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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone, So this is how the story goes.

This weekend I was moving a large camper trailer around a campground...Literally to a different campsite, max 5 minutes of driving. I stupidly towed more than the max towing capacity of my Ridgeline, just over by 1000 or so. Figured I was just moving it around a lot it was no big deal, well I guess I was wrong.

On my way home last night, I noticed that I was losing power and the transmission seemed to be slipping. It got worse and worse til I could just barely creep along.Then the transmission overheat light came on. I then Parked my truck overnight to cool down. Went back in the morning, started it up and drove it home just about 2 miles. It seemed to drive ok, maybe just lacking a little power(looking back I shouldnt have driven it) but too late.

So, I got it home. Checked my fluids and noticed the coolant was really milky looking and the transmission fluid was just about empty and milky looking also.

Can anyone tell me what I should do at this point? I flushed my radiator and am about to flush the transmission. Did I wreck my transmission?

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Flushing the transmission is a great idea that might save it. But flushing the radiator is not going to help. The radiator needs to be replaced immediately.
The internal fittings inside the heat exchanger (bottom of the radiator) have corroded and are leaking.
You should not drive the truck anymore without a new radiator. Many threads on this subject.
Following replacement of the radiator you may want to find a transmission or auto repair shop that can do an ATF fluid exchange on your transmission to clear any residual coolant.
A fluid exchange, NOT a power flush.
 

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Rollins advice is perfect.

By the way, based on your description, moving the camper around most likely had little or nothing to do with this failure. Unless you have broken motor mounts and the engine was moving around but I think it very unlikely.
 

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The added stress of towing may have accelerated the process, but it was in your future, sad to say.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great! thanks a lot for the help guys. I appreciate it. New Rad on order right now, so Ill be replacing that shortly. Would you suggest changing the tranny fluid filter as well? Also how many times should I flush the tranny, like twice maybe?
 

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For sure both the engine coolant passages and the tranny need to be completely cleaned and fluids replaced; but even with that it may already be too late.
 

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OH MAN! So sorry for your woes.

A suggestion from someone with knowledge about this topic that comes only from the experience of members posting on this forum, so grain of salt... And please, if anything I mention might be erroneous, I hope others chime in to correct me.

And pardon me if this is Captain Obvious advise....

After getting everything right with the new rad and engine coolant side of things, if I were attempting to recover from this, I'd fill the trans with new fluid, engage the trans with the trans output line (heat exchanger input) directed to a bucket and use LOTS of new trans fluid to flush the muck out. How much trans fluid? Depends one when it appears to be clear when dumping into the catch bucket. Even then, I'd do a few more cycles before placing the trans under load by driving. After you "feel good" about the fluid being pumped out, reconnect the heat exchanger, make sure you are topped off, drive for a few miles, and dump it again. Maybe even 2 or 3 times after short drives. At this point, you are facing the cost of fluid vs. the cost of a trans replacement so it's a relatively cheap alternative if the trans can be saved.

FYI: a case of trans fluid can be had for about $80 delivered. If it were me, I'd plan on a couple cases. It's not like trans fluid has a limited shelf life. Even if you have lefts overs, it'll get used one way or another.

Update the forum on your results later? Best of luck fellow ROC'r.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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Following replacement of the radiator you may want to find a transmission or auto repair shop that can do an ATF fluid exchange on your transmission to clear any residual coolant.
A fluid exchange, NOT a power flush.
I fully agree with RollinHonda on this, an exchange using a "bladder" style setup would be the best method to completely change out the ATF without wasting an extensive amount of fluid. If you were to do the DnF method most of us use it would take approximately 84qts of fluid to achieve 100% change out. Speedlever created the chart attached. It's on this forum somewhere I saved a copy for personal reference...

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

Pictures of Corroded/Rusted Radiator Fittings
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53921

Radiator Fail on 2006
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115402

Best Radiator Replacement
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98025

UOA on ATF
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116761

Anatomy of OEM Denso Radiator
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116753

Poll(Never Posted) on Radiator/Trans Cooler Solution
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116570
 

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i had the 'exchange' done on mine at 30K. I feel it was totally worth it. Watched the whole thing happen also. The mechanic used the BG PF5 exchanger. Has 2 reservoirs, one with fresh fluid the other holds the returned old fluid. The engine just idles and the trans pump does the work.

https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/transmission/bg-pf5-power-flush-and-fluid-exchange-system/

I paid $77 for the case of ATF and was charged $70 for the labor. The mechanic donated a couple more quarts of DW1 and a quart of BG Syn. ATF he had to the cause for the final topping up.
If you do the 3 or 4X change yourself at home you will save a lot of money. But in the case of potential contamination I think the exchange is essential. Otherwise, is a great idea, but not mandatory.
 

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So with BG PF did the mechanic not use the "power" portion of the exchanger system??
That's correct.

