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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like so many of you, the cheap plastic pulleys on my seat legs broke (that thread is up to 28+ pages now)
Like so many of you, I bought the aluminum pulleys from Bryan, and installed them myself.
Unlike so many of you, I wrote to Honda, sending them one of the old pulleys and telling them how unhappy I was. (text of letter follows)

Honda called me last week and we spoke about the issue. Yesterday, a check for $106 arrived from Honda, reimbursement for the cost of the pulleys. :)

Your mileage may vary of course but for me it was worth my time to send a letter. Overall, my opinion of my Ridgeline is still "eh", but my opinion of American Honda's customer service is pretty high.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Honda Automobile Customer Service
1919 Torrance Boulevard
Mail Stop: 500 - 2N - 7D
Torrance, CA 90501-2746

Re: 2006 Honda Ridgeline
VIN xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To Whom it May Concern:

Enclosed please find a part from the above noted Ridgeline. This part, which has no part number so I cannot give you that as reference, is one of two that have broken on my Ridgeline. (I've included a photocopy as well, just in case someone decides to throw the part away.) This part, I guess it's a pulley, is an integral part of the seat mechanism that raises or lowers the leg for the rear seat (either side – passenger or driver). When the pulley breaks, as this one has, the seat leg no longer folds flat against the seat base and instead retains it's position perpendicular to the seat base. Obviously, when the leg is in this perpendicular position and the seat base is folded up, it becomes somewhat awkward using the space as intended – the seat leg is in the way.

I was surprised when this part broke on my truck since it was only a few years old at the time and the fold-up feature of the seats is seldom utilized. It's an important feature however, and not one that I want to be without - when I need it, I need it. I was dismayed to learn that this pulley is not available for purchase by itself. To effect this repair, I would need to purchase the entire seat frame assembly! Yes, this small plastic pulley breaks (when used as intended!) and to replace it one needs to spend $484.82 for the passenger side seat frame and $442.27 for the driver side seat frame. The parts total alone is $927.09! To this one must add the dealer labor (probably at least another $100 per section) and taxes – 6% here – making the grand total to replace two of these plastic pulleys come to about $1194.72.

If I thought that this was an isolated incident and maybe the pulley was damaged by someone without my knowledge, I would just bite the bullet and pay for the repairs. After doing some checking online in some of the forums though, (in particular, this one: http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums) I find that the broken seat leg is a very common problem and there are many Ridgeline owners in a similar situation. None of them are happy with the prospect of spending up to $600 per seat for dealer repairs.

There are, in fact, so many broken seat pulleys that a small industry has been formed by members of the forum to fabricate replacements. There are individuals that have dimensioned, drawn and machined replacement pulleys and are now selling them. While the forum replacement pulleys are still a far too expensive $50 each, they are a significant savings over the seat frame replacement that my Honda dealer would install.

While one may look at this and say, “That's the American entrepreneurial spirit - finding a need and filling it!”, one may also look at it this way – American Honda Motors is acting contrary to that same spirit in being neglectful.

First, in initially manufacturing and installing an inferior component, second, in not recognizing that the cheap, inferior component is prohibitively expensive to replace and lastly, by continuing to manufacture the seat in the same manner without regard for future customer impact. Obviously, you keep concise records about replacement parts – have you not wondered why you've been replacing seat frames on these trucks? (a seat frame normally lasts as long as a vehicle).

Personally, I spent the $100 for the pulleys available through the forum. I spent a few hours of my time disassembling and re-assembling the seats. (I called the dealer and he wasn't interested in installing aftermarket parts so I was left to do the work.) The entire time I was replacing the pulleys, I was getting angry with the predicament that Honda has placed me in.

Hold that pulley in your hand. Does it look like $600 to you? Imagine one in the other hand as well – now does it look like $1200?

While you're holding that $600 pulley in your hand, ask yourself these questions:
If I build a vehicle using this component, and then charge people $600 to replace it and the entire assembly it mounts in (which includes yet another inferior plastic part that will undoubtedly break again!) rather than a use cost effective, durable alternative, will those people use that experience to form their opinion of how we do business?
Will the quality of a part such as this plastic pulley be used by our customers to form an opinion on the overall quality of our products?
Will someone that has had to deal with this expensive part let it influence their future purchasing decisions?


My wife and I have been loyal Honda buyers for many years. How American Honda responds to this letter will determine whether or not we continue to be.


Sincerely,

You may want to give the letter approach a try, all you've got to lose is the cost of a stamp.

Nomadrider...
 

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Great idea! Maybe there will be a recall, txs to your letter!
 

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Rickman,

You drive me buggy!!!!!:act060:

I actually reached up and tried to squish that little bugger!.

P/S/ Don't tell anybody. Let's keep it our little secret:eek:
 

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Well done. Excellent letter.
 

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Welcome to the ROC thenomadrider!
Great job on that letter, I couldn't have put any better.
:act035:

Rickman - that's funny, almost went for it.
 

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That's fantastic! You may have set a precedent for Honda handling this problem, hopefully without each of us also having to write such a well composed letter.
 

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Theno....great letter....Why can't we do an in house class action letter...without
the lawyer fees after all there is some safety in numbers and sometimes more "bang" power too....
 

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Theno....great letter....Why can't we do an in house class action letter...without
the lawyer fees after all there is some safety in numbers and sometimes more "bang" power too....
Not a bad idea, and using thenomadrider's letter as a format and attach the original letter with Honda's response they can't say they have not heard of this problem before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great idea! Maybe there will be a recall, txs to your letter!
I doubt that they'll recall it for the seats - that would be far too costly. More likely (if anything) they'll "fix the squeaky wheels" by reimbursing those that complain. It all comes down to a financial business decision. Remember Ford and their exploding Pintos a few years back? They did a cost study that determined what their risk was ($ per law suit) versus the cost to recall the vehicles. It's a crappy way to treat your customers BUT, your shareholders are more important.

