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CR-V::Clinical Rounds Routine maintenance, problems, solutions and repair

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Old 03-29-2006, 02:34 AM
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Default IF YOU HAVE VIBRATION READ THIS! - Drivetrain Failure

This probably applies to older Vs more than newer ones but none the less it might be a good idea to look into this if you have an unexplained vibration. Warning - long post

I have a 1997 CRV with 212 000 kms and about a month or so ago I began noticing a vibration in the vehicle at ~60, ~100, ~130 km/hr. It seemed to be most prominent at these speeds but would fade in and out at others. I had the car into the dealer's (Sisley Honda in Toronto Ontario) for a type 4 service and mentioned that there seemed to be vibration in the car. The service tech test drove the car and concluded that I had "most likely lost a tire weight" or had a bent rim. I accepted that reasoning and decided to hold off rebalancing the wheels until I got new tires (sometime this spring). The other weekend (March 19th) I had the car in for the timing belt, waterpump, fluids change, balljoints, swaybar links etc etc.. yet the car still had the vibration - fair enough, they didn't balance the wheels. Last weekend (March 25th) I was in Waterloo (1.5hrs from Toronto) helping my former highschool with a robotics competition. It had snowed the night before and it was pretty icy. I was at a stopsign and when I went to acelerate, the front wheels slipped, the AWD enganed, and BANG!! KLUNK KLUNK BANG SMASH KLUNK KLUNK BANG... So I very slowly and carefully pull into one of the nearby parking lots (campus of University of Waterloo) and get out to see what has happened... The rear universal joint on the propeller shaft (driveshaft) to the rear differential had failed and the propshaft was now free to flail around under the car. I figured that there was only one thing I could do, so I got out my toolbox and began the task of removing the propshaft. An hour later laying in a puddle of frozen slush I managed to dropped the hanger bearing and removed the safety bands but then realized the universal joint connecting the driveshaft to the tranny was attched with 4 12 point bolts . After a trip to the local PartSource I returned with the appropriate socket and managed to remove the propshaft and put it inside the car. I figured it would be fine to drive the car with just FWD because even if the rear diff did engage there would not be any resistance from the tranny to do any damage. I managed to drive back to Toronto and back to Sisley Honda with just FWD.

This is what I figure happened. I began inspecting the failed U-Joint and it really didn't seem right. The entire inner surface of the bearing races had heavy rust which suggests that this had been going on for some time. Judging by the lack of grease or any kind of lubrication and the condition that the seals on the other half of the joint were in, I concluded that what must have happened was over time the seals in the joint deteriorated to the point that they began letting water in. The water began forming corrosion and this caused the joint to become hot during driving which caused what little grease was still present to "melt" and leak out of the faulty bearing seals. The water contamination continued and eventually caused the rollers and races to rust and partially seize up. This is what was causing the vibration through constuctive interference at certain speeds. After a few weeks of this and the yoke torquing back and forth whenever AWD was used, it finally said "screw you" and the remenants of the bearing races cracked, fragmented, and the thing broke apart.

Now, why did this happen and why wasn't this noticed by Honda? These particular joints are considered "unservicable". It used to be that all u-joints had grease nipples to periodically grease them. These do not. Now my biggest beef is with Honda. This car has always been dealer-serviced. It has never missed a scheduled maintenance and everything the dealer "recommends" has always been followed through. I trust that Honda keeps the car in working order and this was the last thing I would expect to fail. The weekend before they claimed to have inspected the driveshafts, but I guess they missed the big one thats about 8 ft long running the length of the car . This really ticks me off because it is obvious that the bearing seals were deteriorating and torn to bits, the front universal joint has grease stains from where its grease has leaked out, and both front and whats left of the rear are rusted to bits.

So I took the car into Honda and I spoke to the service manager who simply insisted that "machines fail" and it wasn't their fault and that "I must have driven over something" or damaged it somehow. I'm a 2nd year engineering student and one thing that I was taught was that machines don't just spontaneously fail. They fail for a reason and usually over a period of time. If I had managed to hit the driveshaft on *something*, not only would there be marks on the driveshaft, the rocker panels, hanger bearing bracket, and safety straps would be bent/damaged/missing, and the exhaust system would be completely gone, probably enjoying a nice cup of coffee and discussing the weather with whatever I had hit. They continued to deny that the failure had anything to do with any oversight on their part and I still do not agree with that today. Now turns out that you can't just replace the universal.. you have to replace the ENTIRE driveshaft ... They agreed not to charge for the labour, give us a rental car at no charge, and give us a discount on the new driveshaft. Final damage was $761.35 and I have a nice spiffy new propeller shaft under the car ....

