"D" for drive is flashing [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: "D" for drive is flashing

Honda Box
03-12-2006, 10:31 AM
Well, my father just called me and asked me if i knew what would cause his E shift harshly into reverse and drive from park. He said the "D" on the dash is always flashing now no matter if it's in drive or park or any other gear. I have no idea what would cause this but teh manual says there may be a tranny problem. Has anyone heard anything about this or any tranny problems that may cause this?

Thanks for any help


oh yea, like father like son, we both have elements :)

03-12-2006, 07:47 PM
I'd be willing to say that your father should NOT drive it, but should get it to a repair place and get it looked at immediately. It sounds like a definite transmission problem to me.

One of the laws of car repair physics states that a transmission will fail completely at the worst possible moment, such as on an uphill exit ramp in a busy part of town with emergency lane and no room to pull over.

03-12-2006, 08:36 PM
The flashing is the transmission computer's blinking an error code in attempt to tell you what's wrong with it. Whatever it is has to be pretty bad to result in a code.

This is very unlikely to resolve itself, and it is undriveable as long as it's flashing the code. Have him call for a tow.

Honda Box
03-13-2006, 08:41 AM
Thanks for all the replys guys.

It turns out that a wire leading to a sensor right behind the battery mounted to the tranny was chewed through by a mouse or something. I'm glad he found that before calling for a tow taking it to the dealer would have been a big headache.

thanks again

03-13-2006, 09:32 AM
Good diagnosis work!

I'll bet you the error code being flashed was "XYZ sensor not responding" or something like that, so if you had the $70 service book for the codes you would have looked there sooner or later... glad it was sooner!

element au
03-31-2006, 09:30 PM
A flashing "D" means that the computer, known as the PCM is saying there is a problem with the transaxle. Now, that said, and as noted earlier in the post, a loose wire can cause this problem. In the Element, there are quite a few bus oriented wiring harnesses or wires that connect to multiple sensors and then make their way to the PCM. They send digital signals that the PCM interprets and acts on. Makes sense that a loose wire could cause the problem.

The dealer will plug in and run a test, record the error code, clear it, drive the car, and then check for error codes again. If they can't replicate the problem, they will inspect the electrical harness connections associated the the transmission.

BTW: The connectors are self-cleaning and, with the battery disconnected, you can pull them off and connect them again. Although, if its a new car, the dealer should do it for you.


03-31-2006, 11:23 PM
I had an SUV (not an E) that did this in Nov - engine light, transmission light, lurching, running in "gimp mode" - the whole thing - it was just a bad sensor. Was in & out of the shop in 4 hours. No biggie. Didn't get it towed - in fact drove it 200 mileas AFTER the warning lights came on - had no choice, was that far from home, at night, alone. Didn't hurt the car at all, was just a pain to drive it like that. Prob a defective sensor since the vehicle is brand new --- or something shook loose in transport. Don't think its anything more problematic than that.

02-17-2007, 07:01 PM
Had my 2003 Element EX 2WD Automatic (38k) for about 3 weeks now. Was driving home from work yesterday when I felt the Element 'jerk' when shifting, and immediately my Engine light came on and the D for Drive started flashing. I was a block from home so I parked it and went about my day.

This afternoon, I took the Element to Autozone to have them pull the code(s). It came back with P0980 - Shift Solenoid C. I've looked this up online and its also worded as "Shift Solenoid C High" and "Open in Shift Solenoid Circuit C".

On the drive to/from Autozone, it starts off in 1st gear like normal but when accelerating up to speed, it doesn't shift into 2nd gear unless i completely let off the gas and then it shifts/jerks into 2nd gear. I dont think it shifted into 3rd gear at all. I only got up to around 45MPH and the rpms were a little over 3k.

So I get back home and start peeking around wondering if a sensor came unplugged or a wire is cut/torn/etc. I removed the battery and unplugged and replugged like 7-8 sensors that were around the transmission. The sensors/wiring all 'looked' fine to me.

Anyone have any ideas? An "open" means that theres a break in the electrical connections somewhere. However, where do I start looking? What is Shift Solenoid Circuit C? and where is it?


02-17-2007, 07:31 PM
It's the Blu/Yel wire coming out of the Powertrain control module at the c7 position marked LSC( the PCM ).
There is a specific set of conditions that the test MUST be run under.

The connector is the center one on the PCM. There are 2 connectors on each side of it. The wire you want is the one on the left end top row as it plugs into the PCM. You will see the Blue yellow wire. There is only one other Blu/Yel wire going to the PCM. The other one is on an End ( outside edge ) connector, and not the one you want.

The C solenoid valve controls the pressure ports leading to the second and third clutches.

It may be a bad lead or a bad solenoid, Or God forbid, a bad PCM!
There is a test procedure that's 2 pages long that will lead to the source of the trouble.
I hope this helps


02-18-2007, 10:48 AM
Just ordered the shop manuals. Was hoping to wait a couple more weeks until I finish rebuilding the motor in my Integra gsr and sell it, but this can't exactly wait.

i hate cars. :???:
Actually, it sounds more like cars hate you. :D

For something like this where you have an "open circuit" error, I would be going to every connector in the likely circuit and "freshening" the contacts by unplugging/replugging each one. ECU and transmission connectors would be at the top of my hitlist.

