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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Pioneer altitude sickness - YouTube

I have a cold, so i sound even funnier than i normally sound....

Some have ask about the Pioneers ability at high elevations. Here is some proof. I was by myself and weigh about 270, and had maybe 50lbs of gear with me, running 91 gas.

The 1st hill was pretty steep, but nothing outside the abilities of any quad/SxS. I am a little surprised that it climbed this, but add another 1000' feet or another person, and i don't think it would happen. After the vid i went back down and came up again. Got hung up on the big rock, stalled, backed up, dug holes...and finally got past it. The preferred line would have been to put a tire ON the rock, but i already knew it wouldn't pull this.
Further up, i did dig into the same section where it almost stalled the 1st time, and did stall, but was able to get it going again, and made it up.

Second part was the real surprise. Snow, 9300', 4wd-lock...and tires bogging. This scenario happened several times during my snow time.

This beaks my heart. I love the Pioneer, and have been trying to overlook its' one major fault. I've never really subjected it to a true test of power until this ride, and it is clear that a lack of low range limits what i can do up here. I was hoping it just "felt" like it might do this, but the video don't lie.

Below 5-6K feet, i think it would do anything you could ask...and if you never go above that, ignore this post and enjoy your excellent machine. I ride these higher elevations often, and i will not tolerate a machine that limits where and what i can ride.
 

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I totally agree if there was a low range these would be unstoppable manufactures not just Honda design machines for low elevations since that's where 90% of the population is maybe they should start doing some testing out west to see what we have to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I totally agree if there was a low range these would be unstoppable manufactures not just Honda design machines for low elevations since that's where 90% of the population is maybe they should start doing some testing out west to see what we have to deal with.
That certainly seems to be what happened here. Maybe Honda should move from SC to Colorado.
 

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Although that is unfortunate, I guess it answers Randsom's question on elevation and power. I guess the good news is your the only one I know of that's had a pioneer that high, I certainly won't be taking mine that high although I will be taking it up to 7500 or so this summer. Very good informative video DG, appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Although that is unfortunate, I guess it answers Randsom's question on elevation and power. I guess the good news is your the only one I know of that's had a pioneer that high, I certainly won't be taking mine that high although I will be taking it up to 7500 or so this summer. Very good informative video DG, appreciate it.
Yes...and i hope that everyone understands that this was my goal here: To inform those who might ride that type of terrain, and NOT to berate an outstanding machine and the people who find it suits their needs.
 

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Yes...and i hope that everyone understands that this was my goal here: To inform those who might ride that type of terrain, and NOT to berate an outstanding machine and the people who find it suits their needs.
I understand what your trying to do DG, pushing a platform to it's limits. We all do it in our own riding arena. It seems like we have a bunch of manufacture's on either side of the target and no one on target. On one side we have the Honda Pioneer, machine configuration is the best on the market, but is lacking albeit ever so slightly in gearing or power. On the other side we have Polaris that just keeps throwing bigger engines at the same skinny axles and drive belts. Why stop at 107hp Pullurass just step it up and build one with 250hp already, then we can add industrial sized boat fans to the transmission exhaust to keep the belt from melting :rolleyes:.

Hopefully Honda will step up the Pioneer a little and get to the sweet spot, I think that for 99% of the people that buy them they are. I restate that not many people go that high in elevation. I'm pretty sure we can say with certainty that Canned Ham will not fix their heat issues that people have been complaining about for 8+ years, and I think we can say with equal certainty that Polaris will not improve their quality control or lack there of. Just a thought for all the "VS" threads floating around.
 
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I noticed that you only had it straight up in 4wd in your video. Would it had made a difference sliding it to the right in 4wd? I live in Tennessee and wouldnt ever be that high. And I am not very mechanically minded but I thought the 4wd up and to the right made all 4 tires pull. I watched the video twice and maybe a I missed it but seemed to do pretty good to me. At times even seemed you may have a little more throttle to push down. Great test though just asking the questions because I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I noticed that you only had it straight up in 4wd in your video. Would it had made a difference sliding it to the right in 4wd? I live in Tennessee and wouldnt ever be that high. And I am not very mechanically minded but I thought the 4wd up and to the right made all 4 tires pull. I watched the video twice and maybe a I missed it but seemed to do pretty good to me. At times even seemed you may have a little more throttle to push down. Great test though just asking the questions because I don't know.
You're right...Up and right is diff-lock 4WD. In the snow part, it was always engaged in 4-diif-lock.

