Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got my truck stuck this past spring on a logging road east of Vancouver. It was on a cross ditch where the culvert was removed. I got half way over and then tires started spinning. I had to jack up three ends and put rocks under each tire to get traction, and the truck easily backed away. It was not extreme and I was not going fast. The road was level. Now I have a buckled area of bodywork just above the gas intake. I took the truck in to two dealers and talked to Honda Canada and they all gave me the run-around.

The last word from Honda Canada was to take it back in and get the frame inspected. I've already spent money to get the rest of the truck inspected and they told me there was nothing they could do. I've had many trucks and have been stuck way worse than this, and never seen anything like it. If what I heard is true and the body is part of the frame and a stressed member then I should be concerned about it. But it's pretty obvious nobody wants to take responsibility for what I would consider a design error. Should I be checking in with Honda Japan - head office?? I know yes I should not have got the truck stuck right, ok I am responsible for that. But I don't want to treat this thing like some pansy truck either and stay on pavement.

Has anyone else had this problem? Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.





 

·
Super Moderator
2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
Joined
·
22,582 Posts
Upload your pics to an image hosting site like www.tinypic.com and copy and paste the link in the box under IMG code for forums and message boards.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
That looks like the infamous Honda buckle! There have been a lot of posts on this so do a search on the site. What is hard to figure out is that a frame twist like that and it looks like the fuel door and the gap around the rear door are fine? Have you checked the other side to see if the door gaps are different? Check all the gaps, tailgate, hood, everything. One would think with a flex llike that it had to be absorbed by some other part of the body.

Sorry to see your Ridge like that. I have done similar off-roading and always check when I'm done but so far nothing. Please keep us posted.

PS: Has anyone done any research to see if this is with a particular model? My thoughts being that the none-sunroof might be structurally different in the way that a hardtop and a convertible of the same model would be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
959 Posts
Like Jack said, there have been a good amount of complaints concerning how the frame buckles. I've heard of a couple instances where going over rough terrain actually buckled the body just like yours!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, well I guess its reassuring that it's not completely unknown though it is odd that the dealerships around here and even Honda Canada claim ignorance.

Anyone report any satisfaction with getting it fixed? I'll try checking the posts, however I think some people refer to it as 'the wrinkle'. One dealership offered to fix it, but I think it was going to cost me a grand. I don't know how they were going to fix it, and I wondered if it would continue to happen. Of course no guarentees and they deny it being Honda's fault....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,780 Posts
The only time the body will buckle like that is when there is a substantial impact that result in a very substantial twisting motion. The last person that I heard had this happen, the almost rolled their Ridgeline through a ditch. I am willing to bet when you became stuck, it was sudden, somewhat violent and at least two tires were suspended with little or no traction. Kind of like driving off a sharp angled washed out road edge and ending up with the front and rear bumpers on the ground and the tires spinning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'd say that's a pretty accurate description of what happened - though sudden it was still very low speed. See the pictures? I had to jack up three wheels to get out. I guess that's why other pickup trucks are not unibody vehicles - you have the bed separated from the cab for a reason. Honda should not have marketed this as a rugged off-road 4x4.

In conclusion - Honda, nice experiment but we're doing your testing for you and this one flaw doesn't pass the muster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
I have never had any problems out of mine and I "hardcore off road" it almost every weekend. I have had it stuck a few times and even winched out once. I have never had any issues with body panels other than scratches never any dents or the body wrinkle.

Unfortunately the estimate for a grand is probably cheap seeing as how the entire bed side will have to be removed and replaced. Then welded in, smoothed over, and painted to match. Good luck with the repair.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,568 Posts
Honda should not have marketed this as a rugged off-road 4x4.

In conclusion - Honda, nice experiment but we're doing your testing for you and this one flaw doesn't pass the muster.
I hate to be the one to tell you this and please don't take it the wrong way because I mean no disrespect but Honda didn't market the Ridgeline as a rugged off-road 4X4. They market the Ridgeline for heavy duty work and play, but not heavy duty off roading. It is marketed to handle medium or moderate off road use. It is definitely not a rock crawler. The suspension is not heavy duty and there are not any skid plates under the truck.

In any case, any vehicle will bend if you bottom out 3 of the 4 wheels like you mentioned in your post. It might not show as much because of the breaks in the panels in other vehicles but trust me, they bend.

To date, I have only heard of this body wrinkle happening to less than 5 Ridgelines including yours. This problem is well documented like a few have mentioned but very rare and thus would not be classified as a design flaw since the 4 incidents that I know of in a production run of around 200,000 units is a failure rate of about 2 thousands of 1%.

