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Discussion Starter #1
I have put quite a few miles on my 2000 Foreman with the work-around, and I have
not had any problems. Some have posted warnings that this work-around
could break the shift motor, or the shift gears, but it really is very similar
in action to the way the ES system works as designed by Honda,
which does occasionally break parts anyway.

BASIC FACTS:
The ES Shift Motor is a 12 volt motor controlled by the ECU (computer).
The Shift Motor shifts gears by turning the SAME SHAFT as the manual shift tool,
and that is the SAME SHAFT as the non-ES (manual shift) footpedal shifter.
The Shift Shaft (on both ES and S models) disengages the clutch and rotates
the shift drum, then a spring returns the shaft to center.
Main purpose of ECU is to send 12V+Ground (or vice-versa) to motor until it shifts
...ECU Verifies actual gear shift occurs via angle sensor then Stops Voltage
...ECU prevents shifting out of neutral when idle too high
...ECU prevents shifting into reverse unless reverse switch engaged
...ECU sends Gears 2,3,4 signal to combination meter (on older Foremans)
NONE of these ECU functions is CRITICAL to Proper Operation
and so controlling the shift motor can be done manually as long as you
are careful not to hold the shift buttons down more than 1 second.

WORK-AROUND:
If unable to fix ES, can wire up 2 SPDT relays to bypass ECU
Shift Motor leads go to middle of each relay, NC goes to Ground, NO goes to 12V
Shift Up activates one relay (to switch to 12V), Shift Down activates the other relay
WARNING - It is possible that holding the button down too long may burn out motor
WIRING:
Cut 3 wires on handlebar going to shift switches,
put 12V fused new wire on Vcc wire (blk/red),
add extentions from shift up (whi/blu) + down (whi/yel) to battery compartment
Add 2x Relays (12V 30A) to battery compartment:
Connect shift up/dn button extentions to relay coils (86 white)
Ground other side of relay coils (85 black)
Relay NC (87a big red) go to battery ground
Relay NO (87 big yellow) to 12V battery (fuse optional as relays will burn out if shorted)
Relay switch center pins (30 big Blue) go to shift motor
NOTE: Shift motor Orange to relay for up (Whi/Blu),
Shift motor Green to relay for down (Whi/Yel)

RISK ASSESSMENT:
I have calculated electric motor torque of the shift motor to assess risks:
Electric Motors: 750 Watts = 1 HP which typically produces 1 ft-lbs @ 6000 rpm
I estimate the shift motor is 0.25 HP = 180 Watts = 0.25 ft-lbs / 6000rpm.
It has about a 60:1 gear ratio up to the final gear,
which changes 6000 rpm to a little less than 2 revolutions per second
(shifting requires 1 revolution of final gear, which will take about 1/2 second)
and increases 0.25 ft-lbs to: Torque = 15 ft-lbs.
Pushing on an 9 inch footpedal with 20 pounds gives 15 ft-lbs torque
so a large man could easily press a footpedal with more than 20 pounds
and beat the power of the shift motor.
Therefore, if there is more frequent shift gear damage with ES models,
then the cause is probably because of user error such as downshifting
accidently (instead of upshifting), which is far more likely
to occur with shift buttons than with footpedals.
 

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that's a lot of risk ^^^, I think i'll just take my chances, and stay with a manual shift ( semi-auto ).
 

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Why not teach people how to fix them right?

Cobbling up the shifter and cutting into harness wires just creates more problems and unnecessary expenses for people... whom eventually come looking for cleanup help and guess what happens next? WE get stuck guiding them back to reality and helping them replace hacked up wiring and parts. Its really dumb!

Our goal here is to help people learn (how) to do for themselves. Destructive cobbling ain't ever good advice to give folks that might not know any better. And certainly aren't qualified to pull such a dumb suggestion off.

Do it right, do it better, or stay home... thats my 2 (common) cents.

Welcome to the forums!
 

