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We just finished a 700+ mile tow to bring home a new Scamp 16' trailer (about 2,000 lb. empty) with our newly purchased 2018 AWD Pilot set up to tow 5,000 lb. with 6 speed transmission. We were surprised by the constant downshifting on the slightest inclines, like highway overpasses. We did not have the brake controller hooked up because we wanted to see how the Pilot did without it and it did fine, but we plan to use it in the future anyway. We called Scamp service to find out how we could make sure the trailer brakes were off. I checked hubs a few times to see if they were getting hot. They were not. It made us wonder how we would ever tow this trailer in mountains. Our gas mileage was 15 -16 mpg. This Pilot gets 28 mpg when not towing. I guessed it would get 18-ish towing this light trailer. We tried the D4 button on the gear shift but 4th gear at 60 mph revs the engine at 3,000 rpm or a little more which didn't seem like a good idea for an extended time. The Pilot seemed to do better without cruise control on if we let it slow down on uphill runs and speed up on downhill runs. Does this sound right?....because it is sure not what I expected.
 

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Downshifting is the way to do it especially on hills. On flat terrain I leave it in D (5th). Honda engines have a higher power ban and like to rev high. 3000rpm is nothing to worry about at all, even for extended periods.

I tow 3800# with my 2013 Pilot. No issues.
 

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Probably not the place to ask this, but is it bad for your transmission if you shift gears while going up an incline? On a bicycle if you are pedaling hard and change the gear, it could break something (I learned from experience). Can you use the same logic on a car transmission or do car transmissions not work like that? It always worries me when I’m going up a hill and the car is changing gears while its under a lot of load.
 

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2019 Pilot EX-L AWD, 265-60-18 Defender LTX M/S
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We just finished a 700+ mile tow to bring home a new Scamp 16' trailer (about 2,000 lb. empty) with our newly purchased 2018 AWD Pilot set up to tow 5,000 lb. with 6 speed transmission. We were surprised by the constant downshifting on the slightest inclines, like highway overpasses. We did not have the brake controller hooked up because we wanted to see how the Pilot did without it and it did fine, but we plan to use it in the future anyway. We called Scamp service to find out how we could make sure the trailer brakes were off. I checked hubs a few times to see if they were getting hot. They were not. It made us wonder how we would ever tow this trailer in mountains. Our gas mileage was 15 -16 mpg. This Pilot gets 28 mpg when not towing. I guessed it would get 18-ish towing this light trailer. We tried the D4 button on the gear shift but 4th gear at 60 mph revs the engine at 3,000 rpm or a little more which didn't seem like a good idea for an extended time. The Pilot seemed to do better without cruise control on if we let it slow down on uphill runs and speed up on downhill runs. Does this sound right?....because it is sure not what I expected.
When you say set up to tow 5,000lb did you confirm that the ATF cooler was installed? Some people said it was setup but when actually checking, dealer never installed the cooler. I would need to read through the manual again but MANY towing things say to stay below 60-65mph, plan for a longer trip. In and out of overdrive does aggravate tranny things. My old Sequoia had listed to turn OD off when towing and it was a bigger tow vehicle just like using D4.

Also consider something like scangauge so you can monitor your transmission temperatures. Plan to change the tranny fluid more often (DIY is MUCH cheaper). Same thing for rear differential and front diff/transfer case. Consider a VCM disabling device so you use all 6 cylinders all the time and help save the tranny. Trailer has brakes, use them! Trailer should be able to stop itself and not stress the Pilot brakes more. Biggest thing is for safety. Trying to stop an extra 3,000lbs (once you load with all the stuff) in an emergency is not good. Longer braking will also lead to the pad material transfer that you think the rotors are warped.
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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From the Manual on towing:

Towing Speeds and Gears

• Drive slower than normal.
• Obey posted speed limits for vehicles with trailers.
• Use the (D position when towing a trailer on level roads.

Driving in Hilly Terrain
• Monitor your temperature gauge. If it nears the red (Hot) mark, turn off the climate control system and reduce speed. Pull to the side of the road safely to cool down the engine if necessary.

Automatic transmission models with shift lever
• Shift to the D4 position if the transmission shifts frequently.

Automatic transmission models with electronic gear selector
• Change the gear position to (S position if the transmission shifts frequently.


You are asking the engine and transmission to not only move your 5000 + lb vehicle plus pull a 2000+ lb brick on wheels.
 

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2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
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I'm sorry you were 'surprised' by the results of your towing.

Is this what you tow?
143313


That's like an old fashioned bread box- that you're towing at highway speeds.
Even though the try and streamline the edges- that is a LOT of added wind resistance.
Using the inverse square law of resistance- as you may know-
When you double the speed, you quadruple the resistance (something to that effect).

What you described about pulling that little bread box 700miles is what I'd probably expect.

ALSO- you do have a V6, not a V8. Big difference with highway towing too.

I used to own and pull a Pop up camper with my v8 truck. it doesn't stick up, but it's REALLY wide- so it sticks out past the truck with camper shell on it. At highway speeds, even that was a LOT more resistance.
Now if the sides had been even with my truck- it would have pulled with much less resistance at 65-75mph.

Did the salesman have you thinking it would not add that much resistance? I'm sure they did.

Reality- bread box being pulled by a V6.

I think what you have will work fine for this. It's just going to take some getting used to.
 

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The Ridgeline Owner's Manual says limit speed to 55 mph towing a fixed-sided trailer. I would think the AWD Pilot manual with the Honda tranny cooler would read the same. If one follows the guide lines in the Owner's Manual, towing 2K lbs at 55 mph in D4 should be a walk in the park for the Honda 3.5L.

By all means, verify that a tranny cooler is installed......small radiator looking thingy behind the lower front grill, drivers side.
 
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