Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The images below were taken after the tear down of the Denso radiator donated by forum member Carsmack. He can comment about the time and miles this radiator was in service.

Radiator credentials:
Forum_Rad_Credentials.jpg

As the trans fluid fittings were removed, the internal heat exchanger fell away...
Forum_Exchanger_Falls_Away.jpg

The plastic upper and lower tank are fixed to the aluminum core with a series of crimped tabs wrapping around the entire circumference of the assembly(except where there is no "lip" in a few places - as in the image above where the fitting surface extends to the top edge of the tank). The core seals to the tanks with an preformed flat gasket. As you can see by discoloration on the core, this rad was developing an issue that may or may not have resulted in a future, more serious leak.
Forum_AboutTo Leak.jpg

Carsmak is obviously a car guy that maintained the fluid integrity in his system. I'm almost positive no tap water ever entered this cooling system. The veins in this rad are absolutely spotless. Coolant and distilled water are the only way to go...
Forum_Clean_As_Whistle.jpg

The heat exchanger was floating free inside the tank. Here's the inner "seal" to the tank surface.
Forum_Inside_Exchanger_Ring.jpg

A close up inside the tank:
Forum_Inside_Mate_Surface.jpg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Some dimensional information:

The transmission fluid heat exchanger:
Forum_Exchanger_Dimensions.jpg

The connecting fittings:
Forum_threads.jpg

The dreaded Bellville (sp?) and stainless washer:
Forum_Washers.jpg

So... the mechanical interface and its integrity consists of the threads seen above taping into the cooler which applies the required pressure to create a "sandwich" between flanges, O-Rings and washers and the tank - which is the "meat" between the components. Your transmissions life depends on this to keep fluids from mixing.
Forum_sandwich.jpg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
797 Posts
So... the mechanical interface and its integrity consists of the threads seen above taping into the cooler which applies the required pressure to create a "sandwich" between flanges, O-Rings and washers and the tank - which is the "meat" between the components. Your transmissions life depends on this to keep fluids from mixing.
Thanks for the pictorial!

In other words, don't be surprised if you are served coffee coolata with your sandwich.
 

·
Registered
2014 Sport
Joined
·
3,340 Posts
Two things . . .

Minor correction- you don't mix coolant and water (distilled) in the Ridgeline. You should use Honda coolant which comes premixed and ready to go. I believe there are some equivalents that you can buy and they too are pre mixed.

It looks like the threads on the heat exchanger fittings are pretty short. Can you approximate if the threads in the heat exchanger go deeper than the end of the fitting when it fully screwed in?

Thanks!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Two things . . .

Minor correction- you don't mix coolant and water (distilled) in the Ridgeline. You should use Honda coolant which comes premixed and ready to go. I believe there are some equivalents that you can buy and they too are pre mixed.

It looks like the threads on the heat exchanger fittings are pretty short. Can you approximate if the threads in the heat exchanger go deeper than the end of the fitting when it fully screwed in?

Thanks!
Two responses. Yes, mixing is a no-no. But when topping off is required - like after the recent TB service when the overflow bottle was empty a day later, *most people* get the the required amount from the tap. Around here, the calcium in city supply can get inside those iddy-biddy passage ways right quick. Should have clarified my meaning.

If the micrometer wasn't on my desk at work, I'd be happy to plunge thread depth. Life being what it is, I'm on vacation for the next two weeks. Don't be hatin'! LOL

Anyhow... the male end of the tube has 4 or 5 threads with a length of ~1/8th". The length from the nipple/O-ring to nut face looks to be a tad over 1/2". Are you thinking of a potential plug? That was on my list too. After the 12th, I'll pop by the office on the way home from the airport and pick up the micrometer. Update to follow.
 

·
Registered
2014 Sport
Joined
·
3,340 Posts
I am not thinking of a plug, but rather whether or not an improved fitting could be made that has a longer male thread with a more solid bite into the body of the heat exchanger.

