2017 Honda Ridgeline: Edmunds Death Valley Shock Test

2017 Honda Ridgeline: Edmunds Death Valley Shock Test

headed to the Racetrack Playa, which is a dry lake in
a very remote part of Death Valley. And you have to drive 25 miles
on this dirt road to get there. And here is the turn off. And so it begins. It’s called Death
Valley for a reason. It’s a brutal desert
landscape that’s one of the hottest
places on Earth. Daytime summer temperatures
routinely top 120 degrees. The national park is immense. We drove more than 100 miles
on paved roads within the park before we even reached
our starting point. We had a first-generation
Ridgeline. It was in our long-term fleet. And one of the editors wanted
to come out to the racetrack so he drove it out here. And it’s just a long,
punishing, washboard dirt road. But any kind of a pickup truck
should be able to do it, right? So he went to the racetrack,
had a dinner there, came back, got on the pavement,
and instantly realized that
something was wrong. Turned out that the shock
absorbers had overheated and all the oil had
squirted out past the seals and they were done. And this Ridgeline
comes out 10 years later and I went to the
introduction and they talked about these new
shock absorbers that it had. And I questioned the guy
after the presentation and I told him about our
trip to the racetrack and he knew all about it. They had gotten word of it,
had received the shocks that had been damaged and decided
that that damage shouldn’t have occurred. There are changes
on this truck that are based on what they learned. So it was obvious that we needed
to bring this new truck out here, do the same thing, and
see if it does any better. This trip was centered around
our 2017 Honda Ridgeline long-term test vehicle. And then there’s the 2016
Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4×4. It’s the unquestionable
off-road leader in the segment. Lastly, a 2006
Nissan Titan XD was drafted to carry
all of our gear, some spare tires, and
camping equipment. My biggest concern out here
with respect to this truck has to do with the tires. This isn’t really off-roading
by the context of Rubicon Trail or Moab or anything like that. This is a dirt road. If you have a four-wheel-drive
truck and in your ads you’re talking about
Baja, and in your ads you show things getting
air, well, then, this road is nothing. [MUSIC PLAYING] Oh, man. [CHUCKLES] So what do you think? TRAVIS LANGNESS: This
thing’s bouncing a lot. Does a lot of bouncing. The rear end gets really,
really loose, but– DAN EDMUNDS: Does it kind
of skip around a little bit? TRAVIS LANGNESS: Yeah. It’s kind of fun, though. DAN EDMUNDS: [LAUGHS] TRAVIS LANGNESS: It’s
half the enjoyment. DAN EDMUNDS: This thing
feels pretty planted when it comes to that. It’s just kind of shaking,
but all four wheels seem to be on the
ground most of the time. I have seen the Traction
Control light flicker a couple of times. TRAVIS LANGNESS: Yeah, I’ve
seen mine come on once or twice. DAN EDMUNDS: I want to just look
and see if there’s any, like, oil running down the shocks. Well, this one’s
missing its dust boot. Oh, wow. This one’s blown up. Yeah, that thing just
exploded or something. TRAVIS LANGNESS: Did it happen
the same on the other side? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, there’s
oil all over the place. Holy crap! That’s what we call a
blown-out shock absorber. So far, the Tacoma, both rear
shocks are blown out on it. The front ones look OK, but
I mean, they’re blown out. The dust boots are
torn and hanging and there’s oil everywhere. The left rear shock on the
Ridgeline and the fronts, they all look dry and fine. The right rear looks like
