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Author Topic: Newbie and towing weight  (Read 991 times)

rhm

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Newbie and towing weight
« on: March 30, 2017, 11:44:24 AM »
This is my first post on this forum.  I already own a Honda Pilot, which with a transmission cooler can tow 5000 pounds.  We are considering four different travel trailers, and after reviewing other posts, am concerned about towing weight.

I expect to travel within a six hour radius (no extended trips).  As we live in central PA, the terrain could be hilly.  There will be only two of us in the tow vehicle.

The GVWR of the four trailers are 4500 lbs, 4400 lbs, 3800 lbs and 3518 lbs.  all four are about 21'4" long.  I am concerned that the two heavier choices don't allow much headspace.  What are you opinions?  Are the heaviest trailers too much for the Honda?  Are the two lighter ones OK?

donn

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 11:56:02 AM »
Welcome.  Distance traveled has absolutely nothing to do with proper towing equipment.  Remember, most highway fatilities occue within 25 miles of home.
Remember that advertised 5000 tow rating is based on a base level vehicle with one 150 pound driver. 
As a starting poing and remembering that a trailer will place between 12 and 15% of its weight on the tow vehicle, load up like your going camping and drive across a set of scales.  Now that you have an accurate weight of the TV subtract that from the vehicles GVWR.  We all know that you do not know exactly how much a specific trailer weighs until you have it home and loaded up.  So use 15% of the trailers GVWR.  Does that number fit under or over your vehicles abailable payload?
While not discussed much ypu also have to remember a full sized trailer will act like a giant sail going down the road, and wind resistance is going to effect your tow vehicle almost as much as weight.

Gods Country

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 12:47:07 PM »
I wouldn't pull a 21 ft anything with a Pilot.
Are we talking a travel trailer or popup?

I assume we're talking a Class II hitch at the most?


grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 07:08:42 PM »
First, Welcome to the Forum!

As Donn stated, that 5000# tow rating is under ideal circumstances.  If yours is nicely equipped, subtract 400# for the weight of options.  Since 2015, there is an allowance for 2 passengers at 150# each.  Before then, it was just one person.  Subtract any weight of passengers above those numbers.  Subtract for any cargo carried in the Pilot.  What is left is the true max tow rating.  That means the Pilot is capable of towing it, according to the engineers, but does NOT mean you will be comfortable towing something that big.

IMHO, the two heavier ones are way too heavy.  The others are questionable.  The Pilot is a great vehicle, but not a good tow vehicle.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

OutdoorFT

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 05:40:35 AM »
Unless its a pop up or r pod size, you wont be comfortable driving it. Id only tow with a pickup truck or properly equipped SUV, but thats my preference.

Id say look at the lightest trailer you would be comfortable in.   
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 07:11:35 AM »
You didn't mention the year of your Pilot, but I think you  will find that only the AWD Pilot has the 5000 lb rating; the 2WD models are 3500 max. Both require the Honda Towing Package for those ratings.

Assuming you have an AWD Pilot, I would still be leery of trailers with a GVWR exceed 4000 lbs. By the time you allow for other weight carried in the tow vehicle (Grashley's comment), you will be pushing up near the max and few SUVs are pleasant to drive when stressed to their limits. Plus this could well be a case of the tail wagging the dog, with the trailer exceeding the Pilot in both weight and length.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Wireman134

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 09:55:01 PM »
Look for the GVWR of the Pilot. You don't want to exceed that with passengers and that 500lb tongue weight on the hitch. Most of that tongue weigh will still be on the TV with a WD hitch probably 80% of it. That 80% (400lbs.) must not be more than the reserve capacity of your tow vehicle if all passengers are in seats. Reserve capacity is found on sticker in glove box or on drivers door.
 
