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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/8/21 9:46 p.m.

It's, uh, everything. One reason these have so much height inside is Honda basically just dropped everything else below the body. The exhaust system and fuel tank, along with a cute little fuel tank protection cage, is visible from the side without bending down.

It's a horrible design for serious off-roading or great aerodynamics, but I think it's the right choice to efficiently package a city car that has extra interior room. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
6/9/21 5:53 a.m.

It must be the fuel tank protection thingy that I'm seeing.

 

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/9/21 6:13 a.m.

Yep, that would make sense. CRVs of the same era have something similar, but it's farther back and not as prominent. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/12/21 5:36 p.m.

Time an update: Seat covers arrived!

I've had a set of Covercraft seat covers on my F-250 for 20,000 miles, and they're awesome. No shifting, no wear, no problems: Just comfy, good looking seats that have held up to tons of abuse:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/2001-ford-f-250/project-f-250-cleaning-interior/

The Element has a few small tears in the front driver's seat, like every other Element built before the interior refresh in 2007. Turns out Honda's "ready for an active lifestyle!" fabric wasn't. So, while I tried, I couldn't find any used seats that weren't also ripped. And buying the same flawed material from the dealer for $600 didn't seem like a smart investment, especially because I'm hard on interiors (mountain bikes, junkyards, etc.) 

So I spent $300 on a pair of front seat covers for the Element. I didn't buy a matching set for the rears since I barely use those seats; they spend all their time folded up so there's no reason to protect them. As expected, the covers fit well and feel just as nice as the Carhartt branded covers on my truck. If I were to order again I might have picked one shade darker color scheme, but I'm a fan of light interiors and these should stay cooler when we go to the beach. 
 

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/13/21 8:19 p.m.

I'm jealous of how clean your 200k mile Element looks! 

I picked up a similar year CR-V thinking it would be a great reliable car and went through some of the same maintenance routine getting it up to snuff.  Unfortunately, I think it had been neglected pretty bad in the past and rust was taking its tole on the car.  They were well designed, right-sized, and assembled in a way that made sense to me as an engineer and mechanic - I just wish mine wasn't a lemon!  It was still better than the Liberty it replaced.

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/4/21 11:00 a.m.

Time for a quick update to cover a few odds and ends:

1. 70" hurricane shutters fit, but just barely. Neat!


 

2. A Miata hood and hardtop fit, too! 


 

3. One of the bumpers that prevents the rear seat from rattling when folded up was missing, so I replaced it with a good used one from the Element Classifieds page. 

 

4. Speaking of missing bumpers, the fuel door should have them but didn't. I ordered replacements online to fix the occasional rattle from that corner.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/4/21 11:59 a.m.

Getting it done! Good time to buy those shutters. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
7/4/21 8:55 p.m.

Do those seats have airbags in them?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/5/21 7:17 p.m.

In reply to Woody (Forum Supportum) :

Yes, I ordered the covers designed for Elements with side airbags in the seats. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/21 8:45 a.m.


 

Time to get rid of some sidewall! I've got a suspension refresh planned, and it would be a shame to set the Element on the ground on the same 16" wheels with so so so much cheap, flexible sidewall from their Walmart tires.
 

I picked up this set of 17x8 Acura TL wheels for $124 last night. Pending a test fit, I think they'll make a fairly attractive stock-looking +1 upgrade after powder coating and some fresh rubber. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/8/21 8:49 a.m.

I always look at these and wonder about the viability of spacing the tupperware fenders out a few inches for more tire, and making tube frame safari doors to enjoy airflow through the giant double openings.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/21 9:24 a.m.

This Amazing Off-Roader Was Once a Honda Element - Autotrader

I'll just leave this here...

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
7/8/21 10:00 a.m.

I think I paid about the same for my set of TL wheels. Nice score!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/8/21 10:23 a.m.

Yeah, I figured even if I don't keep them long-term, a set of 17x8 5x114.3 wheels isn't a bad thing to have lying around.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/21/21 12:24 p.m.

It's good to have friends with powdercoating ovens... Blast Masters just sent me this photo. Looks like it'll be new wheel time for the Element soon!

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/21/21 7:20 p.m.

The TL wheels are one of my favorite designs - great idea!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/21/21 7:36 p.m.

Thanks!

On tonight's to-do list: The Element pulls a little to the right, the shocks have seen better days, and there's clearly worn bushings throughout the suspension. I put it up on the lift to carefully and methodically find the worn parts and replace them.