That's a trick from my (all-too-ancient) experience with not only cars, but big computers, too. Merely the act of removing and reinstalling a board would frequently cure everything from a solid no-op condition to a rare flakiness, all attributable to a dirty contact or something similar.

02-26-2007, 08:31 PM
i got my helms shop manual today. the funny thing, however, is that the check engine light went away a few days ago and the E is driving perfectly again.

oh well, im sure it'll pop up again one of these days and i'll be ready to diagnose the problem with my helms manual.

02-27-2007, 08:27 AM
i got my helms shop manual today. the funny thing, however, is that the check engine light went away a few days ago and the E is driving perfectly again.

oh well, im sure it'll pop up again one of these days and i'll be ready to diagnose the problem with my helms manual.
Now THIS sounds like a flaky connector! So my advice still stands.

I had a similar-ish problem with an SUV I had like a decade ago. It would run fine 99.9% of the time - but hit a good bump, and the engine would cut out and I'd get a "Check Engine". (I'd stop and check the engine, and it was always still there. ba-dmp-dmp.) What was strange, however, is that it did the same cutout thing in reverse, without any bumps.

Turns out that there was... yes... a connector in the engine harness that was partially engaged. If it was jarred (by a bump) or pulled on in a speciic direction (by the engine torquing on the mounts, only in reverse), contacts for the timing sensor would be pulled apart for a fraction of a second.

I threw about $200 in parts at it (timing sensor and other stuff), only to find that a 5 cable-tie to keep the connector "stable" was the final solution.

04-24-2007, 03:34 PM
cant she go to AutoZor or equivalent auto parts store and have her codes read for free (or small fee) as opposed to going into a dealer who is going to charge her 70-80 bucks just to read the code? And that way she could get a better idea what is wrong before she heads into the dealer...:confused:

04-24-2007, 04:50 PM
cant she go to AutoZor or equivalent auto parts store and have her codes read for free (or small fee) as opposed to going into a dealer who is going to charge her 70-80 bucks just to read the code? And that way she could get a better idea what is wrong before she heads into the dealer...:confused:
Well, we don't know if her E is under warranty or not. If it's under warranty she should just take it straight to the dealer - if not, several places have code readers for a small fee, or free. I imagine ANY "flashing D" repair is gonna have to be done at a dealer or authorized repair shop though...it probably isn't a "quick-fix" thing.

04-24-2007, 04:55 PM
true, it would need to be fixed at a dealer, but at least if she had her codes read at autozone she would have some idea what was wrong and not be screwed by the dealer... I think in another thread she said she had like 90000 miles on her E, but am not sure...

08-21-2007, 02:57 PM
The 'D' lamp will flash when certain transmission related DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) are stored.

Not all transmission DTC's will illuminate the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) due to OBD II regulations, so when a fault has occured with the transmission that would not cause tailpipe emissions to exceed 1.5 times the FTP, the MIL stays OFF but the 'D' lamp flashes to alert the driver that a transmission related fault has been detected.

A scan tool should be used to determine exactly which trouble code has set, so that the fault can be diagnosed.

01-11-2008, 01:46 AM
I took my E in last week for the blinking "D" and lukily enough it was blinking when i pulled into the dealer, so the blinking was "confirmed"!!!!!!! which is odd for me because i normally suffer from could not replicate type problems.


It turned out to be (at least what they told me) an oil switch in or near the tranny. they ordered the part, and i'm having it installed today after work. Luckily i bought an extended warranty, and it's only gonna cost a $50 deductible to fix my 96,000 mile old car. :razz:

02-22-2008, 01:03 PM
So not even a year later, it started doing it again and then nothing. It flashed once yesterday and then nothing today. I took it to a mechanic last year, had him run the diagnostic code on it and nothing came back. I've been driving it for a year and now have 108,000 miles on it and now it's back at the mechanic. At this point I'm thinking of trading it in tomorrow for a 2008 CRV...I just hate cars that start to have problems, although my E has been very good to me!

02-23-2008, 11:09 AM
This same thing is happening to me again. The D light started blinking last April, I brought it the mechanic and he couldn't find anything wrong...so I kept driving my Element, now have 108,000 miles on it. Now it is happening again. I brought it back to the mechanic, he scanned for any codes and came up with nothing. He said the transmission fluid was a little off in color, but nothing else..

Any thoughts if there are no codes coming up? I am seriously thinking of just going to trade the car in for a CRV, but I really don't want to do that...I don't want to put in a new transmission either!

02-23-2008, 03:19 PM
you say it must be scanned with an ATC software. What happens if you use a OBD 2 scan tool? wrogn codes or no code at all?


