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Hey everyone,

First, I am new here. I have never owned a Honda (will soon, hence my membership), but I know about their reliability and I am amazed at how well organized and reasonable the forum is. I have owned mostly VWs throughout my life, and I am happy with that. But I acknowledge Honda's superior reliability.

Within the next few weeks, I am coming into possession of a 2007 Ridgeline RTL. It has every option, except the navigation HU. It has 90k plus miles, and ALL maintenance is up to date, including the 105k timing belt/water pump. I know that all maintenance has been performed according to schedule because this is my father in law's truck, who has owned it since new, and I know that he always maintains his cars.

To my mind, this car, with one owner, and under 100k miles, is just broken in. However, as a new Ridgline owner, I have a couple of questions: is there anything to look for, anything to change, anything that I should keep in mind?

As I said, the car has been maintained religiously. It's in near-perfect condition. And I want to keep it that way. Any advice is welcome.

P.S. I live in the upper Midwest, so rusting is a concern here.
 

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SMOD!!! There is a flaw in the 2006-2014 Ridgeline's radiator design that causes the lower radiator fittings to fail--due to rust caused by the use of dissimilar metals--which can cause radiator fluid to mix with the transmission fluid from the Denso radiator's built in pre-heater that leads to a catastrophic engine and transmission failure. Mixing of these two fluids creates something that resembles a strawberry milkshake; we call it the Strawberry Milkshake Of Death or SMOD.

There are lots of threads and posts on this topic for you to read and see pictures of. It is hard to see and diagnose early so some suggest replacing your radiator at the tem-year mark. A Denso radiator is not that expensive and easy to replace.
 

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Welcome, I am the second owner of an 07 with 222k miles. The first owner had all records of service at their local dealer. I have continued that practice at my local dealer. I did replace the rear seat plastic cable guides today, myself. ( with metal guides) But all other service, including the second timing belt, water/oil pump replacement last year has been at the dealer. I make several road trips, kayaking, each year and I have never had a issue of any kind. Also, everything on it works, except the light in the passenger seat heater switch! You should have years and miles of trouble free service from your ridgeline.
 

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Congrats! & welcome to the club.
I know that all maintenance has been performed according to schedule because this is my father in law's truck, who has owned it since new, and I know that he always maintains his cars.
Does the FIL have maintenance records? If so get those as they may be helpful in the future - memories fade over time especially when one no longer owns the vehicle.
They will also be helpful in determining which maintenance schedule they followed: e.g. Maintenance Minder, printed regular or severe service, dealership or the FiL's.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited by Moderator)
SMOD!!! There is a flaw in the 2006-2014 Ridgeline's radiator design that causes the lower radiator fittings to fail--due to rust caused by the use of dissimilar metals--which can cause radiator fluid to mix with the transmission fluid from the Denso radiator's built in pre-heater that leads to a catastrophic engine and transmission failure. Mixing of these two fluids creates something that resembles a strawberry milkshake; we call it the Strawberry Milkshake Of Death or SMOD.

There are lots of threads and posts on this topic for you to read and see pictures of. It is hard to see and diagnose early so some suggest replacing your radiator at the tem-year mark. A Denso radiator is not that expensive and easy to replace.
Thank you for the reply. I used to own a Volvo wagon that had a similar problem (fortunately I discovered it before engine failure). I will inspect the radiator first thing.

Welcome, I am the second owner of an 07 with 222k miles. The first owner had all records of service at their local dealer. I have continued that practice at my local dealer. I did replace the rear seat plastic cable guides today, myself. ( with metal guides) But all other service, including the second timing belt, water/oil pump replacement last year has been at the dealer. I make several road trips, kayaking, each year and I have never had a issue of any kind. Also, everything on it works, except the light in the passenger seat heater switch! You should have years and miles of trouble free service from your ridgeline.
Thank you for the reply.
I plan to use the truck in a similar fashion: camping, fishing, hunting. I've never owned a truck (never needed to), and the Ridgeline seems like a great mix of car-like comfort with the utility of a pickup.

While I am handy and have plenty of tools, I too usually take my cars to the dealer for routine maintenance, unless there is a huge price difference with an independent mechanic or it's something silly that I can do, like cabin filters, wiper blades, etc. I do it even for oil changes, simple though they are, and they usually inspect the car in the process. Anecdote: about 18 years ago, I took my VW to one of those oil change chain stores (forget the name), and few blocks after I left the place, oil started spraying all over the engine: they had gouged the filter plate. Took it to the dealer, who were great and actually dealt with the regional supervisor of said chain store, and got them to pay for the repairs. Afterwards, the VW service guy asked me, "why do you go to that place? Did you know we charge only $5 more for the oil change?" Lesson learned.

