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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks.

I have a 2009 that has an OEM Honda hitch on the back

And if it came with an OEM hitch, I'm thinking that it has OEM Honda provided trailer wiring. (That would be the 4-flat plug on the back.) Of course, that's an assumption on my part, as I've never owned a new Honda Element.

Nevertheless, it doesn't work as expected.

My challenge is this: The tail light lights work (brown wire)... but the blinker / brake lights do not (Yellow & Green wire)

What I know about wiring:
Font Auto part Brand Paper Tool


So my question is this: Since this is an OME wiring... I was thinking maybe there was a separate fuse for towing.

But this does not look like there is one: Honda Element (2009 - 2010) - fuse box diagram - Auto Genius

Before I go pulling out my taillights in an attempt to trace the wires, is there someone with experience in this that may offer suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So... having watched a few videos, it is in fact an Honda OEM trailer wiring kit.

A) The trailer wiring plugs into a Honda provided plug in the tire compartment... and it is nicely wrapped in foam that looks as it was done during the initial build.

B) Then, it looks like there is a portion that plus under the dash, and it grounded. I see the ground wire, but I have not yet inverted to look for the device.

My next steps are:

1) See if I can find a picture of the OEM Honda part for under the dash so that I know what I am looking for (and if it is fused), and...

2) Do a continuity test of the wire from the spare tire compartment connector to the plug tips. This may eliminate the risk of damage due to 11 years of wire corrosion.


And... just in case... I have made an appointment with the Honda dealer here locally for next week...

But... it looks like a new kit from Curt is under $35... and that would beat the dealer service price for even sneezing at my car.

 

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I would consider checking wire integrity using a loaded test such as a test tight with similar amperage as the taillights rather than a continuity test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
OK...

Got out there with a VOM, and tested for resistance on the 4 wires from the Honda provided plug in the tire compartment to the 4-flat on the outside of the vehicle. And... all 4 wires show that they have no resistance.. so no broken wires there.
Measuring instrument Gadget Font Technology Electronic device


Listening to @ajchien, I connected a set of external tow lights (separate set of the lights of the trailer - which I had because my E is is a toad)... hoping for better results due to unplugging and reconnecting wires... but no. Still lit up only when I turned on the headlights (brown and white wire), but no activity when I hit the brakes or activate blinkers (yellow and green).
Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Product Plant Material property

As an FYI, I had also gone to the local U-Haul before I started this thread, and had then check with a small plug-with-lights tester. Their result was the same as I saw on the trailer... which was the same I saw with the external tow lights.

I decided hat it would be good to have a type of tester for future, and this one actually has in-line lights... so it can quickly indicate if the problem is with car or trailer... well worth $7


So, that leaves me with:

1) a break in the wiring harness, or

2) A dud box that controls all this that is under the dash.

3) None of the above. (because, of course. Mars in retrograde, right?)

To ensure that things move quickly, I have ordered the Curtis kit for $35.00, just in case and thanks to Amazon's generous return p[policy.

HOWEVER... when looking at that Curtis set, I did see the following (below picture) which indicated that it COULD have experienced a short, and turned itself off... and will not reset until power is disconnected. Possibly the Honda OEM works the same way.

So... my next update will be to write of the experiences under the dash, and if a quick power reset on the unit resolves the issue, and/or if there be a fuse inline, or if the Curtis replacement kit solves the problem by replacing the unit that is already there.
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well, i figure if you can repeat the same tests up at the box in the dash and it works then you know the problem is in the wiring between the box and the tire compartment. If it doesn’t work, then you know you need to trouble shoot “the box“/further upstream.
 

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Perhaps I am misreading this, but there are two fuses that are part of the OEM Trailer Unit Harness that do not seem to appear on any of the wiring diagrams in the '09 Honda Element Electrical Troubleshooting Manual that I have. But if you go to Honda online store : 2009 Element Accessory installation (DIY) instructions and select the 2009 Trailer Hitch item, in step 17 it shows the two fuses as part of the "Trailer Unit Harness." The harness is located under the dash, to the left of the steering column.

I just installed the OEM trailer electrical option kit in my '09 Element and it has worked great for me. It was incredibly difficult to install in that you are laying on your back for exended periods, in a very cramped area, with difficult lighting, etc., etc., etc. But in the end, it worked out.

As soon as I finished the installation, I plugged it in to a trailer and everything worked. Drove from Chicago to Seattle and then to Anchorage and didn't have a single issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Perhaps I am misreading this, but there are two fuses that are part of the OEM Trailer Unit Harness that do not seem to appear on any of the wiring diagrams in the '09 Honda Element Electrical Troubleshooting Manual that I have. But if you go to Honda online store : 2009 Element Accessory installation (DIY) instructions and select the 2009 Trailer Hitch item, in step 17 it shows the two fuses as part of the "Trailer Unit Harness." The harness is located under the dash, to the left of the steering column.

