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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to make my 2011 E shorter. (I live on an island and there's a discount for ferry fare if car measures <14'. And YES they measure it!) I contacted a Honda body shop and inquired if they could modify the bumpers to get it to measure (bumper to bumper) under 14 feet. They said they couldn't think of a way to do it (I'm not surprised -- probably worried about liability). I see so many modified Hondas and I know there are shops that specialize in modifications -- so surely there must be a way. I just don't know how to go about finding a reputable shop to do the modification. Any guidance for that?

Thanks!
 

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If a body shop can stretch a car into a limo, then surely they could de-stretch one into a shorty. But could you save enough on tolls to pay for the operation?

 

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Shortie E

I didn't even know I wanted a shortie E, but that looks like a pretty sweet E to me. That being said the Element is listed at 169.9" or just over 14 feet. Not sure where they measure that from but I'd guess the rear bumper is easily removed. Maybe you could make it a quick release and just throw it in the car when riding the ferry. Here is a link to removing the bumper. I don't know what's under it or if this would even work, but it would be cost effective. Even after you remove it it may still have length under it and be over 14'. Best of luck to you.

Page 3 of this hitch install instruction shows you how to remove the rear bumper.
http://www.handa-accessories.com/element/05hitch.pdf

What is the price difference for the ferry? How much would you save in one year's time?
 

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The picture of the shorty E does look cool, but wouldn't an E altered to that size defeat the whole purpose in buying one in the first place? The novelty of it works but not the practicality of it...imo
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
cost diff

Well, it's not too easy to calculate the cost difference, but here's the way it works. We buy a 10-trip ticket which saves over the single trip fare already. The difference between over 14' and under 14' is $30 for 10 trips or $3 per trip. Now, granted, I don't drive on every day (I actually leave a car on the mainland to get to/from work). BUT, I do drive on several workdays a year (when I'm running too late to park and get down to the dock!) and we drive off island often on the weekends for "retrieval missions". And of course the E is a great one for that -- the Costco/Trader Joes/Home Depot run - especially now that I've put a rack on it and scored a Rocketbox for even more storage! So far this year, I've bought 6 10-trip passes -- so it would have saved me $180 thus far. I "should" only have to be subject to measurement one time once it is shortened. I would then get a sticker for front window so they won't (?) measure it every time. I'm not sure removing the bumper would work -- the toll both workers know most of us regulars, so if they measured and gave me a sticker and then saw the bumper back on the car the next time, they could say they need to do a spot-check on the length. So, in that sense, I think it's better that it's a permanent mod.

Mind you, I'm not out to cheat the ferry system - but if I can get it under 14' and score a legit pass, why not??? I don't plan on letting go of my E any time soon! It would eventually pay itself off.

Thx!
 

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as i understood it, the bumper removal was being proposed as a temporary removal for each ferry trip, and reattachment when off the ferry. thus the mention of quick release. the advantage of such a system is that it's probably very cost efficient and easily reversible.
(will you always live on a island? will a ferry always be necessary? will someone build a bridge or drain the water?)
since you already have a roof rack, the temporarily removed rear bumper could be stored there. most ferries that i've used provide free down time while the ferry arrives, ties up, uploads previous cargo, etc. and that should give you sufficient time to temporarily remove the rear bumper. since there may be weather considerations, you may want to remove the bumper in the comfort of your own garage, or similar protected space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
as i understood it, the bumper removal was being proposed as a temporary removal for each ferry trip, and reattachment when off the ferry. thus the mention of quick release. the advantage of such a system is that it's probably very cost efficient and easily reversible.
(will you always live on a island? will a ferry always be necessary? will someone build a bridge or drain the water?)
since you already have a roof rack, the temporarily removed rear bumper could be stored there. most ferries that i've used provide free down time while the ferry arrives, ties up, uploads previous cargo, etc. and that should give you sufficient time to temporarily remove the rear bumper. since there may be weather considerations, you may want to remove the bumper in the comfort of your own garage, or similar protected space.
nacrnym - a lovely idea in theory, but not operationalize-able in my reality. to answer your questions -- yes, will probably stay here another 20 years as my husband has lived here for >30 years and really likes his "moat" - lol! ferry likely to always be necessary - the community rails at the suggestion of a bridge. Weather also big issue -- island is in Puget Sound -- so there are many rainy days (~8-9 months worth). And truth of the matter is, most of my/our ferry "catchings" are cutting it very, very close (sometimes arriving with seconds to spare!)-- so having to stop and remove a bumper is not only added stress but impractical at best. (Oh, and I don't have a garage either...)

What can I say but that it is a certainly a lifestyle choice to live as we do. I guess a good question at this point is whether folks think this mod is likely to cost >$1k or only a few hundred dollars. At my rate of car crossing (vs. walking on), it would save nearly $300 in a year. So, if cost were say, $450-$600, the pay off is quick in my book.

Thanks much to all for the ideas & discussion.
 

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then maybe you should just strip the back to get under 14' and then add back what you can to not exceed the limit.
see stripped picture.

you may not have to strip it down this much, but you could.
i do suggest that you at least put the rear plate back on. <grin>
and if you find yourself tripping over the exhaust pipe you may need to shorten it.
 

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then maybe you should just strip the back to get under 14' and then add back what you can to not exceed the limit.
see stripped picture.

you may not have to strip it down this much, but you could.
i do suggest that you at least put the rear plate back on. <grin>
and if you find yourself tripping over the exhaust pipe you may need to shorten it.
before you recommend the rear plate I would say put that bumper support back on. any small, decent impact will most likely cause frame damage and 'total' the car

if you need to be below 14' then you just need to save 3-6" to be safe (overall length is about 170" and you need less than 168"). just take off the rear bumper cover like shown above and if that's still not enough then just take off the front bumper cover. a body shop could easily cut out the bulges in the front bumper, where the fog lights are, and probably fiberglass them flat. those stick out about another 2 inches or so

otherwise, if you want a quick resolution, just take off both bumper covers. you'll have a lot of wind noise and road debris will make the engine bay dirty over time but it's quick and will get you below 14'
 
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