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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I sure hope I didn't wreck my transmission. I've ready through a lot of posts here tonight hoping to find a problem similar to mine but I didn't. Here goes. Today I had to tow a Honda Shadow motorcycle (about 500 lbs) about 200 miles on my utility trailer (about 350 pounds). Everything was going fine for the first half of the trip, then I got to slightly hilly terrain. As soon as the hills started, the Engine Malfunction light came on. I know this light usually comes on from leaving the gas cap off or from night tightening it enough so I pulled over and checked, and it was fine. As soon as I started to speed up to rejoin traffic, I noticed that the car was acting sluggish. Like it wasn't shift up the way it should. Then as I was speeding up and reached 70 miles on hour, it felt like my tranny disengaged and the car was in neutral it had no response to the accelerator until the speed got back down to 60. As 60 she was running okay though sluggish, but as soon as I hit 70, the tranny would disengage. I ended up pulling over again. this time I disconnected the negative batter cable for a couple of minutes. When I reconnected it and started the car, the Engine Malfunction light was off. As I sped off, there was no acceleration problem, I was able to cruise past 70 with no problems. I thought everything was fine. Then the light came back on and the symptoms started again. Even worse, leaving a red light I must have accelerated to fast, and the car started bucking. As long as I accelerated slowly, there was no bucking. Going past 70, the tranny disengages and doesn't respond til I'm back to exactly 60. It felt almost like it's some kind of safety feature that wouldn't let me drive past 70. I also realized that the car bucked when I tried to use the cruise control as I was trying to set it to 65.
I pulled the negative cable a couple of more times and sure enough, doing that obviously reset the light as well as something in the car because it ran and worked fine when the light was off, but as soon as it came back on the problems begin again.

I dont' know if towing the motorcycle was actually the cause because I don't think the bike and trailer weigh that much. but I have no idea what to do tomorrow.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
 

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it sounds to me like an O2 sensor....

Now, let me preface this by saying the obvious - first, ANY error code (and an engine malfunction light coming on will throw a code) must be read and diagnosed. An engine light coming on is a problem that needs to be looked at. Disconnecting the battery is a very bad thing to do when you get a malfunction light on.
First, it's a 'hard reset' of the codes - you've just erased them - making it very hard for a mechanic to figure out what's going on. It also resets the computer, which is a quick fix, and it puts everything back to factory defaults. The problem is that the engine is made up of many sensors that feed information to the computer, helping the vehicle run as efficiently as possible. An 03 with all original parts/sensors etc has 'learned' to allow for normal wear and tear of parts and components, and runs pretty efficiently, until something fails...which is normal, even with the best maintenance program.
But parts do wear out - sensors get clogged, parts wear, and eventually fail. And the computer tells you this with warning lights.

An engine running sluggish sounds like the air/fuel mixture. The injectors could be clogged, the O2 sensors could be fouled or failing and reading imporperly, your plugs may need replacing or re-gapping, you may have got a batch of bad fuel - or any number of things - and the computer has done exactly what it should do - given you a warning.
The fact that you were towing at the time by itself doesn't mean the towing is a fault. Yes towing puts more strain on the engine and transmission, but it sounds like you may have had an underlying issue, that was borderline, and 'pushed over the edge' by towing.

Get it to a mechanic, and get the codes read, if they still can. And DON"T disconnect the battery!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, I had a chance to get the code read and it says:

Code 2646 Rocker Arm Actuator A, Bank 1 Perf. or Stuck off.


I've read some stuff on here about a screen getting clogged...vtec sensor?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I went and changed the oil and filter and magically the problem was solved. The oil change had slipped my mind and it was almost 10k miles since the last change
 

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That's not the check engine light????

The maintenance minder is the orange light on the lower left. It'll flash when you start the vehicle to remind you to change the oil, then stay lit after a while if you still haven't done it....this light needs to be manually reset...it doesn't go off by itself when you get the oil changed...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's not the check engine light????

The maintenance minder is the orange light on the lower left. It'll flash when you start the vehicle to remind you to change the oil, then stay lit after a while if you still haven't done it....this light needs to be manually reset...it doesn't go off by itself when you get the oil changed...
it was the engine malfuntion light. it's a little line drawing of an engine on the speedo. it' NOT the maintenance reminder light that flashes. I know that one has to be reset by hand. I changed the oil and filter and the ENGINE MALFUNCTION light did go out by itself. The car now drives fine. No problems going beyond 70 mph. No bucking.
 

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Well, I went and changed the oil and filter and magically the problem was solved. The oil change had slipped my mind and it was almost 10k miles since the last change
Another story about HOW YOUR OIL LIFE MONITOR 'sucks'
 

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it was the engine malfuntion light. it's a little line drawing of an engine on the speedo. it' NOT the maintenance reminder light that flashes. I know that one has to be reset by hand. I changed the oil and filter and the ENGINE MALFUNCTION light did go out by itself. The car now drives fine. No problems going beyond 70 mph. No bucking.
The Maint light doesn't just go out by itself just because you've changed the oil....
There is an underlying problem. Have the codes read again, and this time ask them to look for passive codes. These are warnings that the computer records, but not severer enough to actually throw a code. I don't know if they'll actually be any, since you reset the computer, but it doesn't hurt to look.
Better safe than sorry...the engine doesn't throw codes, just because you pulled 850 lbs....heck, I've had that much weight inside the vehicle wih no problems....not to mention the 2200 lb trailer I regularly pull...
 
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