Congrats! & welcome to the club.

Does the FIL have maintenance records? If so get those as they may be helpful in the future - memories fade over time especially when one no longer owns the vehicle.
They will also be helpful in determining which maintenance schedule they followed: e.g. Maintenance Minder, printed regular or severe service, dealership or the FiL's.
Thanks, that's a good idea. FIL says he has all the records, and he is usually pretty thorough and takes his cars to the dealer, so that gives me peace of mind. He told me he just had the 105k (water pump, timing belt, pulleys, etc.) done a few months ago.
 

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Hey everyone,

First, I am new here. I have never owned a Honda (will soon, hence my membership), but I know about their reliability and I am amazed at how well organized and reasonable the forum is. I have owned mostly VWs throughout my life, and I am happy with that. But I acknowledge Honda's superior reliability.

Within the next few weeks, I am coming into possession of a 2007 Ridgeline RTL. It has every option, except the navigation HU. It has 90k plus miles, and ALL maintenance is up to date, including the 105k timing belt/water pump. I know that all maintenance has been performed according to schedule because this is my father in law's truck, who has owned it since new, and I know that he always maintains his cars.

To my mind, this car, with one owner, and under 100k miles, is just broken in. However, as a new Ridgline owner, I have a couple of questions: is there anything to look for, anything to change, anything that I should keep in mind?

As I said, the car has been maintained religiously. It's in near-perfect condition. And I want to keep it that way. Any advice is welcome.

P.S. I live in the upper Midwest, so rusting is a concern here.
It's nice to get a used vehicle that you know for sure has been properly maintained. Treat her right by keeping up with maintenance and she'll treat you right in return.
 

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For the radiator, taking a look at the fittings is wise but even if they look OK, you won't be able to tell what's going on inside. The heart of the problem is a dissimilar metal corrosion issue and it can corrode from the inside out.
Sounds like you have gotten yourself a very nice low mileage vehicle that is properly maintained and should be good to go for many more miles. Replacing the radiator (regardless of appearance) would be a wise move.
 

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For the radiator, taking a look at the fittings is wise but even if they look OK, you won't be able to tell what's going on inside. The heart of the problem is a dissimilar metal corrosion issue and it can corrode from the inside out.
Sounds like you have gotten yourself a very nice low mileage vehicle that is properly maintained and should be good to go for many more miles. Replacing the radiator (regardless of appearance) would be a wise move.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I am new to Honda in general, so it's good to know about known issues so that I can address them right away.
 

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If the recent major service didn't include a valve adjustment, you should take care of that. The exhaust valves tend to wear into the seat reducing valve lash which can result in burnt valves.

The radiator issue mentioned above is something I have done at the major service interval too. There are only 1/8 inch of threads on the connection to the heat exchanger in the bottom of the radiator. It won't take much corrosion to weaken them.

398911


For your reading pleasure:

You might also check the serpentine belt and tensioner too, if that wasn't addressed during the major service.

Generally speaking, you should also see that the brake fluid is replaced every 3 years (being hygroscopic, it asborbs moisture and can cause corrosion in the system). I also like to change the power steering fluid every 50k miles or so. Some have found contaminated fluid issues (noises) that were resolved by simply changing out the fluid.

In normal service conditions at this point, you should be seeing 30k mile service intervals for the tranny fluid, rear diff (VTM-4 unit), and the transfer assembly. I suggest EOM fluids for the tranny and VTM-4 unit.

30k mile intervals should be good for both engine and cabin air filters, or earlier as desired.

TB/WP major service every 105k miles to include the valve adjustment, radiator and coolant replacement, and new spark plugs (not from Amazon!).

I do tire rotations normally every oil change interval (6000-7000 miles for me) and at the same time, check the pads and guide pins for thickness and proper movement.

I use the MM (maintenance minder) for the OCI intervals and run it to 0% or a few miles beyond. I use Mobil 1 5w-20 EP and am a believer in synthetic oils due to their superior cold flow performance. That being said, we had a member here from Chicago that took his G1 Ridge to nearly 400k miles on generic dino oil routinely changed at the dealer. He then sold it. So I'm confident I'm being very conservative in my approach.

That's a pretty basic rundown of the general maintenance routine on the G1 Ridge. I don't think I forgot anything, but someone will correct me if I did. ;) The G1 Ridge is pretty simple to work on and you can save significant $$ for most routine service if you are DIY inclined.
 

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Thanks for the thorough reply.