On the hill it was just 4WD ( or 3-wheel, as some call it ). Mainly because it simply didn't need it, it wasn't spinning...and that in-and-of-itself kinda says something. Had it needed diff-lock, i can guarantee it wouldn't have pulled it.

I can't swear that i didn't lift off a little at some point, but for the most part, it was full throttle all the way up...even where it nearly stalled. In the snow it was definitely full throttle the whole time. That's the point the video is meant to make...it just doesn't have enough power to overcome the lack of a low range/lower gearing at these elevations.

As i said, at lower elevations, its a different machine for the most part.
 

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Now this could be totally different than riding in Ky and Tenn but on the Rincon Tranny if you started to go up steep long hill. They would stop pulling. I added a little extra oil and it took care of that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Now this could be totally different than riding in Ky and Tenn but on the Rincon Tranny if you started to go up steep long hill. They would stop pulling. I added a little extra oil and it took care of that problem.
Yes...and i was familiar with this issue before i bought the Pioneer, and i do run it just a little over full for that reason. But that wasn't the problem here. When the oil issue occurs, the tranny slips from oil starvation. No slipping here...just straining to pull at lower RPM's. I really wish it were as simple as a pint of oil.
 

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Still doing Pioneer analysis huh DG?:) I've backed off and accepted it for what it is and am overall happy with it.

All that mountain riding you've done, do you feel your Pioneer will always get you home with no worries when your deep in the country? I'm planning on doing a long ride way back in the mountains this spring and will likely be going solo (no other machines) and the thought of it leaving me stranded did cross my mind even knowing Honda has a good reliability reputation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Still doing Pioneer analysis huh DG?:) I've backed off and accepted it for what it is and am overall happy with it.

All that mountain riding you've done, do you feel your Pioneer will always get you home with no worries when your deep in the country? I'm planning on doing a long ride way back in the mountains this spring and will likely be going solo (no other machines) and the thought of it leaving me stranded did cross my mind even knowing Honda has a good reliability reputation.
Never once has that thought crossed my mind.

Yep, still analyzing...mainly because i keep hoping it will give me the answer i want to hear. Sadly, i now know that won't happen.
 

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high elevation loss of power is caused buy two things lack of air and the computer running to rich for the altitude.
your car has an altitude sensor that tell it you in hi altitude and a 02 sensor that confirms the fuel mixture.
you bike has neither. it doesn't know your in the thin air so it keeps the same fuel mixture that it would in low altitude.
it does have a air charge sensor in the air filter box. this sensor tell the computer it cold out and to run on the rich side to make up for cold air.
if you pull this out and put it some were hot it will lean the motor some.
I tried to move mine and it wont reach the radiator hose where it needs to be to test. you could make a little box out of tape to see if you can get it to a hot spot for testing.
if this make as much difference as I think it will i could come up with a resister value that can be wired in with a switch for high altitude riding.

this is a common repair for a lot of bikes with what I call dumb injection.
I had a Kawasaki nomad that pinged bad from to lean condition. a 10 cent resister fixed that permanently. all nomads with pipes do it.
 

