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I am not sorry I waited, but I am a little disappointed in the 5 speed transmission. The gearing is way too close together. Within certain wheel and engine speeds, it is like it doesn't really matter what gear it is in. And if you are not sure, just put it in 5th. It doesn't matter as long as it doesn't lug.

Start out in 2nd gear and move directly to 4th or 5th. 1st is way too low. My wife burns rubber too easily. I suspect in rain or snow, 1st gear would be impossible to keep wheel spin down.

And what is with that 5th? It isn't high enough to really allow the engine to loaf and just give decent gas mileage. The final drive numbers on the automatic is higher by a bit, than 5th on a manual trans.

I would get the 5 speed again because I am that kind of guy. But I hope the next time I am in the market for a new car, the Element has a better grip on gear ratios.

Fweem.
 

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your right but this is perfect for off road condition... dont forget that the E have a hi reving engine....

if you doesnt like the ratio put bigger wheels and tires like those ugly 20 inch chrome wheels... :wink:
 

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I chirped the tires a whole lot less when I bumped up the PSI just a few notches on the stock Wranglers.

I've recently put on Dueler AT Revos at 235/70/16 on the stock wheels. These seemed to be the tires of choice. So far I've only chirped the tires once when them. I like the fact that there is extra to work with at the start. If I'm careful, I never chirp.

FYI: I got 32 mpg with the stock tires and empty back (no seats, no cargo) with a 2WD 5-speed highway driving. I don't know if I'll be able to replicate that, but it sure made me happy!
 

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[quote:eafc85a4ac="fweem"]I am not sorry I waited, but I am a little disappointed in the 5 speed transmission. The gearing is way too close together. Within certain wheel and engine speeds, it is like it doesn't really matter what gear it is in. And if you are not sure, just put it in 5th. It doesn't matter as long as it doesn't lug.

Start out in 2nd gear and move directly to 4th or 5th. 1st is way too low. My wife burns rubber too easily. I suspect in rain or snow, 1st gear would be impossible to keep wheel spin down.

And what is with that 5th? It isn't high enough to really allow the engine to loaf and just give decent gas mileage. The final drive numbers on the automatic is higher by a bit, than 5th on a manual trans.

I would get the 5 speed again because I am that kind of guy. But I hope the next time I am in the market for a new car, the Element has a better grip on gear ratios.

Fweem.[/quote:eafc85a4ac]

Funny you mention that...I finally got to test drive the 5 speed and came away thrilled. I have a Civic Si and was shocked at how similar the clutch and transmission are...although I shouldn't be since they are both built on the same platform. I was basically looking for more space and 4WD, without having to drive a much bigger vehicle. Essentially, a crossover that drives like a Honda.

I was a tad worred that the Element wouldn't drive like a typical Honda, but I was wrong. I pick up my 2003 4WD EX 5 Speed on Tuesday so I guess I will really evaluate it then. My last three Hondas being a Civic Si, S2000 and del Sol VTEC, I have become very used to a high revving top gear and felt they really tailored the Civic Si for real world power. I am hoping to find the Element the same.
 

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[quote:58d5d81d58="fweem"]I am not sorry I waited, but I am a little disappointed in the 5 speed transmission. The gearing is way too close together. Within certain wheel and engine speeds, it is like it doesn't really matter what gear it is in. And if you are not sure, just put it in 5th. It doesn't matter as long as it doesn't lug.

Start out in 2nd gear and move directly to 4th or 5th. 1st is way too low. My wife burns rubber too easily. I suspect in rain or snow, 1st gear would be impossible to keep wheel spin down.

And what is with that 5th? It isn't high enough to really allow the engine to loaf and just give decent gas mileage. The final drive numbers on the automatic is higher by a bit, than 5th on a manual trans.

I would get the 5 speed again because I am that kind of guy. But I hope the next time I am in the market for a new car, the Element has a better grip on gear ratios.

Fweem.[/quote:58d5d81d58]

Fweem,

I kinda have to agree with you. I read your post a couple of days ago, and thought i'd think about it while i drove a few days before I got back to you. I really like the pep of the five speed, but I'm still in my "break in" period, so I haven't let myself really push it yet. I do think the gear ratio is a little low, but I liken it a lot to my father's Jeep Wrangler. It's very similar on the hi-revving gear thing. Maybe I'm kind of attracted to it because i really wanted a Wrangler at one point in time, but after hearing horror stories of how they need fixed all the time, I came across the element. It's my "jeep that works"

I would probably have trouble driving in 5th for a long time at interstate speeds. If I was looking for a family car in the Element, I'd be disappointed, but we have a Grand Voyager for family trips.

So what I'm saying is...you're right. But I like it anyways :wink:

I can't wait to break my 600 mile barrier so i can see how much the thing zips!

B
 

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After thinking about my post from the other day (and not having my Element yet) I guess it is really about what you are used to. I am so used to my del Sol revving 4500 RPMs on the highway (at 85 mph) that I am used to the noise and feel of the car. I think the Element will feel like my Civic Si does...much more refined and lower revving...but that is just a comparison to what I am used to. If you are used to driving a V6 or almost any American car...you'll feel like you are about to blow a valve through the valve cover after 20 minutes on the highway with a high revving Honda four.

If the concern is gas mileage or noise, it is a valid one. I have heard people complain about stress on the engine when it revs that high for that long of a time period. I really don't find that to be a concern...Honda engines are built to rev and the Element (I am guessing) will have no ill effects from engine speed at highway speeds.

