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A great mechanic is worth their weight in gold, if you can afford one. At this time I could not afford the $658 quote so I decided to do it myself. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get to starter and another 2 1/2 to put it all back together! Element is up and running and all is well again! I saved a significant amount of $$. Now it's time to replace the rear brake pads!

Sorry couldn't add all 8 photo (limited to 6) so I picked the most important ones.

Hope this can help someone out there, prices quotes as of 11/25/2016

STARTER REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION - 04 Honda Element EX AWD, Automatic

PHOTO OVERVIEW (sorry limited to 6 photos so I skipped this one, until I can figure out how to add later?)

STARTER REMOVAL (approximately 5 hour process)

• To get to starter you’ll have to remove
o Part of Air Flow/Cleaner Assembly
o Throttle Body
o Intake Manifold

Tools needed:
• Torque Wrench (in/lb) - to convert ft/lb to in/lb, multiply ft/lb by 12
• Torque Wrench (ft/lb)
• Ratchet Wrenches with various extension lengths
• 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm sockets (remember "righty" tightens (CW) and "lefty" loosens (CCW)


Parts needed (Honda Part Numbers)
• Intake manifold gasket – p/n 17115-RAA-A01 ($32)
• Throttle body gasket – p/n 16176-RAA-A01 ($6)
• Honda RM Starter – 31200-RAA-A53RM – ($320) + ($50 core)
• Return old starter and receive the $50 core refund

LETS GET STARTED

• Make sure you have the anti-theft code for your radio (if don’t have code you will NOT be able to operate radio/CD player once you reconnect battery)
• Remove fuse #9 - 10A backup fuse from under hood fuse/relay box to protect audio from electrical system (a fuse puller is inside the fuse/relay box)
• Disconnect the ( - ) negative black cable from the battery
• Disconnect the ( + )positive red cable from the battery

Photo F (location of fuses) - Sorry couldn't add this photo

AIR FLOW ASSEMBLY REMOVAL

• Disconnect the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor connector (A)
• Loosen only bottom air flow clamp (6mm nut) attached to the air flow tube (D)
• Remove air flow tube (D) from throttle body
• Remove air flow chamber (E) by squeezing clamp open and pulling out from air flow tube
• Loosen (4) Phillips head screws on air cleaner cover
• Gently maneuver (D) air flow assembly/air cleaner cover out of way, careful not to disconnect any remaining attached hoses

Photo 1 - attached

INTAKE MANIFOLD COVER REMOVAL
• Remove the (2) intake manifold cover 10mm nuts

Photo 2 - sorry had to skip this photo too

DISCONNECT HOSES
• Disconnect the evaporator emission (EVAP) canister hose (A)
• Disconnect the brake booster vacuum hose (B),
• Squeeze clamps open to remove hoses – DO NOT REMOVE CLAMPS FROM HOSES

Photo 3 - attached


THROTTLE BODY REMOVAL

• Remove the engine wire harness connectors and wire harness clamps from the intake manifold (see below)
1st_ Idle air control (IAC) valve connector
2nd_ Throttle position (TP) sensor connector
3rd_ Manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor connector
• Remove 10mm bolt (A) securing the MAP harness holder
• Remove (2) 10mm bolts (B) securing the throttle cable bracket
• Remove (2) Throttle Body 10mm bolts and (2) 10mm nuts – Note gasket orientation
o See photo 5 - item # 8 and #9
• Remove old gasket - see photo 5 - item #2
• When reassembling Throttle Body, clean surface with brake cleaner caution not to damage surface, install new gasket (green side facing down on intake manifold side)
• When reinstalling - Torque specs for Throttle Body nuts and bolts to - 16lb*ft each
• Tightening Sequence: left top bolt, right bottom bolt, right top nut, left bottom nut
• Note: You don’t have to complete the ECM/PCM Idle learn procedure because battery has been disconnected and should reset everything to factory settings

Photo 4 - attached


Photo 5 - attached


INTAKE MANIFOLD REMOVAL

• Remove the harness clamp (A) – pinch and push out clamp
• Remove (2) harness connectors (B) from the intake manifold bracket – slides off tab bracket
• Remove the intake manifold very bottom bracket 12mm bolt only (C) – trace bottom of intake manifold and feel for head of bolt – you cannot see it so you have to feel for it – right hand side, bottom of intake manifold bracket. See photo overview - sorry will try and attache photo?
• When re-installing intake manifold bottom bracket 12mm bolt, tighten to 16ft/lb

Photo 6 - attached


INTAKE MANIFOLD REMOVAL (continued)
• Remove the (3) intake manifold 12mm bolts and (2) 12mm nuts
• Carefully lift intake manifold out of engine compartment – set aside
• Note orientation of intake manifold gasket – remove old gasket
• Clean intake manifold surface (where gasket goes) with brake cleaner, caution not to damage surface
• When re-installing intake manifold replace gasket noting proper orientation of gasket ("keyed" on right hand side)
• When reassembling: Torque specs for intake manifold nuts and bolts - 16lb*ft
• Tightening Sequence:#1(center bottom bolt), #2(right nut), #3(left nut), #4(far right bolt) and finally #5(far left bolt)

