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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note: edited original post removing P0430 code issue to keep focus on oil pan leak.

oilpan leak?
Took the Ridgeline to the dealer today for an oil leak. The first junior tech slid under the truck in the write up area, took a look and proclaimed transmission oil leak after inspecting and smelling the fluid. Service writer suggested more senior tech take a quick look but he wasn’t available at the moment so he instructed Jr. to take it in and put on a lift. I was happy with that decision, hoping we could get some diagnosing done with out opening a new Repair Order and my wallet. I walked into the shop and went to the lift and no one said I had to leave because of insurance or rules etc… Senior tech removed “L” shaped rusted access plate on bottom of motor and steady drip (1 per 10 seconds) came out. He thought based on mileage it was not a tranny leak and instead was an oil pan leak. He explained the oil pan does not have a gasket material. Instead it is a liquid gasket squeezed out of a tube when assembled and then bolted down. He has seen these leak but very few transmission leaks and very few rear seal leaks. They dumped a bottle of Dye into the engine oil fill hole and I’ll bring it back in a few weeks to see if it shows up in the fluid on the bottom of the motor when under a black light. If it does, it’s an oil leak, if it doesn’t, it’s a transmission oil leak.

So I’m thinking this is an oil pan sealant leak. Parts for the repair maybe $5. Labor - they have to take off one exhaust pipe, remove a frame brace, torque converter cover and few other parts to get to the oil pan (wow, complicated compared to other oil pans I’ve worked with). I get the feeling it will be a couple of hours of labor..anyone know? Is there any chance that this failure could be even remotely related to the work they did on the truck a few weeks back (Timing belt and radiator and thermostat and hoses) ??? I don't see any direct correlations but is there a chance that while working on those other items, they could have inadvertently disturbed this sealant?

I did a search on oilpan and got 1 hit. I did a search on Oil Pan (two words) and I think I got thousands of threads that picked up on the word oil. I went through a few pages of them and did not find anything relevant to an Oilpan leak. Would be interested to hear of anyone else’s experience with this issue and if you tried the repair yourself. after editing this post, I see at the bottom 5 other posts listed or suggested as similar topics, so I guess starting a new post is a type of search tool in itself that gets better results than the search function

This leak just started within the last two hundred miles. It is confined to the bottom of the engine. The Senior tech pointed out as we stood under the truck while it was elevated that the back half of the underside of the truck would have oil spatter or a film on it if this had been going on for awhile. I did not mention it at the time but I am wondering if I have two different leaks at the same time, oil and tranny. If you look at the attached picture, the stain on the bottom of the engine comes to a point on the most forward part of the stain, that is actually ahead of or forward of the trap door where the oil leak is dripping from. I park on level ground or slightly tilted uphill so I don’t know why I would have this stain forward of the source of oil unless there is also seepage from the transmission case seam.
 

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Wow... you covered a LOT of ground. Let me get right to my first gut reaction: You need to find a GOOD (reputable, recommended) local mechanic who knows Hondas! That may be a premature leap to conclusion, but that's what my gut tells me.
Number 2 intuition: I don't believe in coincidence, so I have some suspicions regarding your recent unfortunate circumstances:

The code: probably your front O2 sensor (that code can be Cat OR O2 sensor)... and was probably screwed up (maybe just bumped) when they changed out your radiator. You did get a new radiator, right? One more thing they "could" have messed up is your crankshaft position sensor... but I believe that would be a different code altogether... just wanted to mention because it's not unusual for some guys to goof that up when changing the TB.

The leak.... why the dye in the tranny? Did they solidly rule out an oil leak... can they tell by looking that it's tranny fluid? And why "weeks" to determine where leak is coming from if it's leaking that fast (it all sounds fishy to me). Not being there to see what's what (I really did not get a good orientation from the pics.... that's just on me), I'd first ask if they replaced the front oil seal when they did the timing belt.... and I'd bet you they did (it's called for with standard TB R&R procedure, and dealers usually don't leave things out they can charge you for, even if they are optional--- most people don't change this)... and perhaps they did not get that quite right, and that's where you're leak is coming from???? Big guess, but I'd certainly ask.
I can't imagine you've had that bad of a leak & not noticed it before (unless it's not really that bad, and was just pooled there over a long time... just dripped out all at once. BTW, did you/they not check to see if any of the fluids were low??? At that rapid rate of loss, something's got to be low??
And about that code again.... your front CAT is up front there also near the radiator... it's not likely, but check it for damage... they would have had to really rammed it with something to cause a problem, but check it anyway. The O2 sensor is MUCH more fragile... so I suspect they messed that up. Fortunately, it's also much less expensive; but look for a broken wire or ceramic... if you find it, make them pay for the replacement.
For future reference, you should get an OBDII reader... they are cheap & can read codes for you... and you can look up the meaning of the codes on Google (Ridgeline P0430 for instance).
Let us know what more they tell you, and once you've chased down their culpability in your recent problems, and hopefully had them cover the costs (if they are at fault); start looking for more forthcoming shop to work with you in the future. Good Luck. ;)

