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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all you big brain RL people...

A brief history of recent service events before describing something odd and asking for your words of wisdom.

06 RL - 112,000 miles on the ODO
A while back the driver front wheel bearing began growling on slow sweeping right freeway curves. If she was headed straight - placing no steering related loads on components, there was no evidence of a bearing on its way out. Knowing front pads and discs were about to require attention, I waited until the pads audibly signaled their pending demise. Drove maybe 15K with the bearing growl that never seemed to get louder or change the way they announced their unhappiness.

Since bearing replacement requires disc & caliper removal, and I have no access to the appropriate press/tool to remove/insert bearings in knuckles, my shop of choice installed new OEM discs and pads I supplied for the low, low price of free. Which is nice. The shop uses only OEM parts, they supplied the bearings (cost of those = ouch). That work was completed last Tuesday, so Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were normal commute days. Other than noting the smells associated with pads and rotors cooking off manufacture residue, everything seemed good, save a visual observation of initial wear marks on the new disc/pad combo. More on that later.

Saturday morning, I ran over to the local Honda dealer to pick up a case of DW-1 (I found that if you talk shop with these guys, they'll compete with the best internet pricing). Upon return home, the engine compartment was allowed to cool down a enough to facilitate the first drain/fill after which I drove for maybe 50 miles then executed drain/fill #2. # 3 will be done next weekend. BTW: I hadta take pics of the drain plug because I was impressed by the texture and color of debris collected on the magnetic plug shaft. More on that later.

After driving the new brake/bearing parts for about 1.5 tanks of fuel miles, a new noise was observed. The first manifestation was during execution of a left turn @ the top of a FWY off ramp. It's best described as a mid frequency "whoosh" - definitely not a high frequency enough to be a "whine" but not low enough to be a "growl". No vibration was felt. At that time, the stereo was on, playing at a level where a conversation could be had but still enjoyably loud. I could hear the noise even with the stereo at that level and at first wondered if the sound was in the music being played. I turned it down & lowered the driver window to listen closely but didn't hear it again.

Yesterday, the sound reappeared after driving enough distance for everything to achieve normal operating temps. I observed 2 distinct behaviors. At first, the noise could be reproduced after a turn by swerving R/L within lane lines @ approx 20 MPH. But the reproduction was not reliably repeatable. Driving farther along, the noise could be heard and intermittently reproduced when headed in a straight line but only under acceleration or deceleration without applying the brakes. The sound does not manifest when maintaining a constant speed on flat ground. It's intermittent enough to be frustrating, and because the sound appears/disappears quickly, it can't be localized to the R or L side - but it's definitely coming from up front. Because of the way the sound manifests, I suspect a bearing issue because under the load of acceleration or unassisted deceleration it can sometimes be reproduced in the same way it can during left turns.

Although I know it would be bizarre if this sound was associated with the trans fluid exchange, I can't stop thinking about things like this:
The sound didn't occur until after D & F which makes me consider things like cavitation, fluid levels in the torque converter AND this observation: after drain # 2, the truck was started, backed out of the driveway and placed in D to head up my rather steep hill. There was a noticeable "weakness" in trans response - almost - but not exactly like one might experience with slipping clutches, sort of like the stall one might have in a higher reving torque converter - weary of doing anything to hurt my beloved RL tranny, I immediately backed into the driveway, put er' in D and sat for a few moments thinking perhaps new fluid needed to be better circulated before loading up the trans. Since that one (possibly paranoid) incident, the trans seems totally normal. Logic & experience tells me the sound I'm hearing is wheel bearing related but it ain't much of a stretch to suspect I'm misdiagnosing the root cause.

I'll be calling my shop of choice this morning to inform them of the sound I'm hearing but am hesitant to take the RL in for their diag - only because it's so intermittent. If they don't hear it, it isn't happening. I can see the service record now: "NTF". Not that my shop is difficult to deal with, on the contrary, the reason I go there for work I can't do is they are good guys, do great work and I happily spend my $ in this local small business.

Even though it is near-impossible to screw up the very simple task of exchanging trans fluid, I'm paranoid enough to be leery of myself. After all, other than making sure there are no leaks and levels are correct, WTH can go wrong? Paranoia + odd noise + unpredictable reproduction of odd noise = ?

So I'm looking to the guys who have generously provided everything this site can offer to assuage my paranoia and bring me back to earth.

I've got a bunch of thoughts about recent service @ independent shops, part pricing, radio talk show host/independent shop owners and such but I'll save that for later.

Any ideas?
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Can the whoosh sound be associated with movement... a la a rolling/rotating movement? It's not unheard of for the brake shield to get bent with maintenance in the wheel area.

