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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all,

I just recently noticed on this forum where one bad washer and the ensuing Pepto Bismol from the transmission fluid and coolant mixing pretty much ruin the radiator and the transmission. I don't know how I never came across this issue while browsing on here before, and now I'm wondering if I'm driving a ticking time bomb.

Has pretty much everyone on here who maintains their 1st gen RL replaced the radiator, and are all 1st gen Ridgelines affected? Mine is a 2010 RTS with about 85k miles. I've never had to change the radiator as preventative maintenance on a vehicle before, but I sure as heck will if this affects all of these Ridgelines. They didn't happen to update the washer at some point did they? Do I, and does anyone else who owns a 1st generation Ridgeline, need to change the radiator out ASAP?

From what I can tell, Spectra from RockAuto is the preferred brand, followed by Denso? I noticed a recent post that stated the Duralast from AutoZone was a Spectra radiator. Are there any tips anyone can recommend when replacing it?

Thanks to anyone who chimes in. I'm trying to find out if I need to change it ASAP or not, and hopefully help anyone else who may be new to the forum or recently bought a 1st gen Ridge.
 

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I just recently noticed on this forum where one bad washer and the ensuing Pepto Bismol from the transmission fluid and coolant mixing pretty much ruin the radiator and the transmission. I don't know how I never came across this issue while browsing on here before, and now I'm wondering if I'm driving a ticking time bomb.

Has pretty much everyone on here who maintains their 1st gen RL replaced the radiator, and are all 1st gen Ridgelines affected?
I have not done mine yet, but it is on my list.
There is a small access door on the splash shield below the bumper on the passenger side. If you open it you can take a picture of your fitting with a cell phone. I think it is the passenger side that usually goes.

Then you can compare that to the 40 page thread of member pictures here:
https://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/71-1g-problems-issues/53921-pictures-corroded-rusted-radiator-fittings.html

Search the site for SMOD and you will get 533 hits. @Carsmak will likely post their good list of SMOD threads soon.
 

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If there’s only one nut on your trans cooler lines, replace it. If there are two, you are ok. Here is the style on my original denso and also on my wife’s 2007 Pilot:


^^ one nut = bad design


There here’s my new denso:


^^ two nuts = good. The inside one holds the trans cooler heat exchanger in place and seals the coolant that surrounds the trans heat exchanger. The outer nut seals the trans cooler line onto the heat exchanger.


The original design, one nut for two jobs, is bad. Add a ferrous washer between two aluminum surfaces and aluminum threads, and you’ve got some engineers that need a serious spanking.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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2010 RT - Bali Blue
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@trentj1234: A lot of the process is part of regular maintenance. Vehicles with over 150K or over 7 years, would start to show their age in areas where there is a lot of use and action. In this case, the cooling system. Typically, in most cases, the rubber hoses and plastics on the end tanks of the radiator, start to lose their integrity slowly. At that point, you are sitting on a time bomb.

Truth be told, you can essentially do this whole process for the similar financial exposure of four new rotors and pads.

When I changed mine couple of years ago, I believe I had 190K miles on it and the radiator looked fine. Since I use the truck heavily and take trips from NJ to Canada and SC often and also commute around 60mi a day, it was an investment for me. I did not see any potential for failures on mine when I replaced it and the temps have always stayed around the 170/175deg on the coolant.
 

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I just wish it was somehow added to “routine maintenance”, like a factory service bulletin or something. Yes, it can be done under $200, and if you are really good, I believe the job takes less than 2 hours total. Much more time is spent worrying, learning, and buying parts and fluids.
 

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Swapped mine out at a radiator shop in Portland about 4 years ago for a couple of hours of my time and about $275.00. Did it for "peace of mind". Have never heard of anyone changing out the radiator for a second time.
 

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I replaced mine for peace of mind. I went a little overboard and replaced all the hoses and clips as well. Just over $300, so a worth while investment for me at 134k miles. Went with Honda Parts Unlimited, they impressed me.

I also took the opportunity to replace my starter because it was making this annoying noise on startup and now she's nice and quiet. AND replaced my spark plugs as well (new ones been sitting on the shelf for 5 months). Those two things are a little easier with the radiator removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good grief. Yeah I never came across that 40 page thread on my recent radiator search, or the SMOD. Thanks for all the feedback! And thanks for the pics. I just checked mine and it is one bolt, of course. ? Mine actually looks pretty good considering some of the pics I’ve seen.

I went to the Honda dealer to yesterday to get trans, VTM, and transfer case fluids to do a change this week. I guess I need to look into a radiator now before changing the tranny fluid.
 

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Good grief. Yeah I never came across that 40 page thread on my recent radiator search, or the SMOD. Thanks for all the feedback! And thanks for the pics. I just checked mine and it is one bolt, of course. ? Mine actually looks pretty good considering some of the pics I’ve seen.

I went to the Honda dealer to yesterday to get trans, VTM, and transfer case fluids to do a change this week. I guess I need to look into a radiator now before changing the tranny fluid.
That fitting still looks pretty good. You must not live in New York.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Howdy all,

I just recently noticed on this forum where one bad washer and the ensuing Pepto Bismol from the transmission fluid and coolant mixing pretty much ruin the radiator and the transmission. I don't know how I never came across this issue while browsing on here before, and now I'm wondering if I'm driving a ticking time bomb.

Has pretty much everyone on here who maintains their 1st gen RL replaced the radiator, and are all 1st gen Ridgelines affected? Mine is a 2010 RTS with about 85k miles. I've never had to change the radiator as preventative maintenance on a vehicle before, but I sure as heck will if this affects all of these Ridgelines. They didn't happen to update the washer at some point did they? Do I, and does anyone else who owns a 1st generation Ridgeline, need to change the radiator out ASAP?

