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Discussion Starter #1
2006 RTL 161,820 miles. Lots of rust - Thanks NY!
I've been hit!
Background: While moving my Ridgeline around my yard, I lost the ability to move forward or backward. Engine RPMs increased, but no motion. I knew what it was, (thanks to this forum!) but I had to get it out of my backyard in case of eventual towing. Let it sit in park for a minute or two, then I got about 50 feet of forward motion. I did this 3 times to get it in front of my house and shut it off. Truck ran for about 15 minutes total.
A couple of observations:
  • I thought I would find the tranny fluid connection to the radiator loose. It is not. I pulled on it a couple of times and it didn't budge. Does the failure occur inside the radiator?
  • Oil and tranny dipsticks only show their normal respective fluids.
  • Radiator and reservoir are full of pink goo.
These checks were performed a full 24 hours later.

Is this a candidate for radiator replacement, then multiple DnF's? If so, at what step can the engine first be run?
Or junkyard?
Thanks.
DougB.
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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Definitely worth the effort to see if multiple D&Fs can rescue your tranny. Unfortunately, you didn't help it any by continuing to run it while you repositioned. Your best shot of saving the tranny is to shut it down as soon as you recognize the symptoms. Continuing to drive for the sake of convenience runs the risk of total failure. Those are decisions made in the heat of the moment. Hope it works out well for you. Keep us advised.
 

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Its likely a good sign that you aren't seeing significant contamination (yet) inside the transmission. That said it wasn't wise to try and move the vehicle under its own power but it is what is now, Not all SMOD failures seem to be the same and so far it sounds like you have a milder version that mostly involves transmission fluid in the coolant. Plan on at least 4 dump and fills of the transmission and a good amount of effort being put into cleaning out the coolant system. Definitely need a new radiator.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Cleaning out coolant system: does this entail more than flushes?
Also, how do I dispose of these "fluids"?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cleaning out coolant system: does entail more than flushes?
Also, how do I dispose of these "fluids"?
Also, any issue leaving the fluids in until replacement parts show up?
Or is immediate draining required?
Does it actually drain or do you have to flush it out?
 

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Might want to drain the tranny ASAP.

I would think the tranny is very contaminated with engine coolant since it stopped forward motion 3 times.

After replacing the radiator, but before re-attaching radiator hoses to the new rad, I would remove heater hoses at the firewall and run a garden hose to each heater hose, one at a time, until clear water runs out the rad hoses. Run the garden hose thru the heater core as well. Re-attach heater hoses. Flush/clean the bottle. Button the cooling system up, fill with distilled water for now.

Now its time for multiple DnFs of the tranny. Run the motor for a minute or two between tranny DnFs, inspecting the drained tranny fluid each time. With luck, the tranny survived.

Got lots of empty gallon milk jugs?

Once tranny fluid stays pink, drain/fill the cooling system with fresh a 50/50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and distilled water. Maybe a new radiator cap as well.

Fingers crossed, regarding the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. That's the info I was looking for. But I will probably run the hose before I replace the radiator too.
 

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Good idea......be sure to disconnect both radiator hoses from the old radiator BEFORE using the garden hose.
 

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2010 RT - Bali Blue
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Holy heavens. Where in NY do you live? That rust gave me goosebumps and flashbacks of the sunken Titanic on National Geographic! Good luck and let us know how it all turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Holy heavens. Where in NY do you live? That rust gave me goosebumps and flashbacks of the sunken Titanic on National Geographic! Good luck and let us know how it all turns out.
Outside Albany.
 

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Oh Gee! Poor Truck! I assume the trans cooler in the radiator is shot. Would the rust caused by road salt cause that? I'm surprised the radiator is not leaping. Defective radiator?
 

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Lord almighty the rust on that thing, I live in California and when I changed my radiator, its fittings were still rusted out, but not to that extent. Anyhow you have nothing to loose at this point, change out the radiator, drain and flush and hopefully those clutch packs didn't burn up and will still bite once the fluids changed. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Finally getting back to this. Flushed engine. drained, refilled tranny. New radiator and assorted parts.
Should the tranny take more than 5 quarts ATF? I see drain & fill normally 3.5 quarts. total cpacty 8.5 quarts.
5 quarts in and not showing on dipstick. Car moves back and forth. It is not in the oil or the coolant.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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You are checking on level ground, hot fluid, with the engine turned off, correct?

I find that both my 2006 Pilot and 2008 Ridgeline take around 3.5 US qts for a drain and fill operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Correct to all your points.
I did blow out the Transmission cooler. Maybe that accounts for some. I wouldn't think that would drain with the tranny.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK. I ran it for about ten miles seemed fine. 1 hour later, my son took it 1 mile up the road to a barber. While he was sitting in the parking lot idling, the bottom radiator hose blew off. All clean coolant.
Did I just not put the clamp on right?
Or is the radiator blocked?
Reconnected hose and made damn sure clamp was correct. Upon refill, air bubbles came out, waited for thermostat to open, more air bubbles. Bottom hose hot. Drove it home, no issues.
What do you think?
 

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I think you need to check coolant level in both the radiator and bottle MOTOR COLD......and do this for several days, several heat/cool cycles. When the motor is COLD, coolant level in the radiator should be at the very top, up in the neck of the radiator. The coolant level in the bottle should not be lower than the MIN level, cold motor. It may take several days of checking to completely burp the cooling system.

How about a new radiator pressure cap?.......lots to go wrong with those puppies. 3 sealing surfaces, 2 valves and springs in the rad cap. I believe the cap is a 1.1 Kpa or 16 psi rating.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks.
New cap with radiator.
Ill keep an eye on it and just short warm-up trips for a while.
 

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Just be sure to check the radiator and bottle when the motor is cold. (y)
 

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