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if all your dash lights are out that might mean you have no tail lights turn them on and see. If so check that fuse
 

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Bad day all around

So not only am I the walking wounded spaced out on meds and intermittently in pain (long story, another time) but I finally succumbed to having Honda look at this dash issue.

Just to do the diagnostic for the first hour was $110. That made me want to cry. Luckily they finished the diagnosis within that hour. Honda has determined that the entire gauge cluster needs replacing. I said, if it is just the gauges then why does the radio/HVAC console area not illuminate either. Tech says, it's all connected. I say, how come the needles of the gauges illuminate as well as the gear shift light. Tech says, there is something wrong with that entire gauge cluster--he doesn't know what. They don't fix gauge clusters they just replaced them. :-( :-( I replied, that sounds like something you'd put on a t-shirt.

The cost to replace the entire gauge cluster $786 including parts and labor. I lose the $110 diagnostic because I am not having this work done today. Not sure when I'll get it done. That's as much as my vacation to Maine!

Next up, although I was having no battery problems a diagnostic test* revealed that my battery needs resplacing :-x I purchased this battery from NTB (Exide) on July 8, 2008. :-( So, now I have to go back to NTB and figure out this mystery. And before anyone says 'maybe the altenator is draining the battery' back when I got the battery I was told the alternator was fine. Also, today, Honda tells me they cannot check to see if the alternator is a problem for draining the battery because they aren't getting enough voltage through the battery.


BTW...I have had no battery issues since I got the new battery. Only problems have been the screwy dash light issues.

There was a little bit of good news under all the bad. Bowie Honda did say that my front brake pads DO NOT need replacing, it's at 5mm and change should occur no later than 2mm. I had asked for a brake inspection because in Oct. 2008 when I had the 60,000 mile service College Park Honda recommended replacing the front brakes pads at the next oil change. I have had two oil changes since that time, and another is being done today even though it's 3675 miles later. It's in preparation for my road trip to Maine.

*The maintenance service light came on last Friday. Today's diagnostic revealed that the battery is why the light came on.
 

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burnt bulbs

Last year I just changed out the ones that were burnt out , It's really easy once you pop off that side panel and remove some screws , My mistake was checking the new bulbs in the garage , turned the ignition in the ON position to check my handy work but forgot to plug something back in .....Ooooops , airbag light or check engine light came on , once everything was reassembled . Thanks Perry for bailing me out !
Some Honda service managers are cool
RUBY
 

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My solution!!!

My 2005 Element had developed the same problem and I have been following this thread for about a year. I managed to fix the problem this afternoon. My dashboard backlight along with the radio and hvac controls would go off when I put my headlights on. Occasionally I would get them to turn back on with a quick strike to the dash, but it finally got too irritating to deal with.

My fix

Directions for removing the dash and gauge cluster can probably be found elsewhere so I'll skip those directions.

The problem was with the A connector (the larger connector) on the back of the gauge cluster. With the headlights on I found that if the connector was flexed upward (not much just light pressure) the dash-lights and radio/hvac controls would light up properly. I used a wooden shim wrapped with electrical tape to flex the female connector on the back of the gauge cluster upwards (on the back of the gauge cluster there is a plastic overlay protecting the circuit board and is what gave me the leverage against the connector). I forgot to take pictures but if you have any questions I'll keep an eye out for replies to this.
 

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My 2005 Element had developed the same problem and I have been following this thread for about a year. I managed to fix the problem this afternoon. My dashboard backlight along with the radio and hvac controls would go off when I put my headlights on. Occasionally I would get them to turn back on with a quick strike to the dash, but it finally got too irritating to deal with.

My fix

Directions for removing the dash and gauge cluster can probably be found elsewhere so I'll skip those directions.

The problem was with the A connector (the larger connector) on the back of the gauge cluster. With the headlights on I found that if the connector was flexed upward (not much just light pressure) the dash-lights and radio/hvac controls would light up properly. I used a wooden shim wrapped with electrical tape to flex the female connector on the back of the gauge cluster upwards (on the back of the gauge cluster there is a plastic overlay protecting the circuit board and is what gave me the leverage against the connector). I forgot to take pictures but if you have any questions I'll keep an eye out for replies to this.
Glad to hear a solution worked for you. I'm not mechanically inclined nor auto savvy. "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies."

I'm afraid to go ripping my E apart.

-g
 

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Gotta take her in...

Sadly, I'm going to have to take my E into the dealer and pay $1600 for a new gauge cluster and pray that this is really the problem with my E.

The problem began a year ago, and I've been able to live with it because I don't do a lot of night driving. However, Wednesday night I became stranded* near BWI when my headlights quit working. (well the high beams work, but not the low beams). Both lights were just replaced this past summer 2009. Replacing them then pissed me off cuz before that one of the lights (if not both??) were replaced in Nov/Dec of 2008!:-:)-(

With my luck the headlights thing will be a separate, added costs issue.

