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Discussion Starter #1
I have a TINY camper: http://www.toppersrvs.com/texasrvsales/ALiner/Alite/Folding-Pop_Up-Campers.aspx

Really tiny. My Ford Ranger has become unreliable and the bux for repair are eating me up. I have decided to sell the 01 Ranger.

I really like the versatility of the E.

But I am a girl (old one, but still a girl in my own mind). I don't want to get financially shafted. But cars are the thing in life that truly make me feel helpless. I have been looking at this one online, and am thinking about going out there to give it a test drive.

1) http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/5J6YH18798L017306-used-2008-honda-element-ex--lilburn
Is the price appropriate? Think I can weasel them down any?

2). I see references to people getting their E and doing mods. What kind of mods? I am kind of hoping all I need to do is add a hitch. If I got this and pull my tiny camper, will I need to put a trans cooler? I didn't on the Ranger, but it is a 6 cyl. The camper has electric breaks. I am considering not bothering with putting them on the E. Thoughts?

3). Lastly, I am pre approved for $15k. So, I can pretty much walk in and go, "that one, please." What should I be checking to ensure I don't get fooled? I look at the Carfax for sure. I generally check underneath to make sure there isn't a lot of rust or poor looking maintenance. What are the issues I need to be wary of? I am thinking if I buy from a dealer, I am better off, but then I see where a bunch of you have bought private and feel ok about it. Any advisement here is appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Birdies
Western Georgia
Retired a year now and spending my time working hard to have FUN!
 

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You will love the Element

Elements are amazing and it sounds like your 1000lb trailer will be within the E's 1500lb tow limit. As far as the 08 for $15000. I've seen better deals but if it's the color and exact model you want you may not see another for a while. They seem to be going really fast lately but if your patient you can get a better deal. They vary greatly in price by region often. I have nearly 80,000 on my 08 and plan to keep it forever. Here is a link to the basic breakdown on each year if you decide to dive deeper into a search. It's from the Ursa Minor site creators and makers of the Ecamper. Feel free to post any other questions. Pretty helpful forum. As for modding. I'm addicted but you shouldn't need to do anything but add a 2" hitch if it doesn't have one already. I got one at uhaul for $160 installed lifetime warranty. Best of luck on you E adventure.

http://www.ursaminorvehicles.com/honda_element_basics.htm
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Hey, an Alite! There was someone on this forum that had an Alite but he hasn't been around for awhile. I have an Aliner Sport that has been al over the United States.

According to Edmunds.com the average dealer retail is $14,166. Tell them you will not pay over $14,000 and see what they say. This one looks pretty slick.

2). I see references to people getting their E and doing mods. What kind of mods? I am kind of hoping all I need to do is add a hitch. If I got this and pull my tiny camper, will I need to put a trans cooler? I didn't on the Ranger, but it is a 6 cyl. The camper has electric breaks. I am considering not bothering with putting them on the E. Thoughts?
A transmission cooler would be good but with the light weight of the Alite I doubt you'd need it. Same for the electric brake controller. You'll need a trailer wiring kit with your hitch.

3). Lastly, I am pre approved for $15k. So, I can pretty much walk in and go, "that one, please." What should I be checking to ensure I don't get fooled? I look at the Carfax for sure. I generally check underneath to make sure there isn't a lot of rust or poor looking maintenance. What are the issues I need to be wary of? I am thinking if I buy from a dealer, I am better off, but then I see where a bunch of you have bought private and feel ok about it. Any advisement here is appreciated.
I've been buying, selling and trading cars for almost 50 years now and the one thing I would suggest is find an independent auto shop that works on and services Hondas to do a "pre purchase inspection". It may cost as much as $100 but you would then know what you are getting.

Retired a year now and spending my time working hard to have FUN!
Hah! I've been retired for 12 years (bailed out when I was 56)!

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Similar milage.???

http://www.atlantausedcarsmarietta.com/tcd/inventory/used/Honda/Element/?tcdkwid=68381493&tcdcmpid=100587&tcdadid=4413416557&locale=en_US

This is a more modest price.

Love my Aliner. Small but fits me just right.

The milage is what is more important, yeah?
So this one is a little older, but might be a better deal.

Thanks. I have been trying to read as much as I can. But, I really depend on advisement from others.

Yeah, I live in western Georgia. I am a long way from either of these. I guess, I can get my mechanic to just go up there and give it/the once over. I can't have much more car repairs financially.

Wish I could find a blue one. But getting a vehicle to pull is more important. Love blue though.
Birdies
 

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Why would you not hook up the trailer brakes?
Good question.

