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Discussion Starter #1
OOB (out-of-box) experience is a standard practice in the world of production consumer electronics, it is used to measure first impressions of a new or first time purchaser of a product. I assume this is a quality assurance step performed by just about every manufacturer of any product destined for the hands of consumers. Realizing an automotive component isn't always unpackaged and assessed by the owner of the automobile it will be installed in, its reasonable to suspect radiator manufacturers are less concerned with first impressions of their product - because technicians are (mostly) the humans unboxing and installing replacement parts in vehicles. Clearly, OSC markets their products to "installers" as evidenced by their convincing videos.

After tearing down a Denso OEM radiator in this thread and reading the experience of others with Spectra and Toyo aftermarket radiators, I settled on the OSC mostly based on the video I was exposed to by a fellow forum member linked thru the Rock Auto parts web site. On that video, the presenter mentioned "braising in" trans heat exchanger ports. In my imagination and based on info available on the OSC web page, it appears braising refers to a hard mounted port assembly that virtually guarantees trans fluid and engine coolant cannot combine - because the ports themselves are braised onto the internal tank/exchanger assembly, thereby offering superior isolation to the OEM Denso design which only keeps fluid separated by a very short threaded interface known to fail, causing SMOD.

Anyhow, below are images and comments on the OSC radiator sourced from Rock Auto.

Arrived damage free. No outwardly visible signs of shipping damage

OSC_0.jpg

OSC_1.jpg

Go figure, huh?

OSC_2.jpg

As claimed in the OSC video, alignment marks were in place. I'm guessing the double nut design on the ports has to do with the braising design. It appears the larger back nut is responsible for maintaining mechanical attachment of the internal tank, the second smaller nut is for port attachment. If those assumptions are true, I like this design. FAR superior to the OEM Denso.

OSC_3.jpg

Unlike the claim in the video, the cooler frame/fins appear to be the same dimension. IMO, this is neither bad nor good, just not as was led to believe by the video.

OSC_4.jpg

Something is awry with the frame. There is a visible waviness. Not sure this straight edge makes is as clear as seeing it live.

OSC_5.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Unlike the video claims, no cap is provided.

OSC_6.jpg

This straight edge shows the wave a bit more clearly.

OSC_7.jpg
OSC_8.jpg

The hardware on this rad seems to be high quality. From that single perspective, things look good.

I'll be contacting OSC Monday to inquire about the braising claim, just to ensure I understand the implementation more completely. In hind sight, I should have known the answer before purchasing. DUH.

Will point out the lack of radiator cap and see what they have to say about the wavy frame. I don't know if this frame took a hit during material handling somewhere along the line but it is my opinion there should be no dimensional deviation in the frame. These things are assembled in jigs, held captive in braising ovens and *should be* handled in a way that prevents this kind of thing.

Will update this thread with OSC customer care responses to my inquiries. Although this is not a high dollar items, it should be precision and delivered as claimed. It will be interesting to see how they respond.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BTW: the rad was packed using 4 corner expanding foam injected bags to keep the assembly from moving around inside the shipping container. The rad itself was covered in bubble wrap. There was sloppy 4" wide clear packing tape and few of those inflated plastic bag/cushions jammed in the box too. I wasn't overly impressed with the execution of their packaging, but I suppose the sum total of measures taken did the job for this particular shipping event. I'd guess the frame "damage" was caused state side as the completed assemblies were transferred from the trans pacific container for individual packaging prior to in-country distribution. I suspect that because I've been exposed to a multitude of of various things packaged and shipped out of China. Opinions vary widely on the quality of stuff coming from China but (for the most part) they have their packing act together. Whoever packed this rad wasn't trained on using repetitive processes or any process for that matter. It literally looked like something an amateur ebay seller would package.

IMO: these kind of things matter. Perhaps my expectations are too high.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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I am under the impression that caps are set to particular pressure relief values. So it would surprise me to find a cap on the radiator, regardless what they say. Or nowdays do all vehicles use the same pressure cap?
 

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Considering this radiator is specific to MY06-08, including the cap would be NBD, IMHO. And thinking about MY09-14 Ridgeline I believe is also used in MY09-15 Pilot, both use the same 3.5l V-6, and could most likely use the same cap.

Six, as long as the cooling fins are in good shape, the "waviness" in the frame I'd be OK, but your also buying it w/o Pressure testing it so who knows?
 

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Thanks for the review OhSix! Like you, I was lead to believe the cap would be provided, while not a dealbreaker, still if you are told something, you expect it.
Not sure this helps make up my mind. Maybe once you hear back from OSC that will help.
I think its either this one or the TYC.
 