I'm sure that they've already evaluated how much it would cost to re-engineer and fabricate different seat pulleys and right now, it's more cost effective to just ignore the issue. If a lot of people jump up and down and scream about the problem (in this case write letters seeking reimbursement) they may do another cost study but as it is, probably not. Who knows - they may already have a new mechanism designed for the 2012 model year...

Mike
 

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Sad to say, you may be right. But a re-design in a new model would be ok too..especially if it can be back-fitted to earlier models, but that's probably wishful thinking.
 

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That letter makes me want to be a better writer. Inspiration can come in many forms, and perhaps the predicament of a few hours spent messing with your rear seats provided you with it. Awesome!

I am surprised that honda hasn't built a fix in the form of a repair kit with instructions.... maybe the forum pulley fabricator should propose the idea to honda parts and accessories.

Mine haven't failed but I know now what must be done.
 

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Excellent letter.

For what it's worth, most of us have had enough negative experiences with "customer service" that we wind up being neutralized—complaining to each other instead of contacting the companies with which we do business.

I've had enough positive experiences when I take the trouble to make an actual contact with a company that I usually end up being satisfied.

Two examples (as it happens, both from the kitchen, as we remodeled this past spring and found ourselves with implements that needed rejevenating):

  • KitchenAid mixer—supposed to last pretty much forever—but the thumbscrew that holds the little chrome cover on splits in two. The mixer is 9 years old. I contact them by phone, a new OEM screw arrives in the mail in three days.
  • OXO dishsoap dispenser—more than a bottle, it costs about 16 bucks, and has a special top to make it easy to get the detergent out. Top pops out and can't be put back. I write them an email describing the problem. New dispenser arrives about 5 days later.
Even though I said this letter is excellent, I'd opt for a little less detail. Honda knows it put a crappy little plastic pulley in there to do a metal pulley's job. You just need to point out, politely, that their crap pulley has cost you time and possibly money way out of proportion to what is reasonable, tell them what it would take to satisfy you, and thank them for the right thing they are about to do.

Anyway, great going, and glad you got a satisfactory response!
 

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Not to sound ignorant, but can someone pls explain what the rear pulley assembly is?

Are there any photos to describe what part is subject to damage?
 

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Great Letter and congrats on getting a refund from Honda for the cost of the Pulleys. Initially I talked to my local Dealer about my broken seats and that's how I found out the dealer cost to fix it and what they would be doing to fix it. The Parts Mgr off the record told me not to do the Honda fix at that time because it would be the same plastic pulleys. I never got the feeling Honda would do anything since I was out of warranty - hence I decided to take the bull by the horns and make Pulleys myself and sell them to fellow Ridgeline owners.

I commend you for taking the initiative to contact Honda and get the message through on this obviously defective and underdesigned part. Perhaps they will create a proper fix now and maybe even a recall.

FYI -I have now sold over 100 Pulleys and have about 50 left if anybody out there still wants some. I'm not sure I will make another batch based on your efforts to knock sense into Honda, instead hoping Honda will have a fix for free.

Regards, [email protected] the Pulley seller!
 

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Bryan, I've appreciated reading the threads describing your efforts to replicate and manufacture these pulleys. If Honda eventually changes the part, I can see that making your parts "obsolete" (or works of art, depending on how you look at it :act024: ).

In our RL's short history, we've had the seats up and down several times, and I cringe when I think of the strain on that little piece of plastic on which everything depends. While I hope Honda does the right thing, I also hope that you'll keep your stock around until they do.
 

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Although others have already said it, it deserves saying again...what a well-crafted letter. Great job thenomadrider.

If history is any guide, however, I doubt a recall is coming. But, what a great letter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Great Letter and congrats on getting a refund from Honda for the cost of the Pulleys. Initially I talked to my local Dealer about my broken seats and that's how I found out the dealer cost to fix it and what they would be doing to fix it. The Parts Mgr off the record told me not to do the Honda fix at that time because it would be the same plastic pulleys. I never got the feeling Honda would do anything since I was out of warranty - hence I decided to take the bull by the horns and make Pulleys myself and sell them to fellow Ridgeline owners.

I commend you for taking the initiative to contact Honda and get the message through on this obviously defective and underdesigned part. Perhaps they will create a proper fix now and maybe even a recall.

FYI -I have now sold over 100 Pulleys and have about 50 left if anybody out there still wants some. I'm not sure I will make another batch based on your efforts to knock sense into Honda, instead hoping Honda will have a fix for free.

Regards, [email protected] the Pulley seller!
Not trying to kill your business Bryan, I'm very happy with your pulleys and understand why they cost what they do. Quality stuff does cost - especially when it has a limited demand. I don't see Honda making any changes anytime in the near future and think that your pulley business will continue for a few years yet. :)

Mike
 

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Ever consider trying to market to larger audience. Something like this? My 05 Liberty windows fell into the doors and at $89 ea these aren't cheap but still a great solution and way cheaper than replacing the whole glass and regulator like Jeep will have you do.

Www.steigerperformance.com
 

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Printed this letter out & edited what needed to be and sent it in with the pulley a week ago. They called me today and we had a quick discussion asked me a few questions and said a check would be sent out for what I paid. Love it! Thanks!
 
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