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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks,

So I have in my hot little hands a genuine Ecamper shell that was removed from another Element. My plan is to install it on a black 2007 4WD EX with ~150k miles that's in pretty fine shape (except for a bit of hail damage on the roof...but with Ecamper in place, problem solved!)

I took decent notes and photos of the donor vehicle to reverse engineer the process, have my riv-nutter tool on the way, and some good mechanical/electrical aptitude. I expect I will put it to good use for camping, although I do have some other big projects in the pipeline and may look to sell it afterward (either now or in a year or two).

Before I cut in, my questions are:
- Agreed that the above vehicle is a good candidate to install this on?
(and if not, I'm open to you and Ben Franklin convincing me that it should go on your Element instead ;-)
  • Any been-there-done-that advice (including any clandestine Ursa Minor insiders)?
  • What are your thoughts on the price someone (maybe you?) would pay for the finished product if I do put it up for sale?
- Oh also, with the black body I'm not a real big fan of the white-on-black look...and double black makes the whole thing look too tall and vader-ish. Anyone have pics or ideas of good two-tone paint schemes? (current thought is some shade of gray truck bed liner to coat the camper part)

Thanks and I appreciate any insight you can share!
(including where best to re-post this thread if this isn't it)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Boy, I thought some of the outdoorsy Elementeers would be eating this topic up...no??

Anyhow, I’m going forward and here’s a few pics of the Ecamper nether regions for anyone who hasn’t seen...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, well here's the final product - it took a few iterations of test-fitting, measuring, and adjusting, but it's on there nice and even field tested!

(ok, yes, I do still need to get one piece of trim back on)

201843


201845
 

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Congrats man! I can’t believe I didn’t see this earlier. Great job! I love the underside shots.
 

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How did you come upon a used shell by the way?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ECamper looks great! What's the scoop on the front mount bike rack?
Ahhh, wondering if anyone would ask. The scoop is that this idea started since I had one of those off-the-shelf, adjustable, strap-mounted bike racks originally meant for the rear of a sedan / hatchback / SUV.

Sure, I could have easily gone traditional and put it on the back of the Element, but instead with a little creativity it turned in to the BEST THING EVER!!

It works great up there and my thinking is:
  • I need to get under the hood only a handful of times per year; and I need to carry bikes maybe only around 5% of the time
  • in contrast, I need to get in and out of the tailgate on a daily basis; so why put some kind of rack in the back that is a constant annoyance and then completely blocks access when bikes are on (or at least makes it a real pain).
The coolest thing is that with this front rack setup I can still easily get under the hood even with bikes on. And when it's not in use the arms fold down to basically nothing...or I could even take the whole thing off in 2-3 minutes.

But what about blocking the headlights, you ask?
Well, for starters it's pretty rare that I'm driving much in the dark with bikes on anyway. Even still, you'd be surprised how little light actually gets blocked (we're really just talking thin little spokes here). Besides, add the foglights into the equation and there's virtually no impairment to driving at night.

Another bonus is you always have your bikes in view at the wheel so no chance of crunching them when backing up or on low clearance beams, etc.

All in all, I'm super happy with this and would recommend it to anyone with an Element (or really probably any vehicle that has a decently high hoodline).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That looks just awesome. Blends in really well.
Hey thanks!...yeah, I think it came out well.

I might complete it with a sheet of the vinyl wrap on top, though for now I'm keeping it the standard white to be more heat reflective.
 

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Congratulations, that came out wonderfully. Glad you were able to successfully DIY it. Aside from the retail price, I was never keen on the idea of having to drive to California and stay a week. You beat the system! Do you mind if I ask how much you scored it for?
 

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Love it. In response to your second question: I bought an ‘06 Element with 132k miles and an ECamper last fall. The gal selling it was asking $12k, but I ended up getting it for $9k. With how inexpensive Elements are, I still wonder if I overpaid. On the other hand, I’m in the ECamper right at this very moment on a remote lake in the Upper Peninsula, on a 3-month boondocking trip with my 2 dogs, so...naaaah. 😁
 

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Love it. In response to your second question: I bought an ‘06 Element with 132k miles and an ECamper last fall. The gal selling it was asking $12k, but I ended up getting it for $9k. With how inexpensive Elements are, I still wonder if I overpaid. On the other hand, I’m in the ECamper right at this very moment on a remote lake in the Upper Peninsula, on a 3-month boondocking trip with my 2 dogs, so...naaaah. 😁
Yup, something tells me your experiences will prove well worth it. 😁 I nervously paid full price for my new '05 when I bought it 14 years ago last week, stretching my limits in hopes it could be a very long-term car. It's turned out to be worth every dime to me over the years in both daily-driver reliability and camping fun.

My family were UP'ers and it sure is beautiful up there. Stay warm, and thanks for the info!
 

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Boy, I thought some of the outdoorsy Elementeers would be eating this topic up...no??

Anyhow, I’m going forward and here’s a few pics of the Ecamper nether regions for anyone who hasn’t seen...
This is AWESOME man! I thought I was the only one fitting an ECamper myself... Glad I dug to find this thread.

I saw this one on ebay a while back :)

I bought a wrecked element with an ecamper, and took off the top and parted out the rest. I am in process currently to fit it onto mine. I might have some questions for you - would you be willing to connect to share more details?

Thanks,
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey Dan,

Congrats on the new ECamper project - seems like a good time to take something like this on. Sure we can connect separately if you like, or feel free to post any questions here and I can try to answer them on the board for future generations too.

-J
 
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