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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my 06 last November with 114k. Immediately replaced timing belt water pump etc and replaced new radiator and bypassed trans cooler to avoid milkshake of death.

Took it to from the bayarea to Los Angeles and Nevada several times.

I love this truck!

After recently reading all the posts about the # 4 cylinder failure, however, I'm now afraid to keep it any longer.

A lot of sites supporting its engine failures and a lot of reliable reviews too!

if this could be prevented, I'd like to keep it.

I'm torn between keeping it and trading it in.

I have 118k now

http://repairpal.com/honda/ridgeline/car_reviews
 

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I bought my 06 last November with 114k. Immediately replaced timing belt water pump etc and replaced new radiator and bypassed trans cooler to avoid milkshake of death.

Took it to from the bayarea to Los Angeles and Nevada several times.

I love this truck!

After recently reading all the posts about the # 4 cylinder failure, however, I'm now afraid to keep it any longer.

A lot of sites supporting its engine failures and a lot of reliable reviews too!

if this could be prevented, I'd like to keep it.

I'm torn between keeping it and trading it in.

I have 118k now

Honda Ridgeline Reviews and Owner Comments
You'd be making a mistake to sell... especially if you replace it with another used vehicle. Your chances of stumbling into this defect/problem are minute. It's just a matter of bad luck to run into this problem..... and bad luck can strike any vehicle in any form. I wouldn't worry about it.
The radiator issue was more likely to bite you eventually than is the cylinder #4 (or #5) problem..... which seems to be a result of faulty heads, from what I have read.... and those faulty heads are few & far between, and don't come about as a result of miles or time..... they are a latent defect that nearly all of us will never face. So kudos on the proactive approach to replace the radiator..... but I would NOT have done the bypass that you did (I'm assuming you left the trans cooler in place & just bypassed the in-radiator trans heat exchanger?). There's no real way to know what you've effected long term. You'll probably be fine.... but you would have been better off (risk-wise) IMHO just getting a new stock radiator installed.
Beyond that, be sure to change your tranny & VTM-4 fluids (& your oil/filter of course) on schedule & you'll likely never face any super expensive failures/repairs.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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I agree with Dnick and would not have by-passed the heat exchanger. Replacing the radiator should have been sufficient in and of itself to avoid the SMOD problem.

Regarding cylinder 4/5 issues, I do not know if a cracked head causes the loose spark plug issue or if a loose spark plug can cause the head to crack. Regardless, it is a good idea to check that the spark plugs are snug from time to time.

It's my understanding that a loose spark plug can give an audible ticking noise which you can detect if you are tuned into your vehicle. I haven't observed this personally, but I try to stay in-tune with my vehicles and listen for any unusual noises, etc. as they're being operated.

I first noticed the issue with J35 spark plugs over on the Piloteers.org forum.

All-in-all, if your 118k mile truck has been reasonably maintained and operated, you should get many miles and years of reliable service out of it.

My 10 year old Pilot has 129k miles on it. I fully expect that in another 10 years I will easily see 250k miles of reliable service from it. Although it will be hard to imagine having a 20 year old vehicle at that point, and I may still have it. But still. ;)

My nearly 8 year old RL has right at 100k miles on it. If it weren't for a few parking lot dings in the body, I'd be hard pressed to tell it from a much later model with many fewer miles on it by looking under the hood, underneath the truck, in the interior, etc. It hasn't quite had the reliability of the Pilot (needing a new tranny under warranty and some HVAC wiring replaced by Honda in a goodwill gesture), but everything else is holding up fine.

Both vehicles get regular and routine preventative care. Fortunately, both vehicles are simple and easy to DIY maintain for the routine services.
 

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I'm with these guys ^^^ as far as not worrying about the cylinder issue. Check plugs periodically to see that they haven't gone loose, and I personally don't think you'll have any trouble.

I don't think I take a position one way or the other on the ATF heat exchanger disconnection. There are ups and downs whichever way you go.
 

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I had the loose plug issue. As soon as I read about it on here I immediately checked them. The first time was around 70k, I think. Can't remember now if it was #4 or #5 but I'm thinking it was #5. And it was LOOSE. Barely finger tight. Scared the Shiite out of me. I vowed to check them every 500 miles after that. Well I forgot. Didn't check them again until around 90k. And they were all nice and snug. Like others have said -just check them every now and then. As long as you do that, IMHO you'll be fine.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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I'd be more concerned with Bypassing the internal "heat exchanger", but FWIW, you may be charting new territory, I'd keep an eye on ATF fluid life, is it getting dark in color or smelling burnt. How does it act in extreme heat, (stop and go traffic or when you were out in Death Valley), do you tow?

As for the Cyl 4 (or 5)issues, considering the millions of Honda J Series V-6's I've only read a few of those occurring. I check the "Front" bank (torque spec 14# or 156 inch #) near every oil change (day before or after with a cold engine) , and before long trips, (again cold engine). The rear, is when time & body allow, (I'm short, rear bank is a PITA)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the input guys! I feel a bit more at ease now.

When I bought it, I had everything done, timing belt water pump (all) fluids changed with the Honda fluids, replaced radiator with a Koyo. The washers had corrosion and they said I caught it in time because the tranny fluid looked like it was getting slightly contaminated.

After speaking with a few mechanics, they said bypassing the radiator for the ATF and just using the external cooler would be OK as long as i didn't tow Anything.

They also said that the tranny fluid running through the radiator is just to heat it up quicker in cold climates which is not a problem in California so I had them bypass it.
 

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Gtstwincam said:
bypassed the radiator not the cooler/exchanger
Just so we have the technical terminology down, see this interesting thread explaining what happens with the OTA/OTW fluid flow.

