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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would share a method I learned to shift the smoothest... I've tried letting off the gas when shifting but still get that bang/clunk. But now I've learned that when going into the next gear, if you keep some power on or even add a little, pull the paddle and keep it pulled toward you until the shift is complete, then release the paddle. This way the throttle retard function stays retarded until the shift is complete. It seems Honda did the throttle retard perfect for this tranny and it's hard to get the same effect by letting off the gas. For me, flipping the paddle quicker always results in a bang/clunk on my 500. On my test ride, the hyper impatient salesman at the dealership would flip the paddle very quick like it was a playing card and bang every gear, drove me nuts, he was trying to show off how easy & quick flipping the paddle was but it seemed he was abusing the tranny this way. He also shifted with lots of power on. I put a down payment on the machine and they promised me no one would ever drive it again, what a relief. Sometimes my 500 won't shift out of Low or 1st gear, makes me wonder if that salesman did some damage? Usually it happens at the start of my ride but works fine after it's warmed all the way up, but once in a while it happens later in the ride at full operating temps and it makes me nervous that I might have to drive back to base at 4-6 mph in low gear. I've talked to Honda direct and they don't know why its doing that. If it keeps happening I'll have to take it to the dealer to sort it out. In the meantime at least I'm shifting smooth unlike the constant banging the salesman did.
 

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When I first crank it up I always shift it into 2nd and start off. Then I never have a problem with it not shifting. Low is useless in my normal driving anyway...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
William, have you had yours not shift out of low also? I also start out in 2nd gear a lot but only after it's warmed up. There have been times when mine won't shift from 2nd to 3rd gear either.
 

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Seems like a common thing...

If its like my old 450 Foreman, then it needs to get some oil circulated nicely between the plates before it shifts smoothly, especially if it sits for a while. The plates squeeze the oil from between them when not in use and "stick" for the 1st few shifts.

There is also probably a clutch adjustment that may need it.

It will get much better as it breaks in.

Synthetic oil will make a big difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks DG, that makes sense. The thing that is troubling is that it's happened a few times even after an hour plus ride in 90* weather. It seems more electronic in nature than mechanical. When it shifts correctly you can hear the shift activator click when sitting still, when it is not shifting you hear nothing, and while moving, the throttle retard kicks in but there is no sound of the electronic shift. I think the electronic shift activator might be doing a random no signal to the tranny. I'm guessing the dealer might replace the electric shift module, but Murphy's Law dictates the mechanic will probably ride it a lot and report it's shifting correctly every time, and that they can't replace anything if the problem doesn't happen for them. And my dealer is 50 minutes away and will have to leave it there for a while. It's not a big deal but when you're miles from base and it won't shift out of low, you are faced with driving back at 4 mph in low, or the speed of an electric power chair. I'm not sure, but I think it might be happening a little less as I put on more miles, and it's been a couple weeks since it stopped shifting after being fully warmed up so the problem might be slowly going away, I hope. Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks William. Good to know it isn't just mine doing this. Thanks for the tip, I am putting the manual under the seat in case I'm out somewhere and it won't shift, the manual explains how to do the 'emergency gear selection' on page 186. That will be some decent piece of mind... Thanks again guys.
 

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It seems more electronic in nature than mechanical. When it shifts correctly you can hear the shift activator click when sitting still, when it is not shifting you hear nothing, and while moving, the throttle retard kicks in but there is no sound of the electronic shift.
That's good info to give the dealer.

I must confess i have little knowledge of the ESP type shifting ( which is what i assume Honda has employed here ). toodeep will be along. Maybe he can shed some light.

Check the battery connections and make sure they are tight. Maybe grounds as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's good info to give the dealer.

I must confess i have little knowledge of the ESP type shifting ( which is what i assume Honda has employed here ). toodeep will be along. Maybe he can shed some light.

Check the battery connections and make sure they are tight. Maybe grounds as well.
Thanks my friend, good info, much appreciated. toodeep input sure would be good also. I wonder if Honda techs look at this forum? They sure should. I can't count how many problems I solved with my Yamaha Rhino because of great forums like this!
 

