Towing Capacities - Towing a Trailer - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Towing Capacities - Towing a Trailer

Hi All,

I am looking at purchasing a travel trailer and I would appreciate some input on towing capabilities of the 2016 pilot.

EX-L AWD with ATF Cooler => 5000 lbs Towing Capacity as i understand it.

Looking at a 20 foot trailer
- Dry Weight 3370 lbs
- Max GVWR of Trailer 4600 lbs
- Hitch Weight 406 lbs

If i read this correctly the pilot should adequately tow the Maximum potential trailer weight when fully loaded with 400 lbs to spare assuming just the driver in the vehicle. Per the owners manual this capacity is reduced when adding additional occupants.

My question is, while this appears to be technically OK to me am i cutting it too close to the limit" or not leaving myself enough buffer?

Appreciate your input . . .

2016 EX-L, OEM Roof Rails, OEM Cross Bars, OEM Hitch, OEM Cargo Tray, WeatherTech Floor Liners, PIAA 85115 Superior Bass Horn, Interior LED Lighting
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:02 PM
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Hey Dave

I'll give input from the perspective of somebody with a 2015 Pilot SE. We recently pulled our 3000+ lb and 19' travel trailer from the northeast corner of New York all the way to Yuma Arizona. It was a 3200 mile trip done in four days.

We've made the trip before using our Chevy Tahoe so I have something to compare it to.

The Pilot handled the weight fine although it did feel like more would've been too much. It stopped fine using a driver installed brake controller and trailer brakes. It pulled good from a stop and handled hills adequately. Fuel milage (at our pace) was aweful! If I had been willing to keep the speed between 55 & 60, the mpg's could've been about 10 but we were doing 70+ most of the time. Our mpg's were 7.5 - 9. Needless to say, we did not pass many truck stops along the way.

The Pilot has plenty of power for the most part but the gearing is such that we spent much of the time in the 4000 rpm range. This is far below the danger zone and you can hardly hear the engine even when spinning at that rpm, but it was a bit unsettling at first. Again, rpm's could have been less if my speed was less. Hills complicate that but with a tail wind on a flat road and not alot of traffic, you might get nearly 12 mpg.

One last thing. I would absolutely not tow anything this heavy with my Pilot without a weight distribution hitch and sway control. Your life may be saved by this simple accesory.

Scott


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Last edited by sabbatical; 01-09-2017 at 11:05 PM.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:44 AM
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When I towed horses, I was always taught to calculate with a 20% safety factor. Without even knowing your vehicle's cargo load, your numbers sound very close.

You always need to factor in the cargo and passenger weight in the tow vehicle. You also need to know your tongue weight.

There's a detailed section in the owner's manual about this topic.

There's also a few websites detailing how to calculate this information:

Http://www.RVuniversity.com

Http://www.Changingears.com/rv-sec-c...eight-tt.shtml (online calculator.)

Http://www.huskytow.com/towing-calculator
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:59 AM
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The 5,000 pound limit has plenty of safety built in.

I have towed over 8,000 pounds with my Ridgeline (5,000 max) and it handled the situation perfectly.

Did I want to haul the 8,000 pounds? No, but I HAD to so I did it, and I was cautious over the 30 miles.

Honda KNOWS they will be sued if they certify a 5,000 towing weight and the Pilot cannot safely accomplish the feat.

Stay within the limits outlined in your owners manual and you will be just fine.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 07:58 PM
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An occasional "pushing the limit" tow across town is one thing. A travel rig you plan to use to tour the country is something else. Mountains and crosswinds are not to be trifled with. That trailer will put up a whole lot of sail.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:03 PM
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As a RV'er since '94, have seen more overweight, mis-matched tow rigs and trailers than you can count.

Something you need to consider is the wind load. The front of a travel trailer is like putting a piece of 4 x 8 plywood sheet on the top of your car and trying to drive 70. Another factor to consider is a non-turbo engine looses about 3-3.5% of it's torque per 1,000 ft of elevation change. so go out west, climb Monarch Pass, 11.300' at the top and you will be thinking what the heck am I thinking.

The other issue is going down the hill. With a 4-5K trailer you will need a trailer brake controller for the trailer. The engine will not have much retarding going down, so ride the brakes. A sure way to need the run away truck ramps if you make it that far.

You might get a class 3 hitch, 7 pin wiring plug, a brake control, equalizer hitch and a aux transmission cooler. Go out west, and when you get back go buy a truck.

Do the math, LP weighs 4.25 lbs per gallon, water is 8.5 lbs per gallon, add a battery or 2, look at the GVWR of the Pilot, on the door jam, go weigh the Pilot as you will be using it, a couple of folks, a cooler, and gear. now subtract that weight from the GVWR, of the Pilot Probably close to max. Plus the weight of the hitch and equalizer that will be on the car.

The towing 8K with a Pilot, shear STUPID, irresponsible to the other drivers on the road and a good atty would own everything he has if in a serious wreck.

Bottom line, you would probably be fine towing that trailer to the lake 3 or 4 times a year. Cross country, not so much.

My tow rig: About 27,500 lbs total.

Tactical808 and Pierre007 like this.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your Feedback, it is really helpful. I am by nature a conservative person (Im the guy who arrives at the airport 3 hours ahead of time just in case) so there is never a question of going over the allowable limit for me.