it’s weeping a little bit. It’s not as obviously
damaged as the two on the back of the Tacoma but
I’m kind of speechless, really. All right, now we have a third
vehicle that’s not in sight. So we’re probably going to
have to drive back, bring one vehicle, at least, and
see if we can lay eyes on it. When we finally
caught up with Kurt, we figured he’d tell us some
story about a flat tire. Instead, he showed us
a piece of tailgate trim that he’d had to go
back for after it fell off. And then he told us
about this oily smell. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, but I
mean, are they still intact? No, they’re not. They’re blown. TRAVIS LANGNESS: This
right rear one is smoking. KURT NIEBUHR: That
explains that smell. TRAVIS LANGNESS: Yeah. KURT NIEBUHR: As it smells
kind of like hot peanuts. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, we
learned something here today. [LAUGHTER] A dirt road isn’t
just a dirt road. Three different vehicles, two
of them with off-road packages, and the one without
the off-road package seems to be the less
damaged of the three so far. I like to test vehicles
at full pressure because coming from the
manufacturing side, that’s how we develop the cars. That’s how I start out. And I know that our man 10 years
ago didn’t drop the pressure, so we wanted to do
the same thing he did. Well, 11 miles in we
discovered that we were hurting the equipment. We’ve taken about 10 to 12
PSI out of everybody’s tires and we’re cutting our speed. It feels like we’re now
in sync with the road more and it’s, uhh– more of that. But you know, we’ve got to
try something because we still want to go to the racetrack. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here we are at the
Racetrack Playa. We’ve been here about an hour,
wandering around and looking at all the rocks and
checking out the trails. But for us, it’s
time for us to get to where we plan to camp
tonight before it gets dark and we kind of have
to take it slow, because the vehicles
are hurt at this point. We’ve still got to go back
out the way we came in. But so far, the
Ridgeline is actually the most pleasant
truck to be in. And it seems to be holding
up better than the other two. And I wouldn’t have
predicted that, no way. A lot of people like
the image of off-road. They don’t necessarily go on
anything more severe than this. So if you could just
kind of like logically break down what you really
need your truck to do, you might come to the conclusion
that the Ridgeline is enough. [MUSIC PLAYING] So it’s been a long
day on a brutal road. The road really beat us up
and it beat the trucks up. We didn’t get any flat
tires, which I really was very surprised about. I thought that’s what
our problem would be. We actually had more
trouble with the support truck and the other truck
with the off-road package. I thought that they
would be solid as a rock and it would just be a
question of whether or not the Ridgeline came through OK. But actually it
did a little better than the other two trucks. We only lost one shock,
right rear, on that one. And the other two trucks,
the Tacoma and the Titan– oil everywhere, smoke,
melted boots on the shocks. It was not the
result we expected, but it’s still a
pretty good result. None of this means the Ridgeline
is the better off-road vehicle. It still lacks the
clearance and gearing to be a true mountain goat. But on roads like this,
the Ridgeline has an edge. Thanks to independent
rear suspension, its shocks have much less
unsprung weight to deal with. And on ordinary
roads, this translates into better ride comfort. Want to see how
this all turns out? Stay tuned for part two
on Edmunds video channel. [MUSIC PLAYING]

