Dash lights out (various causes) [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Dash lights out (various causes)


Tampa610
05-10-2005, 06:16 PM
:confused: My 2005 has just 3,300 miles on it and the dashboard lights went out today. I checked some of the fuses but they seem to be okay. I don't have the patience to check them all and the mosquitos are swarming outside.

Does anybody know exactly which fuse (#, engne compartment fuse box or interior) controls the dashboard lights? It is not clear in the fuse guide in the owners manual. I hate to bring the E in and be without a car for an entire day becasue of a simple blown fuse.

Of course it might be more than just the fuse. Anyone else had this problem or knwo which fuse to check?

lizzurd
05-10-2005, 06:32 PM
Try fuse number 10 under the dash.....In my owners manual its labled Meter.

Tampa610
05-11-2005, 02:02 PM
Problem fixed! It ended up being a bad relay in the wires. Took about three hours for them to figure it out and fix. The dealer told me this is the third 2005 they have had with similar problems on the relays.

Armadillo
06-18-2006, 05:26 PM
2005 2WD EX 4 Speed Automatic, 7,000 miles- I'm on the road before sunrise, and about every 3rd day, when I turn the switch on the turn indicator, my dash lights don't activate, although the needle on the speedmeter and tachometer do light up. Swithching the lights back off and then on again do not trigger the dash lights. The radio panel LCD is also blacked out..
Has anybody else had this problemo?
:confused:

yoda13
06-27-2006, 04:40 PM
some folks have had a problem with the 12v plug causing issues with the radio as well. There is a thread on it around here somewhere....:|

Armadillo
07-02-2006, 06:34 PM
Exactly, I did a search on (12 Volt problems w/ power outlet) and found similar experiences on the Yahoo Group of Honda Element Owners bulletin board and on this site as well. Thanks for the advice!

olnacl
10-08-2007, 10:08 AM
I'm having the same issue only intermittantly. I'll be driving to work and halfway there, the dash lights go out, leaving the haedlights on. Then the next time I use the car they're OK. Then a few days, a week or a month later it will happen again. The dealer says they can't fix it if it ain't broke. I'll be out of warranty shortly and I'm not looking forward to a big bill to fix it when it finally dies completely. Any suggestions?

olnacl
10-25-2007, 08:21 AM
I'm having the same issue only intermittantly. I'll be driving to work and halfway there, the dash lights go out, leaving the haedlights on. Then the next time I use the car they're OK. Then a few days, a week or a month later it will happen again. The dealer says they can't fix it if it ain't broke. I'll be out of warranty shortly and I'm not looking forward to a big bill to fix it when it finally dies completely. Any suggestions?
The dash lights went out and stayed out for a day - long enough to get it to the dealer for diagnosis. The fix, applied a couple days later, was to replace the entire instrument cluster, thereby giving me an odometer that read 000000.0 and dropped the resale value of the Element by 1/3 (not verifiable mileage)
Luckily, I'd had the car appraised by the same dealer a couple days before the repair and traded it for a left over 07 CRV. I figure I lost about 1,500 on the trade, but it's their problem now.

isrousro
11-20-2007, 06:37 PM
Mine, a 2005 EX is having it's dash replaced next week. The dealer is going to remove the old dash, send it in to a regional repair place, have the data moved to the new dash, get the new dash (with old data) back and then re-install.
So the miles will be actual.
They already have taken it apart, put it back together while looking for a loose connection.
The dealer is giving me a loaner for the week that this is supposed to take.
Glad it is still covered under warranty.

Armadillo
01-06-2008, 10:29 AM
When I went in for my 20,000 mile scheduled maintenance, the instrument panel lights were not working, and I ask the dealership to check it out. They couldn't find any problems with the electrical to explain the problem. I got the car back that day and figured I would have to live with the problem. The following day, I get a phone call from the parts department, telling me that my new instrument panel was in and that I needed to schedule an appointment with the service advisor. There must be some T.S.B. out there only for the technicians that says this is the way to fix the problem (and at their expense). My Odometer was back at zero, but they slap a Federally Mandated sticker on the inside driver door chasis stating what the real mileage was at the time of the new odometer swap. My dash lights now come on without problems.

Shmee
01-06-2008, 11:16 AM
Ditto on the dashlights here as well guys. My problem was slightly different in that only the center cluster/climate control wheels/fanspeed/vent control lights at first did not always light up. Initially, with a slight "Fonzie" style tap, they would relight. The tap trick didn't last unfortunately, and soon I was in permanent climate control darkness. I finally got sick of it after 2years of "temperature blindness," and elected to PAY to get it fixed. The first visit wasn't so bad. I had the brake fluid changed out at the sametime, so it was a dual-purpose service visit. After they had ordered the bulbs for the panel, I had scheduled my 2nd visit for the following week.
The 2nd visit was the killer. Not only was I nailed for a total $240 in the course of 2 visits for changing 3 lightbulbs, but I was given the bonus of having a lost plastic screw protector hub that covered the bottom of the sub-woofer console that was in perfect place BEFORE my 2nd visit. Add to that 2 very nice straighthead screwdriver gouges that some numbnut mechanic decided was a proper tool to pop my dashboard out with.
I don't have the time or the intestinal fortitude to reclaim the plastic hub or the 2 screwdriver gouges but rest assured, I wont be heading back to the local Honda dealership to have them assail my -E- ever again.

And yes, the lights do come on now. But compare it to dropping a thermonuclear device on your home to solve a termite problem.

I suggest a braille dial for fellow -E- owners with similar difficulty.

-Shmee

LoDo
04-01-2008, 11:33 AM
I noticed while driving the other night that from 0-40 MPH, the light has faded, while the 45-120 MPH part is full on. The tachometer from 5-8 is also dimmer.

Has anyone experienced this, and if so, is it easy to replace/fix...and NOT EXPENSIVE? I'm hoping it's a fuse they can replace. And before anyone asks, yes, my dashboard illumination knob is turned at full-tilt boogie.

