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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Element EX AWD with a factory anti-theft system. I have what I think is an intermittent ignition disabler problem. Sometimes it won't start, no chimes, radio plays but is not backlit, gauges not working. When the key is pulled out there is flashing of instrument panel lights and a clicking from under the dash on the passenger side. When it does finally start, sometimes the gauges are still not working and the parking break and engine warning lights are on. After a few minutes or a few miles, everything becomes normal. Sometimes the key indicator light is on before I insert the key. That is a sign that I will have trouble starting. Or if I insert the key, turn on and there is no seatbelt chime, I know there will be trouble. It does finally start after several attempts. I can't say why it finally starts.
This all started with a dead battery. The battery was replaced. A mechanic thought it was the ignition switch so that was replaced but I still have the problem. I cannot reproduce the symptoms at will, it is a random occurrence. Does not seem to be related to the car being locked or unlocked, hot or cold, wet weather or dry. Our local Honda dealer is clueless.
Is there a theft warning relay that needs to be replaced?
Does this car have a Smart Entrance Control Unit that is defective?

Also, the instrument panel is not back-lit unless the headlights are on. This was noticed a week or so before the dead battery incident. The dealer insists that it was never backlit but I think it was. (I didn't drive this car for almost a month but thought something seemed to be different when I got back in it)
I have posted this problem before but have not received any ideas. I have been looking at new Elements and noticed a ignition disable feature on the invoice and that seems like that could be the source of my problem. Maybe with this additional information someone can help.
 

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Yes, dash lights on only with parking/running lights or headlights.

Your symptoms sound like a bad ground or wiring issue. Have a good look at the battery connections and the other wires in that area. Check for corrosion at the plug in connectors too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks

That takes care of the dash question. The dealer says they checked all connections and wiring. Is there a computer module for the ignition disable feature? Maybe a bad fuse? Broken wire? I hear the clicking on the passenger side under the dash. This has been going on for over 2 years now and I am really frustrated. I am afraid one day it will not start at all. The Honda dealer wants to see it when the problem is occurring but that is impossible. I did have an incident when it finally started but no chimes or instruments working and the flashing and clicking when I turned the engine off. I went directly to my local mechanic and he thought it was the ignition switch not recognizing the key. I had the switch replaced (2 weeks ago). It has misbehaved once since then.

I have been thinking about buying a newer model sometime this year. That may be the easiest way to fix my problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did the final fix

As my pretty little 2003 seemed to have unfound gremlins and was beginning to show annoying signs of wear, I traded her for a 2009. It is silver and so beautiful. All of my accessories and foo-foo transferred seamlessly to the newer car. I am so sad that this is the last year for the Element. This one will have to last for the rest of my driving life.
 
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