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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone! From the title of this post you can tell where this problem is heading...
ok, backstory. For about the last month my ’05 E with a manual trans would not crank every time the key was turned. After a few turns of the key, it would crank and start and run fine. The last couple days it got worse, so before it left me stranded, I figured I better get her fixed. So, with no diagnosis other than reading threads here, I replaced the starter (after checking the battery, which was fine) with a brand new Duralast starter. No difference right from the start of installing the new starter; if anything, a little worse. I shot the parts cannon one more time and replaced the ignition switch. Again, from Auto Zone, and again, it did not fix the intermittent crank issue.

So, now I have put the parts cannon away and am trying to fix this the right way. I bought the Emanual and am following the troubleshooting chart. I checked the battery (again), it was fine. Hooked a jumper wire from battery positive to the S terminal on the starter, and the starter spun normally. Did this test 10 times or so (briefly) and am confident the starter is not the issue.
On to the clutch interlock switch. Took it off and checked for continuity between the two male leads With the plunger depressed. Yep, it checked out good. Checked the ground on the connector side. Good ground. The little rubber plug that pushes the plunger in was still attached, so I re-installed the clutch switch. Moved on to the starter relay under the dash, and things got strange. How in the world do you get that relay out? Seems damn near impossible. I may have to remove the fuse/relay panel to get more access. Any ideas?

I then needed to move the E, and without re-attaching the wiring harness for the clutch switch, The E started after a few dead turns of the key! How is that possible? From what I can tell from the wiring diagram, that starter relay is finding a ground somewhere besides the clutch switch, as it was not hooked up. Weird.

I’m assuming I have checked the clutch interlock switch for the starting system (white connector) not the cruise cut off switch. I’m checking the one right on the pedal shaft. Correct me if I’m wrong!

Sorry for the long tale. Thanks for any thoughts/comments. I’m not great with electronics, so feel free to educate!
Brian A
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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The clutch interlock is the upper one of the two on the clutch assembly. It should have a two pin connector with a blue/white and black wire. When the clutch is pushed all the way in, the top of the clutch lever should depress the plunger on the switch. If the switch checks out, it may just need to be adjusted a little closer to the clutch lever. If you really had the clutch interlock disconnected and managed to start it, then yes, you must have ground issue somewhere.

There is a special tool (kind of a thin horseshoe shape with the ends bent in) to remove relays from the fuse box.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for responding. In the picture below, is number 6 or 8 the starting interlock switch?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, I’m embarrassed to say, i placed the post thinking number 8 was for the starting system. Thanks for putting me on the right track.
 

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That's why we're here. I suspect maybe all you need to do is adjust the switch to be a little further in. As you found out, the parts diagrams from dealer web sites can be a helpful tool for identifying parts and locations. The best tool you can own is a factory service manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Agreed! The Emanual I bought was helpful in giving me a route to follow in the troubleshooting process, but came up a little lacking with regards to diagrams and locations. Or it may be my lack of patience swiping through electronic repair manuals! Thanks again for taking the time to help.
 

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I'm old school, I like a paper manual. At least the Element's main manual (2007-2009) is just one volume. The one for our 2009 Pilot is three volumes!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I went ahead and put a new clutch interlock switch on my E, and finally got the starter relay out. Tested the switch And it gives the ground the relay needs to send juice to the starter. So to wrap up - intermittent no crank after a new starter, ignition switch, clutch interlock switch, and a new relay. Had the battery tested and I cleaned the terminals. Problem still is exactly the same. I’ve checked all the grounds I could (main chassis ground - ground wire from clutch switch) - all fine. My E came from Texas and has no rust - one of the main reasons I bought it. So nothing looks crusty underneath. Anyone have any thoughts As to where to look next?
 

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Is the interlock switch adjusted so that the clutch pedal compresses the plunger sufficiently (something limiting the travel of the pedal)? Have you checked all the fuses involved? Time to start checking continuity of the wires between components.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It’s not the clutch interlock switch. I hooked up a little test bulb rig to the relay circuit while the relay was out, depress the clutch while turning the key to the start position, and it lit up every time. Pretty confident it’s good. I guess the ignition switch could have be bad right out of the box...seems unlikely. But I may put the old one back in, just in case. It may be time for a pro to look at her...as galling as that is! I’m running out of time and patience...
 

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If it lit up every time, doesn't that also tell you you're ignition switch is good? Do the same thing down the line to the connection to the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Upon further review - I agree the ignition switch is working as it should. So the only other wires left to check are the wires downstream from the relay - the wire to the solenoid and the main wire from battery positive. I need a better wiring diagram.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for diagram - that’s the same one I’ve been working from. I stepped away from the E yesterday to regroup And come up with a plan. I really only need to check the continuity of the blk/wht wire from the starter to the relay. Or I may just drive it until it strands me, and the issue should be easier to find! Researching this online, there are many similar complaints about intermittent no-crank issues - unfortunately not a consensus about the fix. Here are two interesting possibilities:

I was having your problems myself. I took the steering column apart and investigated what may be the problem. My problem turned out that the key tumbler wasn't turning the ignition switch far enough, just barely not enough. I added .10 shim were the tumbler and the ignition switch go together. And the car starts every time now. I was getting a relay under the dash that was chattering when the car didn't want to start before as well as the same thing everyone else was describing. Hope this is everyone elses problem also, cheap and easy to fix.

First, remove & clean your battery connections then retighten (both ends). Next do the same with your starter. Probably not the issue but you would feel pretty silly if your battery connections were simply dirty or loose. Did you load test the battery? If not do that as well. Batteries can meter 12v but have a broken plate or bad cell and short intermittenly. If all this doesn't do it go to the relay box and start there. Then the IGN switch. Then pull & test the starter & solenoid.
 
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