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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, I just joined to learn a little more about this thing. First off, I am very familiar with ATV's and have even had a few Ranchers previously. I have completed everything from tearing them down to the frame and complete engine rebuilds. I got this for a steal not knowing anything about the workings of the AT hydro transmission. 2006 with 289 hours, 1700 miles, for $1,250.

Only issue - when I shift to Reverse, it works fine and goes into gear. But the "R" does not come on the screen, just lines.

After reading, there are some differing opinions on this thing.

If I stay on top of oil changes can I treat this like any other Rancher? As in, wind through the gears, pull trees, load it down with people, etc.?

What size tire is safe to go to? What about "water riding?"

Are these transmissions robust if I stay on top of maintenance?

Thanks!

My main purpose is for hunting, but the teenager in me will come out any time I am on a four-wheeler.
 

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If I stay on top of oil changes can I treat this like any other Rancher? As in, wind through the gears, pull trees, load it down with people, etc.?

What size tire is safe to go to? What about "water riding?"

Are these transmissions robust if I stay on top of maintenance?
Welcome to the forum from the only remaining 400AT regular on here that I'm aware of. A couple of the other regulars have some in the family though, too.

I have over 10,000 miles and countless hours on mine. But you've asked the right questions, because they are legitimate concerns. The specific hondamatic in the 400AT isn't plagued by the same reliability issue that the 1st generation Rubicon hondamatic had. A plastic carrier in a bearing was its downfall.

But since the 400AT doesn't have a dedicated low range, the centrifugal clutch is the weak link and the reason why you don't want to run oversized tires.

Personally, on this bike only, I'd rather run 23's with good tread and be a little easier on the clutch, than run 24's with mediocre tread. But this only works if you can get by with the lack of ground clearance from running 23's.

As for the transmission and oil, I run Rotella T6 5w40, and mix in 5% of Lucas heavy duty synthetic oil Stabilizer. The theory is that the extra zddp helps cushion the pistons in the hydrostatic pump and motor. But don't go over 5% otherwise it will cause issues with the wet clutch. Change the oil often to be safe. Thankfully T6 is cheap for good oil. My transmission still shifts like the day it was new.

Mine also runs hot. I run my fan pretty steady with a manual switch. Really what I should have done a long time ago was add a 2nd oil cooler.

How hilly is the terrain you ride? Mine is basically flat. It's been a combination hunting rig, trail riding, and food plot machine. I try to minimize the food plot work with it though, as you can tell it really taxes it. And I completely avoid deep mud.
 

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The 400's are kind of a dog as far as Hondas go. They can hold up IF you follow ttwheelsquad's directions and do NOT run big tires on it.

You can swap 420 disc brakes on at the ball joints very easily if you can find someone parting a 420.

They'll do ok with light/ trail use, but no big tires, no ragging them out or they won't last.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Appreciate the feedback guys! I think I am going to sell it and just buy a standard Rancher for whatever I sell it for. I do not like the thought of something I cannot completely work on. Thanks again!
 

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Yea had a couple here. Check the shifter cable, had that break on the bottom of the trans. Also, replaced the wiring going to the shift switch near the shifter shaft going under the pull start (rear of the motor) as there were issues with the gear indicator lights, other than that, keep the oil up & it 'should' work fine.
 

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Appreciate the feedback guys! I think I am going to sell it and just buy a standard Rancher for whatever I sell it for. I do not like the thought of something I cannot completely work on. Thanks again!
If you do sell it, sell it to a 70 year old who's going to baby the thing giving only rides to grandkids in a flat yard.....otherwise the next buyer will be back on here asking the same questions :nerd
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I sold it, and picked up a 2006 standard ES with 1300 miles for zero money out of pocket. Super happy! I have had this exact four wheeler before so I know the abuse they can take!
 
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