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The Honda press kit for RL VCM operations states:

To further smooth the activating or deactivating cylinders, the system adjusts ignition timing and throttle position and turns the torque converter lock-up on and off. As a result, the transition between three and six cylinder modes is effectively unnoticeable to the driver.
 

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So I took my Ridgeline into a local transmission shop. He was very familiar with Honda's and understood what the P0741 code meant. He spent all morning running tests and doing test drives but could not get the Transmission Error to appear again. I think now that a not so reputable Honda dealer I had gone to may have put the wrong type of fluid in my torque converter. It was after that that I started getting the error. Then during the evaluation done by a different (and better) dealer they drained and replaced the fluid, probably with the correct type, Honda ATF DW1. Which hopefully solved the problem. I have driven about 40 miles so far with no issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I was planning a cross country trip in a few days and I want to be sure the problem is gone.
 

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So I took my Ridgeline into a local transmission shop. He was very familiar with Honda's and understood what the P0741 code meant. He spent all morning running tests and doing test drives but could not get the Transmission Error to appear again. I think now that a not so reputable Honda dealer I had gone to may have put the wrong type of fluid in my torque converter. It was after that that I started getting the error. Then during the evaluation done by a different (and better) dealer they drained and replaced the fluid, probably with the correct type, Honda ATF DW1. Which hopefully solved the problem. I have driven about 40 miles so far with no issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I was planning a cross country trip in a few days and I want to be sure the problem is gone.
Let us know how it goes! I have kept my Ridgeline as it is so great for the utility it provides and the wife does not mind driving it on the occasions she has to. But I am continually worried about if, or when, the torque converter problem will arise again. At 85K miles now, I am probably driving from Pennsylvania to Denver in October...fingers crossed!
 

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How often are you getting the "Transmission System Problem" message. I didn't want to take a chance and drove across country with a rental car. Both Honda dealers were not helpful at all. One wanted me to replace the torque converter $4,000.00 and the other the entire transmission $ 9000.00. I'm following also driving normally with my fingers crossed. i'll update if anything changes. Good luck on your trip!!!
 

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How often are you getting the "Transmission System Problem" message. I didn't want to take a chance and drove across country with a rental car. Both Honda dealers were not helpful at all. One wanted me to replace the torque converter $4,000.00 and the other the entire transmission $ 9000.00. I'm following also driving normally with my fingers crossed. i'll update if anything changes. Good luck on your trip!!!
What, specifically, about both dealers was not helpful? Are you saying "both dealers were not helpful at all" simply because you don't want to accept the reality that you may need a $4,000 torque converter?

I suppose you could keep trying dealer after dealer and paying diagnostic fees while hoping for a less expensive fix, but what if they all say the same thing?
 

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What, specifically, about both dealers was not helpful? Are you saying "both dealers were not helpful at all" simply because you don't want to accept the reality that you may need a $4,000 torque converter?

I suppose you could keep trying dealer after dealer and paying diagnostic fees while hoping for a less expensive fix, but what if they all say the same thing?
What, specifically, about both dealers was not helpful? Are you saying "both dealers were not helpful at all" simply because you don't want to accept the reality that you may need a $4,000 torque converter?

I suppose you could keep trying dealer after dealer and paying diagnostic fees while hoping for a less expensive fix, but what if they all say the same thing?
Well I guess the problem I have with the dealers is that did not want to go beyond the error message. I did some research on that particular message and, from what I learned, there is a solenoid which engages a clutch in the transmission so there is a direct connection between the motor output and the transmission at high speeds. The error message is generated when the difference between the engine output and the trans input is above 200 rpm and that solenoid is not engaging.

What I think Honda is afraid of is that it would taka a lot of time trouble shooting and trial and error effort and it's easier to replace the entire unit. It's interesting that one dealer wanted to replace just the torque converter and the other wanted to replace the entire transmission. I have talked to a local transmission shop and they are happy to try to track down what is causing the message but can't do it because the message is so sporadic.

The trans only has 90K miles and I have never done any towing or even been close to having the truck fully loaded.
 

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Well I guess the problem I have with the dealers is that did not want to go beyond the error message. I did some research on that particular message and, from what I learned, there is a solenoid which engages a clutch in the transmission so there is a direct connection between the motor output and the transmission at high speeds. The error message is generated when the difference between the engine output and the trans input is above 200 rpm and that solenoid is not engaging.

What I think Honda is afraid of is that it would taka a lot of time trouble shooting and trial and error effort and it's easier to replace the entire unit. It's interesting that one dealer wanted to replace just the torque converter and the other wanted to replace the entire transmission. I have talked to a local transmission shop and they are happy to try to track down what is causing the message but can't do it because the message is so sporadic.

