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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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Agreed. Does the G2's TC not lock up in lower gears? The G1's 5-speed will lock the TC in 4th, or even 3rd gear when towing up a long grade. It seems to do it more aggressively either when the ATF reaches a certain temp, or maybe if the PCM determines that you're towing in hilly terrain. IDK which.
All I can say is that the torque converter locks-up at various speeds and gears. When and under what specific loads it locks-up/unlocks are unknown to me. Hence my recommendation to reduce speed up those steep hills to see if the torque converter produces less heat under those conditions (I think it will).
 

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I do like the RL ride when towing. It is very behaved but I would be happy to be able to shift down on some hills when pulling the Airstream. The 2020 paddle shifters would be handy during towing. The power is pretty good but it seems to want to shift down more that I like. I guess the engine is happy to be revving over 4,000 rpm.

We got stuck in some bumper to bumper traffic and this is where the low gearing really helped. We didn't even notice the trailer on the back. I even though I was being tailgated by an ugly truck! Then I realized that I was looking at my trailer.

Here is a nice little shot I took yesterday showing proof that the G2 can pull some weight.

Now we are waiting for the campgrounds to open up so we can use this setup more.

View attachment 402404
Nice photo and gorgeous setting and setup. I traded a 2007 Tacoma for my 2019 RTL-E and have never considered pulling a travel trailer. For us it's a moot point as we sold our 21' footer a couple years back. Looking at you pic I'm having some regrets...and not for the first time. The Tacoma was a 6-cylinder, automatic, expanded cab with a tow package rated at 6500 lbs. The trailer weighed 4250 lb dry. The Tacoma did a serviceable job in the nine years we had the trailer. I knew it would get us there, but wasn't going to break any speed records. As a result of some direct comments/questions, I know my fellow campers had some doubts about the Tacoma's abilities. After reading through all these comments, I'm wondering how the older Tacoma would stand up against today's Ridgeline. I love the Ridgeline and have been surprised by the comfortable/quiet ride...no regrets there. Happy trails to you.
 

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I think some early '17 models didn't have optimum programming for cooling, as noted in the infamous TFLT overheating video. It is possible your dealer could update the ECU, but they may not be able to do it unless you experience the trans judder requiring that TSB (see sticky in "G2 Problems..." subforum).
 

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2019 Ridgeline Touring
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Ray, we are hoping that our 2019 has already gone through the updates for the tranny overheating problems. We did put the trailer up a rather long tough grade of 27 km non-stop or about 18 miles. The grade ranged from 6 to 9% and I just kept the speed at around 50 mph. I didn't want to let the engine rev part 4k rpms. I wasn't pushing it that hard.

Never had a 'Too Hot" light come on. Perhaps it is too soon to tell if we will have the same problem.

With the RL you are going to get the ride quality of Honda's SUV's which is nice on longer trips. The advantages of the Tacoma are that it can tow more and has some offroad capabilities that the RL doesn't. We had (have) stiff bumpy riding vehicles so this is a nice change.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
The Gen 2 Ridgeline cannot pull 5000 lb. without the transmission overheating. I purchased a Rockwood Mini Lite 22 ft. travel trailer which weighs about 4500 lb. When pulling it 160 miles home with my 2018 RTL-E the transmission overheat light came on twice. Each time I had to pull over and let it idle for 20 minutes to let the light go out. I ended up trading it for a GMC Sierra. The GMC (10 speed transmission) pulls it like a dream and is set up with all sorts of trailering software. My suggestion is do not to expect to pull anything over 2500 lb. with it unless you are going to replace the stock transmission cooler with a much larger one. And then expect it to struggle and constantly run at or over 4000 rpm in 4th gear or frequently jump in and out of 5th to maintain 65 mph.
 

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3rd, what did the dealer service department say about the temp issues? Our Airstream is probably running about 4,200 lbs. and so far we have been out 4 times, all on hilly routes. We haven't had any issues with the tranny or anything else. Perhaps a secondary cooler could be added to enhance the OE cooler? I thought the cooler was a heavy duty unit?

