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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my father just called me and asked me if i knew what would cause his E shift harshly into reverse and drive from park. He said the "D" on the dash is always flashing now no matter if it's in drive or park or any other gear. I have no idea what would cause this but teh manual says there may be a tranny problem. Has anyone heard anything about this or any tranny problems that may cause this?

Thanks for any help

steve

oh yea, like father like son, we both have elements :)
 

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I'd be willing to say that your father should NOT drive it, but should get it to a repair place and get it looked at immediately. It sounds like a definite transmission problem to me.

One of the laws of car repair physics states that a transmission will fail completely at the worst possible moment, such as on an uphill exit ramp in a busy part of town with emergency lane and no room to pull over.
 

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The flashing is the transmission computer's blinking an error code in attempt to tell you what's wrong with it. Whatever it is has to be pretty bad to result in a code.

This is very unlikely to resolve itself, and it is undriveable as long as it's flashing the code. Have him call for a tow.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the replys guys.

It turns out that a wire leading to a sensor right behind the battery mounted to the tranny was chewed through by a mouse or something. I'm glad he found that before calling for a tow taking it to the dealer would have been a big headache.

thanks again
steve
 

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Good diagnosis work!

I'll bet you the error code being flashed was "XYZ sensor not responding" or something like that, so if you had the $70 service book for the codes you would have looked there sooner or later... glad it was sooner!
 

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A flashing "D" means that the computer, known as the PCM is saying there is a problem with the transaxle. Now, that said, and as noted earlier in the post, a loose wire can cause this problem. In the Element, there are quite a few bus oriented wiring harnesses or wires that connect to multiple sensors and then make their way to the PCM. They send digital signals that the PCM interprets and acts on. Makes sense that a loose wire could cause the problem.

The dealer will plug in and run a test, record the error code, clear it, drive the car, and then check for error codes again. If they can't replicate the problem, they will inspect the electrical harness connections associated the the transmission.

BTW: The connectors are self-cleaning and, with the battery disconnected, you can pull them off and connect them again. Although, if its a new car, the dealer should do it for you.

TB
 

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I had an SUV (not an E) that did this in Nov - engine light, transmission light, lurching, running in "gimp mode" - the whole thing - it was just a bad sensor. Was in & out of the shop in 4 hours. No biggie. Didn't get it towed - in fact drove it 200 mileas AFTER the warning lights came on - had no choice, was that far from home, at night, alone. Didn't hurt the car at all, was just a pain to drive it like that. Prob a defective sensor since the vehicle is brand new --- or something shook loose in transport. Don't think its anything more problematic than that.
 

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D for Drive flashing, Check Engine light - Code P0980 Open Shift Solenoid Circuit C

Had my 2003 Element EX 2WD Automatic (38k) for about 3 weeks now. Was driving home from work yesterday when I felt the Element 'jerk' when shifting, and immediately my Engine light came on and the D for Drive started flashing. I was a block from home so I parked it and went about my day.

This afternoon, I took the Element to Autozone to have them pull the code(s). It came back with P0980 - Shift Solenoid C. I've looked this up online and its also worded as "Shift Solenoid C High" and "Open in Shift Solenoid Circuit C".

On the drive to/from Autozone, it starts off in 1st gear like normal but when accelerating up to speed, it doesn't shift into 2nd gear unless i completely let off the gas and then it shifts/jerks into 2nd gear. I dont think it shifted into 3rd gear at all. I only got up to around 45MPH and the rpms were a little over 3k.

So I get back home and start peeking around wondering if a sensor came unplugged or a wire is cut/torn/etc. I removed the battery and unplugged and replugged like 7-8 sensors that were around the transmission. The sensors/wiring all 'looked' fine to me.

Anyone have any ideas? An "open" means that theres a break in the electrical connections somewhere. However, where do I start looking? What is Shift Solenoid Circuit C? and where is it?

thanks!
-Mike
 

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It's the Blu/Yel wire coming out of the Powertrain control module at the c7 position marked LSC( the PCM ).
There is a specific set of conditions that the test MUST be run under.

The connector is the center one on the PCM. There are 2 connectors on each side of it. The wire you want is the one on the left end top row as it plugs into the PCM. You will see the Blue yellow wire. There is only one other Blu/Yel wire going to the PCM. The other one is on an End ( outside edge ) connector, and not the one you want.

The C solenoid valve controls the pressure ports leading to the second and third clutches.

