Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Part I

It's a truism that no truck cover is entirely watertight. What's not tossed around so much, but is equally valid, is that most cover and truck pairings have an optimal position. Find that spot and water leakage will be reduced. Some covers or truck beds need a little help to do their best job.

The second-generation Ridgeline (2017-2019) falls into that category. For whatever reason, Honda saw fit to include slots in the front corners of the plastic bedcaps that top the new Ridgeline's bed walls. All four of the slots will let water travel under any cover, tonneau, cap, topper into the bed. While the slots are not large, you'd be surprised at how much water can get in that way when you're driving on a rainy expressway.


The G2 Ridgeline with the Honda tonneau showing how the slots lead under the tonneau and allow water to access the bed.

Well, a few Ridgeline Owners Club members put our heads together to find a way to fill the slots to keep them from leaking. In case you're wondering, camper tape, or any kind of insulating foam strip that you might find at Home Depot and the like, does not do the job. No matter how much you cut it up and form fit it to the slots. After a lot of research, two of us came up with the same answer: butyl, a sticky silly putty-like substance that can seal out water. It's frequently used to seal old wooden boats. It never cures but stays malleable. It has one weakness: it gets softer as it gets heated and that can be a problem in hot southern climes. We selected another product, a car paint protectant called XPEL, to cover the butyl for looks, to keep stuff from sticking to it (and vice versa), and to help hold the butyl in place.

That was version 1 of the fix. The final piece of the puzzle is black-colored DAP AlexPlus caulk. The steps to add caulk and the reasons why to do it are version 2, detailed for the first time in this post.

Step 1: Reconnoiter and Gather Tools
Before you get started in earnest, check out what you're filling. Use a flashlight to look at the forward-running seam. It begins as a space between the side rail and the bulkhead rail. They are two different pieces. But it gets a little bit more complicated when you look at the seam as it continues into a crack behind the rear window. I think you should use butyl to fill the seam all the way into that crack. You should also come around the edge and fill the side too. The crack continues under the rail as well. Get into a position where you can see under the rail and use the flashlight to look at it closely, so you understand what's going on. It's up to you whether you fill the underside. It's probably not necessary because it's inside your bed. I've come to believe that the smartest approach is to use the butyl as sparingly as possible.

While you look around, don't forget to look at the front of the rails for your tonneau. Does the tonneau sit between the bedcaps or does it lay atop them? The rail front ends need to fit whatever you do with caulk. If you haven't installed the rails yet, it might be a good idea to install at least one and get a feel for where it occupies space in relationship to the two inner slots. I'll come back to this point later; there is a step at the end that helps with this.


Honda needs to pay more attention to how people use their trucks, especially the accessories they attach to them.

Next, gather tools for the job. Here are some I suggest: plastic spatulas, alcohol wipes, hobby popsicle sticks, heat gun or hair dryer if it's wintertime, newspapers for bed floor, paper towels, and kneepads/protectors. You also need something hard and flat to roll butyl on. The picture shows a wooden board, but that's not actually the best choice. In my defense, I used a high-tech tack cloth to clean the board. You want something clean and dust free since the butyl picks up everything in the more it picks up, the less sticky it is. You can't blame me for this one if you get caught, but an acrylic cutting board would be ideal.

There's not much to the clean-up job. Use alcohol wipes to clean out the four channels and let them dry for a minute or two. Compressed air is also a useful tool to blow the last-minute dust.

Step 2: Wall of Silicone Caulk
I use and recommend DAP 18107 Black Alex Plus Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone.

Start the caulking process by using it to terminate the inner portions of the two slots on each side. Put that another way, the area of the slots that is covered by your tonneau's front corners will be served better by caulk then butyl. The caulk is both stronger and won't stick to your cover. (Butyl can make a royal mess of your cover if you're not careful.) Try to create a flat square corner inside the bed.

This next point is the most critical aspect of using caulk in the corners: You are trying to build a custom fitting for the front tip of your tonneau's rail. You want that rail to be as level as possible with the bedcaps to keep it from pushing up on the corner. Anything that holds that corner up higher than the bedcap or that is too low could cause leakage. You want the rail to be as far forward as possible. Most importantly you want to fit the corner with a tight seal. More on this in step 5. But pay attention to the shape and position of your rail as you add caulk to the corner.

