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I was hoping someone would have a little more experience with this than I do.... I have an 03 with nav and all the fun things but the 1 accessory I didn't get was the hitch since I currently have nothing to haul around.

I was looking to do some simple light weight hauling and was wondering how much money I really need to send here. The first thing I would haul would be a trailer large enough to haul a couch for instance. Do I really need to install all of the coolers for this type of job or is that more for hauling boats, etc?

I've read a few threads about installing the OEM hitch yourself and I'm sure I can do that but I'm not quite sure what I'll I'd need to order from www.hondacuraworld.com. Obviously the hitch... would the wiring harness be the item below it "Honda Pilot Trailer Hitch Harness"?

Any help on these would be great! Thanks for the time.
 

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YES, get the hitch AND the wiring harness (at the very least).

What exactly do you mean by "light weight hauling"? 50lbs of bikes, a 1,000lb utility trailer, a 2,500lb boat?

If you've read the threads, you'll see that most of us who tow, have installed coolers. If you're just using the hitch for a bike rack, hitch basket, or occasional rental utility trailer, don't bother.

If it's just the bike carrier, you can save yourself some $$ with an aftermarket hitch. But from Honda, you get the receiver as well, so that whittles-away at the price difference. If you EVER plan on towing, even if it's just the rental trailer, get that wiring harness - sure beats a ticket, or a hack-splice job (which will cost you more anyways).

Ultimately, it's your choice, but I hope this helps.
 

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I haul a 1180 lb. utility trailer and did not install the coolers...no need. I just did the Honda hitch and harness-
 

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MG Pilot said:
I haul a 1180 lb. utility trailer and did not install the coolers...no need. I just did the Honda hitch and harness-
Just a note.

Honda used to allow towing up to 1000 LB without coolers and has withdrawn that recommendation.

That fact that you have not had a problem YET, should be taken with caution.

"No need" is fairly strong statement.
 

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This is not a popular opinion around here, but you may want to be aware of the position of American Hona and especially of your dealer regarding the installation of a hitch without the whole package.

Effectively, for all intents and purposes, this may more or less void the warranty on your transmission.

Officially it doesn't void the warranty, but according to American Honda (800-999-1009, I spoke with Rebecca, very nice), the dealer can assume that you've been hauling 18-wheerler rigs around the country and therefore refuse to do a warranty repair on the transmission. American Honda said it would be up to me to prove that I hadn't towed anything heavier than a bike rack and that since it would be impossible for me to prove this a dealer would be justified in refusing to do a repair under warranty and assuming that the customer was lying (even if I swore on stack of Protestant bibles).

Apparently, there are some diagnostics that can be done to confirm or rule out that a transmission probelm was caused by towing, so perhaps the stack of bible scenario was a bit exaggerated, but you may want to discuss this with your dealer or service manager ahead of time.

Some people may add the hitch and take it off before they bring the Pilot in for service, but it may also be possible to get reassurance from your dealer.
 

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American Honda said it would be up to me to prove that I hadn't towed anything heavier than a bike rack ..."
Completely and totally false in the entire United States. According the Magnuson-Moss Act it is the dealer who must prove you exceeded recommendations, not visa versa.

robrecht said:
This is not a popular opinion around here, but you may want to be aware of the position of American Hona and especially of your dealer regarding the installation of a hitch without the whole package.

Effectively, for all intents and purposes, this may more or less void the warranty on your transmission.

Officially it doesn't void the warranty, but according to American Honda (800-999-1009, I spoke with Rebecca, very nice), the dealer can assume that you've been hauling 18-wheerler rigs around the country and therefore refuse to do a warranty repair on the transmission. and that since it would be impossible for me to prove this a dealer would be justified in refusing to do a repair under warranty and assuming that the customer was lying (even if I swore on stack of Protestant bibles).

Apparently, there are some diagnostics that can be done to confirm or rule out that a transmission probelm was caused by towing, so perhaps the stack of bible scenario was a bit exaggerated, but you may want to discuss this with your dealer or service manager ahead of time.

Some people may add the hitch and take it off before they bring the Pilot in for service, but it may also be possible to get reassurance from your dealer.

The statement that "for all intents and purposes" the installation of a tow hitch without coolers "may more or less void the warranty on your transmission," is not at all true. Honda dealers sell hitches without coolers and install hitches without coolers.

Honda would be completely unable to explain why it is their official policy to sell and install hitches alone if it voids the warranty.

If you had to prove you only used the hitch for a bike rack, then even with factory coolers, would you also have to "prove" you always towed less then the recommended maximum even with coolers?

My guess is a call to a states attorney general's office would totally stifle any attempt to get out of a warranty if indeed you used your hitch for only a bike rack.

