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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Fellow Elementals,
I have 2006 Honda Element with about 150000 miles (original owner). A few days ago my yellow engine light came on and shortly thereafter it started having problems shifting gears smoothly. Rather than going through the gears smoothly while accelerating it doesn't shift from 1st to second until I hit about 35 mph, and doesn't going into high until I hit about 45-50. The shifter also keeps getting locked in park positon. I looked in the owners manuel and it said to pop the little tab off on the lower right of next to the stick and you can stick a flathead screwedriver in there to release the locking mechanism which is what I've been doing the past couple days. Also noticed my fuel mileage dropped down to about 16 mpg whereas I had been getting around 20-24 mpg on average.

Anyone have any thoughts what the problem might be before I take it to a repair shop?
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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738 Posts
Have you checked the fluid level in the transmission? Have you ever changed the transmission fluid?

The shift lock is based on a switch on the brake pedal that activates a solenoid in the shift mechanism to unlock it. Do you here a clicking noise at the shifter when pressing on the brake pedal before trying to shift out of park?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Have you checked the fluid level in the transmission? Have you ever changed the transmission fluid?

The shift lock is based on a switch on the brake pedal that activates a solenoid in the shift mechanism to unlock it. Do you here a clicking noise at the shifter when pressing on the brake pedal before trying to shift out of park?
Hi, Taking it in for transmission change today. I'm not hearing any clicking from the shifter when I hit the brake pedal....Joe
 

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2008 Element EX AWD TRP
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The engine light comes on to tell you that there an abnormal condition being reported by one of the control modules. Troubleshooting starts with reading the stored codes and determining what systems are erring.

Shifting of the A/T between gears is controlled by the powertrain control module, with inputs from sensors. The smoothness of that shifting between gears depends on the condition of (1) the ATF and (2) the control solenoids. Both if these can wear out and both can be replaced relatively simply by a DIYer. The fluid replacement is easy.

Identifying the solenoid(s) to be replaced is harder, requires knowing and understanding the codes. Anything that affects the continuity and quality of power to the power train control module can affect gear selection but not smoothness or timing of shifts; that is controlled hydraulically by fluid flow through the transmission solenoids.

If the PTCM detects an error condition the D light will flash on the instrument panel. In 2010, I had one solenoid and the ATF of my 2004 E replaced during a cross-country trip by a Honda dealer in Knoxville for around $400. The code was P7xx, I don't recall which.

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Regarding being stuck in Park, the shift lever is held in park by the shift lock solenoid. It is activated (released) when the brake pedal is pushed. Once the engine is running, it should continue to be released.

To give you an idea of how complex and dependent on power this process is, here is the circuit diagram for just the AT interlock system.

206175
 
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