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01RUBY500

Early Rubicon transmission failures?

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I was wondering what the general consensus is here about the early Hondamatic Rubicon transmissions from 2001-2006?  I have read on other forums that Honda had issues with them failing early and being expensive to fix, and quite a good number of owners were having these issues. I have a 2001 Rubicon with 1700 miles on it and still runs great. I bought it little over year ago with 1400 miles on it.  Most of my use is plowing and hauling a trailer around my 75 acres.  So I’ve been wondering if I’ve got a ticking time bomb of a tranny based on these other forums?

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I have many customers still using them with well over 15,000 miles on them. It was a hit and miss if they had problems. In my area there are a lot more out there running with no issues than ones I fixed with issues. The oil pump was the main issue with the 01-04 which gave transmission problems. If it's working good I would continue to put it to work and not worry much about it.

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The early 01 Rubicons had an iffy oil pump that @harig over on the Hondaforeman forum described 

 

"I do know that the early Ruby's had a problem with the oil pump bypass valve. Most of the time the relief would stick open and cause low oil pressure that would cook the hondamatic. i do not know what year you are working on but 01 to 04 had problems with the bypass on oil pump. new newer one are redesigned."

 

So, it's not the actual transmission, but the oil pump that was redesigned.   I haven't torn into one, although I have picked up an 05 Rubicon now.  Apparently replacing the oil pump requires splitting cases.

 

Harig actually rebuilds the Hondamatics, so I think he understands them better than most.

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I've tried to get Harig to come over.  Haven't gotten a reply lately.  That guy was the guru on the Hondatmatics. 

 

I need to pull the engine on the 2012 Rubicon I bought a few weeks ago and see if the oil pump chain jumped or if it has much bigger problems.


The guy up in Indianapolis who had a CL ad selling rebuilt ones has disappeared, so he and Harig were the only two guys I know of who could work on the actual Hondamatics.

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9 hours ago, Brian Bertram said:

I am the guy that repairs Hondamatics. I am in the Minneapolis area. 

 

Awesome!  Welcome aboard Brian!

 

Are you still working on the Hondamatics?

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10 hours ago, Brian Bertram said:

I am the guy that repairs Hondamatics. I am in the Minneapolis area. 

 

welcome !. bout time we got some skill around here..oh wait..we already do !..lol.

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On 5/4/2020 at 1:09 AM, Brian Bertram said:

I am the guy that repairs Hondamatics. I am in the Minneapolis area. 

 

Hurrah!

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So I now have a issue and I am looking for some help before I start taking things apart not knowing what I am looking for. My Rubicon when riding In any mode (D1, D2 or ESP) will Go from D to showing all 3 of those modes at the same time And act like it is stuck in what ever gear it is in and won’t shift. It will bounce in and out of this situation. I have discovered that all I need to do to correct it is simply wiggle the shifter a little. The shifter can be manipulated to recreate this even when the engine is off. So not sure where to start looking. Something is loose or sloppy of course so it would seem. The shifter moves about a quarter inch maybe slightly more back and forth in what ever gear it is in making the situation above occur. But this amount of slop has always been there for as long as I have owned it. Also I should mention the thumb button on the shifter has never had any effect in the shifters movement, I can move the shifter with or without pushing the button. There is a little blue microswitch on the bottom of the shifter, I thought maybe It was going bad but it only seems to be activated when the shifter is put into the reverse position. 

FBCD0220-570D-4E75-9E0A-EB038CD33394.jpeg

A0D67235-CB70-48C5-92D6-4FACD96B6B37.jpeg

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Wonder if your gear position switch is going bad.  My other thought is that the blue switch is bad and intermittently connecting, which is confusing the ECM

 

@toodeep has chimed in on this kinda thing in the past when @basfnb was having trouble with his Rubicon not running right in reverse.

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If I hold the shifter forward while riding it does not act up, soon as I let go of it and Accelerate is when it happens the most. I took the shifter mechanism apart cleaned it lubed it & stretched the detent spring and put it back together. Won’t be able to try it until tomorrow. My Service manual has adjustment lengths for the two tie rods that the shifter moves, mine are both off, lower is supposed to be 58-59mm and it measured about 49-50mm. Upper is supposed to be 328-329mm and it measured 333mm. They are not loose so wondering why it is acting up now and not before. 

274D0ED6-C10A-4977-90D2-8BCB84E577BA.jpeg

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I went thru the tie rod adjustment procedure in my manual and I had to do some Jerry rigging on the shifter to get it to work properly by locking into each position with the push button the way it should. On the trails it seems to be working properly now during a short run in the rain. On pavement it did flicker out of drive very briefly a couple of times during full throttle acceleration only. Full throttle on dirt it didn’t do it. So if it stays like this I can live with it. 

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shoulda bought a manual shift !!!..rofl.

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On 5/13/2020 at 12:08 PM, 01RUBY500 said:

So I now have a issue and I am looking for some help before I start taking things apart not knowing what I am looking for. My Rubicon when riding In any mode (D1, D2 or ESP) will Go from D to showing all 3 of those modes at the same time And act like it is stuck in what ever gear it is in and won’t shift. It will bounce in and out of this situation. I have discovered that all I need to do to correct it is simply wiggle the shifter a little. The shifter can be manipulated to recreate this even when the engine is off. So not sure where to start looking. Something is loose or sloppy of course so it would seem. The shifter moves about a quarter inch maybe slightly more back and forth in what ever gear it is in making the situation above occur. But this amount of slop has always been there for as long as I have owned it. Also I should mention the thumb button on the shifter has never had any effect in the shifters movement, I can move the shifter with or without pushing the button. There is a little blue microswitch on the bottom of the shifter, I thought maybe It was going bad but it only seems to be activated when the shifter is put into the reverse position. 

FBCD0220-570D-4E75-9E0A-EB038CD33394.jpeg

A0D67235-CB70-48C5-92D6-4FACD96B6B37.jpeg

Just to update everyone on this issue and to help others out later, this problem came back, and worse then ever.  And I was getting very frustrated with it not staying in gear.  But the problem is now resolved.  Here is what I did to fix it....  

 First I removed the front & rear fenders so I could get at every electrical connector.  Then I unplugged every electrical connector I could find and packed them with dialectric grease and plugged them back in.  Next I cleared all of the error codes and a memory clear on the control unit.  And last but not least I then did a Angle sensor adjustment.  So the problem ended up being electrical, and not mechanical after all.

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37 minutes ago, 01RUBY500 said:

Just to update everyone on this issue and to help others out later, this problem came back, and worse then ever.  And I was getting very frustrated with it not staying in gear.  But the problem is now resolved.  Here is what I did to fix it....  

 First I removed the front & rear fenders so I could get at every electrical connector.  Then I unplugged every electrical connector I could find and packed them with dialectric grease and plugged them back in.  Next I cleared all of the error codes and a memory clear on the control unit.  And last but not least I then did a Angle sensor adjustment.  So the problem ended up being electrical, and not mechanical after all.

Glad you figured it out.  

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Thank you for posting back up with how you solved it as well!  Will likely help someone else in the future.

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