A/T Stuck in Park after Throttle Body Replacement [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: A/T Stuck in Park after Throttle Body Replacement

10-24-2007, 01:52 AM
Hello Fellow Element Owners,

I just discovered this evening that my 2003 Honda Element EX has once again fallen victim to the 'Stuck in Park' problem that so many people seem to have experienced. Back in July of this year, I had this problem, and I took it to the dealer. They kept the car a couple of days, and supposedly after contacting the Honda Corporation, I was told that I needed a Throttle Body Replacement. This ended up costing me about $1000.00, after they went through a lot of unsuccessful troubleshooting prior to contacting Honda. Now, 3 months later, the problem has re-arisen. The brake lights are working when I depress the pedal while the Element is in park. However, I can't shift out of park unless using the ol' key in Shift Lock Release trick. Does this sound like an Interlock Solenoid issue? If so, where is the solenoid located? And, does anyone have any ideas how much this might cost? From what I've read on the web, since the brake lights do indeed work, it sounds like this may not be a problem with the brake light switch, although if I'm wrong on this assumption, I'll be glad to hear it. Thanks in advance.

10-24-2007, 02:29 AM
I remember a thread about this a long time ago and I believe it was the neutral safety switch alignment. I believe they may have remedied the prob with Elements after 2003.

10-24-2007, 07:07 AM
If the idle rpm is too high it won't shift out of park....this may have been or is still caused by a throttle type problem.

Can you hear the "click" of the selonoid when depressing the brake pedal?

If your idle speed is ok (steady and around 1000rpm or so) look to the selonoid. If your idle speed is high or eratic bring it back to the shop that did the repair and give 'em 'ell.


10-24-2007, 12:35 PM
Dear Honda,

I'm concerned about my 2003 Honda Element EX. In July of 2007, the Shift Release Lever would not shift out of park. I was able to shift it into gear by inserting the key into the Shift Release Lock notch. I took it to the dealer (Antrim Way Honda in Greencastle, PA), and they were not able to diagnose the problem in the first few days that they kept the vehicle. They finally informed me that they had to call the Honda Corporation, and by the time they received word that I needed a Throttle Body Replacement, the cost of the repair had grown to $1,010.00 Now, three months later, the Element has developed the same problem again. It won't shift out of park unless I insert the key into the Shift Release Lock notch. My brake lights are working when I depress the pedal while the vehicle is in park.

Do you have a solution to my problem? I don't want to take it back to the dealer, where I might get charged another exorbitant fee for another temporary fix.

Thanks in advance.

Rod Weaver

Mods note: I moved your post here to get more exposure and help get a solution to your problem.

10-24-2007, 02:27 PM
We'll need a bit more info. The vehicle may stick in park...

If the idle speed is "too high" to alow safe shifting into gear.
If the shift /brake interlock malfunctions.

If the idle rpm is too high it won't shift out of park....this may have been or is still caused by a throttle type problem. What is your idle like? Fast? Eratic?

Maybe it is the interloc selonoid...
Can you hear the "click" of the selonoid when depressing the brake pedal?

If your idle speed is ok (steady and around 1000rpm or so) look to the selonoid and related hardware...it most likely has nothing to do w/ the previous repair. :wink:

If your idle speed is high or eratic bring it back to the shop that did the repair and give 'em 'ell.:-x

BTW....welcome to the EOC ! :)

10-24-2007, 05:47 PM
Thanks very much for the reply, Will.

The idle seems to be as it's always been--steady and not overly fast. On a cold start, the idle is between 1000 and 2000 rpms after the ignition has been turned on. I just tested it, and the problem seems to be when the gear shift goes from park to the next gear. To illustrate this, I drove up the block and back, and after this, the idle was normal (less than 1000 rpms). After stopping, I shifted from drive to neutral, then let go of the shift knob, then depressed it. Then went from neutral to reverse, released the shift knob, then depressed it. Then went from reverse to park, released the shift knob, then the knob was locked.

Concerning the rpms, I drove for about 45 minutes yesterday, then got gasoline, then re-started the Element. At this point, the rpms were less than 1000 after the restart, but I couldn't shift out of Park.

I don't hear a click when depressing the brake pedal--all I hear right now is the hydraulic sound associated with depressing the brake pedal. I may have taken that noise for granted over time, because I can't quite remember noticing that sound during normal operation.

