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Last week my '07 Ridgeline (134K miles) rounded a corner and after a few seconds of intermittent engagement the engine disengaged from the drive. On pulling over / coasting to a stop and popping the hood, a quick survey found an overflow at the transmission cooler expansion tank. After pick up and removal to the shop, my mechanic reported that there had been a failure in the transmission cooler and that the car had been trashed / totaled since water had "entered the transmission". Says a fix will cost about $4K (transmission, radiator and all) which is probably more than the car is worth, Also said that this failure was not uncommon in Ridgeline and Pilot models.

Any experience / comments? Love the Ridge but don't want to throw good money after bad.

Thanks
 

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2019 RTL-E (white on beige) in central Texas
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Welcome to ROC, sorry to hear of your woes, it's not new news unfortunately.

Read it ..... and weep 馃槩


(SMOD = Strawberry Milkshake of Death; it's what you get when coolant mixes with tranny fluid, a problem particular to 1G of the Ridgeline, usually due to a corroded/failed fitting at the radiator / tranny cooler interface).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to ROC, sorry to hear of your woes, it's not new news unfortunately.

Read it ..... and weep 馃槩


(SMOD = Strawberry Milkshake of Death; it's what you get when coolant mixes with tranny fluid, a problem particular to 1G of the Ridgeline, usually due to a corroded/failed fitting at the radiator / tranny cooler interface).
Got it .... SMOD it is!!

(That'll teach me the benefit of waiting until I have a problem before I investigate an Owner's Group)
 

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2014 Sport
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The expansion tank is for coolant not transmission fluid . . .When a SMOD failure occurs the transmission fluid and coolant can mix introducing transmission fluid into the cooling system and coolant into the transmission. Read up on SMOD. If you are lucky, your truck will survive this incident. You will need to do multiple dump and fills of the transmission fluid and replace the radiator and coolant with new. This is probably not something you want to pay a mechanic to do but rather do yourself as the labor costs for a mechanic will be high and there isn't a guarantee that the purging will be successful. That said, many Ridgelines that have had a SMOD failure are running fine after a proper "cleansing." Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Many thanks. An interesting question here. Trying to figure out a way to "do the math".

So the questions are, "what are the odds that a new radiator and an adequate number of flushes will deal with the issue?" and / or,
"is there any way to tell in advance whether or not a flush is likely to do the trick?"
 

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If you鈥檙e doing the work yourself the math is easy, probably about 300 bucks and parts and fluid replaced the radiator, pull line and start the engine pump the fluid out of the transmission into a bucket or something keep fluid in it I did it to mine when it blew up as long as you didn鈥檛 drive the crap out of it overheated it should be fine. You will be pulling crap out of coolantfor a while..buy a new cap too

If you鈥檙e doing the work yourself the math is easy, probably about 300 bucks and parts and fluid replaced the radiator, pull line and start the engine pump the fluid out of the transmission into a bucket or something keep fluid in it I did it to mine when it blew up as long as you didn鈥檛 drive the crap out of it overheated it should be fine. You will be pulling crap out of coolantfor a while..buy a new cap too
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you鈥檙e doing the work yourself the math is easy, probably about 300 bucks and parts and fluid replaced the radiator, pull line and start the engine pump the fluid out of the transmission into a bucket or something keep fluid in it I did it to mine when it blew up as long as you didn鈥檛 drive the crap out of it overheated it should be fine. You will be pulling crap out of coolantfor a while..buy a new cap too
Many Thanks (but not as easy as it sounds) ... Ridge quit on the road and is now sitting in the mechanics lot after he brought it in. No way to move it home and, so far, no way to convince him that a flush will work. He says he's investigating the situation but so far he seems to be relying on the advice of a local transmission specialist. A tear it down and re-build it guy it seems.
 

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Is the SMOD problem an issue of concern for a 2011 Ridgeline?
Mine has 120,000 miles on it and original radiator.
 

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If you are at all mechanically capable and have a place to work on it, then have the vehicle towed to your place. There is a good chance that the transmission will be OK after the flushing.
 

