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A few months after purchasing my Honda Element in September 2006 I would have been writing a rave review. I was thrilled with my car's performance and its versatility.
That feeling of euphoria continued until I noticed uneven wear on the vehicle's tires after I had had it aligned. I took the car in again to be aligned and discovered it was not possible. Apparently, Honda engineers designed the vehicle so the rear tires can not be realigned. The only other manufacturer who ever did this was Subaro on one of its 1970s models and they suffered similar bad press as a result.
The Element rear alignment problem is such a common problem that independent companies have now developed an after market kit that costs upward of $500 plus installation to correct it. And my informal survey of repair shops indicates the problem is widespread.
My car is and was under warranty when I discovered the existence of the design flaw; and already I needed a new set of tires.
Buying new tires doesn't seem a viable option if the problem that created the uneven tire wear is not repaired.
I contacted Honda asking that they resolve the issue under the warranty.
Its response: We don't warranty alignments! Though Honda executives I contacted, Tetsuo IWarmura, C. David Skidmore and others, readily admitted through their executive assistants that the design problem exists and the rear tires can not be aligned, they refused to pay for the necessary repairs to align it and new tires, and even refused to pay for installation of the after-market kit because they claimed they couldn't publicly acknowledge that such an after market kit was necessary.
They did however, offer me a $300 payment toward the purchase of new tires which I refused.
I asked them why I would accept $300 for new tires when the car would be unsafe to drive again in six months and without the necessary repair, I will need yet another set of tires to make it safe. Their response was too bad.
Since then I have lost all faith in Honda and its policies especially as they relate to the inherent design flaws in the Element.
I have reported Honda to all the consumer authorities including the CA Attorney General's Office, the US Atty. General's Office and the California Consumer Affairs Office and am awaiting arbitration.::x
 

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All the tire wear problems you referenced were in the rear?

Front camber: adjustable
Front caster: not adjustable
Front toe: adjustable

Rear camber: not adjustable
Rear caster: not adjustable
Rear toe: adjustable

According to the service manual, if the front caster or rear camber is out of spec, it means a component is damaged and should be replaced. There is no spec (afaik) for rear caster.

The short answer is that if everything is spec, it's good, regardless of whether a component is adjustable.

Meanwhile, many have noticed the pronounced rear camber (spec is -1°) on the Element. It is designed to be that way but might cause premature wear to the insides of the rear tires if they are not rotated. Routine tire rotation should ensure normal tread life.
 

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Where did you go to get your E aligned? They should have no problem aligning your car. As said above if they cannot align it either they do not know what they are doing or you have a damaged components on your E. Possible from hitting a curb...etc. Give us a little more info about your issue and we may be able to help you solve this.

John
 

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Apparently, Honda engineers designed the vehicle so the rear tires can not be realigned. The only other manufacturer who ever did this was Subaro on one of its 1970s models and they suffered similar bad press as a result.

The Element rear alignment problem is such a common problem that independent companies have now developed an after market kit that costs upward of $500 plus installation to correct it.
You can align the rear. You were provided bad info! Also there are kits to aid with alignment for almost every car made. This is normal thing. This sounds like a case of someone being taken for a ride!

John
 

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Apparently, Honda engineers designed the vehicle so the rear tires can not be realigned. The only other manufacturer who ever did this was Subaro on one of its 1970s models and they suffered similar bad press as a result.
Uh, every front wheel drive car I have had experience with since 1976 has had no camber adjustment in the rear and very limited in the front (usually through the use of "crash bolts"). It's not just Honda.

(Subaro? Is that the pizza place?)
 

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I've noticed that my rear tires *seem* to have a slight inward slope. I thought it was an optical illusion? Is this normal?
 

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Where in CA are you? What dealer (s) did you take it to?
 

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are we just talking about the rear camber on the e? i admit the stock ties wear quick. but i think the good years at hondas pressure were the problem. anyway i know plenty of e's on this board that have lowered e's with negative camber and the wear problem doesnt effect them or me. maybe its the rear springs that honda had a tsb and the camber was much worse. a lawsuit is a little much though.
 

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I've noticed that my rear tires *seem* to have a slight inward slope. I thought it was an optical illusion? Is this normal?
according to spec there should be a very slight negative camber. and a "negative camber" is what that inward slope is called.

