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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy, Yall.

I'm happy to finally be apart of the Element club. I've wanted to join the ownership club for quite some time now, and the opportunity arose and I took it. I snagged a 2008 Honda Element LX today for $5000 CAD (with $1000 worth of accessories) and I can't be more excited to have it. Before hand I owned an 06 CRV and loved it, so I can't wait to see what this beauty will have in store for me.

Personal History
My name is Jeff. I am a recent graduate from the University of Regina in Industrial Systems Engineering. I've only recently discovered a love for vehicle maintenance and tinkering. I've wanted an element for about ~5 years now, so when I saw the opportunity to buy one, I jumped on it. I am looking forward to camping in Big Blue.

Vehicle History
This element has had 4 previous owners, the most recent being a local camper/rock climber who had a lot of the same outlooks on the vehicle that I did. Upon looking her over, she has virtually ZERO RUST and no major issues. some things I have noticed that I'd like to see fixed include:
  • Heater actuator
  • Plastic/rubber rear passenger door handle
Otherwise I have zero complaints with the unit. I love it.

I look forward to posting on the form again and will try to keep daily updates on upgrades and to track maintenance. Feel free to drop a follwo, or any questions you might have!
 

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Welcome Jeff!
I think you got a good deal on your Element.
I would be interested how it compares to your CRV.

Keep us posted on your adventures.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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1,687 Posts
Sounds like you got a great deal Big_Blue! :)

Show us some more pictures of your new ride when you get a chance.
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
August 4th, 2021: Getting Familiar With the Beast
OD: 242000


Hey, Gang!

Thanks for the warm welcome, I look forward to my time here and with my Element :) Since the last few days have been a little hectic with getting the vehicle registered and everything, I haven't really been able to give Big Blue the proper rundown that she deserves. Today I was able to bust out the shop vac and some simple green to start on a bit of a clean. Already I'm in love with the weatherproofed flooring, especially since this thing has seen quite a bit of dirt over it's life lol. I was able to vacuum out quite a bit of dirt and debris, but there is still a lot to be done overall. I can't wait to pop off the panels and give it a real deep clean once I have the time.

One thing I was unaware of was that there isn't any type of fuel door release lever. I felt stupid after looking for it for so long and then realizing it's just pulled open, definitely something I've never had on a previous vehicle before. The other thing that I wasn't prepared for was the fact that it's manual transmission. After looking up a few videos I was feeling confident, but my dad insisted on coming along for a ride to help out. Good thing he did lol. I was prepared for it to be a lot of information and processing to take in at once, but damn. I'm definitely gonna have to get in a bit of practice before I can hit the streets (and go camping in two weeks).

I'll get some more picture of it soon, as I'd like to document the problem points/repairs I do along the way so I can keep an accurate log of all of the work I've done in the unlikely chance that I ever sell the unit. Within the next week, I'd like to have it completely prepped for my Waterton camping trip in mid august (which is FAST APPROACHING). Here are the photos I got from the seller in the ad for those interested! It also occurs to me that I haven't really elaborated on who I am or why I bought the vehicle, etc, so I'll be updating my bio shortly to cover a bit of that if you're truly invested in the "Big_Blue Lore" lol

anyways, thanks for reading :)

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Glad to have you and Big Blue on the forum, here's to many great adventures in the future
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
August 6th, 2021: Cleaned and Ready for Action
OD: 242000


Howdy, Y'all

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have the day off, so I took the opportunity to give da box hearty scrub, vacuum, dusting, the works. It had been sitting under some elm trees for a little while before buying, so it was pretty sticky. Afterwards I hit the interior and vacuumed up all the big stuff. The previous owners had a dog or two (huskies?) so the unit was pretty hairy. I started to remove the panels covering the driver seat/console/passenger seat, and found the biggest collection of dog hair I've ever seen. After that, I gave the interior a good scrub with soap and warm water, did another quick vacuum to get some of the residual dirt, and then wiped down the interior with some simple green degreaser.

