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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS
69,500 miles
I’m the original owner

About two months ago, I noticed a puff of blue smoke when starting the truck. Over the next few weeks, I observed this happening not only on startup, but also sometimes when accelerating from a stop. It’s especially bad if the truck has been idling for more than a few minutes. Figuring this was oil, I have been monitoring engine oil and topping off since it started.

Mechanically-inclined buddy advised I replace PCV valve, but did not solve problem.
A few weeks ago, I get flashing check engine light while driving, then changes to solid with VTM light. Code reader picks up P0304..misfire in cylinder four. Check plugs…all normal except for cylinder four, which was oil-fouled. Replaced plugs, CEL off now, but still smoking as before.

2.5 weeks later, get flashing check engine light again, so I pull brand new plug from cylinder 4, which is once again oil-fouled. Replaced it again, this time it lasted a mere three days before the flashing CEL returned. Other than the oil smoke, the truck drives fine and feels powerful.

I’ve been reading this forum since this issue started. Have seen several similar issues, seems to point to a defect. Others reported solutions ranging from replacing the front cylinder head to the entire engine. Hoping it's not going to come to that, but what else could it be?

I am posting for two reasons:
1. I wanted to let everyone know that another ’06 has a cylinder four issue and 2. For those that have dealt with a similar issue, is replacing the front head the solution?

Taking it in to the mechanic tomorrow, will report what mechanic says.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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69.5k miles is really low for a 10+ year old vehicle. What is your maintenance history on your RL?

STUV... if head gasket issues... wouldn't the puff of smoke from the tail pipe be white instead of blue?

It sounds like the OP has some oil usage if he has to top it off between changes too.

Good luck ztorgo and keep us advised.
 

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The flashing MIL and fouled plug indicate that cylinder 4 isn't firing. Spark (bad coil), Fuel (bad / clogged injector or bad fuel) or low compression (rings, valves, loose plug).

Check for spark at cylinder 4 at idle.
Then check compressions as suggested earlier. If Cylinder 4 is way off the others, do a leakdown test to determine if it is rings, head gasket or valves.

Have the valves been adjusted since new, and if so - how recently?
Any significant repairs recently?
 

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69.5k miles is really low for a 10+ year old vehicle. What is your maintenance history on your RL?

STUV... if head gasket issues... wouldn't the puff of smoke from the tail pipe be white instead of blue?

It sounds like the OP has some oil usage if he has to top it off between changes too.

Good luck ztorgo and keep us advised.


That means alot of sitting which could be bad rings. It depends on where the headgasket decided to let go. Often lets go between a waterjacket and the cylinder(white smoke) and rarely a oil jacket but is possible. And what I meant by head gasket job is remove head and have pressure checked and surfaced then if everything checks out inspect rings etc.

I missed where he said he tops off the oil. Period oil is getting where it shouldnt be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Valves have never been adjusted since new.

No significant repairs...just oil and fluid changes. Always used synthetic oil too.

I've driven it pretty much five days a week since I've owned it, just had short commutes. It hasn't ever sat idle for more than a few days at a time.

Just heard from the mechanic. They want to run a transducer test on it ($350)...the tech says he is skeptical it's just the head and is worried the rings are shot, which he said will require a complete engine rebuild (or a new motor...)

I certainly expected this truck to last a lot longer than this...
 

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Decided against the transducer test...going to take it to the dealer tonight and get their opinion. Hopefully Honda is willing to help me make this right...
I'm interested in what they recommend.

Based on the symptoms, I expect that you have low compression on cylinder 4 causing the occasional misfires.

But first I'd confirm that you have good spark on cylinder 4 and the injector is pulsing. A new coil or injector is a lot cheaper than an engine teardown.

Once spark and fuel are ruled out, I'd do a compression test followed by a leakdown test. The compression test would confirm the diagnosis, and a leakdown test may be able pinpoint whether it is valves, rings, or head gasket. Using oil could result from any of those. Both should be able to be done in under an hour, at whatever labour rate applies.

Where you go next depends on the results.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Ouch.

I'd really like to know the cause of the failure. Will they do a post-mortem?
 

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No Kidding! That is SO uncharacteristic... especially at that mileage. I wouldn't expect to lose rings on this engine at that mileage even if you NEVER changed the oil.

Sounds like something is definitely amiss. Gotta' be some unusual anomaly.

............ and the more I think about it, the fact that it's Cyl#4 adds to my suspicions. I'm betting the root cause of this is related to this recurring phenomenon..... & I'd bet it starts with the head.
It doesn't make sense that he's got bad rings. I mean it's "possible" he just got a bad set; but extremely unlikely. I wonder if they determined "it's rings" simply from a compression test. How else would they come to that conclusion w/o a tear down???

It would be a shame to pay for an entire rebuild if a new head is all you need. I'm just sayin'..........

