Honda Recalls The Ridgeline Over Fuel Tanks Unexpectedly Detaching

2006 Honda Ridgeline Rtl

Honda issued a pretty serious Ridgeline recall, VinFast ponders an electric truck, McLaren unveils the Artura GT4. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Ejecto Fuel Tank-o, Cuz!

2006 Honda Ridgeline Rtl R06
Photo credit: Honda

In a normal modern car, fuel is supposed to be pumped from the tank through the fuel lines into the injectors, then atomized, compressed, ignited, and burned. Some Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks in salt belt states have found a way to potentially bypass this pesky process and simply return petroleum products to the earth from which they came. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t a good thing, so Honda’s issued a recall. While there haven’t been any reported fuel leaks due to this problem, the potential is very much there due to how de-icing agents take their toll on the Ridgeline’s structure. Unsurprisingly, the recall report spells out exactly what that leads to.

“Over time, the accumulated de-icing agents/mud/dirt mixture could cause the frame mounting surface, where the fuel tank mounting bands are attached, to corrode and possibly separate from the frame.”

While most fuel tanks are tougher than Hollywood’s SFX departments believe, that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. All that banging around underneath an affected Ridgeline can cause a detached fuel tank to leak, which is bad for the environment and bad full-stop should fuel splash onto something like hot brakes or a catalytic converter. What can I say, your chances of fiery Ridgeline death are low, but never zero. Owners of 2006 to 2014 Ridgelines currently or previously registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin can expect recall notices to arrive in the mail in August, with repairs to start thereafter.

Of course, scope of repairs depends entirely on how much the undercarriage of each individual Ridgeline resembles the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. According to the recall report, the recall fixes look like this:

1) attach a reinforcement brace, clean the rear frame, and apply anti-corrosive wax

    • attach reinforcement repair plates if necessary

2) repair a corroded frame; or

3) offer to repurchase the vehicle

Wow, that potential buyback option certainly seems extreme. While I’m sure Honda dealers will do the best they can to repair affected vehicles, some Ridgelines might be too far gone to economically save. A total of 112,060 U.S.-market Ridgeline pickups may be affected by this recall, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see buybacks offered on several early vehicles. Honestly, a buyback is the worst possible case, and a crappy thing for consumers due to the short supply of replacement vehicles, especially considering the niche the Ridgeline fills.

Harley-Davidson Agrees To Right To Repair

Rh975 Nightster Loc April 2022 Alt .tif
Photo credit: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson, America’s most iconic cosplay company, has finally agreed to some level of right to repair language. According to Reuters, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday that the maker of obnoxious motorcycles has agreed to uphold warranties when customers use independent shops and third-party parts. Previous Harley-Davidson warranty language stated that “the use of parts and service procedures other than Harley-Davidson approved parts and service procedures may void the limited warranty.” Obviously, this previous language was a bad move, especially considering how many Harley owners use trusted independent shops and install aftermarket accessories on their bikes.

I’m not going to mince words here – if you’re interested in the concept of a free marketplace and want what’s genuinely best for consumers, right to repair is a massive deal. The concept of the right for consumers to not be locked to a manufacturer for service and parts, to have everything from smartphones to cars serviced at independent centers without any issues, supports small businesses and hobbyists across the country while lowering repair barriers for consumers.

VinFast Floats The Idea Of An Electric Pickup Truck

VinFast VF8 front 3/4 shot
Photo credit: VinFast

The electric truck wars offer the chance of a paradigm shift in the American pickup truck market, so it shouldn’t be surprising that everyone and their mothers want in on it. Ford has the F-150 Lightning, Rivian has the R1T, GMC has the Hummer EV, Chevrolet is gearing up to launch the Silverado EV, and Tesla might be doing something. That’s all before we even get into startups with bold plans like Lordstown Motors and Atlis.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vietnamese EV maker VinFast might want a piece of the action. Speaking with Reuters on Thursday, VinFast U.S. chief service officer Craig Westbrook seemed receptive to the idea of an electric pickup truck. “If we decide that’s what the market needs, and I think it absolutely could, yeah. It’s something we should consider,” said Westbrook. That’s definitely a more forward response than the typical automaker’s unwillingness to comment on future product, and VinFast honestly seems like it could be well-positioned to enter the electric truck market. With a plant in North Carolina on track for 2024, a chicken tax-friendly production facility would be exactly what VinFast would need to break into the truck market. Obviously, things are still very much not finalized, but it’s an interesting perspective to see.

McLaren Unplugs The Artura For GT4 Racing

Mclaren Artura Gt4
Photo credit: McLaren

The McLaren Artura is a technological tour de force. I mean come on, hybridization, a 120-degree hot-vee turbocharged V6, McLaren’s first electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and an all-new carbon chassis are some serious bits of hardware. However, to make the new Artura GT4 race car, McLaren has yanked out the hybrid system for rulebook appeasement and weight savings. See, hybrids aren’t allowed in GT4 class, but that seems to be anything but a downside here. After all, what manufacturer wouldn’t kill for a 287-pound (130 kg) weight reduction over the street car?

