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Old 08 Aug 2007, 06:55 pm
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Default 2006 Honda Ridgeline Chassis

Torrance, Calif. - Feb 01 —

Overview: Performance Beyond a Pickup Truck

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline is built on a new generation of truck platform with
a fully independent front and rear suspension - a first for the pickup
truck segment. Defying convention without compromise, the Ridgeline achieves
true half-ton truck levels of payload capability, towing capacity and off-road
ruggedness while maintaining Honda's sporty, safe and refined driving
experience. Standard features like Vehicle Stability Assist, tire pressure monitor
sensors, and 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake
Distrubution further differentiate the Ridgeline from anything else in the pickup
truck segment. More so than any other Honda product before it, front and rear
suspension construction is engineered to accommodate the heavy loads and rugged
demands consistent with the usage patterns of a truck.

Ridgeline Chassis Highlights

Ride, Handling and Braking

  • Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction with deep channel
    design and internal high-strength steel internal reinforcements

  • Heavy duty 4-wheel independent suspension handles big loads and towing
    with refined, sporty handling

  • A Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system with active yaw control integrates
    traction control, the VTM-4 system, Anti-lock braking, throttle control and
    stability control

  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes with 4-Channel ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
    and Brake Assist System results in best-in-class braking performance

  • 17-inch wheels and All-Season P245/65 R17 105S tires

  • Large 12.6-inch ventilated front disc brakes and 13.1-inch solid rear disc
    brakes provide robust stopping power under heavy loads

Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline uses a new generation of truck platform with a ladder
frame and a unibody for enhanced levels of safety with class leading rigidity
and performance. The Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction is
engineered to balance the rugged traits of a dedicated truck frame with high
levels of safety, handling and fuel economy of a unibody design. Underneath
the unibody frame sits a fully integrated ladder frame comprised of seven crossmembers
with high-strength steel reinforcements that create six fully boxed zones with
the lower portion of the unibody. The benefit of the unibody construction (compared
to traditional body on frame construction) is better space utilization and vehicle
packaging, better handling, and enhanced energy absorption capabilities. MacPherson
struts are used for the front suspension and a space saving multi-link with
trailing arm suspension is used in the rear. (More detailed information regarding
the integrated closed-box frame with unibody construction is available in the
Body section.)

MacPherson Strut Front Suspension

The front suspension provides incredibly good handling for a vehicle with a
large payload rating and medium-duty off-road toughness. The Ridgeline has a
wide track - 67.1-inches front, 66.9-inches rear - to optimize handling
precision, vehicle stability, cargo capability and interior volume. The MacPherson
strut front suspension provides a generous 7.3 inches of wheel travel (4.3-inches
in compression, 3.0-inches in rebound) with a moderate spring rate and firm
damping. A solid 0.9-inch stabilizer bar is linked directly to the strut via
ball-joint connections to resist body roll during cornering maneuvers. The small
0.05-inch scrub radius designed into the front suspension is unusual for trucks,
but this feature gives the Ridgeline responsive steering response and handling
that is consistent and predictable during on- and off-road situations and towing.
Accelerating or hard braking with uneven traction underfoot does not cause the
Ridgeline to drift off line, as is the case with many trucks. Compared to any
other Honda product, the spring and damper construction along with the lower
control arm and bushing construction feature unique and heavy-duty designs optimized
for truck toughness.

A low roll center (6.3-inches above the ground) further improves Ridgeline's
handling precision. The lower control arm bushings are designed to provide a
stabilizing toe-out steering effect when loaded during braking or cornering.
The L-shaped arm allows a very tight steering lock for good low-speed maneuverability.
The Ridgeline's turn-circle diameter is 42.6 feet (curb-to-curb).

Front Subframe and Mounting System

The Ridgeline's engine, transaxle, transfer case, steering gear, and front
suspension are all supported by a welded-steel subframe secured to the unit
body's longitudinal rails through four tuned rubber isolation mounts. The front
of the subframe assembly is tubular for maximum stiffness with minimal weight.

