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I’ve recently hit an electrical problem that the dealer “fixed” but can’t determine the root cause. It may/may not be due to towing it behind the RV.

Short Version
On a towing trip, but not immediately after towing the CRV (2014 EX), the transmission was locked in park. After unlocking the trans (that slot by the shifter) and starting the car, I noticed the EPS light was on. No steering problems, just the light. I towed it to the dealer. As I dropped it off, I noticed the VSA and TPMS lights were also on. Dealer found a blown underhood “brake” fuse (#16). All seems ok now, they returned it with “If problem re occurs further diagnosis will be needed”. Warrantee was denied because there was a non OEM tow light wiring, but no problems were found with that wiring.

Anyone had problems with any of these lights (EPS, VSA, TPMS) that was related to fuse 16? Did you figure the root casue?


Long Version

Background:
Class A motor home towing a 2014 Honda CRV. I did the base plate and wiring install myself. The tail light wiring is done via pre-built plug/play TrailerMate harness with diodes built in. This harness has OEM like connectors, so I simply unplugged the factory tail light wire, plugged it into one end of the harness, and the other end of the harness into the tail light.

CRV braking (while being towed) is augmented via a BrakeBuddy Classic. It’s a momentum activated box that sits in front of the driver seat. An arm attaches to the brake pedal and extends when stopping momentum is sensed. It has a compressor inside, powered by plug into the cigarette lighte.

We’ve bought the car new, 6 months ago. No prior problems in approx 3,000 miles.

Trip:
I was 3/4 through a 2+ week trip. I’d already stopped several times, disconnected, drove the CRV for a day or two, reconnected and towed to next spot. At one stop, as I started up the CRV to position it behind the RV started (note – I’d driven the car 2 – 3 hours the prior day).

Problem:
Transmission was locked in Park. I put the key in the little slot by the shifter, which allowed me to put it in Neutral, then I started it and moved it behind the RV. At this time I first noticed the EPS light (Electronic Power Steering). I researched this a little and learned that the CRV’s have been known to have PS problems (power assist stops functioning). The manual said take it directly to the dealer when this occurs. I then towed it home (800 miles, 2 days).

I stopped at the Honda dealer as I got home. Once disconnected and started (to drive a block to the service bay), I noticed the VSA (stability control) and TPMS (tire pressure) lights were also on. So, I had a locked transmission, EPS, VSA, and TPMS lights (but I noticed no problem with how the CRV drove).

Honda "Diagnosis”
The service tech said I have a “brake system electrical overload” (fancy words for a blown fuse). The under hood fuse was labeled Brake. He checked out the wiring harness, said no problems were found. Bottom line – he couldn’t figure out the problem. His report said “If problem reoccurs additional diagnosis will be needed”

My thoughts:
Battery -the CRV’s are vulnerable to battery drain when being towed, but only if towed 8+ hrs. I don’t think this is the issue as I only towed 4 – 5 hrs at a time, followed by some driving. Starting the car was never a problem.

Tail light wiring – the service technician found nothing obviously wrong with the tow wiring in the CRV, but suspected it was contributing to an overload.

I’m wondering if a “doubling” of signals on that tail light circuit could be a problem. I.e. 1) When the RV brakes, it activates the CRV brake lights via the Trailer Mate harness. 2) Under hard braking, the BrakeBuddy activates, pushing down the CRV brake pedal, which also activates the CRV brake lights. I think the tech is saying this "double activation" of the brake lights might have overloaded the system and caused the fuse to blow

Other experts: I’ve talked to service technicians at BrakeBuddy, Etrailer (where I bought the harness), and TrailerMate (where the harness is was designed/made). None of them had heard of a towing related electrical issue in CRV’s.

Honda Service Tech: he said he’s seen similar issues from towing setups, but never seen such a problem without towing. But I believe that’s a blanket statement without looking at my exact setup. His job is to deal with OEM stuff. As soon as he see’s something non OEM – it fits a category of “not my problem” (and not covered by warrantee). He didn’t mention that the EPS systems on the CRV’s are known to have issues (but the posts I read were mostly about EPS system failures, not simply a warning light).

Additional Relay option: In rereading the literature on the taillight wiring harness, I was reminded of a recommendation to also install a “Brake-Lite Relay Kit”. The description said “The purpose of a brake light relay kit is to prevent your towed car's brake signal from overriding the turn signal that comes from your RV.” I.e. if the Brake Buddy is pushing the CRV brake pedal, the CRV brake light will activate, overriding flashing turn signal coming from the RV. I wasn’t too worried about that condition, didn’t buy the relay kit.

I just now closely looked at the video to determine exactly what that relay kit does. In a nut shell, it modifies the CRV “brake pedal to tail light” circuit so that it is only powered when the ignition key is on. Thus, when being towed (key in Accessory, not On) only the RV signal tail light signal will be produced. Thus, this relay kit should prevent the “double signal” that I’m theorizing may have caused my overload problems.

Details: The relay is wired with the 87 connector (triggering signal) coming from the CRV brake pedal, 86 connector (power) coming from a fuse that is only active with key in On, and 30 connector (power out) going to the tail light.

While this relay makes some sense and shouldn’t hurt, I was hoping to avoid cutting factory wires on the CRV. I’ve already seen the dealer instantly go into “Warrantee Deny” mode when any non OEM wires are visible.


Questions:

Double activation – does this even make sense as a theoretical issue?

Relay Kit – if the double activation idea really does seem logically related to my problem, does the relay kit make sense?

3 warning lights – does it make sense that one blown “Brake” fuse would trigger steering, traction and tire pressure warning lights?

Timing –I kind of agree with the service tech, that the issue likely is coming from the towing setup, but also am confused why it would occur after 2 days of driving (not towing).

Anyone seen anything like this?

Thanks,
Cliff
 

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Locked in park/VSA light on

I've had the same issue when towing from the rv. Took to Honda dealer who said they found a wiring short and corrected. That was 3 months ago and has been fine since. Now my wife just drove it 4 hours away and guess what....Did it again. Fortunately she remembered how to get it out of park! I don't use a braking assist system so the Brake Buddy theory may not be right but did install aftermarket wiring harness that plugs into tail light area. Has been on it for 2 years working fine. Now having issues. Would love to hear if you've found the problem. Thanks
 

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I have the EPS light, the check engine light and the VSA light on at once. Any idea what this could be. I seem to be in that space of throwing costly repairs at the problem. new battery, new starter, now they want to replace the celenoid/
 

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17 CRV EXL AWD, 14 CRV EXL AWD
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Low voltage can very well trip those lamps, without a list of the codes it's impossible to even guess at the cause. Which solenoid do they want to replace?
 

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Anyone have an update on this problem. My 2014 is doing same thing. Checked for codes with two different code
readers and nothing showed. TPMS, VSA and EPS will come on and shifter locked. Seems to be random. Sometimes after towing, sometimes after normal driving. If I unlock the shifter and drive car lights will go out after few miles. Today after it happened, I let the car sit in the driveway for 20 minutes and everything went back to normal (lights out and shifter unlocked). Car has SMI StayandPlay Duo brake system, Roadmaster 88400 brake light relay and fuse bypass switch. New OEM Honda battery.
 
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