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2013 TRX420FPA No Spark, "-" flashing continuously on display

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Long backstory: I bought a 2013 Honda Rancher 420 for $500 about a year and a half ago for a project. It may be a bit of a basket case but my dad does ATV salvage on the side so I figured if I couldn't get it running I could at least get my money back out of it pretty easily. When I first got it it was stuck in gear and I couldn't get it back in neutral even with the emergency shifter tool. I didn't have an atv at the time and needed one running pretty quick to use for hunting so I took it to a local guy who works on atvs. He kept it for like 6-7 months and then said that it would be cheaper to just get a new motor to put in it than to pay him to fix that one (he didn't specifically say what was wrong with mine though other than it needs a new bottom end and it might need a new wiring harness or pcm). He showed me a video of where he had it running at one point. I told him I'd probably just end up parting it out and got it back from him. I recently started messing with this Rancher again and going through the factory service manual testing procedure for no spark I noticed that the ignition coil, engine stop relay, starter solenoid, and bank angle sensor were now missing so I replaced them with used oem parts from ebay. The mechanic at least got it in neutral so it should start and run if I can get the electronics sorted. I got a cheap Grizzly 700 and got it running while he had the Rancher so I'm not in any desperate need of this one but It's a nice quad so I'd like to 'rescue it' and fix it for the learning experience and to use as a backup if possible.

 

quick rundown of symptoms:

  • Quad has no spark. 
  • neutral light is lit up on the dash but it may or may not get stuck in gear if i shift it out of neutral
  • The gear indicator is continuously blinking "-" on the dash. 
  • There are no DTCs (flashing check engine light). 
  • I have gone through and tested all the wiring and harnesses as per the factory service manual except for these two things: 1.) replacing pcm with a known good one and 2.)testing peak voltage of the ckp sensor. (I have a dva multimeter adapter but I'm not sure exactly how to use it to be honest with you).
  • the voltage at the ignition coil is the battery voltage (between 12 and 13 volts) when I turn the key on and it drops to 9v-10v while cranking
  • I read the other thread on here and tried connecting a jumper wire from the BL/R wire on the ignition coil to the positive post on the battery. Nothing changed except I noticed when I turn the key off  the display doesn't go off until I disconnect that wire.
  • I noticed there was no sound coming from the fuel pump when i turn the key on so I unplugged the connector and tested the voltage at the fuel pump connector when I turn the key on and there was none
  • bonus: also someone stripped out the drain plug at some point and it appears that they drilled it out and put a rubber boat plug in it and it leaks oil pretty good so if anyone has any ideas on how to fix that without splitting the cases and replacing the drain plug half I'm all ears. I was thinking about getting like a 16mx1.5 oversized drain plug and tapping the case for that and screwing the plug in finger tight and jb welding it in place and just using a pump to pump the oil out from the top in the future.
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Whew! Welcome to ATV Honda!

It sounds like you got quite a project there! I'll have to study the wiring diagram for a bit and do some reading before I can help ya. And its 2:00 AM here (my eyes are falling shut) so hang in there, lotsa capable folks here that can help ya sort things out.

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17 minutes ago, retro said:

Whew! Welcome to ATV Honda!

It sounds like you got quite a project there! I'll have to study the wiring diagram for a bit and do some reading before I can help ya. And its 2:00 AM here (my eyes are falling shut) so hang in there, lotsa capable folks here that can help ya sort things out.

Thanks. Yeah it's late here as well, I figured I wouldn't get any responses until tomorrow I just wanted to go ahead and post it before I forgot anything since I was messing with it earlier.

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Winchester ,  you say you could not get it to shift with the emergency shifter , do you know that sometimes you need to rock the bike back and forth while trying to shift it , it may help to have someone there with you and push and pull it hard while attempting to shifting , cause sometimes you may need to rock it hard ----  reading in between the lines of the guy saying you need another lower , maybe he did figure something out that there is a problem inside the engine with the shift shaft , I have heard people say that if you ( previous owner ) where to use the emergency shifter all the time , it will mess up the shift shaft , the shaft of the foot shift bikes is heavier duty ----- do you know that it is possible to convert that ES into a foot shift , that could be the way to go if you find the shift shaft is indeed messed up 

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11 minutes ago, Fishfiles said:

Winchester ,  you say you could not get it to shift with the emergency shifter , do you know that sometimes you need to rock the bike back and forth while trying to shift it , it may help to have someone there with you and push and pull it hard while attempting to shifting , cause sometimes you may need to rock it hard ----  reading in between the lines of the guy saying you need another lower , maybe he did figure something out that there is a problem inside the engine with the shift shaft , I have heard people say that if you ( previous owner ) where to use the emergency shifter all the time , it will mess up the shift shaft , the shaft of the foot shift bikes is heavier duty ----- do you know that it is possible to convert that ES into a foot shift , that could be the way to go if you find the shift shaft is indeed messed up 

