey, Stream) use Motul CVT and it seems to being doing them good.
     
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