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Discussion Starter #1
Naysayer pre-emption: I know the Element is not an extremely capable 4wd offroad vehicle and I'm not attempting to make it so.

That said, I'm prepping my 2005 EX for a trip to South America (and perhaps beyond), and want to give it a fighting chance.

I've got an Ecamper already added, and will be carrying a decent amount of gear (water, jerry cans, stove, camera gear, clothing, roof box w/parts & tools, etc), plus a full size spare. So weight is going to be added... beyond the recommended stock max. I'm definitely going to increase the spring capacity, and I figured as long as the springs were off being replaced it'd be a good time to do the struts and bushing (I'm at 86k miles, I don't think they're failing, but ride definitely feels looser than it used to and I want "like new" reliability before I set out).

I know I can just go w/stock KYB Excels, but I was wondering if it'd be possible to put something like the adjustable Rancho 9000XL on there. When I look at online parts stores that ask for year/make of vehicle, they usually say "Not compatible", but I'm certain it's because it doesn't match the OEM recommendation, not because it's not possible. For example, many many people on EOC use non-standard tire sizes without problem (235/70R16 for example), but if you look on TireRack they'll tell you that's a no go for the Element.

My basic question: are the Rancho 9000XL's really incompatible w/Element? Or is that hogwash? In any case is that overkill?

Whatever struts I go with, keep in mind they'll be paired up with increased capacity springs, and all new feet (tires: 235/70R16 Cooper A/T3, completely rebuilt brakes, they're due for it anyway). Again, not building a rock crawler or anything, just want reliability and carrying capacity on some dirty roads in the Andes.

Thanks for your input!
 

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Naysayer pre-emption: I know the Element is not an extremely capable 4wd offroad vehicle and I'm not attempting to make it so.

That said, I'm prepping my 2005 EX for a trip to South America (and perhaps beyond), and want to give it a fighting chance.

I've got an Ecamper already added, and will be carrying a decent amount of gear (water, jerry cans, stove, camera gear, clothing, roof box w/parts & tools, etc), plus a full size spare. So weight is going to be added... beyond the recommended stock max. I'm definitely going to increase the spring capacity, and I figured as long as the springs were off being replaced it'd be a good time to do the struts and bushing (I'm at 86k miles, I don't think they're failing, but ride definitely feels looser than it used to and I want "like new" reliability before I set out).

I know I can just go w/stock KYB Excels, but I was wondering if it'd be possible to put something like the adjustable Rancho 9000XL on there. When I look at online parts stores that ask for year/make of vehicle, they usually say "Not compatible", but I'm certain it's because it doesn't match the OEM recommendation, not because it's not possible. For example, many many people on EOC use non-standard tire sizes without problem (235/70R16 for example), but if you look on TireRack they'll tell you that's a no go for the Element.

My basic question: are the Rancho 9000XL's really incompatible w/Element? Or is that hogwash? In any case is that overkill?

Whatever struts I go with, keep in mind they'll be paired up with increased capacity springs, and all new feet (tires: 235/70R16 Cooper A/T3, completely rebuilt brakes, they're due for it anyway). Again, not building a rock crawler or anything, just want reliability and carrying capacity on some dirty roads in the Andes.

Thanks for your input!
The Element needs a strut (coil over shock).

The Rancho 9000XL is just a shock with now allowance for a spring to be mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The Element needs a strut (coil over shock).

The Rancho 9000XL is just a shock with now allowance for a spring to be mounted.
ahh, got it, thanks!

so it would require a) probably different mounting hardware and b) ensuring it was strong enough to support what the strut & springs did previously? scratch that, just read up on difference between shock & strut and I'm guessing it'd really be impossible w/out major modification since the strut is more integral to the entire steering/suspension system

in that case, I'll just go w/strut replacement and increase the spring strength... anybody recommend anything besides the KYB?

thanks again!
 

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Autark, there's an old thread/blog of a guy and his girlfriend going from Canada (i think?) to the tip of S. America in his E. Some really horrendous scammer govt. officials and police during that trip. He does offer tips on a ton of transportation requirements for each country (example: need emergency road triangle in Columbia or they'll pull you over, check, and try to extort money).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Autark, there's an old thread/blog of a guy and his girlfriend going from Canada (i think?) to the tip of S. America in his E. Some really horrendous scammer govt. officials and police during that trip. He does offer tips on a ton of transportation requirements for each country (example: need emergency road triangle in Columbia or they'll pull you over, check, and try to extort money).
I've got a year to prep and research, pretty familiar with different countries requiring different safety equipment, and also the scams... I've got several friends who have travelled this route and will travel similar time... plus I've driven through several former Soviet republics and dealt with those type of situations before.

Thanks for the tip though!
 

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southern trip

Hello,

Search some of my other posts for suspension / tire /lift kit info.

I did the SA trip.
Recommend crossing the border at Christmas. The scammer police/ border guards and even the banditos are all at home. We had no issues. At the border into Belize the guard was asleep with his feet up & a sign saying 'go' lol. You DO need official vehicle papers that state you are travelling Through and Not selling/leaving the car in any country you go through. (Cash grab permit).
Leave from Corpus Christi Texas, at like 5am, drive half way through Mexico on the major highway (nice highways: newer pavement), stop at a small hotel at the halfway point before dark (some advertise 'armed guards') leave at 5am again & head straight for border on the main hwy.
Carry a bunch of little souveneers with canada/usa logos on them & soda popops. If you get stopped its amazing how far those will get you. Also carry small bills in different pockets. If they ask for cash 'you are using credit cards and don't have much' give them 10 bucks.
Good Luck!
 
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