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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I apologize in advance as I've seen alot of posts on this...is there a consensus on the best (price/ease of installation/reliability) option for wiring trailer lights on a 2005?
the etrailer $25 tie in option looked fairly easy in their demo on a chevy, but i have now read a bunch of posts on frying the electrical :twisted:
i would bite the bullet and buy the honda harness but the install looks horrible.:confused:
I haven't got a dealer estimate yet on it ($318+tax :>() , but anyway, i just want the quick and easy install...don't need to go behind the bumper...i can just string it out the back when i use it...just need it for camping trips. ;-)
Any collective wisdom? Thanks!
 

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Depends on whether you really want lights or not...

IMnotsohumbleO, the factory harness is the only way to go. It uses the wiring system as designed.
If you cheap it out (can I use "cheap" as a verb?) with vampire taps, you will have wiring problems, grounds, blown fuses & etc, down the line (get it? "down the line"? Electrician humor there...).
I don't know why wire taps are even allowed to be put on cars. They always fail in the long run, and can cause serious problems with modern electronically controlled systems.
Now of course, if you don't CARE about having taillights, brake lights, or turn signals, have at it with the wire taps!
The factory system really is not difficult to install. Use H and A's installation instructions (which are actually Honda's, but while H and A lets us download them, just TRY to get them from your local dealer!). Everything just plugs in. You do need a good flashlight to find some of the spots, but there's been enough help posted that you really won't have a problem. Getting to some of the spots is a little tough, if like me, you're a fat 55 year old who has no flexibility and needs bifocals to see anything closer than 18 inches.
 

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There are at least 3 different hitch manufacturers (Curt, Valley, Draw-Tite) who sell branded T-type plug-in trailer wiring adapters - no vampire taps or splicing required. All cost very small fraction of the Honda harness. All are easier to install than Honda's harness. There are details in various threads about installing these harnesses.
(retracted)

For persons who are very concerned about blowing fuses in their cars, you can get an inline fused trailer adapter that plugs between the trailer and the vehicle. It's intended for absent-mined boat trailer towers who forget to unplug the trailers' wiring before they back the trailer into the water.

Honda's design buries a fuse behind the cargo area side panel. To access it, "simply" remove the cargo area side panel.
 

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Factory harness - no question about it. Sure, it's a little pricier, but all you have to do is read the horror stories about folks trying to splice and dice the third-party wiring systems.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks

Yep, I think I'll go with the Honda harness. I looked at draw-tite for the T-Connector, but they don't offer one for the 2005. I found later a thread (with pics!) of the harness install which didn't look bad. Thanks everyone!
 

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People who've installed the Honda harness are correct, it's not hard to install. Since they spent a lot of extra money because of their decision, they have a natural desire to defend their choice.

I believe that unless they used the Honda Element harness to replace an aftermarket harness designed for their Honda Element, they aren't speaking from direct personal knowledge of the aftermarket product, so their opinions of the aftermarket products from them are hearsay. There are a LOT of horror stories going back a few years from people who were mechanically inept installing primitive wiring harnesses. The Element having wiring and connectors already in place eliminates most of the mis-installation problems of the past.
(retracted)

If you read thread by people who have actually installed a third party harness in the EOC forums, you'll find few if any horror stories.

It's your vehicle, and your money but you should look at the Valley and Curt harnesses. The installation steps are similar to Honda harness. It's not necessary to completely remove the cargo area bulkhead and there are fewer inline connectors. No splicing, no vampire taps, no fuse buried inside the bulkhead requiring removal of the panel to change it. At least one EOC member was able to install one without removing the bumper cover. Electrical connection time for these is under a half hour if you have any experience with tools.
(retracted)

The one piece that I'd add to the aftermarket harnesses is a bracket for the external 4-flat connector, available for $4-5. Routing of the harness through the body and permanent mounting of the connector is more time consuming, but worth it. I'd also suggest a connector dust cover ($2-3) for whichever harness you install, particularly because you say you'll rarely use it.
 

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There are at least 3 different hitch manufacturers (Curt, Valley, Draw-Tite) who sell branded T-type plug-in trailer wiring adapters - no vampire taps or splicing required. All cost very small fraction of the Honda harness. All are easier to install than Honda's harness. There are details in various threads about installing these harnesses.

Yup...but NO! ...not for '05 models! :-x

What you've said (except maybe the install is the same not easier) is very true for early (03-04) Element owners.

I believe that the '07 and up cars also have a powered plug and play aftermark option as well, but the '05 and '06 owners are best getting the Honda unit. (unless there is somrthing recently introduded....if you know of one please post a link!)

