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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Apologies for cross-posting.
edited to add photo
203917


I’m on the hunt for an E, and so I’ve been reading as much as I can find from various online groups. First, I’ll summarize what I’m looking for. Then, I’ll describe an E I’m looking at right now. Thanks in advance for comments, tips, and advice!

My sights are set on a 2007–09 EX AWD w/ manual transmission. Unless I’m missing another year/model that would suit?
  • Budget is max $6500
  • Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Seat-belts that aren’t attached to the door for convenience
  • Side airbags and stability control for safety
  • Manual transmission for reliability, performance, and fuel economy
  • Extra 6hp over 2003–06 for a wee boost
  • AWD for outdoor pursuits
  • Upgraded features of the EX (especially sound system)
Is the 2007–09 manual AWD combination quite rare? It seems that way, at least in my area.

I have only seen a few Elements with these specs across Canada since I started looking. Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to travel very far to buy a car for the foreseeable future, because pandemic.

I’m talking to a private seller in Calgary who has a 2008 EX AWD w/ manual and 380,000 km (236,000 miles) for $6000 CAD.
  • Original owner
  • All service at the Honda dealership
  • Very good mechanical condition with no rust (supposedly)
  • Carfax confirms one owner and no liens. Two fender-benders listed on the report, but with $0 for claim
The E has been sitting in a garage since last spring, but we’re going for a test drive this week. Owner is OK with getting an independent pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic of my choice.

How does that sound? High mileage but good maintenance might be OK? I’m hoping I might be able to bargain a bit…

I'm not in a rush to buy, but I would like to get on the road sooner rather than later!

Any and all help is much appreciated!
 

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"No rust" is not believable. I guess the price is ok, but about a year ago I looked at a 2011 that has a meticulous dealer service history but underneath was a trainwreck of rust. No amount of regular service can make up for structure issues and I wouldn't buy anything that I hadn't seen first. At that mileage, unless you can see that some significant parts have been replaced (suspension, starter, etc), it is likely you are coming into a season of repairs even though these cars are so solid. Bottom line is look at it closely. One owner is big plus.
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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X2 on the underneath. I have been looking for more than 3 months and numerous Elements from northern climates (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc. - I suspect Canada may be worse) even with less than 100,000 miles all showed a considerable amount of rust on the underside. I think there was actually a recall of similar vintage CR-Vs (similar platform) because of rust problems, particularly where the forward end of the rear lower control arms mount to the body. Pay particular attention to the condition of the oil pan (saw a couple looked like they were ready to rust through), the lower control arms front and rear, the rear cross member, and the rear bumper beam. Also, check (or get photos of) the structural bracing underneath - there were a few pictures of one on this forum a month or so ago in which some of the structural bracing was rusted through. Anything mechanical can be more easily dealt with than structural rust. I finally found a 2007 EX AWD AT last weekend in WV with only 87,000 miles and the cleanest underside I've seen since I started looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good call on checking underneath for rust, WestCoastE and fleetw00d. I got to take the car for a test drive today, and the only rust I saw was from little chips around the edge of the hood. I'll be sure to ask the mechanic to pay extra attention to that when I get a pre-purchase inspection and the car is on a hoist. It's helpful to have a list common problem spots!

I took a look through the seller's folder of maintenance receipts, and he's been very conscientious about it. The only major repair I saw was replacing the clutch, but there were a lot of smaller parts replaced relating to brakes, suspension, cooling, etc., as well as the usual fluids, filters, tires, wipers, etc.

The Element appears to be in great mechanical shape. It drives and stops nicely, and there were no weird noises around town, on the highway, or going over bumps. Again, the 240-point inspection might reveal latent problems...

I'm still concerned about the high mileage, even though I know there are people on this forum with way more miles. With an older vehicle, it's to be expected that there will be more repairs required, and I think I'm ok with that. At the moment, both the front bumper and the windshield are cracked, and it will need new tires soonish. My bigger fear is running into catastrophic failure...
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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Check how many times (if any) that the rear differential fluid has been changed; that and automatic transmission fluid (I know this one is a manual) are probably the two most ignored fluid changes that would prolong the life of those components.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, I'll ask about the rear differential fluid when I contact the seller to set up a pre-purchase inspection. Thanks!
 

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If you haven’t been under it yet, you haven’t seen where the rust will be. From ground level, you can’t see much. Rear suspension parts, and the inside of the rear bumper will tell the whole story.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Indeed, that's why I'm sending it for a full inspection, including putting it on the hoist: must see what lies underneath!
 

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Keep us posted I’m always interested in what this one looks like underneath considering where it has been yet apparently has been maintained.
 

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Apologies for cross-posting.
edited to add photo
View attachment 203917

I’m on the hunt for an E, and so I’ve been reading as much as I can find from various online groups. First, I’ll summarize what I’m looking for. Then, I’ll describe an E I’m looking at right now. Thanks in advance for comments, tips, and advice!

My sights are set on a 2007–09 EX AWD w/ manual transmission. Unless I’m missing another year/model that would suit?
  • Budget is max $6500
  • Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Seat-belts that aren’t attached to the door for convenience
  • Side airbags and stability control for safety
  • Manual transmission for reliability, performance, and fuel economy
  • Extra 6hp over 2003–06 for a wee boost
  • AWD for outdoor pursuits
  • Upgraded features of the EX (especially sound system)
Is the 2007–09 manual AWD combination quite rare? It seems that way, at least in my area.

I have only seen a few Elements with these specs across Canada since I started looking. Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to travel very far to buy a car for the foreseeable future, because pandemic.

I’m talking to a private seller in Calgary who has a 2008 EX AWD w/ manual and 380,000 km (236,000 miles) for $6000 CAD.
  • Original owner
  • All service at the Honda dealership
  • Very good mechanical condition with no rust (supposedly)
  • Carfax confirms one owner and no liens. Two fender-benders listed on the report, but with $0 for claim
The E has been sitting in a garage since last spring, but we’re going for a test drive this week. Owner is OK with getting an independent pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic of my choice.

How does that sound? High mileage but good maintenance might be OK? I’m hoping I might be able to bargain a bit…

I'm not in a rush to buy, but I would like to get on the road sooner rather than later!

Any and all help is much appreciated!
I have an 07 E 187K manual I’ve done all the fix ups I can ready to move on to another. $5800 American dollars
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I got the inspection report and spoke with the mechanic.

The good news is that rust wasn't an issue, except for on the rear differential fill plug and support bracket, which I assume are replaceable.

Unfortunately, the owner's fender bender (as seen on the Carfax for a $0 repair) didn't just crack the plastic bumper cover; it also bent the bumper reinforcement bar and even the frame, as well as denting the evaporator. Unless the owner wants to get that fixed first, or sell me the E for next-to-nothing, then I think I'm out. Collision repair is expensive...

The hunt continues!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: the seller has offered me the E for $1000! That changes the deal, and I'm hoping some more folks will chime in with thoughts and advice.

At that price, I'm seriously tempted. I don't need it for work, so this will be a weekend vehicle for me.

Here's the full list of issues found in the inspection:
  • front bumper cover cracked
  • right front impact beam bent
  • evaporator core dented
  • code P2271
  • brake system warning lamp inoperative
  • windshield cracked
  • tires worn out
  • hood release lever broken/missing
  • left rear forward trailing arm bushing loose
  • rear differential support bracket weak
  • differential fill plug seized with rust
  • diver seat cushion damaged
  • driver seat adjustment knob missing
And here's a pic of the front end damage:
203958
 
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