03-18-2008, 12:21 PM

After six weeks honda in norway found the problem. i ordered a new pcm last week. got it installed today, and everything is ok:)

I want to thank honda-tech and lizzurd once again for great overseas support:)

Let me know if you want something from norway and i will help!


04-14-2008, 04:01 PM
Just got back from the dealership after having my car scanned, they said it was a 3rd clutch pressure switch. My boyfriend explained it to me, but i'm still not quite educated on it. Anyone else experience this?

05-30-2008, 08:44 AM
Thanks everyone for your input!!! Took the Element in for servicing and it was the 3rd gear pressure sensor...no idea what that is. Total was $250 to fix but with my extended warranty all I had to pay was the $50 deductible. All's well.

Thanks again!

07-19-2008, 01:46 PM
Thanks so much for the reply and the link. MY ODB2 reader wasn't picking anything up, but it sounds like it may need to be hooked up to a different type of reader. It only came on during a short driving period and has been off ever since I restarted that day (a couple of weeks ago). I'm curious...should it reappear if it's a problem or is it something that I should have checked out even though it's no longer blinking?

Thanks again for your help!

Krazy Kare
08-14-2008, 08:40 AM

I used to work at a Honda dealership, the mechanic who used to work there also worked on myu 97 Civic & now has started on the 03 Honda Element, i purchased less than 2-months ago.

Needless to say i think i have purchased someone else's problems!

1st- D light flashed-the day after I bought it in June 08, it was the Speed Sensor

2nd-i have had some whining in the power steering, worse when A/C is on

3rd-D light flashing again as of last week, now i need the 3rd Transmission Fluid Sensor Switch replaced-awaiting the part

4th- now when i put the car in Drive after it has been running a while, it bucks forward after a few seconds, Does anyone know what that may be?

I hope not a new transmission??

Also, what are the signs of needing a new Strut Assembly?

I am having severe shaking at about 70-80mph, I travel mostly hwy to & from work-it has already had an alignment about a month ago.

I have been back & forth with the crappy dealer i purchased it from-needless to say it was not a Honda Dealer!
My Huge Mistake!
& I do have an extended warranty-
I just want the agrivation & time loss from work to stop & get my car normal!

HELP- any suggestions or answers to my questions?

OH FYI-If any of the lights on the dash flash & you shut the car off before it is put on a code reader-it will clear the codes.:evil:

10-23-2008, 02:12 PM
I have had this problem on and off for the last 6 months. Finally took it into a honda dealer and had the code read (code P0847). It seems to be a 3rd clutch pressure switch. The cost totally for the code read/pressure switch/labor and tax will run to approximately $170.00 cdn

02-07-2009, 05:14 PM
had this happen and was an easy part to fix. it was just the 3rd gear pressure switch.

02-07-2009, 06:19 PM
could this be a dyi repair or does it have to be at the dealer or the tranny shop?

Since today is saturday i'm SOL...but i wanted to take it in early monday morning. I was thinking maaco if it indeed is a tranny problem..they have a free diagnosis...

Take it to your Dealer. They can pull the code and tell exactly what needs to be done, and will have the parts in stock. Most tranny outfit's "free" diagnosis, guaranteed will find all kinds of things that may (or may not) be wrong. It's a way to bring in business, once your there they often will try and scare you into a whole bunch of "maintenance" service.

Daughter went to one, when she was at College because of a hard shifting problem. They came in with a $1,500 repair quote, plus all kinds of "if you don't do this now, you'll lose your tranny, it's on it's last legs" services, to the tune of another $450. She called, me, I told her to "decline" - then they came back with a $1200 for everything quote. Told her to decline again, and I drove up, switched cars with her and drove it to the Dealer, (100 miles away). Turned out to be a fastener that had come loose, and was jamming in the linkage. $80 for labor and parts - and they checked the tranny over, and said it was 100% . :rolleyes:

02-08-2009, 01:57 PM
ok...so i drove my car today...and guess what.... no blinking D.

I don't know... if it doesn't blink, would the honda repair guys still find the problem?

I'm thinking about driving it for at least until the blinking comes back...then i'll high tail it to the honda shop near my house.

If there is a code stored they can still diagnose any problems there may be.

02-08-2009, 05:58 PM
i think the sensor was under 50 dollers. its located at the bottom drivers side on the front of the transmission. im sure someone with a shop book can post a pic. it unscrews from the case and you just unplug it.you can see it under your battery tray

02-08-2009, 09:21 PM
Still, before you start throwing parts at the problem, have it diagnosed by a competent shop.

02-17-2009, 05:56 PM
I have seen this at work many times mostly on crv-s normally it is thr third pressure switch that causes this, it is a pretty easy repair you can even access it through the l/f wheel well by moving the plastic shield
on the bottom out of the way the switch is cheap too about 50 bucks.

