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Hey Guys,
This is my first time posting, and I'm only doing that because I have been unable to find something close enough to my issue, and I do need help. So here goes:

I have a 2003 Element EX 2.4L AWD with about 133,000 miles, and it has been maintained as if it were a religion. The Check Engine Light -(CEL - orange picture of an engine light) came on about three days ago. The last time it came on, we had to replace the O2 Sensor, which was about 14 months ago. The day the CEL came on we were about 20 miles from home and had been out all day looking at furniture, within 45 mins of the light coming on the E began stalling out every two or three stop lights, then the idle became erratic -(idling low not high, as in dropping down from 750 RPMs to 500 RPMs, back and forth a bit then below 500 RPMs to 250 RPMs or so, then stalling out completely). So, it had been driving great all day, and once the CEL came on we headed back home.

I stopped at Autozone on the way home where they ran a free test and led me to believe it was the spark plugs. The codes that the Autozone test threw said all 4 cylinders were misfiring, and a possible mechanical issue. The Autozone guy said the spark plugs caused this and that would be the best place to start. So, I replaced them with the exact NGK's that came out of it. I drove the home -(approx 20 miles driven since the light first came on) parked it and because it was Saturday, I began looking online for possible solutions. After replacing the plugs, there was no change in the E's behavior. I then was led to believe the Throttle Body might be the issue, so I popped the air hose off and, yes, it was dirty so I took it to Firestone where they hooked up an "IV" of sorts to clean the entire fuel system, and then I drove home. They also checked for vacuum leaks, and found none. It drove better for two of the three minute drive home, the last minute the stalling began again -(the CEL hasn't gone off since it first came on). I did pop off the air hose after getting home to check behind them and, it looked brand new.

Day two, after further online investigation I was led to believe that a possible faulty oil filter could be the problem, so I drove to get an oil change where I had them flush the motor twice, change the oil and drove home -(the oil tech said the oil was dark and the filter was as well, scheduled oil change was about 700 miles out anyway). On the four minute drive home the Element began stalling again, along with sputtering, jerking a bit, worse than it was before. As I was pulling up to the house the CEL began flashing for the first time.

(The total miles driven since the CEL came on is about 27 miles, since it began flashing .02 miles. It has been parking in front of the house since day two.)

The evening of day two my neighbor, who is a mechanic, brought his computer over to help determine the problem. His machine threw the code "P0341" which said it was a faulty "Camshaft Position Sensor -(CPS)." So, I called Autozone and they said it had one and it would have to be ordered. I overnighted the part.

I removed the old CPS and put the new one on, and unhooked the battery to allow for the Element to reset and aid in idle re-learning. I hooked then hooked the battery up, turned the key, waited for a second, then started it. The CEL went off -(for the first time since coming on), the Element coughed and sputtered for about a 15-20 seconds when the CEL came back on and began flashing within the minute, so I turned it off. I called, a couple of parts houses and they all said the Element had only one CPS, two honda dealerships said the same thing. However, the third Honda dealership said that he believed it had two, which in fact it does, an Intake CPS and an Exhaust CPS. The one I replaced was the Exhaust.

So, now I am overnighting the Intake CPS which should be here tomorrow -(Friday, Day 7).

I've been told numerous things regarding what the problem could be, but this seems to be the best fit. My rational: it has never ran hot, it has had every checkup mandated by the manual, every oil change on time, and always preformed better than any vehicle ever, plus from what I've been able to find - the CPS controls the rhythm of the motor, and when it goes out the engine will have these symptoms.

My questions are: Does this sound right? Is there something else I could look at between now and the Intake CPS's arrival? I also have been told the "Coils" could be the problem, but would they all go out at the same time? The Autozone tester said all four cylinders were misfiring, and a possible mechanical issue, which wouldn't it be more likely that the problem would be something like a bad sensor instead of all of the other things right out of the blue?

I do apologize for the long post, but after reading this site for a few days I know there are some very experienced people on here who usually aren't given all of the information needed to accurately help. If anyone has any ideas, tricks, or shots in the dark, it would all be welcomed.
 

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Wow, I hadn't thought about the timing chain? That would make sense, but would the E drive perfect with absolutely no problems, hiccups, questionable sounds or anything, then within an hour of total driving time go from driving fine to a stretched timing chain? I imagine stranger things have happened.

Now, would it be very difficult to check this out? What precautions should I take if I wanted to have a look/see? Any pointers?

Thanks RamblerDan!
 

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Ok, I'll check it out and try to get into this just to check and see.
Thanks again, and I'll shoot you an update on the progress.
 

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Day 7:

I replaced both the intake and exhaust sensors and still no change.

Spoke with Honda -(4th time)- and the guy told me there is only one, and it is located on the passenger side, "the only thing behind the pulley," ..... which would have been nice to know on Day 3. I'm gonna go try to track down this part, because what pulls up online when you search for "2003 Honda Element Camshaft Position Sensor" is what I have replaced. The Honda guy told me that those are actually "TPC" or "TP ...something."

So, now it's Friday and I'll be without it until Monday at the earliest. I'll update when I know something.
 

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CMP = camshaft position sensor. There is an 'A' and a 'B' sensor = TWO camshaft postion sensors, located on the back (left side) of the head directly behind each camshaft.

CKP = crankshaft position sensor, located on the timing chain case cover (right side) just above the crankshaft pulley.

When you are done swapping out parts, how much aggravation, time and money will you have invested in what is almost certainly a timing chain issue?

Review the thread "valve adjustment with PICS"
Pull the cylinder head cover this weekend, line up the timing marks on the crank pulley for TDC and inspect the timing marks on the camshaft gears.

I'll wager a beer that the camshaft marks will not line up properly.
 

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I have seen this before on another Forum. I just expended about 20 Min looking for it. Can't find it.


The person found that the misfire, and the code P0341 had been generated by a bad load of Fuel.

The things that are not adding up in this case for me, are, The fact that you have done a well regimented maintenance program. Unless you beat the hell out of it, the miles don't add up to Timing chain failure.

Still the P0341 code suggests that the chain is at fault. It's hard to argue with that.

I would inspect the timing marks to see if they are in the proper spots. Then work from there.

Dom
 

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Yeah Dom, I think I saw those threads. I added the water evaporator stuff to the tank about four days ago. So, I really haven't had enough time to explore that option, due to the flashing CEL. I really don't want to chance it at this point.

I have successfully changed out the two "Camshaft Position Sensors" and the "Crankshaft Position Sensor." The E cranked up fine, and idles ok, .... better than before. However, now the CEL has come back on, but it's not flashing .... which is an improvement. So, now I have to catch a flight out of town for work and I'll be back on Friday, which means it's going to Honda while I'm gone. I'll post what the final verdict is when I get back.

Thanks for the great advise and helpful ideas.
 

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