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I have a 2008 Honda Element. I've been having issues with the battery over the past year and a half. If I drive the car every day or every other day it works great. If it sits in the garage for more than a day or two forget about it -- completely dead. Then I jump it and it's completely fine -- till it sit's in the garage of course.

I have taken it to two separate mechanics and they have advised that it is not the battery or alternator. I've had the issue for a while and have been careful to make sure everything is turned off, no drain going on that isn't immediately apparent

Is there something that I'm missing here..... any suggestions would be appreciated :)

Ben
 

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The mechanics should have connected a DMM in line with the battery to verify a current drain, then the real troubleshooting begins. Possibly a stuck/shorted relay?
 

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If you do have a current draw down, you may have to pull relays and fuses one at a time to find it with the DMM still connected in series at the battery. Another possibility is a bad diode in the alternator.
 

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Agreed, hook up an current meter and measure the current draw when the car is sitting.

An easy initial check is to make sure that all the doors are closed and latched, an easy way to test that is to put the dome lights in auto and make sure the light goes off when the doors close.

Check out this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF1gijj03_0
 

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Check the starter....my 2003 was doing the same thing....ended up being the starter :-D
 

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Statistically on this board, the most common cause has been a bad door switch on the tailgate keeping the computer from going in to deep sleep. This is the first thread I came across that might give you something to read. I've noticed (oddly) that most of these threads about trouble with the overhead light switches and/or rear door switches involve the 2008 model. Anyone else notice this or not?
 

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In low power state, the computer draws 35 mA, and if a door is open, or a door switch is somehow claiming that a door is open, the computer draws 200 mA. This amount of draw may not seem like much, but it quickly adds up, especially considering the stock battery doesn't have much storage capacity, and if the battery is older or has been run down, the situation is worse.

For example, if the computer is drawing 200 mA, and it does this for 48 hours, that is 9600 mAh, or 9.6 Ah, which is a very sizable draw on the battery.

You or a mechanic needs to do a current draw test on the battery with doors closed to see if the system is drawing 35 mA or 200 mA.
 

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You or a mechanic needs to do a current draw test on the battery with doors closed to see if the system is drawing 35 mA or 200 mA.
And it takes about a half hour for the computer to go to sleep before the last activity. So hook up the meter, shut everything down, and ... wait for it.
 

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And it takes about a half hour for the computer to go to sleep before the last activity. So hook up the meter, shut everything down, and ... wait for it.
That is not my experience. I seem to remember that the computer went from 200 mA draw to 35 mA draw in less than a minute when I tested it multiple times more than a year ago. I know for sure that I didn't wait a half hour, or anywhere near that amount of time.
 

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I've not checked it myself, but going by what it says in the service manual. I'm sure there are errors!

OR, maybe even that 35 ma goes away later?

Reading through the manual now...

In one section it says that the 'multiplex control unit' may take UP TO 10 minutes to enter the sleep mode for some models.

"After the ignition switch is turned to LOCK (0). the ECM/PCM stays on (about 25 minutes). If an ECM/PCM connector is disconnected during this time, the ECM/PCM may be damaged. To cancel this mode, disconnect the negative cable from the battery, or jump the SCS line with the HDS after the ignition switch has been turned to LOCK (0)."
The SCS line is in the OBD connector and is the one that you might hear about ppl grounding to read flash codes instead of using an OBD reader to scan trouble codes.

Apparently grounding the SCS line when the key is off puts the ECM to sleep immediately.

Why don't grandchildren have SCS lines?
 

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I would like to jump into this thread as I'm experiencing something similar with my 05 E. Same story, starts fine as long as it's driven every day (or every other day) but won't start when it sits. We got a snap of cool weather about a week ago and instead of it taking 3-4 days for the car to not start, it wasn't starting after 24 hours of sitting (not sure if that's because of the weather but thought it was worth mentioning).

My E also always has the door open light on as the latch on the passengers side doesn't engage properly - because of this I make sure to keep the interior light off so as to not drain the battery. If I'm reading the above comments correctly, this prevents the computer from going into deep sleep and likely the cause of the battery drain?

It's in at the mechanics right now and he's coming up empty handed. What should I have him test to confirm it's the door ajar light?
 

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What should I have him test to confirm it's the door ajar light?
He needs to check for current draw on the battery after all the systems have gone to sleep. You saw the discussion about how long this takes... the 07 manual says it could be up to 25 minutes.

So he needs to close all the doors, hook up an ammeter (a SENSITIVE ONE that will detect MILLIAMPS of current draw) in series with the battery line, and leave the car alone for a half hour or so. If there's more than a couple tens of milliamps of current draw after that time, the cause needs to be found... I would start with that latch switch.

Before disconnecting the battery you might need to write down the radio serial number and code so you can reactivate it afterward.
 

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Thanks very much. Will have him do that. And I already have the radio code - when your battery dies as much as mine you practically have it memorized!
 

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You've had the battery load tested, right? Constant discharging can shorten the life of a battery so it's possible that needs new also...
 

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Ugh. Just got off phone with mechanic - he said he tested it and it's drawing the corrects mAs. So back to the drawing board. It's not the alternator, the starter, grounds... battery was new in January but he's thinking it has to be the battery (even though he tested it and said it's good).

Any other thoughts?
 

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i came here to post on this, because I literally just fixed mine today, at home, and all it took was a $25 multimeter and a few machine screws.

Recently experienced the same thing on my wife's '05EX - after sitting over the weekend, battery would be dead on Monday. Battery is only 3 months old. Thanks to this board and a few YouTube videos, was able to test for parasitic draw on the battery with the meter showing about 225Ma. Since I'm slow, it took me a day or so to remember that the right rear suicide door's bottom latch had somehow lost all 3 of it's anchor bolts, and was just loose in the housing, therefore not making the latch when shut and causing the door ajar light to be on at all times. I took one bolt from the other side, put it on the loose side, and saw that the draw was back to normal (about 18Ma for me) with the temp fix. Went to a few stores, couldn't find the flathead M6-20 screws i was looking for, but finally realized that they are exactly the same screw that come with most license plate kits. Just found the flattest head I could. Secured the bottom latch, ajar light goes out, computer goes to sleep happy, no more parasite draw. Will check it before I go to bed, but it's been perfect so far!

Something to check if you are having any door issues as well as the battery problem-
 

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This seems to be a familiar pattern for Elements. I went through this for about a year too, everything seemed to point to bad battery or some parasitic drain. It was the starter.
 
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