Tag Archives: Tailgating

How To Install Table Adapters

You have either ordered the OEM replacement or aftermarket table adapters (clips) and you are ready to install them.

You should have received:

  • 4 – m4 x 18mm screws
  • 4 – m4 washers
  • 4 – m4 nuts
  • 4 – Adapters (clips)
  • 1 – nut insert tool
You should have four of everything pictured (depending on the kit you ordered your adapter or clip may look different).

Much like the original accessory, this installs on the underside of the spare tire cover.  You simply remove it and flip it over to show the anchor points.  Assuming you did not have the original kit, you will find 4 mounting points near the inside corners of the cover.

Notice in the illustration above that the supplied nut needs to slide under the bracket.  I have provided a tool to make that part easier.  Just place the nut on the tool and align it with the factory hole.  Orientation of the adapters wont completely matter with the reproduction of the OEM clips.  However, I did design them to align flush with the design of the cover.  If you are installing the aftermarket adapters orientation will matter.  You should be supplied with 2 versions of the clips, one is just a mirror of the other.  Because the legs are slightly offset the mounting point is not perfectly center where the adapter secures to the cover.  When you align the aftermarket adapters you want the protruding portion to be closest to the center of the cover.  I have included a video that should make it much easier to understand.

This video is focused on the aftermarket adapters, but would cover the basics of the original adapters.

I have been told that many of us have warped covers as we haul things and our Elements age.  If this is true, the legs may be difficult to attach.  We have found that connecting them on the flat surface while stepping on the center (to correct the warp) will allow the legs to connect.

I should also mention currently Walmart has the preferred legs on sale for 28 dollars.  This price is obviously subject to change.  Sometimes amazon.com carries the legs too, currently they only sell them through 3rd party vendors (and that is always a pain, I don’t recommend using amazon at this time.).

My Legs vs the Original

I made my best efforts to replicate the original accessory that takes the spare tire cover and turns it into a camping or tailgating table.  The accessory Honda offered has been discontinued.  This makes it very difficult to locate a set of legs.  Sometimes you will spot them for sale second hand.  Usually the person offering this item knows how rare it is, and the price reflects this.  I really liked the idea of creating a set of legs for myself, because I didn’t buy my first Element until late 2016.  I was too late to buy any of these accessories new.

I researched the legs, and read a post somewhere that a set of Coleman legs were really similar.  They supported the table, but didn’t connect.  I hoped if they were close enough I could develop an adapter to solve this issue and at least have a similar set for my own adventures.

You can see the original set of legs, they have a socket where a plastic adapter inserts to secure to the top.  The Coleman legs were designed to connect to a pole, similar to a Lego hand.  I was pleased to see that the Coleman legs did the movement.  3D printing something designed to go through stress to function is not ideal.  My final design accounts for the slight offset as well as allows the legs to connect no matter the direction the ‘Lego’ hand approaches it.  I also had to account for a limited height so the adapter would not impede with the final resting place of the table top (covering the spare).

I went through several changes to reach my final product.  Each of them solved a new problem I faced.
Recreation of the OEM clips in Nylon – Aftermarket Adapters in Nylon – Recreation of the OEM clips in ABS

In the picture above, comparing the original clips to the aftermarket adapters I designed you can see how my design does not allow for movement or flex.  That is because it is not needed.  its a stationary socket that the legs are designed to grip.  Because of this, the aftermarket design is superior.

The Coleman legs have a wider footprint.  This makes them more stable.  They are also constructed with steel.  One of the best parts is that they have a pin in place to stop the sliding mechanism when they are fully extended.  With the original legs you just have to guess as you line it up.  The Coleman legs open so easily too.  The original legs are pretty difficult to spread open.  You could easily open the Coleman legs with one hand.

So at the end of the day, both legs accomplish the same thing.  However, I feel I am selling a superior product.  

  • Steel vs Aluminum
  • Adapter is not prone to snap off
  • Reasonable cost (~60 depending on Coleman’ cost)
  • Wider stance – Table will be more stable and less capable of buckling under stress.
  • Still in production

If you would like to purchase my adapter I sell it on my Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/618863326/honda-element-aftermarket-table-kit

To purchase the accompanying legs go here: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-Compact-Folding-Table/20594119

Because a few of you asked, I also recreated the OEM clips.  Those can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/650451190/replacement-oem-element-table-clips