A stiffener located under each subframe attachment fastener helps stabilize
the assembly, thereby sharpening handling and braking performance while enhancing
the load capacity of the vehicle. A stiffener plate bolted across the subframe
under the transfer case greatly increases the assembly's rigidity. Two dynamic
dampers and one mass damper are positioned to counteract noise and vibration,
while two fluid-filled engine mounts minimize vibration at idle and isolate
powertrain NVH from the passenger compartment. The large capacity steering gear
mounts and tie rods are made of heat-resistant rubber to provide good vibration
isolation, a firm retention necessary for sensitive on-center-steering feel,
and life-of-the-vehicle durability.

Multi-Link with Trailing Arm Rear Suspension

Honda engineers sought to bring a new generation of pickup truck to the market
by re-evaluating traditional truck technology and using better technology whenever
possible. As a prime example, the Ridgeline employs an independent rear suspension
that provides numerous advantages compared to the traditional solid rear axle
with leaf springs found on virtually all other trucks. An independent rear suspension
design gives the Ridgeline an advantage in ride comfort, impact aftershake,
handling response, handling stability, unsprung weight and off-road mobility.
In half-ton truck applications, Ridgeline's rear suspension offers load
carrying capacity, strength and durability characteristics competitive with
a solid rear axle/leaf spring combination.

Like the front suspension, the multi-link rear suspension has also been tuned
for heavy payload and towing toughness. The rear spring rate and damping were
configured to reduce low speed compression damping and rebound damping while
increasing high speed compression and rebound damping. Translation: the Ridgeline
can soak up low-speed off-road conditions with low levels of harshness and then
handle highway speeds with firmness and reduced body roll (low speed comfort
with high-speed stability). Twin-tube, gas filled hydraulic shocks are used
to ensure more precise damping control throughout the entire range of the suspension

The Ridgeline's rear suspension is a compact, multi-link trailing arm layout
for excellent ride and handling, light weight, and optimum packaging that contributes
to the pickup bed having minimal wheel well intrusions. Wheel travel is a generous
4.9 inches in compression and 3.3-inches in rebound, totaling 8.2 inches. The
three links that position each rear wheel laterally run between the knuckle
assembly and the subframe. A trailing arm also runs from the unibody to each
rear knuckle. Coil springs sit on the lowermost lateral link and anchor against
the unibody directly behind each axle shaft.

Shock absorbers, positioned inside the coil spring, feature vertical and upright
positioning for optimum control and run from a low point on each knuckle to
a secure attachment point on the unibody. Knuckles are an "in-wheel"
design to optimize suspension geometry and packaging efficiency. Bushing compliance
provides a modest toe-in effect in response to substantial cornering and braking
loads to enhance dynamic stability. A tubular 1-inch anti-roll bar helps keep
the body relatively flat during hard cornering. The rear roll center is positioned
at a 7.2-inch height to provide linear and predictable behavior. The results
speak for themselves, as the Ridgeline truly sets the standard for ride and
handling in pickup trucks.

Rear Subframe

The rear subframe, which supports most of the rear suspension and the rear
axle drive unit utilizes high-strength steel for high stiffness and minimal
weight. A rear subframe stay helps maintain precise positioning of the rear
suspension and provides improved handling precision. The shape of the rear subframe
is very important since it must accommodate the drivetrain components for the
VTM-4 four-wheel drive system and the multi-link rear suspension pieces while
still enabling for a flat cargo floor, in-bed trunk and spare tire storage.
For excellent ride, handling and payload characteristics, the subframe attaches
to the unit body at four widely spaced, rubber-isolated mounting points. Rear-suspension
components, especially the springs and shock absorbers, facilitate a wide, flat
pickup bed and to leave room for both a spare tire and a full-size fuel tank.
The rear axle drive unit is mounted to the subframe by means of rubber isolators
to block road and powertrain noise and vibration from the passenger compartment.