Now, this does come with a caveat. McLaren lists dry weights for their cars, which is a rather meaningless measure. We don’t weigh ourselves without any blood in our bodies, why weigh cars without any fluids in them? Still, 287 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, and it’s required some pretty big changes to make happen. Because McLaren ditched the hybrid system, the whole eight-speed gearbox had to be thrown in the bin due to reverse gear being provided by the electric motor. As a result, the Artura GT4 rocks a seven-speed transaxle with a mechanical limited-slip differential that offers a proper reverse gear.

Since the removal of the hybrid system leaves a massive cavity low in the structure where the battery pack would normally go, McLaren’s stuck a 29 gallon (110 liter) fuel cell in the gap. Add in required safety gear, a new aerodynamic package including a fixed wing and canards, lightweight windows, and a new Bosch DDU instrument cluster, and you have a fully-fledged turn-key GT4 racer. Perhaps most surprisingly, the Artura GT4 starts at just £10,000, or roughly $12,304.30 at the time of writing, more than the basic road car. That doesn’t seem terrible considering all the extra FIA-approved safety equipment, the reworked powertrain, and all the research and development that went into making the GT4 car.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve made it to the last day of the week which means automotive adventures draw near. To celebrate, let’s play a game. The car market is still absolutely insane and will continue to be bonkers for a long time, so lots of people are just fixing up the cars they have. What’s the most unreasonably-priced car part you can think of that isn’t for some exotic car? I’m going with BMW part number 51167131147, a cupholder for the mid-2000s 6-Series coupe and cabriolet that retails for north of $1,200. While that’s an exorbitant price, its model-specific nature tempers things ever so slightly. If you know of anything more ridiculous or similarly egregious, I’d love to know.

Lead photo credit: Honda

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38 Responses

  1. It appears that Honda’s fixes can be sensibly and cheap? Reinforcement,repair,etc
    That’s a big plus compared with what they could have done- a staggeringly overpriced replacement piece

  2. When I started reading car magazines in the early 1960s, I encountered mentions of parts lists that contained Porsche parts that were identical to much less expensive VW parts..

    Apparently, this was not uncommon. In the late 1960s, my father took his 1965 Thunderbird to a mechanic who had a book that listed parts that were common between the higher and lower priced brands of various manufacturers. Many parts were less expensive when he ordered them as parts for other Ford cars than when he ordered them for a Thunderbird.

    Maybe there really is nothing new under the Sun.

    1. There might, just *might* be a difference between the parts for the higher-end and lower-end cars, specifically in terms of manufacturing tolerances.

      This definitely happens in electronics. For example, a manufacturer will make a run of a million 10 ohm resistors, and then will test them and assign them to different bins based on how close they are to the ideal target. The ones that are off by less than +/- 0.01 ohms go in the first bin, the ones that are off by more than 0.01 ohms but less than 0.1 ohms go in the second bin, the ones that are off by more than 0.1 ohms but less than 0.5 ohms go in the third bin, and then what’s left goes in the trash.

      Some applications are more exacting than others, so some customers will pay top dollar for top-grade components, while others are happy to save money with something that’s merely close-ish to the specification. I don’t know if this is ever the case with apparently-identical VW and Porsche parts, but it *could be*, at least sometimes.

    1. “Perhaps most surprisingly, the Artura GT4 starts at just £10,000 more than the basic road car (or roughly $12,304.30 more than the basic road car).”
      Take out the “at the time of writing” and move things around and it makes a lot more sense.

  3. BECM for a Chevy Volt. The list price is relatively reasonable at a few hundred dollars, and several places online list it as in stock, but none of them seem to actually have them. Can’t get one at all. So, priceless.

  4. Tyler Hoover(Hoovies garage) bought a clapped out 2003ish Chevy Silverado SS. Fuel tank was held in by a rachet strap cause the frame crossmember had rusted out.

    Glad Honda is taking care of their customers. That sort of frame rot is all too common on trucks that are 10 to 15 years old from the rust belt. Sucks cause in most cases they still run fine and would’ve given you another 10+ years of good service if you lived down south.

  5. I own an ’07 Ridgeline. Fortunately, I’m only the second owner and bought it with low milage and a history of conscientious dealer maintenance. I’m not all that worried about this recall though I’m guessing some of the early 1st Gen vehicles are of more concern, especially if they haven’t been treated with the same level of TLC.

  6. The high beam headlights on my Corolla don’t work. You can pull the lever back to flash then, but clicking it forward to turn them on does nothing. You can’t just replace the high-low beam switch; you can try, but every part number you’ll find is wrong.

