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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen people adding coolers and oem hitch to their non tow package vehicle. However, the upgrade of it to get also 5000lbs rating power train from 3500lbs default likely omits key items.

From other vehicles I have had and seen. That level of 5000lbs in factory builds includes multiple components.
  • ATF Cooler Auxiliary for the transmission
  • hitch in Honda case
  • HD Radiator
  • addition rad cooling fan (dual fan setup)
  • some might have an Engine oil cooler as well.

For the most part this is highly unlikely to be achieved after the fact. There is no question that the ATF cooler is a must have and even if not looking for near 5000lb loads. It can extend transmission life considerably no matter how you drive it. Most SUV have such a cooler standard.

Factory hugging hitch should have been standard equipment in this class of vehicle. IMO
 

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I agree that factory-intalled hitch should have been standard equipment. Period.

As far as I know, adding the oil cooler for the transmission is all that is required to get to 5000 towing capacity.

I honestly think this is a ruse from Honda to let dealerships make a quick buck on the customers. Honda oght to be ashamed for the sort of highway robbery they push on their customers.
 

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I've heard of people buying a "tow package" vehicle that only had a hitch installed. I think it varies based on how different dealers or salespeople talk about/sell the 'package'.

I've not bought a truck, but that world seems to be more straightforward on what comes with their tow packages.
 

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2016 EXL AWD Nav with sensing , 2008 Corolla SE
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I don't think it is really a factory option but the tow package is more of a dealer add on which includes the hitch, wiring harness and trans cooler if you want to tow 5k lbs.
The trans cooler should be standard equip for sure even if there is no hitch.
 

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I've heard of people buying a "tow package" vehicle that only had a hitch installed. I think it varies based on how different dealers or salespeople talk about/sell the 'package'.

I've not bought a truck, but that world seems to be more straightforward on what comes with their tow packages.
Yep, that was the way mine was when I purchased it used and the sticker on the bumper I indicated 3500lbs max towing. Added an aftermarket trans cooler though so now I am good for 5k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Tow pack on most makes doesn't include the hitch except in bigger SUV's. Explorer, Hummer, come to mind.
But factory wiring and all thats needed for enhance cooling of the engine and transmission are added in it. Light controller is a user add on as it was in my highlander along with the hitch.

Due to the low riding height I read about. Only a factory hitch make sense if going down dirt roads its likely to get hung up and/or the ball height would have to be increase with a 4-5 inch rise on the insert.

I'd question if the cooling rad/fan combo is up to the task of the additional payload. visual checking one against the other would catch the dealer red handed wrong. LOL

EDIT:
With the TSB on transmission shudder etc due to over heated damaged ATF fluid. Indicates that a good cooler should have been their even for the non towing builds. It couldn't handle its own load as it was engineered. The fluid change and software is likely a temporary fix. It will require fluid servicing through its life unless a cooler had also been added, by someone!!!
 

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I'd question if the cooling rad/fan combo is up to the task of the additional payload. visual checking one against the other would catch the dealer red handed wrong. LOL
I think radiator and cooling is not an issue unless you're going uphill in the Arizona summer. Even then, just watch your Temps and slow down if you need to. I think an uprated cooling system is more of a common factor for big trucks equipped to haul 10k lbs or more. No reason to do it for smaller unibody SUVs.
 

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2003 EX-L (347,000), 2021 AWD Touring 8.
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Hitch/harness hardware, ATF cooler and, for those with a handsfree liftgate, a kit to move the sensor as the hitch will block it. The hardware that goes into a "towing package" varies by make/model. Hyundai/Kia for the Telluride/Palisade don't reference an ATF cooler, but do recommend a rear suspension auto-leveling device.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think radiator and cooling is not an issue unless you're going uphill in the Arizona summer. Even then, just watch your Temps and slow down if you need to. I think an uprated cooling system is more of a common factor for big trucks equipped to haul 10k lbs or more. No reason to do it for smaller unibody SUVs.
Not true, I had a Sante Fe Ltd which got the 3500lb rating from 2000 of the other models I got a bigger rad and 2nd fan behind it along with a transmission cooler. Others have it by design off the assemble line line my Highlander does. All advertising show can tow up to 5000lb (misleading) since its not the standard rating as it requires the tow option upon ordering. Picky but important.
 