Automotive warranties can only be voided for "abuse" and only on parts affected by "abuse." The burden of proof is on the warranter, not the warranty holder. If you use your hitch for bikes under no circumstances can Honda void the coverage on the trans, and under no circumstances can they "assume that you've been hauling 18-wheeler rigs." Anyone from Honda North American making such a statement is without a doubt not versed on automotive warranties.

My personal opinion (with some towing experience):
1) if you plan to use for a bike rack or cargo platform forget the coolers. Anyone saying that your warranty will be voided is wrong.

2) If you are definitely going to tow you should get the coolers. If you are halfway through warranty you may wish to get aftermarket coolers which are 1/3 the price of oem and have been used for towing for decades. Remember, by law, equivalent aftermarket parts do NOT void warranties nor do they shift burden of proof.

3) I do note that in 2002 Acura changed their tow recommendations to mandate coolers for uses other than bike racks. Before that it had been up to 2500lbs without coolers. I doubt they would have made this change if they were not experiencing some transmission failures from high capacity towing. So while in many cases on most mid to large SUV's you can occasionally tow up to the mid capacity without any coolers, on the pilot there may be a known trans problem. I would get the coolers if I were to do any towing.

4) Unless I lived in a very hilly area (or if I went off road a lot) and drove in a way in which I felt the converter slipping (which is why you need cooling), I would be wary about about the recommendation by some that getting the coolers "anyway," even if you aren't going to do any towing is "insurance." Ask a used car evaluator, if they see coolers they will assume the vehicle was used for heavy towing and reduce value regardless of what you say. Keep in mind you can always get coolers for the same price when and if you actually need them.

As far as installing wiring harness this also can not be automatically construed as used for towing. They are often required for 100 lb hitch mounted box carriers that are no different than bike racks except they may block vehicle's lights.
 

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Geo said:
Completely and totally false in the entire United States. According the Magnuson-Moss Act it is the dealer who must prove you exceeded recommendations, not visa versa.

The statement that "for all intents and purposes" the installation of a tow hitch without coolers "may more or less void the warranty on your transmission," is not at all true. Honda dealers sell hitches without coolers and install hitches without coolers.

Honda would be completely unable to explain why it is their official policy to sell and install hitches alone if it voids the warranty.

...
Well, it is apparently the policy of some (one?) dealer(s) NOT to install the hitch without the coolers and if the customer insists, a dealer may write on the work order that the customer has refused to install the coolers against the advice of the dealer.

See this post from this thread:
Leo Gomez said:
... I just had the trailer hitch installed yesterday w/o the coolers. I told the guys at my local Honda Dealership that I was just towing my 2002 BMW R1150RT (combined weight of both bike and trailer are 750 lbs.). They only 'admonished' me what the factory states, "The trailer hitch MUST be installed with both coolers". I saw they put on the invoice that they 'advised' me of the need for the coolers and that I refused...
Anyway, thanks for the reference to the Magnuson-Moss Act. I will bring this up the next time I discuss this issue with Honda America and see what they say.

Also, please don't miscontrue my purposefully vague language (for all intents and purposes ... may more or less void the warranty). I thought I had made it clear that Honda very specifically says that a hitch without coolers does NOT void the warranty. OTOH, they do say they will stand behind a dealer and their diagnosis of a transmission problem.
 

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I bought an after market Draw-tite hitch for the pilot. Like it very much and not a big deal to install your self. I used a small el cheapo floor jack (one of those mini things) to lift up the center and then manipulated the arms to line up the holes and that was it. Much easier if you have someone to help out. If I remember correctly the honda oem hitch has a strange weld notch for the exhaust. The draw-tite just has a nice curve in it to allow for the exhaust pipe. One just needs to undo the rubber springs and slip the hitch and then redo the springs.

jim
 

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Rob,
I didn't want to come off hard line on you, but rather anyone at honda making statements that simply don't reflect the law.

Dealers seeking a profit can say anything. for example the quote someone got (thirdhand): "They only 'admonished' me what the factory states, "The trailer hitch MUST be installed with both coolers".

I would like to see anything from the "factory" stating this. It is clearly a totally falsified or misrepresented statement. The very fact that the hitch is sold seperately makes such a statement silly.

Again, if you are going to tow, get the coolers. If you want the hitch for a bike rack, $600 to $800 more for installed coolers is nuts.

Lastly, your dealer is not the "final word" on any warranty claim. Honda America would escalate any serious dispute to a regional level. So whoever at Honda said the buck stops at the dealer is probably unaware of Honda's own policy never mind your legal protections. Beyond Honda per se, there are a huge number of consumer complaints resolved on the side of the consumer for automotive warranties.

Look the pilot clearly has a vaste array of possible load factors. putting in eight adults and driving throught he mountains more of a load than a 1,000 lb tow on level ground. I think one needs to put the precautions into persepective.
 

