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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone solve this problem? I've got a 2004 EX and it just started doing this. Turn the key and it's like the battery is dead. Turn it a couple times and it starts right up. I've read off and on all day and I'm not the only one with this problem. Yesterday I replaced the starter switch under the steering column with a new Honda part. Some swear this fixed theirs. Not mine. $60 wasted. I see others say it didn't fix theirs either. Some say relay. I can't even get mine out. Must need a special tool or something. I see where others have replaced it with no fix. I've also read where people have taken theirs to the Honda dealer and got no help after $1000 in repairs. If anyone actually has a fix that has worked please let me know. My next thing will be a new starter. I seriousy don't think that the problem either . It will always start and cranks fine. Battery is an oversized NAPA that is 6 months old. It tests great. Email is [email protected] if you have a solution please let me know. I'll be out in the barn working on it. Thanks in advance.
 

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Before you do anything else, check the Negative Battery Cable down where it bolts to the engine. This is a known problem area on Elements. For some reason (possibly planned obsolescence). Honda left the last 3 - 4 inches of the cable without any insulation, and they tend to corrode there.

Anyway, replacing the Negative Cable its an inexpensive fix that you should check out before you go any further.

I wish you well! : - )
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Before you do anything else, check the Negative Battery Cable down where it bolts to the engine. This is a known problem area on Elements. For some reason (possibly planned obsolescence). Honda left the last 3 - 4 inches of the cable without any insulation, and they tend to corrode there.

Anyway, replacing the Negative Cable its an inexpensive fix that you should check out before you go any further.

I wish you well! : - )
Thanks for the quick reply. Can yo tell where it grounds at on the engine? Do I have to take all the plastic under there off?
 

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The Ground Cable bolts on to (I think) one of the bolts that hold the engine and transmission together. Just follow the Negative cable down from the battery. It might get a little tight to work down there, but I think you can get the cable off without removing anything else. Even if you do have to remove a few things, its still a pretty simple job that any DIY-er can do at home.

Living in FL has its advantages! Now at ~ 17 years old, my Ground Cable still looks pretty good down there. But others have shown pictures on this site where they were subject to road salt and look really bad! : - (

Any of the big auto parts stores should stock a new cable that would work for you. Try to get a Cable with a little larger diameter if possible; it won't cost much more than a stock size.
 

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Battery, Starter, Starting relay (flat screwdriver on each end to hold tabs open, grab STRONGLY with needle nose pliers, ply and pray), then check your COOLING FANS are working.

Do the ignition relay first.

I had an issue this summer when both fans quit (one must've quit some time ago) and I hadn't adjusted my valves yet. When hot, it acted like a dead (relay/starter/battery/etc). Eventually cooled and started.

I replaced both fans and adjusted my valves.

FYI. I also have a larger battery, new starter, and replaced the relay.

I tried replacing the relay with my new spare when the fans quit, but wasn't it.

100% solid for last few months.

Hope this helps.
 

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Been discussed many times recently and most turn out to be the starter (as mine did). Once you do the simple checks (always do the simple things first) and those are fine/don't fix the issue, replace the starter. Yea, it's a PITA to replace, but, once I replaced mine - no issues since!! ;)
Good Luck!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Everything that was mentioned I check and it was A OK. Grounds all good. Took starter off and it tests ok also. The place I took it says it's a cheap rebuilt and just might be the problem. I'm putting a new one on so wish me luck. The rebuilt was put on 2 winters ago when it was very cold and I did not want to freeze in my unheated barn. I'll report back when I get the new high end starter on. Let's hope that is it. I'm thinking this has to be the problem. Every time I tried it had 12 volts to the starter. Sometimes it just wouldn't activate though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Put new starter on . (Oreilly Auto Parts Ultima $183.99 Part # N612875B) Not a rebuilt but a new one. Starts right up every time. Spins a lot fast also. I think the old one had been going bad slowly if that's possible. That battery negative cable looks ok but not perfect so I am going to replace it also. The bare part is solid but green in color. I plan on keeping the E for a long time so I might as well put a new cable on. Thanks for the replies guys.
 