Between cleaning it up, removing the camper/spare tires/finding places for them temporarily, installing my aftermarket stereo, removing/cleaning/installing the tailgate covers, it took about 7 hours total until everything as cleaned up and put away.

During my clean I noticed a few things that I wouldn't mind improving on the box going forward with my ownership:
  • Polish the headlights
  • Clean the seats/fabric
  • Finish detailing the engine bay
  • Find a place I can mount my phone while driving for GPS
  • Remove more panels, find more dog hair, vacuum
  • Restore the plastic fenders/bumper
  • Restore the paint (I have a bit of sun damage on the passenger side as you can see in the photo below)
  • Install roof rack (I have the rails, but I'm not sure about the bolt size that attaches to the frame)
  • Restore the summer rims/hubcaps (or find alloys!)
  • Install the light bar/bull bar (still a bit iffy on this one)
  • Restore the dash/gauge plastic/flooring
While I appreciate the current camper setup, I'm not all familiar with its capabilities of storage. Sometime today I'll be doing up a camping list so I can better gauge if the current storage will work comfortably for me. If not, I may have to strap on the roof basket again, which wouldn't be the worst thing ever :) I'll also be looking into some interior battery operated lights and maybe a fan or something to try and keep things cool.

I have also found that I have been referring to my Element as simply "Da Box/Da Blue Thing"

(Quick pre-interior cleaning photo op with Maggie, who is a good girl)
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Cheers!
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
August 8th, 2021: Takin It To The Streets
OD: 242000


Howdy, Y'all

After a few days of getting the hang of the standard driving, I'm comfortable with hitting the city streets. I'm still a little slow to get started, but I'm getting more experience. I've been avoiding uphill stops like the plague; I'm definitely gonna need a little more work on those.

I was finally able to give my girlfriend the grand tour of the camping setup, and she seems excited for it. I'm a little unsure about the storage space capability, but since I got a decent camping list together, I'll be bringing out the things I need to really put it to the test. I was able to get on the roof rack yesterday, so I plan to attach the roof mounted bike racks, cargo basket, and lights a little later today if I get the chance. I've been looking into a lot of different conversions that have been done before, and am thinking of some possible improvements to the design to make things a little easier to setup/takedown while also providing more space.

Cheers!
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
August 25th, 2021: Back From the Road Trip!
OD: 244500

Howdy, Y'all

Sorry for the delay in posting here, I've been quite busy over the last few weeks with ironing out details for my trip and haven't had a whole lot to report otherwise.

Between the last post and the camping trip, I did a bit of work on my roof basket and lights and got them re-attached alongside the bike racks as seen below.

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...and here she is all loaded up for the trip!

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Here are a few shots I snagged:
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VEHICLE TRIP OVERVIEW/SUMMARY

The Good
  • I got the stone deflector installed, love the way it looks. If it prevents even one stone from cracking the windshield, it will be worth it (although the AVS decal on it fell off almost instantly).
  • The camping setup worked fairly good, I've never had a better sleep while camping.
  • This thing acted like a jungle gym on wheels. It was extremely easy to climb up to the roof to grab anything I needed
  • I got some new stickers for the side window
  • I'm feeling confident with my ability to drive standard now.
The Bad
  • Shortly before I arrived in Waterton, I got a check engine light. I checked it and got the code "P0302: Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected" I've looked into this a bit, and plan on taking it in to the mechanic right away. I'm not sure when the last time/if its ever had a valve adjustment, so it might not be a bad call.
  • 5th gear may be shot. I'm not sure of why, but it was having extreme difficulty making it up to 100 km/hr in 5th.
  • The heat shield on the cat seems to have split at one or two of the connection points, now it rattles at an idle/acceleration and sounds like absolute garbage
  • She's burning a bit of oil (as the previous owner had mentioned). Had to top up a litre on the way back.
  • The roof rack is too close to the roof. Since the mounts were fabricated by the previous owner, there isn't much clearance between the cross bars and the roof. This has led to clearance issues with the bike rack, which caused the bike to COME LOOSE AND FALL OFF* MULTIPLE TIMES WHILE DRIVING (*The Yakima mounts stayed attached, but due to them being mounted only partially due to the clearance, the arm that grabs the frame of the bikes comes loose, causing them to fall to the side of the vehicle, leaving them to dangle horisontally while only being supported by the two straps that tighten on to the tires.)
  • The bed was kind of a nightmare to setup/take down every single time we needed to drive/sleep. I hope to look into either fabricating a roof top tent, or switching up the bed a little bit for the summer to come.
  • I scratched my roof paint a bit while loading some equipment
  • The stock speakers are underwhelming. I'm not sure I want to go through the effort of installing the aftermarket sub I have, as I'm not sure where I'll store the amp or the sub. I'm currently looking into some aftermarket speakers to install over the current ones.
I'm currently looking into some replacement parts that a part out is offering for me, so hopefully I can clear up some of the minor issues that I'm having without being too cost heavy.