02-18-2009, 04:27 PM
i would do that get the dealer to diagnoes the code usually up to 1 hour labor then if it is just that then swap the part yourself.

mon mon
03-20-2009, 06:43 PM
Hi all,

I'm new to the forum and I was hoping to get some additional opinions on the cause of this issue. I have a 2004 Element EX with 60,000 miles on it. While driving it last night, the D light started flashing. I looked it up on the manual and it appears to be a connected to the transmission. With this said, I've read the postings and I am hoping for the best when I take it to the dealership this weekend.

I am wondering if this could be as simple as a transmission fluid change? :confused: Please let share your experience and if you don't mind, the cost of correcting your particular issue. This is the first problem we've ever had with our Element and would like to have as much info prior to seeing the folks at the dealership.

Thanks to all!

Hi all,

I had it checked at the dealership and they found code p0837. As many on this post have noted, it's the Third Gear Pressure Switch. It looks easy enough to replace so I plan on doing it myself. With this said, is there a need for me to clear the code? The flashing d light occurred once and has not happened again. So I'm thinking that other than replacing the switch and making sure the d light does not flash, that this should represent the extent of the fix. Am I right or wrong? Please advise and thanks again!

06-13-2009, 01:05 PM
Thanks for the advice and feedback. Despite the dealer's ("don't worry until the check engine light come on") advice, we followed your recommendation and had the sensor changed. Flashing gone. Much happier. Thanks!!

07-22-2009, 08:16 PM
While the engine was running in Park, the Drive light on panel starting blinking. I turned off engine and turned it back on, and the flickering stopped. However, once I was driving and came to a stop, I had a hard time accelerating and the Drive light started to blink again. I took it into to the dealer, but the mechanic couldn't duplicate the problem. Plus, nothing was registering on the computer. The drive seems to have smoothed out, but am concerned. Any thoughts?

rajun asian
11-24-2009, 08:01 PM
For AT service, that's great.

When I say everything, I meant diagnostics, part and labor + tax. I didn't think that was too bad either.

11-30-2009, 09:54 AM
Hi Everyone,

I thought I would share this here, since this was the first place I looked when I noticed this...

Last week, I was driving home from work very late. En route, there was a huge pickup truck driving behind me with only his parking lights on. When we both came to a stop a a red light, he flashed his high beams on an off a couple of times. When the light changed green, we continued driving and he still had his headlights off. Again, we came to a red light. Again, he flashed his headlights a few times and I became certain that he was being a neighbourly driver and trying to get my attention. "There must be a problem with my car" I thought.

Immediately I noticed that my transmission indicator on my dash was blinking around the D (for drive). Without hesitation I pulled into the nearest driveway, which was luckily a well-lit service station. I had my passenger get out and do a circle-check as I left the car running and even did a few laps o the parking lot. "Nothing" he said. The light was still blinking, so I turned the ignition off and started the Element again. Everything was normal again.

It has now been over one week and the problem has not resurfaced in spite of daily driving. After reading through this thread one post in particular really stands out. A mechanic mentioned that "a lot" of Elements came in with this problem "at the same time" but with no underlying problem. He guessed at the weather as a cause, and I am now convinced of that. You see, on the night I was driving, we had the thickest fog that I have ever seen in this city, and it was extremely damp.

The pickup driver must've had his lights off for visibilty reasons.

12-01-2009, 08:55 AM
Figured I might as well add myself to the growing list of people with the old Flashing "D" issue. Mine began flashing yesterday so I called and made an appt with the dealer for this morning. The diagnosis was 3rd Gear Pressure Switch Failing. I didn't ask what the exact code number was and just had them replace the switch. Total cost was $215.81 plus tax.

This failed at 131,711 miles.

Blue Boxer
01-05-2010, 11:28 PM
Strange problem happened last nite to my wifes 06 Ellement exp Automatic trans. She pulled over on her way home from work to take pictures of the sun set. She pulled to side of road left car runing puting it in park . Took here Sunset pictures then put car back into drive and proceeded on her way home. As she drove home the green light that shows what gear your in on the dash started blinking On the d Or drive light. It blinked all the way home even when she put car back in park. The blinking continued even with car in reverse or park. This stoped after i shut off the car in park. I restarted car and it stoped ! I have never heard or seen this problem in any car ive ever owened or driven. What do you think caused this? Is it still safe to drive ?

Blue Boxer
01-06-2010, 08:09 PM
The problem has not occured again yet but im thinking it most likely will. So your saying its a blinking as a warning to have transmision checked.

01-07-2010, 03:57 PM
Chances are it stored a code so take it to the dealership to get it scanned. Could ne an intermittent thing but better safe then sorry. also here is a link to follow:


01-07-2010, 04:10 PM
so far just about every older Element that has had this happen it has been the 3rd gear solenoid or something like that. I had mine replaced a few months back. That is the first thing that has actually broken on my Element, not counting worn out parts.

