Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Both fans come on when the interior cabin AC fan control is turned on.

Not withstanding the above, the Radiator Fan will not come on at temperature as it should. I replaced the Radiator Fan Switch twice now but it still will not come on. *It does come on when the Radiator Fan Switch is bypassed (by removing the radiator fan switch connector and closing the circuit by inserting a modified safety pin into the connector).

So it seems that the problem is isolated to the Radiator Fan Switch. Or, perhaps the coolant temperature simply isn't getting hot enough?

Recent maintenance issues have been regular overheating. The first attempted remedy to the overheating was to install a new thermostat, but to no avail. After taking it to a mechanic it was determined that the head gasket was blown. The overheating was fixed after the head gasket was replaced. *The problem with the Radiator fan appeared just prior to getting the head gasket replaced.

Any ideas on what to try next? Yet another new Radiator Fan Switch? Perhaps replace the Coolant Temperature Sensor (the one on the engine block behind the throttle body)?

*No non mounted testing of the new Radiator Fan Switches have been performed as yet.

Thanks for your help in advance.

2003 Element EX
 

·
Registered
2007 EX AWD AT (two!)
Joined
·
1,449 Posts
I haven't had overheating issues in my Elements so far and haven't looked at my OEM service manual yet, but my old Accords had a bleed screw on the thermostat housing to bleed air out of the system when filling it with coolant. If you have air pocket (near the switch?) it may not switch. Make sure the radiator is full to the top and the overflow tank is at least to the minimum mark.

Under what conditions are you expecting the fan to come on and it is not? During normal driving with moderate ambient temperatures, the fan may never come one while driving, and may take some time even while sitting at idle. Do you have an infrared thermometer to check hose or component temperatures? Again, if like my old Accords, the temperature sensor (my Accords had two, one for the computer, one for the ECU) does not control the fans (I may be mistake here).

Don't just throw parts at it - diagnose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
....Under what conditions are you expecting the fan to come on and it is not? ....Do you have an infrared thermometer to check hose or component temperatures?....
I am just letting it idle for a while e.g. 15 minutes or so, and assuming it should come on by then. I don't personally have an infrared thermometer but I took it to a mechanic shop the other day and let them take a quick look (they didn't have time to do anything more that day) and they said they brought it up to temperature (presumably they were using some type of thermometer). The mechanics just sort of scratched their heads and we decided to look more closely at a later date.

I guess a good question is.... shouldn't the fan come on at idle after 15 minutes or so?

Or perhaps you are correct that with moderate temps (Texas Fall isn't that hot) and driving the fan may not come on at all. The temp gauge never goes past just shy of the half way mark. Maybe it is working as it should?

Humm... it may be important to note that previously, during the recent overheating/blown head gasket episode, the radiator fan came on regularly... but it wasn't until I started adding coolant regularly that I noticed the radiator fan not coming on like before. So, now that the head gasket is fixed and it no longer loses coolant and the coolant level remains full, perhaps it is simply acting as it should and nothing is really wrong?

Thanks for the reply fleetw00d.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
I agree with fleetwood that air in the cooling system can wreak some havoc with how things work. the Owners manual has a procedure to clear the coolant system / bleed the system of air.

secondly, I think you need to hook up a scan tool to see what engine temp you’re actually at rather than “wait 15 mins”. Fan switch on our element and CRV both come on at 217F. I know there are some reports of it coming on at 204F on the internet, I think that number is incorrect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Engine fan should come on around 110 Celcius (off the top, I think it comes on on mine 108 C to 111 C).
Normal operating is almost exactly 88 C. And it usually takes a long time to get to the fan turning on unless idling in very hot weather or going up hill long and slowly.

Check the Coolant Temperature Sensor if it is never coming on. (it is a %^& to access that sensor without doing hand contortions).
It really takes a LONG TIME (at least 15 minutes) for the radiator fan to come on when idling.

Curious, what were the symptoms requiring a head gasket replacement, and thermostat replacement? Regular overheating? You mean, blowing steam? Or you mean just the needle was moving past center to the right? Or you mean you were losing coolant? Where do you live (what outside temps and conditions was this happening under)?

The fact that the fans both come on means that you have eliminated fan motor failure.
If your dash temp guage moves to just before the middle, that is usual operating temps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Curious, what were the symptoms requiring a head gasket replacement, and thermostat replacement? Regular overheating? You mean, blowing steam? Or you mean just the needle was moving past center to the right? Or you mean you were losing coolant? Where do you live (what outside temps and conditions was this happening under)?
Hi Atom. It never blew steam. There was never oil in the coolant, nor visa versa. Never any white smoke out the tail pipe. It would just use about a half gallon of coolant per week. This would make the temp guage go past the half way mark. The check engine light was on because water was getting into number one and three cylinders and making it misfire. Temps were very hot outside here in Texas in the middle of August. Sometimes 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Update.... after hearing from multiple sources about problems with 'after market Radiator Fan Switches' (the ones I tried were both after market), I have now ordered a Genuine Honda Switch. It should be in next week. Hopefully that will do the trick. Will post an update later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Hi Atom. It never blew steam. There was never oil in the coolant, nor visa versa. Never any white smoke out the tail pipe. It would just use about a half gallon of coolant per week. This would make the temp guage go past the half way mark. The check engine light was on because water was getting into number one and three cylinders and making it misfire. Temps were very hot outside here in Texas in the middle of August. Sometimes 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Update.... after hearing from multiple sources about problems with 'after market Radiator Fan Switches' (the ones I tried were both after market), I have now ordered a Genuine Honda Switch. It should be in next week. Hopefully that will do the trick. Will post an update later.
OK. Thanks. That explains it well. Yes, I'd also say you did have a blown head gasket, unless there was a leak somewhere. I don't know anything about OEM vs aftermarket switches - but if a new OEM one fails, that would be very strange.