EDIT: One more thing just occurred to me... they did inspect the condition of your tranny fluid, right? (put a finger in?) It's possible, however unlikely, that when they installed the radiator, they messed up the transmission cooler lines, and you have radiator pressure back flowing to your tranny.... causing the leak????? That's purely theoretical speculation, but since that's one (remote) possibility that ties your recent repair work to your new undefined leak.... I really don't believe in coincidence. :(

EDIT2: Here's some words I pulled from another thread/post:

PO430 means (specifically) Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 2).

Using the oxygen sensors, the computer system periodically measures catalytic converter efficiency . It will set code 430 if it *thinks* converter efficiency has fallen below a specified limit. If the truck seems to be running fine I seriously doubt you have a melted down and plugged converter. You would plainly notice some performance problems if this were the case. Also, if it seems to be running fine, I wouldn't necessarily worry about it too much. It'll probably keep until you can get it properly diagnosed and/or collect enough cash.

In many cases a code is merely a place to begin looking for the problem. If I scanned it and saw that code, I would do things like~
~check the fuel pressure. A dying fuel pump or a plugged fuel filter will cause an engine to run lean, setting oxygen sensor and converter codes.
~look at the oxygen sensor patterns while artificially driving the fuel mixture rich and lean. Maybe one of the oxygen sensors is dying. Maybe the wire is damaged.

As mentioned, converters don't just melt for no reason. Prolonged engine misfires will eventually do one in (raw fuel down the exhaust), a worn-out, oil-burning engine will do it (oil down the exhaust), and a blown head gasket will do it (anti-freeze down the exhaust). Converters usually last the life of the vehicle.

Getting back to your original questions, PO420 is the same code for Bank 1. And yes, there are oxygen sensors before the cats (upstream) and after the cats (downstream). The computer looks at the readings from the O2s to determine how well the converters are working. If one of the O2s is malfunctioning it may think a converter is toast.

I think I would take it somewhere and get it properly diagnosed before taking it on faith that "the front cat is clogged." It might be, but get someone competent to look at it. And in the meanwhile, don't stress about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Dnick and Coolbob, thanks for the response

Dnick - The tech at the dealership thinks the leak is due to a failure in the sealant on the oil pan. He removed that access panel (rusted “L” shaped piece of metal) and looked directly up into that space. There is a solid disk with teeth on the perimeter which is the first thing you see. Behind this and then up further into the motor, one can see the “bleed out/squeeze out” of the sealant of the oil pan. He thinks that sealant seam has given out somewhere and oil is now coming down from that area. I saw a number of drips occur while we were inspecting it but I don’t know if that is because of the leak (I suspect it is) or does this cavity behind the trap door always have some lubricant in it and those were just residual oil drips I saw. (I don’t think so because the trap door is not sealed in any way, just a flimsy fit over the opening). If the transmission was leaking, would there be oil in this area also?

The truck has not used motor oil in the past. The last time I checked it was full if not overfilled. When I checked it before bringing it in to the dealer it was at the half way point on the dipstick gauge/cross hatch area. So I think it makes sense, at this point to deduce the oil on the bottom of the engine is motor oil and not tranny oil. The dye in the tranny oil will tell us later on, when the bottom of the engine is coated in oil again, if the source of that oil is the transmission. I think this is just a cheap way to rule out a transmission leak. Once that is done, then we need to find the source of the motor oil leak 1. Oil pan sealant 2. Main bearing cap side bolts 3. Crank position sensor seal

Regarding the P0430 code, if the dealer did something inadvertently to cause this code to show up when doing my timing belt and radiator job, wouldn’t it have showed up immediately and not 200 miles and two weeks later? I did buy a cheap infra red thermometer ($30 at auto zone) to try taking temps of pipe before and after cats to see how they compare side to side. Some reviews said these tools are not accurate on metal but I’m thinking that relates more to shinny new metal and not old rusted, non reflective metal. Actual temperatures may not be that important in this case. My focus will be looking for a significant difference between the measurements on pipe A versus pipe B at the fore and aft locations of the cats.