Continue the caulk about an inch down each of the two slots, moving outward on one and forward with the other. You're building a base for the corner of your cover, so the length of the caulk going down the slots should be determined by how your cover lays. Make the caulk as level with the bedcaps as possible. You have the choice of skipping the XPEL on this portion of each slot or having it run the whole way. Either one works just so long as you allow for the thickness of the XPEL.

Put the caulk on sparingly and slowly. There's no graceful way to back out of putting too much on so, avoid rushing if possible. For much better control, use a dripless caulk gun. The dripless gun will make starting and stopping easier to control. Use it to fill voids and level. You may need to put on several layers and let each one dry for 4 to 8 hours, depending upon temperature and humidity.


In the middle of the layering process with caulk. It's not pretty, but it's very functional. This was the first test to make sure this theory worked. Making it look good required removing the XPEL, smoothing out the butyl, and applying new XPEL.

The tool I used to shape the caulk is a small plastic putty knife like you would use to spackle with. You must wipe it off each time it touches the caulk, using a paper towel or something like that. I picked up a plastic spatula approximately 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide in a hardware store. Try to avoid taking lots of little passes with the spatula. One or two straight across passes is the best way to smooth out and straighten the caulk. For small touchups, I use the pads of my fingers.

Sealing the inner portions of the slots with caulk has the secondary advantage of preventing the butyl from leaking into the bed on a sweltering day. On the negative side, the caulk is much harder to remove than the butyl. Still, you might count that as an advantage if you want a permanent solution. And in fact, you could go ahead and caulk the whole thing. [I am more and more recommending a caulk-only solution, especially for people in hotter climes. But also if they just don't want the messiness of the butyl. I don't recommend butyl without the XPEL. I will shortly be redoing my own slots with nothing but AlexPlus caulk in black.]

Just be advised that the two slots that go sideways are most likely expansion slots for the bedcap as it heats and cools the caulk will prevent that kind of contraction, but it's unlikely that it would prevent the expansion in the heat. In the event of significant expansion, it might crush the caulked seams, which would need to be redone. The butyl, by the way, is perfect for the expansion joints because it never cures and always remains malleable. It can both flex and contract with the changing temperature.

Continued in the next post.
 

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Part II

Step 3: Bring on the Butyl

This is the butyl I purchased a couple of years ago. You can find other brands of butyl slightly cheaper elsewhere on Amazon. Get the smallest amount you can get that is colored black. What I ordered is like a two-lifetime supply, although you may find other uses for butyl.



Black butyl. Click the picture to open Amazon's product page.

Butyl comes flattened out on tape backing in various widths. It really doesn't matter which width you get because you'll be removing the backing and rolling it up anyway. Some people have cut flat pieces of butyl and tried to form fit them into the slots, but that will not keep water from leaking through. You need to completely fill the slot with the maximum volume of butyl and rely on the stickiness to seal it.

It's a good idea to warm up the butyl by kneading it in your hands for five minutes or so. If your butyl is ice cold, you can use a hair dryer or a heat gun to warm it up. Avoid prolonged direct heating from these tools.


After kneading it, roll it into a ball. And whatever you do, use a much cleaner, flatter board than this one.

When the butyl is well kneaded, roll it into a ball. Find a clean flat surface and roll it out into a tube shape, about the size of those early elementary school thick pencils. (The picture shows a larger tube, maybe a bit too large for the purpose.) It's easier to add butyl than it is to subtract it. It's easier still to get the size right the first time, so take your time rolling it into a pencil shape.

Fold the tapering ends back inward as you roll the butyl to try to keep it a uniform thickness. Try to gauge how thick your tube of butyl needs to be just barely to fill the square channel of one of the slots.


This is version 1 of this mod. In my implementation, the XPEL stripes are fairly wide to give them better adhesion to the bedcaps. I'm trading looks for functionality.

I've previously recommended that you slightly overstuff the channels with butyl so that it would make firm contact with the corners of the tonneau. But trial-and-error testing has taught me that the best approach is to make them as level as possible. That means the XPEL should be level with the top of the bedcap beside the slots, especially where the butyl disappears beneath the tonneau. Too little butyl and you'll get leaking; too much butyl and it will raise the corner of the tonneau ever so much, and that will cause leaking. Some covers are more forgiving than others. But unlike the pictures shown here, it may be better to cut the XPEL to the exact width of the channels instead of overlapping them quite a bit as I did.

