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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-15-2008, 02:29 PM
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Honda 350 ES shifting problems

Honda Rancher 350 ES shifter problems by papawrancher:

Owning a 2006 Honda 350 ES I had heard stories of disgruntled owners with electric shift problems just trading off their machines to rid themselves of the problem. I had mine about one year with 1,000 miles on my machine when my problems started. I was riding with fellow ATVTORTURE riders on a Hatfield and McCoy trail south of Logan WV when it happened. Ten miles back into the steep rocky trails the machine locked into second gear. So I did what most people would do. I turned the machine off and restarted hoping the problem would go away, how wrong I was. I found out why Honda put an emergency shift handle in the tool box. Believe me when I say it takes forever to get out of those hills.
The nice people at the Logan WV Honda shop sold me a new shift sensor, the eighteenth they had sold in a year. It seams most bad ones were made in Mexico. The shifting problems appeared to disappear while test riding my machine in the nearby trails parking area. It seamed the replacement shift sensor fixed the problem. As my friends were unloading their machines and it was about time to start a day long ride my shift indicator started double flashing again. We just packed up our machines and drove three hours home.
The Honda technician had said checkout procedures called for a wiring harness or ECM replacement could also be the problem. To make matters worse the shift problems were intermittent which made trouble shooting difficult. A riding friend has a 06 Rancher ES like mine and we swapped ECM’s. My ECM was good. I rechecked my shift sensor which was also good.
I must say I was about stumped. I was an Air Force aircraft instrument technician, an electrical engineering designer, and master electrician. Imagine my self disgust not fixing this problem. I talked to the local Honda shop and they incorrectly described the testing procedure so I wouldn’t allow them to touch my Rancher. The Marietta Ohio service manager was very helpful with advice.
So I bite the bullet and bought a new wiring harness plus Honda’s service manual. Now after spending over $300 and spending numerous hours I was so happy when my Electric Shift Rancher started shifting properly. This shifting bliss lasted about a month and 100 miles. One of the weird conditions that happened is when the key is on and no shift fault exists just applying any break leaver would cause a fault. But now I have a Honda service manual and electrical schematic of the shifting system. After spending hours trouble shooting wiring connections I recalled that aluminum oxide is an insulator, not a conductor, which prohibits the electrical circuit I applied anti corrosive paste on the aluminum ground connections. Next I removed the front plastic to access the dash meter wiring connector. After disconnecting and then applying anti corrosive paste directly to the connectors I reconnected the connector.
That joyous moment in time was six months and 400 miles ago, with no problems since. I can honestly advise anyone with Honda Rancher Electric Shifter problems to apply anti corrosive paste for aluminum conductors before spending hundreds of dollars and numerous hours as I did. My electrical connectors showed no sign of moisture or oxidation. Examples of the anti corrosive paste are Nolox, Pentatrox , or as I used, MacTex inhibiting compound.

Last edited by papawrancher; 12-24-2008 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:33 AM
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Wow. I would not have thought that Honda would let something like that happen with their products! However, I'm glad you shared your experience and solution with us. That could really save someone some cash down the road.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:31 PM
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YEah that is great information, but I am sorry you had to go through all that trouble to find the solution! But, my luck is normally the same way!
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:49 AM
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if you go to docsatvservice(dot)com he has a fully waterproof module that works in and out of mud and around the trails for the ES models. He also has a bolt on hand or foot shifter for the ES models. he has really low prices. his number is 601-659-9931
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:52 PM
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Sounds like I may have to do this to my 350 as well. I have a 2000 350 es which had worked great up until last month. It gets itself locked into gear, can't shift up it down unless I turn the bike off than on, I've gotten good at riding the bike turning it off and on while flying down a trail but its getting very frustrating and I'm afrade it's hard on the bike. I keep hear to change the angle sensor but I hear so many others like yourself saying that its not the problem. Also sometimes my bike reads the wrong speed, I caught it a few times when it was idling saying its doing 99 or so. I'm hoping this aluminum anti corrision past will help. Let me know if it sounds like it might.
Thanks
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:56 AM
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Hey how is every one could someone tell me where all the grounds are thank you very much
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:08 PM
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I had the same problem with my shifter and I found a solution on ebay of a bolt on foot shifter. It was a very inexpensive fix seeing that a local mechanic was going to charge me $1000 to fix. I decided to order the bolt on shifter on ebay and it came in the mail pretty quickly with directions for me to install. It was very simple and now my Honda is running great. I found muddrman on ebay and bought the part!
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