2000 Silverado 1500 EC Z71 5.3L 325 hp DS intune, Airlift, 34" Alu 1.25"radiator, B&M 70266 trans cooler, oil cooler, Vet servo, Mag- Hytec, Pro comp ES9000, SUV brakes
2015 Venture Sonic 220VBH, 300W Solar/350 ahr AGM/1200w inverter, 75W Dual Band Ham base. Camping weight 5,100lbs on dual 2800 axle

grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 05:30:42 PM »
It may be splitting hairs and debating how a WD hitch functions, but I maintain ALL of the tongue weight remains on the tow vehicle.  The WD hitch simply moves some of that weight off the real axle to the front axle.  If that few pounds difference means you can or can not tow, you are way too close to your tow vehicle capacity.

If you weigh your tow vehicle with and without the camper, the difference is your hitch weight. That is how much weight the TT is placing on the TV.  This is the most common way of determining hitch wt.     If you weigh the hitch when disconnected, there may be a minor difference.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

Wireman134

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 07:19:39 PM »
I my above example verified with 3 Cat Scale weighs. Of that calculated 500lb hitch weight. The WD bars add 260lbs. to front axle, 100lbs. back onto the trailer axles with 140lbs. remaining on the rear axle of my truck.  Exactly 400lbs. remains on the TV. TT  axle scaled weight is 5,080lbs.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 07:21:31 PM by Wireman134 »
2000 Silverado 1500 EC Z71 5.3L 325 hp DS intune, Airlift, 34" Alu 1.25"radiator, B&M 70266 trans cooler, oil cooler, Vet servo, Mag- Hytec, Pro comp ES9000, SUV brakes
2015 Venture Sonic 220VBH, 300W Solar/350 ahr AGM/1200w inverter, 75W Dual Band Ham base. Camping weight 5,100lbs on dual 2800 axle

grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2017, 06:26:46 PM »
You are very correct.  However, still use the 10% number to estimate hitch wt.  If that 100# makes a difference between towable or not towable, you need a bigger tow vehicle.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

larryziegler

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2017, 06:28:17 PM »
I just recently joined this site as we are researching the travel trailer options for our 2013 Honda Pilot 4WD w/4,500 lb towing limit (using premium grade fuel).  The OP must have  2016/2017 Pilot which has the 5,000 lb rating.  There were some inaccuracies in the above comments I should point out.  Since at least 2012, Honda has used the 2 passengers at 150 lbs with 15 lbs of gear each and a full tank of fuel in its max towing allowance.  Not only do extra passengers and gear reduce the limit, but elevation also reduces the capacity by 2% for every 1,000 ft of elevation. Prior to the updated 2016 Pilot, all 4WD Pilots since 2009 came with a class 3 hitch and trans/power steering coolers.  A pre-16 4WD Pilot has a 6096 lb GVW, a 9579 lb GCWR, and a 1,340 lb carrying capacity, which is reduced by the tongue weight of the trailer and the WD hitch.  Like many others with their tow vehicles, I, too am concerned about weight and looking at trailers with a dry weight below 3,500 lbs...some with single axles and some with tandem axles. As there are just the 2 of us, like the OP, after subtracting the tongue and hitch weight, there is approx. 450 lbs of carrying capacity left.  And yes, adding load capacity to the vehicle reduces the towing capacity further.  With clothing, food, household utensils/tools, folding chairs, hoses, carrying 10 gal of water, an ice chest, 2k generator, and 10 gal of propane, my rough estimate totals to about 600 lbs or so, or about 4,100 lbs + or - for a 20 ft trailer (total length).  I have have pulled a uhaul trailer of approx. 2500 lbs from the Central Valley over the Grapevine to LA with a 2005 Pilot and it felt like nothing was back there and with that same Pilot, pulled another Uhaul trailer weighing about 1,500 lbs from Tucson (over 700 miles) with no issues.  Mileage on both trips was about 16 mpg as well, though I am expecting 10 mpg towing a larger/heavier trailer.  Another positive is though I hear (and disagree) with folks towing their trailers at 65-75 mph, California has a 55 mph limit for all trailers (I have never exceeded 60 mph when towing) which is far easier on the vehicle doing the towing while providing far less wind resistance. The weak point of towing with a Honda Pilot are the soft touring tires.  I intend to replace my tires soon with 107/XL rated tires that provide a 50lb psi max to stiffen the sidewall and reduce heat buildup.  The 235/60-18 size makes for very very few choices in LT rated tires.  A strong point with Honda are their engines.  To get to their peak power band, they need to rev and Honda engines are made to rev....unnerving to many people. And lastly, increased maintenance is critical to preserving the mechanicals...not just changing out the transmission/transfer case fluids, but also the rear differential fluid at 15,000 mile intervals.  The trailers at the top of our list are the Rockwood Mini Lite 1909s, the Winnebago Micro Lite 2106FBS (this is a 2 axle 3700 lb dry trailer that does make me a little apprehensive to be honest with fewer lbs of added weight to work with, but its narrow width and aero shape are positive attributes), and the Lance 1575 (the lack of a bathroom sink is our issue with this trailer).  All of these trailers have slideouts which is a feature at the top of our list for a small trailer and these trailers have hitch weights between 225 and 440 lbs.  Even with a 450 lb hitch weight max (w/o WD hitch), I intend to use one.  There are a couple of 3-4 years old Rockwood Mini Lite/Lance models with 2 axles that have dry weights at just below 3,500 lbs I would consider.  My choice of looking at tandem axles (and the extra 200-300 lbs of extra weight) is solely on my feeling that this would track better and handle bumps better than a single axle coach.  So far everything we have looked at far exceeds the 1981 Wilderness 17 ft Lite we had back in the 80's/early 90's. We pulled that loaded 3,000 lb trailer with a 165 hp Chev K-5 Blazer and 210 hp GMC Sierra.  At the end of the day, I have no worries about pulling a 4,000 lb 20 ft trailer with a Honda after my own experience and what I have researched and heard from others.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 06:51:24 PM by larryziegler »

