1. How to get logged in to the NEW SurveyorConnect.com!

    You should have received a password reset notification at the email address you used to register your account here. If you don't receive the email, please check your spam or junk folder. If you still don't have it, please click the following link to manually reset your password. If all else fails, send us an email at support@surveyorconnect.com.

    [ CLICK HERE TO RESET YOUR PASSWORD ]

"New" truck

Discussion in 'General Land Surveying' started by JB, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. JB

    JB 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Well I can't believe it, but I'm considering a 2011 Honda element to replace my '09 Suburban. I think I can almost double my mpg, and the element is like a cave inside. Should be plenty of room. I am totally urban and haven't had a truck in 4 wheel drive in almost 20 years, so I don't need the big diesel 4x4. I'm really not much of a truck guy anyway, just need to move me and my stuff.
    Anyone have any experience with the Element?
    TIA,
    JB
     
  2. Stephen Ward

    Stephen Ward 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,199
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Licensed in:
    TN
    I would suggest knowing what your typical load of equipment and supplies weighs and checking the capacity of the Element. Run your Suburban across a set of scales at a truck stop with your normal load and then again emptied out you may be surprised by the results. I've surveyed out of Ford Explorers and Jeep Cherokees and neither were up to the challenge long term. My usual load of pins, stakes, and equipment just overloads the rear springs and causes ride and handling issues.
     
  3. hardline228

    hardline228 1-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    177
    How are you going to store the tripods and rods so they are safe if you were ever rear ended? Smaller SUVs pose a real danger to surveyors.. I want at least a truck bed and extended cab between me and my gear. Don't want to get run through by my rod when some jackass is texting and driving behind me.
     
  4. JB

    JB 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    BTW that should be "my 2003 suburban".
     
  5. foggyidea

    foggyidea 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Cape Cod
    There is a local company that has one, bought by the bright inside guys for the field crew.

    The crew hates it. Not enough room to carry the stuff they need. They have told me that they have to carefully count out the number of stakes they are going to use in a day and can take no more. Let alone concrete bounds.

    I'm in the process of searching for something myself. I would like the element but after what that field crew says, no WAY! If you'd like a name and number to talk with someone just email me and I'll send it right back.

    Dtp
     
  6. Target Locked

    Target Locked 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    672
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm with Stephen on this. Check out the weight. My full-sized Chevy is undersized for the amount of weight I'm carrying. It chews up tires and eats brakes in no time. The Element is probably designed to carry the occasional 10 year old to a soccer game.
     
  7. Tommy Young

    Tommy Young 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,400
    We had a 2001 Pontiac Aztek. To be blunt, that thing was a P.O.S. It ran fine and didn't burn much gas, but it was too flimsy. Cars aren't built to hold up like trucks.
     
  8. James Fleming

    James Fleming 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,892
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Licensed in:
    MD
    When I was solo I ran out of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but... I didn't do any construction staking, just boundary/topo surveys for engineering clients & ALTAs.

    Other than the robot, three wood tripods, assorted tribrachs/prisms, and a couple of range poles & bipods I could carry everything else I needed in a stake bag.
     
  9. Andy J

    Andy J 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,920
    Location:
    Sanibel Island, Florida
    I looked around for an 'atypical' vehicle too, since, like you, I do almost 90% urban boundary work. I almost pulled the trigger on a Vovo CX70 wagon, since it was beefier than most smaller vehicles. But, since we needed a bigger family vehicle as well, I ended up with a giant Dodge. but maybe I need a small scooter to get back and forth to the office to offset my gas guzzler.
     
  10. Geoff Ashworth

    Geoff Ashworth 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    110
    Location:
    Sauk City, WI
    I don't know if the Ford Transit is a good choice or not, but I see a fair amount of them as work trucks for plumbers & electricians. Ford Transit Connect
     
  11. Robert Hill

    Robert Hill 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,574
    Location:
    St. Tammany Parish, LA
    Licensed in:
    LA
    Element

