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I'm about to spring for a ecamper conversion but the low clearance had me worried that I might not be able to take the ecamper everywhere I want to go. Did some exploring this weekend and now I'm satisfied:



More clearance (and a skid plate!) would be welcome, but this is good enough 8)
 

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An experienced driver can do wonders with an Element. It's not as much as a concern as I thought it would be. However I can tell you that Soft deep sand can and will overheat the rear differential !!

Dom
 

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If you have not found it yet, there is a 3" lift kit called the CCM lift. search the board for it and you will see a handful of threads about it.

The picture of your adventure looks great!!!
 

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If you have not found it yet, there is a 3" lift kit called the CCM lift. search the board for it and you will see a handful of threads about it.

The picture of your adventure looks great!!!

Unfortunately, the kits only raise the body. The vulnerable lower wishbone, and relatively thin suspension connecting pieces are still only 6 to 61/2 inches off the ground. I know it shows 7 inches, but that's not what you wind up with if you have gear and passengers on board.

Dom
 

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I seem to have trouble in town draging the tank bars,dont know if I will ever get out in the woods like I used to do with my montaro, that thing had almost 2 1/2 feet of travel.never had any problem or hesitation to go any where or pull any size tree out of the path. that I do miss.I thought the E was a little better when I got it, but I was wrong don't think awd would of been much better..the dog ate my homework and I'm sticken to it.
 

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Unfortunately, the kits only raise the body. The vulnerable lower wishbone, and relatively thin suspension connecting pieces are still only 6 to 61/2 inches off the ground. I know it shows 7 inches, but that's not what you wind up with if you have gear and passengers on board.

Dom
Very good point but it would still give the E a little more clearance over high points by lifting the center of the E up a little. I find it is the gas tank/safety bar that hits the ground first.
 

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Very good point but it would still give the E a little more clearance over high points by lifting the center of the E up a little. I find it is the gas tank/safety bar that hits the ground first.

Understood.

I try to keep the tires on the high spots. That doesn't always work. The rocks in Maine get slippery. Or have moss growing on them. So it's the suspension parts that take the hit.

That comes from being high centered off road. Out with the jacks and plywood! :-D

Dom
 

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That is why we all say the E really isn't a true "off-road" vehicle.;-)

Off road really has a huge variation in meaning and it just supports the school of thought, Know the limits of your vehicle and your personal ability!

From what the OP posted in the pic I could see center hight playing a factor in those trails.
 

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I'm about to spring for a ecamper conversion but the low clearance had me worried that I might not be able to take the ecamper everywhere I want to go. Did some exploring this weekend and now I'm satisfied . . . More clearance (and a skid plate!) would be welcome, but this is good enough
Keep in mind that the Element will ride lower with the ecamper installed and full of cargo. I wouldn't count on the OEM tires to pull you out of that rut if the ground gets wet.
 

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it's fun to poke around with, but an off road vehicle it is not. it's amazed me where i've crammed it and gotten out of though, that's for sure. my Element goes on the ICE again this February 13th, almost wondering if i can plumb in an external cooler b/c i overheated my rear diff on the skid pad in about 20 minutes of banging off the redline in 1st gear (automatic) last time. maybe back it into a snow bank to try to cool it off b/c it was steaming and dripping water.
 

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Unfortunately, the kits only raise the body. The vulnerable lower wishbone, and relatively thin suspension connecting pieces are still only 6 to 61/2 inches off the ground. I know it shows 7 inches, but that's not what you wind up with if you have gear and passengers on board.

Dom
The lift will allow larger tires though won' it? That will improve clearance.
 

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The largest size tire(height not width) that will fit on the E with stock suspension is 225/75/16.

This size will get you almost 3/4 of an inch of ground clearance over the stock 215/70/16.

3/4 an inch isn't much but every little bit helps.

 

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it's fun to poke around with, but an off road vehicle it is not. it's amazed me where i've crammed it and gotten out of though, that's for sure. my Element goes on the ICE again this February 13th, almost wondering if i can plumb in an external cooler b/c i overheated my rear diff on the skid pad in about 20 minutes of banging off the redline in 1st gear (automatic) last time. maybe back it into a snow bank to try to cool it off b/c it was steaming and dripping water.

We had an extensive discussion about this very thing at one time. To my knowledge no one has done it. I tried to find the thread with the diagram's of how it may be accomplished, But was unsuccessful. If you do some drawings, please post them.

Found it! Click here!
Dom
 

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The lift kits, as best I can tell, basically put spacers at the top of the struts. This isn't a body lift in the conventional sense (separating body from frame). It does increase clearance where it matters - under the front and rear subframes, and under the middle where the gas tank and exhaust are. It does not increase clearance where the lower links attach to the wheels, but usually clearance here is not important.

The lift does not make much difference in possible tire sizes. That is still limited by the size and shape of the front strut tower.

The thing that all of us can do is learn how the suspension behaves, and drive with that in mind.

When faced with ruts, I do my best to keep the tires on both sides out of the ruts.

