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Thread: Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution

    2016 Honda NM4 – Mechanical failure (05/2019)
    (-How a simple $8.10 shifting pin caused over $700 in repairs-)


    - Vehicle was having difficulty shifting from 2nd to 3rd at certain RPM.
    - Problem degenerated to bike shifting out of gear coming off freeway.
    - Bike unable to shift back into neutral.





    Hello! When I originally purchased my Honda NM4 in 2016 I searched the internet everywhere for information before making the purchase. I didn't find much but I found enough to help make my decision and bought the brand new bike from a local dealership. Very comfortable ride, loved the style of it, and if I was single I would have been picking up girls like I did back in my youth. Everybody would stop and ask me about the bike. Now that said there's some issues with the machine I want to get out there to people doing any research on this particular bike. I wish I would have been told about this.


    To start with, this bike has the electronics of a car. You decide if that's good or bad.

    The vehicle was taken to an authorized Honda dealership for diagnosis and repair. Once able to read the trouble codes in the computer, the dealership was unable to determine the issue.


    Following the Honda repair manual step by step to diagnose the problem based on what the trouble codes did tell us it became clear that this was a mess. The actual process of trying to diagnose the issue only involved replacing one part after another part. Example: Replace part A. If that doesn't fix the problem then replace part B. If that doesn't fix the problem then replace part C, and so on.
    The issue with that method of fixing anything is obvious, you pay for the labor and parts for each individual repair job. The real kick in the shorts comes when you realize that you are quite possibly throwing out good parts you did not need to replace, or purchase. Honda does NOT allow for parts to be installed on a vehicle for testing purposes. Once you put it on the bike, you've bought it whether or not you needed it.
    On to the problem.
    This whole process took over 22 days. 05/09/19 to 05/31/2019. This was just a stupid amount of time to figure out what a problem is for any type of vehicle. Especially a “modern” vehicle. My old 2001 BMWR1200C which had over 167K miles on it, was easier to diagnose and I used to think it was the pinnacle of motorcycle tech. I'd take it in for work, the techs would plug it into a computer, the issue was discovered and repaired. I'd usually get the bike back in two or three days depending on the availability of the parts. Then there is this DCT ( Dual Clutch Transmission) monster of an NM4.


    At the dealership, they contacted the Honda Tech support almost immediately. Let me say up front that the service guys were great. I didn't feel for two seconds I was dealing with incompetent or dishonest mechanics and I've dealt with those types before. At first it was thought to just be my battery. We replaced it. I needed a new battery anyway. But it wasn't low voltage or anything like that. Next we replaced a sensor. That cleared some of the trouble codes but the shifting problem persisted. A Honda Tech came out to the dealership personally to look at the bike and explained to the techs that with the DCT bikes there has been an occasional issue with a bolt called the “Shift drum center bolt” which can be located on page 65 of chapter 11 of the Honda service manual.
    It was then determined that indeed the issue with the gears shifting was due to this bolt coming loose. Not broken, not damaged, just loose ! I even have the replaced bolt in my possession. It looks great.
    Since the bike was already apart the Honda tech recommended the bolt be replaced along with other o-rings. The parts were cheap and the labor already done so the tech was correct in wanting the parts replaced which I agreed to.
    In looking at the old center bolt, there is absolutely no damage to it. It just came loose.


    The dealership then applied mechanical adhesive to the bolt when they installed the new one. It won't come loose a second time. In fact the techs were clear that if that simple little thing would have been done at the factory then this bolt would NOT HAVE COME LOOSE ON ITS OWN over time.


    So my beef now is that a part that didn't even break instead just came loose because somebody who designed the machine never thought of it coming loose. The fact that this issue is now happening with other vehicles with a DCT is troublesome. Another problem I have with this vehicle is that Honda designed this machine and despite a Honda trained tech armed with the repair manual in hand the issue could not be diagnosed in a reasonable amount of time and required an obscene amount of labor ($100 an hour) to figure out what the issue was. In the end it took a senior tech directly from Honda to come out and explain the problem and that he'd even seen other vehicles with the same problem. Before buying one of these ask yourself what happens when another little thing goes out on this model? Another $700 repair bill to find a simple problem? I'm asking myself that lately. Now before any of you might say that all vehicle's have their issues, or that any motorcycle with 58,000 miles on it will show some wear and tear I will point out again that there is no systematic method of diagnosing this problem other than going from one step to the next while replacing parts along the way that you may not need. I'll also refer back to the BMW I mentioned earlier. That technology is over FIFTEEN years older than this DCT bike and despite that the computer systems they had back in 2001 were good enough to pinpoint issues on the bike. This 2016 NM4 system couldn't do that. It took a very experienced factory tech to come out to the dealership. On top of that it was only because that particular Honda tech had already seen other DCT machines with the same loose bolt issue that he knew what the problem was.