Remember: you want to make it level with the top of the bedcaps, leaving a millimeter or two for the XPEL. No higher, no lower.


Measure the tube to length, snipping off the ends like green beans.

Start by filling a side seam with butyl. Firmly press the tube into the channel, pushing down hard along the two sides to eliminate any voids in the bottom corners. If you must add more butyl just do that with little pieces and press them in. You should be able to rub them with the pad of a finger afterward to make their edges disappear. (This is more difficult to do when it's cold out.) Another technique for smoothing it is to tap it rapidly with your middle finger or forefinger. A little water or spit may also help. If you have excess butyl, use a small knife to cut away layers until you get it down to size, being careful of the bedcaps.

I allow the butyl to climb the glass of the rear window about three-quarters of an inch to fully fill the crack, which is believed to be a weep hole that allows water into the bed. What made doing this easier was that I narrowed the tip of a butyl tube and then just folded it into place gently with the use of a plastic knife and the pad of a finger.

Step 4. Top It Off with XPEL

To do this right, you need to cover the butyl with XPEL, a product that is flat and sticks to both the bedcap and the butyl.

There are several reasons for that. The butyl does a great job, but it's ugly. Layering XPEL over it makes a huge difference in appearance. But it's equally as important for sealing up the butyl and keeping it safely enveloped, even when it's hot out. That cut way back on potential messiness.



Black XPEL. Click the picture to open Amazon's product page.

XPEL is easy to use; just cut it to shape. Having it cover the butyl keeps the latter from sticking to things. The XPEL also holds the butyl in place when it gets softer in the hot weather. This type of XPEL (it comes in many flavors) is black and is designed to protect car door sills. It's a good choice because it looks a lot like the plastic of the bedcap.

Click noside85's photo to read his instructions on how he did this:



Noside85's handiwork with the XPEL blew everyone away. Many thanks to him for the photography too.

Step 5. Custom Fit to the Rail

After you perform the steps above and then get your tonneau installed, you will probably find that the corners don't fit perfectly. This last step can make a big difference as to whether your tonneau leaks or not. It may require you to remove the rails again, or maybe you can do it as part of installing the tonneau (that's how I did it). I checked the fit of the rails, and if there was excess caulk or butyl in the way, I started by using an extended 18 mm X-Acto knife to carefully trim back the corner until it was flush with the rail end. Repeat for the other rail.

Next, install the tonneau and fully adjust it so that the rails are flat and level as possible. Remove the tonneau itself, leaving the rails installed. Examine the front corners where the rail and touches the bed caps and presumably your caulk. You may want to run a thin bead of caulk along the front edge of the rail and around the side an inch or two to fully seal the rail against water. If you remove your tonneau's rails, you will need to redo this caulk bead.

Note: At this point, all hard trifold tonneaus -- and about 98% of all tonneaus -- for the G2 Ridgeline ship with rails, except for the Honda OEM tonneau. Although this story wasn't written with Honda's tonneau in mind, except for step 5, it's mostly applicable. There is less of an advantage to using the caulk for the Honda OEM tonneau. But if I were doing it, I would use the caulk.

Thanks to ...

This plan for making the G2 bed more watertight is by no means mine alone. Several Ridgeline Owners Club members have contributed thoughts and ideas on how to solve the problem. But a nucleus of three members -- @noside85, @UnicornKaz and me -- have each contributed essential parts of the solution over the last 2+ years. The solution has been evolving over time, or I would've written something like this earlier. It still may develop, although, for my purposes, this is it.

See also: Part I (the first post in this thread)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Phineas, speaking for the newbies-thanks for all the time and effort you put in to this and all your other posts. You (and others) make this a great forum. Now....if I could just get you to pick out some wheels for me.......
 

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hey thanks. I appreciate that!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
454 Posts
@phineas - great job in writing this up!

Speaking from experience, it’s a time consuming task to write up a good DIY, and it also requires good writing skills and attention to detail - which you’ve done (yet again). Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Thank you Phineas and everyone else for the write-up identifying the problem and solutions to make the bed more water tight. I haven't pulled the trigger yet on a tonneau, but I'm going to prepare for the installation by sealing those small channels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Thanks for this detail information.

