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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having one of those dreaded car electrical issues on my 2008 EX-L and am hoping someone can help.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the driver's front map light was not coming on when any of the doors were opened. At first, I didn't think much of it because I just figured the bulb was out. However, when I thought to push the light to manually turn it on, it actually came on like normal. When the passenger-side front map light started doing the same thing (not turning on when the doors opened), I decided to tear things apart to try to figure this out. Using a voltmeter, I tested the sole power source for both front map lights at it's end connector (over the rear view mirror) - it was outputting 6V with the doors open/master interior light switch off, 12V if I turned the master interior light switch on (all lights on in the vehicle which simulates the individual map light being manually turned on). This is what I would expect since manually turning on the light normally gives you a brighter light. After putting everything back together, the passenger-side map light would come on with the doors open and when you manually turned it on. However, after about a week, nothing works on the passenger side now (with doors or manual) and only the manual light will work on the driver's side.

Is this some kind of short near the lights themselves or could this problem be "upstream" somewhere at the origination of the wiring harness near the fuse box/in the dash/wherever it goes (even though I seem to be measuring good voltages)? The only other thing I can think of is the little switches that turn the map lights on are somehow jacked up, but it doesn't make sense to me why both would be affected simultaneously.

Thanks for the help ... gotta love electrical problems.
 

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I have read your very detailed writeup. You should check the door pin switch on on the doors. If you open the driver's side door, and look at the right side of the door jam, you will see a black rubber dome like object. That is an ON/OFF switch that triggers your dome/map light. You can pull that switch out by removing a screw. Use your multimeter to check if the switch is giving you an open or closed circuit when you press it. Check the passenger side also.

If the switch checks out good, then things gets complicated from here. Most modern cars have some kind of electronic control box that takes that door switch signal and will send the output to the map light to turn it on or off. This is why its able to dim it gradually. It's that box that will gradually step down the voltage. Hope it's not that box acting up.

You mention you have a 2008, do you still have warranty, cause something like this is best handled by the dealer if they will fix it for free. Things can get expensive.

Another question, when it's not working, do both front doors and sliding doors not turning on the dome/map light? If this is the case, then it's not the door switch or map light itself causing the problem.
 

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Checking the switch is a good idea, but now you would have to have two goofy switches as you say the passenger side is acting up too.

There was a TSB on multiple electrical problems based on water in the BCAN transievers after exposure to water ( http://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/pubs/SB/A08-078.PDF ) but it doesn't mention symptom of front map lights out.

Sounds ugly...but if this is an '08, and your miles are low enough, are you still in warranty? May be worth going to dealer regardless...print out TSB and ask if this could be it. These days, electrical issues are hard to debug w/ out the factory electrical manuals, the circuits are not straightforward anymore in the days of micro-controller controlled networks in cars.

Good luck!
 

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If it was a faulty door switch, I would think it would be affecting all the interior lights at the same time, not just one or two at a time. I would lean towards some type of short around the lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help everyone.

I finally got some additional time to work on this again today.

I tried seeing if depressing the door switch had any effect on the front map lights, but they still did not come on. The second and third row seat lighting responds correctly to the door switch being depressed, so I really think that rules out the door switch as a reason.

As I stated before, there is two-wire power supply to the front map light "module" that supplies power to both front lights. Additional multimeter testing of these two wires yields the behavior I would expect:

1) doors closed/master light switch to "off" = 0 V
2) doors closed/master light switch to "door" = 0V
3) doors closed/master light switch to "on" = 12V

4) doors open/master light switch to "off" = 0V
5) doors open/master light switch to "door" = 12V before lights fade out (linearly drops to 0V when this happens)
6) doors open/master light switch to "on" = 12V

7)immediately after closing door after they have been open for awhile = 6V (correlates with dimmer light intensity when all doors have been closed after everyone gets in the car)

Since the two lights can obviously be turned on and off independently in manual mode, I suspected one or both of the actual light switches as the culprit. To test this, I interchanged the two switches to see if I got different behavior from the lights (which I did). Now, the driver's side map light works completely correct - turns on when door opens; with light off and doors closed, can manually be turned on; has dim light intensity just after closing all doors. The passenger side is completely non-functional in all respects.

