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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to hear what experiences Ridgeliners are having with their RETRAX covers as relates to winter.

My RL's just recently had it's first "real" encounter with winter (i.e. more than 6 inches of the white stuff).
It was a mild evening when the snow fell, so there was some melting and when the temps dropped overnight, the meltoff froze. You guessed it! Frozen tailgate in the morning. I had to pour hot water where the RETRAX cover meets the tailgate to open it. Not the best solution (pun NOT intended but ...!), since the hot water quickly cooled and froze in rivulets all over the tailgate. Fortunately this day was relatively mild and it posed no new problems, but I have to wonder about those future deep freeze days.

Anyone else have this happen? Any clever ideas out there to deal with it? And I don't want to hear about installing tailgate heaters! :rolleyes:
 

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Henry, I had some similar experiences with mine but nothing drastic.

After some light rain in above-freezing temperatures followed by an overnite dip below the freezing point, I could'nt get the handle to pop up in order to open the cover. I've since sprayed silicon on the mechanism underneath the handle and haven't had any further problems to date.

With respect to the cover freezing at the joint, next time just lightly tap on the cover with the bottom of your fist in that area from both sides of the truck and it will release instantly.

As per Retrax's instructions, I applied two coats of wax and I presume that this action may also help prevent sticky operation during freezing temps.
 

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These were my issues of concern with the Retrax. I thought it would be problematic in the cold and ice. How is it to roll up with thick ice after a thaw/refreeze? I went with the OEM. It has a sealed pad where the lock is protected from the weather. In the thick stuff I have had to hit it hard from the underside to bust the ice at the edges but nothing major. Just curious, due to some negative on this forum about the OEM. Wanting to confirm my choice I guess. It ain't cheap (OEM). Also, without any cover it has to be tough using the trunk. That is the main reason I have a cover. To keep the trunk easy to access in 5-10 inches of snow.
 

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dboz said:
Also, without any cover it has to be tough using the trunk. That is the main reason I have a cover. To keep the trunk easy to access in 5-10 inches of snow.
I don't think it would be any harder than using any trunk. Just swipe the snow off and open. :confused:
 
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swampler said:
I don't think it would be any harder than using any trunk. Just swipe the snow off and open. :confused:
I don't have any problem getting the snow off the trunk. This is technically my second winter with Ridgena and no issues last year either.
 

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If you are in cold weather spray the lock (inside keyhole) with Blaster and use silicone on the rails.... this will prevent lock and cover from freezing. Mine froze shut could not open and lock would not close after opening. No problems now and the temp is 5 degrees out...
 

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swampler said:
I don't think it would be any harder than using any trunk. Just swipe the snow off and open. :confused:

Difference to me is the way the channels surround the trunk and the flatness. Does not matter anyway. I was more concerned with the Retrax function.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you are in cold weather spray the lock (inside keyhole) with Blaster and use silicone on the rails.... this will prevent lock and cover from freezing. Mine froze shut could not open and lock would not close after opening. No problems now and the temp is 5 degrees out...
Speaking of locks...My RETRAX lock also was frozen shut. Didn't need to open at the time. I'll try some lock de-icer next time.

With my F150, I had a vinyl tonneau. The kind with the snaps. Problem there was when it's cold it doesn't stretch, so it's a real bi!ch to snap closed. My solution was not to bother opening the tonneau during winter. I'll probably do the same with the RETRAX. I just slide stuff underneath or throw it in the trunk which opens enough anyway.

The only issue is opening the tailgate. I haven't figured out where exactly the freezing occurs. Along the top of the tailgate or the tailgate seals or maybe the hinge or latch? I'll post here when I know.
 

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HenryHonda, do you have the cover for the lock? I have not had any problems with my lock or the side rails freezing. I do park in my garage at night but during the day the cover has had snow and melting snow on it. So far no trouble at all.
 

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HenryHonda said:
Speaking of locks...My RETRAX lock also was frozen shut. Didn't need to open at the time. I'll try some lock de-icer next time.

With my F150, I had a vinyl tonneau. The kind with the snaps. Problem there was when it's cold it doesn't stretch, so it's a real bi!ch to snap closed. My solution was not to bother opening the tonneau during winter. I'll probably do the same with the RETRAX. I just slide stuff underneath or throw it in the trunk which opens enough anyway.

The only issue is opening the tailgate. I haven't figured out where exactly the freezing occurs. Along the top of the tailgate or the tailgate seals or maybe the hinge or latch? I'll post here when I know.
While I don't have a Retrax cover, I had a problem with the OEM freezing to the top of the tailgate. Someone had suggested that a simple pound of the top would free it. After several hits, it was still frozen. I slid my key under and along the rubber seal on top of the gate and it worked like magic and opened right up.
 

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After our first big snow and freeze,I had some ice buildup where the cover enters the container and along the edge of track, and the lock was froze. After the temps warmed up it thawed out, I then wiped off all water and sprayed the track and lock with WD-40. I try to clean all snow off of cover and container after a storm. Since then we haven't had the freezing temps. But the cover rolls up more smoothly now, and the lock works alot eaiser also.
 

