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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello ROC,
I'm new here and wanted to share my story of how I got my first truck and the build story of fixing a salvage vehicle with price breakdowns. Perhaps some of you might find this interesting or useful as you see my experience.

Why a truck and why salvage?
My last three cars were Toyota Corollas. They are great vehicles and are especially great on gas. However, when it came to functionality I quickly realized I needed a pickup truck. As a pastor who works in a ministry setting and a father of three kids there is always something that needs to be moved or someone who needs help moving. That began my search.

When it comes to salvage cars, I am very used to them. I only owned one car that did not have a rebuilt title. My father-in-law is very good when it comes to fixing cars and we do the majority of the repairs ourselves. Therefore, depending on the type of damage, you can save a lot of money going in this direction.

Why a G1 Ridgeline?
Initially, I was exploring few different options. I wanted to spend around $10-12k. My main prerequisites were something that was reliable and something that had 4 doors to fit the family. My father-in-law almost convinced me to get his 2007 Tundra 4x4 with 127k miles but after driving it few times it was too big for what I wanted and I did not want a V8. My three final options came down to Tacoma, Frontier, or Ridgeline. Tacomas are very good trucks but they are really expensive, even when purchasing a salvage option you are simply going to overpay $2-3k only because it's a Tacoma. Frontiers were interesting but always seemed very cheap to me (especially their interiors) and there is not much storage options.

Ridgeline was always a unique candidate. My wife has a 2011 Pilot Touring so I already had some experience with the 3.5 V6 and Honda's AWD system. Honda does a good job with creative storage locations and that was something that definitely made the Ridgeline a worthy candidate. G2 would be out of my price range but the G1's 2009-2014 seemed like a unique possibility.

This is the one: 2010 Honda Ridgeline RTL
Searching for a salvage vehicle is always a unique experience. There are websites like Copart or IAAI where you see a list of vehicles that insurance companies have deemed totaled and are trying to make some money back. Ridgeline is not a very common car so there were not many options, to begin with. However, I came across this option for sale about 3 hours away from our house.

2010 Ridgeline RTL with 88k miles. As you can see in the pictures the damage looks very minor however, the insurance company put the repair estimate at $14k. So I knew that there would probably be few hidden gems.
I ended up taking the risk and got the car with the winning bid of $7,450 after fees and taxes it cost me $8,188 to take the vehicle home from the auction.

Stay tuned for updates and the details on the actual damage and repairs.
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Nice find and thank you for sharing pics of the 2010 RL, @VitaliyKuKu. Hope it does not cost you much more to make it road worthy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Taking Delivery
After paying for the Ridgeline, I had to figure out how to get it home. The Insurance Auction stated that the vehicle is in Run & Drive condition but from our experience, we know not to always trust that assessment. Eventually, we found someone who was willing to deliver it to our driveway for $350. That was a no-brainer decision since the vehicle was located around the Los Angeles area (crazy traffic all the time) and we didn't have our own trailer.

When the delivery truck arrived I took advantage of the Ridgeline sitting high on the trailer to take some shots underneath. This was the very first thing I saw...
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As you can see there was obvious suspension damage with the Rear Trailing arm cracked at the mounting point. (So much for Run & Drive) Further, as I was talking to the truck driver, he mentioned that the breaks were barely working. I knew that most likely we had a brake line leak somewhere and that was further confirmed as you can see in this picture...
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As we tried to start the Ridgeline to get it off the trailer we were having a hard time. The truck driver was surprised because it started right up when he picked it up from the auction. Something was draining the battery. Only after we took it off the trailer I noticed that the rear passenger door that had the damage was not closing completely. As a result, the lights were staying on inside the interior and draining the battery.

Off the trailer and into the driveway as it was getting dark. Waiting for the next day to see what we were dealing with.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hope this is a well documented back-to-the-road build.
I will try my best :)

Nice find and thank you for sharing pics of the 2010 RL, @VitaliyKuKu. Hope it does not cost you much more to make it road worthy.
I will try to share all the price breakdowns, you will have to wait till the end to find out how much everything cost ;)
 

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2010 RT - Bali Blue
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That underbody looks rather clean and rust free. I hope it is the same for the subframe and other suspension components. Being in CA, I would imagine that it barely saw salty roads and snow.
I wish you the best and a build like this get us excited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Former CARMAX car !?!
While waiting to start the work on the Ridgeline I did some background digging on the vehicle history. I pulled a CarFax report and was able to confirm that it was a CA car all its life with only 2 owners. As @smufguy pointed out this is really good news because the car looks solid and rust-free (especially for an 11-year-old car). Here are few more pictures of the underneath and suspension...

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Further CarFax digging showed that the vehicle had a massive maintenance service done right before it was transferred to a new owner right at 83k miles.
  • Timing belt replaced :love:
  • Spark plug(s) replaced (y)
  • Engine valves adjusted :D
  • Emission system checked (y)

This brought a big smile to my face since the Ridgeline currently has 88k miles on it. This means all of this was done only 5k miles ago. I noticed that the vehicle had some CARMAX stickers on it and as I tried to call them and ask for some information on the truck. Without giving me too much detail they were able to confirm that it was their former car and they did all that maintenance work before the sale of the Truck :)
 

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2010 RT - Bali Blue
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Looking at the pictures, it is rather nice to see a vehicle that potentially never saw salty roads. Your toe adjusters look nice, the rear axle looks nice and virtually no nasty rusts, let alone surface rusts for something of this age. You got a good find.

Inspect everything, fix everything from the accident and put this baby back on the road.
 
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