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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In late 03, my wife and I had purchased a black Honda Element EX AWD with 5MT. The car seemed great, and the 5-speed manual put the 4-speed auto to shame. I was quite happy with the purchase other than the fact that I received an aftermarket alarm system with the car. That is until the car started falling apart.

I had been pretty well prepared for my fair share of issues considering it was an early model year for the vehicle. It usually takes some time to get the bugs worked out. Well boy was I wrong...

Thus far, the following parts have been replaced:
- Turn signal switch (wouldn't turn off blinker)
- Drivers Side window regulator (auto-up would jam and roll back down)
- Drivers Side window switch (same)
- Clutch Master Cylinder (pedal would squeak so replaced under TSB)
- Clutch Master Cylinder (yes twice cause dealer F'ed up the first install)
- 3rd Gear & Synchro set (Dealer's 1st bad Master Cylinder install ate up 3rd gear)
- Clutch/Transmission housing (dealer broke it somehow while replacing 3rd)
- Map Sensor and Throttle body (no idea what happened)
- VTEC Pressure Switch (no idea what happened)
- VTEC Solenoid (no idea what happened)
- VTEC Spool Valve (no idea what happened)
- Drivers Side window regulator (yes twice cause the window fell in)

Since then, I noticed the driver's side auto-up is starting to jam AGAIN and the window will roll itself back down when used! Then the other day we were driving on the freeway when my wife tried to roll up her window. BANG!!! The passenger's side door glass just dropped right into the door.

WTF is wrong with these cheap ass window regulators?!?!?!? I don't understand. In fact, the second time I took the car in after the driver's side fell in, there was another Element owner waiting at the service desk with same problem. Is this really so hard?

Now that I'm at 80k miles, the dealer won't help me. They offered to pay labor to replace the regulators, but they wanted their full retail of $300 for both left and right parts. Even after I showed them multiple adds from online dealer stores that say ~$90 for drivers side and ~$65 for passenger's side, but they wouldn't budge. I told them to stuff it, and I ordered the passenger's side from DCH Honda in CA ($74 shipped). I can replace this easily, but it still pisses me off. The drivers side is still messed up and they had replaced it just over a year ago.

I personally love Hondas. I own 4 right now (89 CRX Si, 94 Civic CX & 05 TL Sport). I have an 89 CRX Si with 210k miles that I can still drive to work every day and not worry about this BS. I think this car is gonna have to go...
 

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well, 3 of your issues was due to fault of the Honda tech's
what is with the other issues "no idea what happened"... was there an actual problem or was it the Dealer putting you through the ringer?$?$
seams like the main issues is just your window regulator... for some odd reason. We have an '04 and never had an issue with the window...
hope you figure it out and it doesn't give you any more issues. good luck!
 

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Sounds like it's your Dealer that's the lemon, not your E. I'd check with another Honda Dealer in your area, and see what they can offer.
 

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well, 3 of your issues was due to fault of the Honda tech's
what is with the other issues "no idea what happened"... was there an actual problem or was it the Dealer putting you through the ringer?$?$
seams like the main issues is just your window regulator... for some odd reason. We have an '04 and never had an issue with the window...
hope you figure it out and it doesn't give you any more issues. good luck!
Have to echo that some of this experience seems to be the dealer service. Are you going back to the same place repeatedly? THey seem consistent in one thing based on the info at hand: lack of quality control with techs and lack of customer service from the management down...common thread being "lacking" in sharing customer perspective. The "unknown" aspect on the VTEC stuff seems to support at least the theory that the service could have again turned a much simpler repair into multiple visits. On the window reg's...are these being installed properly? Including greasing the tracks, etc?

Your experience ain't great for sure. In my 20+ years experience driving the Honda-mobiles around, the dealers and dealer service centers are much more inconsistent than the cars themselves.

Good luck with whatever resolution you go for...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Well the dealer service was definitely the culprit with the transmission. It's quite a story, but I have time, so I'll tell it...

I moved from the south side of Vegas to the far west. At this point only one H dealership was near me. This was Honda West on west Sahara. They had moved in recent years, so the facility was quite new and clean. Seemed like a good trustworthy place...