03-02-2010, 07:17 AM
Hooray! Two weeks after fixing the V-Tec Oil Pressure Switch (which i found the solution and instructions on this site, thank-you very much!!!) the Green Drive indicator has started flashing. Based on what I have read here, and the fact that I am broke, I began to play around. My E is driving perfect, no lurching, no weird shifting, no overheating, and no computer codes on my code reader. I checked the tranny fluid, which is scheduled to be replaced soon as I am almost at 200k, and it is full and red with no weird smell! I think it might be a malfunctioning sensor. I did some test driving on the way home yesterday. Typically, the light comes on within 500m of driving every time the ignition is turned off. I drove it about 2k at low speed in first, no light. Switched to second gear for about 2k, no light. Went into 3rd gear (OD off) on the highway for 10k, no light. Hit the OD button, within 5 seconds, the light started flashing. The car accelerates on the highway with no problem, nice and smooth, and runs great in OD as well. Could this just be because I am close to 200k and the tranny fluid change, or could it be a sensor. Any advice? Again, I have to keep the service bill extremely low, as I just came off of EI benefits. This forum saved me a fortune last time (600 for vtec and code reading from the dealer, 106 dollars when I borrowed a code reader and changed it myself) and I am hoping to do it again!


03-03-2010, 06:59 AM
I had the flashing light issue. Took it to Honda and it was a pressure switch. Easy fix. The part was like $30 but the labor tore me up. Oh well, could have been worse.

03-05-2010, 11:09 PM
This just happened to me, too...I was driving around a couple days ago and the D started flashing...having just seen this thread on here, I guessed it was the 3rd gear pressure sensor, and I took it to the dealer the following morning to have it looked at. Sure enough, that's what it was. $50 part, $150 labor, and out the door. I'm glad it was something minor...trans troubles can quickly run into big money. I have no idea what that sensor does, but it sure seems to be a trouble area for these. My element has 70k miles on it, by the way.


Honda Tech
03-06-2010, 06:00 AM
I have no idea what that sensor does...

It's actually a pressure 'switch'.

It does basically the same thing as your engine oil pressure switch - provides an 'ON/OFF' signal relative to oil pressure, in this case, transmission fluid pressure in the third gear clutch hydraulic circuit.

If the hydraulic circuit has fluid pressure present, the switch signal is 'ON' (5V drop across switch), when the hydraulic circuit is not pressurized, the switch signal is 'OFF' (0V drop across switch).

If the switch "sticks" or there is an electrical fault in the switch circuit, the signal the PCM is receiving from the pressure switch doesn't match the commanded state of the third clutch hydraulic circuit and a DTC will be set.

05-22-2010, 11:03 PM
on the way home to nite the "D" light on the dash started blinking stoped at a red light and ran the shift lever up and down all positions the "D" still would blink, even in park the green "D" was still blinking. got home got on eoc went and checked the trans fluid level no more blinking light even went around the block still no blinking "D". The fluid level was good and the color and smell were both good. Going out for a cup of coffee at the Royal Farm store to see if it comes back on:?

05-22-2010, 11:53 PM
on the way home to nite the "D" light on the dash started blinking stoped at a red light and ran the shift lever up and down all positions the "D" still would blink, even in park the green "D" was still blinking. got home got on eoc went and checked the trans fluid level no more blinking light even went around the block still no blinking "D". The fluid level was good and the color and smell were both good. Going out for a cup of coffee at the Royal Farm store to see if it comes back on:?

went for a ride of about 10 miles and still no blinkin light

05-23-2010, 06:14 PM
My '04 E has the occasional flashing D light as well. There's no other symptoms, just this one coming on, then going away for a few days.
I went down to the local Schucks/Oreilly store and they loaned me an Innova 3120 scanner.
It threw a enhanced code of P0700 (Honda 70-03) indicating transmission control. I have a '03-06 factory manual, but could find no listing for this particular code.
Anyone have thoughts?
Is there a better comprehensive list of codes than what's in the manual?

05-23-2010, 08:22 PM
Welcome, Mark13. List of codes here (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/obd-ii_codes.htm). Yes, P0700 is "Transmission control system malfunction," but that's as specific as it gets.

05-24-2010, 11:17 PM
Any idea what the "70-03" code is? possibly a 70-3? Not sure, still can't find this honda-specific code.

05-25-2010, 08:43 AM
Never heard of the 70 prefix.

06-20-2010, 04:34 PM
Flashing D came on 2 days ago while driving my Element and stayed on even in park. I noticed car felt kind of sluggish and like it was lagging, Honda dealer said it may be a transmission sensor; advised to bring in Monday when shop is open. Made one stop and re-started car. D light no longer flashing at this point. Home to read this thread which seems to support the sensor hypothesis. Start car yesterday, no flashing D, driving fine. Take the car to Auto Zone to have the code read. From reading this thread, I'm hoping there will be a stored code, but nothing comes up. Was hoping to grab a cheap part and have it installed by my boyfriend (?) So now my quandary: do I take it to the Honda shop and pay thru nose in case something is wrong? Or, do I go on my way (la, la, la) and just assume everything is okay until the light flashes again? Anytime someone says tranny, I get a little freaked out. Don't want to incur damage by ignoring a problem that may just be a minor now...

