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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! My name is Eric. I'm a Newbie here with a problem, and I'm hoping someone can shed some light on it before I give in and take my Element to the dealer. Basically, my alarm keeps going off, honking the horn repeatedly, and it seems to be related to the sensor switch in the passenger door. Here are the details:

I purchased my 2005 EX MT (SOP) at the end of April from a private seller, who had purchased the E as a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer in Phoenix. I'm in the process of transferring the Honda Care warranty from the seller to me (there was a delay in getting the necessary authorization paperwork from the seller to Honda until recently), so I hope to have the seller's certified pre-owned and vehicle service contract coverage in place very soon. Bad timing for a problem to occur!

My E has an alarm. There are Karr alarm stickers on the windows and the doors lock when the engine starts and unlock when the key is removed from the ignition, so I presume from reading other posts here on this forum that the alarm was not factory-installed by Honda, but instead was a Karr alarm dealer-installed either for the original buyer in 2005 or for the certified resale to the second buyer, who then sold the E to me. The remote keyless entry fobs are the standard ones from Honda - one click of the Unlock botton unlocks the driver's side door; a second click unlocks the passenger side door and the hatch; one click of the Lock button locks everything; a second causes the horn to beep. I had never set off the alarm accidentally and had never even heard the alarm in the two-and-a-half months I've owned the E, until this week.

I took my E to San Diego last weekend (Thursday through Sunday) and had no problems until Sunday morning (I was delighted with it on the trip overall, actually). When I went out to start the E at 7:00 a.m. that day, it was soaking wet from condensation, probably both from San Diego's overnight humidity and from being parked in a space next to the swimming pool. Maybe this caused some sort of a short in the alarm wiring that caused my problem, or maybe the moisture and problem are merely coincidental...

I unlocked all doors with the keyless remote fob, as usual, but when we got in as usual, the alarm started going off and would not stop. I tried pressing buttons on the fob, tried inserting the key and turning on the ignition (no power, apparently from the anti-theft mechanism), got out and relocked the doors, etc. - nothing would stop the alarm. It would quit for 10 or 15 seconds every few minutes and we'd think the onslaught was over, but then it would restart without our having touched anything, including the keyless remote. Eventually, we disconnected the battery to get it to stop honking, much to the relief of everyone within a half-mile radius.

Later that morning, when the condensation had dried, I tried the E again - reconnected the battery and started it up, with no problem. No alarm. Yay!Then, when I got out to close the hood, the alarm started again. I disconnected the battery again, and then reconnected it some time later. At first, there was no alarm when it started, but then the alarm started honking again. I was still able to start the E and drive it, so there was no anti-theft mechanism operating, but the alarm was still sounding constantly.

Somehow, we discovered that, when the battery was connected and the passenger door was closed, the alarm would go off, but as soon as the passenger door was opened, the alarm would stop. Door open - quiet. Door closed - unbearable honking.

We HAD to get back to Tucson for work on Monday, so staying in SD for another night to take my E to a dealer there on Monday was not an option, nor was driving 6 or 7 hours to Tucson with that infernal honking, nor was driving with the door open. We were at a loss.

Fortunately, we came up with a jerry-rig that has been working well for the last three days: we closed the passenger door enough to lock it and hold it shut for safety, but not enough to press the sensor switch and set off the alarm (the little red "open door" indicator light remains lit). This "solution" got us home safely, and it's been getting me around town since then. While driving home to Tucson, the alarm did go off twice - once in San Diego while I was turning on a cloverleaf from one freeway to another and the passenger door pressed against the sensor switch from the centrifugal force, and then again outside of Yuma, when high winds caused the passenger door to start rattling against the switch.

I have tested the E in the following days, and the problem is still occurring. As long as the passenger door remains slightly ajar, there's no alarm, but when the door is fully closed, the honking resumes. The keyless remote fobs will not work to lock or unlock the doors, either (I tried both of the fobs I received). I called my regular mechanic, whom I've used for years and trust a great deal, but he advised me to take the E to the dealer, especially for a problem with a short in the dealer-installed alarm system.

