are you saying it would be a smart idea to pull off the small front case area where the shifter is and clean it out good and grease it up? If so what grease should I use and should I be worried about putting it back together incorrectly and having worse shift issues and is the electric motor that shifts it servo style or closer to a stepper? Worth a shot to find out more info, thanks!
Yes, the ES system will be problematic until you service it properly. Most ES issues (probably over 98% of the time) arise because none of the parts in the system were prepared right at the factory. There are also shoddy assembly issues on many bikes that need correcting.
ES prep is necessary for both; a repair for existing shift issues, AND a one-time preventive maintenance procedure.
I intend to write up a comprehensive ES Howto thread with photos someday, I have the donor bike (450 ES) sitting in my yard waiting... but thats a winter project. I do not have the free time necessary to begin just yet.
No parts are required unless something has already broke, but you'll need a small tube of dielectric grease, a tub of NLGI #2 synthetic grease (Mobil 1 works great), a tube of silicone gasket maker (I use Permatex Ultra Black), possibly a green scotchbrite pad (or fine sandpaper) & a plastic bottle brush, and some sort of cleaning solvent & hot soapy water. You can buy most of those items from any auto parts store.
The reduction gears cover has to be taken off and the gears removed. All parts (including inside the front cover) should be cleaned with a solvent and small plastic brush to remove any old, dried lithium grease that remains. You can use solvent on a rag to clean up inside each half of the reduction gears housing.
The shift motor has to be taken completely apart and those parts washed. Use warm soapy water and a plastic bottle brush to clean up inside the field magnets housing. If you need to clean the armature use only soap & water on a cloth or a soft plastic brush. Rinse and dry them completely. A common hair blow-dryer set on low heat works good. Wash the remaining shift motor metal parts and bearing with solvent and dry them.
Next, inspect each reduction gear support bearing to make sure that they were installed right at the factory. Many times a bearing will be found cocked in its bore and/or not pressed down into place just below the surface of the cover or case where it belongs. This bearing issue is very common and must be corrected if found, else the reduction gears will drag on the housing and some will strip gear teeth. If you find a bearing not installed straight, tap it down using the end of a plastic screwdriver handle until its square and flush with its bore chamfer.
Using your finger, push synthetic grease into each bearing past the metal bearing shields until each bearing is repacked with fresh grease. Those tiny bearings are not sealed so just keep pushing grease inside them until each are full. Then smear some synthetic grease on the interior aluminum surfaces of each half of the case & cover and coat each reduction gear with liberal amounts of grease and set them aside.
Next, reassemble the shift motor with synthetic grease in each of its two bearings. See the following set of posts for shift motor assembly instructions:
In that thread I used silicone 0-ring grease for sealing the motor assembly. In your case though, you should use gasket maker instead. So apply light coatings of silicone gasket maker on each o-ring seal and gasket that I applied o-ring grease. Assembly is pretty much the same other than that.
Install the angle sensor last... there is a flat on the shift shaft that must be lined up when you put it on. Use a thin coating of gasket maker to seal it to the cover.
Do not overtighten any of the bolts during reassembly. Grease the threads of each bolt lightly and tighten them down in a criss-cross pattern evenly.
You can use the (5101394) 2007-2010 TRX420 Rancher service manual at the following link for reference as you work, everything in that manual is pretty much the same as you'll find on your 2011.
Final step: Open, inspect, clean and dielectric grease every wiring harness connector pair on the bike, one at a time. You'll probably need to remove fenders to access them all. This is very important... they are not completely waterproof as they come from the factory. If you find any terminals turning green with corrosion, carefully clean them up... do not bend any of them. Use lots of dielectric grease around each of the rubber plug seals in each connector.
Take your time and work very thoroughly. Use the manual for reference. Ask questions when/if you have any. And keep a big smile on as you work... cause once you complete these ES preparations you'll be amazed at how well the system works, how fast it shifts and how quietly (and efficiently) it performs. And it'll probably last as long as the bike does without you buying any parts.
Keep us updated if you can...