    Well from experience, I am going to disagree the preceding comments.
    I traded in a 2001 F250 supercab diesel for a new 04 Element AWD in 2004.
    It was used as my family car also. Japanese have the knowledge of using small space. The vertical space is amazing.
    Space for survey stuff was no problem. Folding the rear seats up on work days provided more than enough room for anything. I had a Thule roof rack also for extra stuff when needed.(full size spare etc)
    The 25' level rod had to be placed up the center of the element or tied to the roof.
    It is not meant for off-roading but I took it off-road here at times. I did all my post Katrina work out of it. The AWD got me out of some slippery situations.
    It is good for 2 person crew but 3 can be done by raising the left rear seat.
    Once during post Katrina work with a helper, we had it fully loaded with all survey gear plus gps units and tripods etc. Plenty of room. On the way home one day after Katrina,we saw a stranded mom with two kids who had a flat in a dangerous section of I-55. We stopped and tried to fix the flat but ended up loading them in the Element and drove them to a town where they could get help and make some calls.
    Once I was rear ended by a Nissan pick-up and drove away. The Nissan was towed away.
    I give it a big thumbs up. Swmbo disliked it because she thought it was ‘ugly’ She did not want to be seen driving it. She is a sports car person.
    We took it on a lot of road trips to the NE, Texas and Florida. BTW, it is great beach vehicle.
    Greta stereo system also. :-)
    I think they originally thought their market was young folk but baby boomers started buying them.
    After 4 years, I ended up trading it in for a loaded Ridgeline. I looked at Toyota FJ Cruisers and 4 door Wranglers but the Ridgeline outshined them for my purposes.
    Once again, great on space and storage and rides like a Mercedes.

    I think 2011 was the last production year for the Element.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. pencerules

    pencerules 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    166
    A local surveyor used a Honda Element before he retired and loved it. I have thought about one as well but I don't think it would be able to haul our Rhino.
     
  13. VH

    VH 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Licensed in:
    MA
    We looked at an Element a couple years ago before purchasing a Ford Transit. We found the element to be too small for our needs. It's just a passenger vehicle after all.

    The Transit has a ton of room for a smaller vehicle, and the mileage is pretty good. Having the sliding doors on both sides of the van is a nice feature as well.

    -V
     
  14. Matthew Loessin

    Matthew Loessin 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    Columbus, TX
    I guess we just like big trucks. Most of our vehicles are 4 door 2500HD 4x4 Chevys. We just replaced 10 Tundra's and 1500 Chevys with the 2500HD. We found that when you are running 15-20 crews the 3/4 ton pickups just work better and stand up to the hard life of pipeline and other oil and gas work.
     
  15. R. Michael Shepp

    R. Michael Shepp 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    573
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Plus if you don't have a big truck when you do oil and gas work everyone else on the job site will make fun of you. ;-)
     
  16. Matthew Loessin

    Matthew Loessin 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    Columbus, TX
    That too....

    We would probably be laughed off the job site if we showed up in an Element. Not that they dont have a purpose. Just not with us.
     
  17. clearcut

    clearcut 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    737
    I'm considering a Ford TransitConnect. Starts at $22k.

    Local appliance repair company pulled up to the house in one, I was fairly impressed with the set up. Looks like I could even haul a quad in the back if need be. Nice and secure as it had the solid panel/doors instead of windows option. He had a set of secured shelves for his tools.

    Guy from the appliance company said his savings in gas is close to his monthly payment after switching from a pickup.


    [​IMG]
     
  18. Mark Mayer

    Mark Mayer 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,415
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Licensed in:
    OK, OR, WA
    New "truck"

    > I'm with Stephen on this. Check out the weight. My full-sized Chevy is undersized for the amount of weight I'm carrying.
    I agree, generally, but if one is very careful about what is loaded up it could be done. Chris Lambrecht, and lots of other european surveyors, seems to manage with less.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. A Harris

    A Harris 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    3,335
    Location:
    NE Texas
    Licensed in:
    TX
    I have a 2001 Tacoma with offroad and towing package making it a 3/4 ton truck

    It is barely big enough to hold enough tools and is only for two people

    0.02
     
  20. dan

    dan 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Vancouver,Canada
    I am on my second Honda Element for surveying purposes. You have to be well organized with your box and make maximum use of the area. I removed one rear seat to slide the box inside. It is ok for urban surveying but not great when off road or steep driveways. The problem on hills is carrying around 300lbs of equipment makes hill climbing a little crazy! You should be able to get 90% of your stuff inside and will have to restock stakes etc. regularily. As it is a Honda it is very reliable and I really enjoy it.
     

Share This Page