I am sure there is something in there that is damaged either with the clutch or shift shaft or something. I would prefer to convert it to a foot shift rather than keep the ES and automatic shifting to be honest depending on how much is involved, I already did a bit of research into that but most of the threads that came up using google were for the older honda 350 ES models. I would like to get the wiring sorted first before I pull the motor and check it out, that way if I decide to try to fix this one or find a good used motor and put it in and it doesn't run I know the problem is with the engine and not the electronics. I know some places that sell used and rebuilt motors give you a short time to return it and I'd hate to waste that trying to figure out the wiring. I already spent a couple weekends going through the factory service manual troubleshooting and waiting on parts. I'm running out of things to test at this point other than buying another pcm to try.

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sounds like you got a plan ---- I am not a ES guy by no means , other then reading and riding along side  the problems that come with ES , the guys here are very knowledgeable of the ES and electrical systems , they can most likely  get you thru the problems ---------- maybe find a donor bike , one with foot shift and a bad engine/blown rear end for cheap  , use the engine parts to convert to foot shift ,  use the wiring harness and electrical components out of the donor  , a make one out of two job and sell the left over parts 

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That 420AT motor is a lot different than the ES motors. It’s a DCT (dual clutch transmission). 

 

Runs on oil pressure.

 

My suggestion is you tear the whole thing down. The transmission itself is gears, but there is a valve on the front of the motor that controls the shifting.

 

@Melatv and @toodeep are pretty good with them, But honestly as bad shape as it sounds, I would tear it all the way down, clean it out, and inspect everything.

I used a fuMoto valve in my wife’s 420AT to address the stripped drain plug. Took some work and really could only be done with the motor torn down to do it right.

 

I have a thread with pics on the old board saved to my work computer. I can post it up next week

Edited by jeepwm69
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With everything that was missing the fuel pump relay is still there right? It's in front of the ECM at the bottom of the box. 

 

On the shifting remove the shift motor and try shifting it manually to see if the tool returns to the middle position by its self. They are known for breaking the stop bolt so the return spring doesn't do its job. 

 

To fix the drain plug replacing the case is going to be your best fix. The AT has the drain plug in a spacer case so it's not as bad to fix as other models that have them in the crankcase. Almost always what happens is it breaks the case internally instead if just stripping the threads out. 

20190603_161929.jpg

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3 hours ago, toodeep said:

With everything that was missing the fuel pump relay is still there right? It's in front of the ECM at the bottom of the box. 

 

On the shifting remove the shift motor and try shifting it manually to see if the tool returns to the middle position by its self. They are known for breaking the stop bolt so the return spring doesn't do its job. 

 

To fix the drain plug replacing the case is going to be your best fix. The AT has the drain plug in a spacer case so it's not as bad to fix as other models that have them in the crankcase. Almost always what happens is it breaks the case internally instead if just stripping the threads out. 

20190603_161929.jpg

 

Yes I actually put a brand new oem engine stop relay/fuel pump relay on it. I may have a go at replacing the case once I get it out and apart, I mainly wanted to try to mess with as little stuff as possible while I'm in there as I haven't taken an engine apart before and I was afraid I'd end up spending a bunch of money on parts and gaskets and put it back together wrong somehow. I'm mainly trying to fix it for fun and to learn anyway though and there are some decent videos on youtube of a guy rebuilding the bottom end of one of these.

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This is what I did with the wife's 420AT.  At that point I had sunk a ton of money into it, I know I won't ever sell it, and I've used the Fumoto valves with great success on several vehicles, AND the case would still hold a valve.

 

https://www.hondaforeman.com/threads/oil-drain-plug-size.71918/post-3021473

 

The proper way to do it is the replace the case, and that's what I'd do were I doing it again now.  As toodeep said, you don't have to split the crankcase on the 420AT to replace the area with the drain plug, so it's easier to do than it would be on a 420FM or ES.

 

The skid plate hangs down enough to protect the fumoto, but I do have to remove the skid plate to get the valve open.  I used loctite on the threads and lightly threaded it into the hole, and then let it dry before adding oil. 

 

Had to do the same thing on my old 93 Accord.  Local shop stripped out the oil pan "Those threads just wear out over time.".  They refused to fix it, so I used a Fumoto and loctite, let it sit overnight, and then drove the car another 150K before selling it.  Never leaked a drop of oil and the Fumoto made oil changes so easy that I put them on all my cars.

