Pulsating Droning noise, sounds like bearing

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by tterag, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. tterag

    tterag Member

    Update: Problem still exists and has worsened. Took the car to Honda today and they pulled tires off a new one and we test drove it. Problem still present. Tech said he found a report of another Clarity with same/similar issue that Honda is aware of but doesn't have a fix for. Tech says the problem is most likely related to the drive unit.
  2. tterag

    tterag Member

    Solved. ECVT mount misaligned. Tech loosened frame side bolts and mount twisted free into unstressed position. Re-torqued.

    He used HondaEars (mics scattered around engine compartment and that helped him rule out the drive unit.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    Atkinson, MPower and KentuckyKen like this.
  3. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    HondaEars! That's a new one for me. I'm always learning something from this site. Clever tech, by the way. That person needs a kudos for loosening those bolts.
  4. Nemesis

    Nemesis Member

    Having a similar issue with my Clairty hearing a whooshing sound from the front and it is speed related. Took the car in for service to A01 today for the service tech to take a look. He states he doesn't hear anything, thus no action. The tech is no more than 25 years young and looked like a deer in the headlights when he put the Clarity on the lift. The dealer seemed to have so many very young techs that appear not to have a robust understanding of the Clatity. I need to find another repair facility l.
  5. tterag

    tterag Member

    update: noise vibration still present. Adjusting engine mounts had only moved where I was feeling it and now it’s very pronounced; specifically at 67 and 80 mph. At 67 it pulses at 2 beats per second and 1 beat per second at 80. Can be felt as low as 30 mph on smooth roads. I’m fairly convinced it’s something to do with the drive pulley in the ECVT.
    Honda corporate paid tech drives it tomorrow. Hoping for a resolution.
  6. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    What speed? If it's very low speeds, you might be hearing the pedestrian warning system sound coming from the front of the car.
  7. tterag

    tterag Member

    Alright, so here is what is happening after 7 months of back and forth with the dealer. Honda field tech has authorized the replacement of the e-CVT after replacement of the passenger side wheel bearing did not eliminate the pulsing vibration/noise (not ped warning as it is a vibration present at speed ranges above 30 and is very loud at 67 and 80mph). I was concerned this would be an incredibly invasive replacement but am not so after previewing the 28 page "how-to" tech. document. Essentially the drivers side of the engine gets suspended from a gantry that mounts across the strut towers and front rail and the cradle and e-cvt are dropped out of the bottom. Twelve to sixteen hour job according to the tech (awesome guy by the way).
    fotomoto and Teslawannabe like this.
  8. tterag

    tterag Member

    Here is what I provided Honda after I was not getting anywhere by leaving it with them.

    Purchased car with around 15k miles and certified.

    Noticed on the day I drove it home that it was making a pulsating droning noise with accompanying vibration.

    I have driven 3 other Claritys, two new and one used and non of them make this vibration or pulsing noise.

    Vibration more noticeable on smooth asphalt but is worse at higher speeds in specific ranges.

    On new asphalt you can start to feel/here above 30mph.

    At 67 pulsating vibration becomes very pronounced on interstate

    2 pulses per second

    At 80mph pulsating increases in volume and intensity but frequency slows.

    1 pulse per second

    Speed of pulse is inversely proportional (CVT?)

    Best way I can compare the difference to the other Claritys I’ve driven is to say that above 60 others feel like riding on glass while mine feels rough. Also a much noisier ride with the vibration sound filling the cabin.

    Things Honda has tried.

    Replacing drivers side wheel bearing

    Swapping tires from a new Clarity (no change)

    Loosen and retighten engine mounts (neutralizing?)

    Replacing all three engine mounts

    The only thing that has appeared to change in the last 13k miles is:

    At lower speeds, the vibration is still present but not as loud

    At higher speeds, the vibration has become noisier with an added metal grinding pulse.


    Above 70mph use to be

    whaaoom whaaoom

    now it is

    Whaaoom grind whaaoom

    Does not matter if the ICE is running or not.

    Can be heard and felt in all seating positions of the car at 67 and 80mph.

    Switching to neutral and letting car freewheel doesn’t change it.

    Pulled the fuse to the radio to attempt to eliminate the ANC with no change.

    Hope this helps.
    Teslawannabe likes this.
  9. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Sorry you have to go through all this. Hopefully they are minimizing the pain by providing you with a vehicle and [presumably] no charges for any of this.

    I can only hope that your experience can offer some value to the rest of us... First, by alerting us about symptoms to watch out for. Second, by alerting Honda about a failure mechanism (hopefully they will do a post-mortem on the failed unit and determine whether this was a fluke or something they will need to address with a recall or similar).

    How long will it take them to procure the part?