Coolbob, your post does not have pictures on it anymore but I’m sure you remember what the oil stain looked like on your motor and the location of it. I got the feeling your leak and a crank position sensor seal leak would be at the back of the bottom of the engine and it would not migrate up to the front of the bottom of the engine like mine is showing. I am assuming mine is leaking from that access panel / trap door (near front of motor) and then moving south (towards back of motor) from air resistance under the car while traveling at highway speeds. Does my oil stain on bottom of motor look a lot different than yours re: location and/or scope of the stain?

In my first post I made a comment about the oil stain being too far forward where it comes to a point in the picture. I now remember I parked the truck overnight, nose down, on the steep part of my driveway to get the afternoon sun on 10 bags of crushed limestone that I had picked up a few weeks before, and subsequently had frozen into solid blocks and were now frozen to the bed of the truck when I tried to unload them. That could account for the oil stain migration forward of the point where I now think it is coming from.
 

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oilpan leak

Noticed engine light on today (not flashing) 200 miles after TB and Radiator job. Ugghhh, the dollars are starting to add up on repairs and maintenance items, just spent about $1K on tires and another $1300 on TB, WP and radiator plus another $200 on all new Fluids (that have not been put in yet). Now it’s looking like transmission leak or oil leak from somewhere….more $K’s to spend? I love the Truck but have only put 6K miles on it. I knew it would be needing some “love” due to the age and mileage, it’s just coming a little sooner and stronger than I had anticipated or budgeted for.

Before going to the dealer I stopped at the Autoparts store and had them do a scan. P0430 came up. The auto parts store guy said the code could indicate a number of different issues, bad gas, gas cap, a sensor, a heater element gone bad in a good sensor, catalytic converter issue, etc… I had this code about a year ago and the engine light went out soon after it came on. I had a half full tank so went to Sunoco and filled remainder with 93 octane (10% or more ethanol? - who knows, they don’t have to tell you in Ohio & the lady behind the counter has no clue). Took if for a 30 mile drive, performance was good, light stayed on. Did a quick “creep” under the truck and saw a fair amount of oil or other lubricant on the bottom of the motor. Went to the dealer that did the recent work.

Their code reader came up with the same P0430 but they said their HONDA tools that read codes do not give a broad range of what the problem could be. They said it was definitely and only a bad catalytic converter. I told them some of the other potential issues that I had seen associated with this code and they (service writer/former tech) said absolutely not. He said if it was one of those other issues, like a bad sensor, there would be a specific and unique code for that. What say you guys in the forum that know more about this than me? Is he feeding me BS or is he just badly informed, have caught him in other "statements of fact" that he was totally wrong on before? I am just going to “observe” this engine light and performance and mileage for awhile before doing anything and hope it just goes away like it did last March.

Oil Leak: the first junior tech slid under the truck in the write up area, took a look and proclaimed transmission oil leak after inspecting and smelling the fluid. Service writer suggested more senior tech take a quick look but he wasn’t available at the moment so he instructed Jr. to take it in and put on a lift. I was happy with that decision, hoping we could get some diagnosing done with out opening a new Repair Order and my wallet. I walked into the shop and went to the lift and no one said I had to leave because of insurance or rules etc… Senior tech removed “L” shaped rusted access plate on bottom of motor and steady drip (1 per 10 seconds) came out. He thought based on mileage it was not a tranny leak and instead was an oil pan leak. He explained the oil pan does not have a gasket material. Instead it is a liquid gasket squeezed out of a tube when assembled and then bolted down. He has seen these leak but very few transmission leaks. They dumped a bottle of Dye into the transmission and I’ll bring it back in a few weeks to see if it shows up in the fluid on the bottom of the motor when under a black light. If it does, it’s a tranny leak, if it doesn’t, it’s engine oil from a leak in the oil pan liquid gasket sealant.