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Not true, I had a Sante Fe Ltd which got the 3500lb rating from 2000 of the other models I got a bigger rad and 2nd fan behind it along with a transmission cooler. Others have it by design off the assemble line line my Highlander does. All advertising show can tow up to 5000lb (misleading) since its not the standard rating as it requires the tow option upon ordering. Picky but important.
Interesting! Learn something new every day. Increased cooling however does not seem to apply to Hondas (at least Pilot and Ridgeline).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A friend bought one of the new Ridgeline truck years ago and go a second 3 years later both on lease.

I went over the spec's in detail and notice all the HD stuff was built in standard. HD cooling, transmission cooler, towing setup
Maybe the Rad for engine cooling along with the fan is on these as well. Guessing on that statement, hence assume its not unless you can verify on your vehicle. I don't like guessing, if in doubt I look it up.
 

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Where does the OTW Honda "warmer" on top of the tranny come into play. It's the only "factory installed" tranny related item. Every thing else is a dealer installed Honda accessory.

I doubt Honda would warrant any heat related tranny repair in which an "aftermarket" tranny cooler was installed....Honda would probably insist on a genuine Honda accessory cooler installed by a dealership.🤷‍♂️
 

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This coming summer will be the 5th summer of my using my 2017 FWD Pilot for towing here in central Florida. I have over 15K towing miles on this Pilot already. I tow a 1600lb trailer/boat every week 75 miles round trip. My engine temperature gauge has never wandered above its normal range even when towing in 90 degree heat. I have no ATF cooler installed. Drain and replace your ATF fluid evry year and you should be fine. If you are pulling in excess of 3500lbs then get an ATF cooler installed. I have 68K miles now on this Pilot.
 

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2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
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IIRC, my Gen 1 (08) FWD manual states that up to 2000#'s, w/o a tranny cooler.

Many of us on here use the Valvline MaxLife ATF.
My 08 has had 4 x d&f's with it in the last year!
My '15 4WD had had 1 x d&f, and as it ages, will have the Maxlife ATF from now on.
 

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Where does the OTW Honda "warmer" on top of the tranny come into play. It's the only "factory installed" tranny related item. Every thing else is a dealer installed Honda accessory.

I doubt Honda would warrant any heat related tranny repair in which an "aftermarket" tranny cooler was installed....Honda would probably insist on a genuine Honda accessory cooler installed by a dealership.🤷‍♂️
Anyone can purchase the OEM parts and DIY if they want to save some bucks. I chose to install an aftermarket cooler that is twice the size of the OEM one so I don't think that I will have any heat related issues with the transmission. I am also using Valvoline Maxlife ATF and it is working flawlessly in my 6 speed. The car is almost 5 years old with almost 60 k miles so I am not concerned about the powertrain warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Just back from a Honda dealer and looked at a few in the rain. Got heavy but eased off by the time I looked over the interior of the 2017 EX. Cloth seat which I like, however not power rear door, (already have on my Highlander), lane change or blind spot alert if someone is approaching is not on it. Other lane management yes. Heated steering neither as in Canada its handy especially for older drivers.

Had the 6 speed and I did test drive. Acceleration and shifting were all good, by my standards anyway as its not a sports car nor is the engine a Hemi. It has 2 more inches at the rear inside than my highlander with 2nd row up.

Positive impressions thus far.
EDIT: Towing capacity with AWD. Does AWD get a higher rating than FWD. Sales guy said they're all AWD. Maybe he meant the ones he had. But some of you have FWD only I see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Got it but AWD itself build doesn't add more towing capacity. The cooler itself allow us to tow more safely as I figure may have been the case. In other words. Honda doesn't add more cooling to the transmission or vehicle when its AWD version over the 2WD version. It appears even the new years are the same as the sale statement is still the same with two tow capacities mentioned without qualification.
 