The trans only has 90K miles and I have never done any towing or even been close to having the truck fully loaded.
The most common cause of P0741 is torque converter clutch failure. The clutch is inside the torque converter. Four of the five causes of P0741 are valves that are inside the transmission. Dealers are not permitted to open transmission cases. So, when a code is found that could be caused by an internal failure, the dealer will typically recommend a transmission replacement. Codes that point directly to solenoids or pressure switches that do not require opening the transmission case can be replaced by dealers. Unfortunately, P0741 is not one of those codes.

The dealer who recommended replacing the torque converter is taking a gamble. If they replaced the torque converter for $4,000 then a week later the code came back, they might then tell you need a new transmission for $9,000 for a total of $13,000. The dealer who recommended a new transmission for $9,000 is playing it safe by replacing both components that could have caused P0741.

The problem you're having is unlikely to go away on its own. It's more likely to stay the same or get worse. If the torque converter clutch continues to slip, you run the risk of overheating the transmission fluid and damaging the transmission. Eventually, the clutch will wear out and won't engage at all. Fuel economy will decrease and you may feel or hear vibrations and/or chatter. If the filter gets loaded with clutch material, it will bypass and you won't have any filtering. The debris will accelerate wear in the rest of the transmission or clog passages and cause additional problems.

I'm sorry to hear about your issue - I'm afraid it's going to be an expensive one either now or later. I'd be inclined to get rid of the vehicle while the problem is still intermittent.
 

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Well I guess the problem I have with the dealers is that did not want to go beyond the error message. I did some research on that particular message and, from what I learned, there is a solenoid which engages a clutch in the transmission so there is a direct connection between the motor output and the transmission at high speeds. The error message is generated when the difference between the engine output and the trans input is above 200 rpm and that solenoid is not engaging.

What I think Honda is afraid of is that it would taka a lot of time trouble shooting and trial and error effort and it's easier to replace the entire unit. It's interesting that one dealer wanted to replace just the torque converter and the other wanted to replace the entire transmission. I have talked to a local transmission shop and they are happy to try to track down what is causing the message but can't do it because the message is so sporadic.

The trans only has 90K miles and I have never done any towing or even been close to having the truck fully loaded.
I am not driving out to Denver until later in October.

I did have my torque converter replaced, but it was still under warranty, somewhere (from memory) around 70K miles. It was an extended warranty I got from purchasing it used.

I had a recurring message that was not appearing every time I used the truck, but certainly more often than not.

I have to agree with zroger73. SHOULD you have to replace the torque converter at 90K? No. SHOULD Honda make some accommodation? Yes.

But Honda is not going to make an accommodation out of warranty. So you have the not very good options of trading it in or investing $4K more in it. Not great options.
 

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I am not driving out to Denver until later in October.

I did have my torque converter replaced, but it was still under warranty, somewhere (from memory) around 70K miles. It was an extended warranty I got from purchasing it used.

I had a recurring message that was not appearing every time I used the truck, but certainly more often than not.

I have to agree with zroger73. SHOULD you have to replace the torque converter at 90K? No. SHOULD Honda make some accommodation? Yes. would have 200

But Honda is not going to make an accommodation out of warranty. So you have the not very good options of trading it in or investing $4K more in it. Not great options.

Thanks for the information you have all provided. That's interesting that Honda mechanics are not allowed to look into the transmission. I think that you are probably correct about the problem not going away.

I guess I'm upset with the Honda dealers because they treated the transmission failure as a normal occurrence. I have had several Honda's which routinely have 200,000 plus miles with no transmission issues. My previous truck was a Tacoma which had 225,000 miles on it when I sold it with no drive train issues the entire time I had it.

I know Honda must do endurance testing to determine the estimated lives of the major components. I can't imagine that an estimated life of only 92,000 miles would have been acceptable, particularly since I never tow anything or put anything close to a full load in the truck. Therefore, it seems to me that something is defective in the transmission. The dealers, however gave me the impression that the transmission problem was a normal problem. I would have expected them to assist me in making some kind of claim to Honda.

I purchased the Ridgeline because I expected it to hold up at least as well as a Toyota or F150
 

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That's interesting that Honda mechanics are not allowed to look into the transmission.
Today's "technicians" can't properly torque lug nuts or drain bolts - you certainly don't want them disassembling and reassembling an automatic transmission containing hundreds of parts - one tiny, misplaced check ball or spring and the whole job has to be done all over again. Most of the older, seasoned mechanics who had this ability have retired, died, or quit due to low pay. Transmission work takes lots of specialized training and experience which is why it is done by transmissions shops like body work is done by body shops. Today's electronically-controlled, 5 to 10-speed automatics are even more complex than the mechanically-controlled, 3 to 4-speed automatics of the past.