Are all your fuses OK?
I would still check the Coolant Temperature Sensor first before replacing anything else.

I suggest you stay in park, rev your engine to 3000 RPM, hold it there for 15 minutes and watch the needle. When it gets 1/4 above the middle, the fan should come on. If you can't see or hear the fan turning on, then put half a nose tissue on a fan blade ... and then if it moves, the fan came on.

If the garage fixed the head gasket issue, and the engine isn't sucking back coolant anymore (it shouldnt be sucking back any now), then I'd say your problem is fixed.

That is what you need to do to trigger the radiator fans: stay in park, rev your engine to 3000 RPM, hold it there for 10 to 15 minutes and watch the needle. When it gets 1/4 above the middle, the fan should come on.

If you get a cheap Bluetooth OBDII dongle ($25 on Amazon - Veepeak for example), then you can use your smartphone to monitor and even trigger an alarm if the temps go above a certain level. I think mine only comes on at 110C.

In normal driving, the cooling fans never come on unless there is a steep hill to climb slowly or stuck in traffic for a long time. If the car is moving, even slowly, the airflow is sufficient to cool the engine in 99% of instances.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,059 Posts
Update.... after hearing from multiple sources about problems with 'after market Radiator Fan Switches' (the ones I tried were both after market), I have now ordered a Genuine Honda Switch. It should be in next week. Hopefully that will do the trick. Will post an update later.
The problem I'm having trying to follow this thread is that the Element doesn't HAVE a "fan switch". It has a couple of temperature sensors that the vehicle's computer uses to decide when to turn the radiator fan on and off and the only way to see what it's doing is to hook up a OBD scanner while it's running and see what temperature the CPU thinks it's dealing with. It usually turns on somewhere around 215-217 F. but that can change a bit depending on what the CPU wants to do at the moment. It doesn't have a single set temperature that it goes on and off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
The problem I'm having trying to follow this thread is that the Element doesn't HAVE a "fan switch". It has a couple of temperature sensors that the vehicle's computer uses to decide when to turn the radiator fan on and off and the only way to see what it's doing is to hook up a OBD scanner while it's running and see what temperature the CPU thinks it's dealing with. It usually turns on somewhere around 215-217 F. but that can change a bit depending on what the CPU wants to do at the moment. It doesn't have a single set temperature that it goes on and off.
I thought the OP was all talking about Part 37760-p00-003.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,059 Posts
I thought the OP was all talking about Part 37760-p00-003.
All right. I've learned something today. The early Elements used a completely different system for running the cooling fans. I knew some things changed when they changed to drive-by-wire but never expected to see THAT system changed too. Huh! That explains why I'm confused.
 

·
Registered
2007 EX AWD AT (two!)
Joined
·
1,449 Posts
What's odd to me is that the wiring diagram in my 2007-2009 manual shows only one wire that controls the two fan relays so it looks like they're either both on or both off. My old Accords would only use one fan when needed, and both when the AC compressor was on or if the temperature got really high (if I remember the system correctly).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Update: Installed a brand new genuine Honda Radiator Fan Switch Part 37760-p00-003 but no change. After running it up to about 2500 rpms for a few minutes and letting the temp guage go past half (actually to about 3/4 which scared me) the fan still didn't turn on.

Recap:

*Both fans turn on when interior cabin A/C fan switch is turned on.
*Both fans turn on when the connector is removed from Radiator Fan Switch and jumpered with a safety pin (with the interior cabin A/C fan switch turned off).

*Also, I noticed that both fans cycle on and off at about 15 second intervals at idle while the interior cabin A/C fan switch is turned on and the AC is turned on. However this cycling stops when the interior cabin A/C fan switch is turned off.

I don't think it is an air pocket because I run the engine up to temperature with the radiator cap off to let any air come out of the system. This for about 20 minutes or so. Probably not the Radiator Fan switch because this is the third new one and still no change. If there was a blockage in the coolant system wouldn't part of the system stay cool? Both upper and lower hoses do get hot. The area on either side of the Radiator Fan Switch gets very hot.

If it isn't an air pocket, blockage, or the Radiator fan switch, what could it be?

2003 Honda Element EX

At wits end.
 

·
Registered
2010 Element EX 4WD
Joined
·
2 Posts
I don't mean to hijack the thread but this is a related question and hopefully quick. If I am getting 14.8vdc at the connector for the radiator fan, the fan should be spinning, correct? Is there any type of switch or relay after the electrical connector. I followed the wires and there is just the one connector to the harness.

I am having the issue where my E gets hotter than normal when idleing or stuck in gridlock but cools down when traveling. Rad fan does not turn on when AC is engaged but it has 14.8vdc at connector. If there is no other switch then this sounds like a bad fan motor. Does this sound sane?

Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
I don't mean to hijack the thread but this is a related question and hopefully quick. If I am getting 14.8vdc at the connector for the radiator fan, the fan should be spinning, correct? Is there any type of switch or relay after the electrical connector. I followed the wires and there is just the one connector to the harness.

I am having the issue where my E gets hotter than normal when idleing or stuck in gridlock but cools down when traveling. Rad fan does not turn on when AC is engaged but it has 14.8vdc at connector. If there is no other switch then this sounds like a bad fan motor. Does this sound sane?

Thanks!!
There are only 2 wires going into the motor and they are hot (electrically) and no motor spinning.
Need new motor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MSzabol

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
The motor can actually be bought on Amazon for pretty cheap. Or sourced at a parts store. I installed a generic replacement and it was around $80 Canadian (there are cheaper ones too). Then it is an afternoon job to take it all apart and put it all back together. Or ... just buy the whole fan shroud (not that much more expensive).
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top