When faced with a significant waterbar (berm and ditch across the road designed to channel water away), it can help to cross at an angle. This puts diagonally opposite tires on the high spot at the same time, maximizing clearance. Putting the front ones in the ditch while the rear are on the other side the berm is a good way of making ground contact in the middle.

Stop and move rocks to the side of the road

Cross a rough patch as slowly as you can, to minimize suspension bounce.

You are more likely to lift a rear wheel off the ground than the front. This is because of the weight distribution, and the stiffer anti-sway bar in front.

A full load of camping gear depresses the rear suspension, making the rear subframe the lowest point.

After I hear a hit I try to figure out where. Sometimes I use a small digital camera to look where I can't see.
 

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We had an extensive discussion about this very thing at one time. To my knowledge no one has done it. I tried to find the thread with the diagram's of how it may be accomplished, But was unsuccessful. If you do some drawings, please post them.

Found it! Click here!
Dom
i'm sitting looking at my lathe, a few grand worth of -12 an fittings along with all the tools for a current project i'm working on, have Aeroquip, Mocal, Goodridge, and Earl's catalogs.... along with a local distributor for all of the above, hrmmm wonder if -3 would be enough. use an external hex drain and fill plug and drill the center out for a set of npt fittings and just run a remote cooler someplace safe. but it'd have to have a check valve or drain loop like a fish tank to avoid overfilling of the sump due to gravity at rest or it'll blow out the breather. wonder if i can get an extra one for bench trials, anyone got a spare kicking around?
 

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i'm sitting looking at my lathe, a few grand worth of -12 an fittings along with all the tools for a current project i'm working on, have Aeroquip, Mocal, Goodridge, and Earl's catalogs.... along with a local distributor for all of the above, hrmmm wonder if -3 would be enough. use an external hex drain and fill plug and drill the center out for a set of npt fittings and just run a remove cooler someplace safe. but it'd have to have a check valve or drain loop like a fish tank to avoid overfilling of the sump due to gravity at rest or it'll blow out the breather. wonder if i can get an extra one for bench trials, anyone got a spare kicking around?

I wish you lived closer! I would be game for that project. A few simple experiments would be needed to prove out the speculation. I do think it's doable. Not sure it would be worth the effort for my E, but others may benefit from it. Those that do more off roading, or Ice running.

Dom
 

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i've gotta do a ny state inspection today on my pile, i'll take a look and see what there is to see underneath and see if i can tuck a simple inexpensive trans cooler up out of the way low enough to avoid clearance issues as well as fluid level problems and try to find a low volume electric pump on mcmaster. know what size the drain plugs are off the top of your head? 27mm or something silly aren't they? 3/8" trans cooler hose should be fine, maybe room behind the fuel tank to hide it...

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/TIL-40-524/ $180 fluid pump.... hrmm, don't know if i want to get that deep into that.
 

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I'm about to spring for a ecamper conversion but the low clearance had me worried that I might not be able to take the ecamper everywhere I want to go. Did some exploring this weekend and now I'm satisfied:



More clearance (and a skid plate!) would be welcome, but this is good enough 8)
Nice pic! Stick to nice easy trails like this and you will be fine. Stay off larger rocks and anything that will rip open your underside and you will be ok. The E should be able to get you into any provincial or state campground you might come across.
 

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i've gotta do a ny state inspection today on my pile, i'll take a look and see what there is to see underneath and see if i can tuck a simple inexpensive trans cooler up out of the way low enough to avoid clearance issues as well as fluid level problems and try to find a low volume electric pump on mcmaster. know what size the drain plugs are off the top of your head? 27mm or something silly aren't they? 3/8" trans cooler hose should be fine, maybe room behind the fuel tank to hide it...

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/TIL-40-524/ $180 fluid pump.... hrmm, don't know if i want to get that deep into that.

I was thinking Thermostatic siphoning would be the easy way to go. It would solve the pump thing, and provide cooling only when needed. It may require a larger diameter tube than is piratical though.

An old racing trick was to increase the volume of fluid ( sump oil ) with an external reservoir. The increased volume has the ability to absorb more heat, thereby lowering the overall temperature. The easy way was to use one of those J.C. Whitney duel remote filters. We would add an over sized filter to increase the volume by just slightly more than 2 quarts ! Then place the filters in Ice water. It worked for a 20 lap race.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The E should be able to get you into any provincial or state campground you might come across.
Foo. Who wants to camp in a campground? Too many people.

Thanks for all the replies. I'm not looking to punish my E, just get to some trailheads and quiet out-of-the-way spots from time to time. Paulj's and others' suggestions about how to get the most out of whatever clearance you have are useful. I'm going to wait on the lift kit for now and see how it works out for other folks. Might go for the larger tires when the OEMs wear out though.

One question I do have is: when a route is described as "high clearance vehicles only," does that generally include or exclude the E (without mods)? In other words, should I assume such routes are mostly not suitable for the E? Or is it the other way around, i.e. the E can handle the majority of them as long as conditions are good and the driver is careful?
 
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