The real question is if 5000lbs actually means 5000lbs and from what im hearing here it will technically manage it but not very comfortably and maybe not in certain scenarios. E.g> We live in California and going up into the Sierras is a regular thing for us, it sounds like adding in altitude and wind factors I have not allowed enough "buffer".

If sticking to the 20% rule as suggested by Badgebffr then the pilot would max out at 4000 lbs leaving plenty of room to handle the exception scenarios. Does this approach sound reasonable?

@ jlb27537, changing the tow vehicle is not really an option for me, the goal here is to find a trailer with a weight that i can reasonably tow. I know I will need to get a trailer brake controller but I am confusing as to your comment above, riding the brake (Trailer brake or Vehicle brake?) is a sure way to end up on the runaway truck ramp? I assume you mean the vehicle brake if a trailer brake is not installed?

2016 EX-L, OEM Roof Rails, OEM Cross Bars, OEM Hitch, OEM Cargo Tray, WeatherTech Floor Liners, PIAA 85115 Superior Bass Horn, Interior LED Lighting
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 04:46 PM
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I think jlb27537 means that riding the vehicle's brakes would be your only option. Can't activate the trailer brakes without activating the vehicle's brakes. "Riding the brakes" on a mountain descent is a good way to overheat the brakes ( vehicle and trailer ). Brakes become less effective and eventually fail to function when they overheat ( hence the truck ramps ). Trailer brakes are a supplement to the vehicle's brakes, but they have capacity limits and they are typically a very basic design.

I'd suggest a tent-style pop-up trailer, but there are lots of bears in the Sierras. I think there are hard-sided pop ups. I think the best thing is start small. Driving with a trailer is an acquired skill, and weight is only part of it. Consider renting before you buy.

We did a family vacation in Sequoia and Yosemite last summer. Beautiful country, but there are some very steep winding climbs depending on where you go. Which raises the point that you can "push the limits" more if you limit the conditions.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 05:39 PM
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Will it tow, yes.
Will you be happy with how it tow, no.

The pilot lacks the correct power for towing heavier loads. It lack the correct power to also deal with the massive lack of aerodynamics from a camper. It lacks the correct power to tow up the hills. You will either be going super slow and be a nuisance to other drivers on the road, or you will try to stay with the flow of traffic and burn through gas faster than cargo ship at full tilt.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 05:54 PM
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Jesus F'n Christ!

5,000 means 5,000 no matter WHAT!

NO WAY your Pilot cannot handle a decent on a 13,500 mountain inColorado with a 5,000 trailer if property equipped.

There are far too many snowflakes in this country...

Don't haul a trailer if you can't DRIVE a trailer.

Side note: Just because a man drives a Ferrari, it does not make him a Ferrari driver.

'Nuff said.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zillafreak View Post
Will it tow, yes.
Will you be happy with how it tow, no.

The pilot lacks the correct power for towing heavier loads. It lack the correct power to also deal with the massive lack of aerodynamics from a camper. It lacks the correct power to tow up the hills. You will either be going super slow and be a nuisance to other drivers on the road, or you will try to stay with the flow of traffic and burn through gas faster than cargo ship at full tilt.
Lots of truth in this comment... additions based on my personal experience towing with the Pilot:

If you keep the engine RPM's high, I personally believe Pilot has adequate power to tow a load of 3500-4000 lbs through almost every condition with, the possible exception of some of the very high elevation passes in Colorado. Even through mountain passes in BC and Alberta Canada, I was ALWAYS able to hold the posted speed limit or higher and was NEVER the traffic blocker I hate. In fact I would often be passing other vehicles.

BUT... the fuel economy is simply terrible. Yup, cargo ship is a great way of putting it.

I fully agree that the aerodynamics of the trailer is a massive factor here. A 4000 lb low flatdeck trailer will tow considerably better than a square travel trailer. It's just logical. But with the Pilot it's a major factor. It is not a full size vehicle as far as wheelbase and we shouldn't try to make it one.

I have no personal experience towing with the Pilot over 4000 lbs so can't comment on the higher end of the scale.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 06:50 PM
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For general discussions on towing we created a towing section. Current gen Piloteers wanted to keep every subject here.
But take a look in the Towing section. Might find good tips.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 06:55 PM
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"5,000 means 5,000 no matter WHAT!"

Actually, NO, it means 5000 lbs if there is nothing in the vehicle besides you, including other occupants. How often have you met that condition?

[edit] I guess maybe you get one skinny passenger, if all she takes is a purse...

"NO WAY your Pilot cannot handle a decent [sic] on a 13,500 mountain inColorado with a 5,000 trailer if property equipped."

There are two paved roads in Colorado that get above 13k feet, and the National Parks Service won't let you on them with a trailer, even if you were silly enough to try. So your claim will go untested, and IMO that's a good thing.

No doubt, trailering experience and the manner and conditions in which one expects to trailer are important factors. The OP didn't cite trailering experience, but he did ask for guidance on what is prudent, not merely what is possible. And OP has indicated he is conservative in risk assessment. Is it prudent and low-risk to push the absolute limits?

Towing Capacities - Towing a Trailer-tow_limits.jpg

Last edited by Wanderer; 01-11-2017 at 07:04 PM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 08:18 PM
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Get a Tahoe and be done with it.

- Mark
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 08:31 PM
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But then you have to drive a Tahoe.
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