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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2006 purchased in 2011 with 39000 miles. The previous owner had taken good care of it, serviced at the dealer, and traded for a new one with leather interior.

Since then I have put on 3-4k per year (biked to work). Kept up the service, continued with Mobile 1 changed annually, but didn't drive it much. I retired in April and just drove a lap from North Idaho through the Southwest, 4k miles in about a month. Ran fine, averaged 20.5mpg, used about half a quart of oil. Now showing 58000 miles and except for some gravel rash on the nose it looks great.

I intend to keep it, perhaps get a folding camper to tow, and will likely be doing more trips. Off to Olympia for Enfilade in three weeks, but I doubt if I will put on 10k per year.

My mechanic says I should probably do the timing belt, based on age, not mileage. What do you think? He also wants to do a tranny flush and transfer case oil change. The radiator looks OK.

The Maintenance Minder says 30% oil life left, but with Mobile 1 I expect that's pessimistic. We'll see what it's saying this fall.

Rubber gets tired just sitting around, I know. Anything else I should be thinking about based on age?


- Mike
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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There are a multitude of owners/members here which will tell you that the Timing belt is fine. FWIW, I changed my timing belt last year, 10 years & 3 months from the Date of production on the drivers door jamb. I didn't have the low mileage that you have, but was at about 80k and felt I'd waited long enough. Just like the rubber on the tires, the rubber on the timing belt, serpentine belt and other rubber hoses of various importance are also aging and you may want to consider them for replacement, just as you would tires.

It's an interference engine, lose the timing belt & your looking at $3500-$5000 for replacement, with either a pulled from a wrecked vehicle (with unknown maintenance history) or a remanufactured engine along with the associated costs of installation. Then there is the cooling and related transmission issue "SMOD", with multiple threads on here and with other brands on the 'ol interwebs'. Lastly there are other ancillary systems to consider, brakes, steering & suspension components, and other general maintenance items. Now to me the RL is one of the easiest vehicles to work on. Having stated you have atleast some form of alternate transportation I'd say DIY, as much as you can and with the significant savings go on some wonderful road trips knowing your RL will get you there and back.

If you were wanting to drop it off and have someone else complete the entire list, I'd say start shopping for a new vehicle or atleast a new to you vehicle, you'll still get a decent amount for your RL, but I believe that window of opportunity is closing, because one advantage the older RL's have had was there was no real significant changes over the 9 year production run, (minor interior electronic upgrades, engine tuning and transmission mapping changes which netted minor fuel economy increases and possibly improved 0-60 & 1/4 mile times.


I consider myself a decent backyard mechanic, with no formal training. I've been doing the basics for almost 30 years, shown the basics, of oil changes, brake changes & random other vehicle stuff over the years. I've never used more than, car ramps & vehicle jack's and jack stands, and would guess maybe $25k in total savings. Point being, if I can, anyone can.

Here's the list I'd do and barring a total loss accident, should continue to drive my RL for another 10-15 years.. YMMV

Replace all the fluids, it will give you a really good base line & can all be done with a hand full of metric hand tools, and some time. Once you compile everything I believe it could be done on one day, but being retired, you could spread it out over a week, I'll place them in order of simplicity.

Motor Oil, 5 qts of 5w-20 & a filter, maybe $30 and an hr. 1 bolt (17mm) optional crush washer (pm me your address, I have a bag I'll send you some for free) ;) and one strap wrench, turn the wheel to the left and reach in the passengers side wheel well & replace the filter, many can do the oil change with no jack or ramp. VTM-4 Fluid, 1 gal maybe $30, this is your electromagnetically controlled rear diff, two bolts, two (18mm & 20 mm) optional to replace crush washers. Biggest tip, remove the fill bolt before the drain bolt. An fluid transfer pump is another suggestion. Hypoid Gear oil qt and an hr. This like motor oil isn't anything specific from Honda it's 75w-85, but many are using Mobil 1 or other full synthetic gear oil @ 75w-90 without issue. And a different fluid transfer pump & removing the fill bolt first. For maybe $75 and 3 hrs, you just completed 3 services and saved maybe $100.

Pull the lower plastic splash shield and really get a look at the lower radiator to transmission fittings, mine looked fine, but fluid testing revealed I had coolant in the ATF. While there pull fill plug on the transmission and the drain bolt to begins the conversion to DW-1 (full synthetic) from Z-1 (semi-synthetic) it takes 4 drain & fills @ 3.5 qts each for a total of 14 qts about $100 and two optional crush washers. If you have the dealer service this it's typically a single drain & fill and $149. Drive at least 5-10 miles between ATF changes, being sure to engage all gears including reverse, to me after the first & second change there was noticeable change in shift characteristics.

Now if it was me I'd buy a aftermarket radiator the OSC is quite popular, for about $150-$200 and OEM upper and lower radiator hoses, and 3' of Transmission hose, before completely changing the ATF & 2 gallons of Honda type-2 coolant, I'd guess less than $300 for everything DIY, with that the dreaded SMOD is avoided for maybe another 10+ years. It's maybe a 3-4 hr job and you may need some new plastic clips, but is still a 1 person & hand tools type task.

By the book brake fluid is suppose to be changed every 3 years, and is a bit tedious and really requires 2 people I've seen it at my dealer for $189 and having DIY'd this myself 3 times, I'm considering paying for it next time. If paying to get the brake fluid changed you may ask them to inspect the brake hardware & lube the slide pins and clean/replace the stainless hardware, it's known to have issues which cause the brakes to stick/sieze and prematurely wear the pads. The rear pads are under sized slightly and seem to wear out before the fronts.

Power steering has no schedule and is the other fluid to consider. I've been doing the "suck & fill" method for 11 years at every oil change where I remove maybe 1/2 a pt bottle and pour in 1/2 a bottle, I'm about to do a full Drain & Fill, replace 2 o-rings on the pump, which have been known to harden & fail and change the power steering reservoir. There are several threads on this and it looks like a 2-4 hr job with no experience. It may be worth paying $ to change the PS Fluid, only refill with Honda/Acura PS fluid. Honda PS racks are known to be finicky.

With these done, a trip to your trusted garage for a timing belt is in order and if they are willing you can buy the AISIN Honda Ridgeline 3.5L V6 Timing Belt and Water Pump Kit I've seen it for $200, although the Amazon price is $273, Parts Geek & RockAuto also carry it. Your shop may also be able to source that kit. Several threads have posts about the AISIN kit being the OEM parts minus the OEM costs. Also if you don't want to deal with the radiator, some have had their shop (and even dealers) replace the radiator with the timing belt. To me I did the radiator first, and provided 1.5 gal of new coolant to provide an additional drain & fill of coolant after installation of the new radiator to get me atleast an additional 5 yrs & 50k miles before the next coolant change. My dealer worked with me somewhat on the timing belt some additional seals and my coolant and it was right at $900.

While there an inspection of CV boots, tie rods and other various components would be good and shouldn't add significantly to the timing belt job, guessing it's already on the rack, so have them take a look around. Additionally, I'm just guessing, but my experience so far is no major issues in these areas.

PM me if you would like some part numbers and links, sources to good internet Honda dealers
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for all of the info. I'll talk to my mechanic and see what we can work out. I've been going to them for years so we have a pretty good relationship.

When I bought the truck in 2011 I replaced all of the fluids that hadn't already been done by the dealer, but I can see doing it again. We'll see if they can cut me a deal for doing the radiator and timing belt at the same time, it would make things easier.

I'm getting lazier about doing my own work, but we'll see how much they want for labor.
 
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