massspike

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2017, 07:28:30 PM »
..A pre-16 4WD Pilot has a 6096 lb GVW, a 9579 lb GCWR...

This tells you that towing more than 9576-6096 or 3480lbs (loaded) is problematic...and why this class of vehicle is limited to 3500lb under ideal conditions. You really need to limit your TT choice.

fwiw: I towed a 3000lb trailer with an older Pathfinder (a 2000 my) that was built to tow 5000lbs and it would overheat on hot days with that load.

grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2017, 09:25:03 PM »
Larry,

Welcome to the Forum!        You make several valid points. 

Remember the "MAX Tow Capacity" is an advertising tool, and is exactly what is says - MAX.  They get that number from the lightest model available (no options) with max tow package.  The federal spec requires that it include a full tank of fuel and 2 - 150 lb. passengers.  You must reduce this by the weight of all options, which may be 400# or more, any added passengers, pets and cargo.

The dry wt is USELESS!  The TT likely weighs more than that when you get home from the dealer.  Options, dealer provided startup kits, propane tanks.  Use the GVWR on the TT for all estimates.  The camper WILL "grow" to that weight or more very quickly!

The Hitch wt or Tongue wt (same thing) must be at least 10% of ACTUAL TT weight or you are in for some towing nightmares.  Again, that manufacturer spec is totally useless for the camper owner.

Congratulations on the research you have already done!  Keep it up!!
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