It appears to me that the need to be able to "clock" the fitting (adjust where the hose nipple is pointing) is the reason that we have this occasionally problematic connection to the heat exchanger. Basically ND addresses clockability by having thread sealant, a bellville washer and an internal o-ring to seal the fitting to the heat exchanger. The fitting isn't tightened down until it stops but rather tightened to the correct orientation and is held in this position by spring tension from the washer, and thread sealant. The o-ring sealing the transmission fluid passage doesn't "care" which way it is oriented as long as it is held inside the bore where it forms a seal. Failure of the threads allows the fitting to pull out and the o-ring is no longer in it's bore. The threaded portion of the fitting is relatively short and while undoubtedly long enough to hold against the expected loads, it doesn't have enough bite to handle the extra pull from the unexpected corrosion of the spring washer and or weakening of the aluminum threads as a result of corrosion (dissimilar metal). Swapping to stainless spring washer would keep it from "exploding" with rust but might actually increase galvanic corrosion of the aluminum. Having more threads on the male fitting (assuming there is a matching thread depth in the heat exchanger) might help some here.

The aftermarket radiators seem to address the clockability need differently by using a compression type fitting that is located outside of the radiator. It appears that a threaded nipple is screwed into the exchanger (don't know how this is sealed or even for sure that it isn't actually a part of the heat exchanger) and that this is then held tight to the tank by a nut. The end of this fitting is chamfered to mate with the hose nipple that can be rotated any which way and then tightened in what I would call a compression fitting. With this type of design, I don't think that a spring washer is required as the threaded nipple that goes into the heat exchanger and the nut that holds it to the tank can be tightened till they stop at a specified torque.

Which is better? I think the best solution would be to have the threaded nipple that comes out of the heat exchanger be actually part of it or fully welded to it. That way there is no point for failure inside the radiator. You might leak transmission fluid at the compression fitting outside of the radiator, or you might leak coolant out of the tank where the fittings go through, but you won't cross contaminate as long as the heat exchanger itself doesn't fail. That said, I would guess that that it might be impossible to insert the heat exchanger into the tank if it had something like an inch worth of threaded nipple already sticking out of it. That's why I think that the aftermarket radiators use some sort of threaded nipple that is inserted once the heat exchanger is in place inside the tank. Overall, I think that this type of design would be inherently better but the materials, and assembly quality of aftermarket parts are a bit of a gamble.

One final thought. . .

Oh,
Can you do some sort of pressure check on the heat exchanger? Basically I want to know how Carsmark got cross contamination when his fittings were still holding strong. Was the internal o-ring on the fitting bad or is the heat exchanger it self leaking? . . .Plugging one end and applying compressed air or pressurized water to the other should reveal any leaks. You could also probably use something like a Mityvac to apply vacuum to the exchanger to see whether or not it has failed.

That's enough for now!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Can you do some sort of pressure check on the heat exchanger? Basically I want to know how Carsmark got cross contamination when his fittings were still holding strong. Was the internal o-ring on the fitting bad or is the heat exchanger it self leaking? . . .Plugging one end and applying compressed air or pressurized water to the other should reveal any leaks. You could also probably use something like a Mityvac to apply vacuum to the exchanger to see whether or not it has failed.
Can do! There's a baby MightyVac, Snap-On vac gauge from the old days and a newish Phoenix hydraulic pump/suction brake bleed system sitting in the roll around. One of those oughta do the trick - provided everything can be reliably adapted without leaks. It'll be a few days before getting to it.

BTW: the heat exchanger "looks" as though it was removed from a production inventory shelf yesterday - with nice clean braised joints and the whole shebang, but that doesn't mean much if there are micro imperfections. Also, when the ports were taken off and the exchanger fell away, I didn't note the position of internal O-rings, other than what is shown in the photos. The rad sat in the garage overnight, this morning when the tank was loosened from the core and the exchanger was removed for inspection, the O-rings weren't touched but appeared deformed - whatever that might mean. Reaction to heat cycles under normal use? I dunno.
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
OhSix, you wanted the Story….

