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Eric, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 1553
Experience:  MMI grad. 7 years experience in Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, as service manager and tech.
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2004 Honda: shift..1st gear light flashes three times

Customer Question

2004 Honda rincon atv. Will not shift. 1st gear light flashes three times.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
hello and welcome
the flashing of the indicator is hondas self diagnosing function. in this case it is code 3.
this is the code for the shift switch. most likely what as happened is the electronic shift switch harness has developed a short or open. it is very common for water to get into those harnesses and cause these codes.
or water, corrosion, or slighly disconnected connector can make this code appear.
below the front fender you should notice two connectors attached to the frame. one round white connector and a square looking gray connector, the gray connector is the connector for this harness. i would reccomend inspecting the connection of this connector, and all the harness leading to it. if nothing is found then it is likely that water may have gotten into the harness and with the use of alot of compressed air, sometimes you can clear most of it. accessing it by peeling away some of the black tape that seals off the insulator for this harness.
i hope this is helpful info for you. if you have any questions about this please let me know. thank you
Eric and other Motorcycle Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I blew out all connectors and dried out wiring. Still has first gear light blinking three times. Any other ideas?
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
the switch may be faulting in the switch houseing possibly. when the ecm senses a short or abnormal resistance in the switch buttons it will throw this code. if you have a multimeter i can guide you on which wires are to be tested for resistance.
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
locate the following wires,
white with red tracer
white with yellow tracer
and white with blue tracer,
test resistance between any of these wires, without pressing down on any of the buttons there should be no resistance between any of them or resistance between any of them and ground.
this is tested with the connector disconnected and testing the switch side of the connector. any resistances found indicates a short somewhere in that harness or switch houseing

if no abnormal resistances are found, then check these same wires at the ecm module. this is the box directly behind the battery.
no resistance should read between each of them or any of them and ground. the only time any of these wires should have resistance to them is when the buttons are pressed down. in that case,
when the up button is pressed, there should be a good resistance between the white with blue tracer and the white with red tracer.
and when pressed down there is resistance between the white with yellow tracer and white with red tracer. and if there is resitance anywhere else that also indicates a short.
this should help find any short that would trigger this code. again any questions please feel free to ask. thank you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Tried checking the wiring and it seems ok. Could the actuator be broken?
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
this code is pretty specific to this switch and harness area. if it were other components like the oil solenoids then the ecm gives different codes for them as well.
im not sure of what actuator you are refering to. where is it located?
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
the only other fault that is possible to bring up this code is a faulty ecm. even by the honda shop manual, if these three wires show no abnormal resistances and all check out fine all the way to the ecm itself, then the only other possibility is faulty ecm.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I was referring to the shift actuator. The shift buttons are not activating anything. So we are left with the ecm computor?
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
this is the 650 rincon correct? if so the only possibilities for this code is faulty switch assembly or harness. faulty harness to the ecm, or faulty ecm.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Sorry, 2004 Recon 250cc 2x4 Pretty sure its a bad wire or module. Going to dry it out and check all wires. Thanks.

Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.
oh ok,lol. that is a different code then. that is the angle sensor, these are incredibly common to fail too. down by where the shift motor is there is a sensor that three wires plug into. that is the angle sensor. to get it out take off the two bolts that hold down the metal plate that covers it. then from there just the to allen bolts that hold down the sensor.
a tell tale sign that this sensor is junk, is the really bad ones were made in mexico and you will see that stamped on the sensor possibly. there was even a recall on alot of these machines for that sensor. if not im sure replaceing that sensor will fix your problem.