    Instead, they want you to replace the entire combination switch assembly – both stalks, all the switches for headlights, turn signals, wipers, everything – for $459. That’s $41 less than I paid for the whole car. And all the other parts of that assembly work fine, so replacing the whole thing is wasteful as well as overpriced.

    I have a $6 toggle switch; I just haven’t gotten around to wiring it in yet.

  7. True story, I was looking for some random parts for my 2011 3 series BMW…i was searching the inventory for my local junk yard on a Friday night. They had gotten a 2011 3 series that day. I was at the yard the second they opened on Saturday. The two in-dash cupholders were already gone. I got the parts I was looking for but, man, those cup holders are apparent car parts gold.

    My biggest sticker shock item was a head light assembly for an 05 audi…part listed for ~$1,110. Same junk yard from above charged me $10 for the assembly and I got the head light reconditioning kit from a car part store for $15…good as new for over a thousand dollars less.

  8. VinFast still sounds like a moderately sketchy website for researching the history of a used car. Maybe you’ll find out how many owners that 1st gen Tacoma down the street has had, or maybe you’ll just get weird porn advertisements sent to your work email until the end of time. Who knows?

  9. “To celebrate, let’s play a game. The car market is still absolutely insane and will continue to be bonkers for a long time, so lots of people are just fixing up the cars they have. What’s the most unreasonably-priced car part you can think of that isn’t for some exotic car?”

    FCAtlantirysler part 52090274AF! $762 list plus over $150 in shipping.
    It’s the exact fucking same as the Honda Ridgeline recall in many ways. This is a shitty, cheap, stamped steel part with no rustproofing which is GUARANTEED to rot out over the life of the vehicle. Even in California. And I reiterate: it’s shitty stamped steel. This is NON-STRUCTURAL.
    There’s only one problem – it’s also literally the only thing holding the fuel tank in the vehicle. There are no gas tank straps. The fuel tank literally rests on this, which bolts into the frame rails. And the entire bottom rots out, guaranteed.

    It has been on >6 month national backorder since early 2021 and all dealer orders have been put on indefinite hold with a current ETA of October. October 2023, according to multiple sources. And again, this is a CRITICAL SAFETY PART. It’s the only thing that holds the fuel tank in the vehicle. And it’s specific to the 22 gallon (there’s 3 different numbers, just call it the 22) tank, so it’s holding up close to 150lbs. Plus it’s own weight – about 75lbs.
    Dorman claims they are now making a ‘compatible aftermarket,’ 999-901. Thinner gauge steel, missing the required rub insulators since it’s a plastic tank, very poor quality stamping, visible corrosion right out of the plant, lower grade attaching hardware, does not even line up correctly, $415.

    Except I need one of these fuckers. So I don’t win. I lose. 🙁

    1. ‘Doorman’
      I used to wrench on the side to make a few bucks & help people out. Doorman was an absolute no-go for me: every part would fail-and soon. Quite a few were DOA in the box.
      URO was another shit brand I found when I got into diesel Mercedes. Life is too short to put absolute crap on your car!

    2. rootwyrm, have you tried the ‘take some beer to the shop guy’ angle? I’m betting you can get something decent made for equal or less $. Gotta invest some time & talk to some crusty characters, but that tactic has served me well: worth a try, anyway. Especially when it’s something that critical!

      1. My normal fabricator won’t touch it, because it’s fuel system, even though he knows my designs are better than factory. He just does not like working with fuel system stuff, which, fair. He also doesn’t do roll cages or unibody work.
        Everyone else is booked out until 2023 or making excuses because “well it holds the fuel tank and I won’t take that liability!” I could fabricate it myself if I had space, but I don’t.

        And to even fabricate it, I need a good one for a template. (You CANNOT legally modify the fuel tank on a road going car, people. That is emissions system tampering, specifically the evap. Do not fuck with the EPA, they will take and crush your shit, and charge you for it on top of the $20k fine.) Good fucking luck with that, because every single one we’ve gotten from junkyards is at best significantly warped or otherwise damaged from rot.

  10. When I was living in Germany I was blessed to have a 1977 Porsche 911. Loved everything about it except wear item replacements such as brake pads. Multiples of tens of Deutschmarks each.
    Then a private garage owner let me in on a secret. Pads from an Opel and VW worked just as well. Talk about savings! And yes, they matched by part # so I’m certain they could handle the demands of a Porsche. Other parts were similarly available.

    1. Wasn’t that the story behind the first Lamborghini?

      Lamborghini had a Ferrari and it needed a new clutch. He was quoted some crazy part price from Ferrari and when he had his mechanic take his car apart it turned out to be a cheap clutch that was also used in Lambo tractors. When he went to complain to Enzo, he was removed from the building. He was so angry. he started his own car company.

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