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Hey everyone! I'm going to make a bit of a lengthy write-up here, as I've been lurking on these forums for some time getting a lot of helpful information. I've had my E for about 2 years now, and it has been an absolute treasure of a vehicle. I live on Hawai'i and got my E from the original owner, who had shipped it over right before the eruption last year. It happened really near his home, and within 3 months of getting here they decided to move back to the mainland. It was a total steal, and I am still in touch with the previous owner to this day. Anyhow, now I'm planning to move back to the mainland and ship it across the Pacific one more time.


In the last two years I've experienced a few minor issues. The most infuriating of them all has been the infamous "VTEC problem: Code P2646" which has given so many people problems over the years. I believe I've solved the issue, as I've not experienced Code P2646 in over 6 months! A great victory, indeed. My solution? Increase oil pressure and oil weight. Sea Foam treatment for the oil, and a heavier weight than called for in the manual. I've been out of limp mode for long enough that I trust the issue is gone now. Another speculation I made was that the windshield sprayers were leaking rain water and it drips right onto the engine and splashes into the VTEC switch, so I sealed up where they attach to the hood to prevent leakage. My next oil change I'm going to increase to 10w-30, as I have read that the specified 5w-20 oil was actually not the recommendation for the engine originally but was changed to meet certain regulations in the US.

After driving the E off-road for a year where I used to live (in the middle of the jungle!) the rear sway bar was making too much damn noise even after replacing the bushings. A mechanic friend of mine told me that I'd be fine to take the whole sway bar out, so I did. The only downside being it is much less safe to drive at high speeds (death wobble is my mechanic's term for what happens at high speed without a sway bar).


I guess I originally made this post because I wanted to get some opinions on readying my E for a long, cross-country trip. The thought has certainly occurred to me that there are no guarantees that this will not be my E's last road trip if I do not take proper precautions. So here I am, asking anyone that reads this post to give me some words of wisdom before I make the long journey from California to New York!

My current plans are to install adjustable rear control arms and finally fix the rear camber alignment, replace tie rod ends, brake fluid, transmission fluid flush, fix the electric issues I've got currently (tropical rain forests and no cover = unhappy E), new tires, possibly an engine tune-up, possibly doing some work on the clutch if necessary to keep the transmission in good shape, rust treatment in a few spots (damn jungle!). But really, at 168,000 miles I feel confident it's worth it to ship it back to the mainland USA to continue being an Element Owner. It's a wonderful vehicle and I can't really imagine exchanging it just for a few thousand dollars, because I can't imagine getting something similar for the same price. Plus, it's got a moonroof, and it's quite comfortable to sleep in, all things considered! I love my E.
 

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Death Wobble is a term that is used for a potentially dangerous situation involving too much play in the front (steering) axle...
At speed, tires literally dance left/right bouncing off of stops... If experienced, it will be a lasting memory. I still remember my first time... :LOL:
If you took the rear sway bar out, it will have little to no influence on the steering end... IMO, it will likely just increase body roll to some degree...

My only suggestion would be to do all of the things that you think need done... long before the trip.
Each one could potentially bring up more issues, don't do anything last minute and immediately take off for the other side of the country... that would be foolish.

Good luck!! Let us know...
 
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