Hah! When I first started changing my own tranny fluid, I half expected the tranny to fall out of the vehicle right after maintenance. Now I just fear forgetting to replace/tighten a drain/fill bolt these days. :D

So yeah, changing the tranny is obviously as simple as it sounds. Loosen fill bolts, loosen drain bolts, drain, clean off mag plug, replace drain bolt and refill. Just did that very service on my RL a couple of days ago.

So unless you left a tool somewhere it doesn't belong (don't ask how I know), you really can't screw up a tranny fluid change.

I also recently had a wheel bearing replaced. I now imagine I hear unusual road/tire/bearing noises. Since I can't do the bearing myself, I have to trust the mech did the job right. New tires too.

Some things I've decided to live with until they finally break... if ever. But I don't have to like it.

Regarding your tranny fluid change.. was that the first changeover to DW-1? If so, how many miles since the fluid was changed prior to this event?

I let our Pilot go to about 45k before I became enlightened about Honda auto trannies and started fluid changes every other OCI. Honestly, I've never noticed any shifting difference regardless whether the tranny fluid has 14k miles or 45k miles, or 150 miles after doing initial DW-1 conversion.

Perhaps others are more sensitive to this than me. OTOH, I have a career full of being sensitive to unusual sounds, vibrations, etc., so I dunno.

As I read back over this reply, I find very little help for your situation. So maybe commiseration will suffice. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oh yea, the sound is definitely related to rotation of something that rotates. :act024:

After the 15 minute FWY commute this AM, the first left turn after a full stop revealed an even louder - now lower frequency whoosh which is approaching growl territory, with light vibration this time. I was ready - with no sound from the stereo or interior fan, ETC. Driver and passenger windows down, the sound is absolutely coming from driver front. At this point I'm as close to certain as possible the issue is related to the new bearing. BTW: as long as they were servicing the driver side bearing, I had them replace both sides.

At any rate, before the wheel bearing replacement, the growl only occurred on the driver side - at FWY speeds in sweeping curves to the right. Now the sound occurs when at speeds commensurate with negotiating a turn from a dead stop to the left. During this mornings commute, I didn't notice the sound when heading straight forward as I did yesterday.

Now my thoughts gravitate to the knuckle on the driver side - since both previous and new noise is coming from that side. I'm wondering if the shop might suggest the pervious bearing issue "wobbled out" the bearing receiver opening. They *should have* observed any damage to that machined surface after pressing out the old bearing, so we'll see about that.

On the topic of trans fluid exchange:
I elected to do 2 D & F's back to back after 50-ish miles as a first flush effort. Then drive a normal commute week before D & F #3.

I'm not positive about when the fluid was last changed. Short story: a little while back, I visited the home of our fellow forum member Carsmack who generously provided a kit to extract trans fluid for chemical analysis. The color of that sample was concerning as seen in this image:

20150913_073640_1.jpg

The sample is off to the lab. Results to follow. Thanks Carsmack!

With new found purpose, I sourced a case of DW-1 from Honda of Escondido. $80.74 out the door. Not bad considering the best on-line prices I know of were a little over $90 with tax and delivery. This is the muck magnetically adhered to the drain plug:

20150919_124055_1.jpg

The most descriptive term that comes to mind for this muck is "graphite". The fine metal particles gathered here are probably typical of a vehicle with this many miles but the lesson I learned is regular drain and fills have extreme value. In the grand scheme of vehicle maintenance, the cost of fluid and ease of D & F make for VERY cheap insurance.

20150919_124128_1.jpg
20150919_124328_1.jpg

Anyone who has any hesitation what-so-ever about doing this valuable service should just quit it right now. :act024: Aside from managing waste fluid and needing a few basic tools, it couldn't be any easier to accomplish. A catch pan, skinny funnel, 3/8 ratchet, 17mm socket and an LONG extension is all ya' need. Being an ex "pro" and tool snob with mostly Snap-On hand tools, I learned there is a time and place for cheap stuff. Years ago, I bought a cheap 3/8 extension for what I thought was a one time use from the "everything made in China" store (Harbor Freight) - never thought I'd need it again but it came in real handy for this. Think I paid $4 for it. Although it flexed quite a bit breaking the bolt nut loose - so much so I thought when it finally unseated with a loud snap - I thought the extension itself actually broke.

20150919_152000.jpg

No need to lift the truck. Wheels on the ground, catch pan in place, 3/8 ratchet pulls the plug no problem. Takes MAYBE 10 minutes to do this. Other than paying for use of a passive exchange machine, it's nuts to pay any shop to do this very valuable service.

20150919_123745.jpg
 

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Just did mine yesterday too. The worst part is the pop when loosening the fill plug. I am always afraid the plug broke. But I guess like you said, it would be a tool that would give first.
 