If the problem is in fact, the interlock solenoid, do you have any idea what the cost might be to fix that at the dealer?

Thanks again, Will. I appreciate the info.


10-24-2007, 07:15 PM
The problem dosen't sound throttle body related to me. Did it act like this in the past and was diagnosed and/or "fixed" as a throttle body issue?:confused:....dayum I hope not....(I guess it could have idled fine but was sending a "high idle" message to the computer....but I kinda think those components are available seperately.)

There are several components beteen the shifter handle/transmission gear selector and the brake pedal where the problem is most likely happening. Most of them are simple components that a decent tech should be able to sort quickly (and cheaply.)

In a nut shell...looks like you're in for an easy, inexpensive fix! This thread (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37797)will give you some more info.

You can use Majestic (http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/auto/jsp/mws/catdisplay.jsp?inputstate=4&catcgry1=Element&catcgry2=2003&catcgry3=5DR+EX+4WD&catcgry4=KA4AT&catcgry5=) to order parts and or check pricing for parts.

BTW.....some additional reading...
throttle body problem thread (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37035)

Good luck.


10-24-2007, 09:19 PM
Thank you for the info and guidance, Will. I'll go it from here with this new knowledge and see what happens.


10-25-2007, 05:35 PM
im a tech at honda there is a service bulletinn about this, your dealer should know what to do. here is the bulletin

A/T Stuck in Park After
Throttle Body Replacement
NOTE: This article applies to A/T-equipped ’03–04
Accords, ’02–04 CR-Vs, and ’03–04 Elements
Has this happened to you? You’ve replaced the
throttle body, now you start the engine, but the
A/T won’t shift out of Park.
If this situation strikes an all-too-familiar chord, it
could be that the PCM needs to learn the relative
throttle position. This is a learned value, just like
idle learn. To make this happen, here’s what
you do:
1. Connect the HDS with version 1.012.023 or
later software to the 16P DLC.
2. With the engine turned off, check the TPS
sensor voltage and the relative throttle
position. The TPS sensor voltage should read
0.49 volt; the relative throttle position should
read 0%.
• If both the TPS sensor voltage and the
throttle position are OK, then continue with
normal troubleshooting.
• If the TPS sensor voltage doesn’t read 0.49
volt, go to step 3.
• If the relative throttle position doesn’t read
0%, go to step 4.
3. TPS sensor voltage greater than 0.49 volt:
Check the adjustment of the cruise control and
throttle cables. If the cables are properly
adjusted, then replace the throttle body,
and retest.
TPS sensor voltage less than 0.49 volt: Replace
the throttle body, and retest.
4. Reset the PCM with the HDS, then do the idle
learn procedure.

10-26-2007, 07:16 AM
NOTE: This article applies to A/T-equipped ’03–04
Accords, ’02–04 CR-Vs, and ’03–04 Elements
Has this happened to you? You’ve replaced the
throttle body, now you start the engine, but the
A/T won’t shift out of Park.

Any thoughts on why would it work properly for 3 months and then "unlearn" throttle position?

Rod, I'm assuming you haven't messesed around w/ the motor/throttle body area. Maybe bump some wires off installing a new air intake or something?


10-26-2007, 02:43 PM
Hi Will,

Sorry for the late reply...I didn't get a chance to check the posts yesterday. To answer your latest question, no, I haven't fiddled around with anything, other than putting gas in the Element. I only drive it about 2 or 3 times a week now. Most of my commuting miles from PA to Rockville, MD are in an alternate vehicle.

I'll call the dealer today and let them know about the service bulletin. Hopefully, I'll get a straight answer as to an estimate for the cost of them doing this. If anything sounds awkward, I'll try another dealer.

Thanks again for your help and insight.


Get ShoRty
10-26-2007, 03:17 PM
I believe that you have a dead mans switch on the brake pedal. I know your brake lighhts work. Could you have a separate broken wire from that switch?

10-26-2007, 03:32 PM
It didn't seem like you'd been fiddling under the hood, but I wanted to throw out a possibility....especially in light of the theory posted by bez732.


