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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all
I'm looking into adding towing capabilities to my 2019 Pilot Touring AWD. been reading a lot online (including here), but info seems to be a bit inconsistent, so thought I'd ask a few specific questions...
Plan is to tow a light weight trailer (up to 3000lb dry weight, like the coachman clipper 17cbh or KZ Sportsmen 181BH), and I live in the MW, so no crazy mountains, but I'd still like to keep it conservative.

As I understand it, I can either get the full towing package from a dealer or get the parts online and have the dealer install it, but I have a few questions on what I need to get and how/who can install it...
  • The parts needed if I buy myself: Trailer hitch, harness, ATF cooler kit, hitch receiver. Anything else I'm missing?
  • - What about break controller? if I get one on my own, will the dealership install it too or would they only do Honda OEM parts?
  • What if I want to have a WD hitch? I assume the OEM hitch is not WDH (and I know Honda say it's not needed). if I get an aftermarket WDH instead of the OEM one, can I have the dealership install it too? any recommendations for a WDH/anti sway option (heard good stuff on Fastway E2)?
  • any downside to the WDH? I understand the OEM one looks much better than any aftermarket, but seems like WDH is still worth it
Thanks!
 

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Hi all
I'm looking into adding towing capabilities to my 2019 Pilot Touring AWD. been reading a lot online (including here), but info seems to be a bit inconsistent, so thought I'd ask a few specific questions...
Plan is to tow a light weight trailer (up to 3000lb dry weight, like the coachman clipper 17cbh or KZ Sportsmen 181BH), and I live in the MW, so no crazy mountains, but I'd still like to keep it conservative.

As I understand it, I can either get the full towing package from a dealer or get the parts online and have the dealer install it, but I have a few questions on what I need to get and how/who can install it...
  • The parts needed if I buy myself: Trailer hitch, harness, ATF cooler kit, hitch receiver. Anything else I'm missing?
  • - What about break controller? if I get one on my own, will the dealership install it too or would they only do Honda OEM parts?
  • What if I want to have a WD hitch? I assume the OEM hitch is not WDH (and I know Honda say it's not needed). if I get an aftermarket WDH instead of the OEM one, can I have the dealership install it too? any recommendations for a WDH/anti sway option (heard good stuff on Fastway E2)?
  • any downside to the WDH? I understand the OEM one looks much better than any aftermarket, but seems like WDH is still worth it
Thanks!
Nice 2019 Pilot, I'd think keeping it looking stock would be important.
 

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Sounds like you are very new to towing. A couple of things to clarify for you.

- Honda doesn’t make a Brake Controller (OEM). You can do some research on brake controllers and purchase your own.

- You need to read up a bit on Weight Distributing Hitches and Hitch Receivers, as it seems you don’t quite understand what each is and what they do. You are confusing a WDH with the hitch receiver (permanently bolted to the vehicle frame in which you insert the hitch).

Here’s some links for some clarity:



- Not sure about your Pilot but my 2013 4wd Touring came with everything already factory installed (coolers, hitch receiver, factory wired 7 pin connector, brake controller wiring harness was in a bag, etc.). All I had to purchase was a brake controller (I chose the Tekonsha P3 Prodigy) and a weight distributing hitch (I chose a Curt without sway control as my camper is low profile when towing). Now my manual states something like a WDH is not recommended as an “improperly adjusted“ WDH......yadda....yadda....but in my experience with any weight in back the Pilot sags too much. So I chose to level it out some for handling and safety reasons. It is “properly adjusted”.
 

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Hi all
I'm looking into adding towing capabilities to my 2019 Pilot Touring AWD. been reading a lot online (including here), but info seems to be a bit inconsistent, so thought I'd ask a few specific questions...
Plan is to tow a light weight trailer (up to 3000lb dry weight, like the coachman clipper 17cbh or KZ Sportsmen 181BH), and I live in the MW, so no crazy mountains, but I'd still like to keep it conservative.