OUCH! This is gonna really hurt...and for a long time. :-(

*stranded: I called my husband to come get me. But I didn't check to see that the high beams worked until seconds before he arrived. So I drove home, tailing him, with my high beams on.
 

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having the exact same problems; only mine happened when installing a new stereo.... i smelt/heard the burning though; like melting wires- or plastic... is it possible i burnt all the bulbs out of my cluster... that wouldnt explane the hvac controls... any answers anyone???
 

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is it possible i burnt all the bulbs out of my cluster...
I seriously doubt you burnt the bulbs out...

Monkeying with the wiring and all makes it right at impossible to offer any real constructive ideas.

You are going to need a good electrical guy to take a look-see at this. :|
 

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I've got a 2003 Element having the same dash issue, popped up this summer and seems to be happening more frequently.
IIRC, the HVAC and radio also go out, I only get the airbag and "BRAKE" light illuminate on my cluster.
I good thump on the dash used to fix it.
Since the weather has warmed up a little, I'm going to open up the dash and see if I can see anything loose.
 

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I seriously doubt you burnt the bulbs out...

Monkeying with the wiring and all makes it right at impossible to offer any real constructive ideas.

You are going to need a good electrical guy to take a look-see at this. :|
yeah... well im sure what ever i burnt out is the exact same problem as the the OP is having... i guess it is very possible i burnt out the cluster; like the OP's dealership has told them...

would love to hear an update on the OP's saga....
 

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I've got a 2003 Element having the same dash issue, popped up this summer and seems to be happening more frequently.
IIRC, the HVAC and radio also go out, I only get the airbag and "BRAKE" light illuminate on my cluster.
I good thump on the dash used to fix it.
Since the weather has warmed up a little, I'm going to open up the dash and see if I can see anything loose.
Beating the hell out of my dash never did a thing to make the thing illuminate.

UPDATE: I surrendered my E to Honda. They've had it two weeks. The gauge assembly was taken out and shipped to Torrence, California for repair. I am supposed to pick up my E tomorrow. They were putting everything back together today.

When I get the details of what was wrong, I'll let every know.

-g
 

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Dash Light Problem Fixed

The instrument cluster had a short--no specifics given. No specifics on the paper work except: replaced part 781000-SVC-A12ZC, Description Meter A; $390.21 for the part. I asked two different ways trying to get more info, which is how I found out there was a short. So the instrument cluster was repaired by an electrician. After the repair, the whole thing had to be sent to California in order to reprogram the circuit board. Which included legally resetting the odometer to the correct mileage that was on the car when the entire gauge assembly was removed from E.

Everything is working now. I've had the E back for 7 days. Total parts and labor $700.

-g

Note: I have not driven at night yet, but when I turn the lights on it appears that everything lights up (in the day light they dim). I keep forgetting to go out at night and check. Well, I have to drive in the dark tonight so we'll see for sure if all instrument cluster lights and gauges are illuminated.
 

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Dash is not illuminating properly. Some things on the Heating/AC panel work sometimes and not others. Some lights on the driver door that lit before, do not illuminate now.

-g
 

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So you are going to be at the repair counter in the morning asking to speak to whoever is in charge, right? :?

Get back in touch with them in the morning, I really take offense to poor workmanship. Did they not test this when they repaired it? Well, duh - evidently not. :twisted:

Seriously, get in touch with the dealership's management , they should stand by their work. Be sure to follow up and let us know what they say.
 

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Clearly they did not test Sh1t! I'm sick of the whole mess.

I find I can tap on the climate controls and get them to come on some of the time.

In the meantime, hubby wrecked his car so we've had other troubles and expenses.

OH, right before Christmas I had new front brakes installed (power steering fluid replaced, and oil change) for about $500. The brakes squeak and make a crazy rubbing sound not when I depress the brakes but when I am almost to a complete stop. It's highly annoying as mentioned over and over by anyone riding in my E.

I've reported ALL the problems but have yet to surrender my vehicle because I need it. I already didn't have it for two whole weeks.

-g
 

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Ha! Fixed it!

So I look back in the area where Some Mook indicated, and behind (towards the firewall) the large bundle that is indicated in his picture there is a black wire that looks like an antenna plug/receptacle, or very skinny cigarette plug with the receptacle end fastened to the side of the footwell. Mine (an '04) had purple tape on it. This had come loose on mine and the tip of the plug had shorted to the wall of the receptacle causing the "Small Lights" fuze to blow and taking out my dash and tail lights.

I plugged that sucker back in and replaced the fuze and Boo Ya! we gat all the lights back!:razz:

G, drop your glovebox down and wiggle the wires at the ground located just behind the brace on the right side while the headlamp switch is in the 'park' or 'head' position while watching your dash lights.

Be careful around the brace, it's a little sharp.

View attachment 65600

View attachment 65601
 
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