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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,
As I was just leaving home this evening my 2002 CRV EX had an electrical malfunction and now the vehicle will not not start. It being winter the windows were pretty fogged up and as I did not do a bit of initial engine/car warmup decided to pull off to the side and make a phone call while the window defrosted. Phone call over off I go and since the back was still pretty fogged up I pressed the rear defrost button.

UMMM that's weird the headlights went dim?
Wait what happened to the music? Radio has no lights? The radio is completely dead hmmmmm.:confused2:
Why do I have no gas? i just filled up the other day and haven't used it since
Wait Im going 0mph. something is wrong here...
The engine was on but the instrument cluster had all the error/notification lights on.

I turned off the rear defroster instrument cluster went normal but lights were still dim. The radio didn't turn back on until the front defroster/AC was off as well.
I drove it down the road and the lights brightened as the throttle was engaged and dimmed when coasting. The radio would turn on and off. Decided to return home and as I was backing into the driveway it stalled and would not start again.

Now reading all this it may be an alternator gone bad. I haven't checked fuses yet since its dark out but things did work depending on the combination of defrosters on/off configurations.

I do have a less than 3 month old Optima Yellow top, an aftermarket receiver and recently replaced the cigarette lighter socket with a dedicated dual usb port bought on amazon. Maybe one of these or combination be the culprit?

Guidance, suggestions, confidence building or bullying appreciated.
 

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From your symptoms it could be a bad alternator. If you have a multimeter you can check the status of the alternator. Do you have a booster pack? How many miles do you have?
 

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Nope engine would not have stayed running if lights did that and came back while engine stayed running. Engine would have shut down as well.

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The original problem started after pressing the rear defogger. I checked that fuse and it looked good. There are no leaks from rain in the engine bay or around the rear window. The battery showed 10v. I hooked up the old battery and now between the both of them show 18v. I do use the vehicle infrequently and would like to get a little solar panel from harbor freight and wire it in but the fuse box on the crv is next to impossible to work on.

Could infrequent use lead to a low battery and with a lot of electricity on; cold start/weather, headlighlts, stereo, a/c condenser for defroster and rear defroster, it was a lot of load for the alternator and the rear defroster was pulling from battery? The battery is a new optima, i used the electrical contact spray, use the felt corrosion washers and the contacts are good and tight.

edit:

I was able to jump start the car linking the old battery to the car. The multimeter shows 18.6. [edit:multimeter was found to be faulty] with the negative to the engine block it reads the same voltage so there seems to be no ground problem. I will try the rear defroster again after a drive to see if the problem persists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
After the troubleshooting earlier I let the vehicle run for 10-15 minutes to get the battery charged back up. A few hours later I used the car, started with no effort but still let it do a 2-3 minute warmup. I drove off and everything seemed to be operating normal. After a 3-4 mile drive about half at highway speeds. I arrived at my destination and stayed about an hour.

The car started a little sluggish but managed to start up. I drove off and as I was desenending a steep hill down shifted (auto) to 2nd. At the bottom of the hill I put it back in D. At the stop sign the radio shutoff and the check engine system icons lit up. But the car was still operating as I was getting onto the highway and noticed my lights were dim. At highway speeds things seemed to be malfunctioning so I hoped off the highway and stalled as I exited the off ramp.

The interior dome light is barely visible everything is dead and can not shift into park. The brake lights are barely visible when depressed.

When it stalled it seemed like the electric system shutoff first and the motor was still trying to fire.

I just read something about an air valve when I Google crv won't go into park
 

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I hope your voltage meter isnt reading 18.6 V especially while running. If so you shorted out the alternator.

Need to take it to a proper shop and stop using Google because whatever your reference is for why it wont go into park is completely wrong. Nothing like that even exists in any car.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hope your voltage meter isnt reading 18.6 V especially while running. If so you shorted out the alternator.

... because whatever your reference is for why it wont go into park is completely wrong. Nothing like that even exists in any car.

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It was a quick search on the side of the road at night frustrated my plans for the night cut short and I wasn't coming to the conclusion that THAT was the culprit. Just trying to get ideas to narrow down the issue and figure out where to troubleshoot. The article posted on crvownersclub was referring to an idle control valve which is an air valve of sorts and I am positive that you don't know every part that ever existed on every car. And i am sure if I didn't put anything you would tell me to google it. As I am more sure if I take it to a mechanic he/she will charge it up drive it and say it works all for me to get it home again and have the same issues. And I am not going to a mechanic with the "it makes a noise" issue.

In my limited experiences with bad alternators is that they either work or they don't, there is no it kinda works. Although I won't rule it out. But that doesn't explain why Park cannot be engaged.

So it's figure it out and fix for free and get to spend time with family for the holidays or take to a mechanic and spend a cold lonely rest of the year. Again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After retrieving my vehicle today it started right up with a jump and Park engaged no problem :Dunno:. I was able to connect my odbII reader and Torque Pro. The system showed normal voltage (please disregard previous 18v as that is due to a faulty multimeter) while idle and while driving. I drove it around and it seemed to run normal and there was not much of voltage change when adding accessories; radio, AC, lights, etc. I went to the gym and when leaving it started right up. In torque Pro no fault codes show although the Man't Reqd light on the dash is on.
 

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I'm thinking your alternator may be failing or there is a crap connection somewhere. Crap connection would be my first suspect given the fact that it seems to happen suddenly and then work again later. I would load the system (AC on max, high beams, defroster) and do some voltage drop tests. Also, unless the voltage got so low that it cleared the memory on the PCM, there may be stored codes that can be pulled even though the check engine light isn't on at the moment.
 

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I'm thinking a short as well. Chances are the alternator is damaged now or the multiplex is damaged.

Unless you want to take it to a shop I suggest NOT USING rear defrost.

This is why I say in about every one of these threads, take it to a shop. So many keep either wasting money or doing more harm trying to diagnose via google.

Anyone that is ACTUALLY a mechanic has proper knowledge, skills, and at very least basic equipment to diagnose a problem so it can be fixed.

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You could have a corroded battery cable connection, even though you just went through all that 3 months ago. It doesn't take long. It is unlikely but possible your new battery has a loose/defective post or other internal part. If you have recently (or ever) disconnected your alternator, check those connectors also, and your starter cable connections. Corrosion build-up on any of the cables or connectors, a loose one, or a bad one (like an internally broken battery cable), on hot or ground points can cause this. But, like Tigris says, a competent shop can diagnose it in five minutes with a tester, and usually don't charge for that if they get to do the repair. Quick and accurate is worth more than cheap, if you can do it. Let us know how it turns out.
 
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