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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there is already a fair amount of discussion on this topic, but I am hoping to get an opinion on my personal situation:

We bought a 2020 Pilot EX FWD earlier this year, and are going to be adding a hitch. We will be using it to tow a small u-haul cargo trailer across the country and back. We may also borrow a small family camper (~1500 lbs) once or twice a year. Bike rack more often.

I like the look of the OEM hitch. Feel like it will be good for resale value. Like the extra clearance, etc.

I can get the OEM right now from Bernardi for $280 (free shipping), and feel pretty confident I can install myself.

I can't find a good deal on a wiring harness to go with the OEM hitch. Can get the Honda part for $150... or i can just get a Curt 4 flat for under $70 from eTrailer.

Questions are basically:

1) Is the clearance difference really going to make a pragmatic difference? Or am i almost certain to be just as happy with a Curt hitch?

2) Is there really any benefit to the OEM harness other than cosmetics (and the 7 blade)? is there any sense in spending twice as much if I just need the 4 flat?

I am leaning towards the OEM hitch and the cheaper harness.

Any advice is appreciated!
 

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I am leaning towards the OEM hitch and the cheaper harness.

Any advice is appreciated!
I tend to agree with you. If you're sure to never need the wiring for trailer brakes, just go with the flat 4 connection. I far prefer the looks (and clearance) of the OEM Honda hitch. Install is a breeze, especially as you will be installing on a new vehicle, so the hitch bolt holes won't be corroded.
 

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I tend to agree with you. If you're sure to never need the wiring for trailer brakes, just go with the flat 4 connection. I far prefer the looks (and clearance) of the OEM Honda hitch. Install is a breeze, especially as you will be installing on a new vehicle, so the hitch bolt holes won't be corroded.
As you, the price of the OEM wiring harness erked me the most. But I hated the look of an aftermarket hitch. I bit the bullet and forked out the dough for OEM.
If your towing anything, I recommend getting a transmission cooler if you haven't already got one.
 

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1) Is the clearance difference really going to make a pragmatic difference? Or am i almost certain to be just as happy with a Curt hitch?

2) Is there really any benefit to the OEM harness other than cosmetics (and the 7 blade)? is there any sense in spending twice as much if I just need the 4 flat?

I am leaning towards the OEM hitch and the cheaper harness.
The Curt hitch is a good after market hitch that will be lower than OEM. The lowered height doesn't affect performance and is primarily a cosmetic issue. Unless you're rock crawling I doubt clearance will be an issue on your Pilot. Pick the harness based on what you tow. Flat-4 from e-trailer works fine for the occasional rented trailer and hitch light. Get the 7 blade if you need it. On my application 2004 I made sure the flat-4 connector was installed under the bumper as accessing it through the inner cubby made no sense as per instructions from e-trailer.
 

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No need for a tranny cooler if your trailer is under 2000lbs. I have bee trailering with my 2017 FWD Pilot for over 3 years no problems. I do a 75 mile round trip every weekend with it. In florida no less.
 

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No need for a tranny cooler if your trailer is under 2000lbs. I have bee trailering with my 2017 FWD Pilot for over 3 years no problems. I do a 75 mile round trip every weekend with it. In florida no less.
If you've ever drained out black DW-1 syrup from your transmission after 19k miles, you might recommend a transmission cooler. This was without trailering.
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If you've ever drained out black DW-1 syrup from your transmission after 19k miles, you might recommend a transmission cooler. This was without trailering.
I'm with Nail Grease on the cooler, GET THAT. My 20k oil on left. total about 4 hours towing less than 2,000 lbs. I like the OEM hitch with the height and trim panel.

What plug is on the trailer you might borrow? Some small pop-ups etc have the 7 pin for battery charging of trailer as you drive. It would $uck to do it all in 4 pin and find you need the 7 pin or a 5 pin for a small surge brake boat trailer. Adapter down 7> 5 or 4 is easy.
 

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If you've ever drained out black DW-1 syrup from your transmission after 19k miles, you might recommend a transmission cooler. This was without trailering.
I drained and flushed out some of that DW1 syrup too and immediately installed a cooler and changed the inline trans filter. It's a must if you want your transmission to last even if you don't tow.
 

