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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am setting out on a pretty long trip (for me) starting next month. My girlfriend and I will be covering 10,000 miles over 2 months hitting every national park forest and monument we can along the way. This is my first long trip, I have done a number of short trips, up to a week camping in my E before. My girlfriend on the other hand is the expert, she has lived on the road on and off for a while and at one point was living out of a Honda Fit for almost full time for 2 years!

Well when we started talking about this trip I bought the car I learned how to drive in off my Dad, my '06 Manual EX Element and went right to seeing what needed to be replaced. I ended up only needing to to replace a good chunk of the suspension and smaller smaller engine parts (Thanks Dad for keeping it in pretty good conditions) for a car with over 180000 not too bad.

Now my girlfriend was happy with just having the Element, the space alone was enough of a up grade for her. I however have been following these forums for long enough to know that this car has so much potential I had to try building a few add ons.

So as my time runs out (I have about a week before we take off) I am not finished yet and will be rushing around to do what I can get done and will be adding to this thread as I continue. But I'm far enough along in most of them to where I wanted to start sharing and hopefully get a few of my last questions answered.

Here is a list of what has been done and what's left to do:

Parts replaced:

front & rear struts + strut mounts
L+R lower control arms
lower ball joints
sway bar links
Starter
Alternator
Water pump
Direct Ignition Coils
Spark Plugs (NGK Iridium)
Brake pads
Rotors

Add ons:

Bed platform
Roof rack
Cabana style tent/screen cover
Window screens

In a perfect world I would add / if I have time:

Solar panel
2nd battery (deep cell marine)
rear hatch interior door release
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Step one: bed platform

So far...

The bed platform seemed to be most important. With the over 9000 posts about bed platforms it was easy to get inspiration. I personally liked the versions that the bed fit the shape of the car with 10-12 inches of storage beneath.
Inspiration:
Soulcalls ( http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=886579 )
http://2008blog.rishio.com/2008/06/in-my-element-photomobile.html#comment-form
All the rest
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62469

Mine had to be able to last the trip, so pretty strong and come out and store easily as I plan on this not being a one time use thing. So heres what I came up with.

So the last images is a giff of the bed opening and closeing just to illustrate how it closes if your curous I have them running plus a giff of the build here: http://cargocollective.com/HRPworks/Honda-Element-Bed-Build
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Step two: Roof Rack

Now with limited space under the bed the roof rack became the second most important part. (and just my luck the thule box came in before I had the rack done so getting it home was a loud 6 hour drive) For the design though tons of inspiration on here about either what to get or what has been made. I opted for working with a friend who is handy with a welder and making our own with one addition.

I have to give credit where it’s due and while looking for inspiration I came across a this threat the last post by the author said

tedsti
“One regret I have is that I was considering having the front and rear cross bar go through the side rectangular tubing. This would have allowed me to telescope some poles off the side for an awning. Not sure how I talked myself out of this…”

I commented under it saying I would make this in the future. So heres my attempt: roof rack with telescoping awning.

*so far just the frame is up and on but before the end of the week I will have sewn an awning/shower stall to be attached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Step three: Cabana tent/ bug net

I knew I wanted some form of tent to at very least keep bugs out while sleeping. Some of the places were are staying are known to have pretty wild "nat swarms" so it was a must. I looked around at all the version out there but just wanted something simple. With my background in soft goods I didn't think it would be too hard and after a few failed attempts heres what I came up with.

