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Eric, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 1533
Experience:  MMI grad. 7 years experience in Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, as service manager and tech.
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2006 Honda: ES..Clicks at solenoid but wont start

Customer Question

Got a 2006 Honda 350 ES Rancher 4-wheeler. Clicks at solenoid but won't start. No sound at the starter. Had solenoid and starter checked out - both are fine. Starts ok with the pull rope. Neutral light flashes and having trouble changing gears too. Can change gears fine manually with the wrench.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.


has the battery been verified as well?, how many volts is there at the starter cable when the starter button is being pressed?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Battery is fine. Had the starter rebuilt since we last communicated. I didn't know it had 2 starters. Starting OK now, but still having increasing trouble with changing gears. Hoped it was related to the starter problem, maybe insufficient current flow or some such thing, but apparently not. Rarely will click through all the gears, other times it will not. Especially difficult going from 4th down to 3rd. Sometimes can't get it to switch any gears. I shut off and on, just like book says. Sometimes it helps; too often it doesn't. End up using the manual method with the wrench much too often. Can't find anything in the book to even know where to begin. Is it an electrical problem or a mechanical problem??? Makes a ka-klunk sound when it changes gears fine. Just makes the ka (first part of the sound) when it won't change gears. Any of that help you?
Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.
when this starts to not shift well, does the gear indicator begin to flash at all?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Tonight it will not change gears at all (except with the wrench of course). The gear indicator now seems to flash all the time.

Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.
ok, this has a self diagnosing system to it. so if we can pull up some stored codes this can give an idea of what is causing the system to fail. to do this do the following procedure. key off. hold down both up/down shift buttons. turn the key on, then quickly release the shift buttons, then press and hold them back down at the same time. after a few seconds the gear indicator will begin to flash when it does this you can let go of the buttons and observe the flashing. count the number of short flashes, and let me know what that number is XXXXX we can go from there. thanks
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I count 5 (five) short flashes
Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.
ok, this is a code 5. code 5 is the motor driver circuit. what this means is that small electric shift motor is faulting or the ecm is bad. usually the shift control motor is bad. to check the shift motor, you can follow the harness for it that goes underneath the front fender area for it. and unplug it. this has two wires to it. you can hook those two wires directly to the battery on the atv and it should spin freely and fast without hesitation. if it does this then there is either an issue with the connections between that and the harness, the ecm connector, or the ecm is bad. again usually this is the shift motor that is the issue. these can be taken apart to look at the brushes and contact to see if they are carboned over bad. but its a little bit of a trick to get them back together, just to let you know there is always that option to check this motor as well. but i would diagnose this to that information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Please pardon my ignorance. But we are talking about my 4-wheeler, not a motorcycle - right?

I assume you mean to trace the wire harness from the electric shifter buttons on the handlbar down under the body of the machine. There I encounter a row of plastic cylinders which I assume are just connectors (or connectors with fuses in them. Of course I don't really know since I have no idea how to get them apart, and most have more than two wires.) Discerning which wire goes where is very difficult, nor does anything at this point resemble any kind of a motor.

Some wires seem to go down to a little cylindrical object (about 1.5"x3") mounted on the front of the motor. I would guess that this is what you are talking about when you say "shift motor." But I have already had that removed, thoroughly gone over, and it spins just fine.

So, next I am guessing you suspect "the ecm," but I have no idea what that is, where to find it, or how to test it (or of course any of its connections). Can you render any further help?

Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.

yes, i am referring to your 2006 TRX350FE rancher. that small cylindrical motor on the front of the engine is the shift control motor. if this was tested with a battery, and it spins over fine, then this may not be the issue. the ECM is the engine control module. this is an electrical component that is responsible for making the electric shift system operate. this component is located under the rear fender, on the right side, just above the wheel well. it is a bit difficult to get to. there is two components back there. one that has cooling fins on it, and a larger electrical component that has a very large connector, and a smaller connector. the one with the two connectors is the ECM.

with this code either the shift motor or the ECM is bad. unfortunately there is no way of testing the ECM. typically in a diagnosis, all components are to be tested around the ECM to determine if it is the fault. if the control motor was tested ok then the ECM is most likely to be the fault. keep in mind though this is all subject to the condition of connections at the control motor or the ECM, so always inspect the connections at these areas as well.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Sorry to be so long getting back to you, but I still haven't had the chance to check out the connections. It will still probably be a week or so before I can get to it. Can you tell me the order in which the circuit runs? From the battery to the switch to the shift control motor to the ecm???? in what order?

In the meantime, my son-in-law, asked if the angle sensor might not be a problem? Got any insight to offer on that question?



Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.

the angle sensor would show a difference code. they are notorious for going bad, but this code doesnt pertain to that issue.

as far as power flow on this. the ECM is the hub of all function to this. battery power goes to the ECM. as does the wires from the shift buttons, and the control motor wires. they all go to the ECM. when a button is pressed on the shift buttons, it sends signal to the ECM, the ECM determines whether up or down was pressed, and applies power to the control motor accordingly. however there may be one other place of interest to this. the shift control motor turns a small set of reduction gears. these can be inspected by unbolting the cover to them from the front of the motor as well. this small set of gears is what applies the shift motor drive to the shift shaft. if one of these small gears breaks a tooth or something, then it can possibly cause this as well. but as far as your code goes it has to do with either the shift control motor, its wiring or the ECM.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.


I want to try to get a look at this this weekend. We have a family reunion too, so I am not sure if there will be time or not.

Thanks again,

I'll get back to you...


Expert:  Eric replied 6 years ago.
ok, just let me know what you come across. thanks

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