    It makes you wonder if the previous owner was experiencing this, and that's partly why it became available on the used market.
  10. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    I missed the first post #27 of the two posts, so the passenger side wheel bearing was already changed.

    e-cvt replacment, wow! It is getting to be a major repair project.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  11. Lowell_Greenberg

    Lowell_Greenberg Active Member

    At this point- why doesn't Honda simply provide a new replacement vehicle?

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
  12. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Keep in mind that this vehicle was not new when the OP bought it (I believe he stated it was certified pre-owned).
  13. Teslawannabe

    Teslawannabe Active Member

    So happy you got it replaced and found a great tech. Your description of the concern is one of the best I have heard. Thanks for sharing.
    Sent from my SM-N960U using Inside EVs mobile app
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  14. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    They don’t owe him a car. Only one part is defective. They owe him that part.
    fotomoto likes this.
  15. Lowell_Greenberg

    Lowell_Greenberg Active Member

    The cost of all the parts this car needs or was suspecting of needing-including labor- may exceed the cost to Honda of a new vehicle. The car appears to be a lemon- especially given the need for an e-cvt.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
  16. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    We have no knowledge of what an e cvt costs, other than the 12 to 16 hour labor estimate to replace it. That’s maybe $1500 in labor at full retail rate...Honda only pays maybe $1000 warranty rate, and that’s typical labor of any trans or engine replacement that is done every day in dealer service departments. I’m Trying to find the part price and honestly not sure how much it is...but how much can a one speed transmission really cost? I’ll speculate $1500 or possibly much less, especially at Honda cost. One gear and no bands or shifting cones!! This isn’t even a normal transmission...has to be much simpler. So I see worst case scenario out of pocket for Honda being Maybe $3k fo everything they have done including ecvt, probably less.

    Another way to look at it...if someone buys any other new car, and it needs a automatic transmission replacement under warranty (which is not uncommon in today’s world of complex 8 speed automatics, etc.) no manufacturer in my experience has ever replaced the car. They replaced the transmission. And many dealers and mfrs do trans swaps frequently for certain models that have troublesome transmissions.

    This is a routine and unfortunate warranty repair, nothing more. Dealer has been a been a bit challenged in finding the problem because it’s the first Clarity they had to diagnose like this. This challenge should be somewhat expected for anyone buying low volume production cars.

    They chased the problem by replacing motor mounts and a wheel bearing. Again cheap and simple replacement parts. And it didn’t need those parts.

    We are a long way from lemon by any legal definition, but to be fair the car is still not fixed...
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
    fotomoto likes this.
  17. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    I don't know what you mean by "drive pulley" but just to clarify, the honda clarity does not have a CVT transmission. the wheels of the car are directly driven by the electric motor which is coupled to the wheels using a single gear/reducer.

    the gasoline engine can either be coupled to the generator though a gear, or to the wheels with another gear. there's nothing in the car to vary the speed of the wheels vs. the speed of the motors.
  18. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    I’m speculating this is exactly why I’m having a problem finding the part price. But Honda specifically says this car indeed has a ecvt. And they’re replacing it on this car. No doubt it exists. But not in a form that a mechanic is accustomed to thinking about when “cvt” is mentioned on any other car. So on the technical side does Honda call it a clutch? Or a differential? Or an input shaft? Or a coupler? Or a gear? Part number of what is being replaced on his car under warranty would be useful....

    I think ECVT in Honda’s marketing is a very confusing misnomer for people who understand mechanics of cars...this one in particular.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  19. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    yes, e-CVT is very misleading. I actually thought it had a CVT at first.

    here's an article about it https://www.wired.com/story/honda-clarity-hybrid-powertrain/
    there's also a technical paper from honda with diagrams, linked on this forum, but I don't know where.

    basically the electric motor is always coupled to the wheels with a fixed gear.
    the gasoline engine has two clutches and two fixed gears. one fixed gear is connected to the generator and the other to the wheels. it can either be completely decoupled, or coupled to the generator to charge the battery or power the electric motor, or coupled to the wheels. it can only be connected to the wheels at very specific speeds since there is only one gear ratio.

    99.9% of the time it will only power the generator, I've never seen it connect to the wheels on my car.

    if your problem always happens at certain speeds no matter what the gas engine is doing then you could be having some issue in the electric motor or motor gear, or perhaps the whole assembly is unbalanced (it looks to me like the whole thing, atkinson engine plus generator plus traction motor is one assembly with the electric motor/generator connected in line with the ICE crankshaft)
  20. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    Are you saying you never see the little gear indicator? I see it quite often. Although usually as seen in the second and third graphic where it is also charging the battery or the battery is supplying power.

    Gear mode.png
    gear mode charging.png

    gear mode with battery.png

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