So I've been hearing this whining noise with the clutch engaged in neutral, as well as in gear around 3k rpm. After doing some research I am convinced that it's the pilot bushing.

I saw a few guides online that say it's possible without dropping the trans, but it was for a different type of car. Is this possible on a 2003 Si hatchback? I don't have a lift, so dropping the trans would probably require pulling the motor first, since the hood compartment is so small. I'm thinking I would need to put a tranny jack under the trans, and then pull the motor from the top to get to the clutch.

Thing is, I don't want to go through all of this if it's not necessary. I also don't have anywhere to store the motor, should it take more than a day to do this.

  • I think you drop the subframe on these to pull the tranny IIRC.
    – Ben
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:30
  • Two things: 1) If you're hearing the whining noise with the clutch engaged, that's a different noise than your pilot bushing so you may have two separate issues. I'm not saying the pilot bushing isn't bad, I'm saying you may still have noise after you replace it. 2) Since you're going to be in there already, you should really consider replacing the clutch while you're at it. They shouldn't be too expensive and the labor is already done. You have to remove the clutch to get to the pilot bearing anyway. Feb 21, 2018 at 2:56
  • Sorry, dyslexic moment. I meant to say that the noise always occurs when the clutch is engaged (foot off pedal) -- and yes, I was planning on changing the clutch if I had to pull the trans, and it's looking like I will need to. So are you saying that this isn't the pilot bearing? Feb 22, 2018 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


Short answer, yes.

If it were possible to change it without removing the transmission, it's not going to be any easier. I don't recall off the top of my head if that is a bushing or a bearing but I am assuming you are talking about the one for the flywheel.

You need to remove the transmission, you do not need to pull the engine per the service manual.

If you haven't done transmission work before but want to save some money, pull the transmission yourself and take it to a transmission shop. Transmission work is all about having the right tools and knowing what you are doing.

You can find picture guides on how to remove the transmission from your car. Any 2001-2005 documentation will be close enough but you should just buy a service manual and follow the steps for transmission removal.

If you have never worked on a transmission before, I would expect this to take 10-20 hours of active work. The average shop charges around $400-500 to pull transmissions but you can find cheaper.

  • 1
    I was going to suggest you don't have to drop the transmission ... you could always just remove the engine :o) Bottom line, though, is you have to split the two to do the work, so you're exactly right. Feb 21, 2018 at 2:38
  • Paulster - Yea, that was option #2, and to be honest probably an easier option for me since I don't have a lift. @finleyarcher - I do know how to change a clutch, I worked as a mechanic in an import shop for several years when I was younger... however the clutch is the furthest we would go, and if there was anything pointing to gear damage and/or rebuilding the trans, we would send them to a trans shop. I don't have all of the tools anymore, but I know what I need, so I can rent them... but Paulster2's comment on the original post leads me to believe that maybe my diagnosis is wrong? Feb 22, 2018 at 0:45
  • And, as I stated in my previous comment, if it's an internal trans problem, I won't feel confident fixing it myself. Feb 22, 2018 at 0:50
  • Unless you're pinched for cash, I would just pull the transmission and take it to a shop and have it rebuilt, with proper maintenance going forward it'll last basically forever. Most shops aren't gonna charge much on a Civic transmission, all the parts are dirt cheap and it's a relatively simple transmission. Feb 22, 2018 at 2:05
  • Another thing that occurred to me just now, if you want to do it yourself but aren't quite sure what's involved (because its unclear what's exactly wrong), go buy a known good used transmission out of a wreck/off craigslist/etc and swap it. You can then either rebuild yours and swap it back in or just sell it as a known bad candidate for a rebuild. That shouldn't put you back more than $100-300 depending on where you live and availability. Feb 22, 2018 at 2:08

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