So I’m thinking this is an oil pan sealant leak. Parts for the repair maybe $5. Labor - they have to take off one exhaust pipe, remove a frame brace, torque converter cover and few other parts to get to the oil pan (wow, complicated compared to other oil pans I’ve worked with). I get the feeling it will be a couple of hours of labor..anyone know? Is there any chance that this failure could be even remotely related to the work they did on the truck a few weeks back (Timing belt and radiator and thermostat and hoses) ??? I don't see any direct correlations but is there a chance that while working on those other items, they could have inadvertently disturbed this sealant?

I did a search on oilpan and got 1 hit. I did a search on Oil Pan (two words) and I think I got thousands of threads that picked up on the word oil. I went through a few pages of them and did not find anything relevant to an Oilpan leak. Would be interested to hear of anyone else’s experience with this issue and if you tried the repair yourself. after editing this post, I see at the bottom 5 other posts listed or suggested as similar topics, so I guess starting a new post is a type of search tool in itself that gets better results than the search function

This leak just started within the last two hundred miles. It is confined to the bottom of the engine. The Senior tech pointed out as we stood under the truck while it was elevated that the back half of the underside of the truck would have oil spatter or a film on it if this had been going on for awhile. I did not mention it at the time but I am wondering if I have two different leaks at the same time, oil and tranny. If you look at the attached picture, the stain on the bottom of the engine comes to a point on the most forward part of the stain, that is actually ahead of or forward of the trap door where the oil leak is dripping from. I park on level ground or slightly tilted uphill so I don’t know why I would have this stain forward of the source of oil unless there is also seepage from the transmission case seam.
The P0430 code could be as simple as an exhaust leak at the catalectic converter near the downstream O2 Sensor.

Another way to diagnose the problem the easy way is if you have a scanner you can check with the engine running to see if the Upstream and Downstream O2 Sensors are close in values (almost the exact same reading). If the scanner has a Freeze Frame feature? You can go to the time the P0430 triggered the CEL and check the values of both the Upstream and Downstream at the same time.

Also check the big hose going from the air box to the throttle body. Make sure it's tight and all hoses are in place and not cracked. A simple air leak can cause this code as well.

Does the engine have a harder time starting than it used to?
If so, It can be a weak fuel pump? Or the fuel filter can become clogged. In either case, the filter is attached to the fuel pump. So you'd want to replace both units at the same time. To check the fuel pump out you'd need to use a fuel pressure gauge to see if the fuel pressure is near the factory required pressure. If the problem is indeed fuel related, and it doesn't come out to be the filter or fuel pump? It can even be a failing fuel pressure regulator.

I know this may be overwhelming........ Always check the small easy to get to and understand things first. If you're like me...... I can overwhelm myself thinking all sorts of crazy ideas of what the problem may be, compared to what the problem actually is. The more you learn about your Ridgeline. The better prepared you'll be when a problem does arise.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the observations Silverstreak,

Can you or anyone else recommend a scanner brand and model in the mid range re: cost and useful features. Since I am not a seasoned mechanic I probably don’t need anything to fancy. The Honda dealer, when they pulled the code used a very basic unit that did not have a freeze frame feature and actually provided no information other than the code. The Service writer then had to look up the code on the internet to find out what it meant. I have to believe the dealer has a more sophisticated tool than what they used on my truck. I guess if i insisted on that tool being used, I would have been charged $100 for the print out of the critical info a more sophisticated scan tool would yield.

Does the fact that I had this code show up about a year ago, and it quickly went away, and has just now come back - does that pattern tend to rule out any of the possible scenarios that you listed above. It seems like air leaks, tight fitting joints, cracks, weak fuel pump, clogged filter, fuel pressure etc…would be conditions that once presented, would not fix themselves. Why would the check engine light go “out” after being lit for awhile if it was fuel pressure or a clogged filter etc…? Or if the Cat itself was clogged why would it lite up the engine light, and then not light it up again until a year or 6K miles later? I’m sure it did not unclog itself over that time. The only reason I bring these questions up is to better understand the risk of just ignoring the engine light in this circumstance based on the pattern of it lighting up. During this time I have not noticed a change in performance (passing or kick down power) and I have not monitored mileage since I drive it so infrequently. I will do that for the next few tanks as I’m sure that could be some valuable information if in fact I am getting terrible mileage. I have owned the truck for a little under two years. I’ve always thought it took just a little longer to start than any other car I have had. But that longer interval is so very small, less than an additional second so just a fraction of a second. It’s always been this way and it’s my first Ridgeline so I can’t compare it to another Ridgeline and the difference is so small it’s almost not worth mentioning BUT it is something I have noticed in the past and made a mental note of it. This interval has never varied, gotten longer or shorter so it is at least consistent on this vehicle over the last 2 years.

