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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Quick Backstory: I have a 2003 Honda Element 4WD DX AT. I picked it up second hand with 100k miles and had almost no trouble for the first ~3 years of use. Last winter while driving with the heat up, wipers on, brights on, music up, and a 300W power inverter plugged in (I know, I'm an idiot) I experienced failure of the brights (they went out and then back on several times). After unplugging the power inverter all went back to normal. I threw it away and thought perhaps I should have the alternator looked at, but then did nothing.

Cut to one year later, I'm on the first long winter drive in my Element (its a work vehicle so I only drive it about once a week) and I have the heat up, wipers on, etc, and the brights would't come on. I shut everything else off but the brights still wouldn't work. I brought the car into the dealership for an inspection a week later and told them about the brights. They tell me the bulbs are fine, but that there was no voltage coming out of the multiplex unit (fuse box). In their words the mechanic "found voltage from the switch at the box but no voltage from the fuse box to the lights". After charging ~$450 to replace the multiplex unit I was then told that it was "also" the switch for the brights on the steering column and charged another ~$45 to replace that, again in their words the mechanic: "found voltage present after the fuse box for the high beams but they did not light up, he checked the ground and found a fault in the headlight switch to be preventing the lights from working". What is confusing to me is the phrase "switch at the box"! Is that dealer speak for relay?

The dealership told me that the physical switch on the column probably blew out the multiplex unit. I was in a hurry at the time (needed the state inspection that week and also had to take a trip) and didn't ask deeper questions, but this story doesn't really sit well with me. They seem to have decided the multiplex unit was bad before properly checking the signal from the high-beam switch, without knowing where they were measuring ground from it is hard for me to even begin to comprehend their troubleshooting and how they eventually found a fault in ground on the switch (which must have then been floating?). I don't know the likelihood of the switch being able to blow the multiplex unit, but if it can do that this would be horrible design on Honda's part. Also, I finally read this thread here: http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44008 and felt like I was probably in a similar situation. I would love some feedback on this situation from more experienced owners!

With everything "fixed" I took the car on a ~400 mile trip to test it after the repair and immediately found that the speakers are now not working (only the tweeters in the A pillar seem to work). The head unit is still functional, I have a multimeter and can get to tearing apart the doors to test the speakers and replace those if need be, but I don't know if there is a more efficient approach that I could take to troubleshoot this problem, e.g. perhaps the mechanic just didn't plug something in when they installed the new multiplex unit...

Does anyone with experience of the Element audio system have any advice here? Should I just test the voltage coming out of the head unit and then go speaker by speaker and test the wiring for proper voltage on the cone end or is there something in the multiplex unit (fuse box) I should take a look at first?

I have half a mind to bring up the order of repairs with my dealer and ask to see the old multiplex unit, as they pretty much had me by the b**** with the inspection and the trip that I needed to go on (two days before Christmas no less). From an electrical standpoint I am rather perplexed by the dealership's troubleshooting and I have the nagging feeling that what they told me is a coverup for failing to check the switch properly before replacing the multiplex unit, but at this point I would rather get my speakers working again and then have it out with the dealership, if need be.

Should I just demand that the dealer fix the speakers? Either way they were working before they monkeyed with the electrical system of my E.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
-FDP
 
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