By on December 29, 2014



TTAC Commentator raresleeper writes:

Hello, Sajeev!

I need your wisdom and sound advice, Kind Sir. After what could be called a much needed separation from my wife (undoubtedly the beginning of a very long divorce proceeding), I purchased myself a vehicle. A 2006 Accord Coupe v6 6-Speed.

On cold mornings, I have noticed that the steering is hard to turn if the car isn’t moving. Once the car revs just slightly, anything other than idle, the steering effort gets “normal” again. I also hear a whine under the hood on cold mornings, so I am fairly certain that is the power steering pump showing its weakness. Every once in a great while, there is a slight intrusion upon shifting into 3rd. It rarely affects my shifting, but there is a slight notch (best way I can describe it) that I sometimes need to put the extra effort to guide the shifter into while grabbing third.

I paid $9K. The car is the EX model, it has everything besides navigation and the “sport” appearance package (spoiler, etc.). 120k miles. I love this stinkin’ car. I went right to a car which I love and the fact that my estranged wife would hate everything about it makes me smile a little more. It’s a quick little machine.

Is there anything else I need to have checked maintenance-wise (other than timing belt) before getting too comfortable tossing it about during my morning commute?

As always, thank you kindly. Your assistance here is certainly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

That’s not a bad machine to celebrate your newfound singlehood!  Congrats on this next step in your life.

“I also hear a whine under the hood on cold mornings, so I am fairly certain that is the power steering pump showing its weakness.”

I am certain that’s normal, most vehicles are less than thrilled with molasses-cold fluids.  These parts are designed to spin warmer liquids, hence the need for a proper warm up routine.

Regarding the transmission and the current mileage, perhaps its time for a fluid swap with fresh Honda fluid or maybe–MAYBE–aftermarket fluids compatible with your transmission.  Or perhaps it’s totally normal with cold fluid, if that’s a valid correlation in your case.

We’ve discussed the basics of used car upkeep before, and I focus on neglected rubber bits: tires, belts and hoses. And new shocks might be a worthwhile upgrade at this age, if a like-new ride (or better than new, with performance parts) matters. Always RFTM for the basics and do a comprehensive visual inspection to make sure nothing else is wrong. (i.e. physical damage from the last owner’s mistake)

Don’t be afraid to get that visual inspection from a mechanic if you have any doubts, especially since they can put it on a lift.

Off to you, Best and Brightest!

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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32 Comments on “Piston Slap: Divorced Sleeper Flew The Coupe?...”

  • avatar

    Definitely check for the correct fluid in both the trans and power steering.
    Many think they can improve shifting and steering response by using aftermarket products but truth is, you are best with the OEM specified and labeled fluid. I have heard all of the stories of how Redline trans oil improved this/that and the other only to see syncros chewed up or some other failure. Does it have paperwork to confirm what kind of fluid is currently used?

    • 0 avatar

      Honda needs a very specific PS fluid and the crap sold at auto parts stores as PS fluid is not suitable for any car let alone a Honda, it is much higher viscosity than the Dexron specified for many cars and will cause stiff steering on cold mornings.

      So yes replace the PS fluid with proper Honda approved fluid you don’t know what some iffy lube place has put in it over the years.

  • avatar

    “I also hear a whine under the hood on cold mornings, so I am fairly certain that is the power steering pump showing its weakness.”

    I’m fairly certain that “whine” is your soon to be ex-wife reminding you that she hates everything about this car and how totally selfish you are by not once thinking about what *she* wants and that her friends were right about you… Blah, blah, blah

  • avatar

    “After what could be called a much needed separation from my wife (undoubtedly the beginning of a very long divorce proceeding)”

    You may have wanted to wait until after the formal divorce. Even if it’s amicable, divorce is an amazing wealth-destroyer for all parties.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Even if it’s amicable, divorce is an amazing wealth-destroyer for all parties.”

    Do what I did: Make a spreadsheet of all your marital belongings / assets and agree in advance who gets it or how it’s to be divided. Agree the disposition of any real estate. Agree in advance any ongoing payments for child support, etc. Then and only then, take the whole works to a lawyer and have them write it up. You can get the whole thing done for a couple of grand if you do it this way.

    Then go buy a proper sports car. Mine was a new Z4 (back in 2003).

  • avatar

    There’s a TSB for that model, replace the o-ring on the PS pump inlet (go to Honda to get the updated part) and air will stop getting in the fluid and it will stop being noisy on start up.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda TSB# 07-086

      You’ll need the O-ring (P/N 91345-RDA-A01), some Honda power steering fluid (P/N 08206-9002), a shop towel and a 10mm wrench.

      Takes maybe 10 minutes

      • 0 avatar

        DubTeel – Would the same apply to a 2005 Odyssey? My wife’s van does the same thing on cold mornings – sounds “wheezy” on start up, especially when the steering wheel is being turned, and steering is a bit difficult and noisy for a short while. Have always assumed it was a power steering type issue but never knew what to do, and of course it doesn’t do anything for the mechanic because the car is always warmed up when I get there. I’d have to leave it overnight on a day I knew it would be cold the next morning. Thanks!

        • 0 avatar

          There’s a TSB 10-076, superseded by 11-039 that provides for warranty replacement of the PS pump (it looks like you may be out of date on that though) due to lack of assistance at low speeds.

          Pop the cap off in the morning and have her turn the wheel, if you can see air bubbles in the fluid it’s probably getting air in somewhere. The o-ring would be the cheapest thing to address in that case.