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I have the Curt hitch here in NYC and I've scraped multiple times coming out of parking lots. So the clearance does make a difference, I don't scrape any longer as I'm much more aware of how much clearance I need and I'll come out at more of an angle.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What plug is on the trailer you might borrow? Some small pop-ups etc have the 7 pin for battery charging of trailer as you drive. It would $uck to do it all in 4 pin and find you need the 7 pin or a 5 pin for a small surge brake boat trailer. Adapter down 7> 5 or 4 is easy.
Everything we plan on towing just has a flat 4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you've ever drained out black DW-1 syrup from your transmission after 19k miles, you might recommend a transmission cooler. This was without trailering
Based on all the specs I was going to skip the Transmission cooler (had added on to our 2014 Pilot), but these pictures are a bit worrying...
 

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We will be using it to tow a small u-haul cargo trailer across the country and back. We may also borrow a small family camper (~1500 lbs) once or twice a year.
Based on all the specs I was going to skip the Transmission cooler (had added on to our 2014 Pilot), but these pictures are a bit worrying...
A transmission cooler is cheap insurance. Are you handy with tools? Not a hard install.
I'd bump the tire preasures up to at least 35psi cold for less rolling resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A transmission cooler is cheap insurance. Are you handy with tools? Not a hard install.
I'd bump the tire preasures up to at least 35psi cold for less rolling resistance.
Comfortable doing the hitch myself, do not trust myself with the transmission cooler.
 

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Comfortable doing the hitch myself, do not trust myself with the transmission cooler.
Ok, I've got a couple of photos that can help if you reconsider a DIY.
 

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Comfortable doing the hitch myself, do not trust myself with the transmission cooler.
I have been thinking about installing the cooler myself as well. Had some hesitation due to the consequence of the failed installation. However, many folks have shared their experience and write up in this forum and on Youtube. After reading/watching them, I feel more confident about it now. My OEM cooler will arrive tomorrow. I got the ramp and creeper ready and will give it a shot this weekend. I will share my experience afterwards. Wish me luck.
 

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I know there is already a fair amount of discussion on this topic, but I am hoping to get an opinion on my personal situation:

We bought a 2020 Pilot EX FWD earlier this year, and are going to be adding a hitch. We will be using it to tow a small u-haul cargo trailer across the country and back. We may also borrow a small family camper (~1500 lbs) once or twice a year. Bike rack more often.

I like the look of the OEM hitch. Feel like it will be good for resale value. Like the extra clearance, etc.

I can get the OEM right now from Bernardi for $280 (free shipping), and feel pretty confident I can install myself.

I can't find a good deal on a wiring harness to go with the OEM hitch. Can get the Honda part for $150... or i can just get a Curt 4 flat for under $70 from eTrailer.

Questions are basically:

1) Is the clearance difference really going to make a pragmatic difference? Or am i almost certain to be just as happy with a Curt hitch?

2) Is there really any benefit to the OEM harness other than cosmetics (and the 7 blade)? is there any sense in spending twice as much if I just need the 4 flat?

I am leaning towards the OEM hitch and the cheaper harness.

Any advice is appreciated!
OEM hitch won't add additional value when you sell or trade in. With or without hitch, the price for a used vehicle is probably negligible.

I'm cheap and lazy, so I went with aftermarket hitch. Saved me $150 and it's easier to install. Personally, I don't think aftermarket hitch looks bad. Mercedes' OEM hitch also hangs below bumper, not integrated, just like aftermarket hitch for the Pilot.
 

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I'd go with the OEM hitch for the extra clearance and the more streamlined look... I didn't spend all that money on an SUV to have a big underbite sticking out of the bottom on the back. Looks like my 18 month old when her diaper is full.

I installed the 7 pin connector on my Pilot so I could tow heavier without concern, I did not on my Traverse since I didn't want to put in the HD radiator and I had the 7 pin on the Pilot. I'd err on the conservative side and do the 7 pin.
 

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Don't know if it's still a concern with current generation Pilots, but at one time some of the aftermarket hitches would interfere with stowing a full-size tire. Might be an issue if you carry a full-size spare, get a flat on a trip or have oversize tires fitted.
 

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I do like the OEM hitch for the clearance and integration into the bumper. I also prefer the 7 pin connector. A 7 pin to 4 pin adapter is easy to find. A 4 pin to 7 pin adapter is not.
 

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I will be getting a new OEM towing package hitch next week for towing a rv trailer. Does installing the transmission cooler require that the fluid be drained and new fluid added?
 
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