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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, today was the day we took the little Roadster we have into the shop to have some paint and body work done. We borrowed a steel-decked utility trailer from a friend (which frankly probably weighed more than the car), hooked it up, loaded up the car, and set out this morning.

The Good: the RL handled like a champ. There was a small amount of jerking, but I'm a very inexperienced trailer-driver (see "The Ugly", below) so I'm not sure how much of that was my own fault. I've ridden in other vehicles that were pulling trailers, and the RL jerked a *lot* less. When I drove home with an empty trailer, it was hard to remember that I had something back there -- couldn't feel it at all.

The Bad: the body shop didn't really have their act together. After telling me to pull into a really tight spot, I then had to back out onto the street in between parked cars, basically needing to jackknife the trailer to get it properly aligned. That sucked, but I pulled it off. Then they told me to drive around the block and pull into one of their gates. They decided at the last minute that they wanted me to *back in* to the gate, which involved blocking 2 of 3 lanes of traffic to get the right angle.

The Ugly: I tried 3 times to get the trailer in without jackknifing it. I was really wigging out, and my SO was NO help to me. The third time, I jackknifed the trailer right into my bumper. I'm soooooooooooooo bummed. I have this knot in my stomach like I'm gonna cry. :(

Has anyone used a body shop for their Ridge here in LA yet? I could give it to the people who are fixing the Roadster, but I doubt they've ever worked on this car before -- they mostly do classic restorations, but not exclusively.

See pics:
 

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Ouch! Sorry about the damage. Happens to the best of us (and I'm certainly NOT amoung the best). I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. In that incredible traffic a semi was trying to back into one of those silly narrow and deep loading docks in the Civic Center area (on Larkin). They had a small army of very large Samoan warehousemen trying to help the driver squeeze into the spot. There were pedestrians and bicyclists weaving in and out around the semi. Talk about tense. I had to laugh because the completely frazzled driver finally threw his hands above his head, put it in first and drove off! I couldn't blame him.
It sounds like you were facing some of the same challenges. You did well only damaging your bumper cover. I would have probably trashed one or both of those parked cars. Trailers are NOT supposed to go backwards!

P.S. is that a Datsun (not Nissan) on the trailer?
 

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Sorry about the damage. That is easy to do when your under pressure. I once mounted a new tool box on the front of my dune buggy trailer and next trip to dunes I jackknifed it into my motor home bumper. Luckily the tool box took all the damage.

If the body shop didn't help you back into their driveway, they should of. :mad:

I don't live in the LA area but any body shop with a good reputation will be able to fix the damage that shows in the picture. It doen't look like you did any structural damge. Shop around and look at their work and get references.

Again, so sorry, I know how that hurts.
 

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Ouch, we all feel your pain, backing a trailer is not easy, don't feel bad, even experienced 18-wheeler jockeys sometimes need help. Many years ago, before the advent of roll-on roll-off ferries, I remember watching 18-wheelers being backed onto the steamship Nobska at Woods Hole, MA (there are probably some on this forum that know this vessel). Some drivers couldn't do it, and someone else would have to do it for them. The really good ones, though, could do it so fast and effortless it was stunning, it's an amazing skill and one that probably took a long time to develop.

Anyway, the worst-case scenario is you need a new bumper cover and odds are good you can get your damaged one repaired. Let us know how it all turns out.
 

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College Hills Honda (http://www.collegehillshondaparts.com/) has the rear bumper cover for $284.70 +s/h.

You might try calling Virtual Body Shop (http://www.virtualbodyshop.com), they don't have the part listed but you might try anyway. I bought a bumper cover from them a couple of months ago for my wife's Acura TL. It came painted to the factory code so I needed to do was install it. I punted and took to a local body shop for the install. New bumper cover and install $300. You can't tell its not the factory bumper.
 

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That hurts, flymuck. Backing up a trailer takes a lot of practice and that was not the place to have to do it. It's even harder when you don't have a helper to guide you, but that too is a skill that comes only with practice. I have been towing for over 35 years and it has just been in the last few years that the DW has gotten up the nerve to assist me in backing up into a tight spot, but the more she does it the better she gets at it.
 

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I have only towed one time before using my wife's 2003 Pilot tugging a UHaul from Memphis to Philly and back (all in 72 hours).

I got the tow package on my RT and the dealer spent alot of time explaining to me that I must turn off the VSA during towing. Apparently the VSA (vehicle stability assist) gets "confused" with the shimming of the trailer and it applies brakes to tires as if it is slipping out of control. Dealer said this would make towing a bumpy experince if the VSA was left on during towing. This was news to me - did you disengage the VSA?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mayfielh -- thanks for the info! I had no idea I might be able to get out of this so inexpensively. I figured I was in for at least $500, if not more. I will definitely check out the sites you recommended.

DoctorJ, excellent point you have, my friend. I guess I won't be fixing my beauty until the Roadster's home from the shop. :)

Sprite, you're right (good eye!) it's a Datsun -- a 1967.5 Datsun Roadster (aka Fairlady). We're doing a fairly complete restore (although not frame-up) -- we got the engine rebuilt and everything (pics: http://www.wheelshark.org/Roadster/engine_rebuild.htm).

The previous owner posted pics of the car here: http://community.webshots.com/album/100253480MdzBoc
How convenient for me, since I haven't taken pics of it myself, and it's all in pieces now!

