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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wives car has been having issues. It has had a battery, new starter, and 3 new alternators in the past 4 months. The mechanic is at a loss and keeps sending me to the dealer.

Here is what is happening. And only every now and then. When it is warm outside and the accessories are being used things start shutting off. It looks almost like a bad alternator.

This describes it perfectly and it did this the other night.

Our '04 E has 135K miles.

1. Radio cuts out - loses power.
2. A/C cuts out a few seconds later
3. ABS light comes on
4. Windows and wipers, if in use, run very slowly.
5. Speedometer, temperature gauge, and fuel gauge drop to zero.
6. Lose all lights, the dim to they disappear.
7. Once I popped onto the highway, sped along at 45 for a few minutes, and the problem disappears.

I got home, turned off the car and started it back up. Now it acts normal. Battery has a full charge, alternator is fine. The battery was not affected by the loss of power.

After researching I believe it may be the ELD. It looks as if it was never replaced, but I am not sure that the ELD would go to this extent.

Could it be the computer? The car is not safe to drive like this.

Thanks
 

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You need a better mechanic. This problem could be diagnosed with a proper scan tool and a voltmeter fairly quickly, I suspect, if the proper testing is done when the fault is active. If it is tested when the problem is not present then that will not tell you anything.

Now, ask yourself, What do all the things that do not work properly have in common? They are all powered by the ignition switch. You also said the battery was not affected. What does that suggest to you? That is where I would start testing. Not a diagnosis, just thinking out loud.

The next time it happens, start turning the affected accessories off and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rusted wrench,

Thank you. I know I need a better mechanic. I can never get the car there when it is acting up as it happens few and far between. We have turned things off and the car works the same. if i can get the rpms up it works it self out.

Why the ignition? The whole car is run from that point… how do I work my way down from there.
 

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A thread-title search for keyword "ELD" returns relevant threads. The ELD (p/n 38255-S5A-003) costs about $25 online. Your mechanic should have recommended that prior to replacing the alternator for the third time. OTOH Rustedwrench's suggestion of actually troubleshooting the problem is good provided that you have the wherewithal to do it. If not, find someone who does.
 

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Rusted wrench,

Thank you. I know I need a better mechanic. I can never get the car there when it is acting up as it happens few and far between. We have turned things off and the car works the same. if i can get the rpms up it works it self out.

Why the ignition? The whole car is run from that point… how do I work my way down from there.
You need a volt meter, a wiring diagram and the ability to read it. When the problem occurs the first thing you need to know is the charging system voltage at the battery. It should be between 14 and 14.5 volts. You would need to test it with the negative meter lead on the battery, then on a metal part of the body, which tests the integrity of the body ground, since the affected components are grounded to the body.

If you do not have the correct voltage at the battery it adversely affects everything downstream. If you have correct system voltage at the battery, the next thing I would check is the voltage going into the ignition switch and the voltage coming out of the ignition switch on each of the outputs. Ignition switches typically have multiple sets of internal contacts for different functions and some can work correctly while other do not.

If you do not get the correct voltage at the battery the next place to test it would be at the alternator output stud. If you do not have the correct voltage there, a capable scan tool would tell whether the Engine Control Module is commanding a lower alternator output due to a ELD input.

Without doing any testing all else is guessing. Mental masturbation can be fun but it is not the best way to diagnose a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rusted Wrench…
Thank you for the detailed list. I will have to find an automotive electrician. The problem can't be duplicated because once you stop the car the problem stops. Oh well.
 

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2003 Element "ELD"

What is ELD? I am an old-school Mechanical Points and Condenser guy, but my wife has a 2003 Element. She started it this afternoon and had the BRAKE light come on, and Fuel Gauge drop to E . . . After parking for a few minutes, I drove it around for about 10-15 minutes and it ran just fine . . .
 

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I had the same issue as betja72 occur once while driving on logging roads (slow, lots of bumps). When I got back to town, I had the alternator and battery checked while the fault was not occurring and they appear fine. Should I drive around with a multimeter and OBD2 until I can get it to happen again or get an auto shop to start poking around?
 

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My wives car has been having issues. It has had a battery, new starter, and 3 new alternators in the past 4 months. The mechanic is at a loss and keeps sending me to the dealer.

Here is what is happening. And only every now and then. When it is warm outside and the accessories are being used things start shutting off. It looks almost like a bad alternator.

This describes it perfectly and it did this the other night.

Our '04 E has 135K miles.

1. Radio cuts out - loses power.
2. A/C cuts out a few seconds later
3. ABS light comes on
4. Windows and wipers, if in use, run very slowly.
5. Speedometer, temperature gauge, and fuel gauge drop to zero.
6. Lose all lights, the dim to they disappear.
7. Once I popped onto the highway, sped along at 45 for a few minutes, and the problem disappears.

I got home, turned off the car and started it back up. Now it acts normal. Battery has a full charge, alternator is fine. The battery was not affected by the loss of power.

After researching I believe it may be the ELD. It looks as if it was never replaced, but I am not sure that the ELD would go to this extent.

Could it be the computer? The car is not safe to drive like this.

Thanks
I don't know what ELD is, either. The first thing that popped into my head was check your grounds. Loose or corrosion. Can cause intermittent loss of power.
 
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