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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
We took Henry out to Snoqualmie National Forest yesterday - technically Clearwater Wilderness. Our first attempt was FS-75 to Lonesome Lake, but halfway up, I decided it was too deep for Henry, so I back out. We tried a few more spots but they were all closed. Our last ditch effort was to hit up NF-7720. This proved to be more more gradual of a climb. The entire trail is 4,800 feet in 15 miles, while FS-75 was going to be about 5,000 feet in 15 miles, and many more turns.

For the first 10 miles of NF-7720, it was mostly wide packed dirt and gravel, with lots of potholes. Plenty of bouncing around. I aired down from 35 PSI to 15, mostly for comfort. The views are fantastic along the way, especially from noon and on where the sun is coming through the trees. Since a lot of the second half is higher up and receives more shade during the day, there was plenty of deep snow to tread. The deepness of the snow is very gradual and there are ample opportunities to turn around if you don’t feel comfortable.

Despite this road being more washed out than FS-75, and the snow being deeper, I felt more comfortable on it. The shield around the catalytic converter scraped the snow in the middle of the trail quite a bit, as the snow was 8-10 inches deep. There were parts where I felt that a higher clearance vehicle was necessary, but went for it anyway. Choosing the right line and having the tires aired down proved to really allow Henry to shine. Throughout the entire trail, we didn’t slip once, and I only felt AWD kick in maybe once. There were plenty of obstacles - such as severely washed-out portions, fallen trees, etc. - but nothing a standard 4x4 with appropriate tires and a capable driver should have any issue with.

At 4,000 feet, we encountered someone with an old beat up Ford Explorer that had gotten stuck on the north side. I don’t have a winch, so I wasn’t entirely sure how to help. We backed a couple hundred feet down the trail and stopped at a turnout to have lunch and take in the amazing views of the Olympics, Tacoma, and Olympia. As we sat, a gentleman in a heavily modified Jeep TJ pulled up and exclaimed his impression of our little Element. He proceeded to help out the stuck individual. We made the decision to head back home rather than heading to the top, as midwinter doesn’t lend to being able to explore much, and limits what sort of activities you can do on an overnight trip.

All in all, I am immensely impressed with our Henry. Not once did I feel unsafe or underprepared. There were definitely several points where I felt challenged as the driver, which is just what I could ask for. I think this trip really helped me learn what Henry is capable with a full load, in pretty challenging conditions.

Photo dump to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Did some fluid changes I meant to do right after purchase, but since they’d been done not long before, I let it slide for a bit.
I changed the transmission fluid over to Honda ATF and holy cow did it make a difference! I already thought it was the smoothest transmission I’d ever felt, but now I can’t even count in my head the gear shifts because I can’t feel them at all! Did the same with my wife’s Honda Fit (notorious for having a laggy transmission) and it is noticeably smoother.
A week ago, I wasn’t able to start Henry up, after having to use the mobile booster on it twice already that day. While waiting for a tow, I picked up an AGM battery, but that didn’t help. I had just had the existing battery load tested, and it tested fine.
After a couple hours I realized it was the positive cable connection. Now it starts up like brand new. At some point I’ll replace that connector.
It 100% seemed like the starter motor was going out. Thank goodness it was only the connection. But now I have two good batteries and nothing to do with the lead acid one. 😆
 

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Just got Henry back from Austin Hiro of Hiro's Hotrods in Bellingham, WA. He did an outstanding job and it only took him a day. Suspension rebuild + Dobinsons springs, AeroGenics rear lower control arms, and adjustable uppers all around.

The Toyo Open Country AT/III tires feel amazing! I sized down an inch for wheels, and sized up an inch for tires, giving me roughly two inches more of meat to work with. In hindsight, I could have sized up the tires without sizing down the wheels, but at least it doesn't look wonky. Hah.

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Today, I started playing around with some boxes we received from a friend that used to own an Element. These boxes all open up, and form the base for a sleeping platform. I'm happy to say that they also fit disassembled for traveling with the kiddo and pup, so I think I'm set for a platform! I don't love the setup, but free is free!

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All in all, I'm extremely happy. I think this will really help prolong the life of the vehicle.
omg I need your help! I just installed these same springs on my kyb struts in my 2005 crv; same setup as you. And it pulls right really horribly. How did you arrange the top of your front end Dobinsons springs in the upper spring seat and cushion? I don’t know how to explain this except to point out that it looks like you ignored where the upper spring seat’s notch is supposed to gowith respect to the strut (see service manual drawing for driver side), and have no pulling issues? No scraping or grinding where the strut mounts mate with the front end frame?
Font Line Parallel Circle Screenshot
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I won’t be of much help here. Reach out to @hiros_hotrods. He did the install. For what it’s worth, I had pulling to the right before my suspension overhaul and lift and new tires, and after it’s only worse. Alignment couldn’t fix it. Not sure what it could be.
 

