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Vehicle: 2007 EX 4WD, 152K mi. I've got the ursa minor ecamper shell. Wearing Michelin cross climate SUV shoes (GREAT for PNW winters).
So the last 4 or so tanks of gas I've had abysmal fuel economy. Went from a fairly consistent average of 19.9 +/- 1 MPG to 16.3ish. No lights, car seems to drive fine but might be a little low on power. Honestly cant really tell. Trying to figure out what's going on. To give a fairly complete history, my car was in a fender bender in June (while parked, a lady hit my front passenger fender/wheel bad enough to jam my passenger door shut), and I had one tank before it got fixed returning just under 19 mpg (there was some spirited sandy beach driving involved, no surprise there). It took pretty much the whole month of august for the shop to fix it, and on the first tank when I got it back my MPG was in the low 16s. I chocked it up to helping move furniture around a hilly neighborhood for my friends for pretty much the entire tank and didn't think too much of it. The next tank, which was mostly highway miles, was around 18 mpg. Lower than usual, but not alarming. The last few tanks, which have been mixed driving, have been consistently low 16s. Trying to figure out what's causing this, because I've been super light on the throttle yet still returning the worst mpg this car has ever seen. I think the trans has been shifting a little higher than normal but not sure? Doesn't really feel like it's slipping. Could post a video if that could help people see what im saying.

What i've done so far:
-Check air filter. Looks fine, not particularly dirty.
-Drain and fill x3 + filter change on the transmission bc it's been 25k miles and the fluid was starting to get a little smelly. No metal in fluid, drain plug just had some friction material on it which is supposedly normal. Used to have torque converter shudder problem but drain and fill x3 a while back fixed it.
-Reinflate tires about 2 tanks ago, didnt see much improvement if any
-Check for brake drag. Rear spins easier than fronts, but pretty sure that's normal. Pretty much ruled out.
-Change spark plugs. 50k on them, replaced NGK laser iridiums with the same. Just did this so kind of early to determine any significant improvement. Plugs looked like this:
View attachment 212238
Believe last valve adjustment was at 101k. Kind of at a loss. Talked to a reputable mechanic over the phone and he said he wont see it without any lights on the dashboard because he doesn't want me to endlessly throw money at it. Maybe an O2 sensor going bad? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Also, let me know if there's any other information I can provide. I have a fairly complete history of this car's maintenance.
Hey Trevor, those plugs you took out don’t look too bad; which is a good sign. I recently replaced mine with the same NGK’s and noticed a big difference. Maybe because previous owner had Autolite Platinums??
The other thing I did was to remove the throttle body and give it a real good cleaning along with shoving a lint free rag soaked with throttle body cleaner down inside where the TB bolts up and also gave that a good scrub. You’ll definitely notice a difference. I hope this works for you. Good Luck
 

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Mr. Willis,
first- I am going to agree with the member that suggested the can of SEAFOAM...
second- I am going to suggest changing your source of fuel.. I realize that the best fuel mileage you can get out of ANY Honda 4wd Element is 22mpg.
Yet the likes of Costco's, Sams Club, Walmart, Ingles, etc. buy the cheapest fuel , from the cheapest suppliers. May specify 87 octane, yet don't think it meet those numbers.
Attempt to use 91 octane if nothing other than every fourth tank full..

just suggestion.. I drive a 2005 EX 4wd..
I have a Honda 2007LX and I routinely get 25 on the highway with the cheaper gas. 20 in the city. But I'm going to take your suggestion and use the better gas every 4 tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I have a Honda 2007LX and I routinely get 25 on the highway with the cheaper gas. 20 in the city. But I'm going to take your suggestion and use the better gas every 4 tank.
If you read some of the other posts you’ll see that’s a waste of money. Higher octane fuel doesn’t do anything for our 165 horsepower 4 bangers, nor is it “better gas”. Octane rating simply relates to how resistant the fuel is to knock. The detergent levels in the gasoline (which help keep your fuel system clean) are the same regardless of octane, so keep using 87. Those are great mpg numbers by the way, best I’ve EVER gotten out of mine was 25 going downhill with the wind at my back. Is yours FWD?
 

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If you read some of the other posts you’ll see that’s a waste of money. Higher octane fuel doesn’t do anything for our 165 horsepower 4 bangers, nor is it “better gas”. Octane rating simply relates to how resistant the fuel is to knock. The detergent levels in the gasoline (which help keep your fuel system clean) are the same regardless of octane, so keep using 87. Those are great mpg numbers by the way, best I’ve EVER gotten out of mine was 25 going downhill with the wind at my back. Is yours FWD?
No its 4wd and I often go 80 on highway. I'm in pretty flat terrain usually though.
 

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If you read some of the other posts you’ll see that’s a waste of money. Higher octane fuel doesn’t do anything for our 165 horsepower 4 bangers, nor is it “better gas”. Octane rating simply relates to how resistant the fuel is to knock. The detergent levels in the gasoline (which help keep your fuel system clean) are the same regardless of octane, so keep using 87. Those are great mpg numbers by the way, best I’ve EVER gotten out of mine was 25 going downhill with the wind at my back. Is yours FWD?
I mean this respectfully, my mileage improved when I started using 91. I got 320 miles on a full tank, chic is >26.
 