It may be a bad lead or a bad solenoid, Or God forbid, a bad PCM!
There is a test procedure that's 2 pages long that will lead to the source of the trouble.
I hope this helps

Dom
 

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supadupamikey said:
Just ordered the shop manuals. Was hoping to wait a couple more weeks until I finish rebuilding the motor in my Integra gsr and sell it, but this can't exactly wait.

i hate cars. :???:
Actually, it sounds more like cars hate you. :D

For something like this where you have an "open circuit" error, I would be going to every connector in the likely circuit and "freshening" the contacts by unplugging/replugging each one. ECU and transmission connectors would be at the top of my hitlist.

That's a trick from my (all-too-ancient) experience with not only cars, but big computers, too. Merely the act of removing and reinstalling a board would frequently cure everything from a solid no-op condition to a rare flakiness, all attributable to a dirty contact or something similar.
 

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i got my helms shop manual today. the funny thing, however, is that the check engine light went away a few days ago and the E is driving perfectly again.

oh well, im sure it'll pop up again one of these days and i'll be ready to diagnose the problem with my helms manual.
 

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supadupamikey said:
i got my helms shop manual today. the funny thing, however, is that the check engine light went away a few days ago and the E is driving perfectly again.

oh well, im sure it'll pop up again one of these days and i'll be ready to diagnose the problem with my helms manual.
Now THIS sounds like a flaky connector! So my advice still stands.

I had a similar-ish problem with an SUV I had like a decade ago. It would run fine 99.9% of the time - but hit a good bump, and the engine would cut out and I'd get a "Check Engine". (I'd stop and check the engine, and it was always still there. ba-dmp-dmp.) What was strange, however, is that it did the same cutout thing in reverse, without any bumps.

Turns out that there was... yes... a connector in the engine harness that was partially engaged. If it was jarred (by a bump) or pulled on in a speciic direction (by the engine torquing on the mounts, only in reverse), contacts for the timing sensor would be pulled apart for a fraction of a second.

I threw about $200 in parts at it (timing sensor and other stuff), only to find that a 5¢ cable-tie to keep the connector "stable" was the final solution.
 

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cant she go to AutoZor or equivalent auto parts store and have her codes read for free (or small fee) as opposed to going into a dealer who is going to charge her 70-80 bucks just to read the code? And that way she could get a better idea what is wrong before she heads into the dealer...:confused:
 

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jdiane said:
cant she go to AutoZor or equivalent auto parts store and have her codes read for free (or small fee) as opposed to going into a dealer who is going to charge her 70-80 bucks just to read the code? And that way she could get a better idea what is wrong before she heads into the dealer...:confused:
Well, we don't know if her E is under warranty or not. If it's under warranty she should just take it straight to the dealer - if not, several places have code readers for a small fee, or free. I imagine ANY "flashing D" repair is gonna have to be done at a dealer or authorized repair shop though...it probably isn't a "quick-fix" thing.
 

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true, it would need to be fixed at a dealer, but at least if she had her codes read at autozone she would have some idea what was wrong and not be screwed by the dealer... I think in another thread she said she had like 90000 miles on her E, but am not sure...
 

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The 'D' lamp will flash when certain transmission related DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) are stored.

Not all transmission DTC's will illuminate the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) due to OBD II regulations, so when a fault has occured with the transmission that would not cause tailpipe emissions to exceed 1.5 times the FTP, the MIL stays OFF but the 'D' lamp flashes to alert the driver that a transmission related fault has been detected.

A scan tool should be used to determine exactly which trouble code has set, so that the fault can be diagnosed.
 

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I took my E in last week for the blinking "D" and lukily enough it was blinking when i pulled into the dealer, so the blinking was "confirmed"!!!!!!! which is odd for me because i normally suffer from could not replicate type problems.

ANYWAY

It turned out to be (at least what they told me) an oil switch in or near the tranny. they ordered the part, and i'm having it installed today after work. Luckily i bought an extended warranty, and it's only gonna cost a $50 deductible to fix my 96,000 mile old car. :razz:
 

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It did it again

So not even a year later, it started doing it again and then nothing. It flashed once yesterday and then nothing today. I took it to a mechanic last year, had him run the diagnostic code on it and nothing came back. I've been driving it for a year and now have 108,000 miles on it and now it's back at the mechanic. At this point I'm thinking of trading it in tomorrow for a 2008 CRV...I just hate cars that start to have problems, although my E has been very good to me!
 

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This same thing is happening to me again. The D light started blinking last April, I brought it the mechanic and he couldn't find anything wrong...so I kept driving my Element, now have 108,000 miles on it. Now it is happening again. I brought it back to the mechanic, he scanned for any codes and came up with nothing. He said the transmission fluid was a little off in color, but nothing else..

Any thoughts if there are no codes coming up? I am seriously thinking of just going to trade the car in for a CRV, but I really don't want to do that...I don't want to put in a new transmission either!
 
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