Thanks.

lizzurd
04-01-2008, 11:42 AM
I noticed while driving the other night that from 0-40 MPH, the light has faded, while the 45-120 MPH part is full on. The tachometer from 5-8 is also dimmer.

Has anyone experienced this, and if so, is it easy to replace/fix...and NOT EXPENSIVE? I'm hoping it's a fuse they can replace. And before anyone asks, yes, my dashboard illumination knob is turned at full-tilt boogie.

Thanks.



Sounds to me like you have a bulb or two burnt out. There is a chance that you have a bad circuit board but i would try replacing the bulbs first. It is a lot cheaper and you can do it yourself.


Here is a page from Ramblerdans site with the how-to info.

http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/instrument_bulbs.htm

And you can order the bulbs from your dealer or online.

https://www.hondapartsdeals.com/honda_parts_list.php?hp_queried_components=0&hp_series_id=2421&hp_series_model=ELEMENT&hp_series_year=2004&hp_series_door_ext_grade=5DR+EX+4WD%3BABS&hp_series_transmission=4AT&hp_series_slsareacd=KA&hp_system=E&hp_component=B++1210

For the cost of the bulbs it may be worth your while to just replace them all at once.

LoDo
04-01-2008, 01:19 PM
I'm always up for a do-it-yourself challenge. I called my local Honda dealer, and it's a $91 per-hour charge just for them to look at it. No thanks.

Problem is...once I get the dash part off, is it possible to tell if I've got burned-out bulbs or a short?

How sexist of me, but this is the time I really need a man :-)

ramblerdan
04-01-2008, 03:42 PM
You can do it. Just be gentle with the wiring harness and circuit board.

Replace all the bulbs at once, and you won't have to do it again!

falcon3310
11-08-2008, 01:00 PM
Has anybody fixed the above problems without having a instrument cluster replaced? I'm having similar intermittant issues where the backlights on the instrument cluster and the central cluster/HVAC knobs don't light up. Lately, the lights regularly don't come on, but at first it was just periodically they wouldn't be on. I've checked both fuse boxes, but all the fuses appear fine.

The needles on the speedometer, tachometer, etc all work, but the backlights simply don't come on. Also, the radio works when the headlights are switched off, but upon switching the headlights on the light for that also fails to work.

My vehicle was purchased used and is out of warrenty, so I would love to have a solution that doesn't require replacing the instrument cluster at a service shop. Thanks

gisele
02-10-2009, 09:24 AM
Problem with dash lights.

I can tell you what it is not, but perhaps someone has a clue to what the problem is.

It is not a fuse:
a. The dash illuminates intermittently
b. Fuse(s) has been checked and change, problem still exists


What triggers the dash lights to illuminate is not tied to:
a. Hitting a bump
b. The car being warmed up after running for a while
c. Hot or cold weather (problem first started in Florida and continues in the colder mid-Atlantic climes)

What will illuminate (light up)
Note that the entire dash is dark (see photo) except the orange needles of the tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge. Also, the green light circle shift indicator does illuminate for all positions (i.e., drive, park, etc.), and the air recirculation and air conditioning lights will illuminate if the button is engaged. Turn signal indicator lights do illuminate and blink when used. Cruise control indicator illuminates as well.

What is totally dark, will not illuminate:
1. The radio display (I have the original EX xmradio)
2. The face of the meters (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge)—that’s right at night I cannot visibly tell what speed I am traveling or if I am out of gas, etc.


FYI…I had a 60,000 mile check up just before Thanksgiving. The problem started on Dec. 5, 2008. Sorry for the crappy photo. It was taken with my cell phone (no flash), at night, while driving.

65414

ramblerdan
02-10-2009, 09:42 AM
Bad connection, either in a connector or ground. Reseat connectors, check/clean/tighten ground cluster. Service and/or electrical manual will point you to the appropriate connectors and the ground (I think it's on the left footwell, behind the garnish, but don't hold me to it). Unfortunately these electrical gremlins can be hard to trace.

I take it that the front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, and taillights are all OK. Are the gauges themselves working?

Dom.five
02-10-2009, 10:14 AM
^ +1

I know you, so I know you can't wait for a meet, when we can rip your E apart. ( I would Enjoy that :D ) There are enough of us to figure it out. The trouble is that electrical items take some testing. That will help rule out the things that don't need to be looked at.

For example: A quick jumper from the Ckt board to ground will tell you if the ground is bad. So you will not have to take apart an unnecessary portion of the car. A quick removal of the plug and then snap it back in once or twice may be all it needs to clean a contact in the plug.

Then it maybe that a Florida rat ate your wires. ( They like Imported foods )

Dom

gisele
02-10-2009, 10:26 AM
Bad connection, either in a connector or ground. Reseat connectors, check/clean/tighten ground cluster. Service and/or electrical manual will point you to the appropriate connectors and the ground (I think it's on the left footwell, behind the garnish, but don't hold me to it). Unfortunately these electrical gremlins can be hard to trace.

I take it that the front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, and taillights are all OK. Are the gauges themselves working?

Thanks.

Yes the front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, and taillights are all working fine as are all the gauges.

I figured it's some sort of loose connection but I didn't know where to begin to look. I know I'll have to take the E into a dealer but at least I am more informed and can try to stave off the dealer telling me ridiculous information AND ripping me off. I wish I could talk directly to the guy actually working on my car and not the smiling idiots jotting down notes to pass off to someone else. UGH!

-g

Pied
02-10-2009, 06:33 PM
Possibly a headlight switch. There are a bunch of contacts inside that can give you partial lighting. My advice is to let the dealer have a look at it.

bh241
02-11-2009, 07:15 AM
Let's play a game.... let's play a game called: "see if we can figure out where the problem is before you start disassembling the car, having someone else disassemble the car, or spend a small fortune having a 'pro' start changing out parts"

First, answer me this. Are the lights in the radio, the climate controls, hazard switch, transmission indicator (beside the gear shift lever), the light in the cruise on/off button, and the lights in the 'mirror' and 'window' switch out too? If not can they be dimmed with the switch on the gauge cluster?

Also, the radio, is the light on the face of it on when the radio is on but the lights are not? When you turn the lights on, are there any lights on the dash other than the lights you mentioned in post one?

