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Not sure what the going labor rate is right now in Canada, but I work at an independent asian vehicle shop and we’re $115 an hour. I don’t see many shops under $100. If you want to do the job yourself buying an aftermarket “loaded” control arm is definitely the easiest way. Bolt off, and bolt on at that point. I do recommend removing the axle nut and making sure the axle can move in the hub. That way you don’t run the risk of pulling the inner cv joint apart when you remove the ball joint. Moog gets my vote as far as the ones you have listed.
 

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Sway bar links id definitely go with moog brand, Stronger, better design than the original. The sway bar bushings id go with oem though, for Oem parts i order online instead of going to dealership.
 

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1.There's nothing wrong with Rock Auto, if you buy name-brand parts. Don't buy unknown chinese garbage if you are unsure if are the OES. There are many chinese OESs for all kinds of parts sold by dealers themselves but it's often impossible to figure out where the OE came from because the manufacturers do a good job covering it up.
2. Use Walmart conventional oil of the proper viscosity. You don't need synthetic unless you have a turbo or a engine with a roller-bearing crank. (Think racing Porsches, Ferraris, Audi, that rev to 12k+ rpm. Most people should change their oil long before it is brutalized by the bearing surfaces or burned to a crisp. Don't get me wrong - synthetic oil is good for the right purposes but IMO the only hondas that need it have turbos or an NSX.) Yes, change your oil often but unless you're in a really dusty environment 5k is good enough. If it's really dusty and you drive on dirt roads often then change you oil every 2.5 k.
3. Buy a good oil filter. Honda oil filters are good but Mobil 1, high-end Purolators, etc.are better. (Never buy Fram unless your can't get anything else. They might have a little filter material in them - very little.) Walmart's brand "Supertech" has good oil filters made by Champion Labs and they are a real bargain for what you get.
4. Use Walmart coolant of the acceptable spec for your car - look it up, learn the numbers. Change it every 2 to 3 years.
5. Use Walmart DOT4 Brake fluid and change it every 2 to 3 years. It has to meet spec requirements or it's illegal to sell in the USA. You mean you've never heard of changing your brake fluid? Do it. Save big bucks later.
6. Try to determine the right tools for the job. Hammers are used to break things and are the sign of BF&I (brute force and ignorance.) Youtubes are sometimes helpful but most often give bad advice. Eric the Car Guy has an Element and I'm sure he's a professional wrench slinger. I think he's stopped producing but I hope not because he is a breath of fresh O2.
Final bit of preaching --- Beware of the internet geniuses who have never rebuilt an engine (or 10), auto trannys, EFIs, etc.They probably don't know chemistry, electronics, and have likely not worked at wrench slinging for a living. (Dunning-Kruger Syndrome is common on the interwebs, so, be careful.) Trust, but verify.
[How do I know all this? I was practically raised in an auto parts store and machine shop and did wrench slinging on the side for spare change. My specialty was electrical diagnosis because I was... well it's a long story. I've worked in high-end european dealerships, BMW, Volvo, etc. and factory trained in them. I was intending to take over my dad's parts store but his advice to me went something like: "You're f#^@%*! going college!!!" End of story. I got my degrees in various specialties of chemistry but mostly organic p-chem and it required a good knowledge of electronics. I finished college but worked in dealerships, by request and got paid well, for a couple of years, and where I learned that dealerships, especially for big-name manufacturers - read Toyota, GM, Ford, etc - are a license to steal. Their parts mark-up can easily be 2x to 3x their price. The service and parts departments are where the money is. I worked in aerospace/system engineering the rest of my work life but kept playing with cars. The 2006 Element I now have is my first Honda that my wife uses because she likes its utility.]
I see a lot of questionable advice - mostly harmless - and it's a testament to the toughness of these beasts that they continue to work despite the bad advice often supplied and followed. The biggest and best thing you can do is work on your car and learn its special quirks and strengths. You will be smarter and safer as a result. Buy a general car repair book and read it from cover to cover, or, as the need arises. Either way you'll learn. Good luck and have fun. Always have fun.
 

