The first generation Honda Accord transmissions were Hondamatic type automatic transmissions designed by Honda themselves. This in-house development route was taken because the designs used most commonly for automatic transmissions were owned by the Borg-Warner corporation and Honda was averse to paying royalty fees. Whereas the normal designs of the day used planetary gears, the Hondamatic design use parallel shafts, similar to a manual transmission. Using this design also allows for the retention of engine braking. Early Hondamatics also used a patented torque converter which used stator force rather than hydraulic controls to make automatic shifting possible.
Initial Hondamatic designs used for Honda Accord transmissions were the H2 and H3, which were 2-speed and 3-speed designs.The change from a 2-speed to a 3-speed automatic was made in 1980. The manual transmission offered for the Honda Accord was a 5-speed and it was available from the start.
The second generation Accord (1982–1985) retained the basic Hondamatic design, using two parallel shafts. In was actually in 1983 when Honda upgraded its Hondamatic transmission to a four speed. Later designs of the type H4 transmission used three shafts instead of two, thus getting a new designation, the H4A. The manual five speed transmission remained unchanged. The third generation Accord, produced until 1989, retained these transmissions even though the rest of the car underwent major design changes. The fourth generation Honda Accord transmissions also used the same Hondamatic 4-speed automatic but fully electronic in operation by this time. The change made to the 5-speed manual was in using a hydraulically operated clutch.
Beginning with this generation, all Accords equipped with automatic transmissions made use of an electronically controlled rear engine mount to dampen low frequency noise and vibration. The engine mount contained fluid-filled chambers controlled by an electronically operated valve. Below 850 rpm, fluid is routed through this valve to dampen vibration. Above 850 rpm, the valve is closed to make the engine mount stiffer.
Fifth generation (1994–1997) Honda Accord transmissions were the unchanged manual transmission and a 4-speed automatic, now upgraded to the Type B7. If featured Honda’s Grade Logic shifting program but the transmission became noted for its hard shifts. Type B7 automatic transmissions were notorious for premature failure and it was not uncommon to have transmissions break down before 100,000 kilometers. According to Honda, a bad bearing in the transmission would break apart, which clogged passageways in the transmission, causing damage. Such failures became so prevalent that class action suits compelled Honda to extend the warranties for affected vehicles.
The sixth generation (1997–2002) Honda Accords were split into three separate models, designed for the Japanese, North American, and European markets. In Japan, the Accord SiR used the S-Matic automatic transmission. Moving the gear-stick over to the right allowed manual selection of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th gear using an up/down shift action similar to sequential gearboxes that were used in race cars such as the Japan GT Championship Honda NSX. Otherwise, the gearbox worked like a conventional automatic transmission in other operating modes. North American Honda Accord transmissions were the 4-speed automatic M6HA and the mainstay 5-speed manual which was standard with all 4-cylinder models. The 4-speed automatic was optional on the 4-cylinder engines but standard for V6s.
Seventh generation (2003–2007) North American Honda Accord transmissions received new designs in the form of a lightweight 6-speed manual transmission borrowed from the Acura CL. The type H5 automatic transmission also made its appearance with the 7th generation Accord redesign. 2006 was the model year when the V6 sedan was offered with a 6-speed manual transmission as an option. A hybrid Accord also made an appearance in this generation and its V6 had a VCM (for Variable Cylinder Management) feature that allowed it to shut off three of the six cylinders for better fuel economy. A compact 5-speed automatic transmission was developed to allow the inclusion of a 144 hp electric motor between the transmission and the engine.
From 2008-2011 Honda Accord transmissions remained the same for the coupe and sedan, with the 2.4 liter inline 4 having a five-speed manual transmission as standard, and a five-speed automatic optional. For V6 engines, a 5-speed automatic is standard and the 6-speed manual optional. For 2011, a reworked five-speed automatic has helped the Accord attain a fuel economy rating of 23 mpg in city use and 34 mpg for the highway.
Transmission issues persisted up to 2009, and even the 5-speed automatic, first used in 2002, reportedly suffered from premature wear in the 3rd gear clutch pack. Similar to what happened with 4-speed automatics, the prematurely wearing clutch clogged internal passageways, causing erratic shifting, slipping, sudden downshifts or no shifts at all. Another problem which arose for the 5-speed was 2nd gear breakage, which would cause the transmission to lock up. Transmission rebuilders seem to have success in combating all these problems by installing additional high quality filters and using synthetic oil.
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