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22 hours ago, jeepwm69 said:

This is what I did with the wife's 420AT.  At that point I had sunk a ton of money into it, I know I won't ever sell it, and I've used the Fumoto valves with great success on several vehicles, AND the case would still hold a valve.

 

https://www.hondaforeman.com/threads/oil-drain-plug-size.71918/post-3021473

 

The proper way to do it is the replace the case, and that's what I'd do were I doing it again now.  As toodeep said, you don't have to split the crankcase on the 420AT to replace the area with the drain plug, so it's easier to do than it would be on a 420FM or ES.

 

The skid plate hangs down enough to protect the fumoto, but I do have to remove the skid plate to get the valve open.  I used loctite on the threads and lightly threaded it into the hole, and then let it dry before adding oil. 

 

Had to do the same thing on my old 93 Accord.  Local shop stripped out the oil pan "Those threads just wear out over time.".  They refused to fix it, so I used a Fumoto and loctite, let it sit overnight, and then drove the car another 150K before selling it.  Never leaked a drop of oil and the Fumoto made oil changes so easy that I put them on all my cars.

 

Thanks for this. I actually read that thread when I was researching how to fix the drain plug, didn't realize you were the same person. If I don't have to split the cases and take the head off I will probably just try to replace the case section with the drain plug depending on if this motor looks fixable when I take it out, I found the section with the drain plug on ebay for like $60.00. I have a new(used) pcm coming in today so I'm hoping that takes care of my no spark/no fuel pump issue.

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Let us know what you find.  I've had several times where things pointed to a bad ECU, and every time it's been a loose or dirty connection somewhere. 

 

I had fits with the wife's 420AT and no spark.  @Melatv walked me through  some troubleshooting and mine ended up being a bad connection at the fuel injection relay.  It would click, but wasn't making a good connection.

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It finally stopped raining long enough for me to swap the new ECU in and I now have spark and the fuel pump sounds like it's working. The gear indicator on the dash stopped blinking "-" as well and it now says it's in neutral. I did notice that it doesn't turn over now when I press the electric start button, might have something to do with the $10 chinese starter solenoid I bought.  I will drain out all the old gas and put some fresh in it and top the oil off once I get a chance and see if I can get it running.

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The quad fired right up and ran good with some fresh gas in it and the new ECU. The electric shift buttons didn't work, when I tried to shift into gear from neutral it would just go from N on the gear indicator to displaying a blinking "-" giving me a code 15 i think (one long blink and 5 short ones), the emergency shift tool wouldn't shift it into first either.

 

I pulled the engine out and pulled the front and rear covers off and didn't notice anything obviously wrong with the shift shaft or mechanism behind the front cover. It will shift up into what I guess is first, second,  and third gears sometimes if I try shifting it using fast, hard strokes. Sometimes it binds at the 'top' of the shift and I have to wiggle the shaft a bit for it to 'lock in'. When I can get it to shift up it will usually shift back down to neutral normally . Looking at the service manual I think the problem is going to be one of the shift forks being bent or broken inside the crankcase. I will have to clear up some space in the shop and get a big enough socket to take the clutches off before I can take it apart further.

Edited by winchester
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I googled code 15 and  post came up from Mel who is on this site ---- I don't think this is your problem , but is the answer to what a code 15 is 

 

Hi: Code 15 is the shift solenoid ( Brown connector) right above where you place the shift tool.-- check to see if the connector is okay -- check for water and corrosion in connector.

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When shifting it manually does the shift shaft return to the middle position by its self? Shift up and if you let go of the tool it returns? 

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48 minutes ago, Fishfiles said:

I googled code 15 and  post came up from Mel who is on this site ---- I don't think this is your problem , but is the answer to what a code 15 is 

 

Hi: Code 15 is the shift solenoid ( Brown connector) right above where you place the shift tool.-- check to see if the connector is okay -- check for water and corrosion in connector.

Yeah I don't think it is the problem either. Before I pulled the motor I looked up the code in the service manual and checked the continuity of the wiring to the ecu and to ground and it was fine and the solenoid resistance was within specs.

 

21 minutes ago, toodeep said:

When shifting it manually does the shift shaft return to the middle position by its self? Shift up and if you let go of the tool it returns? 

Yes, most of the time. occasionally it binds at the 'top' and doesn't return unless I wiggle it a bit.

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You mentioned that the shift buttons are both unresponsive, so there is an electrical issue somewhere for sure. I'm not saying that there isn't a mechanical issue as well, just that the primary issue with it appears to be an electrical one. Even if the shifting mechanism is bound up somewhere those buttons should attempt to operate the shift motor.

