2003 Honda TRX400FA - very stiff to engage drive or reverse

5 posts in this topic

Not sure that this really is a 2003, but that's the date on the label on the front of the chassis.

Anyway, this is one of the electronic gear models with switchable auto or electronic shifting. The D-N-R is done with a level to the left of the fuel tank.

After sitting out in the snow for a few weeks over Christmas reverse become very stiff to engage and often did not despite the level being in position. After riding for about 20 mins it seemed to fee up and engage.

Now I'm having the same trouble even getting drive. I know the lever just pulls a cable which attaches to a metal tube down near the back of the footplate on the left hand side. This rotates a rod which I assume is linked in somewhere to the gear changing. I can currently change gear by getting a set of molegrips on that and turning it. I assume its that rod that'stiff and not the cable because the cable looks nice and clean.

I will take the cable off and check, but it's the middle of lambing season right now and quad maintenance isn't top of my list. Any ideas what's inside the gear linkage and what might make it stiff, if it is stiff? The engine oil is clean and full, I don't think the gear case oil or diff oil would affect this?

Any hints or tips very welcome.


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Sounds to me like you need to change the oil. The transmission uses the oil from the engine. When was the last time you changed it? I know you said it was full and clean, but maybe it's broken down. After you ride it for a loosens up, maybe because the oil is being warmed up and circulated.

* Added Manufacturer to thread title.

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Engine oil was changed about 25 hours ago (on the bike, not as in yesterday night :-) ). It's semi-synthetic so I'd be surprised if it had gone so soon, although all the bike does is tow trailers full of feed, sheep or fencing equipment. But the last lot of oil lasted 100 hours with no issues.

Still, for the sake of a bit of oil I may do that to rule it out.

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Shift fork could be bent, or guide shaft could be worn. Also, check the linkage, it could be binding up or just need to be cleaned.

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