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well I won't bash on a person's fix that works for them
but I tend to agree, the ES bikes when the ES works they work fine, when they don't it tends to be a few simple deals, , there just annoying when they have issue's
so, when one is fixed right, they tend to last many many yrs problem free(I prefer foot shifts, less to go wrong)
but E shifts have been a bout a LONG time and its NOT due to them all being BAD
for many folks that have issue's I think many do NOT have the skill site to be hacking into wires and adding NONE oem parts
will just open a bigger can of worms for most

for those with good repair skill, this might be a mod they wish to do
but I wouldn;'t recommend it
I like my things to work as designed from honda on my atv?
but thats again ME!
I'd call the above food for thought, and not a big deal folks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
mrbb is right,retro is wrong.
Fixing my 2000 Foreman the retro way will take 10-40 hours of labor
and $250-1000 of parts (shift motor, angle sensor, ECU, wiring harness, etc.).
All on a vehicle worth $2000-3000, with no guarantee of success.
And you should realize that a lot of people have junked their atv because
they are not willing to trudge down that long and winding path.

On the other hand, this is not a fix that a novice without basic wiring skills
should try. Even though backing out the fix requires patching only 3 wires
(assuming you use quick splice connectors on the shift motor wires).
So as mrbb said, if you have good repair skills, you might give it a try.
 

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Actually what you explained was eye opening because my latest malfunction happened when I meant to upshift and hit downshift instead also about using the manual shift lever—don’t cycle too hard or you’ll risk breaking it.
It was easier for me to replace the ECU, shift motor angle sensor and battery on the 02 about 3 years ago. It only needed a battery and clutch adjust this time.
Glad your workaround worked for you and thanks for sharing. I have some experience chasing spark and that’s quite a bit more than the average owner could stand. If parts weren’t available this might be a more attractive option
 

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First off I love to mod things to work better or differently than they were intended. Very few machines that I have owned and use are left stock. I like designing and building and prototyping ideas and have a lot of experience doing so.

I like this creative idea and this attempt to eliminate ES problems too!

What I disagree with the most, is the suggestion of hacking into existing harnesses to make splices. With experience you'll learn why that is the most terrible suggestion you can offer a person, and that it cannot be backed out of, once corrosion sets in or fires start. You can cut up your own harness if you wish, but it would be better to do revisions right. Do it professionally and share it!

Many people that visit forums for solutions to their ATV problems don't have much experience, or knowledge... Some have very few abilities or skills and are very eager to find a quick, easy & cheap fix that they don't have to work much for. Many of the youngers just want to buy something, as if spending $$$ could solve their every problem. If we tell them to hack and splice, many of them would do it without a second thought! So, I feel responsible for what I might instruct others to do.

Folks learn very quickly from well built examples and will try to maintain quality in their own work when/where they are shown it. Why not make a short harness with soldered bullet connectors and weatherproof sheaths matching the existing harness plugs? Simply unplug... and plug in your new harness revision, rather than hack & splice? You can buy everything you need for that job cheaply. No irreversible damage is done. No risk of corrosion, or shorted harness wiring catching fire or frying innocent components. Get me interested in your product.

I apologize if this reads like a critical rant. Hang around and have fun...
 

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Even with the wiring diagram in front of me, id probably screw something up. i done wiring for bowling machines, elevators, hvac, and a few more things. i think i banged my head one too many times over the years so my concentration aint what it never was.. besides, others ride the atv, i cant trust them not to hold the shift button too long. besides, i dont trust me either. i'd like to try, i just cant afford it.
 

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shift motor voltage

i was thinking (here we go again), that the voltage going to the motor was less than 12volts. maybe an inline resistor is needed. what is the resistance of the motor, voltage, amps supposed to be, going to the motor? i havent seenit, in the books i got.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know the resistance or amps of the shift motor, but the voltage has to be 12 volts
because the service manual recommends testing it with 12 volts. Also reducing a high current
(estimate 15 amps) to less voltage is hard and would be silly. The ECU probably uses MOSFETs
to turn on/off the motor, which have little resistance.

I could test my other honda which has a normal working ES system, but I am not that worried.
And the voltage will jump up, then down 1/2 second later, so I would need my oscilloscope
to test it.
 

