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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys and gals,
Just a question about my 2003 Honda foreman 500
Yesterday I had the trailer hooked up and loaded a bunch of firewood into it( nothing more than I normally do)
And started to drive in low gear , the rear tire of the trailer was up against a rock, I tried to give it more has to see if it wouldn't roll over the rock like I normally do...all of a sudden as I'm accelerating, I hear what sounds like a winch being pulled on free wheel....like something was slipping....never heard anything like this before and have no clue what it is...I unhooked the trailer and went to get my other bike and as soon as I took the trailer off the bike road fine...my first thought was the gears in the front diff were screwed...any ideas?
 

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Check the oil level, have you changed the oil recently? Used the same oil as you've always used? If the oil level is fine the next thing I would check is oil pressure.

If the sound you describe is what I'm thinking of....more often than not this will be a sign of the Hondamatic getting ready to head off into the sunset.....but check what I mentioned first jusssttt to be sure it's not something simple.
 

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I have heard the rebuild procedure for the Hondamatic , first step is to clean the bike very good , then put an ad on Craig's List and be sure there is no trailer hooked up to it when some one test rides it
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply.
Haven't changed the oil recently, and the level is good.
I'm actually thinking now that it is the Hondamatic going. When I was collecting sap to make maple syrup this spring. I put it on Manual mode and the shifting wasn't always working...sometimes I would have to hit the gear up or down multiple times.
So I stopped using that mode and went to the d2 mode it worked fine all spring until around June when I was doing wood. It only happened a cope times, but as I would start to accelerate from a stop the bike would start to move then it wouldn't suddenly feel like the brakes were on...I just let off the gas then hit the gas again and it would move fine...that happened a few times, so I started just using the d1 mode, everything was good until the other day when I heard this " slippage" sound.
Took the trailer off and went for a ride and it seemed ok...but as soon as I was in any mud or came into any resistance ( wheels up against log or rock etc) I'd give it a little more has to get over it and the slippage would happen again.
So I'm thinking it is the Honda matic
I take it this is an expensive fix too eh....
Should I even bother fixing it? Or is it screwed ?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ttwheelsquad
Thanks for the info.
I've actually read that before..totally forgot about it.
I remember reading it and thinking,"wow, hope I don't have to split my motor just for a bearing " lol
Just my luck lol,
Do you know if anyone on here has done this job themselves, but had the shaft turned down to 45mm on a lathe somewhere? Wondering if any machine shop could do it
 

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I would check the oil pressure before making any other decisions. The oil pressure test procedure is in the FSM. Clean and proper motor oil is imperative for those Hondamatics to function and last... changing the oil often buys you a lot of time.

Inspect your drain oil each time you change it. Also inspect the oil filter & screen each time you have it open. If you ever see any tiny metal fragments in the drain oil, filter or screen it is getting close to failure....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Should I be using Honda oil in it? What type do you prefer?
I always check the level and I always change the oil way before I'm supposed to.
I think I'll do the test then drain it and have a good look
Thanks
 

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You don't need to use Honda branded oil just make sure it is certified for use with wet clutches, JASO MA or JASO MA2 rated. Great that you've been changing the oil often... sounds like you've done about all you could for it. Look really good for metal in that drain oil and filter... if the angle bearing is coming apart in the trans there will be lots of metal...

EDIT:
If the oil pressure tests low you'll have to pull the side cover off and clean the garbage off from oil pump pickup screen. That may buy you a bit more time if its failing. But not much.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ya I've always taken care of everything I own. It's proabbaly why I'm not the guy in our riding group that keeps breaking down lol
Problem with this bike though is it was beaten pretty bad by the guy I got it from. I only paid $600 for it. Got it to be a parts bike for my other rubicon. After I stripped it I figured I'd put a few bucks in it over the winter for fun.
So put cam chain, oil pump chain, bearings, rear pads, seat, cam chain tensioner.
So figured I'd use it for work on my 40acres. Collecting maple sap for syrup, firwood etc . Been doing that and it's been running great except burning oil. Wish I knew that when I had it open I would have put new rings in. But now with this problem, not sure I will.
Blows me away that some ppl treat their bikes like that.
Didn't know about the Honda matic bearing Problems before I picked up my 2002 or I would have stayed with foot shift
Can't believe they would put that bearing in there with plastic on it,
 

