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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2005 TRX400FA Won't shift out of first gear. When in Drive the dash display reads out "- -" instead of "D". Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.
This is my second post on this problem. After 84 views & no responses I can only assume that I need to see my dealer to have this problem diagnosed?
I need some experienced advice, please help.
Thank you.
Ol'Roy
 

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I wish I could help you, but I don't know anything at all about the Hondamatic CVT trannys.

Is it flashing any trouble codes on the display? If it is, here is a link to a thread about retrieving the codes.

http://www.hondaatvforums.net/forum...ieval-procedure-list-04-07-rancher-400at.html

Those have the same type of tranny as the Rubicon 500. Here is a link that describes how they operate.

2001 Honda Rubicon Hondamatic hydraulic transmission

I don't know if any of this will help or not, but this is all I know to tell you. Sorry I couldn't help you more.
 

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That was the same problem i had with mine. I know that the angle sensor can cause that, but im still not sure whats wrong with mine , but ive replaced the angle sensor thats not it. Do you have trouble getting it to say that its in neutral? (N) Instead of (--)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Helmut. You seem to be the "5 Star General" of the site. I was hoping you would weigh in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was reading your posts earlier. Was hoping I could follow you to an answer!

I put the gear shift in to "D" ; I get "- -" & it stays in first gear. I've got "N" & I got "R". In the owners manual it mentions "- -" but it talks about a blinking "- -". Mine doesn't blink.

It didn't happen suddenly. The first time, I got "- -" I took off in first gear & got the RPM's up & it shifted in to second & the dash display went to "D". It was good after that until I shut it off.
The second time it took longer. The display read "- -" & I had to get it warmed up & dam near red lined it & then it went into second gear & the display went to "D". It was good after that too!
Now it just stays "- -" & in first gear.

I'm old school. Give me a 69 Dodge Charger & I'll make it sing; I haven't caught up with this electronic & hydrostatic BS yet!

Sounds like we got the same bug!
Ol'Roy
 

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I wish I could help you, but I don't know anything at all about the Hondamatic. I wouldn't know where to start, I've never owned or worked on one. Saber6 would probably know more than anyone else on here, but I don't know how often he gets on here.
 

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Yeah seems about the same. Ill let u know when i get mine fixed what the problem was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Helmut, thanks for the problem code retrieval sheet! That was a huge help!
I'm coming up with 11 blinks, which crosses to a "PCM Fail Safe Relay Circuit".
I've got a shop manual on order & was hoping it would come today but not the case.

Curiousity is killing me; So what exactly does "Fail Safe Relay Circuit" mean?
Is it a specific relay that I can replace or is it more of a wiring harness with miles of wire & multiple connections that I need to trace through?

Many thanks for any info you can provide!

Ol'Roy
 

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Alot of times the ECU fail safe relay circuit is a probable faulty part,Mainly the ECU.. Have you Checked the connections at the ecu for moisture?
 

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Helmut, thanks for the problem code retrieval sheet! That was a huge help!
I'm coming up with 11 blinks, which crosses to a "PCM Fail Safe Relay Circuit".
I've got a shop manual on order & was hoping it would come today but not the case.

Curiousity is killing me; So what exactly does "Fail Safe Relay Circuit" mean?
Is it a specific relay that I can replace or is it more of a wiring harness with miles of wire & multiple connections that I need to trace through?

Many thanks for any info you can provide!

Ol'Roy
Have you checked your shift linkage to see if it's out of adjustment? I don't know if that's your problem, but take a look at this thread from another forum. This thread is about a Rubicon, but the Rancher AT uses the same tranny. The trouble codes will have different numbers, though, but that don't matter because you've already read your trouble codes and know what it is. If this isn't the problem, then my guess would be a bad ECU.

problem w/4low - Honda Foreman Forums : Rubicon, Rincon, Rancher and Recon Forum
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Saber6.
When you say ECU (Electronic Control Unit??) is that interchangeable with PCM (Power Control Module)? If they are the same unit; no I do not have moisture at the plug connections.

The Service Manual says "11 blinks - replace PCM"; my dealer will let me have a new PCM for only $195! Can my Honda dealer check my old PCM & verify that it has failed before I get stuck with an electronic part I might not need?