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Well the quad appears to shift fine now, I took the head off and shined a flash light into the crankcase at the shift drum and forks while I tried shifting it back and fourth and didn't really see anything wrong in there, then I took the gearshift linkage apart on the outside of the crankcase that the shift shaft slides on to and inspected the parts (looked fine) and put them back on and tried again and it shifts fine now. I guess one of the parts were binding before or someone took this thing apart before and put them back on wrong. Someone has been inside this thing before as I noticed a bunch of missing bolts (and one of the head bolts were missing) and the clutch nuts were kind of marred up.

 

I just gotta get a gasket set now and spacer case with a new drain plug and put it all back together. I noticed a couple of shims/washers that fell out at some point when I was taking it apart so I'm hoping the factory service manual shows where they go when I put it back together.. lol

 

 

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Thats good news!

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Between the service manual, parts break downs and us here we can get everything together correctly. I had to fix an oil pump in one about 5 months ago because of poor work from another. 

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On 1/28/2020 at 7:26 AM, winchester said:

The quad fired right up and ran good with some fresh gas in it and the new ECU. The electric shift buttons didn't work, when I tried to shift into gear from neutral it would just go from N on the gear indicator to displaying a blinking "-" giving me a code 15 i think (one long blink and 5 short ones), the emergency shift tool wouldn't shift it into first either.

 

I pulled the engine out and pulled the front and rear covers off and didn't notice anything obviously wrong with the shift shaft or mechanism behind the front cover. It will shift up into what I guess is first, second,  and third gears sometimes if I try shifting it using fast, hard strokes. Sometimes it binds at the 'top' of the shift and I have to wiggle the shaft a bit for it to 'lock in'. When I can get it to shift up it will usually shift back down to neutral normally . Looking at the service manual I think the problem is going to be one of the shift forks being bent or broken inside the crankcase. I will have to clear up some space in the shop and get a big enough socket to take the clutches off before I can take it apart further.

Hey, give us some pics every now and then, if its not too much. 

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11 hours ago, winchester said:

Well the quad appears to shift fine now, I took the head off and shined a flash light into the crankcase at the shift drum and forks while I tried shifting it back and fourth and didn't really see anything wrong in there, then I took the gearshift linkage apart on the outside of the crankcase that the shift shaft slides on to and inspected the parts (looked fine) and put them back on and tried again and it shifts fine now. I guess one of the parts were binding before or someone took this thing apart before and put them back on wrong. Someone has been inside this thing before as I noticed a bunch of missing bolts (and one of the head bolts were missing) and the clutch nuts were kind of marred up.

 

I just gotta get a gasket set now and spacer case with a new drain plug and put it all back together. I noticed a couple of shims/washers that fell out at some point when I was taking it apart so I'm hoping the factory service manual shows where they go when I put it back together.. lol

 

 

 

Well, when I took the wife's apart and got it back together the shift drum was bound up.  I got it all the way back together, and installed it in the frame, only to discover it wouldn't shift. 


Had to pull the motor again, tear it back down, split the cases, and then put it back together.  That lesson taught me to ALWAYS check the shift drum will turn before putting one back together!  LOL

 

For the shims/washers, I find it easier to look at the parts schematics which will show where shims are supposed to be.

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On 2/5/2020 at 10:05 AM, jeepwm69 said:

 

Well, when I took the wife's apart and got it back together the shift drum was bound up.  I got it all the way back together, and installed it in the frame, only to discover it wouldn't shift. 


Had to pull the motor again, tear it back down, split the cases, and then put it back together.  That lesson taught me to ALWAYS check the shift drum will turn before putting one back together!  LOL

 

For the shims/washers, I find it easier to look at the parts schematics which will show where shims are supposed to be.

Yeah I was afraid of something like that happening, it's why I really didn't want to split the cases unless I had to. Those transmission schematics look kinda complicated. Also It was kind of a PITA to wiggle that motor out of the frame so I really don't want to have to do it twice. I smashed the speed sensor connector against the frame the first time and had to order a new one of those as well. Not looking forward to trying to fit it back in there.

 

Does anyone know off the top of their head how much hondabond I'll need to put this thing back together? I ordered a couple 1.9fl oz tubes off of ebay but I'm not sure if that will be enough. I didn't split the cases so I just need it for the front and back covers I guess. Also if anyone knows off the top of their head where this washer/spacer thing goes it would be much appreciated. 

 

IMG_20200206_143227437[1].jpg

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Should be able to do it with one tube of Hondabond.  Doesn't take a lot.  Just a thin bead.

 

Not sure about the spacer.  How big is it?

 

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