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Did some fluid changes I meant to do right after purchase, but since they’d been done not long before, I let it slide for a bit.
I changed the transmission fluid over to Honda ATF and holy cow did it make a difference! I already thought it was the smoothest transmission I’d ever felt, but now I can’t even count in my head the gear shifts because I can’t feel them at all! Did the same with my wife’s Honda Fit (notorious for having a laggy transmission) and it is noticeably smoother.
A week ago, I wasn’t able to start Henry up, after having to use the mobile booster on it twice already that day. While waiting for a tow, I picked up an AGM battery, but that didn’t help. I had just had the existing battery load tested, and it tested fine.
After a couple hours I realized it was the positive cable connection. Now it starts up like brand new. At some point I’ll replace that connector.
It 100% seemed like the starter motor was going out. Thank goodness it was only the connection. But now I have two good batteries and nothing to do with the lead acid one. 😆
Same thing with mine when I got it that postive terminal was stretched and not getting good contact with the terminal, replaced it completely now with a new one
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Same thing with mine when I got it that postive terminal was stretched and not getting good contact with the terminal, replaced it completely now with a new one
Still haven’t replaced it. Is it as easy as stripping and adding a new connector? What’s the most reliable way to splice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Today, I received my rock guards from Aerogenics after waiting 120 days for them, and having to continuously remind them about my order via email. They said they were having issues figuring out shipping, and that the cheapest options they were seeing was $300+. I sent them quotes for $140 and less, without even a business account.

A few weeks later, they sent them (after a couple more reminders). And guess what… they sent the ones they make for the CR-V.

So now I’m running without any step rails while they send me another set. Hopefully they arrive in a reasonable amount of time. I doubt I’ll have them in time for the meet in two weeks in Tacoma, but oh well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
is it just attached with the four screws into the plastic trim? Or did it have to be drilled into the metal body anywhere? Thanks
It's just attached to the plastic. At first, I thought this would be an issue as well, but all of the weight is being supported by the backside of the dead pedal that actually lines up with the curvature of the footwell.

I've used the dead pedal to adjust my position in the seat and haven't had any issues. For there to be issues with how it's held in place, one would have to apply pressure that would push it to the right, which is nearly impossible.

I really like it so far. Unfortunately, it doesn't come out far enough or at a steep enough angle for me to use it as much as I'd like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Finally got my full-size spare off the roof rack and onto a homemade spare tire carrier, inspired by Dat of @datblueelement.

Parts list:
  • Used Thule 4-bike rack
  • CURT 45798 Trailer Hitch Adapter
  • CURT 23518 Black Trailer Hitch Lock, 5/8-Inch Pin Diameter
  • MaxxHaul 70214 Trailer Spare Tire Carrier
  • ZHTEAPR 4pcs Universal Wheel Spacers Adapters
  • 2x 15mm bolts, 6x flat washers, 3x 15mm nuts

I tried using the nuts and bolts that came with the MaxxHaul spare tire carrier, but it just didn't work. You'd have to hold the bolts and wheel/tire perfectly in place to make it work. So I spent $9.11 grabbing some other nuts and bolts.

I also thought about using the wheel spacers as washers, since they come in a set of four, but decided against it. These are thin, so if you'd like, you could double-up on them. But as you can see, they shouldn't really be undergoing any sort of stress. Really just to help line things up. You probably don't need it.

As you can see, the bolts that came with the mounting bracket come quite close to touching my 15" wheel. If you have 16's, you're probably fine. They only touch while installing anyways.

I got the z-shaped hitch riser/adapter to create more departure angle. It comes out further than I wanted, but the CURT 45794 that I'd originally gotten didn't reach my hitch's larger diameter hitch pin hole.

Cons to this so far:
  • Had to move license plate and use zip-ties to secure it. If I want to take the rack off, I'll have to remount the license plate.
  • It wobbles quite a bit, and you can hear it from inside. When I go off-roading, it's going to give me anxiety. I don't know how often these things fail, and I'm not exceeding the weight capacity, but the wobbling could definitely compromise structural integrity.
  • My rear dash cam is now basically pointless. I may have to relocate it.
  • The spare is now no longer fully protected from the sun. I'm already working on some ideas. Easiest would be a cardboard cutout tucked into the cover, but that would be janky.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Product Alloy wheel

Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Automotive tail & brake light Car

Tire Automotive tail & brake light Wheel Automotive carrying rack Vehicle

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Window Automotive lighting

Tire Wheel Automotive tail & brake light Window Automotive tire

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Road surface Bumper Asphalt

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Bumper Fender

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Vehicle

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle
 

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It's just attached to the plastic. At first, I thought this would be an issue as well, but all of the weight is being supported by the backside of the dead pedal that actually lines up with the curvature of the footwell.

I've used the dead pedal to adjust my position in the seat and haven't had any issues. For there to be issues with how it's held in place, one would have to apply pressure that would push it to the right, which is nearly impossible.

I really like it so far. Unfortunately, it doesn't come out far enough or at a steep enough angle for me to use it as much as I'd like.
Thank you for the reply and detailing how it mounts as I was really worried about drilling into the metal to mount this. I also feel the dead pedal is not thick enough and not level with the brake and gas pedal. I had made a mock up out of foam core to test the size and positioning and will make that curved piece that follows the contours of the footwell bigger so the dead pedal lines up with the brake and gas pedal. I finally picked up some new blades for the jigsaw to cut the pieces out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Henry is at 187,000 miles now, and I have been looking for things to do before winter comes, as far as maintenance goes. Unfortunately - or maybe, thankfully - there isn't anything to do. The only things that really need done are fairly cosmetic: replace driver door checker, figure out why Henry still pulls to the right.
 
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