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    Honda Element thoughts?

    So, my husband is super tired of his van. And it's about to kick the bucket needing a new transmission and the ramp door is broken. I found an element with less than 20K miles for $35K that has been modified by FMI out of Michigan.

    I've researched and read the former posts but I would love to get opinions from anyone currently or recently owning one of these Modified Elements.

    He's a para. The Element has a ramp and he would transfer into the drivers seat to drive. We would move over the mennox hand controls from his van.

    Thoughts appreciated. It's an individual seller whose dad passed away. I don't want to rip him off but I certainly don't want a vehicle we will hate either.

    Thanks

    #2
    my $0.02: he should really try a non-modified (non-ramp) version.

    why does he need a ramp if he's going to transfer?

    Comment


      #3
      Great point... a little worried about his shoulders- taking the chair apart and putting it back together. He IS a very young and capable guy... ugh. this is so hard...

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        #4
        Buy a Honda Odyssey, take the middle seat behind driver out. Never take a chair apart again. Just pull chair up and in right from driver seat. I do use a board to slide up on while getting in. In and out in a minute or so. Best vehicle purchase I ever made. Put the 13G you will save on a non-modified vehicle in the bank....

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          #5
          Originally posted by ging1218 View Post
          Great point... a little worried about his shoulders- taking the chair apart and putting it back together. He IS a very young and capable guy... ugh. this is so hard...
          taking a chair apart & putting it back together isn't going to hurt his shoulders any more than pushing all day will... well, it shouldn't... what kind of chair does he use?

          I'd save your money & look for a car with a relatively level transfer.

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            #6
            It was announced in December 2010 that Honda is discontinuing the Element after the 2011 model year. Before buying one or the converted models, do your homework regarding ongoing parts and repair support.

            All the best,
            GJ

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ging1218 View Post
              So, my husband is super tired of his van. And it's about to kick the bucket needing a new transmission and the ramp door is broken. I found an element with less than 20K miles for $35K that has been modified by FMI out of Michigan.

              I've researched and read the former posts but I would love to get opinions from anyone currently or recently owning one of these Modified Elements.

              He's a para. The Element has a ramp and he would transfer into the drivers seat to drive. We would move over the mennox hand controls from his van.

              Thoughts appreciated. It's an individual seller whose dad passed away. I don't want to rip him off but I certainly don't want a vehicle we will hate either.

              Thanks
              Still have my full size AWD van for sale if he wants a newer van. Almost 70k miles asking 24k.
              Ride It Like You Stole It!

              Comment


                #8
                See. here's the deal. insurance (w/c) will pay for the vehicle to be modified and the winters where we live are horrible. So we can buy a regular vehicle or we can buy a regular vehicle and have them modify it. Or, they will pay some on a used one. He has had a town and country (love it) but it sucks the gas and it's a "mom mobile" (as he calls it). This Element has been modified by Freedom Motors and we've only had Braun before. Has ANYONE actually used Freedom Motors or especially had an FMI Element? That would be most helpful...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ging1218 View Post
                  See. here's the deal. insurance (w/c) will pay for the vehicle to be modified and the winters where we live are horrible. So we can buy a regular vehicle or we can buy a regular vehicle and have them modify it. Or, they will pay some on a used one. He has had a town and country (love it) but it sucks the gas and it's a "mom mobile" (as he calls it). This Element has been modified by Freedom Motors and we've only had Braun before. Has ANYONE actually used Freedom Motors or especially had an FMI Element? That would be most helpful...
                  Yeah mine is AWD so it's great in Winter and it is definitely not a "mom" van which is why I hate minivans also, but the gas is not great in the full size either. If you have interest PM me and I can send you pictures. I have no personal experience with the Element or the conversion, but I am friends with one of the installers at my mobility dealership who has been working on wheelchair modified vehicles for years and he said the conversion in those suck. Not really sure why he just said he would never recommend getting one. I don't like the box look so it would not be a vehicle I would want anyways but I've heard some able bodied people say they drive really well. Not sure how gas is on them. Good luck with your search.
                  Ride It Like You Stole It!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    got a friend with an element, he likes it alot, pretty good jump, just as much as my jimmy 4x4, but he does ok, which i do in my jimmy, but i dont miss jumping in and dismantling and loading the chair one bit, i like my mini van, i got a corvette, 4x4, harley, i got over the macho crap and its nice to just roll in, jump over in seat and go to 10 places in one day, instead of loading chair 25 times a day.......just saying...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have a friend who has one. she is in a power chair and drives from her chair with emc gas/brake and reduced effort steering. i think shes happy!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The Element X-WAV is cute and fun, and it loves to get up and go. In general our 2005 has served us well including a trip from San Diego to the east coast and back.

