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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
    Diesel is HIGHER in the US for some reason.
    In WA, at least, it's because of a state-level diesel tax meant to draw revenue from commercial truckers. Unlike in most European countries, where diesel is cheaper than gasoline. Makes sense since it's cheaper to refine....

  2. #52
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    My Element was kick ASS to sleep in, and as someone else has said all you have to do is toss an air mattress over the folded down seats and it is great.

    With a roofbox and that, I could go sleep anywhere. If you don't offroad at all, the Element will handle regular dirt roads no problem. It also got me to many places it shouldn't have.

    I averaged about 24/25 mpg for over 4 years with my Element. I actually kind of miss it, as the bikes fitting inside were also great.

    That being said, I love my newer ride (FJ), but miss the room of the Element.

    The Element was hands down the best winter driving vehicle, when equipped with snow tires, that I have ever had...better in snow then the FJ. Once you got used to the AWD system engaging, it was really nice. I am not sure why people bitch about it. I like it a LOT more then the retarded VSC slip detection my FJ has. My FJ is useless in 2WD in even three inches of snow, so I am in 4H a lot and that sucks my gas way more then I want it to.

    For what you are looking for, and the size and price, the Element cannot be beat.

    I have a 2003 and put 115K on it, and it still ran amazing.

    The only downsize is the 4cyl engine in the mountains, but you can just drive all hippy bus slow up the hill .
    You should have been here yesterday!

  3. #53
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    It doesn't make much sense to compare MPG of various vehicles without taking into account how much it actually costs to buy the vehicle.

    Say you buy an old 4x4 pickup and a beater camper top for $5,000. The truck only gets 16 mpg.

    The other choice is something newer and more high tech that gets 26 MPG but costs $15,000.

    So for that extra $10,000 you would have to drive (someone can check my math) more than 150,000 miles with gas at $3/gallon to even out the expense of the two vehicles.
    "Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
    Most AWD systems (Subaru, Toyota, Audi, Jeep) provide power to all four wheels all the time.
    the AWD in the Toyota Matrix turns off at 80kmph. & even when its on its biased towards the front, from memory it changes between 10% power to the rear axle (normal) to a max of 40%. The comparable is the Subaru imprezza which is 50/50 full time.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldo View Post
    It doesn't make much sense to compare MPG of various vehicles without taking into account how much it actually costs to buy the vehicle.

    Say you buy an old 4x4 pickup and a beater camper top for $5,000. The truck only gets 16 mpg.

    The other choice is something newer and more high tech that gets 26 MPG but costs $15,000.

    So for that extra $10,000 you would have to drive (someone can check my math) more than 150,000 miles with gas at $3/gallon to even out the expense of the two vehicles.
    I'm also trying to factor in the reliability/maintenance/etc. of such a purchase. That's why most European cars that I can actually afford are out; by the time I can afford them I can't afford to maintain them. If maintenance and logistical constraints weren't concerns I'd have a Delica.

    For instance, I have a friend that bought a mint condition Westy Syncro for about $15k about five years ago. The thing is still in mint condition, but he's put proabably close to $10k into keeping it that way. I'm not interested in that kind of nickel-and-dime constant-project vehicle as cool as they are. I got my Suby at about the same time and aside from only costing 1/3 of what he paid for the VW, it's required probably less than $1k in maintenance/upkeep in the same time (but I should probably throw about $500 at it to fix current PITA issues).

    I'd rather have a Japanese (or American?) rig since they seem to be built for the long haul and/or easier/cheaper to maintain.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    I still go back to the Sprinter. Not that i've driven one, or really looked in to it, or priced 'em of course, just seems like the right size vehicle with a lot of ways to rig it...
    I guess it's been mentioned since but only 2WD here in the states.

    Quote Originally Posted by squatch View Post
    Yeah but it provides the sq footage to throw in an air mattress. I'd think of it more as "raised platform to put an air mattress on top and throw skis underneath" rather than a bed in itself.
    True but air mattresses are cold in the winter. If you're thinking Paco pad or thermarest camprest, then yeah, that's what I'd do. You might (well maybe not YOU, but me ) be able to just take the back seats out and sleep on the floor. Not Sure but I think that's what Shepperd Wong does and he's 6'2" or more.

    Quote Originally Posted by telepariah View Post
    Chevy Astro/GMC Safari panel van AWD. You can get these cheap, mileage is around 20mpg, a little less than you would like but you can live in them. I am trying to convince my wife to let me get one so I can dirtbag it skiing and we can car camp for her craft fairs in places where we don't want to pay for a hotel. Still working on that one.

    http://www.astrosafari.com/

    http://www.astrosafarivans.com/
    These are pretty sweet. Cheap parts, easy to work on, OK on gas. I've see some badass lifted ones too. I think you can put the turbo engine from a dodge caravan in there. These engines were actually really good, and pretty powerful. They can also be had dirt cheap. Check out turbominivan.com to see caravans blowing the doors off corvettes in the quarter mile.

