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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2013 Pilot, and have towed just small 1000lb trailers for doing Hardware runs.

Planning out a 2 week summer trip through Black Hills and staying on the east side of the Rockies. We are thinking about buying a Travel Trailer, but wanted to try before we buy. The only rental that is close to what we are wanting to rent is but has a slide out pushing it to 3,900 pounds.

Should I not get that close to the 4,500 lbs limit or should I look to get a little lighter? With family we are pushing 4,350...
 

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I have a 2013 Pilot, and have towed just small 1000lb trailers for doing Hardware runs.

Planning out a 2 week summer trip through Black Hills and staying on the east side of the Rockies. We are thinking about buying a Travel Trailer, but wanted to try before we buy. The only rental that is close to what we are wanting to rent is but has a slide out pushing it to 3,900 pounds.

Should I not get that close to the 4,500 lbs limit or should I look to get a little lighter? With family we are pushing 4,350...
I'd rent a truck too. It's better than putting your Pilot to the test.
 
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That 4350 will be before you add all your "stuff" to the trailer. Bedding, toys, cooking gear and fuel, clothes and luggage all add weight, and it's pretty easy to underestimate what all that stuff adds. Will you add 600 lbs of "stuff"? How big is the water and drain tanks? Do your math. It's not a cardinal sin to go over a little, but you'll want to adjust your driving expectations a lot at the weight limit.

Add a good trailer brake controller yourself, and spend a little time familiarizing yourself with it and its adjustments.

Nail Grease adds a great suggestion to rent a "real" truck for towing if you get too heavy. If you can fit the family in one comfortably, of course. The Pilot NA V6 depends on some RPM's to make towing torque, while "real trucks" have an easier time with more torque available at lower engine speeds.

If you do take the Pilot, be sure all your services are current. Check brakes and tires and update them in advance if at all marginal. Cooling systems are taxed while towing.

Without knowing where you are leaving from, no way to know if you'll be towing just to the eastern Rockies or going over them to get to the Black Hills. For us, the drive over that way on I90 is usually cooler than I80 in the summer, if that helps. Yellowstone or Glacier, sometimes Tetons, vs. Rocky Mountain national parks. Over the divide towing an at-capacity trailer will offer a good lesson in pedal patience in the Pilot.

Enjoy the trip!
 

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Is 3900 the GVWR or unladen? How much weight do you have inside your Pilot?

Honda's owners manual has an excellent explanation of the trade offs you have to make inside the car to accommodate the weight of the trailer.
 

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To me, tires would be a great concern. I'd want tires that have the higher maximum inflation value of 51psi versus the factory tires of 44psi. The squishy touring tires that seem to be so popular these days are less than adequate to max out the load capacity of a Honda Pilot. I'd want to be prepared to have the ability to put in a few extra pounds safely, to keep the sidewalls off the pavement. This can prove to be difficult with a touring tire. I'd up the game to an All Season or an All Season High Performance tire. Not to mention any tire names to start a tire debate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hey thanks for the advice! We are coming out of Kansas’s City.

I have decided to rent a Wolf Pup w/o a slide out. That runs at 3000 lbs before loading. Light and easier to pull. RVshare is great place to rent.
My dear wife is concerned about the wear and tear on the Pilot. Should I be worried?
How is towing with a heavier trailer? Because I am use to seeing across the top of the trailer, and having one about 5-10’ shorter.
 

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If you have kept your vehicle in good condition, with fresh fluids, quality tires and brakes, etc. it should be no issue. Just remember you have a thundering 250 hp and less torque through 5 gears trying to pull around 8,000 lbs by the time you are all loaded up. Take your time, leave plenty of room and drive smooth.
 
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My dear wife is concerned about the wear and tear on the Pilot. Should I be worried?
Yes. Because towing doesn't come without a cost. Wear and tear is real. It steals longevity at a faster pace than normal driving. It's not that we can't do so safely, if we follow the guidelines set by the manufacturer.
How is towing with a heavier trailer?
3000Lb is better than 3900. I'd always prefer my vehicle to be heavier than what I'm towing so the tail doesn't wag the dog.
Because I am use to seeing across the top of the trailer, and having one about 5-10’ shorter.
Yes, the rear view mirror won't be of much use. I'd likely flip it up so as not to bother looking into it. The engine will work harder due to wind resistance (drag). I assume your vehicle is equipped with a transmission cooler.
 

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Yes. Because towing doesn't come without a cost. Wear and tear is real. It steals longevity at a faster pace than normal driving. It's not that we can't do so safely, if we follow the guidelines set by the manufacturer.

3000Lb is better than 3900. I'd always prefer my vehicle to be heavier than what I'm towing so the tail doesn't wag the dog.