Thanks everyone for your help and your words of consolation -- it really helped a lot. I will let everyone know how I end up fixing it, and so forth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
kdogofjtown said:
I have only towed one time before using my wife's 2003 Pilot tugging a UHaul from Memphis to Philly and back (all in 72 hours).

I got the tow package on my RT and the dealer spent alot of time explaining to me that I must turn off the VSA during towing. Apparently the VSA (vehicle stability assist) gets "confused" with the shimming of the trailer and it applies brakes to tires as if it is slipping out of control. Dealer said this would make towing a bumpy experince if the VSA was left on during towing. This was news to me - did you disengage the VSA?
No -- I had no idea that I was supposed to! Doh! OK, I guess I better read the manual... :eek: My dealer knew less about the car than I did, so no help there.
 

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Ouch ouch ouch.

Hope you get it repaired/replaced to your satisfaction.

I think backing a trailer is fricking hard :mad:
 

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I got the tow package on my RT and the dealer spent alot of time explaining to me that I must turn off the VSA during towing. Apparently the VSA (vehicle stability assist) gets "confused" with the shimming of the trailer and it applies brakes to tires as if it is slipping out of control. Dealer said this would make towing a bumpy experince if the VSA was left on during towing. This was news to me - did you disengage the VSA?
I think your dealer is dead wrong. Honda does not recommend towing with the VSA off.
I have towed over 2500 miles with the RL, all with the VSA on. With a properly loaded trailer, the RL is the most rock solid tow vehicle I have driven.
The only time the VSA would engage when towing a trailer is if the trailer were swaying so bad that it was sending the RL out of control. If that is the case, you had better have the VSA on and hope that it can help bring everything under control before you do have an accident. By the "dealer", do you mean the sales person?
 

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That's awful. I feel bad that you hurt your truck. All that pressure to go this and that way and back in would have left me unsettled too. Backing a trailer is hard in the best situations. I hope the next time you tow you have no hurry or tricky maneuvers.
 

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Sorry this happened to you. When I have to do anything tricky like that I just hand the keys to the shop owners and tell them to do it. A) They know the lay of their own land better than I do and B) if they mess it up, I can try to claim they should have it fixed.

When you do get it fixed, would you please be so kind as to post here what the damage was.

Someone (anonymous, of course) managed to create a similar mess out of my back bumper in a parking lot recently. I haven't bothered to enquire about replacement (or repair) costs yet - I am still crying so I can feel your pain.

Apparently it doesn't take much to tear the bumper so maybe we all need to get ready for an eventual repair of that type unfortunately.
 

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Webwader said:
I think your dealer is dead wrong. Honda does not recommend towing with the VSA off.
I have towed over 2500 miles with the RL, all with the VSA on. With a properly loaded trailer, the RL is the most rock solid tow vehicle I have driven.
The only time the VSA would engage when towing a trailer is if the trailer were swaying so bad that it was sending the RL out of control. If that is the case, you had better have the VSA on and hope that it can help bring everything under control before you do have an accident. By the "dealer", do you mean the sales person?

Like I said I only towed one time before and I have nothing to tow now. I was suprised that he spent so much time explaining this to me. He (the dealer and sales guy) was the first to buy one off their lot and he told me he towed a trailer and a boat almost every week and he always turned off the VSA because it gets "confused" about the shimming and it applied brakes to his RTL. I did not see anything about this in the manual - just going by what the guy at the dealer and fellow owner for almost 7 months told me. His direct recommendation was to turn off the VSA with any towing to prevent it "overacting from being confused."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Chiasma said:
Sorry this happened to you. When I have to do anything tricky like that I just hand the keys to the shop owners and tell them to do it. A) They know the lay of their own land better than I do and B) if they mess it up, I can try to claim they should have it fixed.
I actually suggested that they do it... they didn't take me up on my suggestion, probably because of b) -- they didn't want to be responsible for damaging my truck!

Chiasma said:
When you do get it fixed, would you please be so kind as to post here what the damage was.
Will do -- although DoctorJ had a very good point... I'll probably wait until we tow the Roadster home before repairing it, just in case... :rolleyes:

Chiasma said:
Someone (anonymous, of course) managed to create a similar mess out of my back bumper in a parking lot recently. I haven't bothered to enquire about replacement (or repair) costs yet - I am still crying so I can feel your pain.

Apparently it doesn't take much to tear the bumper so maybe we all need to get ready for an eventual repair of that type unfortunately.
That sucks. I feel your pain. You're right -- the bumper cover does seem to tear pretty easily. Mayfielh gave me some good places to start to find a replacement; it would be super-sweet if I could find one pre-painted to my color (which, BTW, is the best color, regardless of what LadyRidge might say ;) ).

Thanks, everyone! :D
 

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Flymuck, definitely try to get a prepainted one done if you can, the dealerships around here charge about $250 just to mix up the paint for a factory match. They don't charge much of anything else if it is just touch up but that would definitely put you into the $550 range with the bumper cover replacement. As was already mentioned, don't bother to do this till you are done with this towing activity, the bumper is plastic so it isn't like you are exposing anything that is going to rust or corrode. I had to have my bumper repaired after Sears put a big gouge in it, it cost Sears almost $650 for the repair and that didn't even require a replacement bumper cover. I think that when the work was actually done they only charged Sears $300 though.
 
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