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there is guy rebuilding the Hondamatics, I think it's like half the cost of a new replacement. Username is harig or something like that I think. Probably still not worth the cost/effort in a $600 bike tho.
 

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Yep, Harig is the Hondamatic guy. I think he can fix them if you catch it before the whole thing blows up.

If you have another early Rubicon I would tear this one down, send the Hondamatic off and have it fixed, then you have a spare.

Prices on parts aren't going to go down on these things over time. I'm hoarding parts for all of mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Take the oil filter apart?
You mean rip the material open?
Didn't know they came apart, always just replaced with new one and got rid of the old one
 

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I always open them up to analyze the stuff they caught, if any. Been a filter snoop since I was old enough to cut them open, even made my own machine to remove the tin from my racing filters, so they could be opened without disturbing the contents. Throwing them away without analyzing them is the same as throwing all my investment money away... ain't happenin' LOL

If you still have that oil filter you just took out, open it up carefully over a bright white absorbent cloth and snoop... you are throwing away evidence and knowledge that you can't find anywhere else on the planet!

A small magnet is handy to quickly sort out the ferrous from non-ferrous stuff after its been dissected. Look for the various colored fragments & chips under magnification and light if you can. Bronze, mild steel, chromium, iron, stainless, paper, cork, aluminum, plastic, etc. You won't need to mess with acids or nothing... just look it all over and identify things... look for patterns... such as quite a few chips & flakes of a certain material present, might indicate a certain part is coming apart, or is about to.

Make it a habit... your Hondamatic filters will alert you to pending troubles long before anything ever comes flying apart. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great info Retro!
Thanks, I really appreciate it.
I've always just looked over the oil and spark plug, never thought of looking inside the filter.
I've had some bikes that have magnets on the drain plug, that always helps to see if any metal in there.
Will go tear that one apart and have a look.
Thanks again.
Tried to get help on a Facebook group and this " Honda tech" guy said there is nothing wrong with the bike and that I'm just paranoid...ya right...I know when something is not normal.
Ended up just blocking the guy
 

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I use magnets on some of my old motors too. Those good neodymium magnets come in all shapes and sizes on the fLeebay. A wafer shaped one can be added to almost any drain plug with slow-setting JB-weld after roughing them up with sandpaper.

The FB guy might have been a paid corporate troll...? I've been seeing them for many years now working forums & youtube offering "help & reassuring advice", "tutorials" and "how-to videos" that can only insure the problem is neglected & gets worse, or gets purposely broken or permanently destroyed by following their advice or repair tutorial... which result in the hapless victim(s) spending a fortune to buy new. Its very effective when the audience is non-technical or simply overly trusting, which many people are... Marketing companies employ them on contract from industry groups in large numbers. There are some smaller companies & one-man shops that do it on their own too. Some guys set up a few sockpuppet accounts on forums then make posts and start having "conversations" which in reality is just one monkey making a move on your wallet. A paid hit & run monkey can troll 200 forums a day and still find time to make a couple "how-to" vids or tutorials. Watch out for these types of behaviors & patterns on the 'net...

Did you find time to check the oil pressure yet?
 

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No * eh...the things these Corps will do for money...
It was comical really...all I was looking for was the adapter to fit my bike to do the oil pressure test...didn't ask any advice at all..and he just went on and on..said he was a Honda tech at two shops...lmao
I was using my other bike to do wood this morning. So headig out soon to take a look at the oil filter.
Will post my findings this aft.
Thanks again for your help
 
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