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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys and gals!! I just dropped my 06 Ridgeline off for the Air Bag recall. The service writer just called and said that I have multiple oil leaks at the valves, can fields and oil pan?? (I may be using some incorrect terminology so I apologize.) He also said that my front axle needed to be replaced along with the boots as they were also leaking???? All of this is Greek to me. Of course I told him no, since between the two repairs it was over $1,600.00. I always get my oil changed at the same place and they have NEVER mentioned any oil leaks and I am QUITE certain they would have told me since they are always trying to up-sell me, too. Do y'all have any suggestions as to what I need to be looking for or what I may need to say to the place where I always get the oil changed?? Should I go to an totally independent shop just to see what they say?? I don't mind making necessary repairs because I love my truck. I have 192k miles on it and plan to keep it a long time, so I do want to make sure I keep it maintained properly. Thanks in advance!!!!! :act014:
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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We don't call them "Stealerships" for nothing...

First, have you noticed that any of the "Leaking Oil" is showing up on the driveway/garage floor. Secondly, have you noticed the oil being used quickly (being down a quart before the next oil change).

As for the 1/2 shafts and CV Boots, if it's not a job you can tackle then I'd definitely take it to an independent shop and get an estimate for replacing the CV Axle which will include new CV joints and CV Boots.

Good Luck
 

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.... and the next time you are at your "regular" oil change place, ask them if you can look under there while they have it up; take a look at the axle boots to see how much grease is leaking out of there.

The guys at that shop should be able to give you an opinion as well (how bad is it... can I wait on this, etc.).

The main thing is to be sure there are not tears that would have you really slinging grease in a major way.... you don't want the joints going dry & wearing out. If you have torn boots, then you would probably just want to get new axles installed (unless you need to pinch your pennies or have really low miles on your truck.... but even then, the labor for installation of new boots would be about the same as putting in new axles). FYI, if you don't know already, you'll start to get "clicking" during turns when your CV joints are going south.
 

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As to the CV's . . .Leaking CV boots are pretty common place and with your mileage I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that you have that issue. CV's don't typically strand you when they go bad, but rather start making noises, particularly during turns. You may find that even though yours are leaking, that they may still give you some more miles of service. If you do decide to fix the leaking CV issue, with nearly 200k miles of service I wouldn't consider just replacing the CV boots since its a lot of work and your axles are probably at the end of their life span.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everybody! Sorry for the delay in replying....thought I had turned on my notifications. I will be checking the driveway when I get home this evening. I think I will run back up to the oil change place and ask if they will take a look and then find an independent garage. I have a friend that used to work for Honda and has his own little shop now. I haven't experienced the "clicking" during turns. I did just get a new set of Michelin's, would those guys have been able to see the axle/boot problem?? They like to up-sell too, so I wonder why they wouldn't say something. I drive 75 miles a day to work and back. So may not be a bad idea to get that fixed!! Y'all are awesome! I will keep you posted. :)
 

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The tire shop may not have looked at the boots, as they're sort of hidden behind the brake rotors. But the oil-change shop should have noticed.

Given that it's a 2006 with 192k miles, I'm surprised they've lasted this long. You're pretty much due for axle replacement.

Chip H.
 

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A few of the front CV boots on our '05 MDX have been slinging grease for 75k miles. Just a bit, from the small-end seal on the boots. It had about 56k miles when we bought it (from my folks, who bought it new), and it has 131k miles now. I wipe the grease off at each tire rotation and just monitor it. All of the boots have looked iffy or dry since we bought it, but it's run like a champ regardless. I figure I'll replace a CV shaft if I have to, but I'll run 'em out until they start making noise...if they ever do.
 

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A few of the front CV boots on our '05 MDX have been slinging grease for 75k miles. Just a bit, from the small-end seal on the boots. It had about 56k miles when we bought it (from my folks, who bought it new), and it has 131k miles now. I wipe the grease off at each tire rotation and just monitor it. All of the boots have looked iffy or dry since we bought it, but it's run like a champ regardless. I figure I'll replace a CV shaft if I have to, but I'll run 'em out until they start making noise...if they ever do.
You CAN just replace the boot clamps on these, FYI. 'Might get the seepage to stop.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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My 2006 Pilot has had a small grease leak on the right side outermost clamp for years and thousands of miles. I just wipe off what little there is during an oil and filter change and keep an eye on it. Those CV joints are amazingly durable and will likely go for thousands of miles even when they start clicking. Regardless, with nearly 200k miles, you've certainly got your money's worth out of those axles if they are original and you've had it since new.

When you do decide to replace them, do not go with anything less than OEM axles. We've seen numerous reports of 3rd party axles causing all kinds of issues (vibration, etc.). It's simply not worth the hassle and risk for the amount of money saved (IMO).