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Thats very interesting. 30 years ago I used to repair alot of analog circuits and can see how this could work. Another thought would be to put a pot in series if we can figure out the ohm range. I assume we would see a DC voltage change across the air charge sensor depending on temp? Heck, bring a hair dryer along for when you get above 8K : )
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
high elevation loss of power is caused buy two things lack of air and the computer running to rich for the altitude.
your car has an altitude sensor that tell it you in hi altitude and a 02 sensor that confirms the fuel mixture.
you bike has neither. it doesn't know your in the thin air so it keeps the same fuel mixture that it would in low altitude.
it does have a air charge sensor in the air filter box. this sensor tell the computer it cold out and to run on the rich side to make up for cold air.
if you pull this out and put it some were hot it will lean the motor some.
I tried to move mine and it wont reach the radiator hose where it needs to be to test. you could make a little box out of tape to see if you can get it to a hot spot for testing.
if this make as much difference as I think it will i could come up with a resister value that can be wired in with a switch for high altitude riding.

this is a common repair for a lot of bikes with what I call dumb injection.
I had a Kawasaki nomad that pinged bad from to lean condition. a 10 cent resister fixed that permanently. all nomads with pipes do it.
I don't know who told you this, but consider them an unreliable source.

The Pioneer has a MAP sensor ( Manifold absolute pressure ) that reads barometric pressure changes AND manifold vacuum and allows the PGM-FI to adjust for altitudes "up to 12'000'", according to Honda press crap.

You are correct about the loss of pressure at higher altitudes being responsible for power loss. It's true for all engines ( and humans, for that matter ). A 570 Ranger looses power at 10'000' as well, but has a low range to fall back on to compensate.

And the O2 sensor on cars has more to do with emissions and fuel economy than any performance aspect. In fact, most, if not all auto FI systems ignore the O2 at wide open throttle, going to a pre-mapped fuel curve, and performing much like the speed-density system that the Pioneer uses.

Wide band O2's can be useful for self-tuning systems, but they are just doing what a good dyno operator could do with a sniffer and a tuner.
 

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So DG, are you going to horse trade your pioneer at this point or are you okay with the performance below 8000 ft enough to keep it?
 

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So DG, are you going to horse trade your pioneer at this point or are you okay with the performance below 8000 ft enough to keep it?
If I'm reading him right. I think the Pioneers ship has sailed, and DG is still on the pier.

He mentioned the 570 though. I'm starting to think that Polaris propaganda email might have brainwashed him. :eek:
 

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So is the question more about Lower gear range rather than engine performance? Combustion engines do not perform well across the board at high altitudes unless there is a turbo installed. This has been proven in airplanes. They run but power output is greatly decreased and the mixture must be leaned in order to have have any measure of performance at all. Try descending from 10,000 feet in a non turbo Cessna without changing the (richer) mixture and see how long it runs. It would be nice for Honda as well as other companies to add a rich/lean override but doubt that will ever happen. It would take some manual intervention on the owners part or third party company to offer that I would think.

Changing gears on other machines transfers what little power that have at that altitude a little better to the wheels. That is what you want.. Correct?
 
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If I'm reading him right. I think the Pioneers ship has sailed, and DG is still on the pier.

He mentioned the 570 though. I'm starting to think that Polaris propaganda email might have brainwashed him. :eek:
At least at super high elevations, you'd have alot of downhill back to the trailer to make breakdowns less of a hassle :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So DG, are you going to horse trade your pioneer at this point or are you okay with the performance below 8000 ft enough to keep it?
I am going to talk to my dealer...maybe see if they have had any complaints, or have gotten TBS's or something on the subject...grasp at some other straws in hopes that something might be amiss. If nothing comes of that, then yes...i think it's time with me is done. These elevations are simply too much of my riding.
If I'm reading him right. I think the Pioneers ship has sailed, and DG is still on the pier.

He mentioned the 570 though. I'm starting to think that Polaris propaganda email might have brainwashed him. :eek:
The Polaris link i posted was actually from another board. I don't get mail from Polaris...yet.

I'm not a PoPo fan, but given the market out there, outside of the Pioneer the 570 Ranger seems to suit my needs the best, so it will certainly be investigated.

Changing gears on other machines transfers what little power that have at that altitude a little better to the wheels. That is what you want.. Correct?
Yes.
I have no complaints about the power output of the Pioneer, but we all know that its one of the least powerful SxS, and as such it doesn't have the extra juice to cover the loss at elevation. So you'd better give it some gearing to help deal with that. Honda didn't.
 
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