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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2009 RL RT aftermarket leather. I read ROC very often... Just don't post much.
I have read everything I can find on Ridgeline towing, but still am scratching my bald head.
I pull a 2017 R Pod 180. 2600 lbs empty.. 3500 loaded to go. Ridgeline pulls nicely, no problem. But, the transmission has my attention. When at speed, 65 on interstate is my personal limit, or even at 60 on state roads, the transmission constantly shifts. But I am not sure that is exactly correct either. Here is my question....
The transmission is a 4 speed automatic, right ? After it shifts into fourth, it then shifts again which I have always considered it to be the differential locking up into an overdrive mode. That is what keeps shifting.. In and out of that "overdrive mode". Constantly. Did it for years when I was pulling my very light weight Casita travel trailer also.
So, I just made my mind up to put the cruise control on and let the computer manage the transmission. Result remains .. Constant shifting .. So what, does this really hurt anything ?

Now, have studied owners manual agail tonight..
States clearly there are 5 speeds to the transmission ... Huh? Is that extra shift after 4th a real gear? If so, can I lock it out and not use it .

Also, the owners manual states clearly to never exceed 55 mph when pulling a flat sided trailer ( camper ) ... Huh again. Is that true ? If so, I can't live with that.

I love my Ridgeline and my wifes Element. I intend on setting the cruise and let the computer control the shifting, unless someone can tell me that I should do something different,

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments
Joe
 

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It's a 5spd, not a 4spd. You cannot* lockout 5th gear. Just put it in "D" and drive. It's a V6, it's going to shift a lot, amd often when towing

*The button on the shifter can be used for extra engine braking when going downhill.

Disclaimer - tow a 4,500-ish# travel trailer about once per month.

Oh,.edit to add I don't recall ever seeing or hearing of a 55mph limit when towing. If that's true, I've been doing it wrong the past four years.

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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It's a 5 speed, there is no lockout. The button on the end of the shifter locks D3, ok for engine braking but shouldn't be used for locking out the upper gears.

There are several threads on towing with the G1, and most are in this part of the forum, Racks, Hitches & Towing - Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums

I'm guessing you know about running atleast 90 octane while towing, here's a recent discussion, on the topic, http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/33-racks-hitches-towing/117553-burn-full-tank-93-octane-before-you-tow-3.html

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/33-racks-hitches-towing/21847-towing-question-newbie-6.html

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/33-racks-hitches-towing/136617-towing-over-5000lbs.html

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/71-problems-issues/92634-question-about-towing.html#post1347210
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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Please keep in mind that I'm not a mechanic, but I am someone who dabbles and I do tow a lot with my Ridgeline (RL); so please keep what in mind when reading my response. If you are a mechanic, please correct me.

Tony5oh and Carsmak are right; but what you are saying Joe I have experienced as well just under different circumstances, I'll explain.

The first generation (Gen1) RL has a five-speed transmission, but it's different than most using a four-shaft design with a very flat lock-up torque converter. Honda press kit information states that, "Creative use of clutched idler gears permits the transmission to provide five forward speeds with little more weight or bulk than a typical four-speed automatic. A one-way clutch is provided for first gear to smooth upshift quality." It's all managed by Honda's Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) Central Processing Unit (CPU). To quote Wikipedia (i.e. to paraphrase information from Honda's Press Kit), the transmission has "a direct-control real-time pressure management system that coordinates engine and transmission operation to minimize driveline shocks and a Grade Logic Controller prevents gear hunting when climbing hills or when more engine braking is required."

Now that the facts of what I know are out of the way, I don't know if this is true or not but how my RL has operated for me suggests the "creative use of clutched idler gears" is how we get our fifth-gear/overdrive vice a four-speed transmission. When not under load and accelerating onto the highway, how my 09 RL's transmission behaves when shifting into fifth-gear reminds me of how my 1996 Ram 1500 five-speed automatic shifted; it's fifth-gear was an electronic overdrive, if I'm not mistaken.

As for the constant shifting when towing problem, I experience this as well, but only when I'm 900 lbs or more over the RL's grows combined weight rating or when I'm using low octane gasoline while towing. Otherwise the Grade Logic Controller works well and keeps the transmission from hunting too much. All RL manuals, including the Gen2, tell us not to exceed 55 MPH when towing a fixed sided trailer. I can tell you from experience that towing my big boat at 64 MPH on the interstate is not a problem, but it will downshift into fourth if there's even the slightest change in road/traffic conditions. It does seam to me that my RL is more controllable when I tow my big boat at 55 MPH; the drivetrain seems more relaxed and cruises more efficiently (i.e. I get better towing MPG at 55 MPH, no surprise there).

Since you're towing such a light load and if my information above is even close to being correct, you either have some unknown drag coming from your trailer's wheel bearings and/or trailer-brakes or there is something wrong with your RL's Grade Logic Controller, PGM-FI's CPU, or some other computer control glitch. Unless, of course, you're driving up and down rolling hills or using low octane gasoline, then there's probably nothing wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the information guys. I read the related post that Carsmak gave and that helped my understanding. I have also studied the writing od McChizzle, which is very good.

I haven't used any fuel other than 87 octane . I will use 91 or 93 one tank before next outing and during the entire time I am pulling a trailer Will see if that makes a difference.

I also notice that the tranny doesn't hunt as much if I reduce my speed from 65 to 60. Also does not hunt as much on calm, no wind days.

So, change grade of fuel, service tranny frequently, and drive. Thats the plan.