Lot of questions, huh? But trust me, there is a reason for my madness. (well, there could be anyway...)

gisele
02-12-2009, 03:08 PM
Let's play a game.... let's play a game called: "see if we can figure out where the problem is before you start disassembling the car, having someone else disassemble the car, or spend a small fortune having a 'pro' start changing out parts"

First, answer me this. Are the lights in the radio, the climate controls, hazard switch, transmission indicator (beside the gear shift lever), the light in the cruise on/off button, and the lights in the 'mirror' and 'window' switch out too? If not can they be dimmed with the switch on the gauge cluster?

Also, the radio, is the light on the face of it on when the radio is on but the lights are not? When you turn the lights on, are there any lights on the dash other than the lights you mentioned in post one?

Lot of questions, huh? But trust me, there is a reason for my madness. (well, there could be anyway...)

bh241,

Thanks for the help you've given me thus far. As you know I've tried a few suggestions already. Now to answer some of your questions (some I have to wait to nighttime to check the car, then I'll respond).

Are the lights in the radio, the climate controls, hazard switch, transmission indicator (beside the gear shift lever), the light in the cruise on/off button, and the lights in the 'mirror' and 'window' switch out too? If not can they be dimmed with the switch on the gauge cluster?

Radio - no lights but you can faintly see the LED display of the song/artist, etc.

Climate Controls - the recirculating light (orange light) comes on when depressed. The air conditioning light (green light) comes on when depressed. I think there's a third knob with a light ??? - I'll play with that tonight and get back to you with an answer.

Transmission indicator - I don't really know what that is. Is that the gear indicator i.e., park, drive, 1, 2, etc.? If yes, the green light (circle) illuminates.

Cruise control on/off button does illuminate as well as the cruise control indicator light on the dash board.

Mirror and window switch - don't know, will get back to you

The dimming switch on the gauge cluster has no effect on the light panels of the gauge cluster. However, I will check tonight to see if that dimming switch affects the mirror and/or window lights.

Also, the radio, is the light on the face of it on when the radio is on but the lights are not? When you turn the lights on, are there any lights on the dash other than the lights you mentioned in post one?

Radio lights vs. lights on off: I will play around with this tonight (watch it all work tonight :mad:; it is an intermittent problem).

The odometer is illuminated when head lights switched on and all other lights on the dash are dark (except ones mentioned in post #1).

-g

bh241
02-12-2009, 06:24 PM
Yea, I follow what you're saying.

Here's what I'm asking about. Are any / all / none of these lights presently working:



two light on the drivers door - window and mirror
light in the cruise control on / off switch (lower dash)
light in the "PRND21" 'window' beside the shift knob
light in the hazard switch
lights in the three 'temperature control knobs' (not the AC / REC / or DEF)
lights in the radio 'buttons' and the LCD display (the LCD display should light up when the radio is on even if the headlights are not on - but if the lights are on, you should be able to 'dim' the LCD backlight too)


Let me know if any / all / none of these work and if you're able to 'dim' them.

gisele
02-12-2009, 07:23 PM
Yea, I follow what you're saying.

Here's what I'm asking about. Are any / all / none of these lights presently working:



two light on the drivers door - window and mirror
light in the cruise control on / off switch (lower dash)
light in the "PRND21" 'window' beside the shift knob
light in the hazard switch
lights in the three 'temperature control knobs' (not the AC / REC / or DEF)
lights in the radio 'buttons' and the LCD display (the LCD display should light up when the radio is on even if the headlights are not on - but if the lights are on, you should be able to 'dim' the LCD backlight too)


Let me know if any / all / none of these work and if you're able to 'dim' them.

First, thank you for solving the buzzer dome light problem. Well, at least it hasn't buzzed and fizzled today. :)

Second. I will try to respond to what you asked:

1. Hazard button/switch, with the red triangle, IS NOT illuminated when I turn on the headlights. However, the left and right hazard indicators in the gauge window does illuminate and blink as it is supposed to do. When I depress the hazard button the red triangle light does NOT illuminate.

2. The dimmer switch does not dim the radio--you will see that the radio display is completely dark when the headlights are on. The dimmer switch only affects the gauge needles, and the circle light (transmission indicator), which is the RRND21 indicator.

3. I only have one light on my driver side door and that is the AUTO window light. There is not mirror light (never has been on my 2005 EX). The AUTO window light is always illuminated and the dimmer switch does not affect it's brightness.

4. The cruise control switch is always illuminated, if depressed, whether the headlights are on or not. The dimmer switch does not affect the brightness of this ON/OFF light.

5. Stereo display is lit and/or readable until I turn on the headlights. With the headlights on the display is dark (see photo). The dimmer switch does not affect the radio in this current situation because the radio is dark--however it did used to brighten or dim the radio display.

6. Temperature control knobs, see how mine are configured. I don't have lights on those knobs. I only have the AC/REC/DEF indicator lights. That's all I've ever had, that panel of knobs has never had a light.

65539 radio and temp controls (above)

65540 radio and temp controls headlights ON (above)

65541 gauges (above)

65542 gauges headlights ON (above)

65543 (above)


-g

bisdak
02-12-2009, 07:24 PM
hello, i had that same issue with Bisdak for awhile but i was planning to go to have my foglamp installed so I waited and suddenly it just turned back by itself and from then on no problem, Weird but hey its working again.

gisele
02-12-2009, 07:29 PM
hello, i had that same issue with Bisdak for awhile but i was planning to go to have my foglamp installed so I waited and suddenly it just turned back by itself and from then on no problem, Weird but hey its working again.

So it turned back on before the fog lamps were installed? Just curious.

My problem is intermittent. A few days ago I was driving, and after being on the road for exactly one hour the dash lights and all came on. Some times they'll come in 20 minutes.

-g

bh241
02-13-2009, 06:40 AM
OK, let's look at it another way. When your lights do work, are you able to 'dim' them? Maybe you have some bulbs burnt out and that's why part aren't working, but I really am curious about the ability to dim the dash lights.

