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Discussion Starter #1
We just bought a 2002 Honda CR-V EX (4WD auto) a few weeks ago. It's in generally good shape, with lots of dealer service records, but...

The dash gauges & lights, the climate control lights, cruise control switch light, and the outside mirror control light all flicker for a couple minutes when the engine is cold. The odometer doesn't log miles during this time, either. Headlights, stereo, and dome light work fine. It usually doesn't start until a few minutes into our trip, but sometimes it starts as soon as the door is opened. After a few minutes, it all goes back to normal and works fine for the rest of the trip. I've only owned the car for a couple weeks in December, but I'm told the problem goes away in warm weather.

You can see a 3-minute video of the problem in action here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps7WYnRAiss

Any ideas what the cause may be? I've heard some people blame the ELD, but if the engine's not running, then the alternator isn't at fault. I've heard people blame a bad ground, but the timing and duration of this problem are quite predictable, and most "loose wire" symptoms are far more random.

Just in case, though, where are all the major ground wires supposed to be located? I wouldn't put it past somebody to have removed or disconnected a ground during the last 13 years.
 

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Was anything done before this happened? Have you tried to disconnect the battery for 1 hour then reconnect it? As what you mentioned it could be a insufficient ground issue. Try to reset the system. Or if the regular reset does not work. Try to do the hard reset. Let me know.
 

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There are two main grounds . One goes from the negative battery cable connector to the frame.
The second goes from the frame (near the top of the radiator) to the engine.
Is there any burnt or hot wire or electrical smell while this is happening?
Since the starter and headlights seem unaffected, I doubt it is a main ground.
Why the dash goes crazy with that clicking sound even before the key is inserted into the ignition, should be a good clue for someone. So, it seemed to happen just by opening the door, so some electrical power from the battery was necessary.
I wonder if you could try turning off the dome light manually so that it would not go on when a door was opened and repeat that experiment on a cold car?

That clicking sound sure seems to indicate a relay of some kind.
I will try looking at an electrical diagram for a 2000 and see if I can find something that is common to most of those gauges and indicator lights.
Hopefully some electrical expert here or someone who has seen similar will chime in.
Strange things happen to CRVs if the battery is fading, the wires in the battery connectors are broken or corroded, or a ground is not making good contact.
If I find something, I will post back. I am not familiar with the ELD operation.
Have your codes read and see if anything comes up.
If it makes that noise when cold and before you are driving, open the hood and try to pinpoint where that noise is coming from.
Buffalo4
PS: Check your battery voltage to see if it is above 12.4v. Better if it is closer to 12.6v, but not above after sitting overnight.
Here is a vid on the ELD that you may want to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVWmQE5tDk
 

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What is that light yellow glow near the odometer when the video first started?
Did this CRV get a remote starter or an aftermarket Theft alarm installed or anything else?
Since your headlights don't seem to flicker, it is different than most other cases I find on the Internet.
Buffalo4
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What is that light yellow glow near the odometer when the video first started?
That's the dome light reflecting off the odometer screen.

Did this CRV get a remote starter or an aftermarket Theft alarm installed or anything else?
None of that stuff. As far as I can tell, this car is bone stock except for the simple, aftermarket stereo head unit.

Since your headlights don't seem to flicker, it is different than most other cases I find on the Internet.
Yeah, I noticed that, which is why this isn't fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Was anything done before this happened?
This started happening before I bought the car. The owner moved away, and I bought the car from his nephew, so I wasn't able to pick his brain about the situation. I do know that the previous owner had a Honda dealer look at it. I have the receipt from the dealer. The dealer saw it happen, but couldn't duplicate it. They tested the instrument cluster as OK, then shrugged their shoulders and returned the car.

Have you tried to disconnect the battery for 1 hour then reconnect it?
I have not. I'll try that soon. We've got freezing rain & snow all day today, and the garage isn't available. :-(

Try to reset the system. Or if the regular reset does not work. Try to do the hard reset.
What are a reset & hard reset? Just disconnecting the battery?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there any burnt or hot wire or electrical smell while this is happening?
Not inside the cabin. I removed the instrument cluster to inspect it & replace a few burned out bulbs, and when I was reinstalling it, the behavior started as soon as I plugged in the green connector over the right side of the IC. The IC was still hanging loose at that point and my nose was 12" away. No smell.

Since the starter and headlights seem unaffected, I doubt it is a main ground.
That was my thought as well.

Why the dash goes crazy with that clicking sound even before the key is inserted into the ignition, should be a good clue for someone. So, it seemed to happen just by opening the door, so some electrical power from the battery was necessary.
I wonder if you could try turning off the dome light manually so that it would not go on when a door was opened and repeat that experiment on a cold car?
Good idea. I'll check that.

That clicking sound sure seems to indicate a relay of some kind.
No, I think the clicking sound is the gauge needles bouncing rapidly against the pins at their "zero" positions.

I will try looking at an electrical diagram for a 2000 and see if I can find something that is common to most of those gauges and indicator lights.
My service manual & electrical troubleshooting manuals arrived yesterday from Helm. I plan to dig into the latter today. My first job will be to see what circuit is in common with all the lights that are flashing, but no other devices.

Strange things happen to CRVs if the battery is fading, the wires in the battery connectors are broken or corroded, or a ground is not making good contact.
The battery was load tested by the dealer two months ago, and passed with flying colors. I have the receipt with the results. The car starts just fine even with the headlights on. There's no significant corrosion on the battery terminals or on that end of the battery cables.