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One thing to check on with Rock Auto or any place in the states is how they ship. I live in the States and at work we ship UPS exclusively. We sell a gasket for $99 and by the time you get it in Canada the total is about $225 Did some homework about how to file the required NAFTA and it did not seem to help with UPS. Only Mail.
 

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As far as fluids go:
•Engine Oil: 5W-20 conventional or synthetic its up to you. I choose to run conventional but religiously change it every 3k miles.
•Powersteering: You don’t have to buy it from the dealer, but the Element does use a special honda/acura compatible powersteering fluid. DO NOT use regular powersteering fluid or ATF ever!
•Coolant: Just make sure its the blue stuff (don’t know if I’ve ever seen it available as full strength)
•Brake and Clutch: dot3 or dot4 brake fluid. Not dot5 as I believe it’s silicone based.
•Transmission: If it’s a manual gearbox I recommend the Honda MTF from the dealer. If it’s an automatic you can use store bought fluids as long as they meet the factory honda spec. I think its Honda z1 but it might be the acura dw3 I can’t remember.
Rear Differential: Honda dual pump fluid from the dealer.

Other then that I try to use Honda OE parts for things like engine and transmission solenoids as I’ve had better luck with them at my shop. Honda engine and transmission mounts are often very close in price to aftermarket ones but fit much better. I’ve had some bad experiences with a few aftermarket cv axles so if it isn’t clicking when I turn the wheel or shaking on acceleration I replace the boots and use the axles as long as I can. EMPI makes some good quality boots. Only use NGK or Denso spark plugs Honda ignition systems can be picky. As far as air and cabin filters, I buy cheap and replace more often. Oh and I feel like the most overlooked service is a good valve adjust every 100k miles. That one’s a little more involved, but there’s lots of good info out there on how to correctly do this job.
Good luck with your Element!
HONDA FLUIDS ONLY!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #27
1.There's nothing wrong with Rock Auto, if you buy name-brand parts. Don't buy unknown chinese garbage if you are unsure if are the OES. There are many chinese OESs for all kinds of parts sold by dealers themselves but it's often impossible to figure out where the OE came from because the manufacturers do a good job covering it up.
2. Use Walmart conventional oil of the proper viscosity. You don't need synthetic unless you have a turbo or a engine with a roller-bearing crank. (Think racing Porsches, Ferraris, Audi, that rev to 12k+ rpm. Most people should change their oil long before it is brutalized by the bearing surfaces or burned to a crisp. Don't get me wrong - synthetic oil is good for the right purposes but IMO the only hondas that need it have turbos or an NSX.) Yes, change your oil often but unless you're in a really dusty environment 5k is good enough. If it's really dusty and you drive on dirt roads often then change you oil every 2.5 k.
3. Buy a good oil filter. Honda oil filters are good but Mobil 1, high-end Purolators, etc.are better. (Never buy Fram unless your can't get anything else. They might have a little filter material in them - very little.) Walmart's brand "Supertech" has good oil filters made by Champion Labs and they are a real bargain for what you get.
4. Use Walmart coolant of the acceptable spec for your car - look it up, learn the numbers. Change it every 2 to 3 years.
5. Use Walmart DOT4 Brake fluid and change it every 2 to 3 years. It has to meet spec requirements or it's illegal to sell in the USA. You mean you've never heard of changing your brake fluid? Do it. Save big bucks later.
6. Try to determine the right tools for the job. Hammers are used to break things and are the sign of BF&I (brute force and ignorance.) Youtubes are sometimes helpful but most often give bad advice. Eric the Car Guy has an Element and I'm sure he's a professional wrench slinger. I think he's stopped producing but I hope not because he is a breath of fresh O2.
Final bit of preaching --- Beware of the internet geniuses who have never rebuilt an engine (or 10), auto trannys, EFIs, etc.They probably don't know chemistry, electronics, and have likely not worked at wrench slinging for a living. (Dunning-Kruger Syndrome is common on the interwebs, so, be careful.) Trust, but verify.
[How do I know all this? I was practically raised in an auto parts store and machine shop and did wrench slinging on the side for spare change. My specialty was electrical diagnosis because I was... well it's a long story. I've worked in high-end european dealerships, BMW, Volvo, etc. and factory trained in them. I was intending to take over my dad's parts store but his advice to me went something like: "You're f#^@%*! going college!!!" End of story. I got my degrees in various specialties of chemistry but mostly organic p-chem and it required a good knowledge of electronics. I finished college but worked in dealerships, by request and got paid well, for a couple of years, and where I learned that dealerships, especially for big-name manufacturers - read Toyota, GM, Ford, etc - are a license to steal. Their parts mark-up can easily be 2x to 3x their price. The service and parts departments are where the money is. I worked in aerospace/system engineering the rest of my work life but kept playing with cars. The 2006 Element I now have is my first Honda that my wife uses because she likes its utility.]
I see a lot of questionable advice - mostly harmless - and it's a testament to the toughness of these beasts that they continue to work despite the bad advice often supplied and followed. The biggest and best thing you can do is work on your car and learn its special quirks and strengths. You will be smarter and safer as a result. Buy a general car repair book and read it from cover to cover, or, as the need arises. Either way you'll learn. Good luck and have fun. Always have fun.
Yeah I was going to go to the dealer and get oils and sway bar links and bushings but I was thinking that they'll probably have insane prices. Where is the best place to get genuine parts? I'm from Canada and I'm thinking hondapartsonline.net
I'm guessing you can only get oils at Honda tho. What do you think?