Flat Lander
06-20-2010, 07:53 PM
How many miles are on your E? How long since the last time the transmission was serviced?

Since you asked for opinions, I'd go the "la, la, la" route until it happens again or happens more frequently. It's very easy to spend big $$$ by just throwing parts at an intermittent problem. If it doesn't actually latch a code then it's not currently broke.

06-20-2010, 08:36 PM
My E has approximately 90,000 miles, but is not under warranty. La, la, la is kind of my default preference from a financial point of view!

08-26-2010, 04:49 PM
I have a 2003 Element with 96k
Last Friday on my way home from work the light around the D started flashing.
I pulled into the nearest parking lot turned off the car & turned it back on. No more flash. I finished my drive home. (5 miles in total) Then the next morning no flash. Whew! Out of the woods I thought. Must have been a fluke... NOPE! Half way there it starts flashing again. Oh No! What can this mean... Looking it up on line was even more frighting. So many forums suggested a new transmission might be in store. It just about paid off... (got it preloved) why oh why - there is a shortage of E's in Maine its not like I can (or want to take on another 3yrs $) run out and get another one!
I take it to my garage the very next morning. 3 days later... he can't duplicate the problem. I remind him that for the last 7 months or so its been having trouble intermittently switching into 4th gear but give it some gas & the shudder goes away. This is a problem that never manages to duplicate when he's around. He keeps it one more day & decides that it doesn't need a tranny replacement but that the 3rd gear pressure sensor switch is the culprit and he orders the part. I go pick it up tomorrow, adding some transmission conditioner too & we shall see how it goes...

BTW - I love this site. Just read this article on here about the very same issue.
Gives me some confidence in the potential results.

I hope this resolves it because its caused me to consider shopping for a new (to me) ride and I've come across this this totally decked out 2006 VW Touareg w/ 36k miles & let me tell U, its super sweet looking - Ok I know I just blasphemed in the forum but come on if you gotta go back to payments you might as well go ultra luxury!

08-26-2010, 06:06 PM
Do we know that the Element's AT is identical or essentially the same as the Gen3 TL's?

08-26-2010, 07:28 PM
Do we know that the Element's AT is identical or essentially the same as the Gen3 TL's?

Totally different trannys and procedure for changing the switch.

The first link is correct for the 3rd pressure switch on the E. Changing the 4th pressure swicth is pretty much the same thing.

3rd Pressure Switch (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53409)

12-28-2010, 08:19 PM
LOL, if that's the case, I could be down. I have 2 cars (miata as well) and if I get a new tranny out of it, then cool Can't really take the miata to the desert though with the dirt bike I just bought (2004 Honda CRF150F). How come when you spend alot of money in a short time, your car always has issues right after lol...

All be it, I certainly don't want to wait 8 months for it, so hopefully it's easier than that. Whats funny, is I've had this small shimmy since I bought the car in lower gears while driving slow. Changed tranny fluid & tranny filter & no change. Other dealership said it was axel joints, which they replaced, but it still shimmied, so I chalked it up to old car (2003), lots of miles (129,000) and the guy put on 225's which is a firmer ride.

Now, maybe it's something else. Thank god for the warranty...


01-27-2011, 07:59 AM
Hello, all.

D light is blinking intermittently. Will usually stop blinking if engine is turned off, then resume blinking (sometimes) after a bit of driving.

Tranny fluid fine. 133K miles with no problems. No noticeable shift / other tranny problems.

Per page 14-3 of the Service Manual, I need to get a diagnostic code read. This is fine. Before I go to a shop, though, I would like some idea of what I might expect.

So, any tips or advice?

Thanks in advance.


02-25-2011, 05:43 PM
Owners manual states a flashing "D" indicates a problem with the transmission.

04-11-2011, 07:27 AM
Howdy, Thanks for the Great site. Working on my 3rd repair with y'all's advice.

Question first, then background: Will the standard OBDII scanner read these transmission codes? I'd rather not pay $100 for Honda to tell me what I already know. :(

This is my wife's E, the Box, '05 with 177k miles. Original engine and transmission. I don't think the transmission has ever been serviced. :( 2 weeks ago she got the Flashing 'D'. turned it off and restarted the car. No Flashing 'D'. Drove a back up car for 2 days until I could take it to Autozone on Saturday. But their free code reader didn't bring back any codes. (other than O2 sensor, another story) They said I might have to go to Honda.
I then drove it all last week. Finally Friday on my way home the light started flashing again for me. Again, shut the car off and restarted it. No flashing 'D'. Neither time did it have any driveability issues. This weekend I did unplug and replug the sensor that I think to be the 3rd gear pressure sensor based on descriptions here. Hopefully that cleaned the contacts and fixed the problem. She's back to driving it to see how it does.

Thanks for the help.

04-25-2011, 10:18 PM
I have a 2005 AWD EX with 52k on it and the D in the console started blinking today. Took it into the dealer after reading this forum earlier and will get diagnosis back tomorrow. I have had about 6 Honda's ( all of them stick shifts) over the years with no problems and my last Civic had 300k on it and this is the first automatic tranny I've had. Needless to say, I'm not to happy at the moment.

