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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Long story short, bought the car for $10K CAD. I like the car and it looks in good condition.
Each of the 7 Carfax report entries under "Service" header only says "Service Record"
Honda dealer where all service is shown, refuses to share more than "We didn't do any regular service work on it"

Dealer that I bought it from will install/fix 4 things to make it Certified.

Meaning, I will get a third party shop to get access to the details and pay for a post-purchase inspection.
I discussed it with them that I want an honest look into what needs to be done and from their professional opinion - worth doing.

What I'd like to know from you guys, - if you were to have no knowledge of any service - what would you do to it ?

I've read through many threads like this and here's what I came up with so far. How would you prioritize it ?
  1. Check overall repair-worthiness of it first.
  2. Radiator by Spectra or equal, new cooolant
  3. Timing belt along with parts that come as part of the kit
  4. Cam seals
  5. Transfer casecfluid, VTM fluid, brake fluid, engine oil
  6. I saw surface rust on driver-side springs and will ask for rust assessment. I can't say underbody was severe rust overall.
  7. ??
Am I missing something obvious here? I will get a paid-for assessment and hopefully a more detailed print out of the Honda dealer service records along with it since
the shop said they may get access to it as long as Honda put it in the database.

Premium Member
2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
2,374 Posts
Welcome to the ROC areckihr!

The only things that comes to mind that are not on your list are:
  • Replacing the water pump
    • Honda recommends that you replace your water pump around the same time as you replace your timing belt, under "regular driving conditions." If you tow or otherwise push your Ridgeline hard (harsh climates included), Honda recommends you replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles but the water pump is still a 100,000 mile replacement recommendation, if I remember correctly.
  • Valve adjustment
    • At the 100,000 mile mark, Honda recommends you get the valves adjusted for they get really tight and will affect your engines performance (decrease your fuel economy).
  • New serpentine belt or wait until it starts squealing at startup on cold days and then replace the belt
  • Maybe replace your spare tire for its rubber will be way past its expiration date and may not hold up if you need to use it.
    • While you are at it, I would replace the temparary spare (the donut) with a full-size spare. I purchased an identical rim to what I have rolling on the ground now and I do five-tire rotation with it every year; it keeps the spare fresh and makes all the tires last longer. Yes, my spare has a TPMS sensor in it and my Ridgeline has no problem keeping it separate from the ones rolling on the axles (the Ridgeline has a self-learning TPMS system).
You do not have to replace the current radiator with a Spectra. You can replace it with another Denzo if you want. From what I've ready the Denzo performs a little better, even though its integrated transmission preheater design is faulty (hence the need to replace it every ten years or so). If you plan on holding on to your Ridgeline for longer than ten years, then maybe getting a Spectra is a good move.

10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for a very nice welcome response. I have had the car for the last 4 days and drove it for about 400km to feel it out.

I noticed a few things.

1. The two rubber gaskets that are held to the underside of the hood front are very loose and half of the plastic grommets are not holding the rubber.
The rubber on the gaskets is very raggedy, torn and brittle. I'll need to buy both gaskets and figure out how to attach them since the holes for the grommets show rust and will not hold the grommets well probably.

2. The hood support arm was missing, WTF and I have no idea how a Honda dealership can certify a car like this, but then I looked closer. The support arm was literally lodged between a radiator rigid hose and the radiator fan assembly leaning between the radiator fan and the engine, see picture. WTF! The plastic clip located at the top of the radiator that holds the folded down support arm is also missing. The hood support arm plastic at bottom responsible for connecting to the arm to the frame is partially cracked/broken. Can't say the plastic can be replaced alone whole arm and may need to purchased.

3. A/C is not blowing cold. Air is coming out, but whichever mode I use, and whichever AC(ON/OFF) setting I use, the temperature does not change. I replaced the relay for the AC with the relay for the heated seats and it still blew regular warm air. I know the relay is good since before and after I switched the AC relay with heated seats relay, I tested the heated seats and the seat warming worked well.

4. Going down a steep hill slowly and applying brakes produced vibrations which did not seem normal. No idea if ABS or brake system in Ridgeline works like this, but I will ask the shop to verif if rotors are warped or if there's some other issue.

5. Radiator is a Denso. According to the manufacturing stamps on the top of the plastic frame on the radiator, it was made in September 2017. I have no idea if this radiator is exactly the same as the OEM or it is the improved designed Denso aftermarket. I looked at the 2 metal fittings and could not verify visually to be sure enough if rust/corrosion is present.

And neither the original dealer or the dealer I bought it from have said anything concrete about service other than - "we do not have records that regular recommended maintenance was done with us".
The dealer I bought it from identified 4 things: windshield chipped(which they replaced), lower control arm(they did not confirm replacement, still waiting), drive belt(they did not confirm replacement, still waiting, but I can see sort of new UAP NAPA yellow markings on it indicating fairly new condition).

Meaning - besides a generic post-purchase inspection, I will ask them to diagnose all of the above :
  1. A/C
  2. vibration while braking while going on hill
  3. verify if radiator is indeed a 2017 "good" Denso
  4. verify drive belt is indeed new
  5. verify if timing belt and pump kit is OEM as I suspect, change it all and change cam seals
  6. All the fluids checked, changed
  7. check/adjust valve timing
  8. If they don't charge me an arm and a leg, get them to replace the support arm, support arm clip and the two rubber gasket plus gasket grommets.
Denso radiator manufacture date and notice the bonus missing hood support arm holder clip that's supposed to be where the square hole is 😜

Hood support arm freely lodged in-between radiator fan and coolant rod and resting on the engine cover 🤪 , bonus probably new drive belt - to be verified by the shop this week

I cleaned the headlights and hood deflector with Novus 2 scratch cleaner and the difference is like night and day. Notice only left headlight after being cleaned:

And after all scratched were polished:

Overall - I am very impressed how solid the drive on this EXL is and how well it behaves on the road at all speeds. I don't mind spending the money to have it serve me well for next 5 or more years.

Premium Member
2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
2,374 Posts
Looks great and it sounds like you are "really on top of things," as they say.

How do your tires and spare look? If you don't have one and want a full-size spare using the same OEM rim as the rest of your Ridgeline, checkout the ROC's Trading Post to see if anyone is selling theirs or see what you can find online.

Also, how does your SMC bed look (really scratched up or not)? For the bed, ROC members have used Bondo Restore Black to make the SMC look like new but it is not made anymore. I think some have experimented with Adam's New Black Trim Restorer but I do not know how well it has worked. There are other black restorers out there, so...

Super Moderator
5,354 Posts
#2 - both plastic pieces involving the hood support arm can be purchased individually. Those usually break routinely due to age.
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