I guess I'm upset with the Honda dealers because they treated the transmission failure as a normal occurrence. I have had several Honda's which routinely have 200,000 plus miles with no transmission issues.
Unfortunately, problems have become the new normal at Honda. Quality has fallen to average at best over the last several years. Honda is still good with efficient packaging and resale value because of their past reputation, but top-notch quality is now part of their history rather than their present. They've acknowledged their quality problems, but it's not something they can fix overnight.

I know Honda must do endurance testing to determine the estimated lives of the major components. I can't imagine that an estimated life of only 92,000 miles would have been acceptable, particularly since I never tow anything or put anything close to a full load in the truck. Therefore, it seems to me that something is defective in the transmission. The dealers, however gave me the impression that the transmission problem was a normal problem. I would have expected them to assist me in making some kind of claim to Honda.

I purchased the Ridgeline because I expected it to hold up at least as well as a Toyota or F150
The 2017 Ridgeline was designed using Honda's NPD (No Prototype Development) process that they previously used on the 2016 Pilot. The NPD process allows Honda to design a vehicle entirely using computer simulation before moving to test production without any hand-built prototypes to validate. Toyota tried this process in the 2000s, but reverted to physical test models after experiencing quality problems.

I think we can all agree that Honda would be ashamed of a 92,000-mile transmission life and would consider that to be unacceptable. Although there may be some design flaws, it seems as though inconsistency is the greater problem at Honda. In their better days, all products were consistently well-assembled, reliable, and durable. These days, you might get a good one and you might get a bad one.

30 years ago if a Honda came in with a transmission problem, you'd get lot of apologies and Honda would send a field engineer to investigate. Today, you just get a replacement transmission under warranty or an expensive quote with an "it happens" response.

Sadly, quality is no longer a Honda advantage. You buy a Ridgeline because there's nothing else like it and it fits the needs of a niche market better than any other pickup.
 

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Today's "technicians" can't properly torque lug nuts or drain bolts - you certainly don't want them disassembling and reassembling an automatic transmission containing hundreds of parts - one tiny, misplaced check ball or spring and the whole job has to be done all over again. Most of the older, seasoned mechanics who had this ability have retired, died, or quit due to low pay. Transmission work takes lots of specialized training and experience which is why it is done by transmissions shops like body work is done by body shops. Today's electronically-controlled, 5 to 10-speed automatics are even more complex than the mechanically-controlled, 3 to 4-speed automatics of the past.

I have found a transmission shop that seems pretty knowledgeable about this particular error code. He drove the the truck and did a diagnostic but the code never appeared. Unlike Honda he didn't charge me. His recommendation was to drive the truck locally to see when the code reappears. I'm out of town now but for the last couple of days before I left the code has not reappeared.


I think we can all agree that Honda would be ashamed of a 92,000-mile transmission life and would consider that to be unacceptable. Although there may be some design flaws, it seems as though inconsistency is the greater problem at Honda. The Honda tech did do some other test (Im not home so I can't tell you what it was) but the trans was normal. Also an inspection of the fluid with a filter and a magnet found no signs of any debris.


Also those 92000 miles were from several cross country trips which were done at highway speeds on good road conditions which I would think would be easy on any torque converter/clutch.


30 years ago if a Honda came in with a transmission problem, you'd get lot of apologies and Honda would send a field engineer to investigate. Today, you just get a replacement transmission under warranty or an expensive quote with an "it happens" response.


That's a shame . I got the impression that Honda was trying to make a dent in the off road pick up market against the likes of Tacoma and Colorado's. Honda should know that in todays world a bad reputation can spread very quickly. Even though I was way past warranty Toyota came back to me to address a frame corrosion problem that wasn't even effecting my truck.


Sadly, quality is no longer a Honda advantage. You buy a Ridgeline because there's nothing else like it and it fits the needs of a niche market better than any other pickup.

The Ridgeline is great for long distance drives, but if I do have to replace the torque converter/ trans and I have a timing belt replacement due soon maybe I should consider getting rid of it. It was funny, after I took it to the second dealer and got a $9000 quote for a new trans I got an email from the dealer saying that maybe I should consider trading it in for a new Ridgeline and that they would give me a good deal on one. Why would I buy a replacement of a truck that just had a trans failure at only 92,000 miles?

Thanks for your response and insight. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.



[TE]
 

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Why would I buy a replacement of a truck that just had a trans failure at only 92,000 miles?
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[TE]
FWIW, the 2020 trucks have a stronger transmission, one that is not even a Honda design! You are still subject to poor QA/QC, though. It all depends on if you can live with one of the other brands' trucks.
 