Any thoughts on the oil pan leak?
 

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Hardmat, There are 8 bearing side cap bolts, four on each side of the block. One of the bolts on the back side of my block had a leak and the oil was running down the block to the flange at the bottom of the block (just above the oil pan), from there it was running down the length of the flange and dripping down where the block meets the transmission. I had the truck in for an oil change at a local garage and the mechanic saw the leak and traced it up as far as he could see and diagnosed it as a rear main seal ($$$), thankfully he was mistaken. I'd make certain the leak is not as simple as mine was before spending a lot of money taking things apart. Fingers crossed you get it solved cheaply.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update:
Returned to dealer. Truck put on lift. Oil occupied bottom of motor surfaces where it was before. Dye was evident in the oil confirming it came from the crankcase where the dye was added during last visit to dealer and that it was not transmission oil. I asked the Tech if could be main bearing cap side bolt leaks and he said no. Tech thought it was either a rear main seal or oil pan seal leak due to location of oil. The cheapest place to check first is the oil pan seal, 2 hours of labor and a big tube of the gasket sealant goop.

The leak is actually very slow, I am half tempted to delay the repair and just keep watching my oil level but I'm not going to learn anything more about the potential source by waiting. There are no other diagnostic tests to do at this point other than the exploratory surgery of removing the oil pan to see if it is the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When inmates here on ROC refer to a "rear main seal" what exactly are the parts on each side of the seal? Is this a transmission seal or a motor seal? any details with pics and/or diagrams would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dealer pulled oil pan and re-did the gasket goop. Just got the truck back yesterday. Looked under motor today and saw oil there again. I don't know if the tech cleaned the area off before doing the work. I suspect not. So I cleaned it off so I can check it again in a few days to see if their fix is actually working.

I decided to also check the engine oil level using the dip stick/cable. It would not come out. It will pull past the 2 O-rings and it actually comes out about 1 inch, enough to get past the plastic piece and then it is stuck. I tried twisting it which it does do in both directions and pulling / jerking it fairly hard and it is definitely hung up on something. I have had it out many times before and there has never been an issue with it hanging up on something when pulling it out. I will start a new thread asking if anyone has come across this.
 

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Dealer pulled oil pan and re-did the gasket goop. Just got the truck back yesterday. Looked under motor today and saw oil there again. I don't know if the tech cleaned the area off before doing the work. I suspect not. So I cleaned it off so I can check it again in a few days to see if their fix is actually working.

I decided to also check the engine oil level using the dip stick/cable. It would not come out. It will pull past the 2 O-rings and it actually comes out about 1 inch, enough to get past the plastic piece and then it is stuck. I tried twisting it which it does do in both directions and pulling / jerking it fairly hard and it is definitely hung up on something. I have had it out many times before and there has never been an issue with it hanging up on something when pulling it out. I will start a new thread asking if anyone has come across this.
Can't be a coincidence that dealer just pulled/replaced oil pan, and now you have a stuck dip stick. DON'T try to fix this yourself. Just take it back to them & assert that the dip stick was fine BEFORE their work, and now won't come out. I suspect they bent something when they did the work. In order to 'pull' the pan properly, you have to remove a bunch of stuff, including the frame submember, if I'm not mistaken. They might have tried to just loosen it & apply the "goop" without actually removing the pan & cleaning the area. IF they did that, I could see how moving the pan around like that 'might' cause some issues.
In any case, SOMETHING got screwed up, and I'd be taking it back to them with a "WTF?" look on my face. :)
 

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read this post after noticing oil leaking from the top of the oil pan from the front passenger corner of the oil pan. very informative post and lots of great information to absorb. also watched this video
on how to replace the oil pan gasket. I found two bolts that were almost lose, very easy to break by hand. the job overall was pretty easy with all the details that were explained and after a few hours of work I now have a new gasket with no oil leaks. every bolt torqued to spec. thanks ROC community with all of your informative post that can help us with some of our problems with the Ridge.
 
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