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AT 420 2010 refusing to downshifting in Auto mode

3227 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  dubsd
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.
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Thanks. Makes me feel a bit better.
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.
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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?
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.
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