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I have a 2004 Foreman 450. It had shifting problems when I bought it, but would shift manually just fine. I haven't sorted things out quite yet due to the cold and no heat in my shed. One of my issues might be that the previous owner was told he would need a bigger battery to run the winch, so he installed a lawnmower battery in a box on the back rack. When I got it home it wouldn't charge, so i threw in another one I had on a go-kart. So far I've gotten it to shift up once with the ES but not down or into reverse.

I've been reading up on shifting issues, and have been wondering if someone has done something like this. I like the idea but what I was thinking of doing is using the ECU to trigger the relays. You would have the safeguards with no risk of voltage drop to the shift motor.
 

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I think I’d rather take the chance on gutting the ES system and running it with just a foot shifter, despite the weaker gear design on the 450ES Foreman’s.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Since you got it to shift once, then you may have a mechanical gear linkage problem.
It is very common for the shifter to not work occasionally, which is fixed by pushing/pulling
the atv to move the wheels a bit. Another possibility is a weak shift motor, or a weak
battery. So you might want to pull the shift motor out and test it, or just replace it
with a cheap chinese one like I did. It may not last very long, but it is quick and easy.

If the shift motor is not trying to turn because of no voltage, then no
you cannot use the ECU to control the add-on relays because there is no
shift voltage coming out of the ECU - the internal mosfets are probably fried,
or the error detection circuitry will stop it from functioning. Unfortunately,
replacing the ECU will not always fix your problem because there could be
a bad sensor or faulty wiring connection somewhere. Add-on relays will
work even if you have those problems, as long as the mechanical gear
linkage works (that is the manual shift tool works).

I added a safety timer circuit to my shift relays which cuts voltage after 1/4 second.
So if anyone has a broken ES shift system, my relay system will not only fix it
(assuming the shift motor still works), but it will also protect against holding
down the shift buttons too long. Pushing and holding the shift button down
might otherwise burn out the shift motor, or it might even put too much
pressure on the shift gear linkage and break something.

I can make a drop in relay system that is so easy to install,
you don't even need a wire stripper, and you only have to cut one wire.
Of course, replacing all the shift parts with Honda parts is the best way to go
if you can afford to spend $500+ (and 10 hours labor).
 

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I say good write up for those who dont mind doing a little low budget engineering with a bike tha is giving issues.

I have a friend who has had nothing but issues with his ES because the harness is in utter disrepair. He has problems w/ continuity on wires one second then you wiggle the harness and you get connection and he says its in multiple places. He has ended up putting a shifter on the foreman and using it when the bike stops working on the trail. I say if you have tested it and had no problems then that is great. Why not simplify the system if it works for you. Say your shift ECU or harness goes to crap its either a few cheap relays or $200 harness or ECU.

Thanks for the post
 

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Like I said I haven't had the time to start probing into the whole system to find my problem. I rode it up and down the road once using the shift tool. It goes into all the gears including reverse when manually shifted. Might be something simple, shift motor needs cleaned out, bad connection somewhere. The display had some water in it, so now none of the buttons work, but it shows the gear I'm in and the speed works.

Relays I can get at any auto parts store, but where did you get the timer?
 

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Tagging this for a project in the yard. My wife's uncle dropped off his 450 that isn't shifting without the emergency shifter.

If it were mine I'd convert it to footshift, but he wants to keep it ES
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Search for "relay 12v spdt" on amazon for some great deals. They even have waterproof ones.
A plug and play timer circuit is not available as far as I know.
I can make them. Message me if you want more details.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yes, Bosch style relays like that.

They are encased in plastic, but maybe they leak around the contacts?
I might put some dielectric grease on my Chinese ones.
American manufacturers source virtually all of their electronics parts
from China. Even IPhones are made in China.

Waterproof is definitely better. It looks like you can get 1 Hella with socket for $13,
or 6 waterproof Chinesiums with sockets for $25. But since you only need 2,
maybe you are right.
 

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The Tyco units are made in Portugal. I've had good results using those on ATV's and Jeeps.

You can find them on old Cadillacs in boneyards too.
 
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