Assuming that you are able to 'dim' the lights (that would be a really good thing actually) then all we're looking at is maybe a few burnt out bulbs and a loose connection (somewhere).

Did you get to those connectors we talked about?

Dom.five
02-13-2009, 09:03 AM
After reading all of the symptoms, and going over it several times .

( I'm no expert by any stretch on the imagination )

Looks to me like a trouble with the Multiplex control unit, or one of it's connectors.

Dom

gisele
02-13-2009, 09:11 AM
OK, let's look at it another way. When your lights do work, are you able to 'dim' them? Maybe you have some bulbs burnt out and that's why part aren't working, but I really am curious about the ability to dim the dash lights.

Assuming that you are able to 'dim' the lights (that would be a really good thing actually) then all we're looking at is maybe a few burnt out bulbs and a loose connection (somewhere).

Did you get to those connectors we talked about?

dimming does work

I did push on some connectors--"k" connector area though nothing seemed loose. So then I push everywhere. That was scenario #1

As for scenario #2 ("A" connector on back of cluster gauges)--that is supposed to be hubby's job. He has not done that yet.

He's continuing to lay wood floors this weekend so not sure he's gonna get to it.

-g

bh241
02-13-2009, 09:17 AM
dimming does work

I did push on some connectors--"k" connector area though nothing seemed loose. So then I push everywhere. That was scenario #1

As for scenario #2 ("A" connector on back of cluster gauges)--that is supposed to be hubby's job. He has not done that yet.

He's continuing to lay wood floors this weekend so not sure he's gonna get to it.

-g

that's actually very good news.

Let us know when you can get to the "a" connector

Some Mook
02-13-2009, 05:01 PM
G, drop your glovebox down and wiggle the wires at the ground located just behind the brace on the right side while the headlamp switch is in the 'park' or 'head' position while watching your dash lights.

Be careful around the brace, it's a little sharp.

65600

65601

bh241
02-14-2009, 08:30 AM
ohhh he's good. :)

That would explain everything. ;-)

plus it's a quick easy, simple fix.... I like those.

So gisele? is it this simple?

NV_05_AWD
02-15-2009, 10:45 AM
sounds to me like a short... did you install/replace anything lately, a hitch perhaps?

reno_bk
05-02-2009, 09:47 AM
Hello! I didn't see a followup post to this thread indicating whether or not the case of the missing dash lights was ever solved, but I thought I'd share my experience.

Last week, I bought an 05 Element and noticed the first night that all of the dash lights were out except for the gauge needles...no center stack lighting, no gauge lights, nothing. Horrified, I brought the car into the dealer to find out what was wrong (fearing the worst, as it IS a used car...) and they quickly diagnosed it as a faulty gauge cluster. While holding the cluster in his hand, the service tech showed me that when he tilted the cluster forward and back, the panel lights would come on and go off...so something in the wiring harness where it connects to the cluster wasn't making a good connection.

They ordered the new cluster and sent it out to have the odometer reading calibrated...otherwise, it would start at 0 miles and I would need an odo disclosure sticker on the car. So it's been a week, I'm still waiting, but confident that this was an easily fixed (and relatively minor) problem. I'll be sure and repost if for some reason this doesn't work!

Regards,
Brian

JSatt
07-02-2009, 03:49 PM
So my wifes Element is now having the exact same issue as the OP. I was thinking of pulling the guage assembly off and check the connecters but am wondering if I unplug any of the connecters and reseat them will it mess anything up with the odometer?

ramblerdan
07-02-2009, 04:43 PM
No, you can reseat the connectors on the instrument cluster without affecting the odometer or anything else. However if the HVAC lights are also going out then the bad connection is probably elsewhere.

gisele
07-15-2009, 04:25 PM
Haven't been on here in a while. My issue was never resolved. The last time I was in the car at night though the lights worked immediately, as they should.

-g

bh241
07-16-2009, 08:12 PM
Did you by chance ever have that husband of yours check the ground wires that JD was talking about? :confused:

cheyne
07-27-2009, 03:47 AM
I'm having this same issue and found this post through the search.

I've checked all the fuses under the steering wheel in the fuse box, lowered the glove box and wiggled all of the wires in there. No luck.


Any more suggestions?

Justinb845
07-28-2009, 06:23 PM
if all your dash lights are out that might mean you have no tail lights turn them on and see. If so check that fuse

cheyne
07-28-2009, 06:58 PM
if all your dash lights are out that might mean you have no tail lights turn them on and see. If so check that fuse

Will check in a sec...is that fuse in the same box under the steering wheel? All fuses were good there...

cheyne
07-28-2009, 07:10 PM
Tail lights are working.

cheyne
08-04-2009, 10:45 AM
Any other suggestions?

gisele
09-08-2009, 08:53 AM
So not only am I the walking wounded spaced out on meds and intermittently in pain (long story, another time) but I finally succumbed to having Honda look at this dash issue.

Just to do the diagnostic for the first hour was $110. That made me want to cry. Luckily they finished the diagnosis within that hour. Honda has determined that the entire gauge cluster needs replacing. I said, if it is just the gauges then why does the radio/HVAC console area not illuminate either. Tech says, it's all connected. I say, how come the needles of the gauges illuminate as well as the gear shift light. Tech says, there is something wrong with that entire gauge cluster--he doesn't know what. They don't fix gauge clusters they just replaced them. :-( :-( I replied, that sounds like something you'd put on a t-shirt.

The cost to replace the entire gauge cluster $786 including parts and labor. I lose the $110 diagnostic because I am not having this work done today. Not sure when I'll get it done. That's as much as my vacation to Maine!

Next up, although I was having no battery problems a diagnostic test* revealed that my battery needs resplacing :-x I purchased this battery from NTB (Exide) on July 8, 2008. :-( So, now I have to go back to NTB and figure out this mystery. And before anyone says 'maybe the altenator is draining the battery' back when I got the battery I was told the alternator was fine. Also, today, Honda tells me they cannot check to see if the alternator is a problem for draining the battery because they aren't getting enough voltage through the battery. http://l.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/20.gif

BTW...I have had no battery issues since I got the new battery. Only problems have been the screwy dash light issues.

