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2004 Fiji LX Ecamper “Ellie,” 2008 Atomic EX “Otherment,” 2003 Eternal EX Chop Top “Chop_E”
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FBP is my favorite E color! Congrats on finding one! As to your questions:

1) K_ole3 is exactly right. Check for the threads about Ridgeline keys. The switch blade key route is new to me.

2) Yes there are OEM front plate brackets and aftermarket options. When I get back to my work computer I can look up the part number for the OEM one but it should be pretty easy to find with a google search.

3) Many times the cat shields need to be adjusted a bit after installation. Shouldn’t be too much of an issue. It’s great they even bothered to buy one before selling it. Our dealership surely wouldn’t do that!

You mention the rough ride. Elements, especially the early ones, are a bit one the rougher side to begin with. Add to that 200k miles of service and things start to wear out. Good tires and an alignment will likely make a big impact. Also check for worn suspension components like lower control arm bushings, sway bar end links and bar bushings, tie rods, etc. She’s getting old and sadly many of them were pretty neglected.

Best of luck and enjoy your beautiful blue toaster!
 
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