Also what do you think about Moog control arms?
 

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For brake rotors, I’d recommend Brembo blanks (not the slotted or drilled garbage). Just the solid Brembo blanks. You can get them very reasonable on eBay. I always go OEM front pads and a good quality aftermarket rears. Just my opinion, but I’ve been running this set up on all my Honda’s for years (and my 04 EX AWD Element). Fluids as everyone has said, go OEM. You can get things pretty reasonable from online dealers (they usually sell at below list). I work at a Honda dealership in the Parts Dept, so I have an in. But you can still get decent deals and not much over the crappy aftermarket junk. Just choose wisely when using RockAuto. Don’t buy the cheapest thing you find. Trust me, you’ll be better off in the long run.
 

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Really want to know if I have to buy OEM parts or if aftermarket will do. I was going to try www.rockauto.com.
What do you think?? I live in Canada and need to start working on this bad boy. Thank you in advance. :)
Really want to know if I have to buy OEM parts or if aftermarket will do. I was going to try www.rockauto.com.
What do you think?? I live in Canada and need to start working on this bad boy. Thank you in advance. :)
Dear Honda Element friend. I have an 2004 EX with 193,000 driver her 15 years very low costs to repair. But always OEM parts, and my Honda repair shop doubled my warranty on oem parts. Your car your decision. But stay away from Mighty brand parts auto zone I put on 5 starters in a year.
Currently I’m looking at $1500 for rear strut units, OEM, or been seeing what folks say here about Monroe and other lesser brands, even got my Honda man comparing parts. He recently order some parts off eBay marked original. He was scared the parts looked good till you compared the part to the part it was replacing, then it was a disaster.
Best of luck, I use my element daily to move product. So while it more expensive for oem, I’m glad I chose them as I’m not broke down and I trust my 16 year old beast to drive 400 miles and back, cause it’s as solid as it was the day I got it.
God Blesd,
Chris
 

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I have bought all Honda fluids. I haven't bought engine oil because that was the one thing he had done recently (and also windshield-nothing else) but I may do it anyways. What do you say about OEM coolant?? I was very unsure if that mattered. Some say youre wasting money to buy premixed. What do you think?

I bought an air filter and a cabin air filter but they were the only ones they had and I dont know if they're good quality.. I find in cars if the heat is on it is hard to breathe so I really want a good one. I have a weird condition also where I can't produce saliva so just any heat is bad. Do you know a good brand? The only other one I saw there was a different kind which was made to last forever and it cost $75 CAD. Can I get any cheaper. Is there one I can buy yearly for now that is really high quality?

