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Rancher AT - Won't Shift Out of First Gear

56646 Views 30 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  oCancerPatiento
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.
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Thanks Helmut. You seem to be the "5 Star General" of the site. I was hoping you would weigh in!
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!
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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!

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!

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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!
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!
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!

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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"!
Found the problem! Will post a new thread. Might help someone else.
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