larryziegler

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2017, 10:03:47 AM »
Thanks for the comments, grashley.  I hear you on base vehicle weight, given the huge options list on GM, Ford, and Ram trucks, but Honda keeps it simple by listing the various weights by trim level (LX, EX, EX-L, etc).  A specific trim level pre-16 Pilot has no "options" other than dealer installed roof rails/cross bars and cargo tray, that have negligible added weight (about 20 lbs or so).  The lowest end 2WD LX model has a listed weight of 4306 lbs and a top of the line Touring model weighs in at 4608 lbs. but towing limits do not change by trim level. My EX-L w/Nav model comes in at 4557 lbs (leaving a 5,000 lb gap in GCWR difference) and the GVW varies by 2WD or 4WD model as does the towing capacity (as low as 2,000 lbs for a 2WD model w/no coolers installed). So yes, in order for the 4500 lb tow capacity to be used, passenger and cargo weight for the vehicle needs to be under 500 lbs. which does include the weight of the hitch and tongue weight.  Though the Honda Ridgeline is basically the same vehicle on the same frame/chassis, but different engine, it has a 500 lb greater GCWR, a 500 lb higher rated tow limit and what appears to be a lower penalty for added passengers in the cab.  It has a similar weight and slightly lower GVW with the same rear axle weight rating and from what I have researched seems to have more positive towing attributes when towing larger trailers.  There are several Ridgeline owners towing tandem axle Airstreams making positive comments about the Ridgeline towing experience, though I know they are easily exceeding the tow ratings.  FWIW, a Honda engineer in another forum has stated that Honda does over engineer their vehicles making their ratings conservative in relation to the actual safety capability limits.  I still rely on the posted limits for my own sense of safety and well being.
I understand the reasoning for using trailer GVW as a max weight potential, but I also have to apply normal reasoning as well, such as our look at the Winnebago 2106 coach.  The published weight for this trailer is 3705 lbs and the actual weight of models at the dealer is right at 3750lbs. I do pay attention to those weight labels on the front left corner.  As this is a tandem axle model, it has a GVW of 7,000 lbs due to that 2nd axle. The single axle models we are looking at all have under 4,000 lb GVW limits.  That Winnie would have to be a toy hauler to  come anywhere close to adding 3250 lbs of added weight inside as there is only so much storage space in any non toy hauler type trailer.  We aren't new to the RV experience, with the previous Wilderness we had and growing up with a travel trailer in the household.  Its like my earlier days of backpacking which limits your physical capabilities to what you can carry no matter the size of the pack.  We never packed the Wilderness to the gills and don't expect anything different with this new trailer.  As Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry days saying, "A Mans got to know his limitations" applies here.

Here's a question that you may or may not have an answer.  We all know that the front face of a trailer plays a large part on the wind resistance aspect of towing.  Has anyone researched the use of a rooftop cargo box on a SUV TV that would act in breaking up the airflow and deflecting it over the trailer?  The thought occurred to me for aerodynamic purposes. 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2017, 10:59:03 AM »
Wind deflectors are a complex subject. They certainly work, but each vehicle and trailer is a unique situation that has to be configured on its own.  And it's not just the face of the trailer that causes wind resistance either.  The roof line has a bunch of things sticking into the wind flow, and the typical squared off back end makes for a lot of suction back there.  To be very effective, you have to put the rig in a wind tunnel and the changes needed to improve airflow are often not at all what intuition and eyeball would suggest.

I'm not saying it isn't worth a try, but the results are not easily predictable.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2017, 05:57:24 PM »
Larry, it is such a pleasure to chat with you!

Honda does, indeed, make things easier than most in many ways.  However, the ad will read, "pilot has a max tow capacity ..."  It carefully does not say ALL Pilots ... or the Pilot shown here ...  That max is for the 2WD LX  ONLY, regardless of the charts.  Look for foot notes or fine print.  Ford does the same thing.

Only 5% or less of RVers could competently estimate the actual weight of the gear they carry, and work up from the corrected empty TT weight.  You are clearly in that 5%, so go for it.  I could never recommend this procedure to the masses, and many other people will read this thread.

Gary clearly stated the issue with wind deflectors.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

larryziegler

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2017, 10:02:46 AM »


Gary and grashley, thanks for the wind deflector comments.  I knew the answer was far more complex than the ease of asking the question.