    Quote Originally Posted by GordonShumway View Post
    I was struggling with your same question earlier this year. The problem I kept running into is there's nothing out there that fits all of your/my criteria. Every choice thrown out in this thread is a compromise, in one way or another. The Element pop top is ok, but really only provides a place to sleep, and you can't walk around in it even with the top popped. The truck campers are a pretty good option but people hauling can be a problem, and you cant get to the camper without getting out and walking around back.

    I ended up getting a Westfalia with a Subaru engine conversion and new tranny. Its still an older vehicle, and I expect to have to do maintenance on it, but it's pretty simple to work on. I paid 12.5 and that was a good deal.





    Nice westy, you got an incredible deal.

    I've though a lot about this too. I used to roll in a legacy and thought about another one. But I missed my old trucks (two toy SR5s and a ranger). One thing that hasn't been mentioned is stealth. Sometimes you're crashing in spots where it's not allowed or whatever. The truck/shell with dark tint and dark curtains is key for this.

    Another consideration is passengers. It's nice to be able to load up to head to the hill or road trip. Also convenience, do you have to rearrange everything to sleep or can you just climb in. High clearance 4WD is nice to get off the beaten track to the free camping.

    Anyway, I ended up with a 1st gen Tundra four door. Pretty much everything I could ever want in a vehicle except mileage, that's pretty bad, about 15-20 mpg depending on conditions. Like someone said above though, when you're road tripping with four dudes, four bikes, and all the gear, it's not really an issue. Plus, definitely stealthy for sleeping, you can shine a flashlight right in my window and you can't tell what's in there.

    These can be had for about the same, or even a little less than comparable tacomas because of the demand for Tacomas. IMO, you get a lot more truck, way more comfortable, better towing and passing, just not as quite good off road. Still plenty capable though. As far as reliability and resale value? It's a Toyota.





    Note though, full four door with six foot bed ended in '06. Gen 2 Tundra "crew-cab" comes with a 5 1/2 foot bed, teh suck.
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    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    However, the Element will be twice as much to purchase. Once the Honda goes downhill, maintenance will be expensive to have done in the shop, and a pain to do yourself.
    If and when it goes downhill, which will be a long time after your other options begin to decline. Honda is still the hands down favorite in across-the-fleet-over-the-years reliability. I can't imagine a similar vintage Honda will really be that much more expensive to work on than anything else. Yes, a 1970s vintage Big Three pickup might be easier to work on, which is good as you'll be working on it from day one.

    Quote Originally Posted by hop View Post
    Toyota Sienna AWD could accomplish everything that the Element Ecamper could do, w/o being an Element and needing a $4500 accessory item.
    x2 for the Sienna, though the price gets awfully close to large scale SUVs. At least $10k more new vs an Element.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by hop View Post
    I'm also trying to factor in the reliability/maintenance/etc. of such a purchase...
    Absolutely. So many factors to consider.
    "Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by hop View Post
    My list of wants/needs for my next vehicle:

    Needs to have AWD or 4WD. I'm not seriously off-roading in this thing so a big truck is unnecessary.
    I don't want to have mileage that's significantly less than what I currently get ~25mpg averaged over four years.
    I need to be able to sleep comfortably in it.
    I must be able to put everything I own in/on it at once.
    Must be fairly reliable and not a super money pit to maintain.
    I am willing to sacrifice performance for economy so no WRX, etc.
    Must comfortably hold two people and gear.

    Thoughts? Ideas?
    Damn, if you find a car that meets all those criteria, let me know. I have a Volvo wagon that is AWD and get 24/25 mpg on the highway. I could sleep in it at on an angle. As far as everything I own in anything but a Greyhound bus is good fucking luck, but suppose skis, gear or surfboards and gear would work with a roof box, but there goes some mpg. Reliability is unknown, as I get the impression you may be looking at used cars. Performance is good in the turbo wagons as is the comfort for two.

    I don't need to sleep in it, but have your other requirements and may consider the new Honda Crosstour http://automobiles.honda.com/accord-crosstour next year as my Volvo is getting up there in mileage and although it has been great so far, reliability is big with me. I wish Honda would just make a good looking AWD Accord wagon.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    Damn, if you find a car that meets all those criteria, let me know. I have a Volvo wagon that is AWD and get 24/25 mpg on the highway. I could sleep in it at on an angle. As far as everything I own in anything but a Greyhound bus is good fucking luck, but suppose skis, gear or surfboards and gear would work with a roof box, but there goes some mpg. Reliability is unknown, as I get the impression you may be looking at used cars. Performance is good in the turbo wagons as is the comfort for two.