-My practicing-mechanic friend came by and showed me my rear left sway bar link popped off with him moving it around and the other about to go also.

-the axle bearings are all cracked and need redoing but I want to just buy new axles with new bearings(hopefully already installed-first time working on cars really dont quite have all the equipment to get those loose from the axles but will eff with the old ones after they are out and replaced)

-tie rods - probably the back too?

-brakes-haven't checked rotors(how likely are they going to be bad also would you say % wise?)

-sway bar bushings

-crush washers

..hold on.
The only fluid I would say always go with OEM on Honda is transmission & differential fluid. Definitely 1000% go with Honda fluids on those. Engine oil and coolant by no means do you need to buy Honda fluids. Many oils out there are very high quality and meet or exceed OE specifications. I use Pennzoil Platinum or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum. I use the Ultra Platinum in my Focus ST, but Platinum I feel is just dandy for the Element. Use "Asian blue" coolant. The ones I have used in the past are Zerex Asian Blue RTU (ready-to-use aka pre-diluted to 50/50. Part number is 861398) or Aisin Asian blue (also pre-diluted, the part number is ACB003). I guarantee you there is no reason whatsoever to buy oil or coolant from Honda. Air & cabin filters are the same story. No reason whatsoever to buy from Honda. If the price isn't much different and you want to go OE, by all means, do that, same for the fluids honestly. Now oil filters are interesting. There are many oil filters out there that are far superior to others, check out Project Farm's video on YouTube comparing oil filters. I always use either Honda oil filters or Wix. Napa Gold is supposed to be very good quality as well. For the oil drain plug crush washer either get one from Honda or you can get a Dorman aftermarket, the part number is 095-015. It's just a little metal crush washer, nothing special about it, as long as it's the right size.

Now for your other items, sway bar links, tie rod ends, sway bar bushings, and brakes. The first note is that tie rods are part of the steering system, so you only have them on the front, no rear tie rods. Some cars do exist with four-wheel steering, but not in the Honda world. I would recommend going with Honda parts for the suspension pieces. Some aftermarket brands are just fine, like Moog, but usually, the price for OE parts like this on a Honda is not much more than aftermarket. If you get a cheap aftermarket piece that fails in 6-12 months, you're going to be doing the job twice, even if you get a free warranty replacement part. Honda parts are going to last longer overall in this case.

As far as brakes go, there is again no reason to buy from Honda. At least rotors and pads. Rotors are just hunks of steel, there's nothing special about them. You can get better aftermarket ones with a higher carbon to steel ratios, but for the most part, they are all pretty good. There are shitty aftermarket brake pads out there though. A slightly more expensive but worth-it option is Akebono pads. I use them exclusively. You may pay $70 for a set of pads, but they will last you years if installed correctly. I have Akebonos on my Focus ST that are three years old and on the Element that are over a year old. They basically look new on both cars, as far as how much pad material is left. I feel Akebono pads are superior to even OE pads in this case. Again, if you feel like going OEM go for it, but not necessary, and there are brakes out there that are better than OEM. If you're replacing brake hydraulics like calipers, going OE is not a bad choice. I have never bought an OE caliper personally, just used quality aftermarket remanufactured units, and had complete success with them. Get some that are coated though, they will resist rusting and failing much better than non-coated.

*Qualification: Aftermarket parts counterman.
 

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In general.. Buy Honda parts. You bought a Honda for a reason, correct? Quality, service and reputation. I run a shop, and Rock auto is one of my main suppliers, but, not for my Hondas.. I have two, and not only use honda parts, but, I have my Hondas serviced at Honda. They are expert at hondas, why learn each job myself?
 

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Is there a way to tell if the arm is bad? Do you know how much it would be to refurbish it? And do you know how much it would be to have someone push them into my old arm? Just a guesstimate. I live in Canada so there's that difference too. I dont know any mechanics here so I would not want to pay him 100 an hour or something. I just want a guesstimate as with buying the arm I have everything together and buying the bushings, I'd have to refurbish the old arm and get the bushings and pay someone to put them in. So if I'm not saving a lot for the hassle, although I dont have much for funds, I don't want to do a job that is out of my league.
I am typically OEM all the way because like others have shared it has come back to bite me, but I made an exception with the rear control arms because of the negative camber. I don't know what Honda was thinking because it so obvious. Honda does NOT make an adjustable rear control arm. To each his own but it bothered me that I could not get my car properly aligned with all four wheels until I used the adjustable rear control arms. I have had the Dorman set for over 5 years now with no issue.