I just installed the OEM trailer electrical option kit in my '09 Element and it has worked great for me. It was incredibly difficult to install in that you are laying on your back for exended periods, in a very cramped area, with difficult lighting, etc., etc., etc. But in the end, it worked out.

As soon as I finished the installation, I plugged it in to a trailer and everything worked. Drove from Chicago to Seattle and then to Anchorage and didn't have a single issue.
First, thank you for the link. That is pure gold. or should I say: pure Omni Pearl Blue... as mine is as well!

And... I have to say... I love it when a plan comes together! 😄

I was hoping to find just that info by starting this thread. And if one of those fuses is blown, then that would explain why I have running lights (fuse not blown) but no brake lights / blinkers. (may be blown)

Vertebrate Human body Organism Mammal Gesture
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I do want to ask: in your experience... Were the fuses themselves in the "Trailer Unit Harness Fuse Case" (as the name would tend to indicate), or did that fuse case plug into something that then led to "option" fuses that are in the fuse panel?


OK. So, I may only need a fuse. Or I may need a replacement unit.

In either case, I am good, and will take this the next steps forward tomorrow (Saturday).

...and... I am not looking forward to being inverted in the footwell, as I am 6ft 240lbs... that is a whole lot of me to fit in absolutely no space. I'm tempted to pull the front seat for ease of service... but then I would likely get an airbag error. Some say that working on an Element is easy - like Legos... but it's Legos intertwined spiderwebs spiderwebs. Held together with remarkably easily breakable plastic clips. Of course.

THANKS!
 

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Those fuse cases are just part of the wiring harness, kind of like inline fuses. Most inline fuses are cylindrical and longitudinal. These are just like the picture shows, rectilinear and just hanging off the harness.

Let us know if you find one of these fuses blown.

I installed this option because I had to tow one of the Harbor Freight trailers from Chicago-Seattle-Anchorage. The trailer comes in a kit and I spent a lot of time making sure the wiring was bulletproof--completely weather-sealed and protected from physical damage. Make sure you have safe electrical connections so that you don't blow anymore fuses.

Yeah, hats off to the dealer mechanics who had to install these. Invariably, I forgot a screwdriver, or a socket, or diag-cutter, or a tie-wraps, every time I got under the dash. I had to wiggle in and out of that position at least 20 times. I might have been able to easily do that when I was a bit younger, but time is catching up to me.
 

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An additional piece of documentation that came with the OEM trailer electrical option kit . . . looks like the option has of limit of 42W on the turn signal/stop circuits, and 51W on the marker/license circuits.
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
OK... issue resolved.

As I wanted to see what I could and let in some light, I removed a few dash components. (Sidenote: Got to clean a lot of old gunk out of various nooks and crannies).

Gear shift Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire Car


The challenge that I ran into is that this Element has the trailer electrical adapter, and also an aftermarket remote auto start/lock/unlock installed, as well an ECamper top. So the "stuff" that was stuffed in the drivers dash compartment was substantial.

And since this trailer electrical connector was installed new at the factory, the fuse container was zip-tied way way up, inside and to the left. Here is where one should generally begin looking (but further up and back):

Tire Wheel Vehicle Hood Automotive tire


Be forewarned: The electrical tape that is on much of the stuff down there hasn't aged well, so expect to get black goo on your hands as you gently pull at various items.

The fuse case:

Liquid Fluid Automotive lighting Gesture Water


The fuses:

Finger Gesture Thumb Wrist Nail


The blown fuse, backlit enhanced:

Tableware Drinkware Lamp Orange Gesture


The aux fuse case, waiting for new fuses

Creative arts Electronic component Electrical supply Wood Electronics accessory


NAPA is the closest parts shop to my current location. I purchase three 7.5 A and two 5 A so that I could replace the damaged one and have a set of two future spares. Likely will never be used... but provides a quick fix if required in the future for less than $5.00

Putting in the fuse and testing resulted in all lights working. 5 A is for taillights / running lights and 7.5 A is for stop lights / blinkers. (Likely the original fuse blew with previous owner running a canoe livery and their trailers having too many lights)

The ordered Curt item gets sent back to Amazon for $35 refund.

Thanks for all the assistance (and those you chose to read out of curiosity).
 

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I think there is a recall on some of the Honda OEM trailer harnesses. So be sure to check on that as well.
 

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