Wheels and Tires

The Ridgeline features 17x7.5-inch diameter wheels with a 45mm offset dimension,
and a five-lug bolt pattern. Large openings in the wheels provide ample brake-system
ventilation. The tire size is P245/65R-17 105S and have an all-season tread
pattern. The load index of "105" designates an individual load rating
for each tire of 2,039 pounds. The "S" designates a speed rating
of 112 miles per hour.

The compact spare tire is carried under the pickup bed floor and can be accessed
through the secure In-Bed Trunk via a sliding tray. Room is provided to stow
a flat or a full-size spare in the compact spare's location. A temporary location
for spare tire mounting is also included in the pickup bed of the truck on the
passenger-side bed wall. This additional spare tire attachment point can be
a useful for conveniently carrying two spare tires when off-road, or when a
load in the bed may make access to the secure In-Bed Trunk less than convenient.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The Ridgeline features a direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Using
a series of four sensors and four initiators (one for each tire) and a receiver
to capture and relay information, the system alerts the driver when it detects
that tire pressure in one or more tires drops significantly below the recommended
pressure. The sensor transmitter is located inside the wheel. Should the tires
be rotated around the vehicle due to normal maintenance or be replaced entirely,
the new tires are "auto-located" by the system. If the system detects
that tire pressure is significantly low, a low tire pressure indicator located
in the meter containing the fuel level and temperature gauge will come on while
a schematic of the vehicle located in the center meter housing the speedometer
will indicate which tires are low.

Braking System

The Ridgeline is equipped with the pickup truck segment's most advanced
braking system with four-wheel disc brakes and a four-channel Braking System
designed for the heavy-duty cycles imposed by towing and heavy payloads. The
brake system hardware is tuned for quick response, low effort, and short pedal
travel. For optimum performance with widely varying loads, the Ridgeline features
an Electronic Brake Distribution system (EBD). Brake Assist is used to assist
with brake function during accident avoidance maneuvers. At the rear, a select-low
braking strategy is used to preserve directional stability in slippery driving.
In the event one rear wheel verges on lock-up, triggering a pressure modulation
at that wheel, brake pressure is also diminished at the adjoining wheel to preserve
lateral stability.

Extra-large brake rotors and calipers provide the capacity necessary for short
stopping distances and excellent fade resistance - even with a heavy load
in tow - and the precise pedal feel expected of a Honda. The vented front
rotors are 12.6 inches in diameter and 1.1 inches thick. Solid drum-in-disc
rear rotors are 13.1-inches in diameter and 0.43-inch thick. The Ridgeline features
dual-piston calipers on the front wheels for even more secure stopping. A drum-type
parking brake mechanism is positioned within the inner portion of the rear rotor.
The compact tandem-type vacuum booster consists of two 9-inch diameter booster

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

Ridgeline brake components are large in capacity to help handle heavy loads
- both those carried on board and those towed behind. Front-to-rear brake
effort proportioning is electronically regulated. The Anti-lock Braking System
(ABS) has four sensing and activating channels to detect a wheel on the verge
of lock up. In the event this occurs, brake pressure is held, then reduced,
to permit that wheel to regain traction before full braking resumes. A select-low
strategy controls the braking effort at both rear wheels as soon as one nears
lock up to safeguard lateral adhesion and to help avoid any tendency to spin
or fishtail during hard braking.

Brake Assist

Brake Assist helps drivers apply full braking pressure in an accident avoidance
situation. In an emergency braking situation when the brakes are suddenly applied,
brake assist helps the driver apply full braking force via the ABS actuator.
A pressure sensor detects an increase in brake fluid pressure and activates
the ABS system. Braking pressure is maintained momentarily after the driver's
initial braking action to help the driver stop promptly.