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Today's bearings are sealed/roller type, and a little bearing roar isn't going to do any damage to the knuckle opening. Many times shops will allow techs with less experience to replace bearings, which can be a mistake. To replace the bearing, the knuckle must be removed. First the hub must be pressed off and then the bearing pressed out. Because of the way these hubs are designed, it can be very difficult to press the new bearing in and then press the hub into the bearing. You must know what you are doing, and it is very easy to make a mistake, which manifests itself by a damaged bearing and noise that can be worse than the original bad bearing. I speak from much experience. I would definitely take the RL back as soon as possible. Not so much for a bad bearing, but because of other possible causes. The issue could be one of several things: A bad bearing. Loose caliper bolts or caliper mounting bracket bolts. Improperly tightened axle shaft nut. Whatever it is, it sounds as if it is getting worse.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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On the topic of trans fluid exchange:
I elected to do 2 D & F's back to back after 50-ish miles as a first flush effort. Then drive a normal commute week before D & F #3.

I'm not positive about when the fluid was last changed.
For comparison, here's a shot of my tranny mag plug with only 14k miles on the fluid. Yes, they do collect a lot of mag debris.

I'll be curious to learn what your whooshing sound turns out to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For comparison, here's a shot of my tranny mag plug with only 14k miles on the fluid. Yes, they do collect a lot of mag debris.

I'll be curious to learn what your whooshing sound turns out to be.
AHA! Your plug looks virtually identical to mine. Which is a bit of a relief because I was reviewing service records yesterday and discovered a previous service I had authorized used "Valvoline synth" trans fluid on which I put 13K miles until last weekends D & F. I may never know if the non-DW-1 caused any problems but for now, I notice the trans doesn't seem to "hunt" as much on varying FWY terrain. Maybe a mental thing but it seems better, with slightly snappier shifts.

I HATE being sold a bill of good, a pack of lies, a bag of BS by shysters!

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119194
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update:

Took the RL in to the shop yesterday. Harry assigned a Tech to take a ride. It took a bit of doing to get the right conditions but once the noise appeared, it was not difficult to hear. The Tech’s first thought was “drive shaft”.

1st thought bubble appears over my head: “PFFFFT! I know what I’m hearing, and it ain’t no drive shaft”.

Arriving back at the shop, the Tech and I describe the sound to Harry. Aside from describing speed and drive conditions, one of the details in my description was: “the vehicle has to be at operating temp”. Harry said something about suspecting fluids.

2nd thought bubble: “PFFFFT! I know what I’m hearing. It’s a dry bearing, or something related to dynamic Y axis load on the LF tire - only in light left turns. DAMN IT”.

The shop was swamped, Harry ask that I bring it back in the morning. No problem.

On the way down the hill from my neighborhood this morning - with everything still cool from sitting overnight - the sound appears in the first light left turn. So much for my previous observation about heat. Curious, I find an empty lot in which to execute a constant light left turn and found a reliable way to reproduce the sound. If I maintained an arc to the left, rather than negotiating a left apex entry/exit, the sound would remain constant - but fade under acceleration - or disappear under arc plus braking.

3rd thought bubble: “ I got it now. A way to induce the sound and prove my Y axis load theory is related to the wheel bearing. “

On to the shop. Harry hoped in so he could witness the sound for himself. There’s a giant Fry’s parking lot right around the corner - empty at 7:30 AM - we headed there. Confident in my new found method to induce the sound – Murphey’s law takes over - shatting upon what I thought I knew. Heading to side streets and other parking lots, we were about to give up when I swerve lightly in my lane and we both hear WooWooWoo, coming from the LF engine bay. TAHDAH! No way can that sound be anything but the bearings Harry’s guys installed last week.

Back in the Fry’s parking lot, I found the groove and Harry got a good listen as the sound appeared and disappeared with Y axis dynamics of gentle left turns at >20MPH. Harry asks if the power steering fluid had been serviced lately. I explain that “I THINK” the local @$$ raping shyster shop did fluid exchange 13K ago. “Did they flush it?” I dunno. “They should never flush any system on a Honda.”. UH OH.

As we approach a parking spot in front of the shop, he asks me to pop the hood. Propping it open, he grabs the power steering reservoir lid. Psssss, BURP. An upward splash of fluid hits the lid and drips onto a nearby surface. Wiping it up, the fluid appears dark. Peering inside the reservoir, we see bubbles. Lots and lots of tiny – champagne sized bubbles. Harry looks me in the eye: “bubbles bad”. LOL

Inside the office, I pull out the receipt from the stinking rotten lousy @$$ rapers down the road. Sure enough, the invoice states "flush and replace fluids". Harry says: “If the price represents actual service, it looks like they used unapproved fluids”. @$$ raped again by the shysters. 9 months later I’m giving birth to new resentments against those bastards. It dawns on me I’m holding a grudge.

Harry had a Tech put the 06 up on a rack, remove the driver side wheel and give the assembly the once over. All looks well - visually speaking.