Now in many cases, advanced failure mode of this head failure (that's what I'm calling it) results in further damage to pistons/cylinders, etc. In which case you're screwed anyway. :( But it doesn't sound like OP's problem has gone that far. It's hard (read impossible) to diagnose via a keyboard & screen, but I'd surely want to do a "measured" tear-down, starting with the head only, if it were me.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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I would like to think Honda might be interested in this low-mileage failure too. I believe I'd be in contact with Honda and see what they have to say.

AFAIK, these are still current Honda mail addresses:

Honda Automobile Customer Service
1919 Torrance Boulevard
Mail Stop: 500 - 2N - 7A
Torrance, CA 90501-2746

Honda North America, Inc.
ATTN: Tetsuo Iwamura
700 Van Ness Av.
Torrance, CA 90501

Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
21001 State Route 739
Raymond, OH 43067-9705
 

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2009 RTS
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It's the largest complaint for MY 06'
Click on your MY to find complaints.....Here.
Then you can click on a category to expand details.
 

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I need to look at the 09' updates, but I remember reading something about Honda changing the casting on the heads to resolve this issue.
As many have reported that a head swap solved their issue as they found cracks in the head.
Food for thought.
 

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wouldn't you love to see the tech notes on this?

1 hour labour - blue smoke on start up, rings are shot.

Pay me.


No leak down, no wet/dry compression, no video image with a scope...
Wanna bet?
 

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It's the largest complaint for MY 06'
Click on your MY to find complaints.....Here.
Then you can click on a category to expand details.
Thanks for that. This shows 29 complaints for "cyl 4 problem" on 2006 RL. That's a pretty convincing # to indicate an inherent problem. And there were probably more than those (ones not reported here).
Anyway, 29 is more than I would have guessed given exposure here on the ROC. Not a huge #..... but definitely a significant one.
If Honda DID change their head casting to fix this, you'd think they would have provided warranty relief for anyone suffering this deficiency. That "used to be" their style. But we've talked that one to death haven't we.
 

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Thanks for that. This shows 29 complaints for "cyl 4 problem" on 2006 RL. That's a pretty convincing # to indicate an inherent problem. And there were probably more than those (ones not reported here).
Anyway, 29 is more than I would have guessed given exposure here on the ROC. Not a huge #..... but definitely a significant one.
If Honda DID change their head casting to fix this, you'd think they would have provided warranty relief for anyone suffering this deficiency. That "used to be" their style. But we've talked that one to death haven't we.
NP Dnick, if you scroll down on the #4 issue and read the complaints, everything seems to point to the head being cracked.
Some state they tried:
New block/old head...no fix
Bored block oversize pistons rings/old head....no fix
New head....Fix.

I researched the net quickly and seems around $600 for a re-manufactured head with warranty and prolly $3-400 labor seems to be the norm.

If I had this problem, I'd just pull the head and send it to my fav rebuild shop for a good cleaning/inspection.

edit: Magnafluxing the head would find the crack in a new york minute....lol
editII: If you do change the head, use new head bolts, most are 1 time use and are already stretched.
 

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NP Dnick, if you scroll down on the #4 issue and read the complaints, everything seems to point to the head being cracked.
Some state they tried:
New block/old head...no fix
Bored block oversize pistons rings/old head....no fix
New head....Fix.

I researched the net quickly and seems around $600 for a re-manufactured head with warranty and prolly $3-400 labor seems to be the norm.

If I had this problem, I'd just pull the head and send it to my fav rebuild shop for a good cleaning/inspection.

edit: Magnafluxing the head would find the crack in a new york minute....lol
editII: If you do change the head, use new head bolts, most are 1 time use and are already stretched.
Maybe the term's being used generically, but I thought Magnafluxing was only on steel heads. Ours are aluminum, right? There's probably some similar process they use on aluminum to detect cracks (die penetrant maybe?). Anyway, it's been a long time since I've been close to any of this, so I could be way off base (out in left field), but that was my "loose" recollection (manfiflux for steel only). Somebody bring me up to date. :)
 

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2009 RTS
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Correct, it's some type of dye/developer that will stand out. The work was done in the same booth which is what made me think of mag, sorry for the confusion, I'm blaming the eggnog....lol.

I did the job a long time ago which is what made me think of it.
 

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wouldn't you love to see the tech notes on this?

1 hour labour - blue smoke on start up, rings are shot.

Pay me.


No leak down, no wet/dry compression, no video image with a scope...
Wanna bet?
I hope the "replace engine" diagnosis was free. Only way the OP got his money's worth. Time for a second opinion.

OP - Unless the dealer shows you the compression and leakdown results for cylinder 4 and at least 2 others, I'd go find someone with a reputation for honest work and pay them to properly diagnose your engine while you watch. It could be the rings - I acknowledge that - but there are a lot of much cheaper things that also fit with your symptoms. An hour of a good tech's time could save you thousands.

Or if you can round up $100-$200 in tools, you could do the tests yourself. I'd use a spark tester, stethoscope, compression tester, a leak down tester & source of compressed air and possibly a video scope, in that order.

IMO - Rings are the least likely issue. Valves, head gasket or cracked head are much more likely, and much cheaper as well.
 
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