Cheers!
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
August 26th, 2021: Good Gracious Ass is Bodacious
OD: 244500


Hey, Y'all

Call me Nelly, cuz it's gettin hot in here. Basically, I got my heat working again. After a bit of fighting with the cause of the issue, I narrowed it down to the blend door assembly. Although the actuator motor had power, it couldn't produce enough torque to full the cable to open the heater valve. I did a quick cleaning on the system since there is still so much dirt and hair everywhere from the previous owners dogs. That only helped a little, so I loosened the two screws on the geared surfaces. boom, instant results. I plan on making a post on my process in the next few days to further demonstrate how I went about solving the issue, because apparently this is a fairly common fault in Hondas, and specifically in Elements.

One problem down, 100+ to go. Next on the chopping block, I'm gonna need a valve adjustment ASAP. I'm short for cash at the moment, and I don't have a lot of other options to repair it besides bringing it in, unfortunately (not that I would try to do it myself without any proper tools anyway). I'm hoping this will help resolve the misfiring in the second cylinder, but we'll see. Tomorrow I plan on ripping out as much of the interior as I can and giving it a thorough cleaning. On top of all the dirt from camping, I've found much much more dog hair nests than I previously conceived there could have been. Along with that, under the dash smells like a pack of wet freakin' barn dogs right under your nose. I have little idea how to go about that because the vacuum can't pick up the hair that is in contact with the rougher frame metal under the dash (I may need to take a lighter and burn off all of the surface hair lol). This will hopefully be my last step to getting the car back to normal after the camping trip.

Cheers
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
September 14th, 2021: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OD: 245000

Hey, Y'all.

Sorry for the delayed updates, I've had my hands full since getting back from the trip with various things and I've had to put working on my car on the back burner, especially since I still don't have any sort of driveway to drive on yet. Speaking of burner, I just got a call from the mechanic, I've got no compression in my second cylinder. I was kind of anticipating something dramatic to be the case, and I'm glad it's confirmed, but DAMN. I plan on getting more info out of them right away as I go pick up the unit, but I anticipate that this is something that they will have to do for me. Kinda sucks to have to take it in to get it done, but they do good work and seem like good people.

How To Fix Low Compression In One Cylinder
Before you go tinkering with your car, you need to make sure that low compression is really the problem. Take a compression tester to get a measurement. These tests usually take about 45 minutes.​
If you find that there’s low compression, you need to check all possible areas where the problem came from including the gasket, valves, pistons, and cylinder. Any type of damage in these parts can contribute to your problem.​
The good news is that all you have to do is replace the damaged parts.​
The bad news? You’ll have to take out entire engine.​

(from scanneranswers)

While I really don't want to be messing around with my engine too much, I plan on looking in to doing a diagnosis on these parts so I can price out a decent replacement. Otherwise, I'm gonna hit up buddy that lives in the city who is parting out his element to see if I can snag some of his parts, if he's still got them. If anyone here has completed this on their own, I'd love any input from them.

Cheers!
 

