What I ended up buying

Many of you may remember my numerous threads about a month ago regarding various cars that I was looking at buying with my limited budget. I received many helpful comments, so I wanted to come back and update you on what I ended up getting.

I ended up finding a one-owner 2001 Honda Odyssey with 202,000 miles for $2,000.00. A lot of paperwork (including the original window sticker) was included. Although I am well aware of the Odyssey transmission issues, the transmission and torque converter were rebuilt at 182,000 miles (for more than I paid for the entire van, according to the paperwork).

I am aware that with a vehicle of that year and that many miles, there are going to be some issues that I have to repair, and I have one such issue that I would like to ask for help with.

Intermittently when I am driving at a slower speed, if I step on the brake firmly, the dash lights (i.e., the gear selector indicator light) will dim for about one second, and the radio will shut off for about the same amount of time, then come back on. In addition, when I am driving at a slower speed, if I suddenly take my foot off of the accelerator, occasionally the tach and speedometer needles will suddenly drop for about one second, and the radio will shut off for the same amount of time, then everything will recover. For some odd reason, this does not happen on every trip.

Yesterday, after I shut the van off, I went to roll up the windows, but there was no power to them (there always is once I shut it off before I open a door). I then turned the key into the “On” position and back off again, and I was able to roll up the windows. I then noticed that the clock was showing the wrong time, as sometimes happens after the other glitches.

When any of the above happens, the van does not stall, and does not seem to buck or hesitate.

I have had it suggested that the issue is caused by a ground problem that is activated when the engine flexes, and the main battery ground cable looks a little frayed near where it connects to the engine, so I’m going to replace that once I can find one in stock in my area, but I’ve also read about a faulty ignition switch causing similar issues.

Another issue (which may be a separate issue, but I’ll mention it just in case) is that the ABS light (not the traditional symbol, but the amber square) comes on intermittently, then turns off seemingly at random. In looking at the paperwork, the Honda dealer did not find any codes or issues with the ABS when the previous owners had it checked out for the ABS light issue.

I have a few other maintenance questions, but I will hold off on them for now so that I can hopefully get this issue resolved.

Thank you!

sounds like it might be an alternator problem,either the alternator itself or the wiring harness,maybe the belt or a bad alternator ground.
When the engine is running the alternator supplies all the power for your car,if there is a problem with the alternator the car will draw power directly from the battery but the battery can`t provide enough power to power everything which might be why the radio,dash lights,engine,etc ( tach drop could mean the engine has momentarily stopped running due to no voltage to the coil) are momentarily cutting off.


Unless the battery is bad (which there are no signs of as far as starting is concerned), all batteries have a “reserve capacity” which allows the car to run for a period of time even if the alternator fails.

Get a digital voltmeter to plug into your 12V socket. Hondas usually use a “load sensing” module that switches battery charging voltage between 12.8V and 14.4V depending on load and battery charge. Get to know what “normal” is on this meter and you’ll be way ahead on future issues.

I had some similar problems on a 2002 Malibu we used to have. Turned out to be related to the battery cable being less than entirely connected. You might check the terminals on the battery, and/or the battery itself. Good luck.

Check both ends of the battery cables for corrosion, not just the ends at the battery.