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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may just not be very good at searching out the answers on this forum, and if so, then please point me in the right direction. I have a few questions. First, I have to drive down rough dirt roads daily for my job, and am wanting to increase my offroad performance. By this I mean making the bumps less punishing. I am going to get some larger than stock tires (I think I have decided on 225/75/16 General Grabber A/TX). Can I get a real suspension lift kit, or do I have to just get spacers? And if that is the case, what can I do to help improve offroad performance?

And also, what will I have to upgrade in order to lower the risk of premature part failure?

I have seen a lot of posts dancing around this stuff, but I have not seen anything that just say "do this, this is the best you're gonna get". I do not have a budget yet, but preferably under a grand (not including tires).
 

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First, what trouble are you having with dirt roads that a lift will solve? I’ve only had to turn around once at stock height. And that was for a flooded wash that had 3-5” of water in it and a sandy bottom. I may I’ve been fine, but I didn’t want to risk it. These things are pretty capable at stock height.

The most “proper” you’ll get is with a subframe spacer kit that matches your lift pucks. (Doesn’t exist. HRG sells a 1” frame spacer) This keeps the suspension angles as is (and only gives you tire clearance for the lift that has been offset by subframe spacers. )

In the rear, the frame spacerchanges your lift ratio, so you’ll want to go with someone who understands that (Honda Rescue Garage comes to mind.)


225/75x16tires will give you an inch.

if you don’t space the whole subframe up equal to your lift spacers (which is DIY only at this point) you should add 1-2 fender washers between your axle and your hub. This lengthens the axle by 1/8-1/4” and reduces acceleration shimmy, which has been observed to be milder on OEM axles (which are expensive)

NEVER SWAP AN OEM AXLE OUT TO REPAIR A CV BOOT. You are throwing away a $1000 rebuildable part in exchange for a $130 one not worth rebuilding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much mr_manny! I will check these out!

First, what trouble are you having with dirt roads that a lift will solve? I’ve only had to turn around once at stock height. And that was for a flooded wash that had 3-5” of water in it and a sandy bottom. I may I’ve been fine, but I didn’t want to risk it. These things are pretty capable at stock height.

The most “proper” you’ll get is with a subframe spacer kit that matches your lift pucks. (Doesn’t exist. HRG sells a 1” frame spacer) This keeps the suspension angles as is (and only gives you tire clearance for the lift that has been offset by subframe spacers. )

In the rear, the frame spacerchanges your lift ratio, so you’ll want to go with someone who understands that (Honda Rescue Garage comes to mind.)


225/75x16tires will give you an inch.

if you don’t space the whole subframe up equal to your lift spacers (which is DIY only at this point) you should add 1-2 fender washers between your axle and your hub. This lengthens the axle by 1/8-1/4” and reduces acceleration shimmy, which has been observed to be milder on OEM axles (which are expensive)

NEVER SWAP AN OEM AXLE OUT TO REPAIR A CV BOOT. You are throwing away a $1000 rebuildable part in exchange for a $130 one not worth rebuilding.
And I do not do recreational off roading usually, but I deliver mail on a rural route and have about 40 miles of dirt roads. For the most part, everything is fine, but there are some spots where I have bottomed out before. For the most part, I was hoping that lifting would open up the possibilities of using better suspension for medium-speed dirt road travel. If I can upgrade my suspension and gain the inch from the tires, that may be all that I need. And I will admit, part of it is just because I am from Arkansas and think everything looks better with a little lift. But I would probably just stick to an inch lift along with the bigger tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also Cursh, part of the rough ride could be accounted for by the fact that my E has 200k miles on it. How can I tell if something is just worn out, or if I just do not think it is performing as well as it should?
 

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Hello!

BC Racing extended length coil-overs, decent tires and done.
The Element's chassis seems to tolerate about 50mm of lift "OK."
An OEM would never release a car with a tie rod angle like a mildly lifted Element, but the rod ends are surviving (12K miles on Honda replacements so far.)
The local alignment shop had no trouble achieving the factory alignment specs and steering isn't too goofy off center.
Two Elements in our family on BC's:
7kg F / 14 kg R springs results in a very compliant (OEM like) ride (dampers set 3 clicks from soft.)
8kg F/ 16kg R springs are noticeably stiffer and a good choice if you carry a lot of cargo.

