Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just took my first serious off-road trip without planning it. I was exploring a north coast of California area near Fort Bragg when I took a road that said on the map it could be closed in the winter for snow. Since it's not winter I figured no problem. Well the farther I got on the road it became serious 4-Wheeler country. There were a lot of turn offs that went up steep hills obviously carved out by serious off road vehicles. I stayed on the road and ended up fording at least a dozen streams flowing pretty good. The E did just fine, except for bottoming out a few times. It made me stop to look underneath to see if there was any damage. I didn't notice any, but thought I'd post here to see anyone knows of something I should check or be concerned about. My E's 4WD did great, never hesitated at all, but I did end up with water dripping from out of the front bumper for awhile. I thought at first it was coolant, but it was just water that accumulated when I went thru one of the deeper streams. It was kinda different to see my E covered with a coating of mud and dust!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
all that and you didn't have a camera?! where are the pics!?! you're probably fine. one time in high school i drove straight over a median in my mom's pontiac sunbird - can you say entire underside scraping across pavement? (those were the days, dont ask how it happened!) needless to say i was scared ****-less - but when i stopped and looked, there wasn't any damage. you're probably fine, maybe watch for gas leaks? i'm not sure what else is under there...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Having been a Jeep owner for many years, I've done my share of more serious off-roading and clean up after a trail run is important to reduce wear on your vehicle. Bottoming out isn't always an indication of damage, usually what's hitting the ground is something that's INTENDED to hit the ground like the guard along the front of your gas tank. If you don't see any damage and you're not leaking fluids, I wouldn't worry about it.

The one thing you want to make sure you do is clean the underside of your E as best you can, particularly the drivetrain (driveshaft, diff, trans and axels). Going through water and mud will shove all kinds of junk into the moving parts of your undercarrige and when dirt, sand and debris get into those parts it can really shorten their lifespan.

Hose down the entire drivetrain, paying close attention to the joints at the diff and the four axel ends at the wheels. If it's particularly messy, take off your wheels and clean there as well. Make sure to hose the drivetrain down from all angles, dirt can get lodged into some pretty obscure areas.

If you're planning on doing this often you will need to adopt a regular schedule of changing drivetrain fluids as well. The diff and trans should be flushed and filled at least twice as often if you spend a lot of time in dirt and/or water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Man, I've never really been true-offroading before. I think I'd be pretty freaked to drive it like a madman! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,058 Posts
I took mine flying down a ditch at 65 once...i got all sorts of grass and junk lodged in my undercarriage. made sure to clean it though.

don't worry, i'm not enough of a maniac to do that on purpose; I fell asleep at the wheel and almost centered a big steel lightpole at 65.

whoops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I also wonder about damage.....

After scraping the bottom a few times on our recent off-pavement adventure, and also finding no apparent damage, I was wondering if anyone has heard of any skid plates made for the "E".

That little "bar" in front of the gas tank is not going to do much if one encounters a large, pointy rock at the wrong time.

Any ideas out there????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,149 Posts
I was thinking the same thing. Would a piece of aluminum diamond plate cut to size and u-bolted to the pipe guard provide any protection. What about the transaxle and differentials?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,276 Posts
Here's an old pix of the bottom of the E'.

Regards,

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Grannysmuncher said:
I fell asleep at the wheel and almost centered a big steel lightpole at 65.
My dad used to love to tell the story of how he woke up early one morning many years ago after falling asleep behind the wheel of a truck - the sound of his tires on the gravel BETWEEN THE GAS PUMPS AND THE STATION is what woke him! :shock:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Big noise, big scare!

I had a big scare this weekend during some mild off-roading. I heard a thump while on a fairly mild patch of dirt, and suddenly began hearing grinding, squeeling, and some of the oddest resonant "ringing" (like a big circular saw makes) coming up from what seemed like right between the seats. I stopped and crawled around underneath, couldn't find any sticks, branches, etc, and nothing seemed loose or broken. Tried driving again, got the same horrible noises, bu no changes in steering, no drag, nothin...
Had a mechanic friend of mine climb in, and the sounds totally stumped him as well. We put it up on blocks so he could climb under as well, and after much searching he made his way down the driveshaft, and...
"Aha!" There is a "U"-shaped piece of metal under the driveshaft that he explained was there to keep the shaft from hitting the road if it ever broke free. Great idea, in theory, but a buried log had popped up from the road and punched the thing right into the driveshaft, where it had snuggled nice and close, wearing a nice, neat little groove... just in the short time it took to figure things out. If I was solo, and tried to drive out, the shaft would have been toast!
The metal of this piece is soft and very easy to deform. Why the heck didn't they use some high-heat plastic, or a decent piece of skidplate, instead? Seems like Honda is setting them up for an eventual lawsuit...?
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top