I'll double check the grounds, but I think the electrical problems would be more widespread if this was a ground issue.

Have your codes read and see if anything comes up.
I own a scanner. No codes.

Check your battery voltage to see if it is above 12.4v. Better if it is closer to 12.6v, but not above after sitting overnight.
I measured the voltage on the IC's main connector at 12.6V while the problem was occurring. I used a digital meter that probably can't respond as quickly as the lights were flickering, but the number still looked pretty consistent. I'd have expected some inconsistency if the voltage at that spot was fluttering.

Here is a vid on the ELD that you may want to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVWmQE5tDk
Yeah, I've seen that one... but my CR-V isn't throwing any codes, and since my problem occurs with the engine off, I doubt this is ELD-related.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

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Well, my only other suggestion at this point is to try to pinpoint the clicking sound. I didn't realize that the gauge needles could cause that much noise. :eek:
If I come up with any other ideas, I will post back.
Even the tach indicator doesn't work. Got to be some common element.
Any junkyards near you that would sell you a new IC cheap? No idea if that would help or not.
Buffalo4
 

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Could it not be the Battery? Funny things happen when it gets week, and once it’s replaced, all is well again!
 

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As the battery checks out and the repeatability seems to rule out a bad ground (that would be more random), it looks like the common point for all of these issues is that they all run from / through the MCU (Multiplex Control Unit) located behind the lower dash fuse box. It could be a bad component or crack in the board that is temperature sensitive causing intermittent (yet apparently not completely random) problems, and when the board heats up it begins working normally. This is one of those items that doesn't have a big history of failure, but there are several threads on this board where it turned out to be the problem. Just recently someone had some electrical issues somewhat like this and they got a used MCU from a salvage yard for less than $100 and it resolved the problem. If I recall it took him about 3 hours to replace it because it's in a tight spot, but everything plugs in so there is no soldering or anything like that. I tried to search for that thread but I don't see any advanced search options and apparently I'm not using the correct keywords. But if you've ruled out the basics, this would be my next step.

edit - found the thread, that guy got a used MCU for $10!
 

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Here's a little update after a couple months of occasional monkeying with this problem. I picked up a service manual & an electrical troubleshooting manual from Helm, both of which are wonderful... except that the index sucks badly. I'm making lots of my own notes in it.

So after tracing the wiring diagrams for quite a while, it seemed like everything that was flickering (the instrument cluster, the mirror control, and the HVAC controls) all came back to the interior fuse block / MCU as the common denominator. I picked up a used one for $45 at a salvage yard and spent an hour replacing it because it's not easy to unplug the two dozen connectors that plug into that little box. No go. Still had the problem with the lights & gauges cutting out. Spent another half hour putting the old fuse block back in & returned the new block, minus a 20% restocking fee.

I then got a used instrument cluster from a 2004 CR-V from that same salvage yard. Voila! Problem solved. No more flickering. I still don't understand how the instrument cluster affected the lights on the HVAC controls and the outside mirror control, but it did. The new cluster cost $125, and I'm guessing it'll cost me $50 or more to have the dealer reprogram the odometer to match my original one (which I haven't done yet).
 

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Here's a little update after a couple months of occasional monkeying with this problem. I picked up a service manual & an electrical troubleshooting manual from Helm, both of which are wonderful... except that the index sucks badly. I'm making lots of my own notes in it.

So after tracing the wiring diagrams for quite a while, it seemed like everything that was flickering (the instrument cluster, the mirror control, and the HVAC controls) all came back to the interior fuse block / MCU as the common denominator. I picked up a used one for $45 at a salvage yard and spent an hour replacing it because it's not easy to unplug the two dozen connectors that plug into that little box. No go. Still had the problem with the lights & gauges cutting out. Spent another half hour putting the old fuse block back in & returned the new block, minus a 20% restocking fee.

I then got a used instrument cluster from a 2004 CR-V from that same salvage yard. Voila! Problem solved. No more flickering. I still don't understand how the instrument cluster affected the lights on the HVAC controls and the outside mirror control, but it did. The new cluster cost $125, and I'm guessing it'll cost me $50 or more to have the dealer reprogram the odometer to match my original one (which I haven't done yet).
So I am having the exact same problems as you and am considering purchasing a used cluster from eBay. Today when I called my local honda dealer they gave me a bunch of crap saying they would not correct the odometer if I swapped it out for any price. I was wondering if you had done anything to yours as of yet?
 

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So I am having the exact same problems as you and am considering purchasing a used cluster from eBay. Today when I called my local honda dealer they gave me a bunch of crap saying they would not correct the odometer if I swapped it out for any price. I was wondering if you had done anything to yours as of yet?
I'm sorry that I never updated this thread. My dealer wouldn't update the odometer for me, but they gave me the name of a company in Michigan that would: Specmo Enterprises (http://www.specmo.com). After calling them to make arrangements, I shipped them my instrument cluster along with a signed form stating that I wasn't trying to do anything illegal by misrepresenting the actual mileage. It cost $85 to reprogram it, plus $17 for overnight shipping back to me, plus whatever it cost me to ship it to them in the first place (probably about $15). Their in-shop turnaround time is just one day. My contact at Specmo was Wally Dutz <[email protected]>.

They initially tried to have me send them both the old & new instrument clusters so that they could make them match, but I objected, since I'd already put 1000 miles on the new cluster. They eventually agreed to just set the new cluster to the mileage I requested.

Everything came back quickly and in perfect working order. I did the job over spring break, so it wasn't too big a deal for my son to be without his car.
 
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