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05' Element Won't Stay Running... Sometimes

10013 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Jeffro

New to the forum so sorry if this has been asked before.

I have on 05' Element AWD, Auto Trans, 73K miles. About 4 months ago my element would not stay running. I started it and it died. The check engine light is not lit. The only way to keep it running was to keep my foot slightly on the accelerator and as soon as I took it off the engine would quit. This problem lasted for about 1 day and then it stopped. I did not do anything to fix it and it has been working ever since. I drove it yesterday and it ran normal. I went into the store came out, started it, and it would not stay running just like the problem before. I drove it home with one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake. I took it to my mechanic who hooked up the code reader and he said there was no code set. He said he would not touch this problem.

Has anyone had this problem before and if so how was it solved? I would like to avoid guessing and swaping parts to solve it.

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'03 AWD EX 5speed...

Mine does this as well, even after the valve adjustment i gave it (which fixed a few other symptoms).
as it's intermittent, and hasn't happened to me but twice, it's gonna be kinda hard to figure out, right now i'm guessing the Idle Air Control Valve may be sticking shut occasionally?

I get no code either when it happens, and apart from the stalling, the engine runs great.
Maybe a good cleaning of the throttle body would help ? Inspect the air filter ..

I would replace the spark plugs and the fuel filter. Inexpensive and easy.
It does sound like the idle control in the throttle body is sticking. Some throttle body cleaner should do it.
Make sure no check engine lights. Reset the ecu. If one of the main sensors are failing this will cause it not to stay running. Map, Crank Angle sensor.. check your grounds also. :)

Thank you all for your replies. I still would like to hear from someone who had this problem, determined the cause, and fixed it. Specifically how they fixed it. Perhaps even a Honda mechanic.

Really appreciate it.
Won't idle '04 AT

I've had this issue twice before in my '04 AT with 91K and my shop can't replicate it or find a code. First time I had backed into a parking stop block, not hard at all but enough to make me look around to see if anyone saw me do it. When I came back it wouldn't start. This being my first Honda I thought maybe it had the Ford-type collision fuel cut-off switch (does not have). Thought maybe the key chip so I tried the spare key a few hours later and it started/ran fine.

Few months later wouldn't start, seemed fuel, not electrical related so I gave it some gas and it started but would not idle. Used neutral a lot to keep the revs up, made it home and it started fine/ran fine next morning. Had the shop run a fuel-injector cleaner and cleaned the throttle body which was not dirty. Fuel filter is not serviceable (sock-type in tank). So, it happens but I can't figure it out, but figured it was fuel delivery related. good luck, and hope it does not do this issue when trying to merge onto the freeway like an earlier thread
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Here are 2 links that are related to this issue... no answers yet:

starter and solenoid seem unrelated, spider thoery is interesting.
Thanks Dillygoat

Thanks Dillygoat,

I read through both of those posts (took a while) before I posted my question. I did not find a difinitive answer which is why I created my own post. I really would like to hear from someone who had this problem and solved it and knows what was done to solve it. No guesses or try this or that advice. Some of the advice did not logically make sense. I am still hopeful someone will post who knows for sure how to fix this problem.

03' Element Won't Stay Running - All the time (Last two days)

I have an 03' Element AWD, Automatic Transmission. I found this thread to see if anyone or their mechanic has pinned down this problem.

My honda element is currently in the shop for diagnosis. I am unable to keep it running without driving it like a manual transmission, one foot on the gas to keep rpms up and the other on the brake. The car has 140,000 miles on it and has been running smoothly. ( I have noticed that it does idle quite high some mornings ).

No check engine lights are on.

I had noticed some preliminary symptoms intermittently over the past month or so before it had to be taken to the shop. When I would start the car in the morning, occasionally I would hear it almost die down like it was gasping for air or fuel. When this happened I would give it a little gas and the car would continue starting up and idle fine.

Turku99 have you found any resolution?

