Honda Element?

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Buzzard13

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So I am a Purest. My family never owned imports. 1995 and older with a few exceptions I'm okay with but I'm not a huge fan. When the FJ came out I liked it, even though it was a Toyota, style was okay but it was functional.

Well I borrowed a friends rig to drive down to town, she owns a Honda Element. For a Four banger that thing is crazy! And for a modest 6k + you can get a pop top add on. I would be okay with out that but there are so many posiblities with this rig. It would fall under the mid size light duty class; along side Jeeps? With modest modification to the suspention, drive train, and some knobbyer tires I think the rig could hold it's own.

Has any one seen or know of or own a Modified Honda Element?
I own a gas drinking truck; if I ever needed a commuter/gas effecient car this would be one of my choices.

Any thoughts?
 
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Daniel Etter

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I've always kind of liked the element. They had outdoors and adventuring in mind when they made it. The inside can be sprayed out with a hose and the seats fold flat. There is a lot of space inside and it looks like they have some interior storage accessories for outdoor gear. I would say it would be on par with the smaller jeeps or Subarus with its 4wd capabilities and ground clearance. It does seem like there are Offroad parts that are available for it such as lift kits, brush guards, and cargo racks. I found this pic online of a modified one. It looks like there are a few forums for off-roading them as well.
 
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murps

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I've always been kind of liked the element. They had outdoors and adventuring in mind when they made it. The inside can be sprayed out with a hose and the seats fold flat. There is a lot of space inside and it looks like they have some interior storage accessories for outdoor gear. I would say it would be on par with the smaller jeeps or Subarus with its 4wd capabilities and ground clearance. It does seem like there are Offroad parts that are available for it such as lift kits, brush guards, and cargo racks. I found this pic online of a modified one. It looks like there are a few forums for off-roading them as well.
how much for something like that?
 

Daniel Etter

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The 3" lift is $500
The brush guard is $300
The pop up tent conversion ranges from $5600-$8900!
So pretty pricey when you also figure in tires and price of the vehicle. I think in stock form with a set of good all terrain tires, it would be a great daily driver with the capabilities of doing some easy trails and exploring.
 
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1Louder

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I owned an Element for 10 years. I loved it but.... while we are not supposed to judge what a valid "overland" vehicle is I would trust that thing on anything but graded dirt roads. I also wouldn't trust non-true 4WD to keep me out of trouble. The pop up is cool but they are not as practical as one may think. You are really meant to crawl in and out from the outside via a ladder. Otherwise you are moving a bunch of pieces.

I had lots of fun with my Element. You can do a lot with the box design. I had a double bed frame with storage underneath. That worked reasonably well.
 
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TreXTerra

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It uses an Accord power train, which is a problem. The transmission for the Accord was recalled due to serious failure, but Honda never recalled the transmissions in the Element despite them being identical to the Accord. Having personally dealt with Honda for warranty work, this does not surprise me and is why I will never buy another Honda. A guy I knew had the transmission go out on his Element and Honda refused to replace it; the part number was the same as the recalled part in the Accord, but because it was installed in an Element there was no recall and Honda made him pay out of pocket.

While I like the idea of an Element, there is no way I would buy one or put any unnecessary strain on one by taking it off pavement.
 

GoHeels

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Also with any vehicle, I would see how many aftermarket companies make specific parts ,bumpers,racks etc for it.
If there aren't a lot that means you will pay more for the ones that do.
Or worse you will have to mod other vehicle specific parts or generic ones to fit.
One of my neighbors used to have a Nissan Armada when it first came out and this was a major issue. They had to have custom lift made.
 

Buzzard13

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The price Factor would be an issue. even more costly if you did a drive line swap. All valid points guys. Thanks!
 

Jet9RDO

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I am a new OB member (26473) and am building an Element as we speak- absolutely love it so far. If there is anyone else out there building one, I would love to get in touch. I went for an 23Zero RTT over the ECamper pop-up, I like the ladder access. It has a 3in lift, getting a dual battery system, fridge, all new LED’s, Eezi-awn 270 awning, tire carrier, and a place in Oregon builds an awesome roof rack specifically for the Element: Adventure Truck - Bend Oregon - 311 Roof top platform tent rack for Honda Element. MADE in the USA!. I’ve been on 1 trip so far to the Grayson Highlands area of VA- the rig did great. Headed to Great Smokey Mountains NP and Pisgah National Forests in a few weeks.
 