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Might be a stupid question, but Im gonna ask it anyway :)

Do we have to get a new Cap? Or can we just reuse the one from the factory rad?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the review OhSix! Like you, I was lead to believe the cap would be provided, while not a dealbreaker, still if you are told something, you expect it.
Not sure this helps make up my mind. Maybe once you hear back from OSC that will help.
I think its either this one or the TYC.
IMO (other than being an effective engine cooler) the most important design element of a replacement radiator is the trans fluid heat exchanger mounting mechanism. Any adoption of the OEM design allowing an eventual SMOD event is an absolute deal breaker. AFIK: OSC is the only producer taking steps to address the poor OEM design - at the very least they are the only producer making specific claims to have done something about it. Every other after market supplier seems to have emulated the OEM design.

OSC gets a Mulligan on this one. Things go haywire in the real world. How they address this "issue" will tell all.

On the waviness, my concern is: this unit (probably) wasn't built this way, cuz its hard to make crooked stuff in a factory - and if that's true the item took some sort of post production impact to cause the wave. If that's true, (potential) dimensional changes in fluid passageways and stress on braised joints will almost certainly effect performance and reliability. If it was built this way, then a general quality issue is the root of this "problem".

Aces: IMO: Murphy likes to show up right when we think we've covered all the bases. So... you don't hafta have a new cap, but its cheap insurance.
 

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I suspect metal composition and/or gauge may add to the waviness. Would not hurt to let them know about it, maybe send them a pic?
Radiators in general are nothing special and the lighter the better for automakers. The fact OSC went to more effort to fortify the connections is certainly a plus.
But they still have to sell it competitively. So are they just meeting a minimum standard as far as build quality? But then as they probably say in the industry "it is just a radiator".
So take that standard and put it up against a complex transmission. The two still have to work together.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I suspect metal composition and/or gauge may add to the waviness. Would not hurt to let them know about it, maybe send them a pic?
Radiators in general are nothing special and the lighter the better for automakers. The fact OSC went to more effort to fortify the connections is certainly a plus.
But they still have to sell it competitively. So are they just meeting a minimum standard as far as build quality? But then as they probably say in the industry "it is just a radiator".
So take that standard and put it up against a complex transmission. The two still have to work together.
Agreed on sending them a photo. Already used the "contact us" option on their web page to start the conversation and offered to send an image of the wave. We'll see how they respond. I get the concept of cost containment to offer competitively priced products. Even though in the grand scheme a radiator is simple component, its function can't be sluffed of lightly. As you said, complex, expensive engine & trans assemblies need the rad to do its job efficiently and repeatedly under all kinds of harsh conditions. I sure hope the industry doesn't think of this part as a "just a" (fill in the blank).

Its likely companies like OSC deal with a wide array of yahoos in the public making all kinds of wild claims against them, but I'll be very disappointed if they don't respond positively. We'll see.

BTW: forum member Carsmak donated a Spectra radiator for disassembly. It'll be interesting to see how it stacks up against a Denso OEM. We compared the OSC to the Spectra today, based on visuals, both seem to be far superior to the OEM as far as the internal heat exchanger goes. It appears the heat exchanger in both have captive (or braised) threaded flanges extending thru the lower rad cap which are held in place with substantial nuts, the trans fluid ports tap into those fittings. On the other hand, in the OEM design, the ports themselves hold the heat exchanger in place with very short threads and very soft material (presumably aluminum).

It's astounding Honda didn't design a similar implementation for supplier Denso to manufacture. Honda's design almost guarantees an eventual SMOD event, where both the OSC and Spectra have a simple solution to almost certainly prevent it. Perhaps all aftermarket producers have implemented similar designs.

IMO: purchasing an OEM rad to replace an OEM rad is INSANE.
 

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It was I who posted the OSC video. Thanks for posting these pictures.

I recently bought a Spectra Premium radiator from Pep Boys online site to store for our MDX. I owned it for a total of about 90 seconds, and returned it on the spot. I didn't get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about it at all. I can't point to any one factor that told me "stay away", but I did. It was packed with styrofoam.

I went home and ordered a TYC from Amazon and it's much like the OSC you photographed in terms of the expanding foam packing and the cooler connections. In the end, I think I like this design better, anyway. If your OSC is like my TYC, it appears that the cooler has male-threaded studs that protrude outside the tank, and the cooler is retained to the tank by the large nut-and-washer outside the tank, independent of the fitting itself. In other words, you should be able to unscrew the female fitting nuts and remove the fittings altogther. They look like they probably have a flared end (like a brake line) and are assembled to the cooler studs with those female line nuts.

If this accurately describes the design, here, I like it better than the OEM design. There are no connections internal to the tank that are critical, here. In fact, there appear to be no connections internal to the tank at all. It looks like the cooler is retained to the tank by the large nuts, likely with an o-ring sealing it to the tank. If that o-ring fails, all you lose is coolant. If the cooler fitting comes loose or fails, all you lose is transmission fluid. In either case, you may need to replace the radiator, but at least you don't have to replace the transmission as well!