Just kidding! It's time to fire the suspension parts cannon at this thing! I splurged on Moog stuff and quick struts to make my life easier, and ordered a pair of genuine Honda axles to replace the clicking ones it's currently running. All this totaled more than $1500, but I should have an Element that drives like new when I'm done.  


 


 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/23/21 9:15 a.m.

Two nights in, and progress on the Element is going... slowly. First one of the Moog inner tie rods was wrong, then I fought with the passenger-side axle for two hours before finally pulling the whole intermediate shaft, carrier, and axle out to try breaking them apart on the bench. I've never had a snap ring stick this badly before.

I figure I should replace the bearing while I have everything apart, anyway, so an OEM one is now on the way.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/23/21 5:26 p.m.

I'll take "CV joints that have failed" for $1000:

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
7/23/21 8:35 p.m.

Oof. Thanks for taking the time today to put that switch on our light in the Shasta.

Mom

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/23/21 8:49 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

I'll take "CV joints that have failed" for $1000:

"I put different springs on my 200,000 mile old car, why does it shake like a wet dog on acceleration now that the axles are in a different part of their plunge travel?"

 

Speaking of wet dog, I am sure that your Element is very nice, but I can't even see the interior without being reminded of the smell of odorous dog.  Like, August in a house without air conditioning and the whole place smells like the insides of a dog's lungs, dog.  I don't know why every Element I've experienced was paired with someone with stinky dogs, but there you have it...

Ottawa
Ottawa Reader
7/24/21 5:36 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Speaking of wet dog, I am sure that your Element is very nice, but I can't even see the interior without being reminded of the smell of odorous dog.  Like, August in a house without air conditioning and the whole place smells like the insides of a dog's lungs, dog.  I don't know why every Element I've experienced was paired with someone with stinky dogs, but there you have it...

OK, having been a parallel Element owner and dog owner I can answer that question for you:

I owned an Element because I needed to transport a pack of medium/large dogs to and from a place where we walk, run, play. Returning from said outing means the well exercised dogs and now panting and sweating through their glands in their paws (they can leave wet paw prints on a dry day). That sweaty paw residue is what you are smelling.

Think of an Element as being a dog locker room, and how people that never play hard probably hate the smell of  a gym/rink/whatever locker room but to others it feels right.

Now as for your "someone with stinky dogs" comment I would say any sweating dog can be stinky, but I guess if you don't like dogs they are all "stinky" to you.

BTW Tom, our first Element was a 2005 red/black that we still miss to this day, so when you are ready to move on I call dibs on this one.

Also if you have grip or cleaning issues there used to be a product called Elemmat that was much favoured by the Element community at the time, a pic here (paw images were added by owner). I'm sure you could fabricate one if you needed to, I might even have an extra in the basement if you were interested.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/24/21 6:57 p.m.

Ok, the Element is back on the ground! I don't have a great after photo, but here it is on hub stands while I torqued the control arms:


 

Rockauto sent me a random assortment of rear suspension bushings that nearly matched what I ordered, but not quite, so I skipped the rear suspension overhaul. Based on condition I'm pretty sure the previous owner replaced the upper control arms, and the rest of the bushings were fine. For now I just replaced the rear shocks/springs/top hats. I may eventually return to this and replace the rest of the bushings just to say I did.

That means the total installed parts list is:

  1. Front control arms
  2. Front ball joints
  3. Front axles
  4. Inner tie-rods
  5. Outer tie-rods
  6. All four spring/shock/strut assemblies 

I also flushed the brake fluid while I had the wheels off, since what was in there was pretty dark.

So, how's it drive? Like a new Honda, of course! The old axles were bad enough that the Element shuddered like crazy with any bit of throttle application, and that's now completely fixed. And the fresh shocks and tight front suspension mean it drives like, well, a Honda.

I'll take it for a real alignment next week (I just did a quick tape measure front toe setting), but I'll call this a success. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/24/21 7:28 p.m.

In reply to Ottawa :

That makes a lot of sense, actually!

 

I love dogs but it is amazing how wide the spectrum is with respect to odor, even for the lil' guys who get bathed on a frequent basis.

I'll stop the thread drift, it seems to be out of... element

Nomad
Nomad Reader
7/25/21 10:08 a.m.

Was hoping to see 1.5" lift. But this still looks like a great way to go

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