We've been dealing with this confusion since 2005. :rolleyes:
 

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Let me preface this by saying up front that I am an Electronics Engineer, I have worked over 30 years in the business, so yea I kinna know my way around an electron... :rolleyes:

That said, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with your summation. There are those of us that recommend the Honda Harness for good reason. There are those that recommend the aftermarket harness for good reason too - typically low cost.

Without mentioning names (do a google search if you're that interested) of the companies that re-sell the after market harnesses for the Element does anyone actually think these are designed for the Element? Come on now, what is the actual market for any Element parts ?? What are the overall sales of the Element? As much as *we* know how great the vehicle is - the truth is it has a very limited apeal to people. The proof of that is in the numbers of vehicles sold....

Yes, the aftermarket guys do offer parts, I'm not saying they don't - but what I am saying is that the parts available are NOT designed for the Element. Yes, there are some available that are a better design than others, and a very few that might actually hold up in the long haul. But, far and above the ones available are mass produced, poorly engineered, pieces of crap.

I recommend a Honda Harness for anyone wanting to add the trailer lighting to their E, not because I feel bad about spending the money to buy one - more because it works. It's nothing to me to cut into a wiring harness, I don't break out in a sweat at the though of it, and I could have just as easily built an interface for my E if I wanted to, but I bought the OEM one too.

I have seen first hand what kind of damage these poorly designed peices of crap do to the electrical wiring. But I digress, the bottom line is there are aftermarket harnesses out there that are beyond amaturish in design - without adequate protection - to the point of actually being a safety concern. Most of these designs can (and have) kill your entire lighting circuits when something goes wrong. Personally, to me I just don't really relish the thought of driving down the road at night and suddenly - no lights... (regardless of having a trailer connected or not) :-(

But again, it's nothing to me. Everyone is free to do as they please. But I stand by my recommendation of the OEM harness - not because I bought one either.
 

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...There are those of us that recommend the Honda Harness for good reason. There are those that recommend the aftermarket harness for good reason too - typically low cost.

... Everyone is free to do as they please. But I stand by my recommendation of the OEM harness - not because I bought one either.

The funny/ironic thing is...the cheapy aftermaket "junk" isn't even available for the '05 model. (Owned by the thread stater, and subject of this discussion).

Trying to make a universal kit work on an Element is most likely more trouble than it is worth (unless you're decent w/ auto electrics and/or want to do something custom....and have the time & energy to do it).

BTW...I value you opinion quite a bit....and in this case tend to agree with you.

Just FWIW, I've been happy w/ the Draw-Tite unit in my '04 for the past 5 years. If buying one for a new Element I would consider my options and the various feedback from the EOC.
 

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I surrender. :-( I apologise. I should have known that when I was the only dissenting voice that there was a reason. I'm sorry.

I made a mistake thinking that because I'd installed harnesses in 2004, 2007 and 2008 Elements, had wiring and connector details and 2006 manufacturers catalogs listing the same part numbers for 2005 and 2006 models that there'd be no problem with a 2005. :-x The manufacturers no longer list those parts, although they are still shown in distributors listings.

I DO object to the characterization of aftermarket equipment for the Element as "cheapy aftermarket junk". Primary electrical vehicle wiring isn't rocket science or exotic technology. Honda is famous for CYA conservative over-engineering; adequate engineering is being cost-effective, not "cheapy". If your PC were designed the way that Honda designs electrical accessories, it would have cost a lot more, and the fact that it would last 15 years wouldn't mean much. (I'm also an electronics systems engineer, with more than 30 years experience, including designing everything from industrial control system to broadcast studios and networks. )

I saw the 2005 Honda harness listed online for under $150. If a dealer install costs over $300 are they sticking it to you, or do they think the install is harder than it is?
 

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As stated in a past forum: "It's a 2005 thing....you wouldn't understand..."

No harm no foul, 'cause Lord knows why Honda changed things up so much for '05 -

I learned from experience - our local U-Haul dealership was kind enough to admit they had actually trashed a 2005's electrical system and quickly suggested I talk to the folks at the Honda dealership when I sought out a hitch and harness install - after chatting with my regular local Honda mechanic -lookin' at the crazy dual pigtails, prospects of pulling up to floor, fishing thru the ducts- I opted to let him handle the install. Best part, when the four prong connection went south, the dealership repaired it at no cost.

Unlike Benny, I know diddly about electronics. I'm still in awe that there's a light in the icebox that comes on when I open the door.:rolleyes:
 

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I DO object to the characterization of aftermarket equipment for the Element as "cheapy aftermarket junk". Primary electrical vehicle wiring isn't rocket science or exotic technology. Honda is famous for CYA conservative over-engineering; adequate engineering is being cost-effective, not "cheapy".
Sorry...my bad. I didn't mean all aftermarket stuff is cheap junk. I meant that the "supposedly" cheap junk isn't even availble....so why even bother discussing it.

