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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just to promote discourse, I'll keep a thread going about all the random stuff I'm finding/doing on my new-to-me 2007 Honda Element SC.

Purchased in Indianapolis in March with 129k miles. A few known issues when I brought it home, but overall very good.

TO-DO LIST:

TIRES: not bald, but they are old; the ride is a little rough, and grip is way down. TPMS failure alert on the dash.
SUSPENSION: it's all brand new, but it's LX/EX suspension, not bespoke SC suspension, so the car sits really high and the ride is soft and bouncy.
PAINT: a few light surface scratches all around, and overall dullness.
ICE: the OEM stereo head unit is good for 2007, with a 6-disc in-dash and satellite radio capability. But it needs something more contemporary if it's going to be a road-trip car.
GAUGE CLUSTER: the temp needle is out of alignment and doesn't read correctly on the gauge. It appears to have a full range of motion, it's just not sitting where it's supposed to.
INTERIOR: the overhead console door is missing its spring, so it won't open when you push the release. Rear-view mirror glass is delaminating pretty badly. P/S interior door handle is questionable. Missing D/S floor mat. Center console lid cover and padding is obliterated. Hood pull is broken. P/S interior dash vent is broken.
EXTERIOR: Screw to hold license plate is broken off; needs to be drilled and tapped before I can mount a plate. One headlight is pretty badly hazed; the other appears to be a new replacement.

Possible future upgrades:

BRAKES: Acura TSX rotors and calipers swap directly on the front for a big brake upgrade on the cheap. Current brakes are fine, so no rush.

Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Wheel Automotive side-view mirror Sky



Plenty of updates a-coming. Sold the MINI Cooper S the same week we brought this home, so we're still a 4-car fleet for now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
TO-DO LIST:

TIRES: not bald, but they are old; the ride is a little rough, and grip is way down.
Being a little bit of a tire snob, I didn't want to get into some cushy grand-touring rubber that they are always trying to foist on you. I wanted something with a modicum of sporting intent, but nothing outlandish, price-wise. Isn't that what we all want?

Stock tires on the SC are 225/55R-18. Michelin is always my first choice for a daily-driver (I have those on the Cooper and the Bullitt), but all the Michelins in that size were either cushy grand-touring tires, or snow tires. Oh, well.

Basically, I wanted a good high-performance all-season tire. I don't plan to switch back and forth with winter tires twice a year, and I don't want to store a second set of wheels just for that purpose, so one magic bullet was the answer. Taking all this into consideration, I narrowed the search down to the TOYO Proxes ST III. It's billed as a "Street/Sport Truck all-season" tire. Is relatively affordable for an 18" tire, and had a rather aggressive, directional tread pattern. Reviews were solid, so I checked with Discount Tire about getting a set. And for some reason, they could not get the tire in my size. I had just seen it on TireRack, which is where I do all my research - but for whatever reason, Tire Rack was the only retailer where I could actually order them in my size. Fortunately they ship for free, and Discount Tire is about 3 miles from my house - and I have a nice, large vehicle to haul stuff now. So they arrived on my doorstep within about 2 days, and I wheeled them on over to Discount Tire for mounting & balancing. Also had all-new TPMS sensors installed, and the system programmed. The light had reset itself before I even got home, so that's covered.

Initial impressions - SMOOTH. Way nicer drive than before on the old Coopers; I wish I'd had these on to make the trip home from Indianapolis. Grip is as expected; this engine doesn't have a lot of power, but even with that the fronts often spun up on the old tires. You can still light them up, but it takes some effort now, at least. So with only a few hudred miles thus far - solid choice. Snow capability remains to be seen, but anything's better than what was on there before.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TO-DO LIST:

SUSPENSION: it's all brand new, but it's LX/EX suspension, not bespoke SC suspension, so the car sits really high and the ride is soft and bouncy.
This is a tough nut to crack.

Honda sold a METRIC TON of Elements from 2003-2006, and parts are plentiful. But for 2007, things get considerably more scarce.

Honda re-designed the front springs on all 07+ Elements to address a perceived bump-steer issue. Starting with the 2007 model year, the front springs were each wound in opposite directions - there was a specific RIGHT and LEFT front spring, one wound clockwise, and one counter. This allowed the wheels to turn microscopically in opposite directions under compression, instead of in the same direction. Which is admirable - but that meant that the perches built into the dampers had to be revised as well, to accommodate the reverse-wound spring on one side. So you cannot mix-and-match pre-06 and post-06 springs and dampers (much like the 99-00 vs 01-02 Cougar rears).