I do agree that the RPM's do shoot up pretty quick. Usually, 3.500 to 4,000 on hills but I try to keep it below 4,000. The engine can rev much higher so I don't see that being a big deal.
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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... I do agree that the RPM's do shoot up pretty quick. Usually, 3.500 to 4,000 on hills but I try to keep it below 4,000. The engine can rev much higher so I don't see that being a big deal.
How does your transmission fluid look after running up those hills at close to 4,000 RPMs (i.e. does it look pretty dark or black after)?
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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If you have any questions about the towing ability of the Ridgeline, watch this video.

Maximum load, up a STEEP grade, at over a mile above sea level.

The truck is way overloaded if they loaded it to max combined gross wt. of 9755 lbs. With the restriction of MCGW decreasing by 2% per 1000 ft... that would be a 10% loss at 5000 ft and a 20% loss at 10,000 ft (page 407 in the 2017 OM). I believe they used the MCGW for a sea level environment.

I confess I'm still confused by the MCGW of the G2 Ridge. Page 407 lists a MCGW of 9755 lbs.

Vehicle specs on page 586 list MCGW of 9987 lbs.

So which is it?
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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The truck is way overloaded if they loaded it to max combined gross wt. of 9755 lbs. With the restriction of MCGW decreasing by 2% per 1000 ft... that would be a 10% loss at 5000 ft and a 20% loss at 10,000 ft (page 407 in the 2017 OM). I believe they used the MCGW for a sea level environment.

I confess I'm still confused by the MCGW of the G2 Ridge. Page 407 lists a MCGW of 9755 lbs.

Vehicle specs on page 586 list MCGW of 9987 lbs.

So which is it?
It looks like Honda corrected that error in latter versions of the Gen2 owner's manual (screen captures below are from the 2019 owner's manual).
404017
404018
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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It looks like Honda corrected that error in latter versions of the Gen2 owner's manual (screen captures below are from the 2019 owner's manual).
Thanks for clarifying. Does the 2019 manual still show the altitude restriction when towing?
 

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2019 RTL-E (white on beige) in central Texas
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Yep, the 2020 version has it too.
View attachment 404020
That's a very unfortunate error in Honda's part, IMO (or at least a very unfortunate example of poor technical writing / owner manual editing).

We should all recognize that the "maximum gross combined weight" ("GCW", the weight measured on a scale) of a particular vehicle / trailer does not change with elevation (disregarding miniscule, for this purpose, effects of elevation on the force of gravity).

What implicitly changes in this case is the "maximum gross combined weight rating" ("GCWR", the recommended weight limit) for the vehicle.

IMO this important detail of information would be much better located prominently on a page in the manual addressing the RL's towing limits, rather than being buried on a page about how to determine the actual scale-weight of the vehicle, which is consistent at any elevation for all practical purposes.

Noting that means a vehicle properly 'trimmed' to tow a 5000# trailer has that rating cut to 4000# rated limit at 10k ft elevation (all other things being equal), a 'detail' not mentioned at all on the pages which elaborate on the RL's towing limits.

o_O :cautious: :cry:
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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That's a very unfortunate error in Honda's part, IMO (or at least a very unfortunate example of poor technical writing / owner manual editing).

We should all recognize that the "maximum gross combined weight" ("GCW", the weight measured on a scale) of a particular vehicle / trailer does not change with altitude / elevation.

What changes in this case is the "maximum gross combined weight rating" ("GCWR", the recommended weight limit) for the vehicle.

This important detail of information would be much better located prominently on a page in the manual addressing the RL's towing limits, rather than being buried on a page about how to determine the actual scale-weight of the vehicle, which is consistent at any elevation (disregarding miniscule, for this purpose, effects of elevation on the force of gravity).