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I got the impression that Honda was trying to make a dent in the off road pick up market against the likes of Tacoma and Colorado's.
The Ridgeline was created primarily to give Honda buyers who needed a pickup an option so that they wouldn't be forced to shop outside the brand - not to generate conquest sales. Sure - there are a few outliers whose first Honda was a Ridgeline or who moved from other pickups, but that's not the target audience. All are welcome, of course, but the target Ridgeline buyer is someone who owns or has owned one or more Hondas. If Honda wanted to compete with Tacomas and Colorados in the off-road market, they would have made a body-on-frame 4WD pickup, expanded manufacturing capacity, and advertised it in an effort to grow sales. As it is, the Ridgeline is performing about as well as Honda intended.
 

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I do see a lot more Rideline's on the west coast than I do when I'm on the east coast. I'm frequently asked by total strangers what my impression of the truck is. So I think it's probably selling fairly well

I understand what you are saying about stepping up from another Honda. I actually traded in my Accord. But when I was considering what truck to get I found that there were a lot of "Truck Comparison Tests" on YouTube comparing the Ridgeline to the offerings from Chevy, Nissan, Toyota and others. These tests always included off road sections where the Ridgeline did pretty well. It seemed that the Ridgeline was always chosen as the best so I thought that these comparisons were probably sponsored by Honda.

I liked the concept of the Ridgeline with the unibody and all independent suspension. To me it made sense compared to the body on frame design. In fact I'm very happy with the truck and still can't believe that the trans is "worn out" from the amount and type of driving I do. When I sold my Tacoma it had 200K plus miles and it was a 5 speed with the original clutch
 

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I do see a lot more Rideline's on the west coast than I do when I'm on the east coast. I'm frequently asked by total strangers what my impression of the truck is. So I think it's probably selling fairly well
Honda shares their sales figures as do most automakers, so it's no secret how well the Ridgeline is selling and how these sales compare to other mid-size pickups.

Honda hoped the sales of the second generation Ridgeline would approach sales of the first generation. During its first three years, the Ridgeline sold ~42,000 to ~50,000 units in the US after which sales declined dramatically around the time of The Great Recession and never recovered. Honda steadily sells about 35,000 Ridgelines per year of the second generation.

I understand what you are saying about stepping up from another Honda. I actually traded in my Accord. But when I was considering what truck to get I found that there were a lot of "Truck Comparison Tests" on YouTube comparing the Ridgeline to the offerings from Chevy, Nissan, Toyota and others. These tests always included off road sections where the Ridgeline did pretty well. It seemed that the Ridgeline was always chosen as the best so I thought that these comparisons were probably sponsored by Honda.
They've got to compare it some something, but there's nothing else like the Ridgeline (unibody, FWD/AWD, independent suspension, trunk, etc.). The closest type of vehicle would be mid-size, body-on-frame pickup which is why the comparison is made to the Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado/Canyon, Frontier, and Gladiator even though the only significant feature all these vehicles have in common with the Ridgeline is an open bed.

Honda and other automakers don't pay reviewers, but they do loan them vehicles for a week at a time to review and pay for their food, hotel, and air fare when new models are launched.

Reviewers have a tough job. They have to be honest and accurate to avoid damaging their reputation while being careful not to say too many bad things about a vehicle else that automaker will stop providing them with vehicles to review. If there are no vehicles to review, there's nothing to write about. If there's nothing to write about, there's no income.

The Ridgeline is particularly challenging for reviewers who tend to be more analytical and subjective than the general population. When you consider the actual, real-world needs of most pickup buyers and compare the Ridgeline with other mid-size pickups, it's clearly the most logical choice, but most buyers make emotional choices - not logical ones. And, if a reviewer gushes too much about a Ridgeline, they'll get dismissed just as quickly as most buyers dismiss the Ridgeline itself.
 

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Well I got back from my trip and wanted to update you my transmission system warning message.

I got back and took the ridgeline out for a drive. Within a few minutes of reaching 65 the warning light appeared. I stopped the truck and restarted and again, as soon as I hit 65 it reappeared. I did this about 4 times and figured well at least it is now a consistent issue. I planned to take it to my trans guy the next morning but the message would not reappear. I drove it about 100 miles at speeds up to 80 and no message. That was three days ago and I have put another 100+ miles on the truck with no message. There is no discernable difference in the performance of the truck. So now I'm in a holding pattern. I guess I'll just keep driving in 100 to 200 mile trips to see what happens next. At this point I can't really see any point in replacing anything.

There is another message which popped up once out of the blue while I was driving on the entertainment/navigation screen but has not come back. I don't think that it's related. It looks like a programing screen?

Any thoughts

IMG_2737.JPG
 

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There is another message which popped up once out of the blue while I was driving on the entertainment/navigation screen but has not come back. I don't think that it's related. It looks like a programing screen?

Any thoughts

View attachment 406617
That's the "inline diagnostic screen" which is used to make sure the audio-navigation unit is communicating with all the required devices and that the microphone and steering wheel controls are working.
 
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