Pretty simple design: It uses 4 webbing straps that hold the netting to the top and bottom of the gate. I didnt want to have something draped over the outside of the car as i wanted to limit any dripping into the car if the netting got wet. The webbing just holds the netting up and taught to seal it to the car I added a elastic gusset which warps around the weather striping of the back. (ill have to add pictures of this as i just haven't taken any yet) I made it so it just uses webbing along the bottom edge of the gate with a clip to open and close as a door. Its not perfect but I doubt anything bugs will be able to get in and it definitely not going any where. I have had it on some really windy days here and it won't budge. Pretty happy with it over all. This trip will be like a big test of this design too and if all goes as I hope it will next year I will make a full tent version this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So thats pretty much what I have to this point. I would love to make a small portable battery and add a solar charger to the top but that's pretty wishful thinking as I still have a lot to do in the next week. I would love thoughts, advise on the trip anything really. I will try and post when I'm on the road with any updates on how everything is working and i will definitely post final pack pictures once the cars all loaded up. Thank guys always appreciate these forms so hope i can give back a little. More to come!

http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1200393&postcount=3
 

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Great build

Really interesting build variation. I like the folding for a easy install and when not in itself and all the legs inside. Very clever. What is the cut out in the center behind the front seats for? A cooler or something that fits there?
The awning idea is great too. I was looking at making a bike stand with th same sliding out feature. My ecamper cancelled out that plan.
Nice bug net setup. The back of the Element deserves to have a proper tent. The cabana just doesn't do it for me.

Looking forward to the rest of the build. Where you off to on your road trip? If its anywhere near Asheville, NC let me know and we can chat about E's and I'll show you around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, coming from you thats a big compliment! I have read through a number of your build threads and looked through your website pretty awesome build outs yourself, they gave me tons of ideas. A little past my current skill level.

You guessed it the cut out is to fit a drink cooler for easy access while driving.

Thanks again the tent/bug net is something im pretty happy with as far as a first generations go. I will definitely be making a full tent version after this trip.

As to the trip itself we will be starting out in philadelphia heading south- south west to the smokies mounties on the first leg. So yea well be in your neck of the woods around the june 4th or 5th right at the start of our trip. It would be awesome to meet up if you're free.
 

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nice E setup...

just curious on what tires are you using (or plan to use) for the trip?

i too am preparing for a roadtrip this summer from Cali to Maine and would need to replace my tires as its on its last 3000mi. im expecting at least 100 miles of unpaved road so im looking at an A/T tire like General Grabber AT or the Yokohama geolandar AT.

Any suggestions or insights on this?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
nice E setup...

just curious on what tires are you using (or plan to use) for the trip?

i too am preparing for a roadtrip this summer from Cali to Maine and would need to replace my tires as its on its last 3000mi. im expecting at least 100 miles of unpaved road so im looking at an A/T tire like General Grabber AT or the Yokohama geolandar AT.

Any suggestions or insights on this?

thanks
Thanks.

I went with the Yokohama Geolander ATS. They are a slightly more offroad ready in my opinion. So far I love um a little more road noise but I kind of like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More on the Tent!

So Here are a few more pictures of how I attached the tent. (Sorry the pictures aren't great) What your looking at is the rear hatch opening with just the elastic gusset around.

After testing out the gusset idea on the back I came up with a neat rear window screen design using the same concept. Using velcro on the inside of the glass and the gusset around the rubber seal. It came out better than I thought and you can barely see them from the outside, but the best part is you can close the windows with them still on!

Tomorrow starts the first day of the trip so all these will be tested out further and Ill update here as we go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Awning and roof rack

I managed to get the awning sewn up and on the E just in time. Heres a quick pic of how that came out more to come as we set it up for actual use.
 

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Looking good

Nice to see those rear windows getting screens. I've talked with other owners about doing a similar screen for them. I really wish they opened from the bottom and had screens. You should make your own set of "Screenz" for the front windows. I own them and them make great products if you'd like to order them. Screenz is a brand that makes window screens for a number of vehicles. That side awning is looking good too. Looking forward to meeting up with you later this week. See you soon and drive safe.
 

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Creative screens.

I want the company Flexiscreen to make us screen for our rear windows. It would be easy for them to do.

There is also a rear bug screen listed on ebay for sale for about $60 with a zipper opening. I didn't buy it, but someone else mentioned it on here.
 

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In for the updates and pics
 
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