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Discussion Starter #1
A recall popped up for the trailer hitch harness on the 2009 I just acquired. The dealership says they won't touch it since it doesn't have a factory hitch (it's UHaul). The official recall states:
"...for 2007 through 2011 element passenger vehicles equipped with an accessory trailer hitch wiring harness. The wire that supplies power to the trailer turn signal lights was inadvertently switched with the stop lamp wire. As a result the turn signals only illuminate when the brake lamps are illuminated".

Anyone actually have this problem? Did you fix it at home?
 

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A recall popped up for the trailer hitch harness on the 2009 I just acquired. The dealership says they won't touch it since it doesn't have a factory hitch (it's UHaul). The official recall states:
"...for 2007 through 2011 element passenger vehicles equipped with an accessory trailer hitch wiring harness. The wire that supplies power to the trailer turn signal lights was inadvertently switched with the stop lamp wire. As a result the turn signals only illuminate when the brake lamps are illuminated".

Anyone actually have this problem? Did you fix it at home?
They did have some with problems. Mine is under the "recall" too even though it was self installed. Some of the u-haul installations used a non-powered T harness which is not recommended - or they might've used a universal adapter or they might've used the correct harness. Honda bought them in lots from Chinese suppliers who made extra money selling the kits direct for a fraction of what Honda marked them up to. They were the same kits. Mine was one of those and even Honda can't look at one and tell if it was dealer installed or not.

Easiest way to check yours is just hook it up and try it. If the lights don't work right, you need a different wiring kit. Some units had the plugs wired wrong - some had internal problems. If you have the setup like the vehicle is designed for, the bad part can be unplugged and replaced in about 5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you have the setup like the vehicle is designed for, the bad part can be unplugged and replaced in about 5 minutes.
Is the plug you're referring to in the spare tire compartment? I've only had to deal with this plug once and that's in my 2004 CRV. Going over some posts here what I'm finding are issues with the 2005 wiring harness so I'm expecting similar problems - plug under the seat, added power converter, 2 new wiring harnesses, etc. Was this all corrected in the later models?
 

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Honda made three different trailer wiring setups in the Element - 2003-04, 2005-06, and 2007 to end of run in 2012. The recall was for 2007 and later, and two wires on the control module plugged in under the dash were reversed in the plug. I've appended a link to the service bulletin with pictures of the problem and how it's fixed. I do a lot of work with molex crimped connectors so this kind of stuff is old hat, but if you have the problem and don't want a Honda dealership touching it, you could do it yourself easily enough by pulling the two pins out of the plug and reversing them.

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2012/RCRIT-12V436-6677.pdf

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