'91 honda accord possible torque converter/transmission problem?

dharmaJuly 11, 2006

hello! any help on this topic will be GREATLY appreciated.

i'll try to describe my problem....i'm no mechanic, so i'm sure it won't be a perfect description. but any shove in the right direction is good.

my honda has an automatic transmission and a 4 cylinder engine. she isn't acting funny at all; at 171031, she runs like a charm. however, she makes a funny noise under the hood on the right side (where her transmission is located) that sounds like if you were to put your tongue to the roof of your mouth and lightly squeal while vibrating your tongue (like a baby cat purring). it's not a loud noise; i can't hear it going down the highway. but it happens ONLY when i'm in drive, and not constantly. at irregular intervals, about 1-3 times per minute. it never does this in park, or reverse, or neutral. it does it sometimes when i'm stopped at a traffic light, but tends to do it more when i'm actually driving. it doesn't sound like a loose belt; at least, not like when i replaced my fan belt (perhaps that just sounds totally different...excuse my ignorance). every once in a great while a slight high pitched whine will come right after the first sound, and about once a week, a slight shuttering in the area will accompany the first sound, too, though this only happens as i'm trying to speed up, and it's not a very powerful shutter. the car isn't stalling or slipping or anything...she just sort of, well, purrs a few times a minute. one mechanic's opinion was that it could be my torque converter. is this sound characteristic of a torque converter on the verge of malfunction? i'd like to get someone else's opinion, as the repair is a costly one for an independent college student; however, i definitely want to take care of it before it leads to a greater problem. plus, i think the vehicle is well worth this repair, even though my family says to scrap it and buy a new car (which is hogwash, because my car has no other problems at the moment, and has not cost more than $600 in repairs since i bought it four years ago with 121000 miles, and its blue book value is listed at $1600 as of now).

once again, thanks very much! i'll be happy to try and give more info if i didn't describe this problem well enough.

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Sounds as simple as a heat shield on the exhaust system
banging around. Have it put up on the hoist and have a
COMPLETE inspection. The motor and trans. mounts are no
hell in those cars.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 10:45AM
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thanks a bunch. i'm taking it back to the mechanic monday for the actual repair...after he listened to it today, he said he thinks it's my engine mounts. there's that whining sound, though, afterward. it's possible he may not have heard it, i s'pose, as it happens not too often. is the sound i'm describing characteristic of loose or bad engine mounts? he said it's causing a vibration, which causes the sound. in fact, he said "whoa, you need new engine mounts." as soon as he got under my hood.
thanks again for you help! i'll ask whether it could be the heat shield instead/as well, and i'll just hope he gets it right; i was recommended to him by my advisor (like my own dad), so hopefully he'll get it fixed. still, i'll tell him that and ask that he check it again before he does anything. i'm willing to pay a little extra in labor so they can check it rather than having $400 in repairs that don't fix the actual problem. you're awesome!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 11:50PM
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Hello Dharma,

Was wondering if you ever fixed that noise problem you had with your '91 accord. We have a '90 accord and it makes a high-pitched vibrating sound just as you described with your car. It happens pretty randomnly while driving and it lasts maybe 5 seconds or so each instance. We took it to a mechanic and he could not find the root of the noise. Have you had any luck fixing your noise problem?

Any info would be greatly appreciated,

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 4:16AM
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