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2007 RTL Steel Blue
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Discussion Starter #1
Went on the 1st of our many planned camping trips for this summer. As always we took the 07 RL. The road to our usual camping spot (Tahoe National Forest) was in the worst condition that I've ever seen. Large holes, big granite rocks/boulders, lots of mud holes, fallen trees, etc. Thankfully, a few months ago I invested in the Burtman Industries skid plate.

My RL is at stock height with stock size Michelin LTX tires. I've had some issues in the past getting stuck on the loose gravel parts of this road, and I've got a little rock damage on the low hanging parts of the truck from rolling the wheel over the larger rock, only to come down on the smaller rocks. But either way, I've always managed to get the truck going, and just creep along to limit the damage.

This year however, if it wasn't for that skid plate, I'd have a hole in my oil pan and probably no transmission. There was simply no way to get through this road without scraping the undercarriage. At one point the noise of the rocks pinging off the skid plate sounded like a slot machine paying out. Lots scrapes, bends and gouges in the skid plate, rear control arms, and very minor damage to some of the frame parts. Two things that I learned on this trip:

1. The RL is NOT a Jeep.
2. Time for the lift kit :)

On this trip, 5 families, 5 different vehicles:

07 Ridgeline RTL
04 Grand Cherokee Laredo
93 Bronco XLT
14 F-150 FX4
16 Silverado (I dunno what trim, but it has leather and sunroof)

The RL was the only vehicle that kept bottoming out, and I was (as usual) the slowest. I drive slowly on these roads because I know that I'll get there...and I don't see any reason beat the $h^T out of my daily driver with Oddysey/Pilot suspension!

After a few beers and talking about our trucks, I learned a few other things that in my opinion, are more important than ground clearance:

With 113k miles on my RL's odometer, my modified minivan (as my friends refer to it) has had fewer problems (mechanical/suspension/electrical) than all but the 2016 Silverado. But the Silverado has already been back to the dealer for an oil leak and grenaded A/C compressor. Although I still believe that I need new struts (slight thunking from the rear suspension), ball joints, bushings, tie rod ends etc. are still tight. I've had no oil leaks yet (knocking on wood) and no strange electrical issues. Just expensive timing belt/water pump/valve adjustment maintenance (I do my own engine/trans/diff. fluid changes). I love my RL. We returned Sunday. I went to the local Honda dealer and I test drove a new RTL-T.

It's REALLY nice. I know that I've complained about the weak, soft look of the styling, the fact that "Ridgeline" is now a name only, as there are no more "Ridge" styling cues anywhere on the vehicle, and cup holder placement sucks, but the truck is nice. It's probably not gonna convince the hearts of too many loyal Chevy/Ford/Jeep truck owners but hey, some people like spending time at their service departments :)

What I did notice, among other things, is the lack of ground clearance remains, and the undercarriage does not look as beefed-up as the 1st gen. (maybe they used higher strength steel, I'm not sure) From what I could see, there does not appear to be a place to attach a skid plate. I hope Burtman, or someone else can find a solution. I also hope that a lift becomes available. Luckily, I have a few years (and hopefully another 100+k miles) before I need to replace my 07. Hopefully by then, Russian RL owners will post some YouTube videos of their mud slingin, snow spinnin 2nd gens!
 

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Your off-road experience is the same as mine with my friends. I'm unable tho keep up with them & they don't bottom out. I don't have skid plates on my RL so I've learned where I need to creep at a snails pace to keep rocks from knocking holes in places I don't need holes. Some places I can't go that's they can & those are the times my RL sits on the sidelines & I ride with them hunting.
 

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Very informative post for me. I was already scoping out a lift for my new to me '06/101k RTL but your post helps galvanize the lift as a priority.

I don't think my off roading is as aggressive as yours but I figure I'll spend the cost of the lift in the first undercarriage damage scenario (two repairs on my stock Rav4 over the past 2 years driving the same road should also be enough to help me figure it out!)

I do like getting in and out of the RL at stock height right now though - anyone get complaints from their wives about getting in and out of a lifted RL, or loading up a kid seat?