OK, Spring 2013, I had to have surgery and so I was home and not able to do much for 3 weeks. But I had my iPad, so I read, and a bunch of it on the Ridgeline Owners Club website. After spending a week or so reading about “SMOD” I had myself thoroughly convinced that I was going to have this problem, but rather than just arbitrarily replacing my radiator, which looked fine, (I have some “arm’s length” pictures from April/May 2013 on my PC. At this time I also started could a Oil Testing Lab, such as Blackstone Labs determine if this was an issue. Although the thought of spending $25 a sample seemed a little cost prohibitive, since I would need 2-3 possible tests. Then I looked for an alternate labs to test my fluids, that’s when I found Lab One. They do tests for Analysis Plus (Conoco Phillips) and also test Oil in Small Aircraft, after having spoken to them I decided to order 10 kits and a fluid extraction sample pump. When I got my kit from Lab One, I looked at the Coolant and ATF visually neither looked right at the time, but I couldn’t really tell and my other Honda was manual and had Prestone “Green Coolant” in it. I took my first samples on 4/20/2013. After I got my results I decided that I still had a like 4 bottles of Honda Z1 ATF Fluid, so I did a Drain and Fill and I ran it for a few weeks, and then realized that my best friend’s 2012 Honda Civic had both the same type of Coolant and similar ATF. In the parking lot of where we were at lunch, we finished quickly and since we were parked next to each other we compared fluids. Red/Pink ATF looked more like a dark red/purple and the Blue Coolant looked purple/green? With that my best friend tells me that he thinks he can test samples thru his work.

So we sent a new samples off to another lab (I have a 2 hand written reports at home in my Ridgeline File) and so we submitted it through his work, which already did fluid testing on their fleet vehicles. Since he managed the fleet as a part of his job duties, he knew the people at the lab and this was done as an off the books, pair of tests. Plus we told them what we were looking for Honda Z1 in the coolant and Honda Type2 in the ATF, we also provided samples of Z1, I still had like ½ a bottle and a new bottle of Type 2 as I was starting to build my supplies for because I was considering just doing a D n F on Coolant and maybe another on ATF. The results I got back were hand written tests compare the fluids to the source and also if the other fluid was in the wrong place. Long story short, Yes, Yes and Yes. Some of the numbers lined up (same type of test) with my attached LabOne reports, others were different. In that Lab’s opinion they didn’t feel it was critical but thought it should be monitored. At the time of the new sampling, I had somewhere around 1000 miles on it since adding 3.5 qts of Z1 also. LabOne doesn’t test much with the coolant (Freeze Point only), they are mainly an “Oil Testing Facility” as was the alternate lab. So what is found(reported) typically on Coolant is really limited, My advice to anyone skip testing your coolant. A dip test can determine "Freeze Point" By doing a D n F 1 time I had improved the transmission fluid numbers slightly, but to me the fact that they could detect (coolant in the ATF) still bothered me considering what the fittings looked like.

Originally it was my intention to do the conversion to DW1 in the summer of 2013, but these findings changed everything, and when I originally found the “SMOD” issue I was considering just doing the DW1 conversion and a flush and fill of Type 2, using distilled water to flush the system. But after the second lab report which confirmed I still had issues, I then shopped Radiators, and took my time to continue to build my arsenal of required parts and fluids. I ordered my Spectra Premium Radiator CU2830 on July 3, 2013. It arrived and looked as if it had been beaten from the Amazon Warehouse to my house, by every possible delivery person who handled it. Those that have purchased the Spectra, It was shipped in the Spectra box, it arrived with holes in the box and wasn’t worth the time to install. I emailed Amazon and had returned shipped it back and they shipped a second which looked considerably better than the first, but thinking about it later (now) I should have refused it also, it was shipped in a box with bubble wrap around the Spectra Radiator Box.