Next on my list is to use caulk and xpel only, after having issues with butyl.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,993 Posts
Thanks for the excellent write-up. It still amazes me that no company has developed a rubber gasket that can be placed in the slots to seal them for tonneaus and bed caps. You might still need to use a little caulk to seal the weep holes and inside edges, but it would be simpler than using butyl and XPEL.
 

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
I can’t remember whether it was Extang or BAK or another manufacturer, but in 2017, they shipped their tonneaus for the G2 with a slot filler. Unfortunately the item didn’t accomplish the mission and was discontinued.

FWIW, the first time i filled my slots was long before the butyl solution was devised. I filled them entirely with DAP AlexPlus. It worked great ... until I brought my truck in for the water intrusion recall. The tech apparently took it upon himself to restore them back to new for me. There were no traces of the caulk left.

When summer comes I will be redoing my slots from the ground up purely for appearance reasons. Have not decided whether to go butyl or full caulk.

Note: the XPEL requires a smooth surface to stay in place. It’s a bit harder to get the caulk to do this. But it can be done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I used some black silicone caulk and it seems to do the trick. I haven't tested in the carwash yet, but I will in due time. I didn't even use the xpel. I just put enough caulk on the side channel to keep the water out of that channel. I used a paint stirrer to keep the caulk in place and removed it after an hour of drying. I think if you are going to use caulk, this one is a really good option. It adhered to the plastic really well and I fully expect it to keep water out.
393885
393886
393887
393888
393889
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
We installed the Extang Trifecta Signature 2.0 Soft Tonneau Cover and then headed out on a 1,000 mile trip to Montana, (in which it rained almost the entire way), it appears that the bed stayed dry..............

Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Started cleaning up the failed butyl tape I did last year. My plan is to seal with the permatex silicone like le_inspector

While cleaning up the butyl I realize that in order for water not to seep in. The whole plastic bed cover needs to be sealed too. Since the plastic lifts with ease and I can see water seeping thru it.

 

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Started cleaning up the failed butyl tape I did last year. My plan is to seal with the permatex silicone like le_inspector

While cleaning up the butyl I realize that in order for water not to seep in. The whole plastic bed cover needs to be sealed too. Since the plastic lifts with ease and I can see water seeping thru it.

Hey. What do you mean by sealing the "whole plastic bed cover"? The bed is made of a composite. There's no cover over it. And it does not leak at all except for in the places that have been discussed. Plastic seams on some bedcovers may leak. But it appears you have a Peragon cover which is mostly metal. So I'm left wondering what it is you're referring to when you say that you need to seal the whole thing?
 

·
Super Moderator
2017 Ridgeline RTL-E, Northeast U.S.
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Folks, stacking tape products doesn't work very well because it needs to seal in all directions. When you stack tape you're almost certain to allow a channel to come through.

The best answer is black caulk like the kind you would use to seal windows and doors. And there is a caulk that is easy to work with that I keep mentioning to people but they end up choosing their own silicone-based caulks. Pure silicone caulk is hard to work with because it's got no resistance to being moved. It's like trying to shape something with whipped cream. DAP’s AlexPlus is a denser latex based caulk that has silicone in it. The latex helps make it form better. It's easier to get a flat surface. The silicone helps it adhere and be more waterproof. It's the right tool for the job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
With our newly installed Extang Trifecta tonneau installed we drove all day in the rain without the bed getting wet. But, another similar issue now is that yesterday we spent most of the day on dusty roads and when we opened the tailgate the entire bed and contents were covered!?

Bill
 

·
Registered
2018 RTL-E
Joined
·
625 Posts
With our newly installed Extang Trifecta tonneau installed we drove all day in the rain without the bed getting wet. But, another similar issue now is that yesterday we spent most of the day on dusty roads and when we opened the tailgate the entire bed and contents were covered!?

Bill
The tailgate is not sealed but there are kits to do that. From what I’ve read on here and other forums, the dust sucks in through the gaps by the tailgate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: phineas

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
Makes sense, any recommendations on which brand of tailgate seal would be the best for this installation?

Thanks,

Bill
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top