Importantly, Brake Assist assists the driver in obtaining full braking performance
in an emergency. The Brake Assist system deactivates when the driver releases
pressure on the brake pedal.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)

For enhanced control during acceleration, cornering, and sudden collision-avoidance
maneuvers, the Ridgeline is equipped with a standard 4-channel Vehicle Stability
Assist (VSA) system that works in conjunction with the VTM-4, drive-by-wire
throttle and ABS systems. This system uses sensor logic to provide active yaw
control to help provide even more secure footing. Active yaw control helps the
Ridgeline follow the cornering line intended (by the driver) more faithfully
and naturally, greatly enhancing its stability. Unlike some competitor systems,
the VSA system is full functional in 4-wheel drive modes.

The VSA system enhances vehicle stability by applying brake force to each of
the Ridgeline's four disc brakes independently while also managing the throttle
system. An additional benefit is the limited-slip differential effect the system
provides for the front and rear wheels by applying braking force to a slipping
wheel thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction.

Analyzing data that is constantly received from eight vehicle sensors monitoring
speed, steering input and lateral G forces, the VSA system compares the driver's
control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. If the actual response
is outside a predicted response range - as can happen when cornering forces
exceed the tires' performance capabilities - VSA automatically intervenes
with an appropriate corrective action. In the case of oversteer, VSA applies
braking to the outside front and rear wheels to counter the unintended yawing
effect. If understeer is detected, VSA applies braking to the inside front and
rear wheels and reduces engine power to help bring the car back onto the driver's
intended course.

The VSA system in the Ridgeline has been carefully calibrated to add handling
stability and predictability without intruding on the process of spirited driving.
Whenever the system is actively enhancing the vehicle's stability, an
indicator light flashes on the instrument panel. In addition, VSA's stability
enhancement and traction control can be turned off with a cockpit switch while
still leaving the Anti-lock Braking System fully functional.


The 2006 Honda Ridgeline was engineered to provide compact truck levels of
towing capability with simplicity and minimal amounts of additional equipment
required to utilize the maximum capacity. As a result, the Ridgeline has a long
list of standard equipment geared exclusively to towing duties including automatic
transmission and power steering fluid coolers, pre-wiring for both 4-pin and
7-pin trailer wiring harnesses, a dual fan radiator and heavy duty brakes.

The Ridgeline's towing capacity of 5,000 pounds allows it to haul medium-sized
boat trailers, camper trailers, cargo/box trailers, personal watercraft, utility
trailers and much more with confidence and ease. Engineered from the ground
up with towing in mind, the ladder frame has seven crossmembers that provide
bending rigidity more than 2.5 times stiffer than the best performing compact
truck body-on-frame competitor and rear torsion rigidity more than 20 times
stiffer. The ladder frame/unibody construction translates into towing toughness
with strong load-bearing paths positioned throughout the vehicle. The transmission
features a low final drive ratio, high capacity bearings, heavy-duty clutches
and stronger shafts. The engine has a fresh air intake to supplement good torque
production in hot weather.

Industry practice is to boast a high maximum tow rating, even though some sacrifice
of passengers and cargo may be necessary to suitably accommodate such a trailer
load - in some cases limiting the vehicle to one passenger to accommodate
the maximum specified towing capacity. The Ridgeline's 5,000-pound rating
is calculated to include up to two passengers and 200 pounds of cargo.

To help ensure that customers will be able to move a maximum-rated load up
a grade from rest (such as pulling a loaded boat trailer up a launch ramp),
engineers sought out the most challenging entry roads and launch ramps in the
country. Through extensive field testing, they verified that the Ridgeline can
handle extreme conditions.

The Ridgeline's tow hitch and other hardware needed for the job are factory
engineered for dealer installation. The dealer-installed trailer hitch is a
Class IV receiver-type design that bolts on with no drilling, cutting, or bumper-cover
modifications. A short harness to provide electrical power to trailer lights
and aftermarket trailer braking systems plug into a connector provided at the
rear of the vehicle.

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