The heat exchanger at bottom of the radiator may actually be an engineering design to enhance the longevity of the transmission components.
 

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I know I'm a little late to the party, but I have to agree with these guys. The fluid transfer piece inside the radiator was put there by Honda engineers for a reason. Your replacement of the radiator with a Koyo was plenty to counteract the SMOD condition for many more years to come. I can't speak to the long-term effects of bypassing that piece, but if you're comfortable with it, keep it that way. If it were me, I'd want it functioning exactly the way it was meant to from the factory. Countless hours went into the design and testing of the Gen1 truck by hundreds of highly qualified people. I don't think Jim or Bill from the Honda garage are all that qualified to make a decision on such things.
 

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Countless hours went into the design and testing of the Gen1 truck by hundreds of highly qualified people.
...and came up with the defective design in the truck as-delivered, that essentially turns radiator replacement into a routine maintenance item...

While I understand where I think you're coming from, that line of reasoning argues against the Koyo, too.
 

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...and came up with the defective design in the truck as-delivered, that essentially turns radiator replacement into a routine maintenance item...

While I understand where I think you're coming from, that line of reasoning argues against the Koyo, too.
That was an oversight in material use - not design. The fluid transfer unit in the radiator is not specific to Honda. Many other manufacturers use this method in many other types of vehicles. Had Honda used stainless or brass belleville washers on the fittings instead of mild steel, SMOD wouldn't even be an issue.
 

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That was an oversight in material use - not design.
I reject your premise that materials are not a part of design. IF I accepted it, however, then this new assertion would undermine your previous assertion about hundreds of people designing and testing the faulty system. In either case, hundreds of people designing and testing didn't work. That still argues against the Koyo radiator, too.
 

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I was unaware we were in a debate. I reject your premise, as it appears you are inferring, that the design of the system is faulty. I am not an engineer, nor do I claim to be. However, if it weren't important or advantageous in some way, the engineers at Honda would have simply foregone the fluid transfer piece. Yes, Honda should have known better than to think that the washer wouldn't corrode, but any object made of steel will eventually rust. Most of the failures seen have happened on trucks that are more than a few years old and mostly in the northern states. What Honda HAS failed at doing is fixing the issue. We have no definitive proof that Honda changed the type of material of that Belleville washer in later RL models - or even in the Gen 2 model for that matter. Honda chalks this up to "environmental influence" and refuses to even post a TSB about it - let alone a recall. The bottom line here is that the design DOES work. The Koyo, Spectra and Silla rads that many have been purchasing to replace their OEM Denso units simply use superior materials while achieving the same functional results.
 
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When you've read all these and the other threads I've yet to add to this list, Then we can debate this properly...

Here are most of the related Radiator and Transmission threads if you haven't found them all.

Happy Reading & Good luck

Radiator Failure @ Cooler Lines

Best Radiator Replacement

Pictures of Corroded/Rusted Radiator Fittings

Radiator Fail on 2006

UOA on ATF

Anatomy of OEM Denso Radiator

Poll(Never Posted) on Radiator/Trans Cooler Solution

Recent Radiator/Transmission SMOD!!!

Radiator comparison: Denso/Spectra/OSC

YouTube Video of Leaking Spectra...
 

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I reject your premise that materials are not a part of design. IF I accepted it, however, then this new assertion would undermine your previous assertion about hundreds of people designing and testing the faulty system. In either case, hundreds of people designing and testing didn't work. That still argues against the Koyo radiator, too.
I was unaware we were in a debate. I reject your premise, as it appears you are inferring, that the design of the system is faulty. I am not an engineer, nor do I claim to be. However, if it weren't important or advantageous in some way, the engineers at Honda would have simply foregone the fluid transfer piece. Yes, Honda should have known better than to think that the washer wouldn't corrode, but any object made of steel will eventually rust. Most of the failures seen have happened on trucks that are more than a few years old and mostly in the northern states. What Honda HAS failed at doing is fixing the issue. We have no definitive proof that Honda changed the type of material of that Belleville washer in later RL models - or even in the Gen 2 model for that matter. Honda chalks this up to "environmental influence" and refuses to even post a TSB about it - let alone a recall. The bottom line here is that the design DOES work. The Koyo, Spectra and Silla rads that many have been purchasing to replace their OEM Denso units simply use superior materials while achieving the same functional results.
Boys, Boys.... ;)

You've both contributed greatly to some very critical arguments on this forum.... but in this case, I have to side with Ian. It may just be we have a difference of interpretation however (& I AM an engineer, for whatever that's worth.... but I did not stay at Holiday Inn last night).
What I believe the critical point in this "debate" is, is the fact that the basic design & engineering of the functionality of this system, is in fact proper. It is the detailed execution of that design that was flawed, in so far as materials selection is concerned. Whether you call that "design" failure is not so important as what you do about it. The point being made was that each of the system's functional components were defined through deliberate thought to achieve a specific purpose. And those functional purposes have nothing to do with the fluid line connection design issue/failure.
But a solution that addresses that failure alone & leaves the system's functionality unchanged, would be preferred, by whatever improved method (primary functionality is the prescribed thermal treatment of the fluids).
The point of disagreement here however is rooted in a compounding action that not only resolves the element of failure, but further modifies the system's functionality by removing one of the system's functional elements. This might be analogous to unplugging a check engine light to make it go away. Impact unknown! (you can probably think of better examples)
Removing one of the heat exchangers is in fact NOT necessary to resolve the known problem, and the impact of removing this element is NOT known. Those are the simple facts. The risk is not defined, and so is warned against taking.
My 2 cents.....
 

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^^ What he said. :)
 
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