10-26-2007, 03:53 PM
when i have replaced a T/B and the trans was stuck in P all my trouble shooting lead me to the PCM. honda PCMs are covered up to 80k i think.when your dealer replaced the T/B was it for a bad TP sensor?

other things to look at. if you are handy invest in a ETM.

you should be hearing the shift lock solenoid when you step on the brake. this is most likely a electrical problem andything from the multiplex, pcm, or range switch.

one thing to look at is when you move the shifter around do all the lights on the dash light. it should light from PRND123.

if your dealer cant fix this you shoul dbe looking into another dealer.

10-26-2007, 05:31 PM
There have been several documented issues with TPS sensor problems in the Element and other cars with similar TPS types. The very first thing I would check would be the TPS voltage. Over time it can get unwanted resistance causing issues with the ECM making it impossible to get out of park. Even though the sensors do not have screws on them, they can be adjusted and or replaced (even though Honda says they cant be :) )

10-26-2007, 06:34 PM
never seen anyone change a tp sensor? and if you could i dont think honda sells a tp sensor. have you changed a sensor?

10-26-2007, 10:37 PM
Thanks for all the ideas, Everyone. Just to give the whole story, here's what transpired...

When I first took the Element in to the dealer to be examined, the initial diagnosis was to replace the 'Parking Pin', according to the service tech. They ended up having to order the part, which took 2 or 3 days. I brought the Element back to the dealer when the part arrived, and it turned out, that didn't fix the problem. They asked me to bring the vehicle back in the following week when they had more time to test. At that time, the Element was kept for 3 or 4 days, which accounts partly for the high repair bill--they had to charge for time spent examining the vehicle. Supposedly during this time, diagnostic checks were done and finally, the service department called the Honda Corporation in California (I guess the plant in Marysville, Ohio is just for assembling vehicles). I was told that the service department was working in conjunction with the Honda Corporation, and it was the Honda Corporation that said that the throttle body had to be replaced. I don't know if a TPS sensor was part of the analysis--it may have been, but I wasn't told this.

Anyway, when I got the Element back, it was fine. I asked the dealer to give me the old throttle body assembly, and they did give me one (hopefully, it was my old one). I still have it, but with my limited knowledge of car parts, I don't know the top from bottom, nor the front from the back.

The Element seemed normal for the next three months, until this past Tuesday. It was kind of 'out of the blue' that this happened again. I drove the vehicle to work, which is approximately 64 miles. I drove it to lunch--about 2 miles. Then when leaving in the evening, that's when the thing happened. I tried numerous times stepping on the brake to try to get the shift knob to release, but was never successful. So, I've had to insert the key into the shift release notch ever since.

Just as an additional general tidbit about the shift release lock...I had a '93 Accord back in 1999, which developed the 'stuck in park' problem, but the Accord had about 170,000 miles on it at the time. However, I remember the fix was simple (probably the brake light switch repair). My 2003 Element has a little over 69,000 miles on it.

I guess with the modern automatic transmissions, this is an expected problem, otherwise, why would a 'shift lock release notch' be in plain view, right next to the gear shift?

Anyway, thanks for the help, Everyone. Hopefully, the fix this time will be a simpler one, like maybe replacing the shift lock solenoid. I called the dealer today, and they scheduled an appointment for me for November 10th. Maybe between now and then, something more concrete will surface about the problem.


10-27-2007, 09:42 AM
the dealer doesnt talk to the honda plant. we have a TECHLINE wich we can call when we are having problems with cars. next time you go to the deal you might want to ask to look at the old RO and see what TECHLINE had to say. from what i have seen this is pointing to a PCM wich like i said is cover up to 80k i think.

i hope the dealer is not charging you for this comeback.if they try i would ask to talk to the district REP and tell him your situation.

are there any other dealers in your area, if so you might want to try them. this isnt a hard problem to fix as long as its diaged right.

10-28-2007, 01:22 AM
Hello bez732,

Thanks for the info.

When you mentioned that a PCM repair is covered up to 80,000 miles, does that mean that if my problem is PCM related, will it be a free fix? Would there be any way to get reimbursed for a part of the $1000.00+ I paid for the previous repair? I would think not since it would be difficult to prove that the previous throttle body replacement may have been unnecessary. (I only feel that the previous major repair may have been unnecessary since I've had the Element for 4 years with no problems, and now the same problem pops up a second time in 3 months, after it was supposedly fixed correctly the first time. My experience with Hondas over the past 24 years has been very good, and this would be the first time that the same glitch resurfaces after being fixed.)

