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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a lot of daylight between the wheel wells and the engine bay. A steering linkage goes through there, so there has to be _some_ room. Seems like it would allow a lot of spray into the engine bay, but then in the old days you could always see a lot of daylight under the hood, so maybe it doesn't matter.

JR
 

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Before I purchased my EX AWD 5 speed Element I had come very close to getting the Nissan Xterra. I am glad I didn't , HOWEVER!
If you ever get a chance to look at a Nissan Xterra check inside the wheel well up front and compare it to the Element. You will see what I mean. Inside the Xterras wheel wells they have tacked a sort of black heavy duty material to keep the engine compartment from having mud, salt, rocks and what have you from striking the engine while driving and also keeping it relatively clean.
If you look up in the Elements wheel well you can see practically your entire engine and other parts exposed. I realize the Xterra is a serious offroad vehicle but the Element will be likely traveled in areas the average car would not go even with the not so serious AWD package that it has. Too bad Honda didn't think of this ( they didn't think of a lot of things ). But this is something that is probably a "do it yourselfer" provided you are handy. I am not so if someone else figures this out let me know. Check out the Xterra and see what I am talking about. It really is a good idea. :)

LittleDogBox
Arlington, Va.
 

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I noticed the same thing. Forget offroading, I've never had a car that had so much exposure thru the wheel wells. Anyone know what the reason was? Just to save $$$, needed extra cooling, or ????
 

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When I picked up my Element back in March an interested buyer looked at my wheel wells and said it could use more sheeting. Then he said with his own truck he got black sheeting and plastic snap in fasteners and covered his truck wells. Real simple and cheap. I don't have a problem with it now but I'll think about it. I want to settle the car in. I haven't even gotten my first oil change. :wink:
 

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I always keep the engine of my vehicle clean. Nothing like scrubbing bubbles or simple green.

I dont' have any issues with the exposures. If it gets dirty, I'll just clean it. It gives me more time with our E.

John
 

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Okay, so I am driving and digging my E and thinking about all the cool stuff one can do to it and such and reading these forums, Has anyone had any thoughts about the huge openings in the front wheel wells that take the spinoff from the tires and throw it right into the engine box!!??

WHat the heck? I have so much salt debris from winter in there.....

Any of you road warriors have a thought as to prevention on this little feature the Design greats at HONDA have come up with?
 

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It's not just the wheel well.
After driving through first snow storm in January, noticed snow had blown under the hood and accumulated inside!
I can see already it will be hard to keep the engine bay clean.
 

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Same deal here... Lots of snow accumulation and salt deposits everywhere. Never had an issue like this... think it'd be safe to use a high pressure rinse at the self-serve car wash? Since the air element / intake is relatively enclosed, I wouldn't think there would be anything to cover up - just spray and go, I'd imagine...

Any thoughts?

-DJ
 

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it was the same way on my old typeS so i guess its a new honda thing, But the engine on that thing would get really dirty really fast.
 

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My wifes CR V is exactly like my E. Holes and all. It is a 2002 and has had lots of travel. THrough all kinds of stuff. Seems to be just fine but I still don't like it. I am going to invent a sort of splash guard for the E and her car. I will keep you posted. It will fasten on with hard plastic bolts and I think I know how to do this it's just finding material durable enough to last under both heat and stuff!

I am not sure I like this design guys. It seems like asking for trouble.

Maybe I am being a little to touchy here but this seems to stink kind of. :?
 

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Since I work out of our house, my "E" sits in the garage and stays clean. But my wife's '02 CR-V, with a very similar layout, seems to accumulate a lot of garboo for a transversely mounted engine w/ thermostatically controlled electric fan (fans that run with engines really suck in airborne particulate matter). Her 1st generation ’97 stayed reasonably clean and didn’t have said holes. So I agree with Michael, the large openings in the wheel wells are probably the culprit.

Occasionally rinsing the engine compartment off at the whiz wash probably won’t hurt, but I’d be tempted to use their “spot-free rinse” to minimize nasty hard water marks. The air intake is fairly protected, but I’d watch using high pressure around electrical boxes since they are normally protected by being under the hood.

Jim in very wintry Ohio
 

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I just had my first service check with the local Honda Dealer. Great guys by the way, They all agreed that the only recourse is to spray it out after particularly dirty driving.

That's it!

I am still working on a screen of some type to help this problem.

Michael
 

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After an afternoon in the garage I managed to cover the top 3 inches of the gap with 3/16 rubber sheeting. Wasn't easy and not much got changed due to worries about interfering with the steering and suspension. I can't help but wonder why this gap is so huge? I hope the winter ice deosn't interfer with the steering.
 

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Bobby...did you put this on the inside or the outside of the engine compartment?

It seems that even 3 inches of coverage would help considerably.

Michael
 

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I put 3/16 rubber sheeting on the inside, using existing holes.
The rubber ended up looking like a reversed and up-side-down L. There were a couple of holes up very high near the firewall where I used a SS nut, bolt and washers. A long socket extension with a universal joint helped for this one.
On the other side, not quite as high, I found a taped hole where I used a short metric bolt. Maybe it would have been a lot easier to rivot a sheet in the wheelwell on the outside using thinner rubber. There were a few holes down lower that perhaps the sheeting could have been anchored to. I used 3/16 to make it sturdy and not flap, but the riggedness of it, made me shy of getting anywhere close to the steering or strut travel.
 

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No offense to you who are working on a cover but here are my thoughts.
1. Honda has designers, engineers, testers, and people who know way more about this type of thing than most any of us. If these holes were a terrible thing they would be fixed and maybe just maybe they are there for a reason like oh say cooling.
2. The snow and ice WILL not affect anything. I have had mine in some deep snow and in some ice and I know people like colin who live in the COLD areas have as well with no problem. So what if a little snow gets in the engine if youve driven further than a foot there is enough heat to melt it.
3. Why does it matter if the engine is dirty? Sure I keep mine clean and comments on it everytime someone jumps under the hood but its not hard to clean it when cleaning the rest of the car.
 

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These holes are large because the steering linkage passes through them. Those steering arms have to be free to move. I compared the Element to my RAV4. On the RAV the steering arms attach to the wheels just above center, so their passage is not visible behind the wheel. On the Element these arms attach to the wheel structure above the wheel, so are much more visible.

As with the front grill, the openings aren't significantly different in size from other cars, they are just more visible to worried new owners.

paulj
 

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I can hardly believe that Brian has credited me with some sense, but thanks, just the same. Speaking from experience, it's far more important that the functional aspects of your engine are OK, as oppposed to the aesthetic considerations. Case in point: I ownded a 1978 Ford Fiesta with tightly closed wheel wells, but the air cleaner used to pack up with falling snow. Not Good! Clean engine, but car no go. Element may have dirty (outside of) engine, but car go. Which is more important? Looks good? Or gets you there? DUH!
 
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