There was a little bit of good news under all the bad. Bowie Honda did say that my front brake pads DO NOT need replacing, it's at 5mm and change should occur no later than 2mm. I had asked for a brake inspection because in Oct. 2008 when I had the 60,000 mile service College Park Honda recommended replacing the front brakes pads at the next oil change. I have had two oil changes since that time, and another is being done today even though it's 3675 miles later. It's in preparation for my road trip to Maine.

*The maintenance service light came on last Friday. Today's diagnostic revealed that the battery is why the light came on.

jesbecause
09-10-2009, 03:05 PM
Last year I just changed out the ones that were burnt out , It's really easy once you pop off that side panel and remove some screws , My mistake was checking the new bulbs in the garage , turned the ignition in the ON position to check my handy work but forgot to plug something back in .....Ooooops , airbag light or check engine light came on , once everything was reassembled . Thanks Perry for bailing me out !
Some Honda service managers are cool
RUBY

hamburger
10-24-2009, 04:44 PM
My 2005 Element had developed the same problem and I have been following this thread for about a year. I managed to fix the problem this afternoon. My dashboard backlight along with the radio and hvac controls would go off when I put my headlights on. Occasionally I would get them to turn back on with a quick strike to the dash, but it finally got too irritating to deal with.

My fix

Directions for removing the dash and gauge cluster can probably be found elsewhere so I'll skip those directions.

The problem was with the A connector (the larger connector) on the back of the gauge cluster. With the headlights on I found that if the connector was flexed upward (not much just light pressure) the dash-lights and radio/hvac controls would light up properly. I used a wooden shim wrapped with electrical tape to flex the female connector on the back of the gauge cluster upwards (on the back of the gauge cluster there is a plastic overlay protecting the circuit board and is what gave me the leverage against the connector). I forgot to take pictures but if you have any questions I'll keep an eye out for replies to this.

gisele
12-11-2009, 08:37 AM
My 2005 Element had developed the same problem and I have been following this thread for about a year. I managed to fix the problem this afternoon. My dashboard backlight along with the radio and hvac controls would go off when I put my headlights on. Occasionally I would get them to turn back on with a quick strike to the dash, but it finally got too irritating to deal with.

My fix

Directions for removing the dash and gauge cluster can probably be found elsewhere so I'll skip those directions.

The problem was with the A connector (the larger connector) on the back of the gauge cluster. With the headlights on I found that if the connector was flexed upward (not much just light pressure) the dash-lights and radio/hvac controls would light up properly. I used a wooden shim wrapped with electrical tape to flex the female connector on the back of the gauge cluster upwards (on the back of the gauge cluster there is a plastic overlay protecting the circuit board and is what gave me the leverage against the connector). I forgot to take pictures but if you have any questions I'll keep an eye out for replies to this.

Glad to hear a solution worked for you. I'm not mechanically inclined nor auto savvy. "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies."

I'm afraid to go ripping my E apart.

-g

gisele
12-11-2009, 08:48 AM
Sadly, I'm going to have to take my E into the dealer and pay $1600 for a new gauge cluster and pray that this is really the problem with my E.

The problem (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=719423&postcount=1) began a year ago, and I've been able to live with it because I don't do a lot of night driving. However, Wednesday night I became stranded* near BWI when my headlights quit working. (well the high beams work, but not the low beams). Both lights were just replaced this past summer 2009. Replacing them then pissed me off cuz before that one of the lights (if not both??) were replaced in Nov/Dec of 2008!:-(:-(

With my luck the headlights thing will be a separate, added costs issue.

OUCH! This is gonna really hurt...and for a long time. :-(

*stranded: I called my husband to come get me. But I didn't check to see that the high beams worked until seconds before he arrived. So I drove home, tailing him, with my high beams on.

ramblerdan
12-11-2009, 09:05 AM
Before you spend $1,600, how about trying the suggestions of Some Mook in post #32 (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=721198) and Hamburger in post #47 (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=809508)? I have directions for getting at the cluster on my site. It's easy! Don't be afraid!

Billboard
12-27-2009, 11:59 PM
having the exact same problems; only mine happened when installing a new stereo.... i smelt/heard the burning though; like melting wires- or plastic... is it possible i burnt all the bulbs out of my cluster... that wouldnt explane the hvac controls... any answers anyone???

bh241
12-28-2009, 07:31 PM
is it possible i burnt all the bulbs out of my cluster...

I seriously doubt you burnt the bulbs out...

Monkeying with the wiring and all makes it right at impossible to offer any real constructive ideas.

You are going to need a good electrical guy to take a look-see at this. :|

Moonsteel
12-31-2009, 06:12 PM
I've got a 2003 Element having the same dash issue, popped up this summer and seems to be happening more frequently.
IIRC, the HVAC and radio also go out, I only get the airbag and "BRAKE" light illuminate on my cluster.
I good thump on the dash used to fix it.
Since the weather has warmed up a little, I'm going to open up the dash and see if I can see anything loose.

Billboard
01-02-2010, 03:30 PM
I seriously doubt you burnt the bulbs out...

Monkeying with the wiring and all makes it right at impossible to offer any real constructive ideas.

You are going to need a good electrical guy to take a look-see at this. :|

yeah... well im sure what ever i burnt out is the exact same problem as the the OP is having... i guess it is very possible i burnt out the cluster; like the OP's dealership has told them...

would love to hear an update on the OP's saga....

gisele
01-05-2010, 07:21 PM
I've got a 2003 Element having the same dash issue, popped up this summer and seems to be happening more frequently.
IIRC, the HVAC and radio also go out, I only get the airbag and "BRAKE" light illuminate on my cluster.
I good thump on the dash used to fix it.
Since the weather has warmed up a little, I'm going to open up the dash and see if I can see anything loose.

Beating the hell out of my dash never did a thing to make the thing illuminate.

UPDATE: I surrendered my E to Honda. They've had it two weeks. The gauge assembly was taken out and shipped to Torrence, California for repair. I am supposed to pick up my E tomorrow. They were putting everything back together today.

