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My girlfriend informed me that my car was not starting (she drives an 06 Civic, but likes to use my car sometimes, especially as we live in the city and I don't use it much during the week).

I figured it was either the battery or the alternator (which seems a bit soon for an 04 EX with AWD, 5spd, and side airbags FTR).

I woke up early yesterday, jumped the car and let it run for a while. When I put it in gear and began to drive forward, it died.

Hmmm... alternator perhaps?

It still did not have enough juice to turn over, so I jumped it again and the same thing happened. It seems to run fine before I put it into gear, but as soon as I make movement, it shuts off.

This makes me think it is not the alternator but something else electrical. I did buy the extended warranty, so I'm trying to find the paperwork and I hope it is covered, but does anyone here have any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should add that I just rolled over the 60k mark, but have kept up with maintenance. Unfortunately I was just informed of the windshield thing (thanks Honda, for the reminder) and mine is indeed cracked, maybe I can finagle them into fixing that (free of charge as they failed to send me a recall notice). I live in Denver and drive into the mountains often, so rocks hitting the windshield are a pretty normal Colorado thing. Haha.
 

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Please fill out the profile and welcome to the EOC.

It most certainly can be the battery if once you take it off the jump it can't maintain the electrical system (fuel pump). A battery is good for at the most 4-5 yrs and you are already 5+ yrs old if the original battery. Pull it and get it tested at an auto parts store. You can also turn your lights on and see if they come on or are dim. Does the radio play? Try this with the car off and not connected to the jumping battery.



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I should add that I just rolled over the 60k mark, but have kept up with maintenance. Unfortunately I was just informed of the windshield thing (thanks Honda, for the reminder) and mine is indeed cracked, maybe I can finagle them into fixing that (free of charge as they failed to send me a recall notice). I live in Denver and drive into the mountains often, so rocks hitting the windshield are a pretty normal Colorado thing. Haha.
What makes you think your Element is the one that was part of the recall? Not every 2003 was part of the windshield recall and very few 2004's were. A stone chip is not a defect, it is a stone chip. They will take a pen and run it along the crack, if the pen stops then it was a stone hit... not covered.



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Discussion Starter #6
Good and bad news.

Basically, the car jumps fine and I've even let it sit idling (cables off) for upwards of thirty minutes and as soon as it is in gear, and rolling it dies. The battery is certainly not being charged enough, which (at first blush) certainly sounds like the battery is either dead or the alternator is not working.

But...

Whether it idles after a jump for ten, fifteen, or forty five minutes (as I tested today) it only dies when it's in gear (i.e. when I have engaged the clutch, shifted into first and then stepped on the accelerator pedal). If the cables were on and a complete circuit was being made with the car providing the jump, I would not mention this. Yet, it's sitting there, idling happily with no connection to another vehicle.

If it were the alternator, I would assume that after such time it would not provide enough power to run the electrical systems of the car (but it does) for such a long period of time. If it were the battery, I'd assume it would run fine after being jumped.

Yet it runs fine, until you attempt to actually drive it. This makes it sound like something else. I have seen similar behavior before: I once had an old Volvo with a broken field wire in the alternator that died in such a manner (movement broke the connection) and I used to go through far too many rebuilt alternators on my old 72 Cutlass (fortunately they were always cheap and I could replace one in ten minutes).

The good news is that I found my Honda care paper work which is for 6 years/100k miles and I'm well in the terms of. So the road side assistance folks sent a tow truck out and now it's at the dealership.

I half suspect there is some other, non basic piece the the puzzle: a bad wiring harness or some such thing that when the frame is stressed is not providing current to either the electrical system or the battery and everything else is kosher.

I will post news here.

(And yes, my car was part of the recall, I'm within the VIN range and the year of the TSB... I just never got a notice.)
 

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Stop guessing. Get the battery checked. I have a $20 here that says it's dead.

Symptoms are "classic". It is a known problem in the E that a battery with an open (or very bad) cell will let the voltage fall below the ECU's operating threshold when the RPMs drop under load.

And fill-out your profile.
 

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Stop guessing. Get the battery checked. I have a $20 here that says it's dead.

Symptoms are "classic". It is a known problem in the E that a battery with an open (or very bad) cell will let the voltage fall below the ECU's operating threshold when the RPMs drop under load.

And fill-out your profile.
I'm with you Mike. The battery is old and I would guess that it checks out to be bad. Also, correct me if I am wrong, an alternator needs at least 12 VDC input to operate properly.
 

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Yes....classic "bad battery." The battery is shorted and even though the alternator is making juice, the battery can't act as a "well" for the vehicle to draw from.

(yes....this is a over simplification of the issue, but it is close enough.)
 

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Crank the engine and then disconnect the negative battery cable. If the engine dies, it's the alternator.
That is a BIG no no in now days cars as if the alternator or regulator spikes you will burn out your electronics. I have seen it happen quite a few times and its not worth the chance. Like the others sead its most likly your battery and why its stalling is because you are lowering the RPMs and the output of the alternator goes below the minimums and the computer shuts off the system. A simple volt meter will check if the alternator is good. 13.8 and around is a good number.
 
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