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Jet9RDO

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I know this is an old thread, but thought I'd share our rig. Although, she's not as capable as most vehicles, knowing our limits, and "carefully" testing her limits from time to time, we've had a blast with her thus far!
Hey! I watch your YouTube channel and you were a huge inspiration for my build! I am building an Element right now. Love your channel and all that you have done to the Element. Something I would love to ask- have you ever run into traction issues with the A/4WD system? I have thought about installing LSD’s front and rear to make it better, but I haven’t run into any issues yet where I thought I needed it. Lot’s of Subaru overlanders say they don’t have any issues. Love your opinion
 

Billiebob

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I have thought about installing LSD’s front and rear to make it better, but I haven’t run into any issues yet where I thought I needed it.
THIS ^^^ Always build what you find you need not what everyone says you need.

I love the Element, and the Transit Connect, even the Forester but I think they all do best with minimal mods. Weight is the enemy. Keep it light.
For sleeping, I'd go for one of the smaller, lighter, hardtop RTTs like the old James Boroud popups. They open and pack so fast plus the hardtop is more aerodynamic than the soft RTTs.
Weight is the enemy, unlike the JKU or Tacoma, the Element is challenged with 4 passengers. But it is an awesome open box to strart with.

And keep the tire mass as close to stock as possible. Sure add a bit of lift. Sure add profile to bump the sidewall. But weigh a stock wheel/tire combo and set a goal of keeping those new ATs near the same weight. Adding unsprung weight makes the tire harder to control, stressing the shocks and making the ride rougher. Adding weight to the rotational mass adds resistance hurting acceleration but having a dramatic effect on gas mileage which means instead of going 300 miles on a tank of gas..... you will be looking for a gas station much sooner.

Honestly a mod should improve the ride, gas mileage/range, payload capacity. If the mod decreases any of those, reconsider why you are doing it.
 
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Jet9RDO

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Agreed! I need more trail time and will see what I need (if anything- it’s pretty awesome!). Thanks so much for experience and advice- I’m just getting started
 
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yay there are some other Elements on here!!! New member as of yesterday am looking to build a bed frame, slide kitchen and storage for the interior of my Element. Im a Mountain Biker so im lkely going to have a Swing out Hitch.

THINGS I HAVE DONE SO FAR
-HRG 2" Lift Kit
-Rear Bushings
-Front and Rear Quick Struts(TRQ - DONT GET THEM im swtiching them out ASAP)

THINGS I WILL BE DOING
-Tein EnduraPro Plus Shock(fully damper adjustable)
-OEM Honda Suspension parts
-Falken Wildpeak AT3 235/70/16
-20mm Hubcenter Adjusters
-Rob Deezy Overlanding Rack
-Hiros Hotrods Driver and Passenger Swivel Set KIts
-Bed Frame
-Slideout Kitchen(80/20)
-1UP USA Rack
 
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Jet9RDO

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That’s awesome! We should stay in touch. I’m also a mountain biker. That’s why I built the rig, to camp and ride. I also just ordered my passenger swivel seat from Hiro. I’m almost done (are we ever?)- it is getting a supercharger installed at the moment. Every time a slight incline comes in sight, it downshifts, hence the supercharger.

Since that last pic, I’ve added a passenger-side 270 awning, Alu-box, and propane tank to the 311 Adventure truck rack.

I built out the rear with an ARB compressor in the spare tire well, swing out tire carrier with a front runner table, 2 OVS drawers, and a Snomaster fridge/freezer. Next step is to upgrade my dual battery from AGM to lithium.

Planning to take it riding with friends in Pisgah in mid May.

Glad you’re here- Elements are great rigs and really unique.
 
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For sure I’m always down to ride! I’m trying to get out to do some test camps once I get the bed and mattress going. Im want to go ride Knoxville soon I’ve heard some great stuff about it up there my buddy Dylan can’t stop talking about it.I’m waiting on 1UP to get back to stock and I’m going to pop on the rack to free up the space in my rear. I currently have a interior mount for my fork but I don’t wanna have to make the bed twice.

Just sent my Niner(Niner twins) 2016 Niner RIP9 Carbon in for some work. I’m hoping I can get a upgrade this summer. I’m looking to get a Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana.

You can DM me if you like and we can trade info. Look forward to shreddin. If you read my user name right you know how I do....