(Oh -- I just read the bit about opening up a Spectra for inspection. That'll be very telling. It sounds like I see it as you do -- the cooler fittings extend OUTSIDE the tank, so no cross-contamination is possible.)

On the radiator cap, my TYC did not come with one. And the OEM one did not fit without modifying the radiator neck. I elected to modify the neck to accept the factory cap, rather than either replacing the cap or modifying it to fit. The "key ways" in the replacement tank neck are a little too narrow for the OEM cap's retention "ears" -- all it takes is a bit of a Dremel to the neck key ways to open them up. Zero structural changes to the neck -- just modifying those key ways.

Thanks for posting these pictures. I'll put some up of my MDX job soon (complete with install of external coolers).
 

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Decided to take the plunge reading all these posts and order the OSC from Rockauto. I purchased the Honda OEM Rad cap thinking that was the best option. Hopefully it fits correctly. I guess I'll know in a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It was I who posted the OSC video. Thanks for posting these pictures.

I recently bought a Spectra Premium radiator from Pep Boys online site to store for our MDX. I owned it for a total of about 90 seconds, and returned it on the spot. I didn't get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about it at all. I can't point to any one factor that told me "stay away", but I did. It was packed with styrofoam.

I went home and ordered a TYC from Amazon and it's much like the OSC you photographed in terms of the expanding foam packing and the cooler connections. In the end, I think I like this design better, anyway. If your OSC is like my TYC, it appears that the cooler has male-threaded studs that protrude outside the tank, and the cooler is retained to the tank by the large nut-and-washer outside the tank, independent of the fitting itself. In other words, you should be able to unscrew the female fitting nuts and remove the fittings altogther. They look like they probably have a flared end (like a brake line) and are assembled to the cooler studs with those female line nuts.

If this accurately describes the design, here, I like it better than the OEM design. There are no connections internal to the tank that are critical, here. In fact, there appear to be no connections internal to the tank at all. It looks like the cooler is retained to the tank by the large nuts, likely with an o-ring sealing it to the tank. If that o-ring fails, all you lose is coolant. If the cooler fitting comes loose or fails, all you lose is transmission fluid. In either case, you may need to replace the radiator, but at least you don't have to replace the transmission as well!

(Oh -- I just read the bit about opening up a Spectra for inspection. That'll be very telling. It sounds like I see it as you do -- the cooler fittings extend OUTSIDE the tank, so no cross-contamination is possible.)

On the radiator cap, my TYC did not come with one. And the OEM one did not fit without modifying the radiator neck. I elected to modify the neck to accept the factory cap, rather than either replacing the cap or modifying it to fit. The "key ways" in the replacement tank neck are a little too narrow for the OEM cap's retention "ears" -- all it takes is a bit of a Dremel to the neck key ways to open them up. Zero structural changes to the neck -- just modifying those key ways.

Thanks for posting these pictures. I'll put some up of my MDX job soon (complete with install of external coolers).
The OEM design would be laughable if it weren't causing so many serious issues.

Below is an OEM Denso rad, donated by Carsmak for disassembly.

FIVE threads - ONE EIGTH of an inch long.

That's what keeps engine coolant from mixing with trans fluid. From a mechanical perspective, you just have to wonder how in the hell this design passed muster with Honda QA.

The only mechanism responsible for pulling the heat exchanger against the inside of the lower tank and compressing the port/washer(s) against the outside of the tank is this teeny bit of thread:

Forum_Exchanger_Falls_Away.jpg

Forum_threads.jpg
 

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(Oh -- I just read the bit about opening up a Spectra for inspection. That'll be very telling. It sounds like I see it as you do -- the cooler fittings extend OUTSIDE the tank, so no cross-contamination is possible.)
That's a huge improvement, and should reduce the risk of cross-contamination assuming the quality of the cooler/exchanger itself is good.
 

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That's a huge improvement, and should reduce the risk of cross-contamination assuming the quality of the cooler/exchanger itself is good.
Absolutely. This design minimizes mixing of fluids from a connection perspective, but the heat exchanger itself has to be leak-free as well.
 

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I don't disagree that the design "approach" is maybe suspect & overly vulnerable to bad things. But believe it or not, it is generally accepted that a minimum of 3 full threads of engagement satisfies rated strength for a given male/female thread engagement.

I'd say the risk is more a question of whether or not those threads are actually engaging 3 full threads when assembly is complete, but I'd guess they probably are.

