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Old 05-04-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
Tripmaker
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Rear differential oil

How important is it to change the rear diff oil on the Ridgeline at 15K or whenever it shows up on the MM? I ask this because in 40 years of driving other vehicles, I have never changed the rear diff oil and have never had a failure. I can't say that I even know of anyone who has had a rear diff failure. Is there a "how to" thread on this? I tried the search but it only turned up a thread on hydrolocking.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: Rear differential oil

Duh! Just found the how-to section.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: Rear differential oil

In a nutshell, the VTM differential has an electronic clutch system that applies power to the rear wheels at a rate depending on the demand of the engine, it is not a constant drive system like you have in a conventional differential. Under normal cruising, the truck is in front-wheel drive.
Being no ordinary differential means maintenance (or lack thereof) is also not ordinary.


http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/V...planation.html
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:39 AM   #4
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Re: Rear differential oil

Glad you found the how-to.

Changing the rear diff (VTM-4) fluid is vital for Honda vehicles with the VTM-4 system. There are electrically controlled clutches in the rear diff which are in frequent use.

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/V...planation.html

Edit: Hah! Ya beat me to it!
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Last edited by speedlever; 05-04-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: Rear differential oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedlever View Post

Hah! Ya beat me to it!
That's ok..nothing like driving the point home.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: Rear differential oil

Sounds like a must do. I'll get on it.

Thanks
Jim
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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Re: Rear differential oil

Noticing that you have a 2007 RL, do you only have 15k miles on it?

Do you use the MM for your maintenance alerts? If so, do you always let the MM get at least to the <15% alert before you do the maintenance and reset it?
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
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Re: Rear differential oil

Yes I have more than 15K on it. Closer to 35K. I've been taking it to the dealer for oil changes when the MM says I should (15%). They only charge about $15 for an oil and filter change, for that I can't be bothered doing it myself. They wanted to change the diff oil at 15K but I declined on the basis of what I started this thread with. So far that has been their only recomendation other than an overpriced air filter that I changed myself. Oh! and tire rotation that they "only" wanted $35 or there abouts for.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Rear differential oil

As a side note I haven't spent much time in this forum. I also own a 2011 Volvo C30 that I purchased last summer and spend most of my time in that forum as that is my "fun" car. Before that I had a 2006 Miata that I did all the maintenance on, not that it needed much. The C30 came with their "Safe and Secure" plan that covers all maintenance and wear items with the exception of tires for 60K or 60 months.

Looks like I may need to spend a bit more time in this forum.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #10
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Re: Rear differential oil

Yeah, you are behind schedule on the rear diff then. Have them show you the mag plug on the rear diff drain when they change it (and before they clean it.) I'd be curious to know how dirty it is. Take a pic of it and post here, if you care to.

BTW, you can easily change the rear diff fluid yourself, if so inclined. There are a number of threads here that discuss the process with pics, etc. You can buy the fluid typically for under $30/gallon. Tip: keep the VTM-4 fluid changing tools clean of other contaminants. The VTM-4 fluid does NOT like to be contaminated. I dedicate a gallon pump and some tubing for this process. And having two vehicles with the same maintenance requirements make my task a bit easier.

As long as you let the MM get to the 15% alert, you should see any other associated maintenance that tags onto the oil change. If you change before the 15% alert, you won't see the extra maintenance alerts unless you do the force retrieve process. It's a little tricky if you don't understand how the MM system works.

For the record, I don't recall seeing much debris on my rear diff mag plug when changed at normal alerts. But here's a pic of my tranny mag plug when changed at 17k miles on my RL:

Now that's pretty dirty IMO!
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Last edited by speedlever; 05-04-2011 at 12:56 PM.
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