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Made for hard work and heavy hauls – the Honda Foreman 500 can deal with anything you throw at it. Many consider it to be the ultimate workhorse, offering exceptional performance and off-road capability. So you may be wondering what else it can do.
The Honda Foreman 500 is recognized as one of the best-selling ATVs in history. Tough and reliable, it is a popular choice for farmers, ranchers, construction workers, and trail riders. The electric shift, power steering features, and faultless 4WD provides excellent service in all conditions.
High-tech features, plush suspension, and unquestionable dependability form part of this hardworking beast’s appeal. Learn all this plus more of its attributes, as this guide helps determine whether the Honda Foreman 500 is the right quad for you.
About Honda Foreman 500
The Honda Foreman 500 is a high-performance all-terrain vehicle introduced in 2005. Its 500-class air-cooled, longitudinally-mounted OHV engine featured an entirely different driveline configuration than its smaller-displacement siblings.
It had a broader front and rear track and was longer than the Honda Foreman 450. It also had better-revving than its precursor – thanks to its 15-percent power gain and its throttle position sensor. The Honda Foreman 500 also had the convenience of electric starting and a beefier clutch to handle the increased power output.
Honda Foreman 500 Price
The average price of the Honda Foreman 500 can range from $4,000 to $9,000, depending on the condition and added features. ESP versions are more expensive, usually $1,000 more than the base price.
Pre-owned Foreman 500’s can be found in online auctions, such as the 2008 Honda Foreman 500 4×4 or more recent models. Some second-hand ATVs come with a new battery or aftermarket, Honda Foreman 500 parts, Honda Foreman 500 lift kit, and a radiator. They also have low hours, and mileage doesn’t exceed 6,000.
2016 Honda Foreman 500, ESP, and titled quads are quite rare. Most available are 4x4s and manual 2WDs. Most auctioned four-wheelers only come with a bill of sale and have no titles. Foreman’s usually hold their value quite well due to their sturdy frame and add-ons.
So be wary of quads that sell less than $1,000 since they may have hidden defects, such as non-functional shifting or a broken rear axle.
Honda Foreman 500 Specs and Features (2005 TRX500TM)
- Engine – Uses a longitudinally-mounted four-stroke, air-cooled single-cylinder OHV engine. It has a bore-stroke ratio of 92 mm x 71.5 mm. The engine displacement is 475.3 cubic centimeters (28.99 cubic inches) delivered by a 36-mm constant vacuum VE carburetor, and its compression ratio is 8.3:1. It has a pressure and wet sump lubrication system with an oiled Urethane foam air filtration. The standalone engine weight is 121.7 lbs/55.2 Kg, and the fuel tank capacity is 4.17 US gallons/15.8 liters with a 0.87-gallon reserve.
- Drivetrain – Uses a five-speed mesh transmission, including reverse gear controls on the 2005 Honda Foreman 500. It has an automatic centrifugal and multi-plate wet clutch system. The primary reduction is 2.103 (61/29), and the final reduction is 3.153 (41/13) on both front and rear. It has a direct rear driveshaft with a front limited-slip differential that reduces torque steer for less steering effort. Its gearshift is left-foot-operated. The standard air-intake is attached to a plastic water snorkel, which prevents water ingestion when crossing shallow water. The first release of the Foreman 500 only offered 2WD, but succeeding trims provided two driveline modes.
- Ignition – It has a DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) electric starter system with electronic advance and an auxiliary recoil backup starter. Its charging system is a triple-phase output alternator powered by a 12V, 200-CCA (Cold Crank Amp) Honda Foreman 500 battery with a dimension of 5.8 x 3.26 x 5.71 inches (L x W x H).
- Lubrication – Oil capacity differs with and without an oil filter change. At draining, it is 2.5 US quarts. The capacity is 2.6 US quarts at oil filter change, and at disassembly, it is 3.2 US quarts. To achieve top performance, use an SAE 10W-40 Pro Honda GN4 or HP4 (without molybdenum additives) 4-stroke oil or equivalent motor oil. Ensure that it has an API service classification of SG or higher or an MA JASO T 903 standard.
- Tires – The front wheels use Dunlop KT181 AT25 X 8-12 tires, while the rear wheels with Dunlop KT185 AT25 X 10-12 tires. Honda Foreman 500 tires mounted on wheels that are 25 inches in diameter with a steel composition. The vehicle wheelbase is 50.9 inches.