 

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Discussion Starter #33
I am typically OEM all the way because like others have shared it has come back to bite me, but I made an exception with the rear control arms because of the negative camber. I don't know what Honda was thinking because it so obvious. Honda does NOT make an adjustable rear control arm. To each his own but it bothered me that I could not get my car properly aligned with all four wheels until I used the adjustable rear control arms. I have had the Dorman set for over 5 years now with no issue.



I have bought all fluids and washers so far from Honda. I am not sure as to what to do with the engine oil. I could use pennzoil synthetic for 45 or honda synthetic for 65. It may not be my forever vehicle that's the thing. But it's also older with 299km. What do you think?
I bought stabilizer bushings and links from Honda. Bought NGK lithium spark plugs and filters from NAPA.
Am going to try Moog brake pads I think. (Opinion?)
And was going to by new control arms with bushings in them for (500) from Honda because to remove bushings from the ones I already have costs 500 in labour. Should I try and remove the bushings myself??
And do but you say they're not adjustable?? Does that mean I can or cant change control arms?
 

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I have bought all fluids and washers so far from Honda. I am not sure as to what to do with the engine oil. I could use pennzoil synthetic for 45 or honda synthetic for 65. It may not be my forever vehicle that's the thing. But it's also older with 299km. What do you think?
I bought stabilizer bushings and links from Honda. Bought NGK lithium spark plugs and filters from NAPA.
Am going to try Moog brake pads I think. (Opinion?)
And was going to by new control arms with bushings in them for (500) from Honda because to remove bushings from the ones I already have costs 500 in labour. Should I try and remove the bushings myself??
And do but you say they're not adjustable?? Does that mean I can or cant change control arms?
You can change your control arms to whatever you want. The Honda ones are expensive and they will make your rear wheels look like they are leaning as opposed to sitting straight. This is called 'negative camber' and for some weird reason was part of Honda's design. This means that you cannot get all four wheels properly aligned with the Honda control arms. I normally always do Honda parts but in this case I made an exception because I wanted to be able to align all four wheels, and I did not like the way the rear wheels looked with negative camber. I went with a set of Dorman rear control arms that fit our Element and are also adjustable. Since these aftermarket control arms can be adjusted, I am now able to have all four wheels aligned on my Element no problem. I have had them on the Element a few years now with no issues.
 

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I have bought all fluids and washers so far from Honda. I am not sure as to what to do with the engine oil. I could use pennzoil synthetic for 45 or honda synthetic for 65. It may not be my forever vehicle that's the thing. But it's also older with 299km. What do you think?
I bought stabilizer bushings and links from Honda. Bought NGK lithium spark plugs and filters from NAPA.
Am going to try Moog brake pads I think. (Opinion?)
And was going to by new control arms with bushings in them for (500) from Honda because to remove bushings from the ones I already have costs 500 in labour. Should I try and remove the bushings myself??
And do but you say they're not adjustable?? Does that mean I can or cant change control arms?
Ok, one more time, there is absolutely NO REASON to buy motor oil from Honda. There are plenty of options you can just get at your local Walmart, $25 for a 5-quart jug. My personal preference is Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 5W20. A lot of dealerships don't even use "Honda" oil, they just get bulk oil from Valvoline or someone of the like. Honda doesn't even make motor oil, no OEM does, they get oil from one of the big oil manufacturers (Valvoline, Mobil1, etc...).

And for the suspension components, you also don't need OEM parts. Like others have said, you can get aftermarket control arms that are adjustable which is actually a nicer option than the non-adjustable OEM parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
So question. If I take out the arms that are in my Element and replace the bushings, would I still get 'negative camber'? @AWD
 
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