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Instrument Cluster

I am soo glad I found this thread. I have an 03 Element that I bought with 161,000 miles. I had the same problems and had it to the shop but problem returned after they charged me to replace the battery. I was able to get it started by banging on the dash and also setting the wipers to low position but decided to replace instrument cluster for $300. It was very easy to replace but my mileage went back to zero. Love the Element and cant wait to get an 07 model in a couple of years.
 

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I want to know why?

So I am new to the Element and Honda in general. My E came with this intermittant start issue and the previous owner sold it to me with the just slap it warning. That actually works but my question is why?
If people are replacing their instrument cluster and that is solving their problem then what was it in the cluster that was causing this problem?
The fuse under the connector seems to imply that it is a connection problem at the point of the plug. That sounds right if a swift smack seems to solve the problem but I am surprised this issue hasn't been clearly diagnosed over the years.
 

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Been three months now and this seems to work. Mini fuse between gauge connectors stops the connectors from moving up and down...
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Hello! Thanks for this tip!

Is this still working for you? It looks like it's been a couple years since you updated the forum on it.

I have had this problem for a long time, and it seems to continually just get worse. If this is still working for you, I'm going to rip it apart and try it myself.

Thanks!
 

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I went ahead and took my dash apart and wedged some fuses up under the plugs in the panel.

Here's to hoping...unfortunately I could never replicate it..it just happens on its own periodically.
 

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Hello! Thanks for this tip!

Is this still working for you? It looks like it's been a couple years since you updated the forum on it.

I have had this problem for a long time, and it seems to continually just get worse. If this is still working for you, I'm going to rip it apart and try it myself.

Thanks!
Jam those fuses in. The problem occurred on my wife's E and I can happily report the issue has not once came back.
 

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Just pay up and get a new instrument cluster. For me it was a reliability issue because the clicking relay on the passenger size would drain my battery.
 

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Yesterday I had my first run-in with the car not starting w/ the flashing green key and the clicking behind the glove box symptoms. Today I tried Bross's fix and jammed the two fuses in. I'll follow up in a few days hopefully with good news. Thanks Bross ... and this forum is AWESOME!
 

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Thank you to you all for this forum and posting your results. I replaced my cluster yesterday. Problem resolved. The dealer was baffled and not convinced but i felt confident about recommending this fix based on my findings here. I purchased my cluster online through Pohanka Honda. Be sure to enter your vin number. And they will verify that it is indeed the correct fit for your vehicle. Customer service will contact you if it is incorrect. Also my odometer has a sticker noting the milage it was reset at. Thanks again.
 

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I think I found the ultimate solution to this issue. I have an 08 Element that this was happening to, but it only showed up a few times the past 2 years. Recently, though, it got worse.

I was planning on shoving a fuse in the wiring connectors to see if that helped when I ran across this video:

This is also the reddit thread where the author of the video gives some additional info: https://www.reddit.com/r/HondaElement/comments/7okrfy/instrument_cluster_flickering_lights_fixed/

Basically, this might be caused by the connectors between the cluster and the wiring not making a good connection, either because of oxidation or some other contamination/buildup getting in-between.

The author of the video recommends cleaning the pins/receivers in the connectors.

However, from experience cleaning old video game connectors, arcade parts, and vintage stereo equipment, I figured the easiest method would be to just use contact cleaner (regular Deoxit) and then plug and unplug the connector to clean and work loose any contaminants.

So, that's what I did. I used Deoxit on both ends and plugged and unplugged the connector about 50 times. It is working so far. (I used Deoxit Gold, since that is what I had, but regular Deoxit would be better, as I don't think anything is gold plated in the connectors).

For safety, you'll probably want to disconnect the battery, since you'll be connecting and disconnecting things rapidly. Deoxit is not conductive, so there is no worry about that, though.

I just did this 2 days ago, but I'll update in a few weeks to see if it is ultimately working.
 

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Hey everyone, im having this issue in my 03 honda element. No green key. Yet... but the gauges will cut out after ive been driving for a bit and then maybe wake up for a bit and even cut out again. Could it be a relay under the passenger side dash or has it been in most cases the actual cluster itself?

update: since i posted this morning, and drove 1 hour home, the gauges never came on and my element would intermittently lose gas power (anything above 60? i couldnt tell because my spedometer wasnt working)

on another note when i start my car and i dont have gauge power i am not able to get the car to shift out of park without having to overide with a screw driver or pair of sunglasses! are these related?
 