          Here’s a whole list of TSBs for the 2005 Odyssey but I don’t see one listed for the PS pump o-ring:
          The o-ring number for the Accord is different than the one for the Ody also so the pump design might be different.

        • 0 avatar

          We had an ’06 Ody that required a power steering update. Honda paid for it out of warranty, but that was quite a few years ago.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank You kindly!

    • 0 avatar

      +1 DubTee1480

      I just had this o-ring thing done to my 2006 Odyssey EX. It had an intermittent power steering whine that was more normally associated with warmer temperatures, particularly when coming to a stop or city after extended highway driving. The dealer couldn’t diagnose that, but as soon as it became whiny almost constantly they pegged the o-ring which cured the issue.

      I don’t know about the Accords, but the Odysseys have also had several TSBs for power steering fluid reservoir/line issues that you might want to look into. I had our dealer check the parts status of our van when we purchased it used as there had already been several TSBs posted between 06 and 2010 when we bought it.

  • avatar

    I was taught to never turn the steering wheel while the car is stopped. The loads placed on the steering components is significantly less when the wheels are moving, even very slowly.
    My experience with a 2005 2.4l manual Accord was that everything got quite stiff on very cold mornings. I am not surprised by this an considered it normal. By cold I mean Michigan 20F and below but stiffness was noticeable from near freezing.

  • avatar

    As re: the car, I can’t help much, but certainly do hope you enjoy the
    car. Been thinking about purchasing a v6 6mt sedan myself. Had a 2005
    v6 at accord and I loved that car.

    As re: the divorce. Try to work out an amicable settlement with wife.
    But first, retain the very best divorce lawyer you can afford. And if
    you have assets your wife doesn’t know about, hide them NOW. Do NOT

  • avatar

    I had the same ’06 Accord EX-L V6 6MT as the OP, but in sedan form. It was a fantastic car that I regret selling to this day. I experienced the same third-gear issue…it was “notchy” during the 2-3 shift regardless of temperature. Sometimes it would pop out of third gear when I released the clutch too quickly. I even had the transmission fluid drained/filled at 60k with OEM fluid and the problem persisted.

    This is a known issue for this transmission used in ’03-’07 Acura and Honda applications. Search for “Honda TSB 08-020”. The problem is attributed to a bad third gear synchro.

  • avatar

    Consider some proven upgrades to awaken the beast. Forums will have plenty used stuff available.

    – corsport solid aluminum shifter bushings
    – AEM cold air intake
    – Headers

    You will thank me later. That engine just wants to rev and breathe.

  • avatar

    Sajeev, if I understand you correctly, you recommend revving the engine to 3000 rpm on cold starts. Could you please say if this is in fact your advice, and if so, for how long?

    • 0 avatar

      That is a bad idea, the people who programing the Powertrain control carefully decided the optimum cold idle temp across a wide range of operating temps. They know what they are doing and if you are going to let the engine idle before driving off then you should not rev the engine. Once you are underway take it easy until the temp gauge rises off its cold stop.

    • 0 avatar

      Revving was poor word choice on my part. VERY POOR.

      That comment was for driving speeds, i.e. not futzing around at an engine speed close to idle (not enough heat generated) and not revving the engine hard via aggressive acceleration.

      Just drive where the engine revs between 1500-3000 ish rpms, depending on your vehicle. 3000 will get most high revving motors moving along ok, and 1500 is good for many turbo diesels.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry if this is a duplicate or even worse a ‘threadjacking’.

    We live in the Toronto area. So yes we do have winter and it can get cold. Last year about 40+ straight days below freezing.

    Two of our cars are parked outside and neither has a block heater (a long sad story).

    We live less than 1 minutes drive from a major (400 series) highway. So if we just start-up a car and go, it gets to the highway and highway cruising speed before the engine is truly ‘warmed up’.

    So in this stituation is it best to a) warm a car up by idling it in the driveway or b) get in, go and cruise at about 2,400rpm before the engine is ‘warmed up’?


  • avatar

    Link with part numbers for the o-ring and p/s fluid, as well as a how-to with pictures.

    Accord 6mt is highly underrated, very quick car! I thought the 6speed was offered only in the coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      “Link with part numbers for the o-ring and p/s fluid, as well as a how-to with pictures.”

      *This* is golden. Thank You.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda offered the Accord EX-L V6 6MT as a sedan for the final two years of the seventh generation. The V6 6MT sedans from ’06 and ’07 are recognized by their red V6 badge on the decklid (a carryover artifact from the coupe), as well as the aluminum 17″ wheels recycled from the second generation Acura CL and TL Type-S.

      Honda probably had surplus inventory of the wheels and transmissions that they decided to consume them before the Accord’s major model change for MY 2008.

  • avatar

    So the answer to his questions were: for the PS – that’s all normal behavior (even the noise?), and for the tranny issue, maybe it needs new fluid and maybe this is just a cold tranny thing (the owner said nothing about this behavior happening only when the tranny is cold), but it turns out there are TSBs out there for exactly these problems as described and they suggest a completely different diagnosis and fix?

    Also, if these TSBs have not been performed on this car, even though it is exhibiting those symptoms, I would be kind of concerned about the quality of care this vehicle received from the previous owner(s).

    • 0 avatar

      The average owner does not cruise the forums or service information sites looking for TSBs even if a person knows about a TSB usually the dealer is not authorized to perform the TSB unless the vehicle is exhibiting specific concerns at that time. A TSB is not a recall and owners are not informed of them by the mfg. There are some that dealers are instructed to do any time that particular vehicle is brought in for service but if they owner doesn’t take it to the dealer for routine service then they will not be performed.

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