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Discussion Starter #1
I saw a Ridgeline Review today on YouTube and it was one of the few that actually removed the Engine Cover to show the bare engine, With horror I noticed the new Manifold was made from plastic...


That is cheap, very cheap to say the least...... I know Honda did this to save weight but it actually ends up looking pretty cheap on Honda Side, The Magnesium Manifold was pretty light and it was strong.
Now we have something that might brittle with heat and break.
 

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I don't think there's a need to panic here.

Is the plastic cheaper? Most likely.
It doesn't bother me that much, because it helps keep the overall cost of the vehicle down; or it makes room in the budget to add in other features. As for durability, I'll get to that.

Is the magnesium better looking? Definitely.
For mass market vehicles, who's going to put in the effort to make a pretty engine? I'd say that cost, efficiency, performance and emissions are some of the top factors taken into account in engine design, where appearance just kinda goes by the wayside. But that's easy to fix: just throw on a bunch of plastic covers. Besides those like use who have interest in cars, who else bothers to look under the hood? Now if we're talking about a Ferrari, Lambo, Bugatti, or any other exotic, then the engine should look almost as good as the rest of the car.

Is the magnesium more durable? Sure.
Yes, plastic can become brittle over time with heat and break. However, there's more to it than that. I'm not an expert in plastic, but I do know that there are so many different types and that there have been lots of advances in their material properties. I believe that Honda engineers and their supplier(s) did their due diligence when selecting a material, and picked something that could survive the environment and last as long as the rest of the vehicle. I don't think they picked anything that would compare to what some of the European brands use. While the Honda engineers may not be allowed to divulge any information about their designs, I think they would be able to put you more at ease in regards to the durability of the part if you could speak with them about their material selection.

I highly doubt that we'll see the plastic manifold being a problem as these newer J series engines get up there in miles and years of use. It doesn't appear that this part is highly stressed. Also, my other car has a Nissan VQ35HR engine. I bet you can guess what the intake manifold is made out of. The car is 8+ years old with over 115K, and there are no issues with that part. While the VQ series does have it's share of common issues, I haven't seen the plastic manifold being one of them.

So I wouldn't discount the use of plastic for the intake manifold in these new Honda engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I completely get your points.
What I am complaining is that there is a fine line between having lesser features or tech and removing stuff from the vitals of the car.

I would take lack of Bluetooth or something dumb like that, Than messing around with the lifeline of the vehicle.
Honda/Acura made lots of effort in removing some weight from the car and the Magnesium Manifold was excellent (Never mind the looks) Weight was down considerably and it was stronger than the Aluminum part it replaced.

Plastic on the other hand is not known for durability but is known for being cheap. This says that Honda made the decision to cheap out on the engine instead of features, This is a logic that also struck ford in the 90s and well you know what they say about ford?. I known some vehicles have go down this path before (Almost all Honda 4 cyl uses Plastic Manifold for years now but those are cheap econo boxes) but the V6 has always been installed in their premium or higher end trims cars. This denoted you will be getting more for your money so now a Plastic Manifold can be saying, Worse things are coming.

Also I need to mention that the new Ridgeline is WAY more Expensive than the first gen. So why instead of compromising the engine they didn't install those ridiculous In Bed Speakers? Removing Weight in the Engine but adding it elsewhere?.
That was basically my horror when I saw the plastic manifold.. I expect Acura not to follow through with it.
 

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Yes, there will always be that fine line between the 'unseen' but good features built into the car vs. the glitz and glam that the only the consumer sees. The product planners and engineers have to toe that line all the time. Unfortunately, you happen to fall into the small minority when it comes to what they think their target consumers want, and they design the vehicles accordingly. Sure, the V6 models are supposed to be a step up from the econoboxes; but again, do you think the soccer moms, accountants, mid-level managers, etc. who drive these cars will care what their intake manifold is made of :) ? I understand that you are an automotive enthusiast. Enthusiasts can be among the most vocal, but in reality they can influence only a small portion of the car market. Honda, like any of the other mainstream automakers, is going to follow the money; especially in their models that aren't a 'special' or 'performance' vehicle.

Honda doesn't appear to be quite as conservative as others (like Subaru and Toyota), but they are still considered to be on the conservative end when compared to most of the other automakers. While they do sometimes release some type of feature or option that can be considered a gimmick, I think they typically focus a bit more on product reliability over offering the newest features. I don't think they'll follow the path of some of the German makes. I believe that German vehicles back in the day used to be known for their reliability, but they have moved away from that and instead push out the latest technology to attract buyers. If you think worse things are coming, then maybe you should move to a Land Cruiser or something ;) . It's one of the few vehicles out there in which reliability is pretty much the top priority in its design.

I have faith that Honda didn't compromise the longevity of the part by switching to plastic. They probably used a polypropylene for the manifold, which I think is used in other parts that see much more abuse (bumpers, fender liners, underbody trays, etc.). Also, while the part dimensions aren't exactly one for one, the plastic part should be theoretically lighter than the magnesium one since it has a lower density.

That is a good point about the Ridgeline. I know that Honda offered those 'in bed speakers' as a way to differentiate themselves from other trucks on the market; but I think it's a total gimmick. The only counterpoint I can offer is that it isn't offered on every model, only on the higher trims (which typically have higher profit margins). That makes it easier for them to swallow the cost.

Question for you: Let's say for some reason you had to replace your vehicle(s) a few years down the road (maybe 2-4 years or so). Do you see yourself buying another Acura product in the future, or is there a vehicle on the market now from a different make that you would get instead? (I framed the question this way since it looks like you have a preference toward pre-owned cars.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
^ Really good points..
As far as to buying another Acura is more than likely I will.. I am not the kind of person to TRY something different just because I can (Ex. Volvo or AUDI) if a Brand has been good to me (Ex. Reliable) Ill stick to it. So far my Honda/Acura cars have been top notch in those aspects so I do believe I will stick to that brand until the day they somehow let me down (Although I doubt it since I buy Pre-Owned).

Ill keep looking at several future developments on Honda/Acura design or tech so I cant be surprised if anything does not meet my already low expectations.
Why I do not buy new? I do not believe in spending a lot of money because I have to set my expectations so high in order to feel pleased.. Also its easier for me to get 20-30K sooner than paying full MSRP for the cars I like so I keep buying used but trying to get the best possible car.

My cars so far:
1st Car ever was given by my parents: 1987 Pontiac 6000
2nd Monte Carlo SS (Although the newer one with no RWD, I was young and dumb and I thought Monte Carlo always = RWD).
3rd Hand-down by parents: 2002 Acura TL Type-S (Horrible Transmission but so far still my favorite car)
4th BMW X5 04 (My first "Luxury" ride) total nightmare reliability wise will never buy a BMW again.
5th Acura MDX 07
6th Acura ????

Someday: Acura NSX.
 
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