- Brakes – Dual-sealed hydraulic drum brakes are used for the front brakes, while a single-sealed 180-mm mechanical drum (larger in diameter than the TRX450) is used for the rear brakes. These disc brakes feature self-centering collet-style brake calipers with integrated scrapers that eliminate debris build-up.
- Suspension – Enclosed in a double-cradle frame is an independent double-wishbone front suspension with a double-tube damper. It allows 6.7 inches (170 mm) of travel and a dual-shock rear suspension that utilizes a swingarm. This suspension design lends to the overall turning radius of 9.8 feet, making for easier cornering angles.
- Dimensions – The length of the Honda Foreman 500 is 83 inches, and the width is 46.8 inches. Its height from the ground is 46 inches with a ground clearance of 7.5 inches. The seat height is 33.9 inches (retained from its TRX400FW predecessor). Front and rear treads are 36.3 and 36.4 inches, respectively. Dry weight is 558 lbs (253 Kg); GVWR can go up to 1,169 lbs – a combination of 584-lb curb weight and a maximum weight capacity of 485 lbs (220 Kg) that covers passengers and cargo.
- Exterior – The Honda Foreman 500 consists of a steel frame and plastic body material in olive, blue, or red that comes with footpegs, a full-length skid plate, a standard brush guard, and a CV boot cover. Its LCD dashboard includes a trip odometer, hour meter, and speedometer that provide mileage information. The quad has a total towing capacity of 850 lbs, with full fenders providing water protection. Front and rear cargo racks are durable. You can fit the rear with Honda Foreman 500 accessories such as a WARN 78100 ProVantage Plow Base/Push Tube Assembly (view on Amazon) for ranch work.
- Lighting – Two 30-watt headlights mounted on the front fenders and a 45-watt handlebar headlight all use multi-reflector lenses for superior light distribution. It also has a 5-watt taillight and a 1.7-watt indicator light (for oil, reverse, and neutral) that changed to LED for later trims.
- Electric Shift Program (ESP) – This feature came out for the TRX400FW and carried over to other Foreman models since. Upshifting and downshifting was simple, which made it easy for riders. An ECM monitors information from the quad’s four sensors to control the gear and clutch engagement speed, which ultimately varies according to rider style.
- TraxLok – This intuitive wheel-drive-changing system allowed riders to shift between two-wheel and four-wheel drive. It came out with the 2006 Honda Foreman 500. TraxLok provided extra traction and only engaged when the speed difference between the front and back wheels was less than 6 mph.
- Electric Power Steering (EPS) – This cutting-edge technology was first introduced on the 1993 Acura NSX and first seen on the 2007 Honda Foreman 500. EPS adjusts the steering assist and feel by providing light steering assistance at low speeds and acting as a steering damper that reduces undesirable kickback through the handlebars when riding rough terrain on full throttle.
- Programmable Fuel Injection (PGM FI) – It is Honda’s proprietary digital electronic fuel injection system for internal combustion engines with port injection used in the company’s sport motorcycles as early as the ’80s and incorporated into the Foreman lineage starting with the 2013 Honda Foreman 500. This feature enabled cleaner emissions and delivered power and torque needed for tough jobs.
Honda Foreman 500 Common Problems
1. Tie Rod Separation
Some of the Foreman 500 4×4 and 4×4 ES units released during its first production year were part of a recall order. A total of 27 consumer reports triggered the recall. The main issue was steering rod separation, which caused the driver to lose steering control. This flaw posed a risk as the ATV tended to crash. The majority of the affected quads were 350-cc Ranchers, 500-cc Rubicons, and 650-cc Rincons.
2. Steering Shaft Breaking
CSPC issued a recall order for 21,000 units of 2013 and 2012 Honda Foreman 500 FE/FM models due to concerns with this part of the vehicle causing crash hazards. Honda received a total of 18 reports. Although there were no injury reports, two riders got involved in a crash. The recall order instructed consumers who purchased the affected units to contact their nearest Honda dealer for a free repair.
