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Hi folks, first post here so be nice. I have been reading all the posts on the side steps and have not actually found a specific answer, thus, a new thread.

Does anyone know precisely how much clearance is lost on an EX if you add the side steps? I am considering buying them, but not if they eliminated 2 inches of the already fairly low clearance. We just got a new 10 EX 4wd and we felt the clearance on the Element was already a little low for this kind of vehicle.

I have decided to consider the side steps so that there will be something more substantial to stand on when reaching up to get on to the roof rack and cargo box. This weekend I accidentally stood on the dark gray plastic decorative moulding at the bottom of the front left driver's door. When I weighted it, it popped off with a great deal of racket. It looked like the little square holes where this piece gets fitted to were slightly bent from this little accident.

I don't want this to happen again, although I am certain that at some point in the life of this car, that someone else will make the mistake of placing their weight on this decorative-only part that protrudes in a way that seems to invite this happening. Has anyone else had this problem? What was your solution? Thank you.
 

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Howdy, On board. The side steps won't be the lowest point. The fuel tank guard, muffler, front and rear crossmembers all compete for that honor, but the winner is probably the lower control arms close to the front wheels. There could be a circumstance where a side step hits an obstacle first (I dinged one of mine against a rock), but you shouldn't let that stop you from getting them.
 

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I've got the aftermarket side steps on mine and it does not help all that much for getting things on and off of the roof. I still just open both doors and stand inside behind the front seats.
 

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I have the side-steps and have taken my E off road, the fuel tank bar hit the ground before the side-steps.

I am short, and LOVE the side steps for getting into the E. My kiddos E's don't have them, so I know what it's like without them. I also stand in the E to strap stuff to the roof, but I use the side-steps to get up there.

You can see the fuel bar under the E without the steps, but the steps disguise it and give the bottom a cleaner line.

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At home I use a step stool to get at the roof rack and contents. For some purposes I stand on top of the rear tire.

But I've also made a compact 'step' that fits into one of those slots under the door sill. Tabs on the lower part of the doors fit in those slots, strengthening the doors in case of a side impact (so there is solid metal under the plastic). The 'step' does not raise me up above the sill, but lets me stand without hanging on for dear life.

There's a picture of it on my pbase gallery (see the sig). Basically it is two pieces of wood, joined with a hinge. One end is trimmed to fit in the slot. The other rests on the ground. I used oak for strength.

I don't use it all the time, but occasionally it is handy.

 
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