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Many Thanks (but not as easy as it sounds) ... Ridge quit on the road and is now sitting in the mechanics lot after he brought it in. No way to move it home and, so far, no way to convince him that a flush will work. He says he's investigating the situation but so far he seems to be relying on the advice of a local transmission specialist. A tear it down and re-build it guy it seems.
Easy enough
AAA

its your car

sounds like an easy choice to me..throw your time labor and 300 bucks plus shop charging you to look at it...no go? Can always scrap it sell it take back to shop..
you are the customer...

Is the SMOD problem an issue of concern for a 2011 Ridgeline?
Mine has 120,000 miles on it and original radiator.
dont know..cheap enough to change exercise if you are do for coolant change
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Look at the trans cooler lines on your radiator. One nut: bad.


Two nut: good.



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Yep. I proactively replaced my radiator last month when I did the TB/WP/Valve adjust/sparkplugs/etc major service. I chose a radiator that had the double nut design. It came from a local O'Reilley's for under $200. So far, so good.

Here's a pic of the 1/8 inch of threads holding the OEM design together (single nut design)
402933
 

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Man sorry to hear, when I picked up my 230k+ mile Ridgeline the first thing I did was replace the radiator. You pretty much have nothing to loose at this point. Replace the radiator and try to flush the tranny. Just prey your clutch packs didn't burn up. Like others have stated though it will be a while before you can get all the water out. But still worth a shot. Not sure where you're at, but transmissions go for about $500-800 in my area, Transmission swap on a ridgeline is not that difficult granted you have tools and a buddy to help you man-handle the transmission.
 

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I bought one of these for closer to $12-15 total and think I had it on hand after my radiator failed.


I changed my own radiator and sucked every drop of trans fluid I could out of the trans. I would do the same and then plan on doing several more trans fluid flushes.

Here鈥檚 the radiator you will need:

Spectra Premium CU2830 Complete Radiator https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RDCD78/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ATJ2EbQCAFVMA

I go my trans fluid from the local dealer.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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It still boggles the mind, I've only had Honda's and worked on my own Honda's my entire life, I've had old honda's like from 1992, nearly 30 years on the original radiator, and never heard of any issues with tranny fluid mixing with coolant. I suppose mid 2000's is when Honda started cheapening out on certain parts.
 

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It still boggles the mind, I've only had Honda's and worked on my own Honda's my entire life, I've had old honda's like from 1992, nearly 30 years on the original radiator, and never heard of any issues with tranny fluid mixing with coolant. I suppose mid 2000's is when Honda started cheapening out on certain parts.
Its not a cheap part and Honda doesn't make it. It was a bad connection choice / material choice decision by the supplier. What was poor was Honda's failure to acknowledge the issue.
 

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Last week my '07 Ridgeline (134K miles) rounded a corner and after a few seconds of intermittent engagement the engine disengaged from the drive. On pulling over / coasting to a stop and popping the hood, a quick survey found an overflow at the transmission cooler expansion tank. After pick up and removal to the shop, my mechanic reported that there had been a failure in the transmission cooler and that the car had been trashed / totaled since water had "entered the transmission". Says a fix will cost about $4K (transmission, radiator and all) which is probably more than the car is worth, Also said that this failure was not uncommon in Ridgeline and Pilot models.

Any experience / comments? Love the Ridge but don't want to throw good money after bad.

Thanks
I had a problem eith transmission cooler line piping out of the lower radiator connection. It pulled/piped right out of the plastic tank of the radiator. It didn鈥檛 trash the transmission but pumped all the fluid out. Luckily I was able to pull over while I was loosing fluid and mobility. The cooler line was still good and reused, just the connection into the plastic tank failed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Many thanks. With a little luck I may be in the same position. I was able to stop pretty quickly and a post-mortem by my mechanic revealed that there was still some fluid in the transmission. It would appear then that the two systems (radiator water and transmission fluid) did not equalize. The cooling system is a mess, and the radiator will be replaced, but I still have hope for the trans. The Ridge is still sitting on the mechanics lot, he's backlogged, and I have a typical, i.e. inadequate, garage at home. How many, if any, times did you flush the transmission during your recovery process? Any other recommendations?
 
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