An interesting note, that may be unrelated, is that my interior cabin lights seemed to be malfunctioning while this happened. All the doors were closed, but the light would not turn off! This fixed itself magically, but then I heard a strange but very light sizzling noise coming from the dome light.

If my mechanic finds something I will update this thread.
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Hello Mikehas,

Thank you for your reply. No I have not found the cause of the engine not idling sometimes. I have not had the problem for about 3 weeks now. Not sure when it will happen again. My mechanic (does not work for Honda) checked for error codes and he said none were found. My check engine light is not illuminated.

I had this issue with my '03 EX 4wd, first time it happened right before I ran out of gas so I thought it was air/fuel-related. I too had to keep the RPMs revved up and neutral drop to drive it, but after about 2 miles of driving the problem corrected itself. I did this same process 5 or 6 times before I had it repaired. I would've kept dealing with it, but after having some body work done to the front end, the body shop couldn't keep it running to test drive it. Rather than telling them how to neutral-drop the tranny and keep it revved, I authorized them to take it next door to the mechanic.
The problem turned out to be with the throttle body, but it was past the point of cleaning. Less than a day in the shop and $150 later I was back on the road. Problem never happened again, and I sold it with 206k miles.

I can check the receipt when I get home if you guys need specifics on the parts repaired/replaced.
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Hello NorCalFox,

Thanks for the reply. Yes could you take a look at the repair bill and find out what was done/replaced? Also can you tell me how many miles you drove it and for how long after the repair before you sold it?

So I was mistaken, good thing I checked!

Found the repair bill and here is what was done:
"check start/stall condition - verify adequate fuel pressure & ignition spark - ok - Perform diagnostic test, found Idle Air Control Valve sticking.
Removed and replaced Idle Air Control Valve.
Removed Air Intake Boot to service/ clean throttle chamber - clean & lubricate external housing & linkage - reinstall Air Intake Boot & set minimum air flow."
Total bill was $146.59 parts/ $200 labor, but I'm in Marina Del Rey so prices are a bit jacked. If you do it yourself you can probably get it done for under $150.

Repairs were done in October of 2009 with 191,000 miles on the E. Sold it in April of 2010 with 206.9k, problem never happened again before I sold it.
Thanks NorCalFox.

The diagnosis makes sense. I do remember that owners in other posts changed their Idle Air Control Valve and still had the same problem. Perhaps it was a combination of all the things you had done.

Thanks again.

Hi all,

Because my E is a manual transmission, I'm comfortable heel/toe-ing, and because this problem is so intermittent, I haven't really been bothered enough to really chase this problem down, aaaand since I've been loving my high mileage element, 150,000 now, so much, I convinced my girlfriend to pick up a used 2002 CRV EX Auto...

Well lo and behold, It has the very same condition, but being an auto, is nearly undriveable, I'm going out now to remove and clean the throttle body now, I'll let you all know how it goes.

Turku99, did you ever get any resolution?
Fixed, for now...

I removed the throttle body, and removed the "ROTARY AIR CONTROL VALVE" from its bottom,

I then removed the 2 tamper proof bolts from the RAC Valve that hold what is essentially the endbell of a brushless motor that turns the valve that controls the idle . With the endbell off you can see a small extension on the armature that limits the degrees that the motor can turn, so with the endbell off the armature is free to turn +360 degrees. I noticed quite a bit of resistance on the first rotation, but with some goof-off, and compressed air, I got it to spin freely.
I then reinstalled everything, and now the CRV idles great.

As soon as this ailment reoccurs in the Element, I'm gonna clean it up too.
I love this board. I'm having the same exact problem as Turku and NorCalFox. They described the problem perfectly. I brought my car to the dealer and they couldn't fix it.

I did plugs, coils and valve adjustment myself and it still occurred. Now I now where to go next. I wish I checked this sooner.
I didn't read back, but idle problems are very often related to VALVE ADJUSTMENT, so if it hasn't been mentioned previously in this thread as something that needs done REGARDLESS of a problem, now it has.

In my opinion, valves should be adjusted no later than 90K miles.
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