Honda CRF Transmission Durability - Feature Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

Dear Dirt Rider,Have you heard of any problems with the CRF450X and the transmission seizing up the 3rd gear on the countershaft with the 2005 model? I know of six cases were this has happened in the last two months. All of them while in 5th gear, the rear tire locks up and all that is left is 3rd gear.I have heard that the 2006 model has a different part number that addresses this but Honda will not say anything about it. And since there is no warranty on the race bikes, the consumer is getting hit with a $1000 bill to fix it.Roger


Were you there to see it, or is it the internet going off again?The real problem is the transmission oil level is too low. The reason the repair cost is so high is 5th gear is seized to the countershaft, trapping other gears that have no damage.Regarding part number changes in the transmission: When checking the parts list for both 2005 & 2006, 3rd gear countershafts show a superseded part number. I did a little research and found that the part number changed in January 2005; this was before the release of the CRF450X. In effect, this means there is no production change to the gearbox for 2005 or 2006.There were some similar issues with the 2002 CRF450R. If you knock around a site like Thumpertalk you will find reports of this happening to some CRF250s—both R & X's—as well. When you think about it, the basic design of five gears and a wet clutch has been around for a long time and the separate tranny and engine isn't really playing into this case.Also when you visit web site chat rooms you see tons of bad information—just now to answer this letter I checked Thumpertalk and some guy reports that he's having no trouble and always runs 600cc of transmission oil. That's 50cc too little.We have over 190 hours on our Long Haul CRF450X and a good portion of that time has been pre-running in Baja, and rides like the Colorado 500 in top gear for a long time. Want to know our secret? Add a little extra oil to the tranny! Then you have some insurance.So to answer your question: Yes, I've heard of the problem. It is the rider running too little oil in the transmission, not the bike's design or durability.Jimmy Lewis