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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

For those of you who don't know me, it takes a LOT to get me frustrated to this level. I'm really hoping that someone who is a driveline and/or suspension guru can help, because I'm at my boiling point over this. After a relatively smooth install of the CCM lift kit (hoping to get to some of my favorite camping sites in the area that require running down some two-tracks) I've run into some problems, which I'm considering to be major.

Background: I know the suspension geometry has changed. I don't expect the ride quality to be better, I assume it should be more "trucky". Ellie has 75k on her and is a 2003. Upon inspecting parts on removal during the install, most of the suspension components appeared to be in good condition.

Issue: There is a major shudder when applying torque during takeoff. It feels like a shaking in the engine/drive systems with a frequency of 4 or 5 hertz. It is ONLY when applying heavy torque during takeoff or rapid acceleration.

Hints:
- Unnoticeable during light-footed takeoffs.
- Unnoticeable at speed
- Install was just done, all nuts, bolts double-checked
- 4-wheel Alignment done, all good
- Front drive axles replaced during ccm install (it's not a CV joint)
- I checked the engine and tranny mounts in the installed positions. The only one that looked a little funky was the tranny mount under the airbox. It was slightly cracked and worn- I replaced it today and it improved the shudder, by about 50%.
- Shuddering feels centered under driver's floor. Easier to feel from driver's side than passenger's...
- Shuddering does not occur under similar torque loadings while taking off in reverse
- If I go over a speed bump with just the right side, there's a light clunking noise that isn't present if I go over a speed bump with the left side.



If anyone can help, I appreciate the hell out of it. The local honda dealer wants to drop the transmission and check the square of the half-shafts, but I'd think that a bent shaft would vibrate under all conditions.
 

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I have no insight for you but I am very interested in your findings and I wish you the best of luck in identifying the source of the problem.
 

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Are you running larger than stock tires? Perhaps with the lift and suspension geometry angle change the right side tire is rubbing on the strut tower under torque load or compression? Just a thought.
 

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Mine also does that and its the inner CV trunion joints and it only happens just after taking off. the angle is pretty great on those but so fat nothing has happened other then the tore boot. Jack up the right side and with the tire off roll the rotor around slowly and you will feel the trunion rollers on the top through the inner boot and make sure there is 3 of them. Email me again if you need more on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Acceleration vibration/shudder updates... Plz read!

Hi guys,
I've started a new thread with updates instead of bumping my old thread, which basically no one read or replied to. Mods may chastise me as they see fit.

I've got what seems to be the notorious acceleration vibration. When you're taking off, the front end of my 4wd EX shakes like it's having a seizure. I'm pissed. I'm frustrated. This started happening after my CCM lift install, which coincidentally also involved front axle replacements. If anyone has some insight, please let me know. I am already looking for replacement vehicles as the anger level is high enough that I never want to see my Element again at this point, regardless of how much work I've done to get it what I consider proper.


Hints:
- Unnoticeable during light-footed takeoffs.
- Unnoticeable at speed
- Install was just done, all nuts, bolts double-checked
- Lift kit has changed suspension geometry, but this issue occurs in both lifted and non-lifted Elements
- 4-wheel Alignment done, all good
- Front drive axles replaced during ccm install (it's not a CV joint)
- I checked the engine and tranny mounts in the installed positions. The only one that looked a little funky was the tranny mount under the airbox. It was slightly cracked and worn- I replaced it today and it improved the shudder, by about 50%.
- Shuddering feels centered under driver's floor. Easier to feel from driver's side than passenger's...
- Shuddering does not occur under similar torque loadings while taking off in reverse
- If I go over a speed bump with just the right side, there's a light clunking noise that isn't present if I go over a speed bump with the left side.

UPDATES:
- I have replaced the rear transmission mount (the plastic one) because it was cracked. No improvement.
- I have replaced the front torque stopper with an all-urethane version. Slight improvement.
- I have re-centered the driver's side mount that attaches to the top of the transmission. The through-bolt was sitting a bit funny in the mount, and the bracket that attaches to the transmission had very slightly walked/shifted from the stock position. (I could tell from the old/new oxidation patterns near the nut)
- At one point, I put a rigid shim between the flat driver's side of the transmission and the frame member that is about 1" away from it. Effectively, I temporarily made it so that the transmission case was basically bolted to the frame. The acceleration vibration COMPLETELY went away during my short test run, but I couldn't possibly keep this setup. The driveline noises that are generally lost to fluid dynamics or dissipation through the air were being channeled right into the frame, and on a unibody... Boy, was it loud in the cabin. (Not to mention the stresses induced on members that are not free to move)
- The clunking noise happens with a speed bump, either side. It's in the front, and seems to be right under my feet. Sway bar links replaced last week. Original sway bar bushings were uncracked and fairly rigid, so they were greased back up and put back in.

So, any ideas? ...Or should I take Ellie back to stock and trade her in on an Xterra? Can I keep the front suspension loaded under acceleration somehow?