Birdies-
If your Alite has electric brakes then I would assume that it has a seven pin Bargman plug to connect it to the towing vehicle. If so you might as well get an electronic brake controller so that the trailer brakes will be activated when you apply the Element brakes.
 

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I definitely think that second one looks like a better deal. Actually, that same exact vehicle is listed for $9999 on autotrader.com. That would make it an even better deal. I have seen the best deals coming out of your part of the country (especially Florida and North Carolina). In fact, I almost flew out there to get one before stumbling across mine. I assume you are uninterested in 4wd?
If you have the time, I would do some searching and make sure you get what you want. I would suggest doing some looking on autotrader, craigslist, and/or searchtempest.com. I also agree with getting a 3rd party inspection as well. Just my two cents....good luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Grammie

1) why not 4WD? Two reasons (and perhaps this is silly, but it makes sense in my head) a). 4WD decreases milage, b). Every doodad additional, is just one more think to go haywire. I won't be doing any serious off reading. Maybe a Forest Service road or two, but no need here for 4WD. The two days a year when snow or ice makes one think it might be nice, are days that I just roll over and let other crazy people crash their cars to pieces.

2). Why not hook electric brakes? Perhaps this is another blunder, but a whole LOT of people feel my camper is so light it doesn't really need the brakes. Well if I don't have to spring for putting the doodad on the car, that saves a few bux. I have had issues with the dagnabbit brakes being in some weird setting that made the slightest touch to the brake to seize up resulting in slow going Ford Ranger to have all brakes lock and screech to a stop. see b above.

3). Why is a 2007 suggested to be the best choice? Is it a better choice than the same car that is a 2006, or 2008? Learning the ropes here. I would save a few bux if I went 2007. The Credit Union would have to be consulted. They have rules about financing on different model years.

4). USED the buying guide today. Went by Carmax. The lady in there was hungry, gave me her cell, said if I can find any Element in the Carmax family that is within 250 miles of them, she will have it brought to them so I can check it out. Very professional.

Went by Honda right after there. Evidently the salesMEN there are not hungry. Did not introduce himself, talked down to me. My daughter told me when she went to test drive a Highlander, they wouldn't talk to the little lady until she came back with her husband! Jerks. She is a grown woman of 38, has 3 part time jobs, and the best credit score of any family member! She is an advanced practice nurse, and she knows how to make life and death decisions! She doesn't need her hubby to be there for her to spend her money!

So dude goes inside leaves me standing outside in the shade (don't do me no favors), came out and said they didn't have any Es right now. Would I like to look at a Sion? I asked him what vehicle I came in looking for? E. Of course. So I asked him, if he knew his shoes were size 10, why would he let a sales person convince him to try on some 9's?

Walked away. Jerk. Male, looked to be 40ish. I have no husband to tell me what to buy or do. I have been doing just fine on my own for nearly 40 years! My dad said "I can't die until I know you have a man to take care of you." Ok. Love him, but he's dead. I am accepting applications, however. If you have a blue Honda Element, 2wD, and you are tall when you stand on your wallet, please call for an application form. I have nothing against men. I am peeved by idiots.

So, 2006 2WD, and other nice features. 60,000 miles
2007 2WD, and other nice features, 60,000 miles
2008 2WD, and other nice features, 60,000 miles.

Which one would be better? Still saying 2007? Or, if the 2006 is priced nicely, with all things being the same, can I confidently get the 2006, save a few bux and Rock on?

All advice appreciated!

Thank you for sooooo much good info already!
Birdies.
 

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2006 Element EX FWD 5spd.

Hello everyone,

I am also looking for an E. The 2006 seems reasonable priced with all the new parts and work done. I been researching on the interweb, Especially this site. The most common complains seems to be the suspensions, windshield eating stones and so so mpg. Is there anything else Birdies and I should know before we pull the trigger? Cheers.

PS: happy hunting Birdie…

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/brantford/2006-honda-element-suv/589513714
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is there anything else Birdies and I should know before we pull the trigger? Cheers.

PS: happy hunting Birdie…

Man....you found a blue one and in Canadian $

Almost worth an airline tic!
Good luck to you too. Looks to me like you found what I want, but, you found it first.
 

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Welcome to both of you.

I am a bit partial to the 2007 or 2008. I owned a 2004 LX before I got my 2007 EX. I definitely can tell the difference. There are two hills here that I drive quite frequently. In the 2004 I had to down-shift to 4th to climb them, but in my 2007 I don't. Plus I am getting about 1 MPG better mileage.

2003 - 2006 had the same engine. 2007 and beyond have the slightly more powerful engine.

But you can't go wrong with either of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
GREAT to know!

:eoc::eoc:

This kind of info is invaluable! Thanks for sharing this stuff. It is hugely helpful! I consider this a nugget of treasure.

