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Coolant Conundrum

4895 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Carsmak
Hello all it's been quite a while since I've been here but I guess that's a good thing as I've had no problems since my last visit, that is until today. So I hit 165k and the maintenance came up oil, airfilter, inspect ect, COOLANT CHANGE, at my 130K oil change/services I took a peek at my coolant while doing the oil change and it was crystal clear ruby red, the same as when I bought it, but yesterday I checked the coolant after doing my oil change and the overflow bottle was empty and there was no visible coolant in the radiator. I started my truck and let it get up to operating temperature and cycled the heater on for several minutes then shut it off and opened the radiator cap with a rag and there was no pressure or fluid coming out and there was still no visible coolant so I added a little less than a 1/2qt of distilled water and it filled it up but the "coolant" was now crystal clear water there was no mixing, so after driving to work (10min) this morning I let it sit about 30min and went to check the coolant in the radiator and it was full but no pressure in the radiator and the fluid is now crystal clear BUT BLUE. Like someone filled my radiator with Gatorade, I know for a fact that no one has ever touched/serviced my radiator since I've owned the truck I've done all the service myself with the exception of new tires and the shop that did it never opened the hood. It doesn't look like any kind of copper corrosion as the color is much deeper than the lightish blue/green you get from copper corrosion, so I have ventured here for advice or any thoughts. When I bought the truck it had 107k and the dealer had done a waterpump change because it was leaking, this was before I took ownership, so it had at least a partial coolant change and I assume that the pump was leaking from someone incorrectly sealing after a timing belt/pump change because there was a "major preventative maintenance" listed at 105k but there were no details as to what was done I can only assume it was the belt/pump, the temp maintains 185F-190F all the time even in hot Florida summers, and the trans fluid looks the same as the day it came out of the bottle so there is no contamination I can see. I am completely at a loss as to why the drastic change, Thanks in advance.
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Well Honda Type 2 Coolant is deep blue, and it has been since 2005, so you never had Red coolant, unless you or someone else did. Red is the color of Toyota Coolant?

ATF, both Z-1 and the replacement DW-1 are dark red.

Where did you buy the G1 at 107k?
Your memory of the 130k service must be off.

You shouldn't be adding distilled water but rather OEM (blue as Carsmak says) premixed coolant.

Have you replaced your original radiator yet? If not, you should certainly consider that to avoid any SMOD issues.

First check for any leaks or steaming from the engine. I would then get a couple of gallons of OEM coolant. Initially (cold engine), top off your coolant first in the radiator and then to the minimum mark in the reservoir. Drive for a week or two and see if your level is going down. If so and no obvious leaks then look to head gasket issues. If the level seems stable then drain your coolant, and replace with OEM premixed stuff. As I mentioned I would also do the radiator if you haven't already as well as the upper and lower coloant hoses and thermostat.
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Knocking on 240,000 miles, mine is still blue after 2 changes when I did the TB. Nary a problem..
Carsmak, I did buy it from a Toyota dealer and they fixed the leaking waterpump and at the ripe young age of 22 I hope my memory isn't fading that fast, I distinctly remember because out of the 5 cars in our family it was the only one that had red coolant, the others are all green with the exception of a Chrysler that used orange.

I also have some doubts about the timing belt/pump being done as the dealer where it was serviced refused to tell me exactly what the 105k service consisted of so I was going to do it when the next transmission, transfer case, and diff. service are due, (a recent post inspired me) I'd rather pay a couple hundred now than $$$$'s later and have the peace of mind, plus in the last 58k miles this would be the only money I've put into it besides fluid changes and a new set of tires, for 4yrs of ownership I think $500-600 in "repairs"(preventative maintenance really) is pretty good in my book, I think I'll look into doing the radiator, hoses, and thermostat all around this time, the radiator looks to be in good health there are no signs of corrosion but then again peace of mind is really nice, this is the first time its ever been low on coolant and I park on a white concrete parking spot and the only spots that I've ever seen were from a leaking rear main seal...that then stopped leaking after switching from Pennzoil to Mobil 1 3.5yrs ago, I still don't know that I fully understand that one but Mobil 1 is what she gets.
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Carsmak, I did buy it from a Toyota dealer and they fixed the leaking waterpump and at the ripe young age of 22 I hope my memory isn't fading that fast, I distinctly remember because out of the 5 cars in our family it was the only one that had red coolant, the others are all green with the exception of a Chrysler that used orange.

I also have some doubts about the timing belt/pump being done as the dealer where it was serviced refused to tell me exactly what the 105k service consisted of so I was going to do it when the next transmission, transfer case, and diff. service are due, (a recent post inspired me) I'd rather pay a couple hundred now than $$$$'s later and have the peace of mind, plus in the last 58k miles this would be the only money I've put into it besides fluid changes and a new set of tires, for 4yrs of ownership I think $500-600 in "repairs"(preventative maintenance really) is pretty good in my book, I think I'll look into doing the radiator, hoses, and thermostat all around this time, the radiator looks to be in good health there are no signs of corrosion but then again peace of mind is really nice, this is the first time its ever been low on coolant and I park on a white concrete parking spot and the only spots that I've ever seen were from a leaking rear main seal...that then stopped leaking after switching from Pennzoil to Mobil 1 3.5yrs ago, I still don't know that I fully understand that one but Mobil 1 is what she gets.

Sturds, do some searches here about the proper coolant. It's supposed to be the blue Honda coolant, for reasons you can read about. Using the other stuff can lead to problems.

As for the radiator -- these are known to have a serious corrosion issue but it is internal and not usually visible to external inspection. It results in the engine coolant contaminating the transmission fluid and destroying the tranny (one early symptom is low coolant level.) It's called "Strawberry Milkshake of Death" or "SMOD" for short -- useful search terms. You should be sure to rule that out -- catching it early can save you some money.

The preventative remedy is to replace the radiator entirely at about 100K/10 years or so (many suggest doing it with the timing belt interval.)
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We've got a member on here, who works at a Toyota Dealer, IIRC, the Toyota/Honda coolants are somewhat interchangeable, hopefully he'll reply/see this thread. Actually I believe all the Japanese mfg's the coolant is the same/similar, because of requirements from their government, read that on BITOG Forum and at the current time I cannot find that article. But I have found an excellent article from Hemming's - Tech 101 – the colors of antifreeze and a good reference chart from O'Reilly Auto Parts

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

Happy Reading & Good luck

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Catastrophic transmission/radiator fitting failure
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