Thanks, everyone.
 

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What can I say other then when I talked to you is put it back to stock.
 

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There is one other thing to do before giving up. Jack up the car so all the wheels are off the ground by putting stands on the body as to let the suspension fully unloaded and take off the front tires. Start the car and put in gear and look at the axles to see if they are smooth coming out of the CV joints. If you see a bouncing of the shaft thats your culprit. Like I said I had the same thing under a hard acceleration and when I changed the right shaft it all but went away. Make sure your rear tires are off the ground or it will push itself off the stands and that wouldn't be a good thing.
 

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There is one other thing to do before giving up. Jack up the car so all the wheels are off the ground by putting stands on the body as to let the suspension fully unloaded and take off the front tires. Start the car and put in gear and look at the axles to see if they are smooth coming out of the CV joints. If you see a bouncing of the shaft thats your culprit. Like I said I had the same thing under a hard acceleration and when I changed the right shaft it all but went away. Make sure your rear tires are off the ground or it will push itself off the stands and that wouldn't be a good thing.
I'm thinking CV shafts as well based on the conditions under which the vibration occurs.

I just had a similar problem on a 2005 Accord this week at the shop. Came in with a severe vibration under load/accelerating that would start around 50-60 km/hr and steadily become worse until it was downright scary at 100 km/hr. Would all but disappear when you let of the gas or kept it coasting with light-to-no-load. Initially feared it to be the somewhat common differential bearing issue, but wanted to rule out CV shafts first. After trying both CV shafts one at a time, ended up being the driver's side CV shaft (which is odd because it's the short one and the passenger side one is long without an intermediate shaft on that model of Accord).

So you've replaced both of your front CV shafts wand it's still vibrating? Are the replacement CV shafts OEM or aftermarket?

Since you said the vibration feels like it's in the middle of the floor, have you entertained the possibility of it being in the rear differential system? Propeller shaft universal joint seized/binding? Rear differential fluid breakdown? Are your tire sizes the same front and rear and pressures all set to spec?

Not trying to make things worse for you but something like this is going to be hard to diagnose over the internet without actually having the vehicle there to drive and feel/listen to. We can make suggestions but it's basically going to be a try this/try that process. Unfortunately, sometimes the whole vehicle repair process tends to be a try-this-then-try-that process overall. I know it's frustrating but that is the nature of the beast when purchasing a vehicle and having to diagnose problems with it that aren't completely obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Vibration under floor... update

Thanks for the reply- The element is back down to its normal height and is exhibiting the same symptoms, although they've been slightly improved from when it was lifted.

The replacement shaft on the passenger side was aftermarket, and the one on the driver's side was rebuilt honda. I've replaced the non-oem shaft with another rebuilt honda one to no avail.

I noticed when I was under the car the other day that I was able to move the half-shaft out from the transmission by about a quarter of an inch... I originally thought that perhaps the transmission was torquing and shifting to cause the shudder, but it's possible the transmission is staying in place and everything outboard from that right side seal where the half-shaft goes in is moving in relation to one another when the front suspension is unloaded.

I looked at the parts diagrams and can't make much of the way the half-shaft attaches because of the angle the drawings are presented at. I thought that perhaps there was an internal or external circlip missing, though, that might prevent that half-shaft from moving inboard and outboard.

As for the shudder feeling like it's under my feet, It feels like it's the way the transmission is mounted there on the driver's side moreso than an issue with the prop shaft or clutch that engages the 4wd.


Thanks for having another look at my thread.

-J
 

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Thanks for the reply- The element is back down to its normal height and is exhibiting the same symptoms, although they've been slightly improved from when it was lifted.

The replacement shaft on the passenger side was aftermarket, and the one on the driver's side was rebuilt honda. I've replaced the non-oem shaft with another rebuilt honda one to no avail.

I noticed when I was under the car the other day that I was able to move the half-shaft out from the transmission by about a quarter of an inch... I originally thought that perhaps the transmission was torquing and shifting to cause the shudder, but it's possible the transmission is staying in place and everything outboard from that right side seal where the half-shaft goes in is moving in relation to one another when the front suspension is unloaded.

I looked at the parts diagrams and can't make much of the way the half-shaft attaches because of the angle the drawings are presented at. I thought that perhaps there was an internal or external circlip missing, though, that might prevent that half-shaft from moving inboard and outboard.

As for the shudder feeling like it's under my feet, It feels like it's the way the transmission is mounted there on the driver's side moreso than an issue with the prop shaft or clutch that engages the 4wd.


Thanks for having another look at my thread.

-J
I'm concerned with the fact that you can move the intermediate shaft on the right side. You SHOULD NOT be able to do this (if it's the part I think you're referring to) if it's properly mounted. The hanger bearing on the intermediate shaft bolts to the block and the right side CV shaft that installs into the intermediate shaft should not be able to move in and out of the yoke. When I remove CV shafts from the intermediate shaft yokes it takes some hits with a cold punch and a hammer to slide them off normally.

