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Discussion Starter #1
116,000 miles on my 2005 Element. Just replaced both rear strut assemblies due to one leaking fluid and need to get an alignment. However, front right strut mount is squeaking but otherwise both struts are in good shape. Debating whether to replace just strut mount (about $130 for both sides for Honda parts) or both entire assemblies (about $500 for both sides for Honda parts). If I can get another 50,000 miles out of the original struts I will just replace the mount for now. Wondering when others front struts gave out? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would always replace all 4 at the same time.

I use the full strut assemblies from Honda.

BTW, I am also in the San Fernando Valley! Chatsworth
Northridge here! Small world.

Yeah, I'm leaning towards putting in new Honda full assemblies but a part of me doesn't want to pay $480 for parts, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I replaced all 4 at 125,000 with Monroe Quick-Strut Complete Assemblies.
Call me cheap, but wanted to try them.
I wouldn't call you cheap. It's actually pretty straightforward to replace the entire assemblies so even if they don't last it won't be a big deal to go back to Honda parts if you want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Data point: I've got 230,000 miles on my original front struts. I did replaced the top bearings, though.
Thanks very much for that. I've heard that Honda struts last "forever" and I know in my old Acura Legend I sold it at 161,000 miles with the originals working fine. I might just replace the front seats and bearings and see what happens.
 

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I had the exact situation as yours. Rear strut leaked so I replaced all.

The Element I work on is actually my GF's. She lives in Northridge as well near Nordhoff and Encino.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had the exact situation as yours. Rear strut leaked so I replaced all.

The Element I work on is actually my GF's. She lives in Northridge as well near Nordhoff and Encino.
Really small world! Funny about the rear struts, I have read other posts where they seemed to be the first to go as well. I feel I am at least partially to blame though as I overloaded the rear a couple of times with some sand for a home project -- it was a short drive home but definitely was riding low!

I think I am going to try just replacing the strut mounts and bearings.
 

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If you have all things required, try the partial change. Most of my miles were in the NYC area so they probably went bad faster.
 

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I overload my back compartment all the time, 183,000 on my 04 EX, haven't changed fronts or rears. No sign of leakage, but will probably replace fronts and backs soon. Complete set up probably.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I overload my back compartment all the time, 183,000 on my 04 EX, haven't changed fronts or rears. No sign of leakage, but will probably replace fronts and backs soon. Complete set up probably.
About 2 months ago I loaded up the back with 4 large Rubbermaid tubs full of sand, and the back end was definitely riding low. The ride home was just a few minutes and I unloaded it immediately but then I went back for another load. No way of knowing if that was the cause but it was a few weeks after that that I noticed the right rear strut leaking. I think it was just a combination of age and the weight that sped up its demise.

I decided to replace the front strut mounts and bearings only. Both are torn and squeaking. I'll be doing that and replacing the tie-rod ends this Friday. Also thinking about doing the lower ball joints as I'm getting an alignment afterwards but they seem OK.
 

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I still think you should bite the bullet and do the front shocks too...especially if you are doing a bunch of other work at the same time. If you have the suspension torn apart, now is the time to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I still think you should bite the bullet and do the front shocks too...especially if you are doing a bunch of other work at the same time. If you have the suspension torn apart, now is the time to do it.
You make a good point, but for me, pulling out struts and taking them apart is so straightforward that it's almost recreational for a mechanically minded guy like me. If one of the struts start leaking in 5,000 miles I won't feel upset if I have to pull them out again, and if I can get them to go to 230,000 miles like RamblerDan, I'll feel positively vindicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
UPDATE: I rebuilt my front struts today, replacing the strut seats and bearings. I also replaced the original tie-rod ends with Moog tie-rod ends. The originals actually didn't look too bad when I (finally) got them off, but it's inexpensive and relatively simple to replace them. A few thoughts for other DIY-types out there:

1. I used hand tools and an electric impact driver, no air tools. The latter comes in very handy and I recommend getting one.

2. All bolts came out with little effort using ratchets and a breaker bar. I squirted some with WD-40 as an experiment and it didn't seem to make much difference.

3. The first hurdle was disconnecting the tie-rod end from the strut. I've seen so many videos where they say, "Hit what it goes through" then the tie-rod pops out with one or two taps on the end but not for me. I wish I'd had one of those ball-joint pullers or whatever they are from Harbor Freight. Instead, I banged on them for quite awhile and then they only came free once I put homemade penetrating oil (transmission fluid and acetone) and applied heat from a heat gun. That was very effective.

4. Putting on the new Moog tie-rod ends was pretty straightforward, though the old ones were really on tight. They appear to be equal to or better in terms of quality and are pretty much exact the same size so alignment should not be dramatically affected. They are also greaseable.

5. I used the loaner spring compressors from Autozone and they worked fine but the springs are so stubby that I could not use a socket or my impact driver, so I had to turn it with an open-end wrench. Having a ratching 19 mm would have been a timesaver. Lubricating the threads on the compressor bolts with WD40 made things go smoother. I don't know why people are so afraid of those spring compressors; they are very good quality, substantial, and straightforward to use and I have never felt unsafe with them.

6. The top bolt on the struts was predictably frozen so I applied the homemade penetrating oil and again the heat gun. I was able to turn them after that with my impact driver and then finish them off with a 17 mm ratcheting wrench and 6 mm Allen wrench.

7. I replaced the strut mount and bearings, and it was very straightforward. The old bearings had grease on them (mint-green color) so I put grease on my new ones as well. I took the strut out of the spring and took the boot off to inspect for leaks. I cleaned it up and tested it and they went down with a fair amount of resistance and though they took a little longer than I expected to come back up, they definitely were not blown.

8. Reinstalling was straightforward, though to my horror I noticed the knuckle/brake disc combo had put some real strain on the CV axle, even though I had wired it up. Thankfully they didn't tear. Be careful about this!

Now off to get an alignment. In hindsight I mildly regret not just replacing the full assemblies -- I'm not nervous about them failing and rebuilding them again would take just a few hours now that I know how it goes, but I don't have that confident feeling knowing that everything is new. But it's good to not have squeaky struts anymore!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FINAL UPDATE:

Finally got my 4-wheel alignment done -- to my amazement, they barely needed any adjustment at all, which is something since I've owned the car since 2008 and have never had an alignment done. The alignment guy said that there wasn't much ability to adjust the alignment -- he did the toe, but camber required "camber bolts", whatever that meant. So it's all done. Pretty easy DIY job, everyone with a decent tool set can at least try it. It's a good time to service your brakes as well and check your sway-bar end-links.
 

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Front camber is adjustable. At least I think it is. Now I have to look. I work on so many cars, I forget.

EDIT: Looked at the manual and you do need to swap to a a camber adjusting bolt. Page 18-6 of the Factory Service Helm manual describes it. Basically a smaller diameter pinch bolt that gives you some slop in the holes.
 

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However, front right strut mount is squeaking but otherwise both struts are in good shape.
I've had squeeking for a while now on the front right side. The dealer diagnosed it as the control arm bushing (compliance bushing). You might check that on your car with 116K miles. From searching through here, I see that it is a common issue.


I don't know why people are so afraid of those spring compressors; they are very good quality, substantial, and straightforward to use and I have never felt unsafe with them
Same here. I bought a spring compressor kit for $25 a long time ago and have used it 3 or 4 times now. I'd never waste my money on full assemblies unless you thought you really needed springs.
 
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