                        Here are some downsides I mentioned in an earlier post:

                        "We have a Honda Element XWave by FMI. Love the Honda part, but the FMI door / ramp mechanism is quite a complex bit of electro-hydraulics, and it has given us some problems. Not convenient when it happens 500 miles from the nearest dealer and the lift has completely failed. Hate to admit it but our next vehicle is going to be a Honda Odyssey rampvan. Will not look at FMI."

                        Some other things to ponder:

                        It is essential to have the ramp / door mechanism adjusted every six months to avoid the sort of failure mentioned above. Do you have dealer nearby who can do this?

                        The gas mileage for the Element is not spectacular, in the low to mid 20s, so you may not save as much as your are thinking.

                        The ground clearance on the X-Wav is not good. It is not like an unmodified Element. Might be a consideration for you guys in the winter, and dirt roads are questionable because of that and getting dirt in the door ramp mechanisms.

                        The hydraulic part of the system may cause you more problems in the cold than it does us San Diego folks. When we first got the car the windows went down before it closed the doors. We were told this was necessary for the system to get the door closed in the MI winters. It did not have the oomph to do it with the window closed. This idea was poorly executed and it gave us continuous heartburn. Our dealer eventually wired around it on all the X-WAVs for southern California.

                        If I were buying one in MI, I would have it carefully inspected for salt damage. There is a lot of modification for the lowered floor ramp, and it can all rust.

                        Your going to lose the passenger seat. It is a bit strange riding a single passenger in the rear seat. But they report the view is great because of the lower floor.

                        If I still had the ability to transfer, I would leap at the chance to go with a unmodified Honda Odyssey, or some other vehicle to my liking. But the Odyssey is a good vehicle. Like I said above, love the Honda part.
                        T4 complete, 150 ft fall, 1966. Completely fused hips, partially fused knees and spine, heterotopic ossification. Unsuccessful DREZ surgery about 1990. Successful bladder augmentation using small intestine about 1992. Normal SCI IC UTI problems culminating in a hospital stay in 2001. No antibiotics or doctor visits for UTI since 2001: d-mannose. Your mileage may vary.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I've known quite a few patients from the hospital (Craig) and outside,
                          all mid-low paras, who use the non-modified Element and love them for hauling gear, ease of cleaning, AWD, durable, suicide doors, etc.

                          For those FMI modded Elements, from both personal observation (i reviewed / considered one two-three yrs ago) & feedback, the drawbacks are:

                          1. Loss of AWD because of floor/ramp mod. BIG problem in "winter" states.
                          2. Short-turn wheelbase when up the ramp and into driver position. Size, length of chair, height - all considerations.
                          3. Electronic & hydraulics care & maintenance - very limited dealer base $$$
                          4. Cost

                          The greatest popularity of the Element 2WD I've seen has been in the Southwest: AZ, NM, SoCal.

                          Good luck with whatever you choose. For the kind of money you're looking to spend I'd be looking at 2007-8 Subaru or Audi wagon. A couple of para buddies can whip in and out of those cars in a minute (one-wheel pop off).

                          As in all things..YMMV..

                          Onward & Upward,

                          Chris

                          Comment


                            #14
                            the Element was discontinued, there probably is a good reason Honda chose to discontinue this model, I certainly wouldn't consider one.
                            I had a demo from freedom come by my house, couldn't fit my power chair in the drivers side with a drivers side ramp, so it would have to have the passemger seat taken out and ramp on passenger side. Great if I always will travel alone. Other option was to put my power chair in passenger side and transfer to drivers seat and have the passenger ride in my power chair, or they would have to sit in back seat which sits really high because of dropped floor. It looks cool, but I was concerned about reliability. They have really cut the car up, probably more so than a van conversion. Plus my brother has the Odessey van, and it has been nothing but trouble and costs a lot to get repaired everytime. Honda reliablity has gone down the drain just like Toyota, plus their fuel mileage is crap which seems odd because at one time that's what made honda popular.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Chris Chappell View Post
                              For the kind of money you're looking to spend I'd be looking at 2007-8 Subaru or Audi wagon. A couple of para buddies can whip in and out of those cars in a minute
                              I had a 2009 Outback, those are great and wheelchair will fit in back without taking apart if you have passengers. It's higher than a regular car, but not too high to transfer. The 2010 and newer suck(after body style changed), they don't ride near as good and the wind beats the crap out of them, never noticed the wind much in my 2009. I hated my 2010 and really regretted trading in my 2009, I hated the 2010 so much the first long trip I went on, I got a new car in the middle of the trip because the newer model rode so bad and was uncomfortable driving for long periods of time. I've drove all over the U.S., often 500-600 miles in a day, but 150 miles in that 2010 and I was ready to run it off a cliff.

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