As I understand it, I can either get the full towing package from a dealer or get the parts online and have the dealer install it, but I have a few questions on what I need to get and how/who can install it...
  • The parts needed if I buy myself: Trailer hitch, harness, ATF cooler kit, hitch receiver. Anything else I'm missing?
  • - What about break controller? if I get one on my own, will the dealership install it too or would they only do Honda OEM parts?
  • What if I want to have a WD hitch? I assume the OEM hitch is not WDH (and I know Honda say it's not needed). if I get an aftermarket WDH instead of the OEM one, can I have the dealership install it too? any recommendations for a WDH/anti sway option (heard good stuff on Fastway E2)?
  • any downside to the WDH? I understand the OEM one looks much better than any aftermarket, but seems like WDH is still worth it
Thanks!
I have a 2016 Elite AWD. We had the dealer install the Honda factory tow package when purchased. It includes everything needed except the brake controller. The good news is that the Pilot is pre-wired for a controller with a connector under the dash. There are YouTube videos on installation. No matter what Honda says you need a WDH. Have the RV dealer include a hitch in the purchase of the RV and have them install it. The set up is quite complicated for a newbie. As for towing, and AWD can tow up to 5,000 pounds. We have a Gulfstream Vintage 23 ft trailer that we have towed across the country and up many mountains out west were we live. You will have no problems towing. The Pilot is an excellent tow vehicle as long as you keep within the weight parameters. In fact once you are experienced, you will hardly know the trailer is behind you. Hope this helps. Happing camping!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you.

I'm very new to towing indeed, so appreciate the tips.

your link and the etrailer.com videos were very helpful. I thought the WDH is mounted differently than a normal hitch, but I see now that it just connects to the receiver (which can still be the OEM one) and the "extra" parts are more on the trailer side.



So I basically need the dealership to install the ATF cooler, harness, tailgate adapter and hitch receiver and I can add the brake controller.



I planning to first rent an RV so will have to connect and adjust the WDH when I pick it up. . I'll have to look into it some more, but seems like it's do-able.

anything else I'm missing?
 

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So I basically need the dealership to install the ATF cooler, harness, tailgate adapter and hitch receiver and I can add the brake controller.

anything else I'm missing?
You can install ATF Cooler, Wiring harness and Hitch yourself if you wanted to.

The wiring harness and hitch are extremely easy, I would recommend doing them yourself.

The wiring harness is only a little tricky, if you have larger/huge hands and bc you won't be able to see what you're doing BUT there are plenty of comments and pictures to walk you through it first so you know what to expect. (search my posts)

The ATF cooler is a little more challenging but again still very doable. I'm debating whether I actually want to do it myself or have the dealer do it. I was considering doing it myself and then taking it to the dealer for the Transmission drain and fill so I don't have to mess with adding the correct amount of fluid.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can install ATF Cooler, Wiring harness and Hitch yourself if you wanted to.

The wiring harness and hitch are extremely easy, I would recommend doing them yourself.

The wiring harness is only a little tricky, if you have larger/huge hands and bc you won't be able to see what you're doing BUT there are plenty of comments and pictures to walk you through it first so you know what to expect. (search my posts)

The ATF cooler is a little more challenging but again still very doable. I'm debating whether I actually want to do it myself or have the dealer do it. I was considering doing it myself and then taking it to the dealer for the Transmission drain and fill so I don't have to mess with adding the correct amount of fluid.

Good luck.
yeah, I might be able to do the hitch myself.
what about moving the tailgate hands free sensor? is that also pretty easy to do?
 

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yeah, I might be able to do the hitch myself.
what about moving the tailgate hands free sensor? is that also pretty easy to do?
Yes.
Very easy.

When you purchase the hitch the new (shorter sensors) tailgate hands free is included. You'll need a utility knife to cut the plastic trim at the grooved location.