If you have a knowledgeable friend in the Honda repair business, you have a valuable asset in keeping your RL up to date on maintenance.

Make sure you're up to date on (for normal service conditions):
brake fluid changes (3 years)
power steering fluid (not in the maintenance manual, but I'd suggest every 3 years/50k miles or so)
tranny fluid (30k miles)
rear diff (30k miles)
transfer assembly (30k miles)
engine and cabin air filters (30k miles)
oil and filter changes (use a quality oil filter like the Honda A01 made by Filtech)

timing belt, water pump, hydraulic tensioner, spark plugs, valve adjustment, EGR valve, serpentine belt and tensioner, radiator, and maybe the O2 sensors should be done every 105k miles or so.

OEM fluids only for everything except engine oil and transfer assembly hypoid gear oil. Just use whatever meets the spec for those fluids.

Off the top of my head, that list should keep you in pretty good shape for years to come. Just thought I'd post that up since you made the comment about wanting to keep your RL in tip top shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
WOW! Thanks all! I will get to it ASAP! I have had some of that stuff done (but probably need to again) the diff/tranny change and one of those belts...HAHA!! I bought mine used with 29k miles. It's the best vehicle I have ever had. I have NEVER kept a vehicle this long. I usually get bored with them and switch. My last 2 were SUV's. Honda Passport and Ford Expedition. They were both nice, but I can do so much more with my Ridgeline. Go to the hunting camp, the river, Lowe's and of course any home interior store and bring home my stuff without having to "borrow" a truck!! :grin:
 

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Heeeelllllppppppppp! :) Ok, I had the front axles and cv boots replaced. Left and right. Well, since then I have had an intermittent metal scrubbing sound in the front. Almost like the rotors? Which they did turn while they did the other work. I have heard it actually click and then make the noise and then a few moments later it will stop. It has also done it for miles and miles and never stop. All at different times. Not during braking or only turning, just normal driving. The shop checked it right after I had the work done and of course it wasn't making the noise and they couldn't find anything. Well, it continued off and on. It has been about a week or so now since I've heard it, but I took it to the shop anyway because I am still not comfortable with what it was doing. I also told the shop the first time I took it back that it felt like I really had to punch the gas hard to get it to go. I drive interstate everyday and like to accelerate super fast on a short on ramp merge lane and it just seems to struggle more since the change. He blew it off then....BUT today when we were talking about everything he mentioned 4wd and verified that we did use the correct axles and had we not it would be more sluggish??? I reminded him that I had told him I already felt it was a little more sluggish before. Soooo, he put it on the computer and got an error code for the VTM4!!!!!! He really didn't know if or how that may be part of the actual axle change. I told HIM that I would reach back out to all of you awesome ROC members and you could tell him what the problem may be! :) Oh, and he said that he tried to engage my 4wd and it wouldn't engage and the light wouldn't come on????? What do y'all think?
 

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I wish I could offer some advice. There are too many variables at play with the work you've had done to really internet diagnose.

One thing that puzzles me is the VTM-4 error. Is there no light on the panel? If the VTM-4 indicator is on, there are a multitude of reasons which could cause this.

If the RL is feeling sluggish, have you (cautiously) checked the wheels after driving to see if you have any brake drag? If so, the wheels may be very hot to the touch. (I bought an IR gun with this in mind... but haven't had to use it for this check yet).

Scraping sounds.. could be the brake shield bent during maintenance?

It sounds to me like you really need a trusted shop you can take this to and have them thoroughly check it out.

BTW, it's normal to hear the brakes click if you've back up and then go forward again. But I'm not sure if this is the click you're referring to.

Out of curiosity, why did you have the axles and CV boots replaced? Did you use OEM axles? How many miles on your RL? What is the maintenance history?

What kind of shop did this work? An independent or a Honda dealer? If the shop is not familiar with the VTM-4 system, he may not know how to engage VTM-4 lock.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wish I could offer some advice. There are too many variables at play with the work you've had done to really internet diagnose.

One thing that puzzles me is the VTM-4 error. Is there no light on the panel? If the VTM-4 indicator is on, there are a multitude of reasons which could cause this.

If the RL is feeling sluggish, have you (cautiously) checked the wheels after driving to see if you have any brake drag? If so, the wheels may be very hot to the touch. (I bought an IR gun with this in mind... but haven't had to use it for this check yet).

Scraping sounds.. could be the brake shield bent during maintenance?

It sounds to me like you really need a trusted shop you can take this to and have them thoroughly check it out.

BTW, it's normal to hear the brakes click if you've back up and then go forward again. But I'm not sure if this is the click you're referring to.

Out of curiosity, why did you have the axles and CV boots replaced? Did you use OEM axles? How many miles on your RL? What is the maintenance history?

