2002 Rubicon advice
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who would be so kind to point me in the right direction. I know that many new people come by these forums and ask similar questions to many asked before. I sure appreciate your time.
I purchased a 2002 Rubicon for cheap because of "transmission" problems. Cosmetically the machine is in great shape, certainly doesn't look like its been abused. 4500 miles and 5500 hours. It has been sitting for probably 8 years. I dumped the gas, cleaned the carb, changed the plug, etc and the motor seems strong. I also changed the oil and filter and double checked the type of oil and level were correct. The transmission works somewhat is ESP and D1/D2 but seems to slip and grind quite a bit, especially under load. Didn't want to drive it much.
I tested oil pressure and it is decidedly LOW. 10psi at idle and 25 psi at high (4000) rpm. I pulled the check valve from the right side of the motor and it seems to be stuck. I can remove the spring but cannot remove the valve. I've herd some smart Hondamatic guys like Harig and toodeep describe this sequence of problems. Thanks for weighing in.
Is it possible that this machine could be saved with a new oil pump, without replacing the Hondamatic unit?
If i purchase an oil pump from Honda (though partzilla perhaps) is it the updated pump, or should I purchase a pump for a different model year?
I am not opposed to replacing the Hondamatic because I like the machine and hardly have any money invested. Can a farm kid replace these parts or should I hire this done.
hondamatic probably has a bearing out because of the sticking oil pump relief valve causing low oil pressure and it cooked the bearing. lots of work to replace it and lots of money for a new one. it must come out no quick fix possible.
you can contact Brianb1263 he is the expert on hondamatics, he also sells them if you want to split the cases and replace the hondamatic and oil pump.
I suspected that was likely the problem. I guess I just need to decide if I should do the full rebuild or cut my losses and move on. I was hoping that it was possible to catch the oil pump failure before the Hondamatic blew up. I'll PM Brian and see where he is. Thanks for your insight and pointing me to Brian.
Brian is in Minnesota. usually when you hear noises out of the hondamatic it is already to late, the swash plate bearing is the most common failure. replacing a hondamatic is lots of work, a complete teardown, if done right and no labor it still will run a pretty penny. Rebuild the top end maybe replace piston and bore cylinder, recondition the head, new oil pump,chain, gasket and seal set. Dealers charge about $3000 to replace a hondamatic in a Ruby, as much as they are worth if not more....
you can always part it out, tons of them out there and lots of people looking for good used parts.
So, I just go through pulling the motor from this 2002 Rubicon, let me tell you all what I found...
Motor was pristine inside, except the oil pump chain was so loose it could almost fall off. No metal anywhere, no shavings in the oil screens etc. Hondamatic *seemed* fine, spun smooth etc.
I decided to spend $250 on an oil pump and gaskets and Hondabond and simply replaced the oil pump.
Just put it back together and it runs like new. Very strong, none of the ratcheting/grinding sounds like before.
I know that many people wind up the this same situation and I would humbly offer these pointers to anyone with possible problems with these older Rubicons.
1.) Check your oil pressure. My pressures went from 10-25psi to 40-125psi with the new pump. If your Rubicon starts to shift poorly and have "transmission" problems start here. Also, stop driving it, it might save the Hondamatic
2.) I used the closest standard thread size with lots of pipe tape instead of purchasing the adapter. I got 3/4 of a turn by hand and did not damage the metric treads.
3.) The motor is a big puzzle, but someone with some mechanical inclination and a reasonable set of tools will be able to do this job. Its a great excuse to get on of these 3/8 cordless electric impact drivers.
4.) If you decide to tackle an oil pump change you will need:
a manual - indispensable for me
a flywheel puller flywheel puller
a clutch puller clutch puller
a new oil pump chain
a gasket kit
lots of organization
All in all this project took a week of evenings, but waiting for the above tools/parts made it take 2 weeks start to finish.
One glitch that I haven't figured out is while in reverse. I sift the sub tranny into reverse and the display and shift lever are both in the "R" position. the wheels turn backward but the motors spits and sputters. The motor runs perfectly in forward, but it runs terrible in reverse. Any ideas.
it may be running in safe mode, try to adjust the shift linkage and do a reset if any codes show. manual will explain linkage and how to reset.The first hondamatic i fixed did the same thing and i did a reset and it never did it again. I replaced the bad swash plate bearing ( thanks to the info from Brian) had to machine swash plate to fit new bearing but my friends ruby is still running strong up in Alaska....after rebuild. always put a new style oil pump in!!! sounds like you got lucky and fixed it before the bearing went out. on the old style oil pump the relief valve had problems sticking open and causing really low oil pressure.
There is a small switch on the shift lever (lower side) that has to be activated when on reverse. If that switch is unplugged, bad or if the linkage is off just enough it will spit and sputter in reverse.
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I believe I did put in a new style oil pump...do they still even make the defective style?
As I'm going through making sure that I didn't forget anything on my rebuild, I realize that I haven't heard the fan motor come on again yet. Going to retrace the electrical and make sure I didn't foul anything up there next.
Thanks for your help guys,
all pumps are new style unless it is from very very old stock... just ground out the plug that fits on temp sensor and fan should come on. my ruby fan hardly ever comes on.
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