Noting that means a vehicle properly 'trimmed' to tow a 5000# trailer has that rating cut to 4000# rated limit at 10k ft altitude (all other things being equal), a 'detail' not mentioned at all on the pages which elaborate on the RL's towing limits.

o_O :cautious: :cry:
I have read articles suggesting Honda is not a big fan of turbos, but if they want to stay with small engines, no diesels, and want to produce trucks that lots of people want to purchase, they really need to rethink the use of turbos on their truck platforms. With turbos, this concern over elevation/thin air becomes much less of a concern.
 

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I’ve read that a lot, and believed it myself, until watching what ECUs actually did on a couple. When I watched boost decline as altitude increased, specifically on a vehicle whose manual claimed the turbo compensated for high altitude, I was well disillusioned. When others expert in ECU logging and re-programming reported the same thing, I gave up on that bogus claim from the manufacturer.

And anyway, turbos are a mistake on working gasoline engines. The mpg penalty is too large because of the super-rich AFRs required, and durability is reduced vs larger-displacement NA engines when working for a living.

IOW, small-displacement turbocharged gasoline engines are for entertainment, daily driving around town, and for semi-cheating the mpg ratings on window stickers.
 

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2019 RTL-E (white on beige) in central Texas
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Many very satisfied owners of hard-and-heavy-RV-towing F150's with the 3.5l Ecoboost, reliably delivering performance far beyond what that displacement could do absent it's twin turbos, would respectfully disagree with you @bulwnkl.

Acknowledging that, I'll admit that not needing the high-elevation capabilities, the fact that the RL is naturally aspirated in all of it's relative simplicity, was a plus for me in my buying decision.

Noting that as of at least 2020 model year, Ford still offered the NA 5.0 V8 with not too terribly dissimilar performance, capabilities, and even overall mileage as an alternative to the 3.5 Ecoboost in the F150.

Choice is good (while it lasts :LOL:), YMMV :)
 
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I suspect that the Ridgeline has no problems towing 5k lbs at 10k msl, especially since the air is cooler and will help keep the tranny cool!

I also suspect that the NA 3.5L V6 would be down significantly on power. Therefore, it would not perform to, say, J2807 standards at 10k msl. One should expect the engine to work much harder pulling that weight, but i fully believe it would do it, especially at speeds below 60mph.

Perhaps Honda put the elevation thing in the manual just to manage people's expectations and also to have an "out" in case of a liability claim.
 

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I just returned from 11 days on the road with my (new to me) Airstream Sport 16'. GVWR is 3500 lbs and it was just my wife and I driving with about 500 lbs of stuff in my '17 RLT. We traveled from CO to AZ to pick up the trailer then back through UT and into CO. We crossed two 10000 foot passes with the trailer and the truck did great, getting 15-16 mpg everywhere. But, when traveling Interstate 70 for about three hours from 4500 feet to 7500 feet, the "Transmission is too hot" warning light came on. I had been going 70 mph up till that point and the outside temp was 88 degrees. I pulled off and let it cool down for about 40 minutes. After the cool off, we proceeded over Vail Pass (10000+ feet) to our home without incident. Could my recently installed skid plate be reducing the airflow to the transmission? Should I have reduced my interstate speed to 65mph? Thanks for any thoughts. John
Do you remember what octane you were running? There are a couple posts on octane while towing and 91 seems to be the sweet spot. I believe Gary Flynn mentioned something about it helping keep the torque converter locked up (less heat) but I'd have to find that post again I believe it was one of the fuel posts. When I was towing a full larger Uhaul through Utah I didn't get this message even going through the passes (my load was lighter though). I also used D4 often while climbing. You probably did these things, just thought I'd mention it :)
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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Do you remember what octane you were running? There are a couple posts on octane while towing and 91 seems to be the sweet spot. I believe Gary Flynn mentioned something about it helping keep the torque converter locked up (less heat) but I'd have to find that post again I believe it was one of the fuel posts. When I was towing a full larger Uhaul through Utah I didn't get this message even going through the passes (my load was lighter though). I also used D4 often while climbing. You probably did these things, just thought I'd mention it :)
You are correct, but Gary was talking about the Gen 1 Ridgeline. Although the higher octane does help it doesn't have the same effects on the Gen 2 as it does on the Gen 1.
 
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