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These machines will shift hard when first started and the engine is idling faster. Also if it's low mileage yet it will shift better with the more miles you get on it. I would start with adjusting the clutch though. That is the mechanism in the motor that disengages the clutch when it shifts. If it's out of adjustment the clutch might not be releasing all the way and causing it to shift hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Good news. Went for a long ride yesterday and it shifted correctly the whole ride! And I have perfected my smooth shifting method. I give it some gas then pull the paddle firmly back to the stop and hold it for a second, and there is no clunk/bang at all, just a firm quiet smooth engaging to the next gear, so sweet! My trans should last at least 30 years using this method. Not that it wouldn't anyway, but it must be less wear on the gears etc. 285 miles now, this is such a nice machine thanks Honda!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Sorry to derail the topic abit, but since you owned the Rhino, how do you like the Pioneer in comparison?
That could be a long answer, but in a shorter version I always liked my Rhino but always had a new problem to research & fix and I was weary of doing that. I always thought if Honda (The best) came out with a nice side x side then I'd jump right on it. The last problem to solve with my Rhino was after it sits for days or weeks, with the older style non E.F.I. carb, the fuel would slowly drain away from the carb, the mechanical fuel pump, and drain back down to the tank. I would have to take a gas tank pressure line off and blow into it to force fuel back up into the fuel pump before it would start. I bought a marine primer bulb to install, then Honda came out with the P500. The new owner of my Rhino can install the fuel bulb. Rhino/Honda comparison... The Rhino has some annoying rattles & vibrations at different RPM's. I kept chasing them down and quieting whatever I could, and the Rhino is kind of loud. The Honda is rock solid and more quiet and smooth than the Rhino. The Honda has electronic fuel injection, no choke to play with, just turn the key and it starts right up. And with the Honda, after putting radial tires on and disconnecting the rear sway bar, it is more comfortable and smoother. The Rhino is a good machine and never broke down leaving me stranded out in the Arizona desert, but with the Honda I feel totally confident when I'm out there. PS, I am writing a post about disconnecting the P500 rear sway bar, an improved smoother ride.
 

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Thank you for the reply. I've read about that issuse with the mechanical fuel pump before. My last two atvs and dirtbike were both fuel injected. It really would be tough to regress back to a carb.
 

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If you haven't already learned how to use the Manual Shift wrench, in case the E-Shifter fails, I would suggest practicing in a nice dry warm garage. I thought I had a general idea of where the shift nut was so didn't look close, figuring I'd work it out if or when I needed to.

Bad mistake! I put mine through the ice 2 weeks ago and into 2 1/2 feet of water with straight ice walls fore and aft. The bike got stuck in Reverse and would not come out so we had to winch it backwards (wouldn't winch forward against the Tranny and I didn't want to shut it off)

It took 15-mins of feeling through freezing mud with a flashlight to finally locate it, right under the driver seat, just inside and down from the Front Driveshaft exit from the Transfer Case. If I'd known how to do before hand, I could easily have shifted into a forward gear for winching ahead. Go get your wrench and Practice right now if you haven't already.

Incidently, the Tranny wouldn't shift automatically until I'd heated the bike up for at least 30-mins until after the 3rd ride it dried up enough to work
 

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I have learned if you adjust the clutch right it will shift smooth every time without letting off of the gas. I also learned to adjust the clutch a little loose works best. Instead of a quarter turn I do a third of a turn clockwise... I still get the 1st to 2nd gear shift problem when it's cold, but just let completely off the gas and shift for the first few times then it will shift fine after it warms up. Works for me!
 

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Ive experienced the same. Shifting from 1 to 2nd. I usually start in 2nd. And and always looking to up shift lol. Its a very close gear ratio since top end is only 60kph.
I would be to worried probably shift better over time.
Ill tell u this thou. I was using the p500 for loging. While in low dragging the wood in noticed its very easy to rev the p500 up was watching speed and eventually chould keep the revs down in low. Lol had it doing 10kph in low.
 

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I run the Honda semi synthetic oil and with 25-2800 Kms on it now it shifts pretty nice, snicks into gear. I do probably need to adjust the clutch again but is much better then when new. Have also changed out the front and rear differentials with Redline full synthetic shock proof gear oil.

jrc
 
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