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I'm a new owner of a 2011 Ridgeline and have a question on the transmission. I think they all have a 5 speed transmission and 3.5 V6 and I was surprised at the gradual hill I was climbing on the freeway tonight with the cruise control on 70 when it shifted down. I was doing 70 at 2k RPM and everything seemed great. Is there some way to lock the gear where it's not shifting down on gentle grades? Seems a bit of a nuisance to keep taking off the cruise on gentle hills. Anyone have thoughts on this? TIA
 

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You cannot lock the gear, but you can do what many of us have done for various reasons: use mid-grade, Octane 89 fuel. It will generally pay for itself in better fuel economy, as well as somewhat improve performance and reduce shifting under varying conditions.
 

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Unfortunately this is a feature that cannot be changed. The grade logic in the engine-transmission programming selects gearing that will maintain the set speed without taxing the engine at low RPM as opposed to allowing the truck to slow down on a grade. The Honda engines make power and torque much higher in the RPM range than most other manufacturers which requires the shift. Yes, sometimes it is annoying. It will be much more pronounced if you ever tow something.

What Ian suggests could help if the down-shifting is a problem for you. Most of us just learn to live with it. This is a big heavy vehicle and it needs to shift to maintain the speed. Another alternative is to slow down, thus requiring less power to maintain speed, but that may not be viable in a lot of traffic situations.

I would also suggest making sure the transmission has been properly serviced. The Honda transmission in the RL operates much better with fresh fluid. There is a regular transmission maintenance requirement in the owner's manual, but if you just acquired the truck it might be a good idea to go ahead and change the fluid now just to be sure the tranny has the best operating parameters.
 

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As has been said, it is pretty much the nature of the beast. I personally don't buy into the use higher octane gas argument. I have noticed absolutely zero improvements in performance during normal driving (not towing) from using a higher than 87 octane gas. Gas mileage is unaffected as well. Here in MD, it's a solid 40 cents per gallon cost increase going from 87-89 and in my experience, there is NO WAY that this would pay for it self. It is really reaching at straws to think that this would help with your down shifting "issue." Try it for yourself but be prepared to get used to it. . .
 

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The Ridgeline's transmission has proven itself to last up to 300,000 miles or more as designed. Let it shift. It may be annoying or different than other vehicles you've driven, but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it.

If you want to experience "shift busy-ness", go drive a newer vehicle with a 7, 8, or 9-speed automatic. Some of them drop a gear or two or three on the slightest grade or into the slightest headwind. However, with so many ratios so closely spaced together, it is less noticeable in terms of feel, sound, or observation of the tachometer.
 

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It's more about the cruise control than the transmission.

The Ridgeline cruise control is very aggressive - it wants to stay within about 1 MPH of the set speed, and you can't change the aggressiveness as you can on some vehicles. It will even floor it and drop down 2 gears on steep hills. That's why you get significantly worse mileage when using the cruise control vs. just driving with your foot, and letting the vehicle slow a little on uphills and gain it back going down.

I don't use the cruise other than on flat roads, for that reason.

Flymo
 

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It's more about the cruise control than the transmission.

The Ridgeline cruise control is very aggressive - it wants to stay within about 1 MPH of the set speed, and you can't change the aggressiveness as you can on some vehicles. It will even floor it and drop down 2 gears on steep hills. That's why you get significantly worse mileage when using the cruise control vs. just driving with your foot, and letting the vehicle slow a little on uphills and gain it back going down.

I don't use the cruise other than on flat roads, for that reason.

Flymo
Excellent point, but have to admit I am impressed how the truck climbs grades at a very constant speed, without thinking about what gear it's in.
I know it can't be that economical as feathering the pedal as needed, or really hypermiling. * I guess I am just getting too lazy in my old age.

*http://www.wikihow.com/Hypermile
 

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IME, the Ridgeline simply isn't cammed (the engine) for low-end power. As I drive down the freeway at 70-75, even the slightest grades have the computer (as read by my ScanGauge) showing 90%+ of max available power is being requested. It simply _has_ to shift to keep speed.

My general driving around experience does not reveal any mpg nor hp improvement from 89 or 91 octane fuel.

The Ridgeline isn't set up for regular, routine towing. If it was, it would let you lock out 5th gear.
 

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As has been said, it is pretty much the nature of the beast. I personally don't buy into the use higher octane gas argument. I have noticed absolutely zero improvements in performance during normal driving (not towing) from using a higher than 87 octane gas. Gas mileage is unaffected as well. Here in MD, it's a solid 40 cents per gallon cost increase going from 87-89 and in my experience, there is NO WAY that this would pay for it self. It is really reaching at straws to think that this would help with your down shifting "issue." Try it for yourself but be prepared to get used to it. . .
Excellent point, but have to admit I am impressed how the truck climbs grades at a very constant speed, without thinking about what gear it's in.
I know it can't be that economical as feathering the pedal as needed, or really hypermiling. * I guess I am just getting too lazy in my old age.

*http://www.wikihow.com/Hypermile
Ditto here. At cruise, my RL downshifts at the slightest hint of a hill. The engine basically has no torque at low rpms. And I've given up on using 89 or 93 octane to improve power and mpg. I've never noticed a change in either... especially no change that is cost effective with a 40-50 cent per gallon (or more) diff in cost over 87 octane.

My son and I had a trip to/from Memphis this summer on I40. It's 70mph most of the way so we stuck the cruise on 77-78 and let it run. While I'm sure we could have improved the mpg by feathering the throttle on some of those hills that pose as mountains on the east coast, the per tank mpg was still in the high 19's just letting cruise and the transmission do their work together.
 

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Ditto here. At cruise, my RL downshifts at the slightest hint of a hill. The engine basically has no torque at low rpms. And I've given up on using 89 or 93 octane to improve power and mpg. I've never noticed a change in either... especially no change that is cost effective with a 40-50 cent per gallon (or more) diff in cost over 87 octane.

My son and I had a trip to/from Memphis this summer on I40. It's 70mph most of the way so we stuck the cruise on 77-78 and let it run. While I'm sure we could have improved the mpg by feathering the throttle on some of those hills that pose as mountains on the east coast, the per tank mpg was still in the high 19's just letting cruise and the transmission do their work together.
If a small percentage or your long trip driving involves hilly terrain I doubt you will see any sizable gain 'feathering' over hill crests. But if it is a daily commute, no doubt the savings in gas will have more significance.
Fortunately for me a jump from 87 to 89 is only a dime. And I think it does run a skosh better. Have not done a very scientific comparison with regards to mileage vs. octane. I did install the Crawford Eco-Block (https://crawfordperformance.com/product/eco-block-q1/) despite some rumors that it is not much better than the resistor chip.
I will say, especially in town driving (which surprised me) I see a gain of 0.5 to 1.0 mpg on average. Totally unexpected, my driving is very routine so changes like that are not hard to notice.
 

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You must have come from driving a Ford. Where the shift logic will lug the motor until the load is though the roof and you are approaching WOT. Then the transmission will drop three gears and carry redline for a few seconds. Then as soon as you back off to <25% throttle will immediately upshift three gears and lug the motor again. Depress the throttle and the cycle continues....

Instant transmission response is one of Honda's strong points. As my Ford buddy says, the RL engine is no powerhouse, but the shift logic makes the most of it. He HATES the way the six speed in his F150 shifts.
 

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I'm one who never turns off cruise. I use it about 991/2% of all my driving. So far Fuelly has tracked about 175,000 miles for me and you can see my results. 'Over 200,000 and going strong.

It would be an emergency trip to the repair shop if my cruise stopped working.
 
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