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Thread: X Wav Honda Element

  1. #1

    X Wav Honda Element

    Hi All,

    I got my power chair in April and we are quickly realizing that a portable ramp and a manual tie down system are time-consuming and unpractical. I saw an X-Wav conversion on Ebay for just over $13 grand and we are very interested because for one, it's not a van (mom and dad don't want a van) and I am still unsure of whether I will be able to drive, but if I can, I don't want a van and I need to drive a smaller vehicle, so this would be something they could pass on to me if the time came rather than trying to sell an adapted van and then find me an appropriate vehicle (I can't have a car because we are unsure as to whether I will be able to return to manual chair full-time due to my shoulder and I'm sure even if I can, I will need to go to a power chair full-time forever at some point-- whether that be sooner or later). Anyways, it says reserve not met on the bid. Does anyone know what one of these normally goes for? It is new (only 75 miles on it) and direct from the company (VMI) in MI.

    Thanks!

    WG

  2. #2
    Senior Member jschism's Avatar
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    they brought one to my house to check out, i thought i wanted something i could use with my permobil c400 if ever needed. my chair wouldn't even fit on drivers side. it would only work with power chair in passenger side and i would have to transfer to drivers seat of car. they tried to sell me a demo with like 2500 miles on it for around $35,000 if i remember. it's freedom motors(fmi, not to be confused with vmi) if you wanna look at their website. the scions are a little cheaper if i remember. most of their cars are not converted until purchased.

  3. #3
    Search the forum for van problems. I remember someone here buying a US van and not being able to bring it into Canada.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jschism View Post
    they brought one to my house to check out, i thought i wanted something i could use with my permobil c400 if ever needed. my chair wouldn't even fit on drivers side. it would only work with power chair in passenger side and i would have to transfer to drivers seat of car. they tried to sell me a demo with like 2500 miles on it for around $35,000 if i remember. it's freedom motors(fmi, not to be confused with vmi) if you wanna look at their website. the scions are a little cheaper if i remember. most of their cars are not converted until purchased.
    Thanks Jchism, the FMI/VMI was a typo. So, the reserve is probably really high then?

  5. #5
    Honda Motor Company has discontinued the Honda Element. I don't know that I would feel comfortable investing in an Element conversion, knowing that I tend to keep converted vehicles a long time, possibly past Honda's intention of mechanically supporting the vehicle.

    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: Element

    I made the mistake of buying an Element from FMI in Michigan in 2007. I've had nothing but problems with it. This includes having the ramp cable replaced 3 times since it severed in half making the ramp useless. I've also had to replace the passenger door twice since the ramp kept getting stuck on it while it was trying to open and close. I've had 2 catalytic converters and 4 different batteries. I got the Element in '07 and the drivers seat shorted out the 1st month I had it. Then I moved up north in '08 to finish school and the hydralics went out on it. My last car was a Ford Explorer Sport that I jokingly called Fix or Recall Daily since it was a total POS. I wound up getting in a nasty rollover in it which put me in a wheelchair. Anyway I had far less problems with that car than my current Element. Although soon all the parts on my Element will be new and they've stopped production on them this year. I was thrilled to not have a minivan but with all the probs I've encountered....things that make you go hmmm. I also only have 36k on it but luckily bought extended coverage til 84k which has already paid for itself. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by kel13 View Post
    I made the mistake of buying an Element from FMI in Michigan in 2007. I've had nothing but problems with it. This includes having the ramp cable replaced 3 times since it severed in half making the ramp useless. I've also had to replace the passenger door twice since the ramp kept getting stuck on it while it was trying to open and close. I've had 2 catalytic converters and 4 different batteries. I got the Element in '07 and the drivers seat shorted out the 1st month I had it. Then I moved up north in '08 to finish school and the hydralics went out on it. My last car was a Ford Explorer Sport that I jokingly called Fix or Recall Daily since it was a total POS. I wound up getting in a nasty rollover in it which put me in a wheelchair. Anyway I had far less problems with that car than my current Element. Although soon all the parts on my Element will be new and they've stopped production on them this year. I was thrilled to not have a minivan but with all the probs I've encountered....things that make you go hmmm. I also only have 36k on it but luckily bought extended coverage til 84k which has already paid for itself. Good luck!
    Wow, ok well I think that I'll probably be staying away from it.

  8. #8
    Has anyone had positive experiences with the x wav?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz19 View Post
    Has anyone had positive experiences with the x wav?
    We have a 2005 X-Wav with almost 55,000 miles. A positive experience was a month long trip across the bottom of the county to the east coast, and then back across the middle to home. Not a single problem in about 7000 miles of travel.

    Both my wife and I are in wheelchairs. This is the smallest car I am aware of that can serve us both at the same time. It is set up so either of us can drive from our manual chairs. I can get my Invacare Torque in as a passinger, but cannot drive from the power chair. The car is fun to drive. It gets up and goes on the open road. The gas mileage is not super, but it beats my Ford van. The Honda part has not given us one iota of trouble. For us, it is a fun little car that goes and goes without complaint.

    The X-Wav door / ramp mechanism is a complex electromechanical hydraulic creature whose engineering is a bit basic. We found this the hard way by having all of the problems described above, a couple of times while we were several hundred miles from the nearest dealer. FMI support was non-existent in these instances.

    The cable bends one way and then the other at the floor pulley as the ramp goes up and down, and eventually the cable breaks. This could have been solved by putting the pulley on a swivel. FMI solution: put a spare cable in the spare tire well.

    It is easy to overload the ramp mechanism by pushing the down button when the ramp is out. We are very careful, and still do it periodically. The ramp tries to lift the car, and a bolt eventually shears. This is good in that it is cheap and easy to fix once you know what is going on. But it would have certainly been better to prevent it from happening in the first place.

    The doors slam hard when they open and close. I have have had more than one mechanical engineering acquaintance react with an unprintable remark as the door closed and ask why they did not put an damper on it at the end of the travel. FMI told me the slamming is necessary because the hydraulics operate slowly in the cold. But it eventually bends the door hinges, and the doors will not open / close properly. The hinges have to be replaced. This is neither cheap nor easy.

    We were an early adopter, and I have known our vendors mechanics on a first name basis for years. Thank goodness they are very competent and the owner allows me direct access to them. We now take the car in every six months, 80 miles each way, for a checkup. Replace the cable, replace the bolts that commonly shear, inspect the hinges, adjust the door opening and closing, lube everything. Get everything operating properly, and test the door opening and closing on side slopes. This is typically 1 to 2 hours labor plus the parts. This has worked for the last year, but the jury is still out.

    The X-Wav can be a great little car for some folk. But if you don't have a competent service facility available, with a lot of X-Wav experience, then I think the X-Wav would be a questionable purchase at best.
    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.

  10. #10
    I have seen those New Honda Element ebay listings for years (I am not sure if that is the one OP is referring to). The reserve price is nowhere near 13k. I think it may be a ploy to generate traffic to their website. If I recall correctly, none or very few sales at ebay, yet always listed. Maybe not illegal, but I am not sure it reflects a clear intent to sell through ebay.
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

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