Good luck! My Element (2003/4-ishWD/Manual) for reference:
205806
 

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I agree on all counts. I sold the lift to my partner on the basis of crossing washes, but really I love the look. We softened our springs in the rear a bit and it mellowed out the ride a lot. (Was a $300 custom order and took maybe to get them in)

The big things that have gone to poop in our elements were motor mounts and struts, so either of those could give you some funky clunkiness.

we’ve found some HD bilsteins that bolt up, but they are about $750 for all 4 corners and almost always back ordered. I’ve got a set on the rear and like them. The springs probably palm ale a bigger impact than the shocks, but I haven’t been able to feel one or the other indipendently.
 

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Hello!

BC Racing extended length coil-overs, decent tires and done.
The Element's chassis seems to tolerate about 50mm of lift "OK."
An OEM would never release a car with a tie rod angle like a mildly lifted Element, but the rod ends are surviving (12K miles on Honda replacements so far.)
The local alignment shop had no trouble achieving the factory alignment specs and steering isn't too goofy off center.
Two Elements in our family on BC's:
7kg F / 14 kg R springs results in a very compliant (OEM like) ride (dampers set 3 clicks from soft.)
8kg F/ 16kg R springs are noticeably stiffer and a good choice if you carry a lot of cargo.

Good luck! My Element (2003/4-ishWD/Manual) for reference:
View attachment 205806
Unfortunately BC doesn't offer the "longer" option anymore. Just tried to order and they said there were too many "a-holes" from the Honda Element community that "ruined it for everyone". What the heck?! Anyone know of alternate approaches to achieve lift without spacers?
 

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I’m guessing it was the Facebook group and I’m hoping it wasn’t me 😇
 

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So, to answer your actual question, I’ve got spring lift in the back. I had to custom order them and paired a set of tundra front shocks with them so that they would fit the shock travel.
I had to modify the spring perch and the c clip groove. I wouldn’t attempt it without a lathe.

on the front, we have a lot more travel than any other mcphearson style spring/strut combo. This makes it hard to add spring lift because longer struts aren’t available.

bilstein makes a set of 4600 for the CRV that fit the front if you hog out some of the tie rod mount. My buddy at bilstein says you can almost always add an inch but shouldn’t expect good results with more.

That would put you at +1 spring lift in the front. The rest will have to be pucks (but again, so much travel, who needs it unless you’re sticking to a “spring only” lift value, which I have to say “mad respect” because it’s only impossible until someone does it.
 

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Personally confirmed what's been stated here regarding coil over availability from BC.

This is unfortunate because it's really the only suspension upgrade available for these cars.

I suppose a determined person could assemble a set for themselves using longer dampers from BC's replacement catalog with the existing drop coil-overs.

If the damper PN's are still visible on my set, I'll share as an "DIY."

Bilstein's would be a great option too (long time BMW enthusiast), but the adjustability, spring rate choice, serviceability and ride quality of the BC's is very compelling.

To any Element owners keen on a meaningful suspension upgrade, I sympathize.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So after doing a bunch of soul searching and such, I've decided to leave it the stock height (plus an inch from bigger tires) and just put on improved suspension. What are my best options for bolt-on suspension? I do not have the means to do a lot of fabrication, so being able to just replace is my best bet. What setup would give me improved handling on dirt roads without turning my element into a boat? If that is possible. Sorry for the weirdly specific questions.
 

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A comprehensive suspension refresh (tie rods/ball joints/control arm bushings/strut mounts), is going to feel miles better than blown out stuff. Because the chassis parts are a pain to replace, and safety critical, I suggest spending a few extra $ here.

Refreshed suspension, decent tires and you’ll be dialed. Don’t overthink it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A comprehensive suspension refresh (tie rods/ball joints/control arm bushings/strut mounts), is going to feel miles better than blown out stuff. Because the chassis parts are a pain to replace, and safety critical, I suggest spending a few extra $ here.

Refreshed suspension, decent tires and you’ll be dialed. Don’t overthink it.
Thanks, sounds like a plan!
 
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