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Discussion Starter #1
At my wits end and the hospitality of an employer's garage too. OK, my problem began with difficult starting, which gradually got worse. Got an aftermarket battery, things seemed OK for a week or two, then the same thing happened...difficult to start, became worse as weather worsened. Then I had to use a charger w/ a booster start mode to start it, or jumper cables if I was on the road. Within a few weeks, however, even that became difficult, until it wouldn't start at all. Nada. No clicking, nothing. Just before that happened I went to AutoZone and had them check the battery: it was good, but the alternator was shot--that was the news (true to his prediction, the Element failed to start at all within the week). So, I ordered a used alternator from ebay (who knows, but seemed a reputable junkyard w/ 100% positive feedback, they guaranteed it was working) from an '04. So I replaced that, but to no avail. Then I was reading about ELD units, so I switched that out for a new one, but still nothing. I have since checked the radio code, ground connections, wiring harnesses, fuses, but still it won't crank. Wondered about the starter, tried tapping it while turning over, but nothing happened. Actually today I could get the serpentine belt to turn the PS pulley about 1/4 turn, if I left it alone for 15 min. or so. The battery reads 12.5 volts, dips to around 11.9 when trying to start. Anyone have an idea? I'm still suspicious of the starter: can I test it on the car or must it be removed? (Please tell me the former!). Any help will be deeply appreciated. It's cold here now and my employer has been kind enough to allow me the use of a maintenance garage on weekends to work on it, and this is the second weekend in a row I've asked for the key (with the Element was sitting outside it this whole week). I don't want to wear out my welcome, and I want a car back. Any hints or tips would be appreciated.
 

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had the same symptoms with my 03, have to changed my battery first and it's all come down to my starter and everything was back to normal, well! not everything. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
post an audio?

Hey duce, what are easy ways to post an audio? Also, I'm presuming you mean an audio of my trying to turn it over, is that correct? Thanks
 

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I know you did it already, but check all the connections.Grounds & cables need to be clean & tight.

Test the alternator:

Put a charger on the battery, get it up to full charge....and then start the motor and let it run.

Put a voltmeter on the battery. At idle you should have about 13-1/2 volts at the battery....maybe more like 14. 12point something means the altenator ain't working.

If that ain't it have the battery and/or starter tested. Yes, even a new battery.


Good luck.

Will
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Done

I keep the engine compartment pretty clean, so the ground connections were already clean and fine--nevertheless I took them apart, sanded all surfaces and re-tightened.

I would love to be able to test the alternator...but it won't turn over!

Checked the service manual for starter checks, and they had some clear instructions, but you have to remove the manifold first, just to check it--what a pain in the a**.

Sigh.

If anyone out there thinks this could be anything other than the starter/solenoid, then I guess I'll order one.

Thanks, Wm
 

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Discussion Starter #8
battery good

Yes, the battery is not only pretty new, and I've tested it (detailed above, I think), but I've also tried using a charger in starter mode, which is probably a little more powerful than an average jump (but I could be mistaken on that). Still no difference than with the battery alone: on occasion the belt will turn the top pulley maybe an inch.

Thanks for suggesting that though, I can't count how many times I've been like the idiot on Slingblade who didn't check the gas before thinking that something was wrong with the engine.
 

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OK then.

So the starter sometimes slightly nudges the motor into rotating a bit. Assuming the battery is ok, you've got a starter problem.

I wouldn't trust the "start" mode on the charger....a real jump is much more accurate. (And important and easy to do before tearing into a starter replacement)


It is very important to isolate the "issue" and weed out variables so you're not kickin' you own a$$ trying to fixthe thing.

I recomend the following...both cheap and easy:

Try jumping it. If it starts you're back to square 1.

If it doesn't start, try tapping the starter with a hammer while someone turns the key (i know you've tried this before, but do it again just in case & leave the booser cables hooked up.) If it starts then, your starter is bad.

I know you said it doesn't start w/ a boost....so yeah, the starter is the most likely. To eliminate a motor issue you might want to try removing the spark plugs to be sure the motor turns freely.

Does the thing go "click" or "clunk" when you turn the key? If not, try using a test light or multi meter to check for power at the starter when the key is turned.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
starter woes

OK, tried both: the jump turned out just like the battery alone or the charger in start mode. I'm not sure how well I did on the hammer trick.

I thought I might be able to access the starter from underneath, so I took off the plastic undercarriage protector (darn clips!), and at least got a look at it from underneath, but the electrical connections are all above on and near the solenoid. So, button that up and try to look at things from through the manifold...that's almost funny. I could make out a few things, but trying to reach it? With a hammer? No way. I did fashion a makeshift hammer-knocker thingie out of wire and a good sized bolt, but tapping it made no difference.

I'm stuck with the starter problem I think.

Sizing up the e-bay offerings as we speak.

Thanks for helping me narrow down the problem,
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #12
replacing starter

Thanks hondamike12345, I'm ordering an oem starter from a wrecking yard as we speak. Anything special I need to think about as I remove manifold and replace the starter? The only thing I've read about is to have a new manifold gasket on hand. That may be a problem since there's no honda dealership nearby. Can I handle the old one carefully and use a good gasket sealant instead? Any other tips on this procedure.

Thanks, out,
Bill
 

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Don't pull the manifold. Just lower the subframe and you can get it out. It takes a little finesse, but you can do it. That's the way I do it... but then again, I work on a lift. If you're on jackstands it may be more difficult.

If you still decide to pull the manifold, don't worry.. the gasket is rubber and can be reused. No sealant needed.
 
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