My conclusion is the current passenger-side switch (the old driver's side switch) needs to be replaced. Online, I can only seem to find the entire map light "module" for $70 but not the individual switches. Anybody know where I can find a $5 replacement switch rather than paying $70 for a bunch of extra plastic I don't need?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Do you have a picture of what the switch looks like?
 

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P/N 34404-SDA-A22 from Majestic Honda's online parts page is $45, + shipping/handling, looks like about $60 to your door.

Not cheap, maybe a boneyard around your place?

Again, no warranty left? Maybe you could get dealer to help you out w/ a little goodwill (match the online price of $45, and you will handle the labor.)
 

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As to the boneyard, from a quick search it looks like this part is used in Accords, too (not sure what years but should be easy-ish to find). Gives you more options to look at...

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sorry, yeah, it's out of warranty. The book says basically 3 years or 36,000 miles (we are at 51K). So I think I'm on my own.

Gotta love the internet - I got the bright idea of just googling "ALP" and seeing if they just happened to be a third-party company that makes switches for Honda. I think I found the one:

http://www.alps.com/WebObjects/catalog.woa/E/HTML/Switch/Push/SPED2/SPED2_list.html

Googled "ALPS SPED210200" and found the part at onlinecomponents.com for $1.98 (before S & H). I like the idea of going to the boneyard, too, but if it's this cheap buying it online, I'll probably just go that route. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and I would probably have to spend more money than that on Gatorade just to keep myself hydrated walking around the U-Pull-It yard in this humidity. :)

Thanks for all the help, I'll let you guys know if the "put in a new part and see what happens" method works on this one.
 

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hartleyjc said:
Gotta love the internet - I got the bright idea of just googling "ALP" and seeing if they just happened to be a third-party company that makes switches for Honda. I think I found the one:

http://www.alps.com/WebObjects/catalog.woa/E/HTML/Switch/Push/SPED2/SPED2_list.html

Googled "ALPS SPED210200" and found the part at onlinecomponents.com for $1.98 (before S & H). I like the idea of going to the boneyard, too, but if it's this cheap buying it online, I'll probably just go that route. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and I would probably have to spend more money than that on Gatorade just to keep myself hydrated walking around the U-Pull-It yard in this humidity. :)

Thanks for all the help, I'll let you guys know if the "put in a new part and see what happens" method works on this one.
WOW! Great find! :)

I may order a few, just In case... :)

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #16
michaelj3,

Yeah, you are right ... I didn't notice that! :mad:

I don't know, maybe I'll go to U-Pull-It or just live with the passenger side being out ... I hate overpaying for such a simple component ...
 

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Ok, true enough..on other hand, $40 fixes your problem right.

Yes, its $40, but is there value in just having it working?

I would still go to dealer and complain a bit. Yes, you are over in miles, but all you want is a Part, ask them to split it 50-50 w/ you, its $20 then.

Tell them mileage really shouldn't affect a switch!!

Just my 2 cents...but..for the pain and agony of the you-pull-it...seems like its worth a call.

Plan B, does online components sell anything else you normally buy anyway like batteries or whatever that you could order and meet the min?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the comments. So, the temperature here in Mississippi dropped about 400 degrees over last weekend and, what do you know, both lights started working again like nothing ever happened. I still suspect the switch, but maybe I'll hold off replacing it for awhile just to see what happens. I'm in the Air Force and recently got orders to Germany hence me working on these kinds of projects before I go. Maybe the cooler weather there will treat the van better. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just an update to this post ... the problem re-appeared with the warmer weather in Germany this past summer of 2011. I finally broke down and ordered the $40 dollar plastic replacement module that included the new switches, light bulb sockets, etc. - it didn't fix the issue. What DID finally fix it was re-ordering the genuine Honda replacement bulbs. Even though replacing the bulb was one of the first things I started with way back when, I used a generic bulb from Autozone. On closer inspection, the metal end on the generic bulb seemed slightly cock-eyed, so maybe it was defective/poorly made from the get-go. Whatever ... I guess the moral is buy the Honda genuine parts (?).
 
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