If the recent major service didn't include a valve adjustment, you should take care of that. The exhaust valves tend to wear into the seat reducing valve lash which can result in burnt valves.
I will review the records and see.

In normal service conditions at this point, you should be seeing 30k mile service intervals for the tranny fluid, rear diff (VTM-4 unit), and the transfer assembly. I suggest EOM fluids for the tranny and VTM-4 unit.
Does the service minder in this model have a reminder for these fluids, or is it something I should keep in a service log?

TB/WP major service every 105k miles to include the valve adjustment, radiator and coolant replacement, and new spark plugs (not from Amazon!).
I don't usually do these kind of major service myself, but it got me curious: is there something wrong with SPs from Amazon?

That's a pretty basic rundown of the general maintenance routine on the G1 Ridge. I don't think I forgot anything, but someone will correct me if I did. ;) The G1 Ridge is pretty simple to work on and you can save significant $$ for most routine service if you are DIY inclined.
Again, thank your for the exhaustive info, I truly appreciated. While I am a little handy, I usually don't go beyond an oil change. I have done other stuff in previous cars (water pump, radiator, transmission fluid flush, radio stuff, etc.), but if it gets a little too complicated or if it's something vital/dangerous, I usually take it to the dealer.
 

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There are discussions here about counterfeit SPs and that is no doubt the reason for "not from Amazon".

You got a nice, well-kept Ridge and need not worry needlessly/endlessly and you've even won the $1,000 prize re: having the timing belt service already done. Apart from watching-out for rust issues here in the Upper Midwest, my advice to you along with doing what the Maintenance Minder tells you, might be to have it serviced at the same place your FIL did. Congrats and enjoy.
 

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There are discussions here about counterfeit SPs and that is no doubt the reason for "not from Amazon".

You got a nice, well-kept Ridge and need not worry needlessly/endlessly and you've even won the $1,000 prize re: having the timing belt service already done. Apart from watching-out for rust issues here in the Upper Midwest, my advice to you along with doing what the Maintenance Minder tells you, might be to have it serviced at the same place your FIL did. Congrats and enjoy.
Thank you for the reply. And yes, I agree, I am very happy about getting the truck. I trust my FIL 100%. He lives in California, however, so I need to find a reliable Honda dealer in Michigan.
 

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Thank you for the reply. And yes, I agree, I am very happy about getting the truck. I trust my FIL 100%. He lives in California, however, so I need to find a reliable Honda dealer in Michigan.
My initial thought was "well no need to worry about rust" but I suppose if he lives near the coast that could still be a problem? Though nothing like what our road salt does to an undercarriage I'm sure!

Are you going to fly-out and drive it back?
 

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Are you going to fly-out and drive it back?
Yes, exactly, I will drive it back to Michigan (and long for warmer weather all the way, ha). I am still thinking about the route, by the way (I have driven in both directions several times, so I am pretty familiar with the different options).
 

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ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!

🤩
 

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The G1 Ridge is pretty simple to work on and you can save significant $$ for most routine service if you are DIY inclined.
I agree. I got back into doing a lot of my own service because it is so easy.
Because I didn't have a full history like the OP @rutilia58 I changed a lot of the fluids setting my baseline for service as described here on the forum.
It also allowed me to better bond with my "new" old truck.

While I am a little handy, I usually don't go beyond an oil change. I have done other stuff in previous cars (water pump, radiator, transmission fluid flush, radio stuff, etc.), but if it gets a little too complicated or if it's something vital/dangerous, I usually take it to the dealer.
With a 12 y/o vehicle I use a local mechanic that is comfortable working on a Honda.
I let them do the big stuff and safety items. I get an uneasy feeling just buying parts from the dealership.
I've probably done more to my RL in the last year or so than I have on all my vehicles in the last 20+ years.

I have found this forum and its members to be informative and inspiring - along with saving me $$
 

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I agree. I got back into doing a lot of my own service because it is so easy.
Because I didn't have a full history like the OP @rutilia58 I changed a lot of the fluids setting my baseline for service as described here on the forum.
It also allowed me to better bond with my "new" old truck.


With a 12 y/o vehicle I use a local mechanic that is comfortable working on a Honda.
I let them do the big stuff and safety items. I get an uneasy feeling just buying parts from the dealership.
I've probably done more to my RL in the last year or so than I have on all my vehicles in the last 20+ years.

