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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

So we took our '04 Element into the mechanic because it is consistently stalling when we idle. To stop we have to clutch/gas it then break hard, then clutch/gas, then break, then clutch/gas............ you get the picture. It's very annoying. We took it to a mechanic who said it could be the air fuel ratio sensor. Does this sound right or are there other things it could be?

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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When I drive stick I always roll in neutral when I know I'm going to stop, and that usually gets all the load off, rather than riding the clutch to a stop. I'm sure something might be slipping while you have the clutch disengaged causing the engine to cut... not sure on any details of air fuel, but I do know how to stall a car:D
 

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Welcome to the club and it sounds like the idle control unit is sticking witch is on the bottom of the throttle body. It could be cleaned with throttle body cleaner and sometimes will free up or will ave to be replaced if that is indeed the problem. Hope this helps.:)
 

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YMMV, but I had a similar issue not too long ago. In my case it was accompanied by an error code that indicated a faulty throttle position sensor (tps). When first starting the car it would idle high, around 1600rpm, then after it warmed up it would drop down to <500 and stall if I didn't keep a little gas flowing. Normally it should idle at just about 750.

Bad news is this part is not sold separately by Honda -- I needed to replace the whole throttle body, which is about a $300-400 job. Good news is it was covered under my extended warranty.

...funny thing though, I went to an independent mechanic first and he told me I might be able to get an aftermarket tps, which I did, for about $70. Didn't work though because I guess it needs to be specially calibrated. So I *was* out $70 +shipping before going to Honda. Live and learn.

more on this type of problem:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=603993
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23645
 

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Stall

Definitely (probably) the throttle body. I was having periodic problems (03' with 129k miles) that sits for days at a time.

Cleaned throttle body carefully with throttle body cleaner and tooth brush. Put back together and runs like a dream. Took 20 minutes with a small screwdrive, clean rag, cleaner, and toothbrush.

Got advice from a "KEN ASCE certified. Thanks Ken!
 

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Glad it worked.

I'm happy to know I solved your problem with only a toothbrush!

I had to laugh this past week at the office. We use the Ford Freestyle/Taurus as a company car. When I took a desk job I bought my company car.
One of my co-workers had an issue with a major surge in his car. Mine had done it once with 60,000+ miles. I cleaned the throttle body, Drive by wire style, and the problem went away. My co-worker was charged 800 for a new throttle body and installation... When the next one did it at the office they had me pull out the can of Cleaner and the tooth brush, No more problems.

I'm not sure why they are replacing the complete throttle body but the cleaning did fix the 4 I've done thus far. Let's see that about $3,200 I've saved with 1 tooth brush and a can of Gumout spray cleaner.

Ken TN
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tip guys. I'll try some of these. We went to the mechanic and had the air fuel ratio sensor replaced and that didn't work... $350 down the drain. We had the throttle body supposedly cleaned, I might have to double check that. Possible and idle control valve? What do you think?
 

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I would pull the air hose off at the throttle body and take a look see.
If it is clean then put the hose back on. If not then clean it again.
The Idle control could be loaded up also but is not as easy to check.

You do need to teach the car to idle again after the cleaning. Basically disconnect the battery for a little while and then reconnect it and start the car. You may need to hold the throttle down at a steady idle speed of 1,000 for a Min and then let it drop down to it's own level.

Hope it helps,
Ken TN
 

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I had the same exact problem. I changed all the parts I could think of and tried i believe everything that everyone here is listing. If after doing all of this xxVERITASxx, you still ahve the problem, bring your E to the mechanic and have all of your valves adjusted. All my intake and exhaust valves were either loose or tight. Once I had my mechanic adjust them, my problem went away instantly. Its been about 6 months since he did this and still no problems.
 

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...bring your E to the mechanic and have all of your valves adjusted. All my intake and exhaust valves were either loose or tight. Once I had my mechanic adjust them, my problem went away instantly. Its been about 6 months since he did this and still no problems.
I've been chasing the "stalling" problem for several years now. I began to notice it about 6 months after buying it (07 Element Manual Transmission) as winter approached and the weather became colder (Northeast). When starting cold, it would idle high (choke?) for several minutes. When that high idle dropped back to a normal idle of around 700-800, it would consistently stall when coming to a stop. After several minutes of driving at the regular idle, the problem would just go away until the next time the vehicle was started cold.

When this problem occurred, I noticed the RPMs doing funky things. When in gear, coming to a stop, the RPMs would be in their normal range (3K or so). As soon as I pushed in the clutch and rolled to a stop, the RPMs would come down as expected, but they came down to 500, stopped there for a 1/2 second or so, then DIP down to 300-400. At this point, one of two things happened. One, the RPMs would immediately pop back up to 700-800 and the car remained running. Or two, the car would simply stall because the RPMs were too low.