Thanks for the confidence builder ... I have always been concerned with the frquent shifting. But I guess it's doing what it is suppose to do
Joe
 

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2009 Ridgeline RTL (with nav) in Bali Blue Pearl
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I forgot to mention that Joe, good ketch. 91 or higher octane will help keep your RL's transmission in fifth-gear for longer, even at higher speeds, given the change in power/torque curve it gives you in the mid-range RPM band. This is why Gary Flint (the Gen1's Chief Engineer and Project Leader) recommends it when towing.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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Great questions, Joe re. towing a full profile travel trailer. The above guys have done a great job of offering good answers supported by some excellent technical background. My response will be qualitative in nature - mostly because I do not have the technical expertise of some of these guys. We regularly tow a 4600 lb travel trailer (loaded and "wet" per CAT scales). Tongue weight comes in at around 480 lbs. Total weight of truck and camper has been well within the GCWR per the Ridgeline manual. We also have for 6 years towed a 20' ski/fish boat that weighs in around 3800 lbs "wet." We're on our second G1 and bought our first gently used '09 RT on the recommendation of our mechanic - to tow the boat. We loved the first one so much we bought a new '11 RTL. We have owned our trailer for one year now and have towed it both in flat lands and the Ozark Mountains and in between. And we have towed in "hotter than hell" temps in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border this summer. When towing we always use premium grade fuel. Never a peep of trouble. Wanted you to know that background . . .

Re towing the boat: Our experience has been that I can easily maintain freeway/highway speeds and feel quite comfortable doing so. But, I usually keep speeds around 65-67 mph on highways. The transmission will hunt for the best gear given the circumstances; terrain, winds, etc. I long ago gave up worrying about this and have often either used a feather touch on the throttle or used cruise control in minimal traffic situations. Your v-6 will be comfortable running at higher RPMs - it is designed to do that. Just hitch it up and go. It's helped me catch loads of redfish and speckled trout in our Texas bays, so I ain't complaining.

Re towing the travel trailer: Now we are dealing with other dynamics and physical forces than towing an aerodynamically shaped boat hull. It's not just about weight. Wind resistance from all directions can be a major contributor to how your engine and transmission work together. That said, we have towed our Coachmen Freedom Express 192 RBS just under 4000 miles this past year, and I have to say that I have been delighted with the truck's ability to handle the forces at work. But given that we are at the upper limits of the G1's posted towing limits, I typically tow at or around 60 mph with our rig. You are going to experience shifting, but you also are often going to stay in 4th gear or less depending upon your towing environment. Your v-6 simply does not have the torque at lower RPMs to act like a diesel. Nevertheless, my trip log shows that we have registered just under 9mpg over those 4000 miles in the above mentioned terrain while towing our trailer. (Candidly, my Tundra friend with his G-Force v-8 gets worse mileage - though he is towing 2000 lbs more than me. But he was amazed.) I experimented this summer with using cruise control in open areas with minimal traffic while towing, and the truck's systems achieved better mpg's than I could with my foot. Shifting, yes. Had to get used to it. But I came around to the point of view that I just enjoyed the engineering at work in all of these different environments. The truck was working - BUT it was not overworking.

Earlier this summer I created a thread on our trip from SE Texas to the Ozarks and back (I think I called it "Towing our Travel Trailer-Latest Trip) mostly to honestly and dynamically report on our truck's performance when towing in that upper range limit for the benefit of other G1 owners who might wonder what it might be like to tow that kind of rig. Some folks just assume that they need to run out and buy an F-150, Silverado or RAM 1500, etc in order to tow these kinds of loads. Well, maybe not. It's an individual decision. We are comfortable with our 2011 RTL for now, but we are closely examining the future possibility of moving to a Gen 2. ?

Enjoy your great truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Last Train... Thank you for the feed back . I truly like my Ridgeline. You and most every one else say to just drive the truck and let it shift when it wants. I like using cruise control because it actually shifts less than trying to taper the throttle with my foot.
I am looking forward to trying 93 octane next week on a trip to McCormicks Creek State Park, Indiana. I will post my results when I return.
Again, thank you every one for the advise and ideas
Joe
 

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When towing my boat total weight at about 3200 lbs. My 2010 RTL never had any problems. Towing back roads or highway. I have always been using OEM ATF. After market fluids well make your tyranny do some pretty strange things.

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I just finished towing a 5'x8' U-haul from Central Oregon to Fresno, California at 55 mph all the way. Sure, my trip up at 75 mph, without towing a trailer, was 10 hours driving time. But, after picking up a piece metal in my RR tire (tire repair north of Redding: get Flat, put on spare, drive back 1 hour to Americas Tire in Redding, get replacement and drive by my flat location+4.5 hours total) the total was 14.5 hours for 700 miles.
Coming back towing a trailer , thank God no flats, at 55 mph was 14.5 hours. So it was a wash: Fast + flat = Slow (55 mph) no flat.
 

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I just finished towing a 5'x8' U-haul from Central Oregon to Fresno, California at 55 mph all the way. Sure, my trip up at 75 mph, without towing a trailer, was 10 hours driving time. But, after picking up a piece metal in my RR tire (tire repair north of Redding: get Flat, put on spare, drive back 1 hour to Americas Tire in Redding, get replacement and drive by my flat location+4.5 hours total) the total was 14.5 hours for 700 miles.
Coming back towing a trailer , thank God no flats, at 55 mph was 14.5 hours. So it was a wash: Fast + flat = Slow (55 mph) no flat.
I take it you haven't upgraded to a full-size spare, correct? If you had, imagine the time and frustration you would have saved by just putting on a full-size spare and completing your trip with no worries. That's one thing I like about our Gen1s, we can carry a full-size spares in the same place as the temporary spare; you can't do that in the Gen2.
 
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