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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just returned from my first real road trip in the E. Went down to Taos,NM.
the drive was great and I am lovin' my silver 4WD EX. I just thought I would note to everyone somethin I knew when I bought the E. There is not alot of ground clearence, I think Honda says 6 1/2" right? A few of my friends down there live out on the "Mesa" in houses off the grid. The roads to these places are pretty rugged. Not like you need a HumV or anything but we are talking deep ruts,8" and deeper and rocks up to 8". And all the trails are lined with sage brush. So in the ruts I stayed on top of the center and off to the side, which meant we were rubbing up against the sage. I have to say thje E survived with it's plastic panels intact only a coupla minor scratches in the plastic that came out easily.
As for thje rocks, we hust manuvered around them. This wasn't a fast cruise, I think we maxed out at 5mph but we made it just fine. Again, the E made it fine just very slowly. Also some of the roads had Sage in the middle and I was concerned that the catalytic converter might light something on fire but my local friends told me it had been moist enough to not worry about it at the time. The undercarrige of the vehicle seems to be protected pretty well but it was freaky to hear plants rubbing under there. Since I have checked underneith and all looks good. I have a couple of pics but don't know how to put them up with this post. Can someone let me know how to do that. Thanks and I hope you all find this info usefull.

MicroTone
 

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For the week leading to Easter I banged around off road a little in the Panamint Valley area east of Darwin and then a bit north in the Saline Valley did some serious overland exploring on the Saline Valley Road, all of it adding up to about 200 miles of dirt 'trails' - some of it very passable, some very low speed single-track, and some just knarley-nasty with big rocks and seriously deep component-swallowing RUTS.
MY IMPRESSIONS: The Element (mine's 4WD, so I can't speak for the front wheel drive version) is really quite capable - UP TO A POINT! It ain't
no Jeep, to be sure >>>I hope the Ghost of Soichiro Honda puts a transfer case and a turbo-diesel in future E's<<< BUT the little bugger did
acquit itself quite nicely in the rough road department. Of course, a manual
tranny would lend even more control than the slush box, but in my case an
old left foot injury keeps me from driving stick trannies anyway.
The AUTO trans does have limits in the really steep stuff: some manuevers were almost not possible on very steep grades; and because
reverse gear is numerically higher than 1st gear low anyway, there are going to be situations where the engine just can't produce the torque to
back up steep grades even when necessary - in other words, sometimes
you just can't even spin the wheels on very steep inclines; you just pull
maybe 1,500 rpm or so with no ability to move. So, you do something
else instead.
The ride while you ARE moving in the knarley bits isn't like the more serious
4X4 trucks and off-road capable SUV's with their onboard TRANFER CASES
WITH THEIR LOW-RANGE GRANNY/COMPOUND engine and road control
capabilities - the ELEMENT's suspension (4WD anyway) IS NOT designed to travel on unpaved roads at anywhere near the 'comfortable' speeds that the BIG DOGS can...I spent many, many hours going 10 and 15 and 20 MPH while the off-road designed buggies would whistle down the same tracks at 20-40 MPH. I really do believe the E's suspension is a truly sweet layout on pavement in terms of being nicely balanced between stiff enough for amazingly sure handling in the twisties while still being compliantly comfy at the same time. BUT, offroad she's a slow runner because there's SO LITTLE vertical travel in the COIL SPRING/SHOCK ABSORBER assembly as factory spec'd.
The underbody clearance on mine is compromised even more than stock
due to the Honda trailer hitch assembly which does limit departure angles
a little over stock and does tend to snag on rocks and general 'stuff' sticking up from primitive and ungraded dirt roads.
ALL IN ALL, ISN'T OFFROAD TRAVEL ALWAYS A MATTER OF 'JUDGEMENT' IN
ANY CASE???????.........Cheers, Tim B. GalaGreenBullPup beep beep
[color=#][/color]
 

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[quote:20c7605b46="MicroTone"]lets see if this works



[/quote:20c7605b46]

You, your Element, and your dog are all good looking. :wink:

Glad you had a great off-road experience. Thanks for sharing the photo.[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks Kat

Are members of the E owners site considering that we should consolidate serious issues...ie...windshield, seat rocking... and present them to Honda as a group?


MT
 

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[quote:25e151377d="hootie"]Any problems with the gas tank hanging so low with just the tubing for protection?[/quote:25e151377d]
i had no probs with mine going through creeks and over large stones in the catskill mountains just did very carefully alla and all i was pretty satisfied it wont go where my k1500 chevy will but didnt expect that much i kept up no prob at all with the crv's i went with it was agreat trip
 

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I was with nyokie on that trip. I ran over a couple of rocks. Nyokie was behind me but like in the previous posts, if you stay on the higher part of the ruts and take your time you shouldn't have a problem. Oh, also nyokie told me that after my first encounter with a rock on that catskill trip. My "E" is okay and so was nyokie's except for a scratch here and there.
 

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[quote:7b209ddbe1=" "]Any problems with the gas tank hanging so low with just the tubing for protection?[/quote:7b209ddbe1]

that freaked me out the other day in the snow. I heard this metal rubbing the snow and then saw the tubing hanging down. Thought something was wrong until I realized what it was doing there. Just thought that was odd that snow in the center of the lane was rubbing the underbody of my E when god knows how many cars and trucks went down that road before me. I think another inch of clearance would be ideal. And why couldn't they just put a skid plate down there instead?
 

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Yeah that is the way I feel. I am waiting for an aftermarket skid plate. Also, nyokie was thinking on making a skidplate for the gas tank.
 

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I'd be happy with about another inch of lift. Nothing drastic. This would be my first SUV type vehicle that didn't have a lot of ground clearance so that snow rubbing was just really odd
 

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[quote:2aa6fa20b6=" "]I'd be happy with about another inch of lift. Nothing drastic. This would be my first SUV type vehicle that didn't have a lot of ground clearance so that snow rubbing was just really odd[/quote:2aa6fa20b6]

In the mean time, you should check your tires (cold) and bring them to, or above spec'd pressure. That might give you a little lift.

-brendan
 

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It would seem that since this is a brand new vehicle even for Honda, that there will soon be several well calculated mods for everything including ground clearance for those that want it.. I sure do! My Montero was a full 11 inches up! It was great in rough and was fully armored underneath. Which is why, much to my wifes chagrin, I chose to keep it and work on it in a friends garage! :lol:

It is really fun to chat with you all about the changes and feedback from E ownership. I have read several threads where guys just are having tons of problems. I am here to say, I am patient, and lovin' drivin the neat little truck type thing called E !

Michael
 
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