I have found this forum and its members to be informative and inspiring - along with saving me $$
Pretty much the same for me these days. I still do the routine services, but I defer to my local indie shop for the big items like TB/WP service. Changing oil and filter, air filters, coolant, power steering fluid, tranny fluid, rear diff and transfer assembly fluid are all pretty easy, especially when I put the Ridge up on 4 jack stands during an OCI. That lets me rotate the tires and check the brake pads and guide pins too.

The Amazon spark plug issue is indeed the counterfeit plugs. Not worth it. I'm pretty sure I had some fake plugs I put in my Corolla and instead of 100k+ miles, I barely got 25k out of them. Caused me to have to travel out of town to rescue the vehicle.

As long as you let the MM get to at least the 15% alert, it will tell you what's coming due. When the MM is reset, it thinks you've done all the maintenance so you won't get another reminder in the event you skip some stuff to do later... then forget it. That partly why I also keep multiple records (notebook, spreadsheet, etc.) to help me stay organized on the service items.
 

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Hey rutilia58, I'm also a newbie owner of a 2006 RTL, though mine has a few more miles, 186k. It's surprisingly in great shape and was pretty well maintained (for the most part, the dealer did miss a few things which has ticked me off since they described it as "fully serviced" and "formerly owned by the service manager"), I am personally planning to do my a full service at 200k. That will include: timing belt (aisin) and kit with water pump, serpentine belt (gates) and pulleys, all coil packs (denso), all spark plugs (denso), new denso radiator to prevent SMOD, PCV valve, 6 (yes 6!!) transmission fluid drains and fills (the reason why is each drain only replaces 38% of the fluid, doing the math to get to 95% changed requires 6 drain and fills with drives in between, obviously this will happen over a few weekends; this is just to get a nice baseline with all new fluid, from there I plan to do 2x flush-fills every 20k miles, you might not be as anal as me about that, just wanted to let you know that a transmission drain and fill is on the ridgeline is really more like a fluid refresher than a true replacement), VTM4, transfer case, and last but not least, oil. Quite a lot, but the great news is my Ridgeline with 186k feels solid as a rock, and I fully intend on running it past the 300k mile mark, so don't fret, treat it right and it should hold up

Also.. I'm not very good at doing my own service either, but the fluid changes on this really are a cakewalk. Here are the videos on how to do them:


I will also do the spark plugs and coil packs, but I plan to leave the timing belt change and radiator to a professional, hope that helps!!
 

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Douglas685,
I would get NGK plugs rather than Denso. I wouldn't replace the coil packs unless they are causing trouble. They typically either work or they don't.

Getting a baseline of all fluids on a used vehicle with questionable service history is a great idea.

Honda has their own guidelines for maintaining the transmission and it roughly amounts to doing a single dump and fill of the transmission fluid every 30K miles. The interval is based on the maintenance minder but it basically amounts to every 30k miles. Honda is of course well aware of the fact that the transmission holds close to 9 quarts of fluid yet a single dump and fill only replaces about 3. Their official service is still a single dump and fill and a cleaning of the magnet on the fill bolt.
There have been very few reports of transmission failures on the GenI except for SMOD induced damage (which has nothing to do with transmission maintenance) so overmaintaining the transmission does not appear necessary to get many miles of reliable service out of it. It may or may not be of some mechanical benefit but it will certainly cost more money and generate more waste.
 

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Hey rutilia58, I'm also a newbie owner of a 2006 RTL, though mine has a few more miles, 186k. It's surprisingly in great shape and was pretty well maintained (for the most part, the dealer did miss a few things which has ticked me off since they described it as "fully serviced" and "formerly owned by the service manager"), I am personally planning to do my a full service at 200k. That will include: timing belt (aisin) and kit with water pump, serpentine belt (gates) and pulleys, all coil packs (denso), all spark plugs (denso), new denso radiator to prevent SMOD, PCV valve, 6 (yes 6!!) transmission fluid drains and fills (the reason why is each drain only replaces 38% of the fluid, doing the math to get to 95% changed requires 6 drain and fills with drives in between, obviously this will happen over a few weekends; this is just to get a nice baseline with all new fluid, from there I plan to do 2x flush-fills every 20k miles, you might not be as anal as me about that, just wanted to let you know that a transmission drain and fill is on the ridgeline is really more like a fluid refresher than a true replacement), VTM4, transfer case, and last but not least, oil. Quite a lot, but the great news is my Ridgeline with 186k feels solid as a rock, and I fully intend on running it past the 300k mile mark, so don't fret, treat it right and it should hold up
I will read the records and see what has been done. According to FIL, he has followed the recommended maintenance schedule, and has always taken it to the dealer.

I saw Auto Resource videos. They are very well made and indeed a great resource. That guy has a natural pedagogical ability.
 
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