2002 Odyssey. Losing power, gauges stop, dash lights come on.
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Thread: 2002 Odyssey. Losing power, gauges stop, dash lights come on.

  1. #1
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    2002 Odyssey. Losing power, gauges stop, dash lights come on.

    Hello Oddy Club members. I hope you all can help me narrow down a problem my sister is having with her 2002 Odyssey. The battery kept draining while driving. Her husband replaced the alternator and battery several times during the last several months, which told me that was probably not the issue. Diagnosed an issue that the positive battery post was not getting a good connection at all, while the alternator and battery showed proper and consistent voltages after repair, and did not appear to have worn bearing providing extra resistance. However the vehicle still dies, which I believe is due to another unrelated, but coincidentally timed issue.

    While driving, it will run fine for some time before suddenly it starts losing power, radio shuts off, gauges stop working, and certain dash lights come on, such as TCS, ABS, and all the door open indicator lights. After limping it home, it wont restart, which I'm guessing the battery ended up drained again, but I am not physically there to diagnose again. I suspect the PCM is getting interrupted, maybe due to a bad relay. I'm not certain if that would cause all of these issues at once. The oil level looked slightly low, but nothing significant. Transmission fluid is adequate. Not sure when the spark plugs were changed, and I suppose an ignition coil could be bad, but I didn't notice any misfires during the test drive last night.

    TLDR: Engine loses power, dash lights come on, gauges shut off. Battery drained.
    • Battery and alternator voltages test good.
    • Battery posts and connections cleaned and repaired.
    • Serpentine belt is new, appears in good condition.
    • Pulleys don't appear or sound as if they are worn.
    • Oil level was slightly low, but decent.
    • Transmission fluid is adequate.

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  3. #2
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    Doesn't sound like the usual symptoms, but a failing main relay is pretty common on old Hondas. When mine malfunctioned, it was the signal to the fuel pump that failed. But there are other items inside that "relay" other things. That relay is under the dash on the driver's side. It can be easier to remove the "guts" of it and leave the shell in there as the clip that holds it can be really hard to unlatch. Mine had pretty obvious burnt connections on the circuit board. The drained battery is the only thing that doesn't fit. TCS, ABS lights mean nothing, they always come on when there is a malfunction.

  4. #3
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    That light display is typical of a lack of power.

    I would first suspect the alternator, but you said it has already been replaced. Regardless, has it been tested? What brand was it? There's a lot of electrical stuff being sold that's just junk.

    Also, this van has an ELD (electrical load detector). It measures electrical load (lights, fans, heaters, etc.) and directs the alternator to increase its charge rate when load is high. A faulty ELD could result in insufficient output from the alternator to keep the battery charged, even though the alternator may be perfectly good. (Testing the ELD would require specialized tools.)

    Dave
    2002 Odyssey EX Fern (Granite) Green
    Honda hood protector, stainless steel flex brake lines, Honda block heater, AC condenser screen, Zymol wax
    151,000 miles/243,000 kilometres; original transmission; Amsoil MV ATF since 79,000 miles/127,000 kilometres; Magnefine aux ATF filter; Honda aux ATF cooler; 19 drain and fills

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  6. #4
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    Ours had the same problem and it was the alternator.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by egads View Post
    Doesn't sound like the usual symptoms, but a failing main relay is pretty common on old Hondas. When mine malfunctioned, it was the signal to the fuel pump that failed. But there are other items inside that "relay" other things. That relay is under the dash on the driver's side. It can be easier to remove the "guts" of it and leave the shell in there as the clip that holds it can be really hard to unlatch. Mine had pretty obvious burnt connections on the circuit board. The drained battery is the only thing that doesn't fit. TCS, ABS lights mean nothing, they always come on when there is a malfunction.
    I've dealt with that relay(or one similar to it, if there is more than one) before on a 2005 Honda Odyssey. The speedometer was going bonkers. Being an electronics specialist made that issue easy to fix, although oddly enough I could not locate a broken solder joint which is usually the cause.
    Quote Originally Posted by davedrivesody View Post
    That light display is typical of a lack of power.

    I would first suspect the alternator, but you said it has already been replaced. Regardless, has it been tested? What brand was it? There's a lot of electrical stuff being sold that's just junk.

    Also, this van has an ELD (electrical load detector). It measures electrical load (lights, fans, heaters, etc.) and directs the alternator to increase its charge rate when load is high. A faulty ELD could result in insufficient output from the alternator to keep the battery charged, even though the alternator may be perfectly good. (Testing the ELD would require specialized tools.)

    Dave
    I believe it is a Carquest brand which was replaced under warranty three times. I'm inclined to believe there would not be three bad in a row. I did not yet conduct a parasitic draw measurement. I suspect there is either a large draw due to a stuck closed relay, maybe the AC clutch, or the ELD is not triggering. When measuring the idling alternator voltage, I was getting approximately 13.5V+ which after some minutes of running with the battery fully charged externally before replacement, it dropped to approximately 12.5V. From what I could find, Honda's have dual mode charging which will kick it down to maintenance level charging unless under certain circumstances. I believe that is the reason for what would normally be considered under charging.
    Quote Originally Posted by bommai View Post
    Ours had the same problem and it was the alternator.