They did a power steering fluid drain and fill. No charge. Shaking his hand, saying “it’s a pleasure doing business with you Harry” back slaps and high fives – I’m out the door.

4th thought bubble: “Dang, I’m glad to have found a cool shop”.

Despite my best efforts, the noise hasn’t returned. I’m grateful law enforcement didn’t see me swerving my way down the road trying to make it happen cuz they might have suspected a DUI in progress. It’s only been 17 miles since the power steering drain and fill - if the noise stays away thru the weekend, I’ll do another D & F next weekend and keep fingers crossed no lasting damage comes from the “service” provided by the stinking rotten radio talk show host owned @$$ rapping shop.

But I’m not bitter!

Now I'm wondering about the whole PS fluid, pump, rack, system topic. Research on this forum is in the near future. None of that would be possible without you guys giving so freely. Thanks again for that.

More life reminders & lessons:

What we “know” vs reality are often two different things. Which isn't anything new, but this experience exemplifies how wrapped up (my) mind can get when "in it". During this event, there was NO WAY I’d have thought the sound I was hearing could be P.S. fluid. Too many coincidences. Took the RL for wheel bearing noise. Within days, a new noise appears but only under certain turning conditions - PROVING what I'm hearing is wheel bearing related. I was so convinced of knowing what I knew, I was more concerned about convincing others of my rightness than to even consider any other possibility. In my closed state of mind, I failed to consider any other possibility. Playing out the "what ifs": if I had done the work I paid the shop for, I’d have been convinced I screwed something up in the bearing replacement – reluctantly invested more time in a second tear down only to find the noise still there. Mystified, I’d have likely ended up finding a shop to take it to, explained to them what I had done and convinced them too that something was awry in the knuckle, or bearing or disc or caliper or ANYTHING but the PS fluid. When in reality the issue was with a knuckle head, not the steering knuckle. NYUK NYUK.

And all that needed to be done was unscrew a cap and look in the hole. Point being, if Harry’s fix works out in the long run, its evidence I ain’t as smart as I think I am on stuff like this. DUH

Harry knows enough to listen to the truck, not the truck owner. Leading by example, and with no intention of teaching anybody anything, he gently taught me how wrong I was - which is how a professional business man and nice human being operates.

As “they” say: “you’re never too old to learn”. Or is it: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? I forget, I’m too old.

Say, who are “they” anyway?
 

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Did the new good shop use Honda power steering fluid? They should.

The only non-Honda fluid you should put in your truck is the gear oil in the transfer assembly, and engine oil (but make sure you get the good stuff).

Honda power steering fluid.
Honda brake fluid.
Honda anti-freeze.
Honda DW1 transmission fluid.
Honda VTM4 for the rear differential fluid.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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OhSix, I had an experience with an airplane like that once. A problem with an instrument (artificial horizon, I think) that defied logic. Turns out that a recently replaced (and assumed good) instrument had failed. That took a while to shake out.

But in your example above, a mechanic can also be pig-headed (as much as a self-informed owner) insisting the problem is something other than what it actually turns out to be.

I think it's called the human condition. ;)

Good luck dealing with that. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did the new good shop use Honda power steering fluid? They should.

The only non-Honda fluid you should put in your truck is the gear oil in the transfer assembly, and engine oil (but make sure you get the good stuff).

Honda power steering fluid.
Honda brake fluid.
Honda anti-freeze.
Honda DW1 transmission fluid.
Honda VTM4 for the rear differential fluid.
Yep. Harry and crew are fanatics about OEM everything.

3rd D & F with DW-1 this weekend.
Time for an oil change, Fumoto goes in with Mobil 1 this weekend.
VTM-4 is 13K old. Will change soon.
No Honda anti-freeze in the garage but a plan in the works to address a concern with the STUPID trans heat exchanger buried in the OEM rad, so when that happens new anti-freeze goes in. I damned sure ain't waiting much longer on that one.
Not sure whats in the BF lines but that'll change soon.

Fluids = cheap insurance. This forum turned me into an OEM believer. Remarkable change in a 45 year DIY vehicle owner.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OhSix, I had an experience with an airplane like that once. A problem with an instrument (artificial horizon, I think) that defied logic. Turns out that a recently replaced (and assumed good) instrument had failed. That took a while to shake out.

But in your example above, a mechanic can also be pig-headed (as much as a self-informed owner) insisting the problem is something other than what it actually turns out to be.

I think it's called the human condition. ;)

Good luck dealing with that. :D
Damn. Everyone hates a bad horizon line gauge. Glad you are still here to talk about it.

SUUEEE. Have some experience with stubbornness. When my youngest daughter was between the ages of 12 and 25, if you googled the term "pig head", her biography was the first item returned.
Gets it from her Daddy. Working on that.
 
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