    So the grand total for this loose bolt was: $891.32
    We do need to subtract the new battery, I was in need of one and planned on replacing that later this year anyway so that was $139.99. Subtracting that leaves us with a grand total of $751.33 for a loose bolt. Think on that folks. $750 bucks to figure out a bolt came loose that should not have ever come loose in the first place and could have been prevented by the factory just using a simple bolt adhesive. That's what these new high tech Honda NM4's offer us dedicated riders. I went through the entire Honda manual and there is nothing that would help a tech figure this one out. They would just go from one part to the next part until they find it. I now have a “350 degree sensor” that cost me $137.72 sitting in a box. A new one was put on the bike but concerning this old one we just don't know if it is bad or good, they can't test it if you can believe that. I literally may have spent $137.72 on a part I didn't need, but the repair manual said replace it and if that didn't work go on to the next step.
    On the issue of labor, the guys at the dealership did me a solid and kept it at a flat 4.5 hours but I know full well they put in more time than that and even had that other factory tech come out. If the dealership had tried to stick me with the actual time spent it would have been double. I took the kid a twelve pack just to say thanks for his efforts.
    I'm sure somebody might say I should notify Honda about this. For the record I already have. A rep left a message on my phone one day and after telling them what day they could reach me for a chat (let alone via e-mail), I never heard back from them. If I do I'll update this thread. I also opened a ticket with the NHTSA. This issue seems to be happening with DCT's in other machines as well.

    As for me, I've owned multiple bikes over the thirty-five years I've been riding. I have over 350,000 miles riding in a saddle. Most of that on just that old BMW but another 58K on this NM4. The rest of those miles are spread out over Yamaha's, Kawasaki's, a Suzuki and a Harley. While those are all gone I did manage to hang on to my 1978 Honda 750A Hondamatic. Ironically that bike is the original DCT in a way, the ancestor to the NM4.

    I hope this was helpful. If you find your NM4 is not shifting correctly then that bolt may be your problem. Maybe you can save yourself the time and wasted money with this information. If you are somebody looking at buying a NM4, the choice is yours.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution 670cc's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your story. This forum is well aware of the shifter pin issue. Unfortunately, it seems many dealer service departments are not.

    I realized not too long ago that Honda does not service motorcycles. Honda dealers service motorcycles. You are gambling on the knowledge and expertise of the local dealer when you pay them to work on your machine. I prefer to do all my own work, and use my experience plus the collective knowledge of members of forums like this one to sort through the problems. Your sharing of your story will help others.

    Having observed enough problems with the DCT, my personal preference is to keep the motorcycle as simple as possible, so I’ll be staying with manual version. Plus, I much prefer shifting the transmission myself anyway.
    Last edited by 670cc; 6th June 2019 at 05:55.
    Greg
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution
    Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution
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    Quote Originally Posted by 670cc View Post

    Honda does not service motorcycles. Honda dealers service motorcycles. You are gambling on the knowledge and expertise of the local dealer when you pay them to work on your machine.
    Oh so true...
    Last edited by 670cc; 6th June 2019 at 19:14. Reason: Added endquote.


    I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now ..

  4. #4
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    Thanks to adding to our pile of data that identifies this issue. Too bad you weren't able to search for an find this forum previously. The issue has been documented here for rather a while. This thread will be another that people in your position probably won't find when they're having the issue with any of the 700 or 750-cc DCT powertrains (the Vultus DCT and the NCX DCT are the same powertrain).

  5. #5
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    Damn. I wish I would have known about the issue or even this forum. I don't tend to use the internet much for motorcycle stuff but just as I bought this super high tech bike (instead of something straightforward like my '78 750A) I guess I need this thing called the internet. It was frustrating however to find that more people know of this issue online than the NHTSA does. It's a safety issue for sure. There should at least be a bulletin out to the dealerships.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution dduelin's Avatar
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    With a bit of knowledge the shift pin replacement is apparently an owner serviceable item. One owner documented it here.

    I know there is a certain satisfaction quotient with any DCT failure in some circles but statistically it’s a nonevent.
    Dave

    GL1800
    NC700XD




  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dduelin View Post
    I know there is a certain satisfaction quotient with any DCT failure in some circles but statistically it’s a nonevent.
    Trust me. This isn't about satisfaction that a DCT failure happened. Quite the opposite. Statistically it's only a 'nonevent' if it doesn't happen to you.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution dduelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostwolfe View Post
    Snipped...............Statistically it's only a 'nonevent' if it doesn't happen to you.
    No, statistically is a non-event. In 8 years of being active in NC forums it or something such been documented a handful of times. If it happens to you it is an emotional event, perhaps a expensive event, but compared to the many thousands of DCT bikes in service around the US and the EC a handful is a non-event.
    Dave

    GL1800
    NC700XD




  9. #9
    Senior Member Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution dduelin's Avatar
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    George Catt, long mile rider extraordinaire, fixed his loose bolt in this thread:

    DCT Fault. Argh!
    Dave

    GL1800
    NC700XD




  10. #10
    Senior Member Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution
    Honda NM4 DCT issue & solution
    DirtFlier's Avatar
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    Semi-related...I was at my local Honda dealer the other day to drop-off and pick-up my rear wheel onto which they installed a new PR5. I noticed they had a CTX700 on one of the lifts and I could clearly see the clutch pack had been removed. They were crazy busy so I was just happy they did my tire swap for me in that same morning.

    This is the 2nd one they've done for me and having them change my rear tires is the best $30 I've ever spent! Up until a few months ago I did my own tires at home on a homemade rig using some key parts from No-Mar. I still do my own balancing but no longer dread doing a rear tire. :-)

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