I looked at your pictures for a couple of minutes. It looks like you backed your truck up into the position where it is in the 3rd picture. Did you jack the truck up using the rear tow hook as a jacking point or did the truck fall off the jack and hit the tow hook or the opposite side of the rear of the frame on a rock? Did the rear end of the frame hit the ground when you initially went over the edge of the culvert? Also, please define what you mean when you said you weren't going fast. Fast to me in a situation like you depict in your pictures would be anything over about 2 mph. You also hint that you bent the drive shaft on your truck in another thread. Was that due to high centering the truck? Again, no disrespect but it sounds like there might be a little more to your situation than you describe.

My advice, pay the $1k and have your truck fixed. I would seriously doubt that Honda will pay for it because what happened to you would not be considered even normal normal wear and tear. The Ridgeline is an American Honda product. I wouldn't think that contacting Honda in Japan would help.

Sorry. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,933 Posts
From talking to an off-road shop here, any vehicle will flex and twist the problem is that the truck body is welded to the frame, the frame will twist and bend like any other 4x4 however when the frame returns to it's normal position it will leave a wrinkle in the sidewall as metal will stretch and fatigue. Do to the frame returning to normal you will not notice any changes in door gaps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,640 Posts
Honda (and Izuzu) carefully did not list their trucks as 4X4 - the back of the trucks - Passport, Pilot, CR-V, and Ridgeline say 4WD. They meet the needs of 95% of the average driver.

Jeep style 4X4 meets the needs of the other 5%. - You cannot get the ride comfort of these vehicles (Hondas) in the body on frame that the Jeep style 4X4 have. The down side of the Honda 4WD is that it does not rock crawl (the VTM will overheat pretty quickly), it is ok on unpaved roads and it is so so on 4X4 offroad trails.

The Ridgeline is the ideal truck for me as I did not need the full sized bed of a F150 or Silverado and I did not need the towing power. Someone call the Ridgeline ugly, I think the new Tundra is ugly. I really like the designs of the old big 3 trucks, but my real life experiences with them showed that every one had multiple dealer fixes under warranty. Some were never fixed right (the Silverado radio was hit or miss if it would play and was flashed 8 times to fix issues, The F150 5 button door panel would unlock for any combo of pushes - my fix was to disconnect it since the dealer could not keep it fixed for a week).

I wanted a truck that could go to Lowes or Home Depot on the weekends and drive like an Accord any other time. I got that.

Jeep used to make a pickup truck - I had a neighbor in NC that had one, He like to go off roading and rock crawling, and he thought that was the ticket. The 3rd time he went out, he drove the truck into a "ditch that wasn't there 2 weeks ago" and bent the rear bumper into the tailgate bending the entire pickup bed. His response was about like yours, Jeeps aren't supposed to do that. He had to shell out about 2 grand to replace the rear bumper and bed. (that would be 6 grand today).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
I had a Grand Cherokee (also unibody) and took it places where it had no business. The entire truck did flex and door gaps changed, etc BUT when i returned to flat roads everything returned to normal.

I say this isn't a frame vs unibody issue as much as a design and/or engineering issue. Remember the reason for the giant "sail" between the bed and cab is because there are tremendous forces in that area. Same reason the Avalanche has a similar design element.

It's an area that has a lot of forces and maybe isn't as strong as it should be or maybe the wrong type of steel was used on the panel and it doesn't spring back as well as it should after flexing. The gas tank filler should also be moved from that area.

I say that the events that have caused this are not anything that should be considered outside the performance envelope for a truck, especially with the ads HoA ran at first!

At least it seems to be cosmetic. Can you get the other side to twist and create a similar "design element":act006:

-W
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
Ignoring the "look" of the buckle and assuming the fix is free....

From a strength standpoint is it better to live with the buckle or tear into the unibody and fix it?

-W
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,640 Posts
A qualified Dent Removal guy might be able to return the body shape if there are not any welded components behind the crease.

I watched an new (less than a month old) Pilot that the owner though he could fix his luggage rack with a bicycle mount and jumped up and down on it to see if it was strong enough and dented the roof worse that the pictures you have in post 1 where his foot dropped 8 inches with his 250 lbs.

It took the Dent Removal guy about 3 hours to work the bump out and when he was done, you could not see where the dent had been. The hard part was working around where the sunroof guides were. Had he been 4 more inches over, the whole roof would have had to be replaced as the sunroof guides would have been too bent to repair.