Here are some pictures of the damage. If anyone has vibration in an older crv GET THE DEALER TO INSPECT THE UNIVERSAL JOINTS ON THE PROPELLER SHAFT AS PER INSTRUCTIONS ON PAGE 16-21 OF THE FACTORY SERVICE MANUAL. I would also suggest that after a period of driving check the temperature of the joints for any heat. They should be relatively cool. Keep an eye on the rubber seals "inside" the joint and check if they are torn or falling apart. If your joints look sketchy, just make sure you have a 12 point socket set with you :wink: .

I just feel like this should never have happened and I am wondering if I can get Honda to cover the repairs. Does anyone think I should take this to Honda Corporate and that the dealer should have spotted this? Or do you think they did everything they could this couldn't have been prevented and I should be thankful they gave me a break on the repairs?
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:37 AM
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blueiedgod blueiedgod is offline
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Someone posted that Suzuki ATV universal joints fit in the CR-V.

Honda and other parts places sell it as the drive shaft assembly, not separatley.

As far as machines failing, you may be right that they fail for a reason, there is only so much life designed into a machine. Proper lubrication and maintenance would have prolonged the life of the U-joint, but everything must come to an end.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:01 AM
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Your (dealer's) people aren't earning their keep, are they? Somebody should have noticed that the whole
thing looks like it's been boiled in sulphuric acid.

Just use the SEARCH at the top of this page to find the word 'propeller' and you'll see dozens of recent
posts about this growing problem (as the Gen 1's age). U-joint part numbers and where to get them are
mentioned too.

The ONLY way to diagnose the vibration it causes is to unbolt both ends of the prop shaft and flex the U-joints.
You can run the V without the whole propeller shaft if necessary, but bont' bother removing it from the vehicle
unless it's shot. The center boot can get destroyed if you bend the whole assembly sharply.

Ask me.

Text edited so you dont' have to scroll to read it.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:41 AM
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Wow, that looks pretty nasty there fox.... I'm sorry to hear that it broke.

Okay onto the real stuff.
I think that your dealership was pretty nice in the fact that they are not charging you for labor, giving you a free car, and a break on the parts. You could take this to corporate due to the fact that your service center SHOULD have seen that it looked pretty fouled up. Don't be suprised if they don't say anything though because your car is wayyy over the warranty. It's worth a shot but I doubt that anything will get done. It sounds as if your dealership is already doing what it can for you.

The vibration might have been further aggrevated by you doing donuts and drifting in a snowy parking lot, and then eventually led to the failure. You are the one with the cool drifting video aren't you??? Sorry, I'm not making fun of you.... It sucks that you have to pay all that money.

EDIT: I just checked, it was you... Looked like you put your AWD to some serious use for extended periods of time in those videos. I'm sure that's what led to the demise of that joint!

PS- Don't let Honda Corporate see that video or your dealership or they would put a quick end to any discounts and whatnot
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:38 PM
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lol good point I'll admit I use the system alot more than other people but it still seems fishy because the propshaft is always rotating regardless of using the system or not and so the issue of the deteriorating seals would occur regardless of the amount of torque on the joint. Also, the last time I did any donuts or drifting was back in December. It probably had something to do with it but I still think that they should have spotted this over the past two services.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:12 PM
mdugan7000 mdugan7000 is offline
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I wish I had a dollar or two for every one of those greasable u-joints that failed on me in the distant past despite being greased every 3k miles. I think that the sealed ones are a godsend. You got 212,000 km's out of it in the land of snow and salt. You got a bargain.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:17 PM
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True it is always spinning, but when the AWD does engage it is putting more stress on it by actually loading the propeller shaft and the joint, leading to your failure That's why it broke when the AWD engaged, it said "I've had enough" and called it quits. Damn quitter
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:52 PM
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Wow, look at all that rust!

Chip H.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:12 AM
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Exactly what I was thinking, chiph! That is some major rust. I'm surprised that the dealer tech's didn't pick that one up. Checking the u-joints or cv joints is SOP for any vibration complaint. They should not have missed that one. Sorry for you fox22. They wouldn't get anymore of my business if I were you.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:18 AM
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BTW, good luck getting any money out of them.
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