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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking at Tacomas and more recently the GM twins to replace my 2000 Dodge Dakota when the Gen 2 Ridgeline came to my attention. When I purchased my Dakota it was a working truck and daily driver, I needed the 6' bed. Now I'm retired and the Gen 2 RL specs are looking pretty darn good. Plus the passion of the members of this forum for the RL is amazing. I'm now considering purchasing a RL 1st gen then buy a 2nd gen in a year or so when the dust has settled. My Dakota has been a great truck (16 years) but from what I've read and have seen on You Tube the RL 1st gen will out perform my Dakota 4wd that has no locking or LS differential in MN winters. Not to mention the MPG gain.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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What kind of mpg do you get with the Dakota? The RL, being rather heavy and not immune to the law of physics, will fare poorly on mpgs on short trips. I live in a town with normal speed limits of 35/45 mph and my shortest typical trip is 5 to 10 miles between shutdowns. I get around 16-ish mpg. On the road, I'll see close to 20 mpg, depending on speed. Rural non-stop roads at 55 mph or so will probably yield the best mpg and I've seen over 21 mpg in that scenario.

Otherwise, I suspect you will love the ride and the utility of the Gen 1 RL. I don't know of another vehicle in the market that can beat it for what it does.

Check for some of the known issues:
-cylinder 4/5 issues with loose spark plugs and blown head gasket due to cracked head (fairly rare)
- radiator/tranny fittings failing at/near the Belleville washer and causing coolant and tranny fluid to mix with subsequent tranny failure (reasonably rare too)

As with most vehicles (especially Honda), good maintenance and operating procedures will result in a long and relatively trouble-free life. I like to see the maintenance history if at all possible on a used vehicle.

The J35 motor is a good one but will need TB/WP service at 100-120k miles (105k actually). Some do it early.. and some go way over. I find it a good idea to replace the radiator at that point to avoid the SMOD (strawberry milkshake of death) which comes from the mix of coolant and tranny fluid mentioned above.

There are tons of threads here that can guide you about the few issues with the RL. And if you are a DIY-er, the RL is a breeze for routine maintenance.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the info! My Dakota with the 4.7L V8 gets around 12+ MPG in town, 17 @ 70 MPH and 18 @ 55. And I have a very light foot. The one thing I will miss is color. My Dak is a Pearl Amber Fire color (think of a brand new Penny), I'm pretty sure there is nothing like it in Honda's color pallet.
 

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For what it's worth, I think driving habits have more effect on MPG than any other variable. Forgive the rambling, but a little zen can add a lot of MPG and and life to your vehicle.

I usually reset the odometer in my RL every 5,000 miles or so and it usually shows 18.5-19.5 MPG on average. I have a 14-mile round trip commute to work through town and usually drive at 8-10 MPH over the posted speed limit on the highway. If I'm behind the wheel, it's because I need to be somewhere else, so I like to make good time. But, compared to most others I know, I tend to drive smoother, anticipate traffic much further down the road and coast rather than keep my foot in it longer and then brake. Just to be clear, I don't drive line like an old lady either, on average, I probably stand on it a few times each tankful, either to get up to speed to merge, pass a car or just for fun.

Each morning I pull out from my neighborhood onto a 2-lane highway and traffic heading into town is usually heavy, especially if I've hit the snooze button a few too many times. Thankfully, I can see traffic for over a mile. When that little voice in my head says "stomp it and whip into that gap between the cars" that's approaching I think yea, I could do that, but why abuse my semi-cold engine like that, another, bigger gap always comes up and I'm honestly not in that big a hurry to get to work.

Another thing I do that it seems to me that most folks don't seem to do is carefully watch traffic on overpasses. If I'm in the right lane on a highway and I see a car on the overpass turn onto the entrance ramp, I immediately scoot over to the left lane, anticipating that they will come down the ramp at the same time I pass the ramp. As a result, I never have to disengage my cruise control and scoot peacefully by as the clueless driver(s) still in the right lane and the person on the ramp take turns hitting the brakes and jockeying for position.

Keeping your traffic radar on high, and chilling out adds MPGs, makes your car last longer and is a much more peaceful driving experience.


PS The left lane is for passing, you won't ever catch me in the left lane unless I'm passing someone. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks Coolbob, I'm with you on every thing you say. I was the average male driver going 10+ MPH over the limit and taking cloverleafs as fast as possible like I had somewhere to be that was very important. Then five years ago Mrs Hankdad was diagnosed with thyroid and tonsil cancer. Long story to short, while driving her to her chemo/radiation therapy and going onto a cloverleaf at normal "suggested speed" I noticed she was grimacing in pain. I immediately adjusted my driving style down and have pretty much stayed there. As I said before, I have a very soft foot and for a good reason. The good news is that Mrs Hankdad will be officially "free" of cancer come this April. Fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK, what is the deal with black Ridgelines? I've spent the last 2 days shopping for RL's online and it seems like 75% are black. I"m sorry if I offend anyone, but I really dislike black vehicles.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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OK, what is the deal with black Ridgelines? I've spent the last 2 days shopping for RL's online and it seems like 75% are black. I"m sorry if I offend anyone, but I really dislike black vehicles.
First, glad to hear the Mrs. is on the road to recovery.

Second, I suppose others who thought they like black decided they didn't after all. (I am also in the camp of black being my least favorite color).

Take your time and do your due diligence when shopping. As you well know, it will pay off in the long run.

I imagine you are looking mainly in your local area. You may wish to expand that a bit. Someone here at the ROC recently flew from MN to TX to buy a RL. But that sure makes doing your due diligence tougher.
 

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Glad to hear your wife is doing better, hoping for good news come April.

Yea, I've owned two black sedans over the years. Black cars look amazing when they are clean, but they have to be washed, clayed, polished and waxed two to three times more often than every other color to keep them looking good. Been there, done that, used the t-shirt to wash the black car. I will never own another black daily driver.

A black truck, jeep or SUV is doubly insane IMHO. I worry enough about scratches and rock dings with a white truck. :)

I think speedlever nailed it.

Second, I suppose others who thought they like black decided they didn't after all
Black looks awesome on the showroom floor, then you get it home and learn what you have gotten yourself into.

We bought a new car for my wife a month or so ago and the only car on the dealership lot that was equipped the way we wanted it was black with black interior. Double Nope! The salesman tried so hard to get us to buy it, but eventually agreed to locate a white or silver car from another dealership.

Keep looking Hankdad, your RL is out there.
 

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OK, what is the deal with black Ridgelines? I've spent the last 2 days shopping for RL's online and it seems like 75% are black. I"m sorry if I offend anyone, but I really dislike black vehicles.
I guess I better jump in here to defend the black Ridgeline owners. Haters are going to hate. Yes, black vehicles are tough to keep clean, but when they are clean, no other color comes close, especially at night under the lights

I wash mine at least once a week. For me, it is a form of stress reduction. Normally, it only takes about 20 minutes, a little longer if I use a detailer. In the end, it is worth every minute spent.

I do such a nice job, my neighbors want to bring their vehicles over.
 

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I wash mine at least once a week. For me, it is a form of stress reduction. Normally, it only takes about 20 minutes, a little longer if I use a detailer. In the end, it is worth every minute spent.

I do such a nice job, my neighbors want to bring their vehicles over.
I agree, time spent detailing is always time well spent and very therapeutic. I'm not hating on black cars, they look awesome, but I'd rather not own one again. :)
 

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