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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there,

Great site! I've lots of questions. My wife and I sold our 05 Honda Pilot EXL 4x4. Looking to get a Honda Element EX 4x4 for camping/expedition use. Doing our research, couple of questions befor we pull the trigger:

1) Any changes in mechanics and capabilities of the Element's 4x4 thru the years e.g. better traction control one year vs the other? If none, good to hear. If yes, appreciate the info.

2) Does the E come w/factory recovery points front or back? My old Pilot has one in the rear. Good to have just in case I get stuck and need to be pulled back or out.

3) Understand Hunter 4x4 makes brush guards for the E (pic below is not my E; it was a link from the Hunter site); has anyone fitted (DIY or after market) a brush guard like the Hunter w/a winch basket and winch on their E? 6000 lb rated winch should be suff for self-recovery for 3600 lb GVW E (winch = 1.5 x GVW) IMO.



4) Great to hear 3" lift kit avail for the E. Anyone running this kit from CCM and 225/75/16 BFG MT KM2s: http://www.ccmoffroad.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=18 and can share their exp; any rubbing, how's the tire noise and your mgp w/the lift and these tires?

5) Also anyone converted their E to an Ecamper and can share their exp w/the product. maintenance, any problems, the good/the bad, and company customer service: http://www.ursaminorvehicles.com/camper.htm



6) Last, lots of reading to do in the this site; can someone point me to a link or links of what to look for in buying a used Element 4x4, and maintenance (I am a DIY person).

I am not building a rock crawler (due to the lack of low range and clearance), but a trail worthy E for camping/expedition trips I can take further off the beatan path.

Thanks in advance.
 

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The Element has 3 'tow loops', one in the rear, 2 in the front.

The rear one is welded to reinforcing at the back end of the spare tire well. It is a designated floor jack lifting point. All brands of trailer hitches bolt to it (as well as to the 'frame rails' beside the spare tire well.

It is quite accessible, and I think would be strong enough for a steady pull. I'm less certain about a snatch pull. A hitch with shackle adapter would be stronger, distributing the pull to this loop and frame rails.

The two in front are welded to the front subframe. They are harder to reach. At one time I bought a length of chain, and two 1/2" shackles, intending to use these as a bridle if needed, but I've never tested the gear. A 3/4" shackle fits the rear loop, but not the front ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Paulj; helpful info. Sounds like the rear is a solid point for a steady static pull using a strap. Certain, I wouldn't want to use a Kinetic recovery rope.

The front ones sounds more like a tie-down point on a flat bed. I will just have to crawl under there and see.

Man, would be great if they make a brush guard mount on the frame and strong enough to hold a winch basket/winch.

Thanks again Paulj.

The Element has 3 'tow loops', one in the rear, 2 in the front.

The rear one is welded to reinforcing at the back end of the spare tire well. It is a designated floor jack lifting point. All brands of trailer hitches bolt to it (as well as to the 'frame rails' beside the spare tire well.

It is quite accessible, and I think would be strong enough for a steady pull. I'm less certain about a snatch pull. A hitch with shackle adapter would be stronger, distributing the pull to this loop and frame rails.

The two in front are welded to the front subframe. They are harder to reach. At one time I bought a length of chain, and two 1/2" shackles, intending to use these as a bridle if needed, but I've never tested the gear. A 3/4" shackle fits the rear loop, but not the front ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think a hand winch like this is the only practical choice for the Element:

http://www.extremeoutback.com/index.cgi?cart_id=2084300.28157&pid=49
(the type is also known as Tirfor or Griphoist).

A brush guard and electric winch mounted on the front will compromise the already limited ground clearance.
Thanks Paulj. Not a bad idea "manual winch". Besides the clearance issue you pointed out (unless someone designs a stout winch basket/guard higher up), driving around w/a perma-mounted winch basket/guard and winch can easy add 150-300 lbs easily on the E.

Manual winch allows me to taken it when most needed e.g. in a buddy system (not so much) vs solo (where it can come handy).

Also Extremeoutback's Recovery Kit was rated to be "value package" in terms of what you get, price & quality vs the Warm and ARB in industry (Overland Journal's Summer 2009 edition). I would imagine the manual winch to be of quality made also.

A since Extreme Outback is local to me (website stated located in Vacaville, CA) - I've reached out to them to inq more about the manual winch and if they offer local pick-up to save on shipping (vs online purchase).

Add'l option for me to consider; thanks again Paulj.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Well, spent the wknd searching/reading the forum for answers; glad I did - time worth well spending. Answered my questions (will have more I am sure):

1) Will be looking for a used and well maintenanced 4WD E. Any year, but if I stumble unto a good 08 4WD model deal (VSA or stability control feature was added), I'd be all over it.

2) Thanks Paulj for answering this question re: recovery points.

3) I am leaning towards manual winch as Paulj suggested.

4) CCM answered my question; KM2 tires will be on my list of upgrades.

5) Founds list of EOC members w/Ecampers here: http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47768&highlight=Ecamper and found other posts including the couple who took their Ecamper to Argentina. Very cool: http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46641&highlight=Ecamper

6) And I also found the maint list and buying tips here.

Now time do some E shopping. :smile:
 

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Have you looked at Expedition Portal? They did a review of the Blackrat winch some time ago. Most of their forum participants have more serious backroads vehicles, particularly Toyotas, but there is some stuff that is relevant to us 'soft-roaders'.
 

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Have you looked at Expedition Portal? They did a review of the Blackrat winch some time ago. Most of their forum participants have more serious backroads vehicles, particularly Toyotas, but there is some stuff that is relevant to us 'soft-roaders'.
I am a lurker @ Expedition Portal and you are right it's serious backroad gears and vehicles. Lots of good info and ideas however. I found the link to the reviews: http://www.expeditionswest.com/equipment/general_equipment/black_rat_winch.htm; thanks again.

Led me to call the company this afternoon; being local to me (company is located in Vacaville)l, I asked if they offer customer pick (save on shipping). Answer is yes.

Also I found out that they now have (website have not been updated yet) the new all alum casing vs steel (weight savings - not much but savings none the less) and improvements over the old design including flat buttom to keep it upright and also new carrying case.
 
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