75 Replies to “2017 Honda Ridgeline: Edmunds Death Valley Shock Test”

  1. Very interesting! That's a real life road anyone can drive down for some adventurers. Very punishing on the vehicles but if you're going to claim your off road prowess, better get your shit together. I'm disappointed in the off road packages.

  2. Im calling BS….I just brought my 14 nissan Xterra pro 4x out to the race track in November and was racing a jeep rubicon on that road! I even got air on the way back to the crater. My bilsteins were just fine and I also did air down to 30 psi.

  3. You can suck it all you fricken truck people who adore the Tacoma. And calling the ridgeline not a truck. The last time I checked the definition of a truck it said a truck is a vehicle with a bed in the back. And as far as I can tell the ridgline is a lot more durable than a body on frame truck.

  4. The tacoma has a shitty chassis, too long and it doesnt like to plant the 4 wheels onto the dirt uniformly like the ridgeline's unibody chassis.

  5. Drove the Dempster Highway in 2015 in a a 2013 tacoma. 750 km on washboard one way. 750 km washboard the other way. stock shocks.. still driving my taco on the same shocks. np. every experience is different.

  6. So the first gen Ridgeline Edmund mentioned that he went down that same road and came out all 4 shocks leaking? Was the first gen all stock? stock suspension,off road tires?

  7. We drove a Subaru Outback with 5 people and a Toyota Highlander with 8 people on this road without any issue. I think independent suspension helps a lot. That's why Tacoma and Titan broke rear shocks not front.

  8. Thank you, Dan, this was very interesting and educational. I was in Death Valley in February and decided not to take the rental Nissan sedan 🙂 to Racetrack Playa, and now I'm glad I didn't! (Who reads the fine print about off-pavement driving in those car rental contracts anyway?) I was really surprised that the road blew the shocks on the Tacoma TRD, which is a vehicle that I was thinking about buying. Maybe there should be temperature sensors on shocks like there are pressure sensors on tires!

  9. dirt road not impressed. Go do real trails with them both like rocks, roots, hills, mud, etc. Oh yea you cant because Ridgeline isnt a real truck with a low speed transfer case. Ridgeline is for the guy who pretends he drives a truck, Tacoma actually is a truck.

  10. These dirt or washboard roads may not push your truck's suspension to the limit from an articulation perspective but it does work the shocks hard. Great test to see how durable a vehicle's shocks are. Just don't go alone when testing.

  11. What a bunch of junk, I drove this same route and another two days of much tougher terrain in my 99 Sierra with 150,000 miles and $25 AutoZone shocks on it and it did fine.

  12. They are Bilstein on the Taco…AND looked to be that on the Titan! Wow…the common factor of failure is Bilstein! I have them up front of my F150…they blow…literally blow out. And they DO NOT WARRANT them like they say. I expected better from Thyssen Krupp and still have to wonder when my replacement will blow…because I got it again expecting warranty credit. #Bilstein #ThyssenKrupp 'warranty request # 3278493 RGA# 60041695 Warranty credit is denied. Shock has been pulled apart due to abuse, not a manufacture defect…' Sorry I had to drive on it after it blew and that the shop took it off for you and I paid to ship it to you AND had to buy another likely failure.

  13. wow just wow….. looks like all auto makers and aftermarket part makers need to take a run down that road to test their shocks lol

  14. If anything, this video made me drive the Racetrack road slower. The 1st time it took 1 hour 45 min to drive in, and 1.5 hour to drive out. After seeing this video, it took me 2.5 hours to drive in, and 2 hours to drive out. Nevertheless, my stock tire Crosstrek made it without any damage. No air down on stock tires allowed. The sidewalls are too thin. Check out my racetrack trip: https://youtu.be/8QZQqgjRHuY

  15. I own a 2017 black edition. It's a great truck, smooth ride, and does great off road. It's not a rock crawler..if you want that. Buy that. I am 1_12 years in and still love it…. Just put 26560r18 Yokohamas YK HTX on and feels even better!

  16. I did this road last year in a brand new 2017 Ridgeline. Three people plus camping gear. Not overloaded by any means. Both rear shocks blew out on the drive back from the racetrack. Dealer replaced them at no cost to me. Now it’s one year later and I need new rear shocks. Looking for options (shocks that is). Still love my Ridgeline. Perfect car truck.

  17. I always see these truck videos and their run through a puddle off road tests. I always say, bring them out to the southwest and a plain ol off road washboard road for at least 100 miles and see what happens. There it is… lol Sure the Taco is king but the Ridgeline for the casual camper and off roader is awsome. Put some 16 inch wheels, level it out so you can get a good air down on those tires on you have a awsome little truck. Now you can go 50 down those roads all day.

  18. I just wish Honda offered a slightly more rugged version of this, like 2 inches higher, all terrain tires, smaller wheels and better bumpers.

  19. Uh the trd is not the off road leader. That would go to the Raptor. Not even close. Ya know what doesn't blow their shocks fox internal bypass like the ones on the raptor.