I installed that Radiator October, 21 2013, When I did I started a series of 5 D n F’s on ATF and 4 on the Type 2 Coolant, the first 2 of the coolant were pure distilled water, to purge the system, the 3rd was 1/2 gal of Type 2 and a bottle of distilled water, the last was all Honda/Acura Type 2. If you look at the last test you’ll see that my freeze point is on the “High Side”, after that test came back I added, Honda Extreme Cold Weather Anti-Freeze/Coolant - Type 2 Concentrate, this is basically pure coolant, and I got my freeze point corrected by mid Jan 2014. As for the ATF, I could and can consistently get 4 qts out and refill it with 4qts each and every time, I had my friend with the 2012 Civic, he did 4 D n F @ 2.5 qts each, starting with his 2nd we recaptured the ATF and used that as a part of my initial D n F. Basically I was able to do 5 D n F with a Case of ATF and 10 “free bottles” of slightly used ATF, at the end of it I ended up with a spare 4 qts that I used this spring.

As for follow up info to the dissembled Denso Radiator, That was the OEM Radiator, Pulled @ approximately 67k miles, Standard Type 2 Coolant, installed 03/2005 (Mfg Date) and all Z1 type ATF per the maintenance minder system.
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
Yes twice, once last January after 5 D n F & once this may after a single D n F when replacing the Spectra Radiator.

That report is here
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Using available fittings, tubes, slip over hoses, ETC. I'm not able to attain a seal I'm confident in. With either suction or pressure, a slow leak occurs and I can't tell if its due to connections or iddy biddy pin holes in the heat exchanger or if its my Mickey Mouse connections. I'm thinking Mickey here. I also don't suspect an issue with the heat exchanger but that's just a guess. What I did do was pressurize the exchanger and sink it in water, no visible bubbles - for whatever thats worth.

The fittings that secure the exchanger to the bottom rad were hand tightened, I expect the O-Rings on their tips to provide a leak proof seal, so the slow leaks were likely the hoses used and lack of clamping.

Here's my Frankenstein operating table configuration. HA! This ain't no lab environment.

20150814_154529.jpg
20150814_154524.jpg
20150814_154508.jpg
20150814_154549.jpg
20150814_154457.jpg

Thanks again to Carsmack for providing the donor rad. I'm sending off the coolant sample tomorrow AM. Results on that to follow.
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
No Problem Six,

Sample the ATF, Coolant may or may not determine the result your looking for...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
No Problem Six,

Sample the ATF, Coolant may or may not determine the result your looking for...
AH! Will do. Had it backwards in my head. Not the first time thats happened.

Been thinking more about the heat exchanger test. Very curious if pin holes might have been at the root of your fluid mix issue - and the more I think about it, the more I need to know an answer. There's a spare check valve and some other parts laying around that might assist in more conclusive testing. I think pressure and sinking in water will be the best detection method. Simple enough to cap off one of the ports. Maybe dialing back the pressure on a compressor so it won't blow off hoses, ETC would be effective. Will see if I can concoct a more conclusive test config.
 

·
Super Moderator
2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
Joined
·
22,582 Posts
All RL trim lines have the same radiator/cooling design and setup.
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
All RL trim lines have the same radiator/cooling design and setup.

Sort Of, The 2006-2008 Ridgeline's have one Part Number 19010-RJE-A52 Source Bernardi Parts Link Here

The 2009-2014 have a different Part Number 19010-RN0-A52 Source Bernardi Parts Link Here

If someone who has or is going to have a dealer replace it on a 2006-2008, please review your receipt and see if they use the new part number, pictures I've seen on various radiator suppliers sites show the two radiators different, but their web person could have grabbed the wrong image, I'd like confirmation if there was an improvement. Also the various manufactures have different PN's for these two date ranges.

So far I haven't seen any reports on Honda Ridgelines from Alabama having this problem, it is quite possible that there was a minor revision with the new part number. YMMV

Good Luck
 

·
Super Moderator
2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
Joined
·
22,582 Posts
Thanks for the p/n differentiation Carsmak. I would like to know what changed. I think the design is still the same though, but would like to know if that is incorrect.
 

·
Super Moderator
2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top