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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all and thanks for everyone’s help with the plentiful diy postings. I recently purchased a 2004 EX 4WD with a mere 228,000 miles. A buddy of mine is an element guru and he talked me through all the considerations and it took me almost a year to find a replacement for my leased 2017 GTI. I wanted a high mileage but well maintained 4WD Automatic element pre 07 (could be wrong on the year) because of the seat belt on the body. I’m 6’4” and all torso (no seriously it’s insane, I’m a 30” inseam) and seat belts in the seat absolutely kill my shoulders. Got a seat belt ticket in my old F150 because of those dang things. I wanted high mileage for price and the opportunity for a motor and transmission swap to an Acura motor and 6 speed. Yes I know new ecu etc. found mine a few hours from me and it was in great shape, perfect redone interior and good maintenance record. Previous owner was a dealer and was basically using it as his shop run around vehicle while he slowly fixed it up. Loads of suspension components are new as well as the interior.

I purchased it on December 8th and so far I have;

  • replaced head-unit with an Pioneer touchscreen Apple CarPlay stereo with the Bluetooth mic mounted on the driver visor
  • replaced front component speakers, tweeters, and rear component speakers with kenwood components and oem location tweeters and in the rear I replaced them with kenwood coaxials. Oem speakers were thrashed.
  • Backup camera installed and wired to head unit. Cuts on when I throw it in reverse but I kind of want to rewire it as a ground input so I can manually turn it on if needed.
  • bought the element with a broken rear stud which was a delightfully easy project to fix.
soundproofing was actually my first project and for that I have;
  • installed sound deadening mat (Noico 80mil) to the entire spare tire well,floor, rear strut housings, and all 5 doors.
  • after the deadening was painstakingly rolled and pressed into place, I went to the uhaul store up the street and the guy working there hooked me up with their recycled denim moving pads for cash. I used this as an absorbing layer (glued two blankets together around the edges, and stripped the entire interior then laid this giant blanket in place. I worked from the front to the back trying to keep it flat and tucked in as much as I can. Some spray adhesive was used to help keep it in place and I just cut around the larger openings like the E brake console and rear air vents. I took pictures of the floor before installing so I know where everything is if I need to go back under there. I also used this and the parts/panels as reference for clip and mounting holes. Then I just cut them out and reinstalled everything.
I also installed this type of matting in the front doors but forgot about door drain holes so the morning after a heavy rain they were soaked. I ripped them out and will be installing them on the back side of the door panels outside of the vapor barrier. I will also be forming door cards out of kydex.

last bit that’s left are the wheel wells and headliner.

upcoming projects will be a Gobi inspired diy roof rack similar to the two seen on here, new tires and possibly spacers. Haven’t decided yet. Oh and front struts. The front passenger mount blew out on the drive home from getting it so I bought Kyb front struts and other miscellaneous bits I need to replace both fronts.

pics of all mods to follow. Any and all questions welcomed. I feel like I already know that car inside and out
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh I also
  • installed a usb 3.0 next to the gear lever that connects to the head unit.
  • glued sound foam inside the spaces on the spare tire well cover.
  • Put a layer of weather stripping around the large front and rear door opening on the driver and passenger side.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I love to see posts like this when new life is brought to these beautiful machines. Keep 'em coming!
Thanks! Trying to make her into a forever vehicle. Well at least until I have no other option but to get rid of her.

I also did some general maintenance, oil and filter change both Mobil one, coolant flush (used concentrate and distilled water so I could accurately calculate my retained water and added coolant to the appropriate mix and level), transmission fluid (fluid smelled fine and maintenance showed it had been done before so I figured I might as well, and I have a valve adjustment scheduled at the stealership.

will be doing the struts this upcoming week and I’ll be sure to post pics and answer any questions that may arise. Alignment is being done along with the valves right after I finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update on the quest for the quietest element in all the land. I put in door cards/opening covers. And covered the door panel in recycled denim insulation.

I made templates out of cardboard then traced and cut the templates out of kydex (which is a thermamold plastic, the kind gun holsters are made out of. I have a ton of huge sheets laying around so why not) I attached the passenger side door cards with Velcro so I could easily remove them if I needed to but this turned out to be a nightmare to deal with so for the driver door I just used 3M outdoor mounting tape.

the other small openings I covered in neoprene speaker tape.

there are no gaps in any of the panels and my speakers sound so much better now. I knew it would boost my speaker bass and sound but had no idea how much. Huge improvement

the sound reduction is also very noticeable
 

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