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NJDevil5 said:
While I don't have a Retrax cover, I had a problem with the OEM freezing to the top of the tailgate. Someone had suggested that a simple pound of the top would free it. After several hits, it was still frozen. I slid my key under and along the rubber seal on top of the gate and it worked like magic and opened right up.

I just use a finger. A lot easier on the rubber. I have had no issue of lock freeze. I have had to use some force to open my OEM cover due to side rail freeze but once loose opened right up. It sounds like the Retrax requires some diligence and maintenance in the winter. I did not want to deal with that so I got the OEM.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll try the sliding something between the top of the tailgate and rubber seal of the cover next time. It seems most likely where the ice-up problem is. I've also used an old car heater that I put into the bed facing the tailgate when I anticipate any potential weather conditions likely to cause freeze up. I just leave the plug hanging out below the tailgate. When a freeze up occurred, I just plug it in for 15-20 minutes and voila! Of course I have some paper towel handy to wipe up the melted ice to prevent a repeat of the ice-up. This idea only works where I can plug in though.
 

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Any reports on how the "shiny" top is holding up to winter? I know early reports were that it would scratch very easily. Just wondering how it would hold up to weather like we have been having in CT (snow,ice etc)?
 

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Still no problems here. I have been out in the ice and snow all day and have had snow and ice on the cover. I clear it with a "Snow Brum" like brush that has a micro fiber towel wrapped around it so that the brush itself does not contact the cover. I am not sure that it is absolutely necessary to do that but it is easy enough to do. I take the same precautions when clearing the snow from the hood and the roof. I am sure that if you cleared snow from the Retrax cover or your hood with a shovel or an abrasive brush that there would be some damage. I have not had it freeze shut yet but i do take precautions and keep it cleaned off and keep the side rails waxed and lubricated. If there was an extreme ice storm like New England got recently, I am sure that the Retrax would freeze shut along with the doors and everything else that was outside. I bet that the tailgate would open and you then have access to the trunk as well.
 

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Thanks Ultra-Hog, I have the same Snow Brum, works wonders and no worries about paint scratching. Narrowed it down to the Retrax and the Torza hard hat....decisions, decisions....
 

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brian1972ct said:
Thanks Ultra-Hog, I have the same Snow Brum, works wonders and no worries about paint scratching.
I'm not knockin' the Snow Brum but...

No matter what type of tool is used to remove snow by direct contact, there is always a risk of scratching the paint. While the snow removal tool itself might not cause the scratches, foreign materials, which might have been present on the painted surface prior to snowfall, can still cause damage. Like Sergeant Esterhaus (Hill Street Blues) used to say, "Hey, let's be careful out there". ;)
 

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Narrowed it down to the Retrax and the Torza hard hat....decisions, decisions....
For me, the decision came down to which model allowed the easiest access into the bed and the trunk. If I had to go through a several step procedure just to toss a package into the bed or trunk and then have to reverse the procedure to close it up again, the cover would be more of a pain than I am willing to put up with. I also like the way the Retrax looks and fits. That is why I found the Retrax cover to be the best one for my needs. If I needed to carry a dirt bike in the bed, then one of the soft covers that could completely roll up or could be removed might have had to do. Since my motorcycle is too big to fit in the bed anyway it is destined for a trailer when it won't run under it's own power.

I also agree completely about removing snow ridged. I keep the truck waxed and as clean as possible. Washing a black truck with a dirty wash mit can make a real mess and a sea of swirls too. Pushing clean snow off of any unprotected dirty surface could lead to fine scratches.
 

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Why yes our little icing storm up here in the NE did freeze the doors, trunk and tailgate shut. I had to work at it to get into the door, and when I did the handle stayed straight out till I pushed it back down. I am still trying to get all the ice off the Honda, but it isn't going out till we get above freezing for a day to get most of the ice out of the roadways and side roads since the tires are horrible in winter driving.

I like hearing about how people are fairing with various covers. I am still contemplating a cover for my truck and really need to figure out what would be the best for my needs and situation. I was considering the soft top version of a cover that was recently discussed (can't remember the name) but given that I drive out into the woods to go fishing, I would be afraid that a tree limb would rip it (yes I also worry about them scratching my truck but that I have learned to live with).
 

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captmiddy, I don't want to hijack the thread but if you are having trouble with the winter performance of the Ridgeline and the stock Michelins in the snow maybe the tire pressure is too hard or too soft. More info here
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=49735&postcount=41 and here http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=62737&postcount=4 and if you want to get different tires, here is some discussion about one of the ROC sponsors, the Tire rack http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=47023&postcount=4. For my needs, I could not be happier with the stock Michelin tires on the Ridgeline. I do hope that you can find the answer to getting the kind of winter performance with your truck that I am so pleased with on mine.

Sorry, now back to our regularily scheduled topic...
 
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