Honda ATV Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am surprised I do not see more complaints in the forum about this topic.

I just purchased a 2010 Rancher AT with PS. Love everything about it but…

The 4 wheeler refuses to downshift in auto mode when going up a hill. It will bog down, slip the clutch and just not downshift. If I aggressively increase the throttle it will finally downshift with a tremendous jerk that will almost throw me off the back of the 4 wheeler. I have talked to my dealer and Honda about the problem and they tell me there is nothing wrong with the ATV. Honda’s official response direct from the service technician is “not to use the 4 wheeler in auto mode when going up and down hills.” They refer me to the user’s manual on page 82 which states: “ To climb a hill take a running start in IN AN APPROPRATIATE GEAR and speed for the condition. Maintain a steady speed as you ascend the hill”. Therefore the owner should conclude that you can only go up and down hills in manual mode. The Honda customer support representative said Honda’s official position is never to use the Rancher AT in auto mode when going up and down hills. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but he insisted. I asked what the purpose of an Automatic transmission was if it would not automatically shift based on terrain demand. If you can only use it in wide open level ground you can put it in a gear manually and stay there all day. I continue to assume there must be something wrong with the 4 wheeler. I would invite any comments from others on this topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
i found this as well in my 2009 420 a little bit, i didnt really think anything of it, its a little rough changing gears compared to some over autos ive driven anyways, but i dont think theres anything wrong with it, i didnt even make a deal out of it i just started up hills with more speed and its perfect, i doubt theres anything wrong with yours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
I wouldn't ever climb a hill in auto mode, it's not safe. This is a situation where you want to keep the engine in the powerband (peak hp range), and it's something that has to be done manually. If you bog or stall your engine while on a steep grade, you're asking for trouble. Same is true for any vehicle I'm driving, not just the Rancher. If I'm climbing a steep grade in my truck I'll shift into low, walk up the hill, then back to auto if conditions are right.

Basically, the transmission shifts according to applied torque. When climbing, your load on the transmission will be high and it will not automatically downshift...ever (unless you are flying up the hill and rapidly decelerate as you reach the top).

I hate to have to say this, but the dealership is right and this is a case of rider error.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Let me clarify something. I am not talking about extremely steep grades. I am talking about rolling hills typically found on trails that are classified as “easy”. Based on the responses you may think I am talking about climbing extreme grades. I would agree with you in that scenario. Same with my truck. If I am going up a very steep hill I too will put it in low.

What I am talking about is traveling on a level tail. 4 Wheeler is cruising in a high gear 4th or 5th. The trail now starts up a slight very safe up hill grade. My 420 AT will stay in 4th or 5th and not downshift to 4th or 3rd for example. It will bog down, clutch start slipping, and only with aggressive throttle will it downshift to a lower gear. I believe it unsafe is that the AT hesitates to long and when it finally does downshift it does so with a strong jolt.

Would you suggest for example the above scenario cruising down a trail in 4th or 5th auto mode now a slight grade comes up. You have to come to a full stop. Put the 4 wheeler in manual, climb the hill, stop, put the 4 wheeler in auto and continue down the trail.

If I came to an extreme grade I would always stop access the situation before I sarted up anyway. I am not talking about extreme grades

I guess I am trying to make sure with this brand new 4 wheeler it is working correctly. However If I thought it would never downshift automatically without coming to a complete stop I would have purchased a different machine. This would be the first AT 4 wheeler I know of that is incapable of downshifting. I have a Rubicon with AT and ride all day long in auto mode.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
ok sparky now i cant agree with you anymore, when i said mine was the same i meant very very steep grades with no run off lol and by steep i mean almost vertical lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Ahh, that's certainly different. Sorry I misunderstood you. I agree, on a slight grade, when you roll off the throttle, the ATV should downshift, depending on where you're at in the RPM range.

Mine's always worked fine, but I only have one hill that ever see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
It might also help to know that I am an older rider. My idea of enjoyment is cruising through the woods with my family fairly effortlessly. The reason I got this machine, light weight, power steering, independent rear suspension, fuel injection, auto/manual was so I am not so tired at the end of the day. OK so a mud puddle or two occasionally.

If I understand you both your machines will downshift from say 5th to 4th or 3rd when going up a slight grade. Is that correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
It might also help to know that I am an older rider. My idea of enjoyment is cruising through the woods with my family fairly effortlessly. The reason I got this machine, light weight, power steering, independent rear suspension, fuel injection, auto/manual was so I am not so tired at the end of the day. OK so a mud puddle or two occasionally.

If I understand you both your machines will downshift from say 5th to 4th or 3rd when going up a slight grade. Is that correct?
You got it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. Based on your input the dealer has agreed to look at it again and compare it to another 420 AT they have. We will see what they find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
I've heard people complain about the AT tranny on Honda Ranchers but I think the biggest misconception is, "it's just an automatic transmission on a 4 wheeler." This isn't the case. It is the only transmission that allows you to shift AND be automatic. Also, it isn't a CVT transmission like other automatic 4 wheelers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
781 Posts
Have 2 2009 420 and when in the mud and going up steeper hills in manual otherwise lose power but not on the smaller hills.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top