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I have a 2016 Pilot EX AWD. Did not come with factory tow package and the manual indicated it was necessary to install the extra cooling fins if I want to increase my towing capacity to 5000lbs. I have a 4000lb travel trailer. My mechanic indicated I didn’t need to install if I just replace the tranny fluid more frequently. I’d prefer not to bother with the cost and the install but don‘t want to burn out the tranny. Anyone have any experience or insight into this? I’ve always trusted my mechanic but want to get another opinion.
 

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I have a 2016 Pilot EX AWD. Did not come with factory tow package and the manual indicated it was necessary to install the extra cooling fins if I want to increase my towing capacity to 5000lbs. I have a 4000lb travel trailer. My mechanic indicated I didn’t need to install if I just replace the tranny fluid more frequently. I’d prefer not to bother with the cost and the install but don‘t want to burn out the tranny. Anyone have any experience or insight into this? I’ve always trusted my mechanic but want to get another opinion.
Yes, I'd install a transmission cooler along with changing the fluid more frequently.
The other thing I would do if I had to pull that much weight is disable the VCM. The last thing you need is that function playing havoc on your transmission.
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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Welcome and thanks for registering at piloteers.org. We are glad you have chosen to be part of the community and we hope you enjoy your stay.

Yes the ATF cooler is an essential piece of equipment for towing above the stated 3500 lbs. You need to realize that you are asking the motor and transmission to propel not one 4000 lb load but two 4000 lb loads. Quite simply you can pay for the cooler now or pay for a new transmission later.

Please take a moment to look over the FAQ section. If you need assistance please use the “message” function to contact any staff member.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register at the Honda Owners web site. It is full of information you may find useful about your particular Honda vehicle(s).

Enjoy and all the best,


Daltongang
 

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Not essential to tow, it’s essential for longevity of the transmission. It’s your gamble, knowing how fragile early Honda V6 transmissions are I installed the cooler when new on my fwd Pilot with the tow package.

I haven’t had transmission issues yet (knock on wood and regular fluid changes)
 

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2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
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These transmissions can barely handle everyday driving without burning up, so yes please install a ATF cooler if you plan on towing.
 

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2012 Honda Pilot
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What about if you don't do any towing? Would it be beneficial to install a transmission cooler in central Texas with no towing?
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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What about if you don't do any towing? Would it be beneficial to install a transmission cooler in central Texas with no towing?
I pay insurance on a brand new 2020 Passport Touring bi annually in case there would ever be any sort of incident that damaged my vehicle. I live in the mid US and have installed the ATF cooler. I figure it is a one time insurance payment that helps protect the longevity of my vehicles transmission.
 

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What about if you don't do any towing? Would it be beneficial to install a transmission cooler in central Texas with no towing?
I'm in Texas and the answer is yes. A noticeable improvement in keeping your trans temp lower than without.
 

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2015 Honda Pilot EX-L with RES
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If you plan to keep the vehicle long-term, then it is well worth the investment (money and time). I was in the same boat with a 2015 EX-L with RES and ensured it had all of the Honda towing options, including the ATC, so I could safely haul. My trailer is only a little lighter than the weight of your trailer and I can tell you I've been able to haul that trailer through numerous states with no issues. Just remember to change the transmission fluid more frequently than recommended in the manual.

One thing I did not see discussed is how you will be towing. If you do not have towing bars, you should seriously consider Equalizer brand towing bars (I have no association with them other than being a customer, have used them for 12 years, and won't haul anything heavy without them). If installed correctly, the bars can take a considerable amount of tongue weight off the vehicle, putting it back onto the trailer, which makes the trailer far easier to haul. While you still need a good margin of error when calculating hauling weights, it can make a considerable difference. The Equalizer bars also act as a sway bar, so you don't need to buy that separately. To install the bars correctly the first time, go to a shop familiar with how to install them. There is a good video on the Equalizer website that discusses installation. From your perspective, the back of the vehicle will squat far less, which also means the rear will be far less squirmy and easier to drive.


Scott C.
 
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