04-26-2011, 08:26 PM
Got my Element back today. The problem ended up being what most of this forum has already stated. The third gear pressure switch needs to be replaced. The Honda dealership wanted $180 for parts and labor. I declined bought the part for $52 and will have a friend install if for me since I am getting over an injury and am unable to get underneath a car at the moment. From what I'm told this is a very easy install that takes maybe 20min. Hope this helps someone else out.

On a side note: The dealership rang up $600 worth of other crap they positioned as failing like windshield wiper blades and fluids. Thank you, but no thank you...

09-26-2011, 04:42 PM
My '03 with 196k started flashing the 'D' over the weekend, took it to Autozone here in Portland, OR but their scanner couldn't read the code....took it tranny shop this morning and they were able to read the code- problem with the 3rd clutch pressure switch circuit. They quoted me $200 diagnostic, parts, labor which is not bad at all but since the part is $77 and seems to be pretty easy to swap out, I'll do it myself, pocket the $123 and call it good. I'll let you guys know if there are any complications but from the picks someone posted on here it seems pretty straight forward....here's hoping it is!

01-30-2012, 07:51 PM
Thanks Lizzurd.

Anyone that has replaced it yourself...how easy was it to get out? I see you have to remove the battery and then the sensor is threaded. Did you just use a wrench? Because it does not look like there is much room around the switch to rotate a wrench.


An open ended wrench appears to be more practical than a deep socket and ratchet in this case. Once you get it cracked loose it should come out by hand.

01-31-2012, 11:02 AM
Better yet, a flare nut wrench.

02-01-2013, 09:55 AM
Had the flashing D a few months ago...had it scanned at a local trans shop and it was the trans shift temp sensor...located right behind the battery..changed it and no issuse since then...I changed it myself in the driveway...took more time to get to it then it did to change the sensor...had to remove the battery and the battery tray and use a 22mm wrench getting about an 1/8 of a turn becasue there is no room!!!

02-25-2013, 05:09 PM
From this thread: http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53409&page=2

The 3rd pressure switch pt #: 28600-RCL-004 and the crush washer: #90471-PW7-A00

But the links to the pics are dead. I'm going to attempt this soon too, anyone have photo's of it?

01-11-2014, 02:32 PM
Hey guys! 04 element with approx 138k Had the D light start to blink a few days back under heavy rain. then went away on its own. came back on during heavy wet snow and again disappeared Finally caught it on the scanner and it came up P0962 p- Honda Pressure Control Solenoid "A" Control Circuit Low. Created a hard shifting symptom Tested solenoid on bench functioning fine and within spec per test requirements. Installed and still has code running. Inspected all wires and found nothing! sure as anything it dissapeared while leaving garage. Anyone getting this code?

Blaine B.
01-11-2014, 02:43 PM
There has been no check engine light on my Father's '03 so I have not scanned it. He has been driving it since and no ill effects noticed. I've been in it with him when it has been flashing and it doesn't shift or behave any differently than usual. His '03 has roughly the same mileage as your '04.

Did yours have a check engine light or was this code stored without the check engine light turning on?

01-13-2014, 12:02 PM
Mine flashed for years before I fixed it. Just buy the part, take out the battery and the tray and you can see the sensor right there, pop it off, replace and put everything back together. Super easy and cheap.

Didn't have issues with shifting before or after.

Blaine B.
01-13-2014, 12:05 PM
Is there anyway to know if it is a wiring problem vs. a sensor problem?

Like the poster that replied saying that replacing the sensor didn't stop the light from continuing to flash...

01-16-2014, 04:49 PM
I'm guessing most likely it's the sensor. I don't recall it being very expensive.

Just replace it and see if it works. If you're bringing it in for diagnostics then you're going to be paying $100 just to pull it into the dealership/shop. You have a problem and it's going to require $$ to fix, DIY is way cheaper than paying a shop rate.

Blaine B.
01-16-2014, 04:51 PM
The cost of both sensors is cheaper than the cost of the diagnostic by itself! That's the funny part.

Blaine B.
01-20-2014, 10:50 AM
I was unable to pull any diagnostic trouble codes. Just as I thought, the AutoZone tech confirmed that their code reader was capable of reading transmission codes, but only if the check engine light was activated.

03-02-2014, 01:51 PM
Just an FYI for future troubleshooting. Had flashing D, had a heck of a time finding how to display codes by blinking the dash lights. Turns out all you have to do is locate the DTC connector by your right knee under bottom of dash, it points downward. Make sure key is out of ignition, Lay on your back, insert wire between pin 4 and pin 9. They are marked in very small numbers on connector) (9 is the SCS mode talked about in the factory manual) turn key to ON, do not start. Count the long and short pulses of the "D" light, the "ABS" light and the "Engine" light. mine was 26, 3rd clutch pressure sensor. Easy fix from underneath after removing lower plastic pieces. Only a few drops of fluid will leak out if your fast with putting in new one. Dealer matched Internet price of 38.00 for sensor.