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I'm having this same problem (Slow crank, sometimes no crank and now completely no crank, won't start!). I just posted a thread on this this week as well. So it sounds like I need the new starter as well. Unfortunately, because of a recent back injury I will have to have it towed to a shop and have it done. Trying now to find a reasonable shop to do it. Looks like it's going to cost around $600. I was going to swap out the negative battery cable to see if that is the problem but like yours, it looks a little greenish but otherwise fine so I doubt switching it will solve my starting issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm having this same problem (Slow crank, sometimes no crank and now completely no crank, won't start!). I just posted a thread on this this week as well. So it sounds like I need the new starter as well. Unfortunately, because of a recent back injury I will have to have it towed to a shop and have it done. Trying now to find a reasonable shop to do it. Looks like it's going to cost around $600. I was going to swap out the negative battery cable to see if that is the problem but like yours, it looks a little greenish but otherwise fine so I doubt switching it will solve my starting issue.
I feel for you. I've been down with back problems in the past. Yes the older man who helped me on mine said that my cable was fine. I read all these post to him also. He said they are all possibilities but 90% of the time it's the starter. Good to check the other things first though. He is a retired mechanic. He also said in his past experience Hondas are great vehicles but have a lot of issues with the starters. I know it's expensive but I'd go with the new starter and not a rebuilt. Mine was doing exactly what yours is doing. I put a new starter switch on and it did not cure a thing. I don't think there is any way of testing that problem. My original was fine. Good luck to you. Hope your back gets better.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
From the top. Intake manifold and throttle body off plus a few hoses. Took us around 3 hours. I believe shop rate is 2.5 hours. Take that times the hourly rate a mechanic would charge then the price of the starter to get your price at a dealership.. I’ve never had mine at the dealership. When I do need work done I go to a local guy here. He’s $80 an hour I believe. I don’t work in my unseated barn if it’s cold. Been a couple cold winters when I took it in. One time my window on driver side would not go up. It was very cold so he fixed that for me. It was so cold the wire in the harness going to the door broke. You could not see it inside the harness.
 

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Would you say it was difficult or just time consuming? Because of my back, I can't do it from the bottom but I don't know if I am experienced enough to replace it from the top. The only experience I have is basic maintenance and it scares me to tackle this with everything you have to take apart to get at it. The stealership wants about $700 to $800 and the lowest independent quote I've got so far is $517.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Would you say it was difficult or just time consuming? Because of my back, I can't do it from the bottom but I don't know if I am experienced enough to replace it from the top. The only experience I have is basic maintenance and it scares me to tackle this with everything you have to take apart to get at it. The stealership wants about $700 to $800 and the lowest independent quote I've got so far is $517.
It's time consuming and not real difficult. It depends on your skill level I guess. Just google Honda Element Starter Replacement. There are videos that will pop up. You can watch it done and then judge for yourself. You should replace the intake manifold gasket so that is an expensive I forgot to mention. It wasn't too costly. The $517 is a fair price I'd say. Good luck watch the videos. Let us know how you come out or if you need further assistance.
 

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It's time consuming and not real difficult. It depends on your skill level I guess. Just google Honda Element Starter Replacement. There are videos that will pop up. You can watch it done and then judge for yourself. You should replace the intake manifold gasket so that is an expensive I forgot to mention. It wasn't too costly. The $517 is a fair price I'd say. Good luck watch the videos. Let us know how you come out or if you need further assistance.
OK. Will do. Thanks.
 

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I had similar issue few yrs ago and I believe root cause of this is worn down brush on the starter motor. New oem starter motor was almost $400 iirc and after market was about $200. I went cheap route and Bought brush kit online for about $20. If you’re handy, rebuild starter isn’t too difficult. Problem solved and car starts up and run just fine.

180k plus miles owned since new.
 

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Before you do anything else, check the Negative Battery Cable down where it bolts to the engine. This is a known problem area on Elements. For some reason (possibly planned obsolescence). Honda left the last 3 - 4 inches of the cable without any insulation, and they tend to corrode there.

Anyway, replacing the Negative Cable its an inexpensive fix that you should check out before you go any further.

I wish you well! : - )
Hi guys, I’m having the same problem with my 2004 EX. I just replaced the negative battery cable and was hoping that would fix the issue ... it did not. My cable was so frayed that literally 3 wires were holding it together so it did need to be replaced regardless. If anyone has a fix, I would also like to hear it! And I will post if I find one as well!
 

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Bad starter, or positive cable. Mine was the starter...
  1. Neg cable looked suspect, because of the missing insulation near the engine, but it wasn't. Only things peft were the starter, and pos cable. Had to pull intake to verify, and I knew it was one or the other, 45 years of wrenching, you learn.
  2. So, I pulled the intake, installed a new starter, and replaced the battery cable. NOT the factory replacement, for $150, I unwrapped and replaced the battery cable, and rewrapped it. $20... And my time.
  3. The factory manual on cd helped, Honda actually does a good jobwriting their service manuals.
  4. Motorcycle and car, they give you all the info you need to fix it!
 

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It sounds like this problem was fixed with a replaced starter. The reason this thread caught my attention was because I was having intermittent no crank, no start problems with my 2008 E for a while. I was researching and checking everything and everything checked out ok. It's so weird and frustrating to hop in your E and nothing works, not even the horn or lights. Long story, short, it turns out my battery cable connectors kept loosening because the battery terminal posts were undersized in diameter. For just $2.79, I purchased a pair of battery terminal post shims, tightened the cables on well and I have had no problems since!
 

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My Element won't start at all now and in a couple of videos they talk about tapping the starter using a long screwdriver or other long object to get it to crank over if you are stranded or need to get it started to drive it to the shop but they don't show where to place the long object to reach the starter. Does anyone know where to place something to reach the starter to tap on it? I have AAA but I would prefer to get my Element to start one more time to get it to the shop then have it towed.
 
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