Tony

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The G1 nor the G2 is an off road vehicle - it tries to look like one - but it just isn't. Its made for people who want the look of a truck and convenience of having a bed to haul light to medium loads and light to medium towing. Its a great hardware store vehicle. It simply does not have the features and components of "real" off road vehicles available today. I always joke with a friend who has a 16 Tacoma TRD about when he is going off roading - he never will and its such a waste of a superior off road capable vehicle-
 

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The G1 nor the G2 is an off road vehicle - it tries to look like one - but it just isn't. Its made for people who want the look of a truck and convenience of having a bed to haul light to medium loads and light to medium towing. Its a great hardware store vehicle. It simply does not have the features and components of "real" off road vehicles available today. I always joke with a friend who has a 16 Tacoma TRD about when he is going off roading - he never will and its such a waste of a superior off road capable vehicle-
uh hummm....excuse me....ill just leave these here...

https://youtu.be/6Yy3zPDb8Rc

https://youtu.be/mY6LkUKSIL8

https://youtu.be/qvHh0mR0laY

https://youtu.be/-yib-ePhjQk

https://youtu.be/n_NoaTqWjTw

https://youtu.be/GJewQXujQK8

 

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2007 RTL Steel Blue
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Discussion Starter #7
The G1 nor the G2 is an off road vehicle - it tries to look like one - but it just isn't. Its made for people who want the look of a truck and convenience of having a bed to haul light to medium loads and light to medium towing. Its a great hardware store vehicle. It simply does not have the features and components of "real" off road vehicles available today. I always joke with a friend who has a 16 Tacoma TRD about when he is going off roading - he never will and its such a waste of a superior off road capable vehicle-
I partially agree. My opinion is that unless you're talking about a purpose-built 4X4 such as anything that you would build specifically to take off-road (or buy already built) and tow to an off-road park (or a Ford Raptor, or the new Dodge/Chevy/Jeep vehicles designed like the Raptor) none of the production "off-road" vehicles are truly for "off-road" use. When I say off-road, i'm talking about Rubicon trail capable vehicles. Rubicon is what I consider off-road. The nasty fire roads that I drive are not (in my opinion) hard core off-road. Speaking of, technically we can drive anything that we want on any type of surface that we choose. I've mentioned on here before that a FWD Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera has previously made it to the campgrounds that we went to last weekend. Ironically, on a previous trip to that camp, the Ciera had no problems on one hilly stretch of gravel road whereas my RL sat spinning its tires. But let's not start an explosive argument over that LOL! The question is, can the vehicle get there and back without getting stuck or breaking? Can it get there and back more than once without breaking?

I agree, that the RL was not designed to be driven recklessly on fire trails or other off-road trails for that matter. But I can tell you that with over 1000 miles of driving fire roads, the stock steering and suspension components of my 07 have held-up surprisingly well. My 84 S-10 blazer 4x4, 95 Jimmy 4x4, and 03 Dakota 4x4 all required steering and suspension repairs, especially ball joints and tie-rods way before 100k miles. Those three vehicle all had factory "off-road" packages. Last thing I will say about the RL. The body is pretty solid. If you put your fingers in the gap between the door panel and dashboard while driving over a washboard surface, there is almost no movement between the two. In both the 2014 F-150, and 2016 Silverado that my friends brought on the trip. Put your fingers in that gap and they'll get smashed. Tell your friend to christen that 2016 Taco in some mud! :)
 

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I do like getting in and out of the RL at stock height right now though - anyone get complaints from their wives about getting in and out of a lifted RL, or loading up a kid seat?

Tony

Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
My only complaint (and I've gotten used to it) is that the lift puts nerf bars/running boards at an awkward height where you tend to bang your legs on them. It doesn't make the truck high enough that you actually need them for entry/exit. IMHO, entry and exit with a lift would be easier w/out nerf bars.
 

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Thanks ridgedawg! Right now I've got the stock running boards and i'll see how they do once I'm lifted. My wife may still want then though I do like the look without.