    If it's the alternator than it is probably due to the ELD not telling it to charge properly. I'm going to conduct a parasitic draw test, which should tell me if there is a stuck closed relay. If I rule out that, I'll check the the main relay for damaged solder joints in case it is causing the charging system to not get the signal to charge. After that, I'd have to chuck it up to the ELD, which is going to take more time to test.

    Does it seem like I am on the right path to you all?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drink.Tai.Tea View Post
    I did not yet conduct a parasitic draw measurement.
    A parasitic power draw usually kills a battery while the vehicle is stopped (not charging).

    You said your battery dies while driving. If there is a parasitic draw, it should not drain the battery while driving, assuming the alternator is working.

    Dave
    2002 Odyssey EX Fern (Granite) Green
    Honda hood protector, stainless steel flex brake lines, Honda block heater, AC condenser screen, Zymol wax
    151,000 miles/243,000 kilometres; original transmission; Amsoil MV ATF since 79,000 miles/127,000 kilometres; Magnefine aux ATF filter; Honda aux ATF cooler; 19 drain and fills

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drink.Tai.Tea View Post
    I've dealt with that relay(or one similar to it, if there is more than one) before on a 2005 Honda Odyssey. The speedometer was going bonkers. Being an electronics specialist made that issue easy to fix, although oddly enough I could not locate a broken solder joint which is usually the cause.


    I believe it is a Carquest brand which was replaced under warranty three times. I'm inclined to believe there would not be three bad in a row. I did not yet conduct a parasitic draw measurement. I suspect there is either a large draw due to a stuck closed relay, maybe the AC clutch, or the ELD is not triggering. When measuring the idling alternator voltage, I was getting approximately 13.5V+ which after some minutes of running with the battery fully charged externally before replacement, it dropped to approximately 12.5V. From what I could find, Honda's have dual mode charging which will kick it down to maintenance level charging unless under certain circumstances. I believe that is the reason for what would normally be considered under charging.
    My '03 rarely drops to 12.5v when the engine is running, but it occasionally does. I would sure suspect the alternator. Do you have a voltmeter in the Ody?
    You can buy one that plugs into the acc power outlet (cigarette lighter socket) on ebay, etc for under $5 and it will give you a continuous reading of the voltage.
    That way you should be able to monitor the voltage while driving and perhaps find the problem or at least get a warning before the battery gets too low.
    Buffalo4
    2003 EX-L
    190k miles orig tranny Sept 2018

  10. #8
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    With a Carquest alternator I would suspect 10 in a row. They are just not built to the standards and will not put out the rated amperage, regardless of what the tag in the box says. I've tested them and had to swap out numerous ones. I swapped two on a 2013 Odyssey. Alternator died late one evening and I had them bring the car to my house before the battery died. They needed the car the next day so I put a CQ alternator in (I knew better but figured they can't all be bad) and sent them on their way. It lasted a week and got a complaint that the battery light came on momentarily a couple of times. That's not normal so I had them bring it back. I checked it with an amp clamp and it wouldn't put out more than 75A before dropping in voltage. Replaced it with another CQ alternator. Same exact problem. It wouldn't put out more than 75A before the voltage dropped below battery voltage. I returned it and had Advance Auto get me a reman Denso. When I checked that one I was getting 100A out of it, at 14v and that's all the load I could put on the car, including seat heaters and both AC units. Install a reman Denso and I'd bet your issue goes away. I will not install the parts house brand alternators anymore.
    2008 Odyssey Touring-Silver
    2011 VW Jetta SE-Black-Totaled
    2012 VW Passat-Black
    2002 GMC Sierra SLT LB Z71-Red
    1998 Nissan 200SX SE-Blue

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    Quote Originally Posted by davedrivesody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Drink.Tai.Tea View Post
    I did not yet conduct a parasitic draw measurement.
    A parasitic power draw usually kills a battery while the vehicle is stopped (not charging).

    You said your battery dies while driving. If there is a parasitic draw, it should not drain the battery while driving, assuming the alternator is working.


    Dave
    It doesn't die while driving, but it loses full power and limps home according to my sister. After shutting it off, the battery is weak won't start the engine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drink.Tai.Tea View Post
    It doesn't die while driving, but it loses full power and limps home according to my sister. After shutting it off, the battery is weak won't start the engine.
    Yeah, that's what I meant. The battery loses all power, but the engine still runs.

    Dave
    2002 Odyssey EX Fern (Granite) Green
    Honda hood protector, stainless steel flex brake lines, Honda block heater, AC condenser screen, Zymol wax
    151,000 miles/243,000 kilometres; original transmission; Amsoil MV ATF since 79,000 miles/127,000 kilometres; Magnefine aux ATF filter; Honda aux ATF cooler; 19 drain and fills

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