  20. damn, that was a cool test. just goes to show how much temperature changes things. this might be a good test for a Raptor since it's more high speed, i offroad a lot but i'm going so slow it's not too hard on the truck.

  21. I wonder if the manufacturers pay attention to these videos. Unacceptable that the Nissan and Toyota off road trucks could not handle the dirt road in the Death Valley , even if it’s 110 degrees.

  22. Good job Honda.

    Shocks are part of the reason I opted for the Z71 package on my Chevy Colorado. For the Z71 they put Nitrogen shocks in instead of hydraulic. Aka no overheating issues. The ZR2 Is hydraulic… but with lots of surface area (super massive actually) and fancy valvework that opens to let the fluid flow… decreasing heat on both accounts.

  23. 7:50 “this doesn’t show that the ridgeline is the better off vehicle” but this does show that Honda puts better quality parts on their truck.

  24. Shocks overheat if not upgraded to coilovers, wow who knew….. also the ridgeline transmission over heats in moderate to heavy offroad as shown in the fast lane truck video.

  25. If you go fast over bumps, jutted roads for long stretches, almost all trucks will have shock trouble, especially in the rear where shocks usually arent as good as the front.

  26. Exactly why I dont drive air buy Japanese designed or manufactured vehicles. I'm pretty sure that these vehicles cost as much as their Amerucan counterparts get the quality is lacking. They were d ed signed for the road, but when pressed into hard service they failed. If you get into the mechanical evaluatio. If the vehicles that's where the Americsn quality iv design and build comes to the fore. Why do you think there are so many Ford F150, F250 and F350 trucks sold? It's because there is less engineered obsolence. For me it's not so much a macho thing or a looks thing or even a few more MPG. Its the fact it's easier and cheaper to replace fuel than parts. I'll keep my American pickup.

  27. On my jeep on washboards it was like it was coming apart, on the subaru that we tried on the way back it was pretty smooth, until we hitted a small hole, almost lost a kidney 🤣, the same hole with the jeep = nothing

  28. How fast were you going? I drive on corrugated dirt roads here in Wyoming constantly and never had a problem on my 05 Mariner or my 13 Pro 4X Frontier, and our forest service roads are in waaay worse conditions than those. It never gets that hot here however. But I don't do 65 mph on them either.

  29. The original shocks on my 2000 Ford E150 Cargo Van handled the washboard roads of Death Valley just fine when I traveled there in 2014. West Side Road at 45mph was very rough but the old van didn't break a thing. Queen of Sheba Mine Road wasn't bad either but I took it easy on that road since the 35-gallon fuel tank hangs a bit low…

  30. I own Honda Ridgeline 2006 i live in canada with extreme weather specially snow, ridgeline on of the best can handle it compared full size truck. Love it !!

  31. First of all you can’t expect any vehicle going that fast with factory suspension and the tire psi not lowered to withstand a semi rough dirt road like that.

  32. LOVE my Ridgeline. Just curious though (not to discredit the Tacoma) but was the TRD a "press" car? I want to make sure the test was treated fairly. Because if the shocks were already worn BEFORE the test started, its not a fair comparison.

  33. I've been on that road on my motorcycle. It is an extremely rough road and your running the trucks way too fast. Come on guys.

  34. Insane… never would have thought a shock absorber could overheat! it makes perfect sense but I didn't really think that was a thing

  35. That Toyota Tacoma really disappointed me. Even with off-road packages, the Nissan and Toyota failed. Good work Honda Ridgeline this was a big surprise.

  36. Ya ever notice there's always some dumb shit in the comment section whining on about how the Ridgeline isn't a Truck…. look up the definition of a Pickup Truck then watch the video again…guess what it's a Truck ..and a capable one at that.

  37. Bilstein makes good shocks. But the Titan XD is really under shocked for the load of the truck. Let alone the added cargo.

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