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2004 EX AWD
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Man, that's terrible news. I suppose there is a very slight chance that if one of the valves for that cylinder is too tight, it isn't allowing the valve to fully close. That would lead to no compression. I think I would check that valve clearance before pulling the engine. That would also explain your lack of power not being able to cruise in 5th gear.
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
September 21tst, 2021: Due to financial reasons, I will be passing away.
OD: 245000 (Oil Change Today!)

Hey, gang.

How are you guys doing? Hope things are going good.

...what's that? Have things been going great for me? Have I been having a great time with da box? hmmm no not really, thanks for asking. although I'm pretty bummed about my current situation, I'm not about to give up on da box just yet. After having my father get a bit more involved in the process of things, he's very clearly feeling a lot less skeptical about my methodology, which is half of the battle. Things have come a long way for both of us considering he was panicking a bit when I came home from the camping trip and was swapping the spark plugs/coils to check if they were the cause of my problems, now he's doing the research and having a point of understanding.

unfortunately, that does not solve my issues with da box.

While the mechanic came back with a report saying that the 2nd cylinder has no compression and that it could be A HOLE IN THE PISTON OR A BURNT VALVE, I whole heartedly believe it's a burnt valve. My father is willing to take it into a different auto service to get a second opinion, but I think that would be a waste of time and money at this point.

Now, I've got some questions.

  1. What is this rubber thing on my spark plug? it was on the second cylinder one btw. I'm assuming it's some sort of aftermarket rubber sealer as it does not appear to have come off of any of the ignition coils.
    Automotive lighting Spark plug Auto part Engineering Metal
  2. Do y'all think this is an aftermarket valve cover gasket? The only ones I've seen on an E is black. Not a big deal, just makes me wonder more about the previous owners knowledge of the condition. I'm still assuming that I wasn't sewered by them and that this was a previous owners doing, but damn. If the engine was upkept, this kind of thing should never have been replaced.
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  3. Why the hell is my radiator so loose? is this a common thing? I can jostle the whole unit with a little wiggle! It seems so janky to me, but maybe this is just the way it was designed. it seems the only thing keeping it in place are two rubber stoppers...
  4. One of my sway bar links is detached on the front driver side. I popped it back into place, but it just fell of again. Not really a question, but damn.
  5. Why did someone put some sort of caulking sealant on my valve cover gasket? I cannot understand why one would do that.
Anyway, here's an engine pic for the day. When I got to this point, my father was almost "inclined" to go the extra steps to inspect the gaskets since they are basically right there. I'm not about to do it without some sort of video or further instruction to help with the disassembly process, however I am also inclined to do so once we've got the driveway in operation again (Ideally before winter).
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Aside from a full engine rebuild, I've been looking into getting a "new" JDM K24A/K20 engine. I really haven't come up with a decision yet, but I'm still on the hunt. Oh, and I STILL DON'T HAVE ANY SORT OF ENGINEERING JOB WHICH IS PLAYING A HUGE PART IN THE RECOVERY OF THIS VEHICLE.

Anyway, I'm keeping my head up. Thanks for reading!

Cartoon Font Eyelash Poster Art
 

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2004 EX AWD
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Well, in answer to your question about the rubber thing on the spark plug, you better sit down.

Are you ready? It is simply the rubber plug holder from the spark plug socket! Pull it off the plug and cram it back into the spark plug socket. It is in there so the plug stays in the socket and doesn't drop on the ground.

Ok, I was being a bit dramatic. :)
 

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And since you have it apart, did you check the valve clearances? It should be easy at this point. If they are too tight on #2, the valve won't close and you won't have compression. So adjust it to spec and you should be back in business. If the valve is in spec, then it probably IS something much more serious. But let's keep our fingers crossed!
 

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"Da Box", 2008 Element LX, Atomic Blue Metallic
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hahah yeah figured it wasn't supposed to be in there.. glad I could get some confirmation lol.

In terms of the clearance (If you're referring to a valve adjustment), I just did one recently. If you mean something else, I'll definitely look into it, however doing a second check on the valve adjustment probably couldn't be the worst idea in the world at this point...
 
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