    I don't need to sleep in it, but have your other requirements and may consider the new Honda Crosstour http://automobiles.honda.com/accord-crosstour next year as my Volvo is getting up there in mileage and although it has been great so far, reliability is big with me. I wish Honda would just make a good looking AWD Accord wagon.
    It's nice not having furniture and so forth when it it comes to hauling all my crap around, although with the amount of instruments I have it's getting a bit crazy.

    Before I went to Yurp last year I could fit everything I own in/on my Legacy. This included four guitars, one bass, two amps, five surfboards, about 12 pairs of skis (not all w/ bindings), four pairs of boots, and all of my ski clothing/normal clothing/wetsuits etc. while still being able to see out the back. if I added my extra set of wheels and rims there went my visibility, but it was possible.

    Now that I'm back I got rid of the bass, an amp, a bike, two surfboards and a few pairs of skis and boots but added a small guitar and a drumset ().

    Traveling with all this crap is a once or twice a year I5 migration and definitely kills the fuel economy, but it's nice to be able to do it. FWIW the highest MPG I have ever recorded in my car was with four people + gear inside, and four surfboards on the roof.

    Yes, definitely looking at used. I am hoping that by the time my Suby finally dies the Siennas will be right there in my price range.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

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  11. #61
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    This looks pretty nice. Honda Element with sleeping platform. Seems to be a good compromise.

    From this thread: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...=1#post2638450
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  12. #62
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    That is cool, but they must be midgets. I'm 5'10" and there was no way I could lie flat in the back of an Element (hence the need for Ecamperness).
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

    The Bonin Petrels

  13. #63
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    Just keep jumpin' off stuff, and you'll knock down your clearance issues by a couple of inches in no time.
    "I knew in an instant that the three dollars I had spent on wine would not go to waste."

  14. #64
    Hugh Conway Guest
    you shouldn't need to do much other than regular maintenance on a Honda until 150k+

    Quote Originally Posted by Arty50 View Post
    Just keep jumpin' off stuff, and you'll knock down your clearance issues by a couple of inches in no time.
    or he could keep his bitches in the back


    http://automobiles.honda.com/element...cessories.aspx

  15. #65
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    I used to have a 1995 AWD Toyota Previa that meets most of your specs. It served me well for a few years pretty reliably. Had some exhaust issues a couple of times but they weren't too expensive to repair.

  16. #66
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    this is the shit...on ebay right now...syncro w/ subi conversion. not a big fan of the crash bar on the front...easily removed. big $$

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1987-...item255779a0cb

  17. #67
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    No love for the Panda 4x4 custom bed conversion?



    Seriously though, I know Tri-U used to travel with a load of gear and sleep in his Element a lot and think it worked well for him. Maybe he'll chime in.

    Other options (don't know if they import them to the US) are Toyota make a Hiace 4x4 and VW make a Syncro van. The Hiace is an epic skibum van (ask Telepath) and in the 4x4 is even better. Also make a 4x4 with a second row of seats. Another option is a Land Rover Defender LWB.

    No idea about spares for any of these, but in the UK it is very easy to get spare parts and pattern parts for grey import vehicles, especially vehicles from Asia.

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletizer View Post
    No love for the Panda 4x4 custom bed conversion?



    Seriously though, I know Tri-U used to travel with a load of gear and sleep in his Element a lot and think it worked well for him. Maybe he'll chime in.

    Other options (don't know if they import them to the US) are Toyota make a Hiace 4x4 and VW make a Syncro van. The Hiace is an epic skibum van (ask Telepath) and in the 4x4 is even better. Also make a 4x4 with a second row of seats. Another option is a Land Rover Defender LWB.

    No idea about spares for any of these, but in the UK it is very easy to get spare parts and pattern parts for grey import vehicles, especially vehicles from Asia.
    Nothing could top that Panda.

    Hiace is not imported (15 years min for Cdn, which I can do, but parts issue in the states), Syncro is a super expensive money pit, and Land Rover = no fucking way (see Syncro but worse).
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

    The Bonin Petrels

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by hop View Post
    That is cool, but they must be midgets. I'm 5'10" and there was no way I could lie flat in the back of an Element (hence the need for Ecamperness).
    Not true...you take the rear seats completely out, and then slide the front two seats all the way up to the dash. Then, you will fit.

    I am 5'10" and slept that way many times with an air mattress, fully stretched out.

    Here is a pic of a sleeping platform with the back seats out, not so high up in the air:

    You should have been here yesterday!