When I get the details of what was wrong, I'll let every know.

-g

gisele
01-12-2010, 09:27 AM
The instrument cluster had a short--no specifics given. No specifics on the paper work except: replaced part 781000-SVC-A12ZC, Description Meter A; $390.21 for the part. I asked two different ways trying to get more info, which is how I found out there was a short. So the instrument cluster was repaired by an electrician. After the repair, the whole thing had to be sent to California in order to reprogram the circuit board. Which included legally resetting the odometer to the correct mileage that was on the car when the entire gauge assembly was removed from E.

Everything is working now. I've had the E back for 7 days. Total parts and labor $700.

-g

Note: I have not driven at night yet, but when I turn the lights on it appears that everything lights up (in the day light they dim). I keep forgetting to go out at night and check. Well, I have to drive in the dark tonight so we'll see for sure if all instrument cluster lights and gauges are illuminated.

gisele
01-20-2010, 04:08 PM
Dash is not illuminating properly. Some things on the Heating/AC panel work sometimes and not others. Some lights on the driver door that lit before, do not illuminate now.

-g

bh241
01-20-2010, 07:54 PM
So you are going to be at the repair counter in the morning asking to speak to whoever is in charge, right? :?

Get back in touch with them in the morning, I really take offense to poor workmanship. Did they not test this when they repaired it? Well, duh - evidently not. :twisted:

Seriously, get in touch with the dealership's management , they should stand by their work. Be sure to follow up and let us know what they say.

gisele
01-27-2010, 03:25 PM
Clearly they did not test Sh1t! I'm sick of the whole mess.

I find I can tap on the climate controls and get them to come on some of the time.

In the meantime, hubby wrecked his car so we've had other troubles and expenses.

OH, right before Christmas I had new front brakes installed (power steering fluid replaced, and oil change) for about $500. The brakes squeak and make a crazy rubbing sound not when I depress the brakes but when I am almost to a complete stop. It's highly annoying as mentioned over and over by anyone riding in my E.

I've reported ALL the problems but have yet to surrender my vehicle because I need it. I already didn't have it for two whole weeks.

-g

moto_dcf
03-15-2010, 12:33 PM
So I look back in the area where Some Mook indicated, and behind (towards the firewall) the large bundle that is indicated in his picture there is a black wire that looks like an antenna plug/receptacle, or very skinny cigarette plug with the receptacle end fastened to the side of the footwell. Mine (an '04) had purple tape on it. This had come loose on mine and the tip of the plug had shorted to the wall of the receptacle causing the "Small Lights" fuze to blow and taking out my dash and tail lights.

I plugged that sucker back in and replaced the fuze and Boo Ya! we gat all the lights back!:razz:

G, drop your glovebox down and wiggle the wires at the ground located just behind the brace on the right side while the headlamp switch is in the 'park' or 'head' position while watching your dash lights.

Be careful around the brace, it's a little sharp.

65600

65601

Deacon
03-24-2010, 10:17 PM
Had a similiar problem to the one described by Gisele. Checked the fuses and couldn't see anything wrong there.


So I took the E to the local Honda dealer, and here's what they found-

The 15v fuse under the hood had blown, and only was discovered by taking it out and testing it.

Additionally, the 2 7.5v fuses inside the E that are listed as dome lights were blown. Interesting, because the dome lights still worked, but the fuses were bad.


Anyway, $101.00 later, I have dash lights and no explanation for why this the fuses surged, but on the bright side, I'll know to first replace those fuses and see what happens.

Hope my $101 will keep someone from spending that for 3 fuses. The dealership was kind enough not to charge me for the fuses. :lol:

stllookn
04-04-2010, 04:32 PM
I had this problem...dash lights worked intermittently then went out completely leaving only the speedo, tach and fuel gage indicators and odometer lights on. All of the HVAC lights were out as well but shift indicator was lit. I tried "hamburger's" fix to the connector...10 minute fix!!!! I love this site!

Dealer wanted to replace the fuse block for $580+tax!!!!

Screwdriver points to wood wedge to hold the connector up and in contact those pins that it was missing when weighted down by the cable. Hey...whatever works!

Thanks to ramblerdan for the great tutorial on taking the dash apart...very good...normally I just just a Sawzall and duct tape to put it back together. The wife will be happy since it is her car.

qtip333
05-23-2010, 09:42 PM
I have I think the same problem as OP. A month or so ago the radio died. Sometimes the LCD would be blank, after a few bumps sometimes it would turn back on. Took it to the dealer a week or two ago and they wanted $1,000 to replace the radio. Friday I noticed the dash lights were out (could have been out for a while, I don't drive much at night), and noticed the "headlights on" warning bell is not working (the door latch seems fine, i.e. "door open" warning bell works as does the dome light). To be honest, I'm wondering if the dealer could have messed up the wiring when they pulled the radio? I pulled the radio yesterday, and found my 2 year old had inserted 4 pennies into the CD player. Wondering if this could have shorted something/blown a fuse. So where do I start (other than taking to a dealer)? I supppose maybe I should start with fuses (where/how?) or with shimming the gauge cluster as suggested above? I'm a total newbie with car stuff. Was feeling proud just managing to pull the radio and replace it, am a bit intimidated by electrical stuff....

-Q

ramblerdan
05-24-2010, 09:50 AM
Radio: Fuse #8 (7.5A) in the under-dash fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/udfrb.htm) and #9 (10A) in the under-hood fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/uhfrb.htm).

Dash lights: Fuse #2 (15A) in the under-hood fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/uhfrb.htm).
That fuse also powers the front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, and taillights. So if those lights still work, then it's not the fuse but rather a bad connection somewhere.

The connector at the back of the instrument cluster isn't likely to affect the radio, so I'd first check the plugs Some Mook mentions in post #19.

qtip333
05-24-2010, 07:11 PM
Thanks ramblerdan!

Umm... yeah well, just checked and all those things you mentioned (front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, taillights) aint working either... So guess that means I should start with the fuse.

