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Well guys, gotta say I'm tremendously impressed. I bought my 2006 Ridgeline in January and about 3 weeks ago I subjected it to a truly monstrous task: pull a 24' long, 4600lb boat 530 miles, oh yeah, with another passenger and all our gear.

So a few things. The I had bought my 2006 RTL from a dealership in St. Louis. It had 186k miles but was a one-owner and had been serviced pretty well (mostly, I needed to change some fluids). It was a very cold weekend with temperatures ranging from 20f in Missouri up to a cozy 50f in Dallas. I'm not going to lie, my plan was not to use the truck to tow the boat up, it kind of came out of nowhere..

The boat you ask? A sparkling brand new 2018 Reata Ranger 223c Tritoon. It was one of the last two in the nation of that model year, and Cabela's in Fort Worth Texas was wanting it off the lot for cheap. $31,000 was the price to take the beauty home so I jumped on it ($9,000 off list, so that's well worth the distance in my mind). Her permanent home is Osage Beach, MO, right in heart of the world famous Lake of the Ozarks. This January I switched jobs (and my income moved up slightly and became more stable) so I decided now was the time to go for it. And go for it I did, arranging many different parts and details over the phone to buy the Honda Ridgeline and my boat all within a couple weeks of each other. THE PLAN however, was to have the boat shipped for about $500 up from Fort Worth Texas to Missouri. My original plan was only to use the truck for towing the boat a couple miles here and there between the storage lot and the launch for the lake; I never really planned for a long drive as the boat would be shipped up professionally. Unfortunately the plan to ship the boat fell apart when I found out the shipper had falsified some insurance information and I hastily canceled his contract. So I had a decision to make.. Cabela's was getting a bit itchy to move the boat (with a waiting list of other people wanting it) and I was a tiny bit concerned of the possibility they might change their mind about my deposit.. so rather than try again to rearrange another shipper.. I loaded myself, my dad, some overnight bags, and boxes of tools and fluids for any unforeseen repairs.. and we started the drive down.

The drive down from Missouri to Texas was mostly uneventful for the first 5 hours until about halfway down the check engine light came on. I had only owned the truck about a week and a half, and put less than a thousand miles on it; I was taking a tremendous leap of faith and I knew it. Needless to say, my heart sank. It was 9:50pm at night in the middle of Oklahoma... if we broke down now we were really in trouble, but luckily we were just running through town when the CEL came on and the O'Reilly's was still open for 10 more minutes. I popped in to see if they could run the codes. P0430... ok an O2 sensor is acting up, whew I can live with that. We continued the rest of the drive down, making it to our hotel around 1am. 10 hours of driving, we were pooped and headed to bed.

We got up the next morning and got in to the Cabela's in Fort Worth just after breakfast. And what a great experience we had seeing all the boats.. and then especially seeing my beautiful boat come into view.. and then seeing it next to my truck... and beginning to think "oh God that thing is MASSIVE... what have I done?!?". We hitched it up with the help of the Cabela's crew who was very reassuring we'd do fine.. just keep it slow and steady. Cautiously, around 11am, we set off.

And right away I was very concerned... Because boy oh boy did that engine have to work. It was a grind to get up to speed, and even at 60mph the RPM's were maintaining 3000+ the whole time. What I knew was the boat was heavy.. and I knew the wind from such a large boat would really slow us down, but I just hadn't realized just how immense of a drag such a big boat would cause. About 30 minutes into the drive we had to pull over because the front door on the Tritoon had popped open. We hopped out to bungie it into place to hold it, but all the while I thought... "man there is no way this is going to work.. this is just going to be too much".

But we pressed on. North on I-75 and after about 40 miles we cut across east around the outskirts of Dallas. The traffic lightened and the wind gave a slight breeze to our back. The truck ran smooth and with some confidence I pushed the truck up to a consistent 65mph. There was no sway at all (amazingly) and the roads were buttery smooth. The overdrive kicked on and off as we drove, and I knew the truck was starting to really handle the load. I put on some ZZ Top "Gimme all your lovin" and we were cruising. The truck ate up the miles.. and the gas, getting a very thirsty 7mpg with premium on the return trip. We stopped once an hour for fuel and to check the fluids and temps. Luckily, as we headed north the ambient temps dropped from the 50's into 40's into the 30's into the 20's. But all the trucks fluid levels held (with the exception of the fuel level of course!!). It soldiered on as we headed north. We came across some headwinds in Oklahoma that I might have gotten a bit too aggressive on; we maintained 65mph but at quite a cost of running the engine near 4,000rpm for almost an hour to keep the pace. Needless to say, this seemed to come back to bite me as during our stops I noticed the transmission fluid color had changed a very tiny tinge darker, and a tinge more burnt smelling I assume. We eased up, but now I wasn't sure we'd make it. But we pressed on as night fell. Unfortunately it turned out my fears of running a bit too hard seemed warranted.. as we crossed into Joplin MO I began to notice periodic shuddering in the steering wheel. I was very concerned for torque shudder or transmission shudder at this point.. but we were close, just a couple more hours to go. I slowed up to 55mph and feathered the throttle to keep the torque converter locking as much as possible. The traffic became quiet as we turned off of highway 44 onto the back roads for the all-to-familiar drive home to the lake. Just 45 more minutes... come on little Honda you're almost there.. And white knuckling and praying the rest of the way.. you know what, it did. We pulled up the last steep hill with the truck into our neighborhood at 11pm on Sunday night... The little Honda that could.. did.

