This was for my 2006 Ridgeline. Posts 268 and 269 in this thread indicate the drain plug for the transmission in 2009 and later models is now located on passenger side of transmission instead of driver's side.
Mod note: this is for 2009 and up models. for 2008 and earlier, the info below is accurate.
I did the required maintenance for the A136 minder this past weekend at 43,866 miles. I bought my transmission fluid and VTM-4 fluid at a local Honda dealer. I did get the 2 washers for the differential bolts, but the service counter guy said he only had the two he sold me because they didn't use that many of them. According to him, only the oil pan bolt really required the change of washers each time. The washers on my Ridgeline didn't looked deformed or "crushed" in any way. All the washers fit flat against the bolt head and the mating surface, but I went ahead and used the two I bought for the differential. Since the Honda place didn't have but, I reused the others (2 for transfer case bolts, 1 for transmission drain bolt). I don't' think I'll bother with the washers for future fluid changes.
The transfer case is in close proximity to the exhaust system, so you may find yourself working close to some hot metal.
Here's a list of items I think you'll want to have on hand to do these fluid changes:
* 3/8" socket wrench, breaker bar and torque wrench (not required, but preferred)
* 1 long (8-10") socket extension
* 1 or 2 short (3") socket extensions
* 17mm socket for transmission refill bolt (all other bolts use the socket wrench's square head)
* drain pan(s)
* funnel with approximately 1 1/2-2 ft of tubing for VTM refill
* pump, turkey baster or other gizmo to aid in getting gear oil into transfer case; after my first transfer case oil change, I found a pump ($8) for boat motor oil at Wal-mart that fits the standard gear oil bottle
If you have these basic items, then changing the VTM-4, transmission and transfer case oil is almost as basic as changing your engine oil and filter. Go for it!!
Here's a summary of my experience and some pictures with changing the three fluids. By the way, I ordered the service manual from H&A and it is an excellent resource. Definitely more information that you will ever use, but worth the money. The only tools for removal and installation of the bolts are a 3/8" socket handle/torque wrench with 1 or 2 short extensions and a 17mm socket for removal of transmission refill hole bolt. All bolts are torqued back to 33-36 ft-lbs. I performed all the maintenance without lifting the vehicle. I found in a couple of cases that while one short extension would work in loosening bolts, using two kept my hands far enough away from the vehicle so that I didn't bang or scrape my hand on the undercarriage once they broke loose.
For my 2006 model, the transmission drain bolt is on the front left (driver's) side of the transmission. (NOTE:
drain plug location was moved to passenger rear corner in 2009 - per post 269 on page 27 of this thread). The head of the bolt will have some light blue paint on it (at least mine did). Use a breaker bar to break loosen the bolt enough to be able to unscrew it from the hole and drain the transmission fluid. I don't know if transmission fluid changes color much as it ages, but mine was not dirty looking at all.
After draining the transmission fluid and reinstalling the drain bolt and (old) washer, I discovered that the dipstick hole was too narrow for any funnel I had, but then read in my service manual that the transmission had a refill hole. The bolt on this hole has a 17mm head. I used a long extension (8-10") along with a shorter 3" ratchet extension to loosen the bolt, which unscrewed easily after initially breaking free. I used a transmission fluid funnels with the long spout to refill the transmission fluid.
View of transmission and drain plug (blue) from front of Ridgeline.
All the drain plug and refill bolts have this type of head - just use a 3/8" socket wrench or breaker bar to loosen them up.
View of transmission refill bolt looking down into engine compartment. Easily seen with hood propped open and leaning over driver side fender.
The transfer case oil refill was the most inconvenient of all due to the location of the refill hole. The drain hole for the transfer case sits flush in the housing, parallel to the ground, and you can use a 3/8 socket drive or breaker bar to loosen it. The oil that drained out of my Ridgeline was by no means dirty - it was still a clear gold color. I wondered if it even needed to be changed.
The next task was to refill the gear oil and this was the most problematic part of the whole process. The refill hole is perpendicular to the ground and faces the front of the vehicle, but positioned in such a manner than I couldn't use my torque wrench on it. Instead, I had to use a regular socket wrench with a short extension. To get enough force on the end of the wrench, I oriented myself to use my foot to push on the wrench. Once loose, the bolt unscrewed easily using a short extension.
If you look closely, you'll see that next to the transfer case refill hole, there is text imprinted on the case next to the hole that says "hypoid oil". Not having a better way to get oil into the case, I just stuck the pointed end of gear oil bottle in the refill hole and squeezed until oil started to trickle out the refill hole.
In order to correctly tighten the refill hole bolt on the transfer case, I ran the Ridgeline up on a set of ramps that provided enough ground clearance to easily use my torque wrench to tighten the bolt to the appropriate amount of torque.
Refill hole is at top center; drain plug is visible, but a little hard to see. Look between the "fins" on the underside of the transfer case.
The differential/VTM-4 was also easy to do. The drain and refill bolts on the VTM face the rear of the vehicle and are in a position where they can easily be accessed and removed use a socket wrench or breaker bar. You'll need a short to medium length extension to remove the upper one as it is recessed behind an opening in the frame. As suggested by someone here, the refill of the VTM-4 fluid was accomplished by taking the drain plug out of the trunk, attaching some tubing to the end of a funnel and running the tubing through the drain hole and into the differential refill hole.
(See pictures of VTM fluid change in subsequent post.)
Hope this information helps someone who is considering servicing these components. It's quite easy to do and I spent less on fluids than I did when I paid a local Honda dealer to change the VTM-4 fluid the first time that item came up on the MM.