One rainy day (very rare out here) I noticed that the clutch pedal in my E had developed an ugly sounding squeek. Fearing for the clutch itself, I brough the car to have it looked at under warranty of course. Later that day the dealer informed me there was a TSB on this issue and that the clutch Master Cylinder (MC) had been redesigned. The told me it would they would get the part in and have it changed out the next day. I was happy...

The next day came and I had not yet received a call. I called up my service rep to see how it was going, when I was informed the new MC would not hold pressure and they had to order a second replacment. Of course the second part would take another day. I was less than happy.

Late in the 3rd day, I had yet to receive a call, so I hopped on the phone. The service writer told me that 2nd MC had not arrived yet, but they had managed to get the 1st MC working. Aparently they forgot to "Bench Bleed" the MC before they installed it the first time. My wife & I stopped in to pick up the car. The very first time she set her foot on the clutch pedal, it stuck to the floor. I pulled it up and it seemed to work fine after that. I showed the service writer this and she said it should be fine, and to call her if I had any issues. I was not very happy.

About 1 month later as I was leaving the house with my wife, the clutch pedal went totally dead. Pedal sank to the floor and no longer came back up. I managed to lip the car over to the dealer w/ slow clutchless shifting w/o stopping completely. Being the only dealer nearby (and having done the work), Honda West was my only option. They spent another day replacing the clutch MC again and I was told all was well. I picked up the car and headed out to the streets. My very first shift into 3rd was greated with a nasty CRUNCH! It was obvious they had not even road tested the car since they did the work. Yet they were prepared to hand it over to my 8-month pregnant wife. I took it back and started raising hell. The service writer said I had to leave it with them again, and that I would have to sign a form saying I would pay for the repairs if it wasn't a warranty issue. I was pissed.

Finally the guy calls & tells me Honda was going to cover the fix and that I was going to get a completely new gear set (yes 1st thru 5th). I told him that sounded rediculous cause it would cost 10x more than the price of a brand new transmission. He insisted this was the case, so I started to argue. I told him that if that was the case, then I wanted a brand new transmission (and not one rebuilt by morons). I opened a claim with Honda and they started looking into it (of course nothing came of that). I'm really pissed at this point...

Days are going by and I'm still not hearing from Honda. I keep calling and popping up to find out the progress. They tell me the clutch/gearcase housing had a crack in it and it had to be replaced. I told them I inspect the car on a very regular basis and this was not there when I brought the car to them. They pretty much dissmissed my comment and told me not to be worried cause it's all being covered by Honda. I told them I should be worried cause they have a bunch of incompetent mechanics that keep breaking things on my car. They pretty much had nothing to say at that point. I was fuming

So when I finally pick up the car 8 DAYS LATER, the parts list shows 3rd gear was the only gear that got replaced. When confronting the writer about it, he said he didn't know why it said that and reassured me all gears were replaced. Finally I had enough of this idiot and I got the shop manager. He told me the service writer was completely mistaken and they were only replacing the parts shown on the list. He had no explanation and offered nothing in return for me being misslead. On top of that Honda never got back to me about any sort of resolution from my claim. I was out in the cold...

And ever since the car occasionally won't shift into and even pops out of 3rd gear. Of course taking it in to any dealership, they are unable to recreate the problem. But of course I have to hear about it from my wife every time it happens. Just last weekend I switched to General Motors Synchromesh Friction Modified fluid in the gearbox. This stuff is suppose to cure stiff shifting and has been used for years in Hondas without trouble. We'll see if it keeps poor shifting at bay through the winter (when it's at it's worst).

Well since this debacle, another dealership had opened up to the north of me. Findlay Honda on Azure Dr. @ Teneya Way. I've been going there ever since. It is a bit better, but they still mess things up. The first time they did work on my car, they replaced the throttle body cause the map sensor failed. Somehow they didn't get all the air out of the cooling system. This caused the car to run funny and the temp was slightly above normal. Good thing my wife noticed it before the temp started cranking up. They later replaced all the VTEC parts when another Check Engine Light (CEL) came on. Fortunately it was still under warranty. They had no idea what went wrong or why the parts failed. Everything got replaced and they even changed the engine oil before the CEL away.

I'm starting to wonder if there is something ot the ELD TSB. I have noiced (especially the last year) that the headlights like to dim when the cooling fan comes on. Perhaps low voltage is causing electrical things to go arye. For the price I might as well replace it...