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If you read some of the other posts you’ll see that’s a waste of money. Higher octane fuel doesn’t do anything for our 165 horsepower 4 bangers, nor is it “better gas”. Octane rating simply relates to how resistant the fuel is to knock. The detergent levels in the gasoline (which help keep your fuel system clean) are the same regardless of octane, so keep using 87. Those are great mpg numbers by the way, best I’ve EVER gotten out of mine was 25 going downhill with the wind at my back. Is yours FWD?
Fuel mix switches over in the winter so there is at times where I notice a difference as well when it switches (always worse on the winter blends).... and you are right, octane rating has zero relation to energy and is meaningless for anything but engine knock which is not a problem on any engine out of a track scenario... but where you are not exactly right is costco gas. All the detergents in the world can't compensate for what ethanol does, and no engine does BETTER with ethanol than without. I would expect at least a 1-3% worse mpg running even 10% ethanol unleaded. Don't worry about octane, but do run several tanks of regular no ethanol gas through it, as far as I know costco only carries ethanol blends in all their mixes.

They never guarantee a minimum ethanol, only max, so summer could have only had 1-2% ethanol and now they are using the full 10% ethanol, this is more common than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Fuel mix switches over in the winter so there is at times where I notice a difference as well when it switches (always worse on the winter blends).... and you are right, octane rating has zero relation to energy and is meaningless for anything but engine knock which is not a problem on any engine out of a track scenario... but where you are not exactly right is costco gas. All the detergents in the world can't compensate for what ethanol does, and no engine does BETTER with ethanol than without. I would expect at least a 1-3% worse mpg running even 10% ethanol unleaded. Don't worry about octane, but do run several tanks of regular no ethanol gas through it, as far as I know costco only carries ethanol blends in all their mixes.

They never guarantee a minimum ethanol, only max, so summer could have only had 1-2% ethanol and now they are using the full 10% ethanol, this is more common than you think.
Unfortunately there's very few non-ethanol stations in seattle, where I'm currently living. My concern is I've NEVER seen this low MPG on ANY tanks before this from ANY gas station, and this has been the last 4 or five tanks. Most of my driving during the year happens during ski season and I pretty consistently get high in the 19's then. I check my mpg every single time I fill up. The other thing to note is that this problem started before sept 15th, which I believe is around when the winter mixes can start to be sold. Any way you look at it, MPG in the low 16's is too far outside of the noise to be caused by a different ethanol blend. There's something else at play here and the mystery of it is driving me nuts.
 

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As stated by tedsti,
"Everyone gets their fuel from the same refinery, the only difference is the additive package"

I was told the exact same thing by a very high ranking person with Exxon Mobil Corp.

I also endorse Chevron Techron for cleaning your fuel system.
I usually run a can through a tank of gas before each oil change.

I know that you already said that you checked your brakes.
The next time you drive your E, feel the wheel with your hand, and make sure that it isn't hotter than the other front wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Alright, some updates:
1. Just replaced PCV valve. Was super easy, and funny enough found a loose bolt on the intake manifold just hanging out. It was the center of the 3, so I think the manifold gasket still probably had a good enough seal that there weren't any vacuum leaks. There was a little bit of sludge on the valve, but it seemed like it was still in good working order. Replaced anyway, since I had the part out.
2. Tank of highway miles returned 18.8 mpg with a tailwind. Would've normally expected above 20 with those driving conditions.
3. Feeling like my trans is shifting a little hard and late 1-2 and 2-3. Might check out A,B,C clutch solenoids and replace/clean if necessary.
4. I got some data from OBD II. Two things my amateur eyes were able to find from the data:
-Consistently lean reading data to the tune of a max of 9% on short term and around 5-6% long term. Makes me a little suspicious of O2 sensor starting to go out since it's never been replaced and Im at 152,XXX.
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-Accelerator pedal position sensor readings seem high at 0% pedal depressed and low at 100% depressed (maxed out at 90.2). Anyone have experience with these? Are the readings normal? If not can they be recalibrated or should I buy new sensors? 1st photo is pedal fully depressed, 2nd is foot of the gas.
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Also some info to add regarding the insurance job. The car's battery was disconnected long enough that I had to re-enter the stereo code. I think that means the ECU probably got reset too? Maybe it needs to be reset again? Also here's pics of PCV:
Hand Gesture Finger Nail Thumb

 

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Is the LTFT and STFT over +10%? If so a common cause of what you are experiencing is a bad front trans mount, which results in a bad exhaust manifold to catalytic converter doughnut leak (false leans the O2 sensor, and ECU compensates with more fuel trying to fix the "lean condition". Will cost 4-5mpg easy.
 

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If you read some of the other posts you’ll see that’s a waste of money. Higher octane fuel doesn’t do anything for our 165 horsepower 4 bangers, nor is it “better gas”. Octane rating simply relates to how resistant the fuel is to knock. The detergent levels in the gasoline (which help keep your fuel system clean) are the same regardless of octane, so keep using 87. Those are great mpg numbers by the way, best I’ve EVER gotten out of mine was 25 going downhill with the wind at my back. Is yours FWD?
My suggestion.... LOSE SOME WEIGHT...
 

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My suggestion.... LOSE SOME WEIGHT...
I am wondering if anyone has done a practical weight reduction of their element and not a rat rod chop top but something that is still usable and practical for everyday transportation

I can think of a few things that could be done to lower the weight, not sure if I or everyone else would be willing to do these things

-take out the back seats
-take out the rubber floor mats, the floor is already plastic so it could be done in the element
-remove the rear door speakers, you could get away with just front speakers especially if you have removed the rear seats already and are not taking any passengers
-remove rear seatbelts if that is even legal
-remove mud flaps
-remove step bars
-remove tow hitch
-remove fog lights
-remove roof rack
-remove rear spoiler
-lighter alloy rims
-two piece brake rotors
-lighter aftermarket front seats
-lighter battery
-are there any aftermarket plastic bumper reinforcement bars?
-custom lightweight exhaust system but would be expensive
-remove sunvisors and install sunstrip window tint
 
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