There really isn't another convenient dealer near where I live. There is one in Rockville kind of close to my worksite, but it would be pretty awkward to leave the vehicle there, and get to and from work during the day.

Also, when you mentioned looking at the RO at the dealer, what does RO stand for? And what does PCM stand for?

Thanks for the advice on contacting the district REP. I did ask the dealer to give me an estimate prior to working on the vehicle when I bring it in to them in a couple of weeks. If I don't get a straight answer at the beginning, I will indeed mention that I'd like to speak with the district Rep.

Again, to Everyone, I appreciate all the support and suggestions.


10-28-2007, 11:21 AM
hey, you would have to ask the dealer but im almost positive that the PCM aka COMPUTER aka ECM is covered up to 80k. i wont be into work till monday so ill ask then.

R.O. stands for repair order. it will say what the tech did and why he did it.

as for the TB being replaced there should be a reason why it was replaced like a sensor being bad or not reading right. since the tech was talking to TECHLINE they told him to test acouple of things. then from that data he would have replaced the bad part.

i know at my dealer my service manager would consider this a come back and would not charge the customer to look at the car again. im not sure what your dealer would consider a come back, 3 months is not that long. i have a feeling that they are going to replace the tb again and put in a pcm. the tb would be warrenty since you only got it 3 months ago.

if they are telling you stuff you dont like, i would deff call the district rep and tell him whats going on. 1k is a lot to spend and have the problem back in 3 months

10-29-2007, 01:19 AM
Hi bez732,

Thanks for the info, advice, concern, and effort from the last post. I'll see what goes down when the Element is taken in to the dealer again in a couple of weeks.


10-29-2007, 08:51 AM
never seen anyone change a tp sensor? and if you could i dont think honda sells a tp sensor. have you changed a sensor?

Honda only sells the whole throttle body. We get them aftermarket from a supplier. They are commonly broken with motor swaps because of how they are shipped, but when they fail or are out of adjustment we just loosen the screws and adjust/replace them.

10-29-2007, 04:47 PM
yup my service manager said 80k.

10-31-2007, 06:34 PM
Thanks a lot, Honda Ghandi, and bez732. I'll keep all this in mind when taking the Element back in.


11-01-2007, 08:41 AM
I have a friend with an 03 E and it had the same problem. It turned too be the brake switch which is duel circuit switch. One side is bake lights the other is for brake signal for the shift lock. So one side can fail and the other not, so you would still have brake lights but the shift lock would not be sensing the brake pedal.

hope it helps

11-08-2007, 04:30 PM
Thanks for the post, listill30. That's very good to know. I'll pass this info along, as well, when I take the Element in for service this weekend.


01-08-2008, 03:13 PM
Sorry that I neglected to write back after my trip to the dealer's service department concerning the 'gear shift stuck in park' problem. This time, when I had the service department look at the problem, after reminding them how much the last repair costed, they charged me nothing, and determined that the problem was in the gear shift handle itself. Apparently, there's a peg of some type as part of the shifting mechanism that had slipped out of place. The dealer said that they used some felt as packing and insulation to keep the gear shift knob in place. This recent fix was done back in November 2007, and I haven't had a resurgence of the shift problem since. They said that if it did happen again, they'd need to replace the shifting mechanism, and this would cost between $80 to $110 (I don't remember the exact figure).

Just thought I'd mention this, if someone else has a similar problem. However, I do appreciate all the responses that everyone has experienced or heard about during their travels. Thanks again.


01-08-2008, 07:39 PM
Just thought I'd mention this, if someone else has a similar problem. However, I do appreciate all the responses that everyone has experienced or heard about during their travels. Thanks again.

Cool. :cool: Thanks for the update.


Chuck Cardwell
02-07-2008, 06:21 AM
I have ordered a new throttle body. any pointers on replacing it myself. I will try to take pictures of the process and notes to post.


07-23-2015, 10:25 AM
Hi! We have a Honda Element 2003 and this is what we do when transmission is stuck in park position.

1- Turn off the car.
2- Put the key in position 2 (turns on all accessories and inside lights, but not the engine).
3- Put the car on neutral (the shifter should now be working normally).
4- Turn the key and start the engine.

We've had this problem twice: once a couple of years ago and once again this morning. It doesn't seem to solve the problem for now: we have to use the trick every time we start the car. I can't remember if we had to go to the garage to get it fixed the last time, but I think our problem has to do with the interlock solenoid.