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  1. Hi, and welcome. Progress has been slow. I've had to buy everything online and wait for shipping which was particularly slow over the holidays. The engine is still in the shop for cleanup. JeepWM69's post is right on the mark. If you have the ability to machine hardened steel, this job is potentially doable. It depends on how much collateral damage the bearing caused when it failed. My advise to you would be to get in touch with Mr. Bertram in Minnesota. By the time you take it all apart, clean it, order new bearings and figure out how to reduce the diameter of the swash plate - his rebuilt Hondamatic may very well be a bargain.
  2. It is the plastic cage that breaks up, allowing the bearings to wreak havoc. Once this happens, things start to grind. If the machine continues to run, the failure is catastrophic. The trans may or may not be salvageable. That's the issue - the main culprit is a large (85mm) swash plate bearing - and it's not standard. It appears to be made only for Honda. I haven't been able to find it anyway; and from what I've read I'm not the only one. The only options are to scavenge good parts from functional transmissions; or go with the next-closest size and machine the swash plate. I'm not too keen on the idea of replacing one failed bearing with another that's bound to fail at any time. In the final analysis, Mr. Bertram's services are a bargain for anyone experiencing this failure.
  3. I dropped off the engine case, cylinder, and head at the machine shop yesterday for a thorough cleaning. I'll mic the cylinder/piston to see where I am at with cylinder wear. I am going to discuss the bearing failure with my machinist in person to see about doing the machine work needed to fit a quality, aftermarket replacement bearing in the Hondamatic housing. Although my housing is chewed up a bit at the bottom, once it is machined square I don't think that it will be a problem. I assume they have the capability to handle the machine work that will be required at both the inside and outside diameters, but we'll see. Wilson - that is the exact issue with these Hondamatic transmissions. As Mr. Bertram and his friend (Harig) have stated elsewhere, it is disappointing that Honda went with the plastic caged bearings (at-least in the case of the swash plate) because if it had been a metal cage they likely would not have failed. The question of whether it is the older design oil pump or the bearing itself that fails first is kind of like the question of the chicken and the egg. Someone with an engineering background in metal failure analysis could make quick work of it. I suspect that the redesigned oil pump in 2005 was a clue, however...
  4. Hi; I'm Travis and I live in Livingston County, Michigan. I just picked up a 2001 Rubicon 500 as my winter project. It's got a bad Hondamatic transmission which I hope to R&R. On the plus side the engine came completely disassembled. The components were tossed in several boxes and zip-lock bags - it will be like a jigsaw puzzle getting this machine back together. I will need to post some specific questions as time goes by. I've already got one thread started on the Hondamatic tear-down.
  5. BCSMAN; thanks very much. German ancestry but 4th generation American here. I am also from the Great Lakes State - Livingston County. I've seen a number of us (Michiganders) here and glad to know we are sharing in our knowledge and paying it forward. One of the Hondamatic experts I referenced earlier is also from Michigan, although I'm not altogether sure he's still at it. I'm going to see if I can straighten this out with some of our local talent. If not I will be seeking out the services of Mr. Bertram.
  6. RRW - I am not the expert on these things, I am a novice at best. I have read extensively from what is available online. There are only a couple of people that I know of who have the knowledge/expertise to rebuild these things. From what I gather, the oil pump may be at the root of the bearing failure(s) in the Hondamatic. The early (2001-2004) pressure relief valve has been described as "faulty" in some cases. It is conceivable that you may never experience a Hondamatic failure. Replacing your oil pump with the upgraded one (15100-HN2-010) requires engine removal and a complete tear-down. If you wanted to "upgrade" your Hondamatic while you were in there - it would involve replacing a rather large, plastic-caged bearing with a metal-caged alternative bearing and then having some machine work done. I don't know if this would be cost-effective because I don't know how much a machine shop would charge for their services. I hope this helps.
  7. Made some progress last night...I've included some pictures so you could get an idea of what's going on inside these Hondamatics. WARNING: THE IMAGES THAT FOLLOW ARE GRAPHIC IN NATURE. When I finally worked the cover off this is what I found inside it - not a surprise because it was rattling like a pair of maracas. Aside from the rather large, chewed up ballbearings, there is a lot of collateral damage throughout. And metal bits - those are everywhere. Here is the culprit - the notorious Nachi 49BA08S2: Due to the motion of the swash plate (I think) once the cage lets loose, the bearings are chewed up like gumballs in a little kids mouth. The outer race was in several pieces. I don't think I've accounted for all the bearings as of yet... Another victim of the collateral damage is the Nachi 6813: The shrapnel circulates for some time throughout the engine resulting in more collateral damage. The oil pump appears to have been circulating this shrapnel for some time before they shut the machine down. The entire case, and contents will have to be thoroughly cleaned and inspected prior to re-assembly. Close attention will have to be paid to all bearings and bearing surfaces in particular.
  8. I was able to PM B.B. (having logged only 3 posts) and he replied quickly. Mr. Bertrand is still rebuilding the Hondamatic and offers the best prices I am aware of. I'm not sure why; a lot of people have heard about him online but there seems to be a great deal of mystery surrounding how to contact him. In any event, my problem surrounding disassembly most likely stems from the catastrophic bearing failure. When I get that resolved I will try to keep you guys posted on my progress with the rest of the machine.
  9. Hi; I'm new and I am hoping I found the best Honda ATV site on the inter-web. I tried another site (which shall not be named) but no technical expertise there...thanks to JeepWM69 for the tip ;) I'll post an intro when I am not pressed for time but I'd like to throw this out right now so I can hit the rack for an early wake-up. I picked up a 2001 Rubicon 500 with a failed transmission. The guy I bought it from listed it as a parts machine. He put a fair amount of money into brakes and suspension before tackling the transmission and deciding it wasn't worth the additional time and cost. I did some snooping and discovered that there are a couple of people that have rebuilt them with improved bearings and some machine work. Straight to the point: The transmission is out but I am having trouble getting it apart. I was able to separate what I believe is the pump side - the one with 7 pistons. The other side (motor) has an obvious seam after the bolts were removed but I can't get it separated. One of the bearings inside this assembly is completely destroyed, seeing as some pieces have already made their way out. It is interesting that all of the other bearings so far rotate smoothly, with no play. This includes the large, plastic-caged bearings on either end of the shaft. I don't know but this notorious broken bearing may be the reason I can't get it apart. If someone with experience tearing into these could provide some tips/tricks, I would really appreciate it. t.r.
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