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The G1 nor the G2 is an off road vehicle - it tries to look like one - but it just isn't. Its made for people who want the look of a truck and convenience of having a bed to haul light to medium loads and light to medium towing. Its a great hardware store vehicle. It simply does not have the features and components of "real" off road vehicles available today. I always joke with a friend who has a 16 Tacoma TRD about when he is going off roading - he never will and its such a waste of a superior off road capable vehicle-
Is the Ridgeline a top tier off-road vehicle, No. But to say it is NOT an off-road vehicle; Well, you just don't know what you are talking about... unless you want to specifically define what you mean by off-road vehicle (and you'd have to use a pretty specific definition for your statement to be true).
If you haven't seen videos of some members here going to some serious off-road destinations, then you haven't searched very hard on this forum. Check out some of S.T.U.V.'s posts.
I have personally taken mine up to 11000 feet ridges (end of trail) in the eastern high Sierra w/o issue. And I do NOT have a lift kit. (I did remove my running boards when doing this)
Do I need to pick & choose my path around rocks & ruts more carefully than my friends in Jeeps or Tacos? Yes.

Nobody ever claimed it is not less capable off-road (due mostly to ground clearance & app/dep angles). But for you to make the statement you make only tells me that you have not driven a RL off-road.... or that your only definition of off-road is confined to areas with large rocks requiring the ground clearance the RL does not have. Or maybe you just don't know how to drive in a manner that maximized your ability to negotiate difficult terrain??? And if you didn't see this response coming, than I am SURE you have not driven a RL off-road.... or only have in areas requiring greater ground clearance.

Many of us have a lot of fun off-road in or RLs.... most owners however, don't want or need to. But to wrongly advise readers that RL cannot go off-road is just borne out of ignorance in my opinion.

It's NOT a Jeep.... it's much much more than that. Just not an off-road all star. :laugh:
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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While your at it, Alevenso, Check out the videos and postings in this thread. http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/12-image-video-gallery/26489-life-ridge-russia.html

How many would willingly drive cross the US in a Taco or Jeep, Not many, some have had to but I Guarantee, most would have preferred the creature comforts of a G1 or a G2 if available, between poor climate control, poor seating and such. Multiple members have and are driving long distances and arrive in comfort and relaxed.

YMMV
 

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The RL might not have the towing capacity that you want and I'll agree, but you can put one hell of a load in the box, I already had over 1400#'s of crushed stone, a lot of dirt and Mulch up to the roof line.
 

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Is the Ridgeline a top tier off-road vehicle, No. But to say it is NOT an off-road vehicle; Well, you just don't know what you are talking about... unless you want to specifically define what you mean by off-road vehicle (and you'd have to use a pretty specific definition for your statement to be true).
If you haven't seen videos of some members here going to some serious off-road destinations, then you haven't searched very hard on this forum. Check out some of S.T.U.V.'s posts.
I have personally taken mine up to 11000 feet ridges (end of trail) in the eastern high Sierra w/o issue. And I do NOT have a lift kit. (I did remove my running boards when doing this)
Do I need to pick & choose my path around rocks & ruts more carefully than my friends in Jeeps or Tacos? Yes.

Nobody ever claimed it is not less capable off-road (due mostly to ground clearance & app/dep angles). But for you to make the statement you make only tells me that you have not driven a RL off-road.... or that your only definition of off-road is confined to areas with large rocks requiring the ground clearance the RL does not have. Or maybe you just don't know how to drive in a manner that maximized your ability to negotiate difficult terrain??? And if you didn't see this response coming, than I am SURE you have not driven a RL off-road.... or only have in areas requiring greater ground clearance.

Many of us have a lot of fun off-road in or RLs.... most owners however, don't want or need to. But to wrongly advise readers that RL cannot go off-road is just borne out of ignorance in my opinion.

It's NOT a Jeep.... it's much much more than that. Just not an off-road all star. :laugh:
... and just FYI, this is where we went on that excursion.... 'been there twice. I'm told it's since been blocked off, but am not sure on that point. It's a very cool view looking down on the lakes below from that ridge up above.

38.076216, -119.276437
(I could not figure out how to successfully link googlemaps page, so copy & paste into googlemaps or google search window - zoom & satellite view)
 
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