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Geo said:
Again, if you are going to tow, get the coolers. If you want the hitch for a bike rack, $600 to $800 more for installed coolers is nuts.
I agree that it's nuts, but I also think the issue boils down to a few rather diverse elements:

1) Case law, legal reasoning, willingness to test a burden in court, etc.
2) The level of trust between a given customer and a given dealer
3) Diagnostics that supposedly can indicate that a transmission problem results from towing without coolers
4) Recent Acura/Honda transmission problems
5) Differences between Pilot transmission and the especially problematic Acura/Honda transmissions
6) Customer's comfort level with Acura/Honda transmissions

Personally, I have not yet decided what level of risk I'm willing to bear for a bike rack or how willing I may be to negotiate/litigate a $5K transmission repair judged to be out of warranty.

I may be accused of being too cautious, but, frankly, I don't have to make this decision yet so I'm taking my time and discussing this with Honda and my dealer and anyone here who's interested.

In the meantime, I am still interested in learning about several of the items listed above.
 

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Geo said:
Rob,
I didn't want to come off hard line on you, but rather anyone at honda making statements that simply don't reflect the law.

Dealers seeking a profit can say anything. for example the quote someone got (thirdhand): "They only 'admonished' me what the factory states, "The trailer hitch MUST be installed with both coolers".

I would like to see anything from the "factory" stating this. It is clearly a totally falsified or misrepresented statement. The very fact that the hitch is sold seperately makes such a statement silly.

Again, if you are going to tow, get the coolers. If you want the hitch for a bike rack, $600 to $800 more for installed coolers is nuts.

Lastly, your dealer is not the "final word" on any warranty claim. Honda America would escalate any serious dispute to a regional level. So whoever at Honda said the buck stops at the dealer is probably unaware of Honda's own policy never mind your legal protections. Beyond Honda per se, there are a huge number of consumer complaints resolved on the side of the consumer for automotive warranties.

Look the pilot clearly has a vaste array of possible load factors. putting in eight adults and driving throught he mountains more of a load than a 1,000 lb tow on level ground. I think one needs to put the precautions into persepective.
You might also find it interesting that the Honda website now show a "Standard" and "Maximum" rating (for '04). See this thread.

:)
 

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I purchased my Honda hitch from my dealer's website (www.manhonda.com).

The description for the hitch follows:

PILOT 03, ALL, HITCH ONLY, FOR LOADS UNDER 1500LBS

I figured with this description I was good for towing up to 1500 lbs without the coolers.
 

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alexct said:
I purchased my Honda hitch from my dealer's website (www.manhonda.com).

The description for the hitch follows:

PILOT 03, ALL, HITCH ONLY, FOR LOADS UNDER 1500LBS

I figured with this description I was good for towing up to 1500 lbs without the coolers.

Hmmmm, did it say it was a Class-III - or only a Class-I?? The "regular" Honda OEM hitch is a Class-III and the hitch itself is rated for at least 4,500#.

:8:
 

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alexct said:
I purchased my Honda hitch from my dealer's website (www.manhonda.com).

The description for the hitch follows:

PILOT 03, ALL, HITCH ONLY, FOR LOADS UNDER 1500LBS

I figured with this description I was good for towing up to 1500 lbs without the coolers.
Is that the description from Manchester Honda, OR from HONDA?:confused:
 

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alexct said:
Its the standard class III hitch.

Here is the URL.

http://www.manhonda.com/ap/index.cfm?Level=80&PG=3&PID=172&Level=80

I figured they sold it with that description because it did not come bundled with the coolers.
Yeah, since the hitch itself is still rated as a Class III regardless. Interesting the number (1500#) they picked. :8: I wonder how they arrived at it - since the Honda site list "standard" (no coolers)as 1000#.
 

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colorider said:
Yeah, since the hitch itself is still rated as a Class III regardless. Interesting the number (1500#) they picked. :8: I wonder how they arrived at it - since the Honda site list "standard" (no coolers)as 1000#.
Has anyone found a specific reference that; Standard=No coolers?

It makes sense, but Honda has pulled the no cooler towing rating off the MDX and Odyssey before the Pilot was even released.
 

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N_Jay said:
Has anyone found a specific reference that; Standard=No coolers?

It makes sense, but Honda has pulled the no cooler towing rating off the MDX and Odyssey before the Pilot was even released.
Not specific to "no coolers", but as I described here,it sure looks like that is what Honda is saying.
 

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colorider said:
Not specific to "no coolers", but as I described here,it sure looks like that is what Honda is saying.
I agree that it "looks", "seems" and even "appears", but it does not "SAY" it!:2: :2: :2:
 
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