Thx Hondaminium, and all you other folks that are holding my hand through this.
Birdies
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Salesman tracked me down. I don't give out my phone number, AND I as a former Special Ed teacher, who has had my house burned down, keep info like that pretty private on the net.

It is an hour and a half for me to just go look at it. I used my knowledge of car buying given by some kind person here, and told him to go talk to his mgr and make it worth my while to drive there. He wanted to know what my financial goals were, but I told him , your best is going to be your best. When you have your best offer, let me know and I will decide if it is worth me driving out there!
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&listingId=604359262&aff=national

Did I do good?

Oh, it says 2010 EX, FWD---is that Front wheel drive or Four wheel drive? The 4 wheel drive doesn't make it good in my book. Are all the wheels engaged all the time, or is that a thing where you have to get out and turn settings on the front two tires or something?
 

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Oh, it says 2010 EX, FWD---is that Front wheel drive or Four wheel drive? The 4 wheel drive doesn't make it good in my book. Are all the wheels engaged all the time, or is that a thing where you have to get out and turn settings on the front two tires or something?
I would not rule out 4WD model. It only runs in front wheel drive until they slip, then the rear kicks in. No buttons or on and off switches. I believe the listed difference in mileage is due to a bit of extra weight and some sort of calculation of when time/mileage in 4WD. Just saying that if you never use the 4WD you will be at almost identical mileage to the FWD model. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Nice Sport, Gary. I suspect that your retirement income and mine are a teeny bit different. After having the Alite for 2 yrs now, sometimes I really wish I had a few more sq ft, but there are a lot of advantages for me, so hanging with the short one.

I spent some time having a pros v cons conversation this weekend. While I can spend up to the CUs generosity, I am really uncomfortable about where that puts the level of the payments.

My solution, after an extended committee meeting with me, myself, and I, my decision is to do this in two stages. I am going to go look at this one tomorrow.

http://chamblee.larastrucks.com/view/6945/BLU-2003-Honda-Element-in-Chamblee-GA

It is only 2 yrs younger than my truck, but about 60,000 less miles. I need to do some credit repair. (Cancer does great stuff for your finances.). And I can get some bux for my truck. So I am going to try this in a two step process.

If the CU will go with me, I am going to try for the more modest one. If It isn't really 180,000 miles instead of 80,000 that would complicate things. I will get a mechanic to come give it the look. Here is my logic. Drive this one for a year. Hopefully without any mechanical drama.

Have the CU pull my FICO after a year of being a responsible adult, and I should have a better score and lower rates. At that point, I can trade in 2003, and work my way up to 2010 or 2011.

Whatever I get for my truck goes into the fund for the next E.

Crazy? Particular reasons not to consider having their first model year? Nuts?

I will have to see this one. After seeing it, test driving it, and generally getting my financial sh!+ together! this may be my interim fix. I hope it is reasonable. If these puppies go as far as many ppl say, heck, maybe it will be part of a two year plan.

Let you know how it goes. (It is stupid, but I like that it is blue. Shouldn't make a bit of difference, but it makes me happy.)

Later gators.
Birdies
 

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Nice Sport, Gary. I suspect that your retirement income and mine are a teeny bit different. After having the Alite for 2 yrs now, sometimes I really wish I had a few more sq ft, but there are a lot of advantages for me, so hanging with the short one.
Life is full of compromises.

Are you aware that this Element has a manual transmission. That would be a plus for me but a deal breaker for others.

Crazy? Particular reasons not to consider having their first model year? Nuts?
In my experience (50 years of buying, selling and trading vehicles) first year models tend to be the best of the breed.

I will have to see this one. After seeing it, test driving it, and generally getting my financial sh!+ together! this may be my interim fix. I hope it is reasonable. If these puppies go as far as many ppl say, heck, maybe it will be part of a two year plan.
I as said above: have it checked out by an independent garage. It is the only way that you will REALLY know what you are getting.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CU says only 2006 or above. (Yeah, I can do manual. Not my favorite, but have had one or two over the years. I always liked the ones on the column....but...

OK, back to square one on week two. This is one of the reasons, I hate buying vehicles.
 

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Hang in there, Birdies.

I've been looking for more than two months for a 2007/2008 AWD. And yes, I absolutely LOATHE how car salesmen treat solo females. (Or they send out their female sales person so we can "bond" ... GRRR).

Had a Chalet (similar to Aliner) for years. Towed it with an Explorer, and it was great. Sold it in 2006.

Not sure what, if anything, I will town with the E (when I buy one). Thinking of building a teadrop...

Keep searching. Don't let anyone talk you into something you don't want or cannot afford.

GreyDawg in TX.
 
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