What kind of shop did this work? An independent or a Honda dealer? If the shop is not familiar with the VTM-4 system, he may not know how to engage VTM-4 lock.

Thanks for the input. To answer your questions:
1. There are no lights lit up on the panel. The shop pulled the code from the diagnostic.
2. I have not checked the wheels, but the shop has looked at all of the components (brakes, rotors) twice now and say all is good.
3. They thought brake shield as well, but that was ruled out.

I had the axles/cv changed out because there were leaks in the boots and advice from this thread that since I was pretty close to 200k I should consider doing the axles at the same time. I didn't use OEM :-( but the shop triple checked that they were compatible. I think they came from NAPA?? I would have to pull out my paperwork for model info. I keep the maintenance fairly up to date, but feel like it is probably time to go back to the dealership for the diff and trans fluids. I am probably a little behind on those 2. The shop I used is a large reputable tire shop where we take all of our company trucks. Luckily the guy listens to me and is aware that I am bringing this problem to the ROC because he honestly can't figure it out. I just wasn't sure if them changing out those axles could have disrupted the VTM system? I don't want to throw blame on them if it was purely coincidence and something that was in need of service.
 

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That shop should be able to do the fluids, I'd change the VTM fluid at a minimum and just order a gallon over the internet. If your in a rush, you could get it from the closest dealership and have them do it today...
 

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If they damaged a wheel speed sensor during the axle replacement, that could cause the VTM-4 code, but I would also expect to see the MIL light up to show it.

If your shop guy is not familiar with VTM-4, he may not know how to manually lock the VTM-4 rear diff.

Do you know how to lock it? You can test it on dry pavement, but I wouldn't drive it locked on dry pavement. Having VTM-4 locked manually is like having a conventional 4wd system locked. The system will begin to bind as you turn and the wheels travel different distances. It depends on tire slippage to equalize the tension created by the tires traveling different distances and needs a slick surface to safely relieve the tension.

Make sure you use OEM fluids when you have the shop change your fluids. And make sure they use clean tools/tubing/funnels when they change the rear diff. VTM-4 fluid does not like to be contaminated.

I have no idea if the NAPA axles could have contributed to the problem. Can you duplicate the issue on demand and show the shop the problem (which I believe occurred AFTER the axles and CV joints were replaced)? I do know that 3rd party axles have been a source of problems regarding vibration in the past. And that replacing them with OEM axles fixed the vibration issue.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
That shop should be able to do the fluids, I'd change the VTM fluid at a minimum and just order a gallon over the internet. If your in a rush, you could get it from the closest dealership and have them do it today...
Thanks! I am doing this within the next week for sure. I think I will feel better letter the dealer do it though since this shop mainly does tire work. They don't even do oil changes. Go figure.
 

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If they damaged a wheel speed sensor during the axle replacement, that could cause the VTM-4 code, but I would also expect to see the MIL light up to show it.

If your shop guy is not familiar with VTM-4, he may not know how to manually lock the VTM-4 rear diff.

Do you know how to lock it? You can test it on dry pavement, but I wouldn't drive it locked on dry pavement. Having VTM-4 locked manually is like having a conventional 4wd system locked. The system will begin to bind as you turn and the wheels travel different distances. It depends on tire slippage to equalize the tension created by the tires traveling different distances and needs a slick surface to safely relieve the tension.

Make sure you use OEM fluids when you have the shop change your fluids. And make sure they use clean tools/tubing/funnels when they change the rear diff. VTM-4 fluid does not like to be contaminated.

I have no idea if the NAPA axles could have contributed to the problem. Can you duplicate the issue on demand and show the shop the problem (which I believe occurred AFTER the axles and CV joints were replaced)? I do know that 3rd party axles have been a source of problems regarding vibration in the past. And that replacing them with OEM axles fixed the vibration issue.
I will be taking my truck to the dealer next week to let them do the VTM-4 fluid and check that wheel speed sensor. The tire shop isn't familiar with the VTM at all. He has mentioned before that he only has one other Ridgeline that they work on as far as tires and such. He said that guy is pretty meticulous, too! Haha! I read your previous comment regarding the aftermarket axles AFTER I had already had the work done. :-( But, I have no shame in purchasing them from the dealer and having the tire guy redo them if the VTM fluid change doesn't resolve the problem. The issue is that it is intermittent....it may be another week before/if it does it again. :act024: I will keep everyone posted for sure! Thank you!! :grin:
 

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Ah, intermittent problems. Those can be the most difficult to track down. I doubt the new axles are the issue. But it could be the installation work triggered your issues. Or not.

If it would just break, then you'd know what the problem is. ;)

Good luck and keep us informed.
 
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