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Add me to the list. Original owner of a 2005 Element, with the Immoblizer sticking on, and numerous expensive Dealership “repairs”, that didn’t work. They replaced the battery, starter, and Immoblizer with no help. Replacing the instrument cluster, was a lasting fix. Thanks to everyone here, for saving our Ellie, with only 91,000 miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Just want everyone to know that I installed a new instrument cluster in Dec. Of 2011 ( back about page five) and have had absolutely no issues since then. Eight years¡!!!!!! Got mine from Bernardi.
Big thanks to everyone for their help.
 

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Time to bring this back to the top once more. I have an '08 that for a while now the green key of death will flash while I'm driving. There is never an issue with starting, dead instrument cluster or any other symptom. The car unlocks normally with either the key or the aftermarket fob. Remote starting is normal as well. I'd guess that this may be leading up to a larger issue at some point so I read with great interest this whole post. This issue seems to be only with the first series of Es. Mine being an '08 and not showing any further symptoms I wonder if it's related. Anyone else have this issue?
 

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Can anybody tell me if their dome lights were flashing a pattern once the gauge cluster was taken out? My Element has issues with battery draining and the dome light flashes 2 and 5 times when in the middle position. I removed the gauge cluster and the battery draw drops a lot, but the dome light keeps doing the flashing thing (but the pattern changes to 2 and 1). I tried the fuse and cleaning solution and it didn't help anything so I'm not dead certain the gauge cluster is the problem but it seems like the cause of the battery drain. I'm just wondering if something else is wrong with it, since the flashing doesn't actually go away with the cluster removed. So if anyone else has this problem currently I would appreciate knowing whether the dome light flashes when the gauge cluster is removed.
 

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I suggest that the solution of the Instrument Gauge Cluster, and the windshield wiper work-around be noted at the beginning of this thread, if possible.
Thank you to those who figured this out.
 

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I think I found the ultimate solution to this issue. I have an 08 Element that this was happening to, but it only showed up a few times the past 2 years. Recently, though, it got worse.

I was planning on shoving a fuse in the wiring connectors to see if that helped when I ran across this video:

This is also the reddit thread where the author of the video gives some additional info: https://www.reddit.com/r/HondaElement/comments/7okrfy
Basically, this might be caused by the connectors between the cluster and the wiring not making a good connection, either because of oxidation or some other contamination/buildup getting in-between.

The author of the video recommends cleaning the pins/receivers in the connectors.

However, from experience cleaning old video game connectors, arcade parts, and vintage stereo equipment, I figured the easiest method would be to just use contact cleaner (regular Deoxit) and then plug and unplug the connector to clean and work loose any contaminants.

So, that's what I did. I used Deoxit on both ends and plugged and unplugged the connector about 50 times. It is working so far. (I used Deoxit Gold, since that is what I had, but regular Deoxit would be better, as I don't think anything is gold plated in the connectors).

For safety, you'll probably want to disconnect the battery, since you'll be connecting and disconnecting things rapidly. Deoxit is not conductive, so there is no worry about that, though.

I just did this 2 days ago, but I'll update in a few weeks to see if it is ultimately working.
WOW That video made me dizzy/nauseous. Good work through for dash fixes! I think originally he is trying to show how to convert your dash lights to LED? Or just change them to not burnt out.

I am exhausted from reading this thread. I couldn't stop. I don't have the problem described (05 EX 4A 4WD 149k) but if I ever get it, I will know what to do. Thanks is not sufficient for everyone who did all this work and spent all that money to rescue all of us E fans from a serious and apparently not uncommon problem.

Astonishing that the Honda Dealers have no clues and just guess. They are instructed to follow a certain order according to the results of certain tests, one symptom at a time. It probably works if you only have the 1 problem they are focusing on. This is a complicated multi-symptom problem which appears to affect several systems. Unfortunately, they are all caused by the system they will never get to if they try to cure the problem one symptom at a time according to "the book."

The connector wedging and/or cleaning if successful, have the huge benefit of not changing your odometer reading and possibly ending up with a branded title. (true mileage unknown) which will cost you more than the new cluster if you ever sell the car.
 
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