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Got it but AWD itself build doesn't add more towing capacity. The cooler itself allow us to tow more safely as I figure may have been the case. In other words. Honda doesn't add more cooling to the transmission or vehicle when its AWD version over the 2WD version. It appears even the new years are the same as the sale statement is still the same with two tow capacities mentioned without qualification.
AWD at least in the USA is part of the factor of 5000lbs towinmg. You need AWD and the trans cooler, otherwise AWD alone is still 3500lbs. I suspect it is for traction purposes since the natural design of the Pilot otherwise is FWD, not RWD like some other SUV/trucks.

I too agree that the trans cooler should be standard even without towing in the desert states in the USA at least. I have a touring w/9spd awd. In the summer here it breaks 110F often. We were coming back from a camping trip on a 114-116F day with a headwind and it was just my wife, twin 5yo boys and I along with tent camping gear. Trans was hitting 218F, I could not imagine what it would be with a 2000lb trailer as well.

I know someone locally in Vegas with a 2019 Ridgeline 6spd and they got an over heating warning light for the trans just normal fwy driving in the summer. Not sure if fluid was already near its replacement interval or not but NoLo Designs was working on a fan bracket for the 6spd trans cooler since the 6spd runs hot. One youtuber with a '19 Passport had to keep stopping for a same generation Ridgeline due to trans temp light coming on several times on one of the off-road trails they were on.

So that said, I would pick the 9spd for towing personally. I have had no trans issues yet but do not have too many towing miles. The vehicle does have 97k miles now though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Appreciate the feedback, VIPER74656 sent me a link to the owners manual. I went through in the PDF covering many very important areas to me personally. I don't buy a vehicle because of a sound system although the manual did not specify the feature were in specific trims. I found out beforehand. That SiriusXM is not in the EX, but in EX-L and up. I have yet to validate that 100%. LOL Sometime information is in error and I start again and again. But I had SiriusXM in a 2008 Sante Fe long ago and I am a subscriber still for 3 vehicles in the family.

Sorry back to the manual I read. The 9 speed transmission description of opertation of even PARK as well as use of the 9 speed mode via the D/S is quite overwhelming. OMG It would take some serious reading a least one more time and like have a vehicle to work it out...too complex, if you've read it.

OCI is mystified on it as well. Pilot has one of the super smart or pretends to be deciding when the oil change needs doing. LOL I error on my own smarts earlier rather than later!! The give no mileage/Kilometer or time related whatsoever. I have seen those systems in other vehicles and changed mostly on mileage rather than it. If it came on and i hadn't my mentality couldn't hold off too long and changed for peace of mind even though earlier than I expected. I assume its a spin on filter but also poor photo image with zero details.

I did not see where the START/STOP OF THE ENGINE was controlled and to set permanently off. I was told they have that ability to be off which doesn't reset to on the next time you drive it.

I think I have to look at 2018 (a good year) with a capable trim model. Power tailgate is a must have as my Highlander 2012 does and my wife. Shopping out we both use it and pointless upgrading with downgraded features. LOL Heated steering is not a big an issue though.

Ahhh....I am retired and depending on life etc this could be my last vehicle. I should enjoy it and not regret my choice!!

Edit: Before going through the manual I looked at CURT Manufacturing hitches out of curiosity for wiring and hitch info. Post some info in another thread where their spec's exceed the Pilots by a good margin. EG 6000lbs load & 900lbs tongue for one as well as it tucks up quite close under the rear. this is shown in online picks of their site. However, the harness available is for Tow Package equipped models Only !!! Nothing else is mentioned. This give me pause as what can be done. Many auto use complex signal voltages, polarity changes, as well as pulse tech to have them operate. The simple splice of a flat four converter will never work.
 
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