Any way I can test it myself?

Bear with me; grew up working on Jeeps, Chevy 4x4's & Mopars; this is the first time I've needed to tear in to an ATV!

Thanks
Ol'Roy
 

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Yeah, the ECU and PCU are the same thing. ECU is Electronic Control Unit and PCU is Powertrain Control Unit which usually includes the transmission in the computer system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Any advice on the other stuff??
Back to your earlier post; the linkage does not seem to be an issue. The factory settings and spot welds are intact and I worked it pretty good to see if I could get the "- -" to change back to a "D". I didn't find any "slop" from a worn part/connection.

Very grateful that you (& others) have taken the time to help me out!
 

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I don't know of any way to check the PCM and I doubt if the dealer has any way to check them, other than replacing them with a known good unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kinda what I figured.
Thanks to you guys I have a well informed diagnose of the problem.
The odds should be in my favor!
Here goes $200 & a prayer!
 

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Good luck, I hope things work out good for you.
 

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I would be interested to see if the new ECM fixed your problem. I have a similar mis-behaving 2004 Honda Fourtrax 400FA, which started off with code6. That was the angle sensor. After that, I got code 12. All along, I only had limp mode 1 speed forward, and hesitant reverse. I verified continuity, replaced the shift control motor, ECM, battery, and I still had the problem. I then determined the voltage rectifier was pooched, and was providing excessive voltage. I replaced that with new, and got ANOTHER ECM. Still no dice.

I then started thinking along the lines you are. Why won't this POS find Neutral? There are 3 little plugs on the left lower side of the engine, just inside the plastic cover. They have the labels D/N/R indicating drive/neutral/reverse. I found that one plug (reverse) was severed. I fixed the connection, and now I have full reverse, and 1 speed forward. (Note - I have to start it in diagnostic mode: holding shift switches down when I turn on the key) If I start it with the (--) showing on the heads-up display, I at least have 1 forward and Reverse gear.

I'm thinking we might have a similar issue - why can the machine not identify Neutral? When I start the machine in the initialization sequence, and press UP,DOWN,UP, it then goes directly to (--). Whereas it should go to "N" and if you fully depress the throttle it should initialize the shift control motor. this is where I'm stuck.

Would like to hear if the new ECM helps you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm in the north east corner of Maryland; you may have heard my profanity from where you are at!!

Replacing the PCM (That's the politically correct term my Honda service manual refers to it as so I'm going to stay with it so I don't get anymore confused than I already am) did not solve the problem.

I will gladly sell &/or rent you a brand new, out of the box PCM, that I paid $195 for, at a very discounted price hoping that you don't experience the same level of frustration!

Everything I'm reading in the SM & on line seems to start the troubleshooting process from a blinking "- -". My "- -" does not blink & it only occurs when I am in what should be "D".

I am now thinking that I have a "drive position switch" problem OR I have rodent damage that's causing a short. The ATV was parked for about a week in an open barn in an area that is frequented by rodents (Porcupines, Chipmunks, Mice & a neighbor that has a history of making things "look like an accident").

After installing the new PCM, I was going through the reset process & on one occasion; as I was moving the gear shift from "N " to "D"; the "- -" disappeared for about a split second & I got a true read out on my display.

I'm thinking I got a loose connection, something in the harness shorting out &/or a faulty swith/sensor/component. That really narrows it down.

I have a full inspection planned for this weekend.

Maybe we can open up a "used but not faulty & not returnable parts exchange?? Got a used drive position switch that you replaced & it didn't turn out to be the problem?

I seem to have the classic "dog chasing tail syndrome" which usually results in many false diagnosis's, a lot of time and money spent chasing false hopes & one badly damaged liver.

But that IS the life of the guy that's too freakin proud (or poor) to take it to "the shop" for repairs!

Ol'Roy
 

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Sorry to hear that the PCM didn't fix it, I know how frustrating that can be, especially spending that kind of money for nothing. I wish I had an answer for you, but I just don't know much about the 400AT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Helmut. You've already been a huge help.

When you don't know- you don't know!

You can't beat this new electronic crap when it's doing what it's supposed too but troubleshooting is dam near impossible for the "do it yourselfer"!
 
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