It seems to me the issue has been one of failed materials, where those threads have corroded & pulled free.... as has been discussed here ad nauseam. But I can see how it could be argued that IF you are going to have a design that can fail due to insufficient material strength (in this case due to corrosion over time), then it would help to have additional thread engagement, so as to have more additive rings of contact (otherwise redundant when good materials are present). But bottom line is, the "Extra" threads would only be needed because of the root design defect (incompatible materials). (All of this of course, presumes that the dissimilar materials corrosion problem is in fact the cause)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I don't disagree that the design "approach" is maybe suspect & overly vulnerable to bad things. But believe it or not, it is generally accepted that a minimum of 3 full threads of engagement satisfies rated strength for a given male/female thread engagement.

I'd say the risk is more a question of whether or not those threads are actually engaging 3 full threads when assembly is complete, but I'd guess they probably are.

It seems to me the issue has been one of failed materials, where those threads have corroded & pulled free.... as has been discussed here ad nauseam. But I can see how it could be argued that IF you are going to have a design that can fail due to insufficient material strength (in this case due to corrosion over time), then it would help to have additional thread engagement, so as to have more additive rings of contact (otherwise redundant when good materials are present). But bottom line is, the "Extra" threads would only be needed because of the root design defect (incompatible materials). (All of this of course, presumes that the dissimilar materials corrosion problem is in fact the cause)
Yes, galvanic corrosion has been discussed ad nauseam here and elsewhere, but that version of common knowledge appears to be about as valid as describing the trans fluid exchanger as a "pre-heater". Which is to say common knowledge is only partially factual on this topic.

As is true with other elements of mechanical design, generally accepted practices can have severe limitations and serious consequences, which might explain why owners of SOB (some other brand) vehicles suffer from SMOD as well.

With this implementation, there is (what appears to be) equal evidence of failures with visually "clean" washers to those that appear mildly or severely corroded. And in those (apparent) equal buckets of evidence, there appears to be owners who rigorously tended to maintenance schedules. If the appearance of equal evidence = fact, one must conclude corrosion is not the single cause of a SMOD event. It might contribute to the failure event but it isn't the only cause. Since visual clues aren't a trustworthy indicator of radiator health and mileage isn't a trustworthy measure of radiator health and maintenance schedules can't prevent a failure, the only logical conclusion is this design is mechanically weak. And when it fails (not if), there is no avoiding fluids mixing.

The aftermarket has addressed this weak design by deploying threaded shafts protruding thru the radiator tank bottom, providing a much more robust physical attachment. Plus, the use of separate attachment and ports almost certainly prevents incompatible fluids from mixing when a connection fails. All for the price lower than the barely adequate OEM design.

Without much doubt, this is the weakest link in Honda's design chain.
These accepted practices stink, IMO.
 

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Agree completely. This was a major fupah from Honda.... very un-Honda like in my opinion.

And just to be clear... the "generally accepted" comment I used was strictly as it applied to the # of threads required for full strength engagement. I too agree that the entire design approach for this interface is an engineering screw-up - too many vulnerability elements exposed. What happened to Honda's long honored "simple" approach to robust engineering? SMOD in a RL is truely a result of design failure. I was always surprised they never made this right with owners.

On a side note, here's some interesting reading if you're having trouble getting to sleep! :)
http://www.hexagon.de/dose/dose1e.htm#2.3.1
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Agree completely. This was a major fupah from Honda.... very un-Honda like in my opinion.

And just to be clear... the "generally accepted" comment I used was strictly as it applied to the # of threads required for full strength engagement. I too agree that the entire design approach for this interface is an engineering screw-up - too many vulnerability elements exposed. What happened to Honda's long honored "simple" approach to robust engineering? SMOD in a RL is truely a result of design failure. I was always surprised they never made this right with owners.

On a side note, here's some interesting reading if you're having trouble getting to sleep! :)
http://www.hexagon.de/dose/dose1e.htm#2.3.1
Now we are talking. The problem with generally accepted minimum thread depth, pitch and surface engagement formulas like tmM/(t mM+tmB) a M = 1-aB and D d/2 = H/2-HB/2 - HB = a B*P/tan (a °/2) tan (a °/2)*H/P is the direct conflict with dt = d2 + (0.5-aB)*P/tan (a °/2) but only when FBr = RmB*As AND At = FBr*(1/tmM+1/t mB) UNLESS yield is expected to conform to Fp = As*Rp pB = bB*RpB t pM = b M*RpM OR B = tpM/(t pM+tpB) a M = 1-aB with a strip off diameter of dt = d2+(0.5-aB)*P/tan (a °/2) and a cylindrical value equal to At = Fp*(1/tpM+1/t pB).

Can I get a DUH? :act060:
 

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Especially strange/troubling? is that Honda would use what seems to be an overly complex and more expensive to manufacture design on the Ridgeline and a few other Honda models.

Our 07 Ody uses connections similar to what every aftermarket to date (that ive seen) uses... similar to Koyo, Spectra, OSC, etc. At least some comfort for some other Honda model owners.

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=646753&postcount=152
 
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