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So my 2008 RTL has been flawless for us and we just passed 190,000 miles. I serviced the oil, trans fluid, spark plugs, air filter last month and then we used the truck to pull (using a tow bar) our Jeep YJ a few weeks ago and everything has been perfect and no issues. Then when driving the truck to work (<8 miles) she started to hesitate (drivetrain) and within a mile it was barely getting any power from the motor to the wheels. I automatically assumed there must be a missed trani leak but actually there was a leak but it was coming from the radiator reservoir! Upon inspection inside the reservoir is where i was shocked to see this thick pink/purple crap of which in doing research here I've learned that is the trani fluid leaking inside the radiator (which i'm learning was a manufacture design defect due to washer rusting out and leaking the trani fluid into the radiator) and so now im preparing to order a new radiator, tons of trani fluid (at least enough to do 4-5 flushes), and several gallons of antifreeze (at least enough to do 3 flushes).

So my question to this group is, has anyone just bypassed the regular radiator and just connected the trani lines together and blocked off the in/out ports on the radiator so that this never happens again? From what i understand, the trani fluid goes through the radiator to HEAT it up faster and that there's a separate trani cooler to maintain the correct trani temp.
Cloud Wheel Land vehicle Sky Vehicle
 

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2014 Sport
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This has been discussed and argued quite a bit already. If you replace your stock radiator with just about ANY of the available aftermarket radiators the fitting design to the heat exchanger will be VERY unlikely to have a future SMOD event. Basically there is really no need to give up the heat exchanger inside the radiator in order to avoid another SMOD event; just get a new aftermarket radiator.
Every Ridgeline comes with the oil (transmission fluid) to water (coolant) heat exchanger inside the radiator and an oil (transmission fluid) to air cooler mounted in front of the radiator. The oil to air cooler doesn't really "maintain" the temperature since it is not thermostatically controlled and all it can do is lower the temperature.
 

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2017 RTL-T FWD
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…….From what i understand, the trani fluid goes through the radiator to HEAT it up faster and that there's a separate trani cooler to maintain the correct trani temp.……..
FALSE. If you were to monitor ECT in the cold radiator tank, you would see that the radiator does NOT “HEAT it up faster”. Driving is what heats up tranny fluid.
 

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I think the main issue with bypassing the radiator heat exchanger would be the transmission being OVER cooled during frigid weather.

Not sure where you live, and how cold it gets in the winter, but if the transmission never got up to proper operating temperature, it would probably cause significantly more wear and tear on it.

But then again, this is just speculation on my behalf, and I am definitely not a transmission engineer by any means!
 

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2017 RTL-T FWD
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Driving is what "heats" the transmission fluid. What would you think the proper tranny operating temp is???? Bad idea to bypass the tranny COOLER located in the cold tank of the rad. Bad Idea to bypass any part of the tranny cooling system, unless it's for bigger component. Never seen a thread talking about "too cool" running the tranny. Can't say that about "tranny overheated" threads. My thinking is if you tow heavy/often and do not monitor TRF, you cannot not change tranny fluid too ofter.
 

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