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawjack View Post
    this is the shit...on ebay right now...syncro w/ subi conversion. not a big fan of the crash bar on the front...easily removed. big $$

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1987-...item255779a0cb
    That guy is asking $75,000 for that van on The Samba (vw site). There's no way his reserve is anywhere near a reasonable amount. That van might be worth 40

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonShumway View Post
    That guy is asking $75,000 for that van on The Samba (vw site). There's no way his reserve is anywhere near a reasonable amount. That van might be worth 40

    Nice van, but $75K is retarded.
    I used to hike 2 hours for 10 minutes of turns on 207 gs skis, without needing “skins” or “hike mode.” Tell me again how I’m a gaper.
    -mikdes26

  22. #72
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    I can't seem to stay away from this thread. How important is it to you to be able to 'live' out of your vehicle? Are you just looking for a place to pull off the road and sleep for a couple hours, or are you looking for something you can crash in for a couple days? Do you want to spend a weekend at the hill in it? Wagon's are super practical, but I can't imagine spending a couple days camping out of one, without setting up camp. I'm sure it could be done but wouldnt be very comfortable. If you want something 4wd, practical, and keeps you warm and dry at night (and you can make coffee in the morning) I think a truck with camper shell is your best option. They make some really cool ones, and obviously you could pick any truck to go under it.






  23. #73
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    I bought a new 05 Element AWD fully loaded automatic just before I left the east to come west as my own parting gift before leaving Honda. My opinion on Honda's in general might be a bit biased as I worked for them for about 7 years and I have family that still does.

    Space - With the seats folded up it has TONS of space. I wish I had a picture but I actually managed to cram an XR400 moto in the back to move it twice. Rear seating space for passengers is also huge. I had a roof box on it so skis were always on top. Four people's gear fit behind the rear seats just fine for a ski day, Arty and BCflow can vouch for comforts of passenger space. Never will you need to move the front seats up to make room for the guys in the rear. Four seats instead of five is a bit limiting, but it just means one less stinky skier to smell on the way home.

    Power - The little four banger has just enough hp and torque to rock it along well over the speed limit but not enough that you'll be getting speeding tickets. Fully loaded it does work a bit harder climbing mountains but not something that is stressing it, just pull it out of overdrive and it's fine.

    Snow - The stock tires were a known weak spot on the older ones (not sure if they spec a better tire now) and mine wore out pretty quick. I replaced them with four good beefy snow tires. Growing up in the east in the snow belt I learned to drive RWD in the snow, then FWD and then 4x4 / AWD. I don't have extended time in a Suby in the snow but the Element is the best vehicle I've ever owned in the snow. The AWD kicks in when needed, it's seamless. It has a balanced predictable feel.

    Sleeping / road tripping - Next best thing to a Westy. Close friends have Westy's and I've probably camped 30 nights in them, done nights in Suby wagon, SUV's, pick-up campers (non insulated) and of course the Element. We started by doing the fold down all the seats including the front to make the raised platform out of the seats. This is okay for quick nap but it's not the best as it has bumps and dips and holes. Fold up the rear seats and slide the front seats all the way forward and lay out the thermarest directly on the floor for best results. I never did get around to making blinds to cover the windows. For ski season it's not as big a deal as it's dark when you go to sleep and dark when you get up for a pow day, sleeping in hung over in the summer sucks. Best solution would be a small plywood platform set lower to the floor than the one above and some thin containers for your stuff.

    My Element was a right off after the fire from water damage. I did not replace it with another one for a single reason. Off-road clearance. For getting up to many of the local mountain bike trails the logging roads are no longer active and maintained so each year the waterbars get deeper and more washed out. The Element is low on clearance compared to many SUV's and the biggest thing is that the gas tank is unprotected and just hanging there waiting for a rock to rip a hole in it.

    Go drive one, flip all the seats up, bring a thermarest and test it out. Looking back on it I miss mine now.

  24. #74
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    Syncro westy with SVX engine is my dream #2. #1 is Syncro Westy with turbo-diesel.

    That guy is asking $75,000 for that van on The Samba (vw site). There's no way his reserve is anywhere near a reasonable amount. That van might be worth 40
    People see the vans that GoWesty.com sells (sometimes for over $100K) and think that they can sell theirs for the same. He'll have it for sale for a long, long time and eventually come down out of the stratosphere with his price. He could probably get $20-30K for it. Maybe he'll get lucky and get more. It does look pretty nice, recaro seats, skidplates, etc. It won't get very good mileage but it'll be pretty fast and go anywhere. Decoupler is good feature, that'll help mileage.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirk View Post
    I did not replace it with another one for a single reason. Off-road clearance. For getting up to many of the local mountain bike trails the logging roads are no longer active and maintained so each year the waterbars get deeper and more washed out. The Element is low on clearance compared to many SUV's and the biggest thing is that the gas tank is unprotected and just hanging there waiting for a rock to rip a hole in it.

    Go drive one, flip all the seats up, bring a thermarest and test it out. Looking back on it I miss mine now.

    This is exactly why I got RID of mine...I miss my Element a lot, and I would have bought one if they had something in the same mold but with more clearance and a little beefier suspension set up.

    GET AN ELEMENT, HOP.
    You should have been here yesterday!

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