Since my Honda Care warranty has not yet been transferred, I've been reluctant to go into the dealer without that coverage. I don't want to get stuck paying out-of-pocket if I don't have to. As an aside, does the Honda Care certified pre-owned and vehicle service warranty cover a dealer-installed Karr alarm, if that is indeed the problem?

In the interim, I've just been been disconnecting the battery each time I park, in case the passenger door somehow closes on the sensor switch and sets off the alarm, and then reconnecting it before I drive again, but that has gotten old fast. Is there something that I can do myself, such as disconnect the Karr alarm (even with having virtually no mechanical expertise), or is it better to bite the bullet and take my E to the dealer ASAP? :confused:

If you've gotten this far, thank you for reading this long post - I appreciate your time and suggestions!
 

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It does sound like you have a aftermarket alarm installed along ith the factory one and probably it has its own keyless fob that you didn't get. Check under the dash and see if you can find the control unit for it and you should be able to unhook it but you will have to find the lock out relay for the starter and it should be near it and its a little black relay. If you follow the wires you will find where they cut the start wire and you can reconnect it. Have you checked out anyone that sells the carr alarm to see what can be done?
 

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yes, check under the dash above the driver kickpanel. everything is probably connected to the factory security accessory's green plug up there, with exception of the ignition wires/starter wire which are likely directly to the ignition harness and you would be able to see them by turning the 2 releases and dropping the under steering column cover like you were going to the fusebox. try just unplugging the "brain" up in the kickpanel that the wires go to the factory green security plug, as most security systems have a normally closed starter kill relay installed so that if the alarm is malfunctioning like yours it can be disconnected and the car will still start. It sounds like an alarm similar to the dei 727t that doesnt come with transmitters and is activated by the factory lock/unlock and a sequence of other pulses it see from the factory keyless unit. if this gets you going and you need an alarm to replae it with go to a reputable shop or your local big box like best buy and get one for like 200 bucks installed.
 

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---ditto Yoda, and if you can't find the connections, just stop at any alarm shop, and have them disconnect the alarm and bypass the ignition lock-out until you can replace it or the door sensor. Your Honda Dealer will not fix this issue under any warranty, as it is not "factory". And my experience with aftermarket alarms, is once they go bad, they stay that way - best to replace with new.
 

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---ditto Yoda, and if you can't find the connections, just stop at any alarm shop, and have them disconnect the alarm and bypass the ignition lock-out until you can replace it or the door sensor. Your Honda Dealer will not fix this issue under any warranty, as it is not "factory". And my experience with aftermarket alarms, is once they go bad, they stay that way - best to replace with new.
x2. I have friends who install aftermarket alarms and they have their own car audio and electronics businesses and do custom competition work. Unfortunately, a lot of places don't adhere to the stringent standards that the guys I know do (training, certification, bonding, etc.) and more often than not installs are quickly thrown in with the old pigtail twist and electrical tape level of quality :-(.

I would go with the Honda alarm system because not only does it come with a warranty and a guarantee that it is made specifically for your Element, it comes with all the necessary components that work with your existing set-up (utilizes the door switch pins, hood latch, tailgate latch) as well as adding a glass breakage sensor on the console near the shifter and the customary red LED warning light on your steering column trim cover.

Honestly, the factory immobilizer does a great job of protecting the vehicle if it is stolen but for those who want to take it to the next level and deter a thief from breaking in to begin with, the Honda system covers all the other major areas and gives you all that you need to protect your investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Resolution

I got the Honda Care warranty transferred, but since the problem was with the dealer-installed Karr alarm rather than the factory alarm, the warranty wouldn't cover the problem and I would have had to pay for the disconnecting of the Karr system. The dealer estimated it would charge me $130-160.00 to disconnect the Karr system and restore the Element to its factory-installed system, so I just took it to my regular mechanic who did the same disconnecting for $20.00. No problem so far...
 
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