Without being able to see your Element, I can only speculate that the fact there's play there indicates something is either installed improperly or a component is missing somewhere which maintains component placement (such as a set ring like you described which is the clip in the transmission-end of the CV shaft or intermediate shaft).

I have attached pictures from the manual for your reference. Take a look at them and let me know where you are able to create the movement in and out. I asked one of the senior guys here (I showed him this thread and your symptom descriptions) and he said the same thing I am now. It sounds like a driveline issue to both of us but again, it is easier to try and diagnose with the vehicle here and I realize that is not an option for you at this time.

Let me know what you find out hooptey. I'll help you out as best I can remotely from here and I'll pick the brains of the other guys when I run out of ideas myself :razz:.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Half shaft play

Thanks again for following up so quickly... Also, the manual images do make things overall easier to visualize than trying to manipulate the crowded parts diagrams in my already cluttered brain.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I made this entirely clear, but the play that I get in the intermediate shaft isn't at the outboard end next to that hanging bearing, it's on the transmission side. Essentially, I can see the whole shaft move outward from the transmission and there's not any movement between the inboard CV shaft and the half shaft, it just pushes everything outward about 1/4"... When I say "everything" this ends at the inboard side of the CV joint as the rollers inside just move relative to the larger part of the shaft there.

So, if there's no play between the half shaft and CV but there's a 1/4 gap that appears intermittently at the transmission itself (no leaks, though) I was starting to think that perhaps there was a retainer of some sort floating around in the bottom of the tranny case that should be keeping that half shaft from moving in/out. However, it looks like from the diagrams you posted that you can pull that shaft out completely without any fooling around inside the case...

I'll have a look when it's light again and see if the bearing on the outboard side of the intermediate shaft is floating back and forth, too, or if it's just passing the whole shaft back and forth. Any ideas are appreciated.

Oh, and one more thing. I'm going to buy a few large deep sockets to keep around- what's the socket size for the spindle nuts?

Thanks!
 

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Unless I'm just not aware of it because I have yet to remove the driveline on my Element, I'm under the impression that the intermediate/half-shaft should not be able to move at all once the hanger bearing end is securely bolted to the block.

I hate to say this but my only suggestion as I can't see exactly what the shaft is doing would be to replace the intermediate shaft with a reman'd Honda or quality aftermarket unit and see if the problem goes away. It would make sense that if there is play in the intermediate shaft then something is definitely wrong. This might also explain why changes and adjustments you made to the engine's position had an affect on the vibration.

Even the one senior tech I asked about and showed your thread to at work tonight said the intermediate/half-shaft should not move at all.

I'll put my Element up on the hoist tomorrow on my lunch and check out my intermediate/half-shaft to reference it for myself.

Talk to you tomorrow Justin.


P.S. Which spindle nut are you referring to? The ones that thread onto the outboard snout of the CV shafts? If so, they are a 36mm socket I believe. Most good tool stores should have one in either chrome or impact. I use a 36mm Mastercraft Maximum (Canadian Tire) chromie and it works awesome for me. The rear CV shaft nuts are a 32mm I believe.
 

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I am about to follow you on removing the lift as I still get the vibration when I ether have others in the car or some stuff but none when I am by myself. I am wondering if you got the inner CV spindle seated all the way into its socket as I do not have that play you are talking about.
 

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Wondering if you ever resolved this problem.
I have the exact same issues. I am hoping to
Only replace the part that is culprit instead
Of going through them all as you seem to have
Done for the rest of us. Thanks for the great
Post
 

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Yes please keep us posted since I wanted to do the lift as well, but not is it is going to give me problems like this.
Thanks
 

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The only way I fixed mine I took the kit off and damn if the car started to drive normally!!! I wouldn't recommend the kit unless the owner gets rid of the tude and makes a smaller lift.
 

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Hey guys, I know this thread hasn't been posted in for a few months, but I'm having this exact same problem and would love to know if a solution has been found. My E has never had a lift on it, and is 100% stock and I am still getting this shudder/vibration upon takeoff, unless I ease into the accelerator very slowly. Does not do it in reverse at all. It will also do it if I depress the brake while in gear, and attempt to accelerate while braking. I have replaced all of the motor/trans mounts, thinking that was the problem, still getting it! I've had one shop look at it, and they couldn't seem to figure the problem out, so I'm hesitant to take it somewhere else and pay them hours and hours of labor to check it out, to possibly not find anything either.
 

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Same Problem here on my '04 EX. I recently changed my rear diff fluid and it seemed to help a little but the shimmy on take off is bad. If I ease into it it's good just like as stated above. Anything new on the issue would be great.
 

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Check the inside CV joints as they are 3 rollers instead of the ball bearing type CV joints. It sounds like you have dry or a bad roller and that will cause a vibration around 20mph.
 

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I had the same issue and its aftermarket cv's that cause my issue.
Im actually in the process now of getting custom cv's fabricated from a company named the drive shaft shop. They say they specialize in the impossible so we shall see...
 
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