Yes, the rear view mirror won't be of much use. I'd likely flip it up so as not to bother looking into it. The engine will work harder due to wind resistance (drag). I assume your vehicle is equipped with a transmission cooler.
If I remember correct, all 2nd gens came with transmission coolers and the hitch. The wiring is the only thing you needed to add.
 
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If I remember correct, all 2nd gens came with transmission coolers and the hitch. The wiring is the only thing you needed to add.
I guess the guy on the factory line that installed transmission coolers lost his job in 2016, or his hours cut to do just Elites and Touring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If I remember correct, all 2nd gens came with transmission coolers and the hitch. The wiring is the only thing you needed to add.
I had one dealership that told me that my 2013 did not have a Transmission Cooler, and it would cost $180 to install plus parts. I hate that dealership but it is the one closest.
So I called my favorite dealership and they looked up my Vin and said I am good to go!!!
 

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I guess the guy on the factory line that installed transmission coolers lost his job in 2016, or his hours cut to do just Elites and Touring.
Priorities were different at the time. Look at the shape of the 2nd gen, Honda was going after the soft road/adventure crowd and they tow a lot of small trailers or put hitch mounter carriers on. The 3rd gen (like most manufacturers) is more concerned with tech and gadgets so the budget shifted to other things.

I had one dealership that told me that my 2013 did not have a Transmission Cooler, and it would cost $180 to install plus parts. I hate that dealership but it is the one closest.
So I called my favorite dealership and they looked up my Vin and said I am good to go!!!
Excellent news! Have you towed something larger and heavier before? Little utility trailers are a whole different ballgame, they may be a huge pain to back up but they are so much more agile and have almost no impact on the tow vehicle so they take no effort to tow. Bigger trailers with more drag, more side area for tractor trailer wakes to push and more effect on the suspension take getting used to.

I will always recommend, if you are unsure of how your vehicle will perform (which you should be since you've never towed this heavy with the Pilot) then plan on going slow and taking extra time to get where you are going. Check the terrain before the trip and know which areas you need to scrub speed before getting to a long downhill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Little utility trailers are a whole different ballgame, they may be a huge pain to back up but they are so much more agile and have almost no impact on the tow vehicle so they take no effort to tow.
Had about 2000lb on short trips, but totally planning on a slow easy trip. Hitting all easy highways. The renter is supplying anti-sway.

Going to stay on the east side of the Rockies... the most will probably be through the Black Hills but never been through.
 

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If I remember correct, all 2nd gens came with transmission coolers and the hitch. The wiring is the only thing you needed to add.
Transmission cooler came standard on 4WD, optional on 2WD. Notice the towing capacity difference on this spec sheet --> 2012 Honda Pilot Specifications and Features

The towing wiring harness came standard on Touring and dealer accessory on all lower trims.
 

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To me, tires would be a great concern. I'd want tires that have the higher maximum inflation value of 51psi versus the factory tires of 44psi
While they many times go hand in hand, psi isn't what to look for, load index is what tells the load capacity of a specific tire. Choosing a tire that puts your weight in the 50-75% capacity will give you the best balance between ride/handling/safety.
 

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While they many times go hand in hand, psi isn't what to look for, load index is what tells the load capacity of a specific tire. Choosing a tire that puts your weight in the 50-75% capacity will give you the best balance between ride/handling/safety.
From what I've seen, a higher psi max rating = more load capacity. Surely Honda doesn't expect us to keep our vehicle tires inflated to 32psi when loaded to max capacity. I'm certainly not advocating that anyone should inflate to 51psi. Tires that have a higher inflation rating are a bit heavier, stronger and better able to support my load. It's difficult to keep those soft sidewalls on a 44psi max rated touring tire off the pavement. Just can't imagine bring able to do so safely without a better tire.
 

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Most tire manufacturers have a load chart that you should consult when towing or hauling heavy loads. They tell you what PSI the tire should be at for the optimal balance of safety/capability/performance.
 
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Most tire manufacturers have a load chart that you should consult when towing or hauling heavy loads. They tell you what PSI the tire should be at for the optimal balance of safety/capability/performance.
Most people will simply hook up their trailer without knowing how much tongue weight is on the hitch. Just taking a moment, examine how much tire tread is setting on the pavement with the correct tire pressure, then taking a moment again, after hooking the trailer up to the vehicle. Add a little air as needed. I've loaded down my Pilot (without a trailer) to where I've needed to add a little extra air in the back tires. After the tires warmed up, It was running 44-45psi hot. Since I have 51 max psi tires, I can safely do so. I'd be pushing the limits of a light weight 44psi max rated touring tire after they warm up.
 
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