Photo 7 - sorry had to skip this photo too

STARTER REMOVAL


• Flip rubber boot up exposing starter nut, disconnect the starter cable ring terminal, by removing the 12mm nut-lock washer (A) from starter bolt
• Disconnect connector (B) by pulling away from insulated connector on starter
• Remove the harness clamp (C), squeeze tabs and push out of harness holder
• Remove the large wire harness holder (D), lift tab up and slide wire harness out – can be a challenge
CAUTION WHEN CONNECTING STARTER CABLE RING TERMINAL. There is a knock sensor that goes into the engine, this sensor has a **very small gauge wire and can easily be broken! Knock sensor comes off the large wire harness A/B/C/D and is not shown in photo
• Remove rear 14mm starter mounting bolt. **Caution again, do not break knock sensor and/or wires (left hand side) that’s in line with this bolt – when reinstalling bolt torque to 33lb*ft
• Remove front 17mm starter mounting bolt - when reinstalling bolt torque to 47lb*ft
CAUTION DO NOT OVER TORQUE STARTER NUT with BUILT-IN LOCK WASHER – THE STARTER BOLT IS ONLY MOUNTED ON PLASTIC HOUSING AND WILL SNAP OFF IF YOU OVER TORQUE THE NUT! This may void warranty and will permanently damage starter!
• Make sure the (A) crimped side of the ring terminal is FACING OUT – same direction as when installed on old starter
• Install NEW starter – If possible reconnect (A) starter cable ring terminal with rubber boot before sliding starter into its final position, torque 12mm nut-lock washer to 7ft*lb (84 in/lb)

TEST STARTER CONNECTION

• Once starter is installed, make sure radiator fan is clear to rotate freely, make sure no tools, rags or parts are loose in the area of intake manifold or throttle body, make sure all wire harnesses are out of the way of rotating fans
• Reconnect battery (+) then (-), re-install fuse, you will briefly turn key to see if starter engages/turns over - DO NOT start engine, if engine doesn’t start/turnover recheck all your connections especially starter cable ring terminal (A) – DO NOT OVER TORQUE ANY NUTS OR BOLTS – ALL BOLTS AND NUTS MUST BE TORQUED TO SPECS!
• If engine starts, Congratulations you are now half way done, take a little break and enjoy a soda or cup of joe!
• Disconnect battery neg then pos, remove #9 fuse, reassemble intake manifold, throttle body and air filter in reverse order

PICTURE of STARTER for 04 HONDA ELEMENT - AUTOMATIC

Photo 8 - attached
Knock Sensor not shown is this photo, it’s left of rear starter 14mm mounting bolt and comes off the large wire harness A/B/C/D
*DO NOT OVER TORQUE Nut that secures A to starter! Torque to 7lb/ft or (84 lb/in)

If I can do it, so can you! I am a single mom on a budget! Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks ParishM!

LOL! First time replacing starter!

Wanted to use a genuine Honda RMD (Mitsuba) because of all the disassembling involved. With limited knowledge on starters I had to make a decision so went with local Honda Dealer. Next time I will reconsider Denso or NAPA. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

With the wealth of knowledge in this forum, it sure is nice to read others experiences and to heed their guidance. So I post these instructions to pay it forward, in the an effort to help others.

Just know, If I can replace a starter, so can you!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am new to posting on this forum, it is hard to post instructions with pictures in logical sequence. So If anyone is interested, I have the original word document (to large to post) with same detailed information but with pictures within document, instead of at end, for your review. Just let me know if interested and I will be happy to send.
 

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Just had this done...

I'm really glad I didn't try this myself. My mechanic went with a rebuilt, total cost $450.

But he did find nasty corrosion on the coolant input of the throttle body. "Could last forever, could blow any time." Replacement will not be cheap...

I remember replacing the starter on my Mustang, four bolts off, swap, four bolts on. Took about fifteen minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi ya Marky!

Marky you could have easily replaced the starter yourself if of course, you had the time and tools to do so. If your throttle body showed signs of corrosion I'm sure you would have taken care of it before putting everything back together! I was fortunate everything looked good (75k miles) so no additional delays.

Hopefully, with these instructions it can cut down the starter installation time to less than 5 hours, I went nice and slow. If had to do again, probably get it down to a 3 hour job.

As a kid, I too remember, when I use to help (tool gopher - light holder LOL!) my dad replace a starter it was at max a 30-minute job and you could practically climb into the engine compartment! Now-a-days good luck finding the starter! LOL
 

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I am new to posting on this forum, it is hard to post instructions with pictures in logical sequence. So If anyone is interested, I have the original word document (to large to post) with same detailed information but with pictures within document, instead of at end, for your review. Just let me know if interested and I will be happy to send.
Hi, ZDSHANE - if you are still monitoring this thread I'd like a copy of your Word document. This is superb work you've done. I love all the callouts, torque settings, socket/bolt sizes. Wow, what a time saver!
Thanks
Mike (Fieldcoordinator)
[email protected]
 
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