I make a big deal out of stuff like blanket responses such as "get the aftermarket one...it is fine" when there isn't one designed for the application. Owners of '07 models have recomended the model # they've successfully installed and used to '03 and '06 owners, which just causes confusion. Many people read these threads (and never post at all) and may not catch the stuff like model year info in a posters profile. (if it is even filled out)

Again, we've been dealing with this confusion since '05, and it gets frustrating saying the same stuff over and over. To make matters worse, many aftermarket suppliers have the wrong information as well.

And again...I like my draw-tite harness . I'd recomend it to anyone with an '03 or '04 Element. It was $35 or so, about 1/4 the price of the kit from Honda....and besides appearing to be a quality unit, it has worked perfectly for 5 years (5k miles towing/85k non towing). I've used Draw-Tite stuff in my work trucks (more than 100k miles towing)with very good results. I broke 2 factory Dodge hitch recievers, and had the factory wiring go bad on 1 Dodge and a Ford, but no problems with the aftermarket replacements.

Remember, the first '05 Honda trailer harness were recalled due to improper wiring. A few people w/ '03-04 have reported defective "converter units" messing up their turn signals with both Honda and aftermarket harness kits. Hoppy was slightly more likely to have this occur, if my memory is correct. Most of the complaints about U-Haul wiring seems to be from cut and splice installs, not instalkation of aftermarket "plug & ply" wiring kits....but do a search for "U-Haul wiring" and you'll find many people recomending against using U-Haul for the wiring harness. (w/ no mention of the "method.")
 

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I DO object to the characterization of aftermarket equipment for the Element as "cheapy aftermarket junk". ... (I'm also an electronics systems engineer, with more than 30 years experience, including designing everything from industrial control system to broadcast studios and networks. )
I owe you an apology I guess, sometimes (OK about all the time) I'm guilty of not really 'sugar coating' my remarks. I'm not a real big fan of being 'PC' so please don't take offense to any crude remarks made.

I didn't intend to infer any lack of knowledge on yours or anyone's behalf, I was simply tossin' that out as a way of signifying that I do have a tad bit more than average knowledge of electrical / electronic issues. Being the internet and all - any one can pretty much be an expert on about anything.. :rolleyes: But my background is in electronics engineering and has been since way way back...

But I do stand by what I say, and I am the first one to admit if I've made a mistake. But the harness thing and the comments I make regarding the overall quality of aftermarket electrical parts is spot-on. The largest majority of electrical aftermarket accessories are junk plain and simple. No, not all of them just the overwhelming majority...

Sad part is, most people don't know (or just don't care about) the difference - their only concern is the bottom line cost. Which in turn leads to all kinds of failures and damage due to poorly engineered junk being used.

It's not just in the automotive field either, there's a market for all kinds of junk.... been to a wal-mart lately??

Again I'm sorry if anyone takes my opinions the wrong way, I do tend to say it as I see it... sometimes I wonder if that's a bad thing or a good thing.... regardless, it's just the way I am... ;-)

But, I'm harmless - just ask around... :smile:
 

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I'm looking at putting the Valley/UHaul hitch on my '09. Got a quote from UHaul to install the wiring harness but I was thinking about doing it myself. Found a harness on HitchesOn Line: item#HH118465 T connector assembly with upgraded circuit protected Modulite module, Tech Note: #HH118465 is the correct T-connector for '07-'09 Elements. One must look further into the vehicle to locate the plug BUT IT IS THERE!
This sounds like this should be the correct direct plug harness for my vehicle, any thoughts?
 

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Tech Note: #HH118465 is the correct T-connector for '07-'09 Elements. One must look further into the vehicle to locate the plug BUT IT IS THERE!
This sounds like this should be the correct direct plug harness for my vehicle, any thoughts?
Yes, this thread is about 2005 trailer hitch/wiring.
 

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I don't have a problem with aftermarket connectors or adapters; although I don't know if anyone made them for the 2005.

What I detest is the wire taps (vampire taps) that many hitch installers use to put generic trailer wiring on any car. I made the mistake of letting Uhaul put a hitch on my old vanagon, and said, sure, put on the wiring harness as well. I figured they had some cool adapter or connector for the car. Nope, wire taps. First time I hit the brakes pulling my kayak trailer, the brake light circuit fuse blew. Overloaded the circuit. When I pulled the dang things off, I discovered the wire strands cut 50% through as well. I soldered the wires back together, and installed a proper adapter for it, and spit at Uhaul whenever I drive by.
 
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