I brought this problem to Honda (where I purchased the vehicle NEW) and they couldn't find any error codes or offer any advice on the problem. They supposedly searched their database of known issues and came up blank. Every single time I brought the car in for service (free oil changes and wiper replacements) I complained about the stalling issue and made them DOCUMENT IT so at least there's a paper trail if it ends up being a warranty issue. At one point I even left my car there overnight so they could reproduce it from a cold start. They said the next morning it ran just fine and never stalled. Odd. I picked the car up and it stalled on me at the first light. :mad: Either my luck sucks or these guys are bumbling idiots. I'm pretty positive now that it's the latter.

I came here to this forum and began investigating the problem here (and on other web sites). People talk about the throttle body being dirty, etc. But this happened on a BRAND NEW ELEMENT, so I discounted that theory.

Then I read about the valves needing adjustment (which Honda says doesn't need to happen until over 100K). So this weekend I opened up my E to inspect the valve clearances and perform a valve adjustment if necessary.

What I found absolutely floored me. I triple and quadruple checked them to be sure I was seeing this correctly.

For the record, the proper clearances are:

Intake Valves: 0.008-0.010
Exhaust Valves: 0.011-0.013

My clearances were roughly as follows (I don't have the exact clearances with me right now...they're at home):

Intake #1: 0.008 0.008
Intake #2: 0.009 0.009
Intake #3: 0.009 0.010
Intake #4: 0.009 0.010

Exhaust #1: 0.003 0.008
Exhaust #2: 0.008 0.007
Exhaust #3: 0.003 0.008
Exhaust #4 0.003 0.004

The intake valves were pretty good, but just LOOK at the EXHAUST valves!!! Not ONE of them are in spec. As a matter of fact, they are completely off!

To keep a long story going...

I adjusted them all to the middle of the spec range, buttoned it up and took it out for a spin both yesterday and today.

It hasn't stalled. :D

When coming to a stop, the RPMs still come down to about 500 and then rise to 700-800, but they no longer DIP down to 200-300, so it doesn't stall.

Keep in mind I'll have to drive it for a week or so to see if it REALLY fixed the problem.

But it is IMPORTANT to note that anyone with an Element should get their valves adjusted more frequently than recommended by Honda. Mine were off directly from the factory floor! Oh and I have 50,000 miles on it now.

I spoke with a different Honda place and the mechanic told me tight valves could cause the stalling issue due to vacuum problems. He also told me he would adjust the valves every 30,000 miles if it were HIS car. He said doing them at 100K is just stupid and has no idea what Honda was thinking.

Hope my writeup helps someone. I wish I would have found a writeup like this when I was trying to figure out the problem... lol Hopefully, I've solved the issue. Next valve adjustment at 80K.
 

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First of all Zaphyb, welcome to the forum. Good to hear you got your problem fixed. My Element got so bad with the stalling that in order to warm hte motor up in the morning, I had to keep my foot on the throttle or she would die out. And even after she warmed up, Once I started driving at every point I lifted my foot off the throttle, the motor would stall. It would take almost a half an hour before the motor would not stall. My mechanic had told me not just the exhaust valves but the intake valves as well were all off. He didnt give me the specs and I didnt really care if he did or not, just as long as it was fixed. When I noticed this problem starting, I believe the motor had about 55k on it. I think it was fixed somewhere between 90 & 95k, dont really remember.
 

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Welcome, Zaphyb. Thanks for the research and report.

My experience with dealer service departments has been that if the car while still under warranty doesn't collapse into a heap of shards in their lot, they won't find a thing wrong with it. (My apologies to honest, competent dealers; wish there was one near me.)
 

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I was having a problem where my 2003 AT EX was periodically stalling at idle. It became progressively worse until it would not idle at all. After consulting this forum extensively, ended up cleaning the throttle body using Gunk throttle body cleaner. I did it first with a rag with no results. Then I used a toothbrush--nothing. In desperation I decided to follow the instructions. I doused the intake with the cleaner for about 15 seconds. I stuffed a rag down the intake each time I used the cleaner. I then followed the idle learn procedure that can be found on this forum that consists of running the engine at 3000 rpms until the fan comes on and then let it idle for 5 minutes--which it would finally do at about 500 rpms roughly but didn't stall. I then took it on a neighborhood drive and when I got to a friend's house it idled at a more comfortable 750. I left it idling for a bit then turned it off. When I started it again, everything seemed normal. No stalling and smooth idle--so smooth I was worried it had stalled again.

Super simple and worth trying for a few bucks before taking it into the shop. Keeping my fingers crossed...
 

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I had the stalling when cold issue and did the valve adjust.

Problem 100% solved!!

All exhaust valves and one intake valve were ridiculously tight. Having made the adjustments my element is running perfectly and smoother at idle than new.


Brian in Atascadero, CA
2007 Honda element, manual transmission
 
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