But what about the transmission? Well turns out I have no idea what happened. After I unhitched the trailer and began my drive home to St. Louis the truck cleared up totally fine. Also the CEL went away. I zipped home unloaded at 80mph feeling light as a feather. I finally got around to changing all the fluids today, and safe to say, no junk in the transmission fluid. It was mostly clean, a bit darker than I'd like but I don't think I fried my transmission or anything like that at all. I actually have no idea what the shaking was, maybe someone else can help me determine it.

But all in all.. I am amazed. I am a former Dodge Ram owner. My dad and brother are both proud Ford owners. They're all great trucks, but they all have a common flaw, past around 150k miles they start to really become unreliable and certainly they shouldn't be towing extended periods maxed out. But that's why I went Honda. The reviews (and a ton of things I read on this forum btw, so thank you all!!) made me feel this could do it. Also, there's one other market where Honda reliability is renowned and idolized... Honda Marine. The lowly 3.5l V6 in my truck is also the V6 used in the 150hp outboards... which are the toughest things ever made on this planet Earth. I didn't know a ton about the Ridgeline 3 months ago, but I like the look and I knew my decision for a used, high mileage truck would come down to Honda, Toyota, or Jeep. I picked the Ridgeline. I was stunned how well it drove on the first test drive.. it felt like a brand new truck even though it had 186k miles on the odometer. And now, I must say I'm more impressed than I was before. You really don't know how big things like boats are until you see them in person.. the total trailer length was over 32'!! It is really more than the Ridgeline is designed for, but the Honda took it, ran with it, and moved it. I am thoroughly and totally happy with the purchase and I plan to run the truck at least until 300k-400k miles before replacement. My truck, fulfilling my American dream.. the little Honda that could.
 

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2010 RT - Bali Blue
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Thank you for sharing.
Prior to the trip, I would presume that your transmission fluid & engine oil were checked and changed? How is the rear diff and center transfer fluids? How does your ATF warmer lines (bottom of the radiator) look?

Lots of resources here on ROC, hope you stay and enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Haha SmilinSteve: abridged version, I pulled a boat, it was heavy 😁.

But yeah the weight of the boat plus trailer is about 4,600lbs all in, which by the way is a little bit lighter than other Tritoons of a similar size.

The big thing with this type of boat is wind resistance. The boat on the trailer is about a foot wider on each side than the truck, and about 9' high. Not including the bimini top which sticks up a couple more feet even in the down position. The whole boat is basically an enormous wind catcher.

SmurfGuy: The oil was fresh, the Transmission level was checked and the fluid color was good.. but I'm guessing now after running the Trans fluid was probably at or near end-of-life. The rear differential fluid was fresh (I changed it prior myself), the transfer case fluid was unknown. The Honda dealer said "all the fluids are good" which obviously wasn't true as my rear diff fluid was exhausted when I bought it, but I only had about a week from when I bought it to when I went down so I did the best I could with the fluids. I would have loved to have had fresh ATF and transfer case fluid as well (and probably in an ideal world with more time than just one week from buying the truck and making the trip, I would have).

Also, here's some pictures!!
 

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Nice looking setup douglas.

Last summer we towed 5700 pounds for around a thousand miles with our Gen 2 Ridgeline. Of course running a proper WDH and brake controller.

The truck handled it amazingly well and stopped on a dime. Yes I know that I was over my trailer weight and gross combined so do as they say and not as I do. ;) I generally don't hang out with the weight police.
 

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It is amazing how well the RL tows! My '08 did a great job and my '17 was fantastic in bringing home close to 5000 lbs of equipment home from Murphy, NC. You would expect no problems on flat land but I was in mountains with a lot of elevation change. NO PROBLEMS! Yes fuel economy goes to crap, 12-13 mpg but it's not like I do it all the time! I never felt that the trans was straining. I also regularly tow my Kubota B26 TLB. I use to have a Ford F-250 TD that did not tow as well as my Ridgy. I also don't have to lock up the 4 wd to go up a hill forward or in reverse!!! Yes I love my Ridgy!!
 

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It is amazing how well the RL tows! My '08 did a great job and my '17 was fantastic in bringing home close to 5000 lbs of equipment home from Murphy, NC. You would expect no problems on flat land but I was in mountains with a lot of elevation change. NO PROBLEMS! Yes fuel economy goes to crap, 12-13 mpg but it's not like I do it all the time! I never felt that the trans was straining. I also regularly tow my Kubota B26 TLB. I use to have a Ford F-250 TD that did not tow as well as my Ridgy. I also don't have to lock up the 4 wd to go up a hill forward or in reverse!!! Yes I love my Ridgy!!
If your F250 didn't tow as well as the Ridgeline, your F250 was broken. Sorry for the skepticism, but some of the things you read on the internet these days!
 

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If your F250 didn't tow as well as the Ridgeline, your F250 was broken. Sorry for the skepticism, but some of the things you read on the internet these days!
Nope not broken.....sorry to disappoint you. Note I did not say I was towing 10K lbs. In fact I sold it to a guy who is a heavy equipment operator who loves it!!
 

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Congrats on the new-to-you Ridgeline and the new boat! Looks great!

This thread was one of the ones that I read early on as I was researching if the Ridgeline would be right for me and have me a huge vote of confidence, so now that I've got an account here on the ROC I can say thank you. While I haven't pulled the trigger yet (still waiting for my wife to come home from her business trip to give her a look first), it's just a matter of time now...
 
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