Blaine B.
10-13-2014, 01:14 PM
How many total pressure switches are there? Are there just two, for the 2nd gear and 3rd gear?

Blaine B.
10-15-2014, 09:47 AM
I finally ordered the sensors on eBay which is the cheapest place I have found. Less than $88.00 for both sensors.

Blaine B.
10-23-2014, 08:42 AM
Will be replacing both sensors this weekend.

FYI, Keenan Honda is a fantastic eBay vendor. I have purchased some other OEM stuff from them before for the door locks on this same Element.

Blaine B.
10-25-2014, 07:30 PM
Just replaced both of the pressure switches. Very easy to access. Removed the battery to access the top one. I used a deep socket on a 1/2" ratchet to break it loose and snug it tight.

The bottom sensor I accessed both from the top as well as through the access panel behind the driver side wheel. I used a wrench to break it loose and snug it up, from the top, because there isn't enough room to access from underneath.

I believe the size of the socket and wrench was 7/8" but I may be wrong.

Only time will tell if the "D" light starts flashing again. I hope not.

At the same time, I eliminated my "custom" large radiator hose cold air intake into the driver side fender, and re-installed the original factory air silencer box just as it came from the factory. Since the battery was out, why not...

11-05-2014, 02:29 PM
check your transmission fluid and see if its low beyond the dipstick, burnt smell and also dark brown color.

Blaine B.
11-05-2014, 04:26 PM
It is at the correct level and also a nice red color.

No flashing "D" since I swapped both sensors, though.

Blaine B.
12-03-2014, 02:28 PM
Almost a month after my last post, and still, no flashing D light. Replacing both pressure sensors must have cured it. Replacing both sensors for about $90 was worthwhile, compared to a dealer diagnostic which would cost just about as much and fix nothing.

02-09-2016, 11:23 PM
Having same symptoms majority of this thread is talking about. I immediately stopped at Autozone, but because no engine light, no codes came up. Im going back to the dealership I got it from TWENTY FOUR HOURS AGO and have them service it hopefully...

Should I replace both 2nd and 3rd gear pressure switches?

This is a big forum...if anyone could point me to pictures of the locations of the 2nd and 3rd gear switches.

Blaine B.
02-09-2016, 11:25 PM
Replacing both switches was just under $100 and was ultimately a good repair for my Father's E, and still cheaper than a ~$100 diagnostic fee which repairs nothing.

It's worth a try since it seems to be a common problem! Sometimes, throwing parts at a problem isn't a bad idea after all. ;)

02-10-2016, 12:28 AM
Having same symptoms majority of this thread is talking about. I immediately stopped at Autozone, but because no engine light, no codes came up. Im going back to the dealership I got it from TWENTY FOUR HOURS AGO and have them service it hopefully...

Should I replace both 2nd and 3rd gear pressure switches?

This is a big forum...if anyone could point me to pictures of the locations of the 2nd and 3rd gear switches.

make the dealer you got it from fix it. many states require they provide warranty for 3 days, so look into that also

02-10-2016, 08:28 AM
make the dealer you got it from fix it. many states require they provide warranty for 3 days, so look into that also

Going in there in about an hour. Im definitely going to try and not pay for it. Heck I havent even given them the check from the bank yet haha

02-11-2016, 11:26 PM
This forum has already helped out immensely...

The technician couldnt replicate the D flashing (shocking), so I told him about this forum and what I think may be the culprit.

He did a little research, then some diagnostic checks and sure enough he came back and said it was the 3rd gear pressure switch. Fixed it with no charge!

Have a feeling this website gained a new daily visitor.

02-12-2016, 01:26 AM
love this site also, and forums in general. the day after I got mine (44,000 miles) I noticed the rear end shudder, and my heart sunk thinking I needed a rear axle, but it was my duel pump fluid was worn out, that blew me away, and saved me a trip to a mechanic!!! thats awesome news about your tranny! welcome

05-02-2016, 02:46 PM
I got a dtc code of P0848. Honda said it was the 3rd gear pressure switch. I changed that and reset all the codes and the next day the light came back on. Any suggestions on what is wrong? Should I replace 2nd gear too?

05-02-2016, 06:15 PM
I got a dtc code of P0848. Honda said it was the 3rd gear pressure switch. I changed that and reset all the codes and the next day the light came back on. Any suggestions on what is wrong? Should I replace 2nd gear too?

Check the wiring to the switch. Replacing the second gear switch will not fix your problem.

08-02-2016, 11:50 PM
Reading through the posts in this thread it seems like the 3rd gear pressure switch problem has only hit 2003 - 2004 models. Does that mean they resolved this problem in later years?

08-10-2016, 09:09 AM
My 2006 Element is currently having the flashing D issue. I hope it will be as simple a fix as everyone else posted.

I'm not mechanically inclined, so I'm dreading the trip to the shop.