To make matters worse, the Element SC used a stiffer, lower spring than the other models (among other suspension upgrades), so in addition to searching out 07+ springs, I need something that rides stiffer and lower than 90% of the OEM replacements that aren't even that easy to find in the first place. Because OEM SC springs are unobtainium. I could probably score some from marketplace (there are a couple of groups dedicated particularly to the SC owners, and plenty of folks install coilovers and scrap their OEM suspension), but finding the springs is only half the battle - then you gotta find some dampers. Something stiffer to match the uprated spring. Unicorns.

Coilovers are a popular solution for most people. But MAN are they cost-prohibitive, especially when my current suspension is brand new and functioning perfectly fine. Hard to justify dropping $1200 or more under the circumstances.

Taking a closer look underneath, the new springs/dampers that are on the car now are NOT 07+ units - they were apparently 03-06 quick-struts. So the good news here is that I can theoretically find some decent 03-06 lowering springs and drop them right in. The EIbach pro-kit is not available anywhere anymore, and there is a lot of junk out there (Megan Racing and all that garbage), but there is a good progressive H&R option in stock at lots of places. They do sit a little lower than stock SC springs (by maybe half an inch), but I think it's a workable drop, especially since I've no interest in off-roading at all. At $205, they are a pretty decent bargain, too. I'm content to keep my old/new dampers for the time being, and replace those when they fail (unless they are too far under-damped to control the ride). So that's on the list of THINGS TO DO...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
TO-DO LIST:
ICE: the OEM stereo head unit is good for 2007, with a 6-disc in-dash and satellite radio capability. But it needs something more contemporary if it's going to be a road-trip car.
This was not nearly as bad a job as I expected.

Crutchfield is the only place you'll ever need for car audio needs. You enter your car's data/specs, and their store spits out a list of all the units they carry that will fit. Then you can filter further by your various wants/needs and get a really specific list of choices. Then when you choose a head unit, they offer everything you might need for installation as an add-on package, at a discounted price - no need to search for components and pieces and hope they work.

So I ended up with a Boss Audio touch-screen unit, with Apple CarPlay and back-up camera. Along with that I got an adapter unit to maintain the stock steering wheel audio controls, a wiring harness adapter, an antenna adapter, and a dash kit to make sure it fits the space seamlessly. And for an extra $25, Crutchfield will build out your wiring harness adapter for you, so you don't have to deal with trying to match up all the wires and get everything cleanly soldered - TOTALLY WORTH IT. The Element SC has an OEM amp and sub, both of which were also retained with the new install.

As of now I have everything connected and functioning flawlessly - the stereo is very simple to remove/install in the Element, and I had everything hooked up in about 15 minutes (except the backup camera - I'm still waiting for the motivation to start pulling interior panels and running the cord for that thing). But now I have Apple CarPlay capability with all my cloud music at my fingertips, and Waze in the dashboard, so I'm loving it. Had I known that this would all be so simple, I'd have done it for every car I've ever owned. Too bad the Cougar doesn't have any antenna or speakers anymore, LOL. I'm thinking about adding one to the Bullitt now...
 

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It's a revelation to have a modern system when you've been living with old tech for a long time.
Putting a double-din unit in my green car has moved WAY up my list since getting spoiled by my new car with ACP.
It really is the correct answer to the problem of where to mount the phone...leave it in your pocket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thats the downside to the cougars tough, everything is below your eyeline
Yes - with a shifter right in front of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Took another stride this past weekend towards getting everything fresh.

Flush & fill on the transaxle - picked up 2 quarts of Honda-branded manual transmission fluid at a local dealership and made that happen. The fluid that came out looked really very good, so it may have been done already, but now I know.

Also did an oil change with Mobil1. The filter location is completely stupid and you can't remove it without soaking the CV axle and the subframe. I cut a 1-quart bottle to use as a baffle so at least I missed the subframe.

I mounted up the backup camera on the tailgate, and pulled all the trim to run the wires to the inside. Didn't get much further than that; I still need to tackle routing them through the rubber boot between the inside of the tailgate and the spare tire well. One step at a time...

One more thing to add to the to-do list - the left inner CV boot has recently let go, so that's a mess. Luckily the axles are cheap.
 

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...Also did an oil change with Mobil1. The filter location is completely stupid and you can't remove it without soaking the CV axle and the subframe. I cut a 1-quart bottle to use as a baffle so at least I missed the subframe...
Remote filter time
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have been watching that one! I like my SC better than those late-generation models.

The most recent work - the 110k valve adjustment. Why Honda doesn’t just use hydraulic lifters like the rest of the civilized world, I’ll never know. But man, that’s a CRAPPY JOB to do. Each valve rocker has a set screw with a jam nut holding it in place and you have to break out the feeler gauges to set the tolerance on each one. I did it once and started it up to a cacophony of valve clatter - I had set them to loose. So I had to do the whole job a second time.

They were all pretty far out of spec, way too tight. So it needed done before I burned a valve. Should be good for another 100k now.
 
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