Fixing Electronic Shift (ES) problems
Many of us have Electric Shift (ES) models. In fact, Honda sells approximately EIGHT times as many ES models for every foot-shift model sold. The ES models are very reliable. But, because of the number of ES machines that are sold and owned, it sometimes seems that there are more difficulties with ES shifting than with manual shifting. Unfortunately, there has been one problem with ES shifting that has affected many ES owners at one time or another: The problem is that, at times, when you make a shift (up or down) on an ES machine, the shift is not complete. You can hear the shift motor trying to make the shift when you press a shift button <->, but no shift occurs and, at times, you receive a - - - display. The problem occurs even more often when it is cold outside.
Fortunately, the answer/fix to the problem is really very easy! The problem is caused by very heavy, stiff, gummy grease that was installed in the shift motor gears at the factory. Once that grease is removed and replaced with a different grease, you'll be back to shifting normally! So, here's how you replace that grease: Remove the shift motor and gears (all one piece) from the lower front of your engine. There are normally four 10mm bolts that hold it on. Once you have it loose and off, you will see that in the gears, there is some very thick, gummy, stiff grease. Clean out all of that grease. (You can use a solvent such as paint thinner to get it all out). When cleaning the grease out, do be careful not to disturb the position that the gears are in. Once all the old grease is out, replace that grease with a generous amount of ALL-TEMPERATURE, WHITE LITHIUM GREASE. (That grease is available from any auto parts store.) After you've put the new grease in the gears, reassemble the shift motor/gears back onto the engine/transmission. Snug up the 10mm bolts, but don't over-tighten them. You should now be good to go!
Note.... I have brought both this problem, and this fix, to the attention of Honda Powersports. They have been very responsive to me and have assured me that they will not only let their dealers know of this fix, but that they will revise the grease that they put into future models.
I hope this helps you! ..........Ride Safely...........Have Fun!
USFS Motorized Trail Maintenance Volunteer