Where in CA are you? What dealer (s) did you take it to?
seriously. what dealer did you go to? and how do you, jdiane, know that this person in in california? and i am looking forward to meet you in less than two weeks when i head up to s.f.!

are we just talking about the rear camber on the e? i admit the stock ties wear quick. but i think the good years at hondas pressure were the problem. anyway i know plenty of e's on this board that have lowered e's with negative camber and the wear problem doesnt effect them or me. maybe its the rear springs that honda had a tsb and the camber was much worse. a lawsuit is a little much though.
the stock tires are cheap, i completely agree. i used to drag the rear end with me during turns because of no grip. i have an dropped e with a negative camber. the wear does not affect me because the tires i have have a 700 treadwear rating, which amounts to roughly lasting me 80,000 miles. and, i get my tires rotated every 5,000 miles to 6,000 miles. and, i agree with that last statement.
 

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seriously. what dealer did you go to? and how do you, jdiane, know that this person in in california? and i am looking forward to meet you in less than two weeks when i head up to s.f.!

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The OP says they are taking their case to the CA attorney general and CA consumer affairs, so I'm assuming they live or bought the E in CA. Or they want to sue the American Honda corp design team in torrance, ca... <shrugs>

Yeah, looking forward to the bay area meet! :)
 

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Don'cha just luv the folks who come here just to b!tch? I'm not seeing a single request for advice or assistance in that rant, just accusations.

I sense a thread "in the crosshairs". :D
 

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there are "problem solvers" made by moog and many other companies to correct rear camber issues. most FWD cars with rear beams are 100% non-adjustable, yet they seem to keep being built and sold. adjustable arms are now $105 a PAIR on ebay, and should be under an hour to install the pair as far as labor. now if you put half the effort that you put into bitching into researching for an answer you'd be happy. that's the downfall of our society lately, everyone wants to bitch more than they want to find an answer for thier problem. had a customer call me like a raving GD twit crying about his vw beetle needing an oxygen sensor that he replaced and demanded i tell him what else could be wrong if the code came back. so the code hasn't come back on and you want me to tell you how to fix what's not broken? and he starts yelling and cursing about foreign cars and such. no thanks.... *click*
 

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constructive thinkers are becoming extinct..... whiners and dumbers are becoming the new norm :lol:

perhaps a new section called "Complaints" or "Jerry Springer" be set up just for people to cry out loud and then get personal in heated arguements :D
 

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now if you put half the effort that you put into bitching into researching for an answer you'd be happy. that's the downfall of our society lately, everyone wants to bitch more than they want to find an answer for thier problem.
constructive thinkers are becoming extinct..... whiners and dumbers are becoming the new norm :lol:
LOL!:lol: you two just made me laugh. i love true statements.
 

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i used to work in transit operations.....and trust me...i see of them daily.....

i can't find route 2.... cant u just make the bus stop signs and bus destination signs bigger? bla bla bla.... well its phsycially bigger than my head so how much bigger do u want.... ROFL.....
 

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....I asked them why I would accept $300 for new tires when the car would be unsafe to drive again in six months and without the necessary repair, I will need yet another set of tires to make it safe.
Unless you're driving 40,000+ miles per year, I can't imagine how bad your alignment must be "out" to wear out a set of tires in 6months ! :confused:

If the tires go bad in just 6 months, you've prolly got something seriously wrong/bent/ or defective. Get a second/third/whatever opinion.

Good luck.
(and bugger off ! if you'd rather go to the trouble of finding some lawyers solve your problem instead of doing a bit of research)

Will
 

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constructive thinkers are becoming extinct..... whiners and dumbers are becoming the new norm :lol:

perhaps a new section called "Complaints" or "Jerry Springer" be set up just for people to cry out loud and then get personal in heated arguements :D
I vote for a new thread section named "bitch and moan, post your rant here". Seems to find it's way into all threads, and it'd be great to consolidate all of it.

As for the OP point, the camber on the rear is the only thing I think should be improved, or a way of adjusting. How useful to have an air shock set on the rear to take the sag out. I am not talking about overloading, just moderate adjustments to avoid sag for different loads. Someone has got to have an air shock sized for the E that could achieve this?
 
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