The Dent Removal guy has some slightly damaged car hoods and truck lids that he practices removing similar dents before attempting them on nice new cars, He really does it to see the point where the paint no longer gives and cracks, He will go about 80% of that amount with each repair cycle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
320 Posts
this happened to my '06 rts when I took it down a powerline access trail. there were 3 or 4 spots where I had 1 or 2 tires off the ground and was going at low speed. there were no severe impacts, but at one point I was cresting a steep hill and parked with the emergency brake on and one tire off the ground and my brother and I got out to check the down slope for obstacles. I noticed the crease near the fuel door later in the day and while I was wishing it didn't happen, I know my actions were responsible for the damage. while it would be nice if car manufacturers fixed everything that happened because of consumer adventures, it is not realistic and I never pursued it because it was my fault and I exploited a weak point in the truck's design.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,362 Posts
Jeep used to make a pickup truck - I had a neighbor in NC that had one, He like to go off roading and rock crawling, and he thought that was the ticket. The 3rd time he went out, he drove the truck into a "ditch that wasn't there 2 weeks ago" and bent the rear bumper into the tailgate bending the entire pickup bed. His response was about like yours, Jeeps aren't supposed to do that. He had to shell out about 2 grand to replace the rear bumper and bed. (that would be 6 grand today).
Actually, over the years, Jeep has had several pickup trucks but my personal favorite was the Scrambler (aka CJ-8). Had a buddy I used to go off-roading with (I had a CJ-7 at the time) who had one and it was a pretty sweet setup with the wooden side rails. However, it wasn't a major marketing hit and IIRC it was only in their lineup for a very few years. They should bring it back as a stretched version of their very popular 4-door Unlimited model - I'd bet it would resonate very nicely with today's market.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,995 Posts
effisland,
It looks like you were high centered on the frame, right? Did you try vtm-4 on/vsa off/2nd gear before having to jack up the wheels in effort to go forward? I have done something similar to this when breaking over a terrace in a cultivated field. That's how I got moving again.The RL is one of our work trucks. This is one reason why I only use it in light off road situations now. No clearance even with a lift. We have other more conventional trucks for those situations.

From an ancient history point of view, the famous body wrinkle thread was a vertical crease just below the sail, a little more towards the rear, as I remember.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Ignoring the "look" of the buckle and assuming the fix is free....

From a strength standpoint is it better to live with the buckle or tear into the unibody and fix it?

-W
At the end of the day, this is pretty much my question which Honda can't answer or won't answer maybe because they don't want to assume any liability should they be wrong. Regardless of whose fault it was, I still have to live with the truck with some amount of confidence that I can drive down a fairly reasonable road and not get stuck, or not put my life in danger on the highway.

For them to tell me - it should only be jacked up on a flat solid surface - is revealing their lack of support for what the truck was intended to do. For the record I only jacked it on the points identified in the manual. I was out in the middle of nowhere so getting it towed was not an option.

I plan on living with it (the wrinkle) for the time being. It's an 'outie' so not sure how it can be covered up cosmetically.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
To date, I have only heard of this body wrinkle happening to less than 5 Ridgelines including yours. This problem is well documented like a few have mentioned but very rare and thus would not be classified as a design flaw since the 4 incidents that I know of in a production run of around 200,000 units is a failure rate of about 2 thousands of 1%.

I'm not sure if those stats work in this kind of a situation because such a small percent of owners would actually put their vehicle into this kind of a situation.

So the stats increase if you look at vehicles driven by people who do go off pavement. I was curious if Honda ever tested this situation. Maybe they decided that the number of cases revealing this flaw would be low.



I looked at your pictures for a couple of minutes. It looks like you backed your truck up into the position where it is in the 3rd picture. Did you jack the truck up using the rear tow hook as a jacking point or did the truck fall off the jack and hit the tow hook or the opposite side of the rear of the frame on a rock? Did the rear end of the frame hit the ground when you initially went over the edge of the culvert? Also, please define what you mean when you said you weren't going fast. Fast to me in a situation like you depict in your pictures would be anything over about 2 mph. You also hint that you bent the drive shaft on your truck in another thread. Was that due to high centering the truck? Again, no disrespect but it sounds like there might be a little more to your situation than you describe.





Sorry. :(
No I only jacked the vehicle on the points identified in the manual. What happened was that I went over the rise of the ditch and then went down the other side. The steep slope was such that the vehicle bottomed out on top of the ditch and the rear tires came off the ground. The front tires couldn't get any grip and so I jacked them up and put rocks there just to be sure it would get out. Definitly it wasn't good for the propeller shaft, that was the point that bottomed out.

No offence taken, thanks for your honest assessment!
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top