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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, community. I finally joined this site after buying a 2008 EX awd Element in May 2020 with 72k miles for $9k. It was previously declared a total loss for hail damage, so the hood and roof are rough.
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My wife and I use the MacLander as a weekend car for camping and outdoor adventures. I built a platform bed with storage underneath. We have lights and an electric blanket powered by a Jackery power station. I also love the Springbar awning. It's cozy for 2 people and 2 dogs, but I love the compact nature, especially when driving out to remote places.

Catalytic converter was stolen from a trailhead 2 weeks ago. I just fixed it yesterday myself with a CARB compliant aftermarket cat.

Next up is probably AT tires.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Hello, community. I finally joined this site after buying a 2008 EX awd Element in May 2020 with 72k miles for $9k. It was previously declared a total loss for hail damage, so the hood and roof are rough. View attachment 212159 View attachment 212160

My wife and I use the MacLander as a weekend car for camping and outdoor adventures. I built a platform bed with storage underneath. We have lights and an electric blanket powered by a Jackery power station. I also love the Springbar awning. It's cozy for 2 people and 2 dogs, but I love the compact nature, especially when driving out to remote places.

Catalytic converter was stolen from a trailhead 2 weeks ago. I just fixed it yesterday myself with a CARB compliant aftermarket cat.

Next up is probably AT tires.
Looks like you are off to a great start with your Element! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi @Willie Coyote and @UltraBeaker ,

I started with a 4'x8' sheet of cabinet grade plywood. I think it's birch, but don't remember for sure. Using a large piece of cardboard, I cut out the dimensions of the Element. Then, I marked the plywood and cut with a hand jigsaw and hand circular saw. At the back of the car, the board lays directly on top of the plastic basket/bins at the sides. With this method, you don't need any additional leg supports on the sides. I made sure these bins are still accessible for use.
Wood Automotive exterior Automotive design Gas Rectangle


Once the main board was cut, I laid it in place on the plastic, and then supported the front on a couple of jack stands + shims to get it level. The floor of the Element slopes down slightly from the back of the car to the front. So, I used a stair tread template tool to help measure for the center legs, cutting the bottoms at the corresponding angle. The center legs are some redwood 2x6s that I had left over from making my deck railing. I fastened them to the main board with metal brackets and screws.
Wood Flooring Hardwood Tints and shades Wood stain


Having just the 2 posts in the middle allows you to get 2 large storage bins and other items in either side with easy access. There are also 2 legs at the front sides. These are attached with hinges, so they fold inward when we take the bed in and out of the vehicle. The front of the main board is right at the back of the seats for driving position. Then, I attached another section with a piano hinge that folds out when we put the seats all the way forward. Note that the 3 supporting legs at the front have about 1" extended from the main board to also support the extension when it is folded out. The final leg support is a 2x2 on another hinge that ends up in one of the cup holders on the center floor console.
Table Automotive design Wood Hood Motor vehicle


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I secured the bed by drilling 4 holes near the existing tie down point in the vehicle. I fed paracord through the hole, put a metal washer on, and tied a knot to keep the cord in place. On the bottom, the cord attaches to a turn buckle, which attaches to the car metal tie down. Then I snug all 4 turnbuckles which keeps the bed in place and rattle free.
Hood Table Wood Automotive exterior Vehicle door


I sealed the plywood with some water based polyacrylic to keep moisture out. I didn't bother staining, because you don't really see much of the wood when the mattress is in place.

On top of the plywood goes 2 inflatable camping pads that I had lying around and a 4" full memory foam mattress. The full size fits perfectly and I didn't have to cut the mattress at all. Here's the finished product in driving position:
Textile Motor vehicle Comfort Vehicle Wood


The final somewhat ridiculous thing is the dog loft, which rests on both sides of the drivers seat backs and the dashboard. One of our 20 lb. dogs loves it, as she has her own little peaceful space to sleep.
Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Automotive design Automotive mirror


Enjoy! I'm happy to answer any questions or further elaborate on other aspects of our setup.
 

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They stole your cat at a trail head?! I thought this type of thing only happened in the city. Amazing they will go all the way out into the countryside to steal a cat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@wannahonda yes, granted it was a paved trailhead just off HWY 6 maybe 15 miles from Golden, CO. We only had a few hours that day, so we stayed closer to home. I can't imagine the thieves would go to my typical hiking areas further away and down dirt roads.
 

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This is perfect! I love the fact that you didn't have to remove the back seat mounts like so many other builds have. And don't discount that dog loft! I will at the least be stealing the dog loft idea for mint! Thank you for sharing this. I can't wait to get started!
 

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Hello, community. I finally joined this site after buying a 2008 EX awd Element in May 2020 with 72k miles for $9k. It was previously declared a total loss for hail damage, so the hood and roof are rough. View attachment 212159 View attachment 212160

My wife and I use the MacLander as a weekend car for camping and outdoor adventures. I built a platform bed with storage underneath. We have lights and an electric blanket powered by a Jackery power station. I also love the Springbar awning. It's cozy for 2 people and 2 dogs, but I love the compact nature, especially when driving out to remote places.

Catalytic converter was stolen from a trailhead 2 weeks ago. I just fixed it yesterday myself with a CARB compliant aftermarket cat.

Next up is probably AT tires.
You lucked out on your purchase. Today your car will sell for $16k to $19k, great timing. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@UltraBeaker good to hear. I also thought to mention that I didn't completely remove the rear seat belts, but I did unbolt them from the floor. Then I tucked the loose end behind the removable plastic side panel where the seats normally attach. This way, the belts are out of the way and won't get damaged by the edges of the bed platform.

@Artie3805 thanks! It's amazing for me to see the current prices. Mine is definitely worth less as a total loss vehicle for the hail, but I think the low mileage will help retain value.
 
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