Flushing might be used by shops trying to save a failing transmission that might have sediment blocking fluid passages, etc. or extremely dirty units that have never been serviced.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK an update in case anyone is interested. I replaced the radiator with a new one. And flushed the tranny twice now. Each time the fluid gets clearer. I give it a very small drive around the block between each fluid change. It does seem to drive ok right now...Maybe Ill get lucky and not have to rebuild the tranny. After the next flush I will drive it a little further on the hwy and get it really mixed up. Ill post pics of the fluid colors between changes
.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Joey, make sure you are using all gears including reverse.

Hope this works out for you.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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Joey,
Please do post pics of each version of transmission fluid if you have them. After maybe your 4th DnF, you may want to do a UOA, PM me if you want some suggestions on it.

I was looking at your other posts thinking maybe you had stated where your at and I just realized that your rear diff bolt broke earlier this year, and you haven't updated how you finally fixed it. Just wondering

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ill post some pics shortly for sure.
Oh and the differential drain plug haha well you are all going to laugh at my repair but its works...for now. So I jb welded it togther...Then coated it really think and solid with more jb weld, then even more to the point where I sculpted a big area all around it to make it very solid. Then undercoated it. That was about 5 months ago, and its still holding up well and solid. Only thing is if I ever want to change my diff fluid I wont be able to. But probly wont have to for the life of the truck anyways so Im good.
 

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Ill post some pics shortly for sure.
Oh and the differential drain plug haha well you are all going to laugh at my repair but its works...for now. So I jb welded it togther...Then coated it really think and solid with more jb weld, then even more to the point where I sculpted a big area all around it to make it very solid. Then undercoated it. That was about 5 months ago, and its still holding up well and solid. Only thing is if I ever want to change my diff fluid I wont be able to. But probly wont have to for the life of the truck anyways so Im good.
First, I think you've taken all the proper DIY steps to mitigate the dreaded SMOD issue (Strawberry Milkshake Of Death). If I were you, I'd do AT LEAST two more drains and fills of the tranny fluid. The full exchange method that was suggested earlier would have been the best thing to do. You'd have had about $200 in fluid, but that's better than a $5000 tranny.

Second, the rear diff fluid needs to be changed every 30k miles. The rear diff in the RL is different from near every other truck out there and the fluid takes quite a bit of punishment - hence, the 30k mile fluid change interval. If you've permanently affixed the drain plug to the case (which I think I do remember that thread), you're going to need to do something to change the fluid at some point. IIRC, you had tried to source just the case of the rear diff unit, but were unsuccessful at doing so. You may want to start the search again now. It would be a HUGE job to switch everything over. It may be more beneficial to just find a used unit at a junkyard and swap it out. You can keep your old unit for parts.
 

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Yes he will need to change the rear diff fluid to CORRECTLY maintain it. That said, I see a couple of reality based approaches. . .

If his rear diff is considered a goner due to the broken case, then why not simply ignore the maintenance and see how long it lasts in its current state? It might strand him somewhere but I doubt it. And yes it might leave him in bind without a vehicle till a replacement unit could be found. If a "can't be driven" failure occurs, perhaps just pull off the drive shaft till a used replacement can be sourced. Who knows, he might get 100k miles of service out of the unit without a fluid change.

Or . . .Its his drain bolt area that is broken right? Why not just stick tube of some sort down into the unit through the fill hole and pump out the old fluid? With a small tube on Mityvac type vacuum tool (with a large reservoir) it would take a while but could probably be done.

Food for thought . . .
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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I think the only damage that will occur should his rear diff fail... is that he won't have anything but a FWD RL at that point. I seriously doubt it will strand him... else those who have removed the propeller shaft (making their RL a FWD vehicle) would have had the same problem.

Now he might get stranded, but only because he can't get unstuck from a situation where normal AWD or 4WD operations could have rescued him.

So if the OP wants to maintain normal AWD capability, he will have to find some way to routinely service the rear diff.
 

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I tend to agree. I think it is very unlikely the VTM would seize up unless it was run dry.
 

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I don't even know how it would seize up. The clutches have to be energized in order for them to engage. So like clutches that are worn out (inducing silent VTM-4 fail), I expect worn out fluid would have a similar effect... but I confess that I don't know for sure.

I know it's been posted here from some who have removed the propeller shaft that driving in FWD mode, the RL can burn rubber and also has a lot of torque steer. Ergo, if you're not getting any power transfer to the rear wheels (as in silent VTM-4 fail... or the propeller shaft has been removed), that may be a good test to see if your VTM-4 system is working... more or less normally.

IE, if you nail the throttle on dry pavement and it just takes off with little or no torque steer and no spinning front wheels, you VTM-4 system is functioning and effective power to the rear wheels is happening.

And the same test should be even more tell-tale if you try it on dirt. IE, little or no wheel spin means good power transfer to the rear wheels.
 
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