Again, obviously a total newbie with this stuff. Very much appreciate the help!

-Q.

Radio: Fuse #8 (7.5A) in the under-dash fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/udfrb.htm) and #9 (10A) in the under-hood fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/uhfrb.htm).

Dash lights: Fuse #2 (15A) in the under-hood fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/uhfrb.htm).
That fuse also powers the front side lights, front parking lights, license plate light, and taillights. So if those lights still work, then it's not the fuse but rather a bad connection somewhere.

The connector at the back of the instrument cluster isn't likely to affect the radio, so I'd first check the plugs Some Mook mentions in post #19.

ramblerdan
05-24-2010, 07:43 PM
Any auto parts store will have replacement fuses. Meanwhile you might find there are some extras already in the fuse box. Did you click the links in my post above?

qtip333
05-24-2010, 07:51 PM
Well thanks again ramblerdan!

I found the fuse box (first time for everything) was excited to see that it includes a few spare fuses, pulled fuse #2, replaced it, and poof, dash lights, side lights, tail lights, and even the 'hey idiot you left the lights on' bell. Like magic. Of course, don't know what caused the fuse to blow in the first place. And who knows what will happen when I try to install the new radio. But for now, I'm happy to just lay back and pray to the god of skinny punks that it doesn't happen again. And who knows, if this all works out maybe I'll even pull the driver seat and try to stop it from rocking.

If I save $100 the geek squad would charge me to install the radio, and $100 the dealer charged Deacon to change a fuse (insanity!) seems like maybe I should buy myself a reward.

This is a great resource!

Thanks,
-Q.

ramblerdan
05-24-2010, 07:54 PM
Glad it worked out, Q.

Took it to the dealer a week or two ago and they wanted $1,000 to replace the radio.
Please identify the dealership that wanted $1,000 for a new radio when what you actually needed was a 10-cent fuse.

qtip333
05-24-2010, 09:32 PM
Well, I've actually been happy with the dealership. It's Herb Chambers Honda in Seekonk MA. The radio was broken (probably due to the pennies my 2-year old inserted). And when they told me that they would have to charge me $1,000 for a replacement radio from Honda, they also said if I bought a replacement off of E-Bay they would put it in for $100 (I chose to do it myself and save the $100, hopefully will be successfull). I never brought the dash light problem to them. So I can't blame them. Thx again.

-Q.

Glad it worked out, Q.


Please identify the dealership that wanted $1,000 for a new radio when what you actually needed was a 10-cent fuse.

mvbird
11-30-2010, 07:43 PM
I've read so many posts here on this subject -- it's amazing that when I take my 2005 Element in and complain about this, service acts like it's unusual.

I too have had my entire dash intermittently dark and light for over a year. Last time I took it in, service dept told me it was working fine (that day it was).

I read these posts last year and began thumping the top of the dashboard. For a while that worked. However, now, I'm totally in the dark again... all 3 dials, radio and all HVAC. Also seems to have drained my battery requiring a new one, which I now disconnect when parked to make sure I can get going again.

Honda Gallery, Reading, Ma. told me also they had to replace the entire cluster. $685 plus 'diagnosis fee' $103.50.

Ready to have it finally fixed but found my extended warranty had never been officially transferred by the previous owner. Therefore, waiting for paperwork, I drive in the dark, wondering how fast I'm going and whether the First Extended Service Corp. warranty will pay for the repair. (There are many disatisfied comments on the net about this company.)

We have tried wiggling the wires inside the glove box. Is it really so hard to open the dash and secure these wires? Why replace the entire cluster ? Seems so wasteful and so expensive. Honda engineers--- are you listening ?

Eww-an E
12-04-2010, 04:09 AM
^^^Hey there mvbird, a while back my E' had that same problem and from looking around on here I found a tip/trick that actually fixed mine. It was from a member on here who had the same problem and he recommended placing something underneath the actual gauge cluster connector plug. I think he used a very small piece of wood.:? Well on my E' I cut down a small piece of a medium size ziptie, then folded it over on itself, and pushed it underneath the connector. After doing so my dash lights have continued to work just as they should. 8)

mvbird
12-04-2010, 12:31 PM
I found the message you are referring to.... I remembered it was written by 'Hamburger' and searched. I am printing this out and will try it today. Thanks and here's the message again for anyone else who needs it.

"My 2005 Element had developed the same problem and I have been following this thread for about a year. I managed to fix the problem this afternoon. My dashboard backlight along with the radio and hvac controls would go off when I put my headlights on. Occasionally I would get them to turn back on with a quick strike to the dash, but it finally got too irritating to deal with.

My fix

Directions for removing the dash and gauge cluster can probably be found elsewhere so I'll skip those directions.

The problem was with the A connector (the larger connector) on the back of the gauge cluster. With the headlights on I found that if the connector was flexed upward (not much just light pressure) the dash-lights and radio/hvac controls would light up properly. I used a wooden shim wrapped with electrical tape to flex the female connector on the back of the gauge cluster upwards (on the back of the gauge cluster there is a plastic overlay protecting the circuit board and is what gave me the leverage against the connector). I forgot to take pictures but if you have any questions I'll keep an eye out for replies to this."

faheyd
11-27-2011, 12:41 AM
I had this problem...dash lights worked intermittently then went out completely leaving only the speedo, tach and fuel gage indicators and odometer lights on. All of the HVAC lights were out as well but shift indicator was lit. I tried "hamburger's" fix to the connector...10 minute fix!!!! I love this site!

Dealer wanted to replace the fuse block for $580+tax!!!!

Screwdriver points to wood wedge to hold the connector up and in contact those pins that it was missing when weighted down by the cable. Hey...whatever works!

Thanks to ramblerdan for the great tutorial on taking the dash apart...very good...normally I just just a Sawzall and duct tape to put it back together. The wife will be happy since it is her car.

This picture [ post 92 ] is worth a thousand words. When I wiggled the A connector, my dash lights come on and off. Put a folded cut to size old bussiness card in there, and now works. Did the blue dashboard lights (buy 3 extra bulbs just so you have them), looks OK, except I'm color blind and it was really hard to see the blue, but my kids say it looks good.