3. Shifting Problems
Some Honda enthusiasts stay away from ESP-equipped Foreman 500s because of this problem and advise owners to keep a shifter wrench with them at all times. A band-aid fix for this would be to stop the bike and turn off the engine, then turn it back on, down-shift to neutral, and crank and shift to your desired gear in the shortest time possible. For a longer-term repair, you will need to do the following:
- Check the cable and cable switch
- Check the battery charge and its ability to maintain it (this is usually the culprit)
- Inspect the engine oil level
- Check the angle sensor to see if it needs replacement
- Take the clutch and transmission apart for cleaning and repair
Refer to your service manual for guidance. If all your mechanical repair attempts fail, send your ATV to a shop.
4. Ignition Problem
You know you have this problem when you do not get display lights when turning the key. Should you encounter this, the first thing you will need to look at is the fuse. Check the power coming out of the fuse box.
Do not immediately rule out the fuse just because it is not blown. There is a possibility that a good fuse may not make a good connection with the female connector and therefore impede delivering power to the quad. Doing this usually points out to replacing all your fuses, which would solve your problem.
Another probable cause is that your starter is defective, resulting in your quad not turning over. Determining this as the cause of your problem requires an electric starter replacement.
5. Leaking Carb
Two leading causes of a leaking carb are either a clogged valve in the carb float bowl or a hole in the float itself. If you still have an original Honda OEM carburetor, rebuild it with an OEM float needle and float seat than get a cheap replacement carb. This is the best time to change to non-ethanol, which is better for ATV/UTV machines. While you’re at it, check on the gasket’s condition and the rubber O-rings. Replace, as needed.
Another remedy would be to take the drain screw at the bottom of the carburetor, turn the petcock on, let the carb drain, and then put the carb back in. This recommendation is not very common but it helps get rid of the overflow.
Some even tap the carb with a wrench while draining to ensure the float is not stuck inside. Make this procedure more fool-proof by cleaning out your carb regularly and replacing your fuel filter following tank flushing. You may also check my previous article on the Honda Foreman 400 and see if any of the troubleshooting tips I shared there applies to your four-wheeler.
2014 Honda Foreman 500 owners avoid this hassle since these models already had PGM FI.
6. Throttle Icing
If your Foreman runs fine at idle but dies when put in gear, then you might experience this. This problem occurs when the vacuum-operated slide across the throttle causes the moisture in the air to freeze onto the butterfly valve, causing your quad to run poorly and die.
The problem is also tough to reproduce as it might only happen in certain ambient air temperatures. Putting a new spark plug, cleaning the spark arrestor, and using gas line antifreeze will help alleviate the issue but not entirely resolve it.
It is best to inspect the carb for signs of ice. Or check if a wire has come unplugged, or if there is grounding against the frame. Begin by looking into the gear-shift mechanism and follow the wires from there. If you find no issues in this area, get the CDI, coil, or stator checked. You’ll need your service manual and a multimeter in checking resistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Honda Foreman 500 top speed? The top speed of the Honda Foreman 500 is 45 mph. However, some owners have claimed to go as fast as 58 mph with no lift kits or mods.
- What is high mileage for Honda Foreman 500? 8,000 miles is high mileage, considering that the Honda Foreman 500 is designed to carry heavy loads. 3,000 miles and less are relatively standard and regarded as low mileage.
- Is there a year model I should avoid when buying a Honda Foreman 500? Despite having two product recalls, there is not a specific bad year model for Honda Foreman 500. Of course, owners and enthusiasts will have differences in opinion. Make sure to research and investigate the vehicle’s history before making a purchase.
- How much HP does a Honda Foreman 500 have? The horsepower for the Honda Foreman 500 is 30 hp. It may be more if you upgrade the factory muffler and breather box to open up the Foreman. You should not do this if you hunt, since the engine will be noisier and may not pass noise limits on hunting grounds.
Honda Motor Company Ltd. has launched the sport ATV industry and revolutionized the rider experience. It continues to do with the creation of the Honda Foreman 500 and the introduction of technological innovations such as the Electric Shift Program, TraxLok, Electric Power Steering, and Programmable Fuel Injection.
The Japanese manufacturer carries on with its legacy of producing top-of-the-line automobiles, power equipment, and commuter motorcycle models. Honda is a world leader in robotics, AI, mobility, and energy solutions.
Conclusion – Honda Foreman 500
Since its launch to this day, this four-wheeler has always raised excitement. Even ATV magazines attest to its reliability – recommending the Foreman as one of the best ATV purchases consumers will ever make. Generally, this workhorse has received nothing but positive feedback from its users. So get yourself a Honda Foreman 500 and enjoy everything it has to offer.