As for the window regulators, I think it's just a combination of hot Vegas summers and dark 25% window tint that cause them to fail. Always happens in the summer. It definitely needs to be beefed up. The same thing is happening to the latest Civic sunvisors. They split in half from normal use holding up the sunshade. My brother had his 07 Civic visors replaced twice. He no longer uses them. Honda said since it's a regional problem (only in the high heat) they are not going to re-design them...

Well, if you took the time to read all my ramblings, then I'm quite impressed. Thanks for letting me vent as it always helps to have a shoulder to cry on...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got in the car yesterday to meet the family for some Trick-or-Treats, and the damn drivers window wouldn't roll down. Window magically started working about 5 hours later going to the in-laws. :-(

Then on the way home that night, my wife puts the clutch in to start it, and starter wouldn't fire. She held the key down for about 5 seconds and it suddenly came to life. :rolleyes:

THIS CAR SUCKS!
 

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Sounds like a lemon from the factory. Get rid of it and buy something else. You definitly got shafted since not all Elements act that way. Not all of the thousands of cars that roll off the line work right. That's why they employ people to repair them right as soon as they're built. Sometimes they miss a few.
 

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Sorry to hear that you are having problems with yours. I have the same year and trans and have had nothing other then one shock fail. Its been a great car.
 

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Sorry to hear about all the problem you have. But sounds like you may have a rotten Honda dealer service department & an inexperience Honda dealer service department. Just my opinion.

Personally, I don't believe any car maker could have perfect 100% record with each & every car they make has no problem. It is unfortunely some car will have more problem than other car of same model.

If you really need to rely on dealer/mechanic to work on your car instead of yourself, I would recommend before you purchase your next car, look for a good service department or mechanic 1st, before decide what kind of car.

All car will break down some time, some come earlier & some came later.
 

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Sorry to hear all the bad vibes...

If you do buy a new vehicle I recommend you stay away from GM's. We do tons of window regulators every week, also door lock actuators, and transmissions,engines,timing chains,camshaft actuators,02 sensors,frozen brake calipers,noisy steering racks,noisy steering shafts,inop heat door actuators, A/C compressers, cat converters,noisey hub bearings,diesel injection pumps,leaking intake gaskets,leaking exhaust valve seats, and well just about any part you could think.

For me it's called job security.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sell it to someone who won't get so upset that something breaks on a 6-year-old car.
I wouldn't be upset if it was as simple as that. In fact these things tend to be relatively cheap fixes, ranging from $20-$90 since I can do it all myself. The problem is that this thing has just been a steady stream of problems since it was new.

I own 4 honda's, one of which is 20 years old, and have never had troubles like this. It's really just too bad...

BTW: The radio volume changes wildly up and down when you turn the knob a little bit...
:lol:
 

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I own 4 honda's, one of which is 20 years old, and have never had troubles like this. It's really just too bad...
Sounds like to me unfortunately you have a not so good E from Honda. 5 out of millions of Honda cars sold is not a large percentage, it is not necessary able to help anyone justify the quality of car company. I would think 5 cars is very very very far away from 1% of car sold by Honda. And if any car company produce 99% of very good quality car, I would think they are pretty reliable car company.

What everyone trying to tell you is one of bad car you have does not necessary represent thousands of other E on the road. If you truly believe your E's quality really represent other E on the road, doesn't it also hold true you could make argument your E represent Honda's quality? And if that's true, would you buy another Honda in the future?

If it is me, I would sell my car, & still buy another Honda. I trust quality data provided by 3rd party like JD power, Consumer Report, even cumulation of owner's report in EOC.. more than just my own experience on the few car I own, in turn of judging quality of any car company or any line of car.
 

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94eg sorry to here about all the problems with your E. I too have an 03' but I have over 115,000 miles with nothing more than a seized brake caliper at 30k, drivers side lock cylinder at 50k and struts at 80k besides routine maintenance and five windshields. I have never pampered my E and I drive in some of the worst winter weather in the country so I guess I've gotten off pretty easy so far.
Good luck dude and remember MT Elements are rare so you should be able to unload...er..sell it fairly easily. :)
 
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