As to footnotes in ads, Honda uses no footnotes in their Pilot spec list, rather they divide out all 12 models and trim combinations out separately and provide specific specs on each of those models, from 2WD LX to 4WD Touring. To see what I mean, here is the link.  http://owners.honda.com/vehicles/information/2013/Pilot/specs#mid^YF4H2DEW 
As a personal footnote, like any other vehicle, a person needs to read the Owners Manual for detailed specifics on towing and towing limits.  The Honda Owners Manual makes it quite clear as to that matrix that affects their max limits. Their mfg process of manufacturing in a single mechanical configuration with only trim level and/or the 2WD/4WD option makes it easy to choose for towing limit needs and knowing that purchasing any pre-owned product will come equipped as needed.  I know where you are coming from, as I have researched the acquisition of a Chev Tahoe as a backup alternative tow vehicle and found that while all Tahoes come with hitches and what appears to be the 7 pin harness, that does not mean they all have the hd trailering package and that the various gear ratios (ranging from 3.08-4.10) have an immense effect on towing capacity and trying to find this info on a specific model requires knowing the mfg RPO codes with the decal in the glove compartment or the build sheet associated with that specific vehicle VIN. For the uninitiated, your comments are meant to be conservative while keeping you from making gross misrepresentations and I understand that. 

Gods Country

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2017, 04:49:31 PM »
Still no way I would haul a 21' sail behind a 4,000 pound SUV.  IDC what the mfg. claims it can tow.  At some point physics is going to prove the stats wrong, and I don't want to be driving or be near it when it happens.

At some point people need to accept the fact that not everything with a hitch and a rating means it should tow anything that falls within the proposed limits.

I also own a Jeep Liberty which falls within the same general guidelines of the pilot with respect to weight and towing.  I wouldn't tow anything more then a 3k utility trailer/boat etc. behind it.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 04:58:42 PM by Gods Country »

healeyman

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2017, 12:21:18 PM »
I have a good friend who towed a 19 foot r-pod with a Pilot.

Without the trailer, his Pilot would get about 30 MPG.

WITH the trailer, his MPG dropped into the 11-12 range.

I don't know what engine he had, but his mileage drop tells me that he was spending most of his towing time with the accelerator on the floor.

I don't think that the Pilot will pull ANY of your choices.

Tim

RVRAC

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2017, 01:23:37 PM »
You won't be happy.  Get a truck. MHO
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

larryziegler

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2017, 03:11:20 PM »
RE:  I have a good friend who towed a 19 foot r-pod with a Pilot.

Without the trailer, his Pilot would get about 30 MPG.

WITH the trailer, his MPG dropped into the 11-12 range.

I don't know what engine he had, but his mileage drop tells me that he was spending most of his towing time with the accelerator on the floor.

I don't think that the Pilot will pull ANY of your choices.

Tim

11-12 mpg would be good mileage towing a trailer with any vehicle unless its a diesel.  I'm expecting 10 mpg to be honest, which is based on other Pilot owners towing experiences....which is good  Your friend is also blowing smoke if he's telling you he gets 30 mpg in his Pilot.....unless he is going downhill with the wind at his back.  The best I've ever gotten is 26 mpg and my typical highway mileage is 23-24 mpg. The Pilot has more power than you think.  For now, I use the Pilot's 3rd row more than I'd need the bed of a pickup.....plus a crew cab won't fit into my garage....too long to be able to maneuver around without having to move it out.  A Tahoe or Sequoia would be the alternate choice IF I had to move up in vehicle size.  The idea I may try, is renting a travel trailer for a few days.  I found an RV dealer in NorCal that also rents RVs and one of the trailers in their inventory is one on my list and it would be worth the $500 cost to prove my intuition right or wrong before making the final commitment. Other than the installation of a Prodigy P3 brake controller (which is an easy project), my Pilot is already set up for towing. 

grashley

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Re: Newbie and towing weight
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2017, 04:32:53 PM »
The rental idea is GREAT!  The Prodigy will move easily to a different vehicle with only a different pigtail - maybe.
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

 

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