From what I can tell, Spectra from RockAuto is the preferred brand, followed by Denso? I noticed a recent post that stated the Duralast from AutoZone was a Spectra radiator. Are there any tips anyone can recommend when replacing it?

Thanks to anyone who chimes in. I'm trying to find out if I need to change it ASAP or not, and hopefully help anyone else who may be new to the forum or recently bought a 1st gen Ridge.
Seeing your pics below, I would have no concern taking that all the way to the timing belt/water pump service (which I personally do at 120k miles).

My 2008 RL was made in May 2008 and is nearly 11 years old with 115k miles. It will be another year or two before I do the TB/WP service (to include a new radiator) and I have no concerns about the integrity of my radiator.

Here are a couple pics of my connections I took a few days ago with a wireless endoscope camera.
 

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Good grief. Yeah I never came across that 40 page thread on my recent radiator search, or the SMOD. Thanks for all the feedback! And thanks for the pics. I just checked mine and it is one bolt, of course. ? Mine actually looks pretty good considering some of the pics I’ve seen.

I went to the Honda dealer to yesterday to get trans, VTM, and transfer case fluids to do a change this week. I guess I need to look into a radiator now before changing the tranny fluid.
Are you the original owner? Why would you expect the transmission fluid fittings on your radiator to be two bolts? Aftermarket radiators use a compression type fitting which is two pieces. OEM radiators use a one piece design; if you have the original Honda radiator then it will be a one piece fitting.

You should probably be thankful that you have an original radiator on your Ridge. If you own a used Ridgeline with a radiator that has been replaced by the previous owner then there is a likelihood for a previous overheating or SMOD event.
 

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I replaced mine for peace of mind. I went a little overboard and replaced all the hoses and clips as well. Just over $300, so a worth while investment for me at 134k miles. Went with Honda Parts Unlimited, they impressed me.
Thanks for posting the parts list. It will come in handy.
 

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Down South @Sparkland. This Ridge has pretty much never seen snow. Ha

@speedlever I hope you're right, I don't really want to do a radiator swap right now since it will be TB/WP replacement time soon.

@mnowaczyk I just came across the recent post on yours, glad it is back on the road. I have a friend with a 2010 Pilot and I need to let him know about this too apparently. And I agree, it probably should be listed as regular maintenance or just performed as regular maintenance like @smufguy said. I've only ever had one radiator fail on me years ago, and I've had and I've had family members that have had several vehicles that never needed a radiator replaced, so I just never really thought about needing to do that before.

Yes @eurban. I just flat out didn't know. Maybe they could've updated it at some point and maybe some came with two bolts, but they obviously didn't. Thanks for clarifying that.
 

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I just replaced the original radiator on my '06, 170k due to a pinhole leak. Ninety five percent of it looked good but there were small areas where it had substantial pitting. The TB/WP was replaced at 120k and in hindsight the radiator should have been replaced as well. Trans cooler lines nut looked fine.
 

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Look at the washers at the inlet and outlet of the transmission cooler lines against the plastic. if they are rusty or corroded, as the washer expands it rips the threads right out of the transmission cooler. Mine exploded on the Highway with a huge amount of smoke and my baby stopped and left me stranded. I was in aw. When I replaced the radiator my self I couldn't believe what I saw. Like previous post if its rusty get it out. I been a ASE tech for 35 years and never saw anything like this. If you live in a snow belt were they use Salt and Brine take a look down there. Mine was about 5 years old when it happened. 2006 RTL/Navi.
Pennsylvania. I bought a denso That was a long time ago and I guess some are still running around that way. If its the original style just replace it. If in doubt get it out. I put 171k on m first G1 thats when the trans went. Limped it into the dealer and bought another G1. Im on my second G2 now.
 

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@trentj1234: A lot of the process is part of regular maintenance. Vehicles with over 150K or over 7 years, would start to show their age in areas where there is a lot of use and action. In this case, the cooling system. Typically, in most cases, the rubber hoses and plastics on the end tanks of the radiator, start to lose their integrity slowly. At that point, you are sitting on a time bomb.

Truth be told, you can essentially do this whole process for the similar financial exposure of four new rotors and pads.

When I changed mine couple of years ago, I believe I had 190K miles on it and the radiator looked fine. Since I use the truck heavily and take trips from NJ to Canada and SC often and also commute around 60mi a day, it was an investment for me. I did not see any potential for failures on mine when I replaced it and the temps have always stayed around the 170/175deg on the coolant.
I guess at 320,000 miles on my 2006 RTL, and my radiator just now showing wear, I can't complain, lol.
 

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Welcome to ROC.

If you are sitting on a time bomb with no fancy digital count down, just because it has not blown yet, I am not going to say I cant complain; if you see what I mean.
You could be the only one who has been safe until now and thus lucky, but nothing to find comfort it.

For me, few hundred dollars and few hours of work, I know I can rest easy.
 

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I have 98K on the clock. Did the TB/WP last year. The dealer never mentioned the rad, but did ask about the spark plugs. I plan on having them do both before winter this year. I'm still amazed that so many people have 120K or more on their RL's and still have confidence in their vehicle. I hope to have mine for that many and more as well.
 

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Welcome to ROC.

If you are sitting on a time bomb with no fancy digital count down, just because it has not blown yet, I am not going to say I cant complain; if you see what I mean.
You could be the only one who has been safe until now and thus lucky, but nothing to find comfort it.

For me, few hundred dollars and few hours of work, I know I can rest easy.
make no mistake, I will be replacing, I have a lot more miles to put on this one. And since the new Ridgelines look feminized to me, I can't upgrade t a newer model.
 
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