I pick up my Element tomorrow night...I'll post my thoughts after I drive it on the highway (after break in), but I can almost guarantee that it won't be much different than the Civic Si I am trading on it. The good news is that we are taking a weekend trip and the Element will be tailgating at a Penn State game before it is done break in. Break in should be done late Sunday and I am looking forward to seeing the performance vs. the Si. On the test drive I learned one thing...that Honda really needed to think about doing something to make the Civic Si a tad more powerful...the fact the the Elements performance numbers are as close as they are is, frankly, pathetic. I do love the Si and thought it was a great car...would be really nice to see the Type R hit our shores.
 

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IMHO.....the gearing is a bit too close and there is a 6th gear missing....but compared to the automatic we drove during the test drive...the stick is the way to go.....but again is all about YOU and your driving habits..... :roll:
 

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I for one appreciate the lower gearing because I tow a 1000lb trailer on the highway on most of my long trips, and it really shines. I never had to downshift from 5th while going up a hill during my 990 mile trip to Canada/back with the a/c on. And, when I wanted to pass someone, it did it fine.

One thing that I've noticed is the flat torque curve. My old Saturn SC had a 16-valve engine that really came to life above 4000rpm, below that it was ok. The ivtec really works I think, making good power throughout the powerband, so that's why it doesn't seem to matter to some people what gear they're in, it just pulls.

But, I'm at 2000 miles now where before my trip Friday I was at 1000, and the engine loosened up quite a bit and feels way peppier now. Getting a good squeal out of second gear is easy, even with the awd about to kick in. But, the power is still very smooth and consistent. Love it. :!:
 

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[quote:897b6d1e0a="SuperJETT"]I for one appreciate the lower gearing because I tow a 1000lb trailer on the highway on most of my long trips, and it really shines. I never had to downshift from 5th while going up a hill during my 990 mile trip to Canada/back with the a/c on. And, when I wanted to pass someone, it did it fine.

One thing that I've noticed is the flat torque curve. My old Saturn SC had a 16-valve engine that really came to life above 4000rpm, below that it was ok. The ivtec really works I think, making good power throughout the powerband, so that's why it doesn't seem to matter to some people what gear they're in, it just pulls.

But, I'm at 2000 miles now where before my trip Friday I was at 1000, and the engine loosened up quite a bit and feels way peppier now. Getting a good squeal out of second gear is easy, even with the awd about to kick in. But, the power is still very smooth and consistent. Love it. :!:[/quote:897b6d1e0a]

That is great to hear...I have about 1000 on it now. Maybe I should tow a trailer to help get that extra power! :lol: I am loving it...I think HEK is correct...it is tuned perfectly to the way I drive, but I can certainly understand how some people may think it is geared way too low.
 

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Bought an Element in mid-April, having driven a '92 Accord for the past 10 years. I insisted on a manual, but chose 2WD over 4WD since off-roading doesn't appeal to me. I spent 3 weeks from May 21 to June 10 driving from Atlanta to Portland Oregon to Vermont, returning to Altanta on August 21. Had 750 miles on it when I left; now have just a tad over 12,000. I'm still in love with the thing, despite the cracked windshield...but to the point.
On my odyssey I avoided Interstates and really high speeds - rarely over 70 - and averaged 28 mpg consistently. I'm reasonably happy with this - had I been really concerned about mileage I'd have bought a Civic but the camping gear wouldn't have fit very well. At any rate, my only real complaint is that with the gearing as it is, I'm cruising at nearly 4000 rpm instead of less than 3000 as in the Accord, and am paying for that high rate at the pump. Since 5th gear is essentially for cruising, it seems to this non-engineer (geologist) that they could have given it a more appropriate gearing ratio.
As an aside let me say that I'm hard of hearing (I thought the family disease was alcoholism but found out it was deafness...bummer), and I had no idea how much I depended on the sound of the engine in choosing when to shift, particularly with the stereo blasting away. Occasionally I'd be tooling down the road, thinking I was in 5th gear (the short-term memory is going...I'm an old coot) only to notice that the tach was up in the 5000 range...and of course I was still in third gear. It happened more than once, but not usually more than once a day.....
 

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Woody,
There are aftermarket shift indicators available which shine a light at an RPM set point which you determine. I believe it's a drag racing idea.
As far as the gearing goes you can change the overall gearing by increasing the tire diameter. If 1st. gear is low enough for you now this could be an option.
On a final note , you could give that alcohol thing another chance. :D
 

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If you increase the tire diameter, how do you compensate for the speedometer error? And what effect does this have on your odometer?
 

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Thank you, SuperJETT!

That does seem a *tad* high to the uninitiated. In addition to more noise, it must mean more engine wear per mile.

On the other hand, I like the idea of a very low low. It means you should be able to crawl along at walking speed or amble up a steep incline; or use engine compression on a steep downgrade (like the road going into Hanauma Valley on the Hawaii Big Island).

I'll have to come to terms with this, because I am dedicated to the manual transmission, and I like long road trips. I've got Alaska, and Baja, and Newfoundland notions stewing in my brain already. . .
 

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Make that Waipio, not Hanauma. Waipio has a steep entry road with switchbacks. They require 4WD, but actually the important thing is the use of low range with engine compression. First gear on the Element is probably not low enough, alas.
 
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