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Very cool (all puns intended)! It looks like Honda learned some lessons with the Denso radiators they used in the Gen1 and did not want to repeat their SMOD mistake again.
I am not sure if this is a Honda design concept, as many vehicles using ZF and other drive-line makers use something very similar as they could be adopted across many vehicle manufacturers. The Honda 10-spd has such a similar system as the vehicle they go into, may have a ZF transmission option (like the Odyssey). Cannot comment on the Acura and other models.
 

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It's from the Transmission oil mixing with the Radiator fluid due to the connection for transmission cooling failing.

Strawberry Mixture Of Death as it's called as SMOD. And no the RL2 has a different radiator setup. Not happening on it.

Steve
Did you mead G2?
 

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Is there a preventative "fix" for the 2006 Ridgeline to protect the transmission from SMOD ?
Newbie Rachel
Rachel, if you look at the SMOD threads on here, you will be able to see how the fittings on the bottom of the radiator look and make a decision on changing it.
If the radiator in itself has not been changed since the date of purchase, then it would be wise to change it out anyway. Coolant, thermostat, upper and lower radiator hoses can be changed at that time. I changed mine few years back as a preventive measure, though my radiator looked fine.
 

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Smufguy, thank you for your response.
My 2006 is new to me as of March. It has 165K miles and I have repair records but I don't see a change in the radiator.
Are you recommending I replace the radiator? Honda brand?
Obviously new coolant (any special brand/type?),
thermostat (Honda brand?), upper and lower radiator hoses (any special ones?)
Anything else?
Does this work need to be done by a Honda dealer ?
About how much should I plan on this costing?
I appreciate your help. R
 

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Rachel, since the Radiator is not changed, it would be wise to do so. My recommendation are as follows.
  • New Radiator (TYC, Spectra, Denso, etc): There is a buncha debate and preferences on who uses what radiator and why; similar to engine oil and filer discussions. I have a TYC radiator that I got for around $100. Works just fine
  • Radiator cap: any brand is just fine
  • Coolant - Type 2 Honda Blue coolant. Get two jugs from Honda
  • Thermostat: Any brand that fits your model year is fine (Stant, Gates, Beck/Arnley, Mahle, etc)
  • Upper & lower radiator hoses: any brand is fine; nothing fancy. Continental, Gates, Dayco, etc are all worthy contenders.
Except for the Coolant, all these above parts should come just under $180 with shipping. I just priced everything up on RockAuto.com and it is $173.21 with shipping. Coolant is typically around $15 to $22 a jug based on where you get it from. So for under $230, you can get everything together and get it done at your own driveway with basic tools.

Additionally what I recommend is going to Autozone or some autoparts store and getting about 5-feet of 3/8" hose; ensure this for Transmission/oil/PCV hose. As long as it is a braided hose and includes Transmission as one of its applications (stamped on the outside), you will be fine. You can get a 5-feet hose for under $15 total. This hose is to replace the ATF pre-warmer hose that is on the bottom of the radiator. for ease of radiator removal. You need to snip it.

NOTE: You are better off changing the transmission fluid while you are at it as the ATF pre-warmer hose will be disconnected and fluid will leak out. You will need 4-quarts of the Honda ATF DW1 fluid and they run about $7 per bottle/quart, before shipping. You can order this along with the coolant. Also, ensure you request the Transmission fluid drain and filler washers. If you are due for an oil change, might as well do it now when you are under the truck ripping things apart. BTW, if you need the Honda Factory Service Manual (FSM), let me know.

That should give you a start on getting the transmission and radiator set. The whole job, start to finish, would take about 4 hrs, if this is your first time. Then based on your service records, you can start to address the items that have not been addressed; like the center transfer fluid and the rear diff fluid (it it has not been); each of those have a filler and drain holes and thus washers are needed. You also need their respective fluids. https://www.bernardiparts.com/Departments/Chemicals-Fluids/Fluids.aspx
 

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Does this work need to be done by a Honda dealer?
If you can't do the work yourself, a trusted dealer would by my choice. FWIW, my default dealer will install any owner supplied fluids and parts that meet Honda specs but I see no reason to NOT use Honda fluids with the possible exception of motor oil. YMMV!
 

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Note that if the fluid is warmer than the coolant going into this 鈥減re-warmer鈥, the coolant (even though 鈥渉ot鈥) will still help to cool the hotter ATF. Based on virtually all manufacturers using this design, I am going to guess that coolant temperature is close to ideal ATF temperature so this device acts as a buffer to warm it up faster but doesn鈥檛 make it too hot either.

I too though have to wonder how long this new type of heat exchanger will last before causing SMOD.
Yup thats a warmer not a cooler it brings the trans fluid up to temp quicker much better for the trans. Many manufacturers also employ this, a filter is located under that cooler on some cars, honda uses a inline filter here.
 

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If you can't do the work yourself, a trusted dealer would by my choice. FWIW, my default dealer will install any owner supplied fluids and parts that meet Honda specs but I see no reason to NOT use Honda fluids with the possible exception of motor oil. YMMV!
Trusted dealer?? Thats a complete oxymoron in my view. In my opinion, skip the dealer and their overpriced poor service and go to respected independent.

As to the radiator . . .Aftermarkets have been lackluster as far as quality control and shipping damage is concerned. I would highly encourage a pressure test of the radiator (before install) and or of the entire system immediately after install. The OEM radiator is more expensive and has the SMOD prone fittings but is in other ways a higher quality unit. Choice is not straightforward IMHO.

As to the hoses . . .I would go with OEM. There are enough reports here on lower quality thinner rubber on the aftermarkets to push the choice towards going with OEM.
 
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