You will also need a small flat head screw driver to disconnect some of the clips. Again if you search my post, I included a picture of what I used.

For me the hardest/longest part was getting in writing harness disconnected from behind the plastic trim and cigarette lighter (backside) in the hatch so I could hook up to it.

I also didn't want to cut the black tape in case I cut the wire so I unraveled it by hand and I have slightly shorter fat fingers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just to make sure, is the OEM hitch/receiver (the part that's bolted to the vehicle) rated for a WDH?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything about a hitch receiver being rated for a WDH...
I'm asking because on the etrailer website it says: "
A weight distribution system requires 5 main components in order to operate:
  • Class III, IV, or V trailer hitch receiver rated for use with weight distribution
  • Weight distribution shank (slides into trailer hitch)
  • Weight distribution head assembly
  • Spring bars
  • Frame brackets
"
I know the OEM one is class III, but couldn't find anything about rated for use with WD
 

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I'm asking because on the etrailer website it says: "
A weight distribution system requires 5 main components in order to operate:
  • Class III, IV, or V trailer hitch receiver rated for use with weight distribution
  • Weight distribution shank (slides into trailer hitch)
  • Weight distribution head assembly
  • Spring bars
  • Frame brackets
"
I know the OEM one is class III, but couldn't find anything about rated for use with WD
Like I said, I’ve never seen one actually say it’s rated for a WDH. Just tried doing a search and don’t see anything. Interesting.....

I stand corrected. Here’s some for a 2019 Pilot on etrailer:

 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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I think you have the basic necessities worked out. Class III hitch, Wiring harness, ball(s) and brake controller.

WDH are one option, but I would encourage you to check out this as well. Most of my towing has been of larger, heavier trailers and not always the same trailer. The Weight Safe has long been my choice although in a longer drop since my towing vehicle was a 3/4 ton dully PU.

To me the advantages are that every time I pulled a trailer I knew if the weight was properly distributed and if not could make the necessary adjustments. Also it worked on any trailer I might need to pull.

The WDH limits you to one trailer only. It has to be adjusted and if your load is not exactly the same each time then it should be adjusted to the new load. The other downside is if you should ever move up to a 2 axle trailer a WDH can cause the rear axle bearings to wear out quicker as it shifts the weight, usually to the back axle.

Either one would work. You need to evaluate your situation and pick the one that will work for you.

Excellent set of recourses https://www.etrailer.com/article-categories.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thought I'd share what I ended up with, in case it's helpful for other people...
Ended up getting the parts online (mostly from OEM Honda Parts at Majestic Honda | Majestic Honda Automotive Parts and the ATF cooler from Shop Genuine Honda OEM Parts & Accessories Online - Bernardi Parts Honda as it was OOS elsewhere). not all dealerships gave me a breakdown by part, but probably 30-40% savings by buying online.
On labor, I figure I could do the hitch and harness and have a dealership do the ATF cooler, but ended up having them install all of it as the difference wasn't that high. Labor estimates (as well as an all-in offer for parts and labor) varied significantly between the several dealerships I've checked (ranging from ~$1500 to $2500 all-in price for the exact same thing), so definitely shop around.

As for WDH, I'll probably get the Andersen No Sway hitch, rather than the more traditional ones as I like the design better and it's significantly lighter. Might wait for a good deal on it though as it's $500+ and I'll only need it for late May.
Still need to do some research on brake controller, so would appreciate any recommendations (2019 Pilot Touring, if it matters)
Cheers!
 

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If I had to do it over again I would choose this option: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brake-Controller/Curt/C51170.html Wasn't available when I installed my Curt brake controller.
This is a popular option, however I am not fond of the wireless aspect personally: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brake-Controller/Curt/C51180.html
I read that this is a popular controller. A little more sophisticated as it gets some of its information from the OBD II port so it is working in conjunction with the vehicle. https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brake-Controller/Tuson-RV-Brakes/335DL-50.html

Good luck and pull safely.
 
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