Smoker
11-27-2011, 07:58 AM
G, drop your glovebox down and wiggle the wires at the ground located just behind the brace on the right side while the headlamp switch is in the 'park' or 'head' position while watching your dash lights.

Be careful around the brace, it's a little sharp.

65600

65601

This fix is GOLD!!

Symptoms- Radio screen working and not working intermittently (XM radio external unit worked), and or screen was scrambled like in japanese or alien words.

Fix- dropped glove box door, pulled wires away from metal frame, wrapped wires with a couple layers of electrical tape. Success!!

Time- 5 minutes.

Note: I think this may have lead to a premature battery failure. It only lasted 34 months, or hopefully there is not something else going on.

Thanks Some Mook and all who contributed.

ckole
06-11-2012, 02:40 PM
My Pioneer radio started causing a problem. I disconnected the orange which wire (dimmer) that never worked and the problem appears to have gone away.

Thanks to everyone who made contributions. I pulled try radio out and disconnected everything, replaced the fuse and tested with no problems. So my first guess was the orange/white wire and thankfully that appears to be correct.

putzy
06-20-2012, 08:14 AM
Ok here is the deal, for the last few days when I turn the lights on the indicator needles all work but the back lights do not come on every time. I have not done any work on it. Some times they work others not. Is there a wire harness that controls just the back light part to see the numbers? Thanks

hapyface
01-20-2013, 03:12 PM
looks like my E's dashboard light is fading too....

its approx 1-2 brightness lower than before and the lowest brightness is now literally 'lights off'

i see most comments were the dash lights are out altogether..... has anyone found a fix for fading only?

also if i have to replace it worse case, do i have to buy the entire set below?

http://www.collegehillshondaparts.com/parts-catalog/honda/element/2008/5dr-ex-4wd/KA5AT/electrical-exhaust-heater-fuel/meter-components-denso

or can i just choose the last bit only?

mr_fox
01-21-2013, 12:28 AM
My problem is the same as stllookn's problem as he posted here: http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=848689

I'm wondering if it's possible to repair the connector so it makes contact accordingly. When I pull connector "A" upwards, all lights work properly. When I release it, they go dark. So.... Any ideas? The wedge idea would work well enough, but I wonder if there isn't something a little more permanent that can be done.

Any ideas?

2005 Honda element LX

savefuel
01-24-2013, 09:39 AM
My fan dial upper part instrument light doesn't work. It's the left of the 3 knobs on the center instrument panel below the radio. Can the dial knob be taken off in order to replace the bulb without taking the whole instrument panel off?

jimmyjw
01-24-2013, 10:49 AM
savefuel, go the the Maintenance & Service Forum and read the 6th post from the top conerning HVAC lights. Replacing these bulbs is a quick and easy fix. The entire instrument panel does not have to be removed. Watch the video.

Dknight0
03-17-2013, 07:59 PM
Ok... So like everyone else here, my dash lights went out... I checked the associated fuse in the internal box and it was ok. So I started pulling all the fuses and checking for one that was blown... None in the internal fuse box were blown.. So I then went under the hood... Found one there marked fuel pump. Changed it and viola! Now my dash lighs work again....:-D

This isn't the first time I have been mislead by the manual on blown fuses... My cigarette lighter also stopped working about a year ago... The associated 'cigarette adapter' fuse was ok. But I found one marked 'aux' that was blown. That was it.

ramblerdan
03-18-2013, 09:22 AM
Dknight0, which fuse in the under-hood fuse box is marked "fuel pump" on your car? The 2004 service manual and 2007 owner's manual both show fuse #17 (15A) in the under-dash fuse box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/udfrb.htm) as being for the fuel pump, but have no such indication for any fuse in the under-hood box (http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/e/uhfrb.htm).

jmgardner
11-13-2013, 07:03 PM
Is there a synopsis of this issue? There seems to be at least three different symptoms associated with the dash lights going out...so I was wondering if anyone has put together a flow chart or other handy reference that will help me troubleshoot my '03.
Two nights ago I had no dash lights or radio light. Did not look at any lights on exterior of the vehicle. Do not recall if AC/Heater lights were working or not.
Today I checked a few fuses (before looking here) and all were good.
Afterward the dash lights were working.
No hitch, no replacement radio, nothing done to car in months (and that was a replacement gas tank)
Only 136,000 miles by a little ol' schoolteacher...

Any ideas?

ramblerdan
11-14-2013, 09:15 AM
If all the interior lights went out, not just the instrument cluster, you'd have to find the relevant connector in the wiring diagrams and then try reseating it. But first I'd check the ground lugs. There are at least a couple of them under the dash. Corrosion or a loose connection could cause an intermittent problem like that.

thewaz
03-08-2014, 11:40 AM
Problem:: Gauge cluster backlights out (except odometer, gear selector, needles, airbag, brake, etc), hvac control lights out (except ones on buttons), and some/all lights on radio effected (varies by radio type). Outside lights working normally.

If the lights as a whole come and go together it is a connection problem. A fuse problem would cause them to go out permanently, and a bulb problem would not affect several bulbs at once.

In my case I can fix the problem temporarily by removing the screws from the gauge cluster and wiggling The large connector ("A connector") on the back of the gauge cluster, or lightly pulling the connector upward. Also, the problem comes back in extreme cold when metal contracts, further proving a bad connection.

The large connector on the back of the gauge cluster and wires in that large grouping are definitely to blame. Possibly the wiring side (female), possibly the gauge cluster side (male), but most people who have had a dealership diagnose the problem had the gauge cluster replaced* ($6-700). It is possible that the female side of the connection (wiring harness) is to blame, but that is unlikely because the male connector is the weaker side, and if connections or wires were going bad on the female side there would be a variety of problems stemming from this plug, everyone wouldn't have the same problem, as we do.

Accessing the back of the cluster is very easy. Post #62 (http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=848689) offers the solution that works for me. Put a wedge under the connector to hold it up.

* We really need to hear more feedback from people who have replaced their gauge clusters, did it work??