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Discussion Starter #1
I'm close to making a decision to buy a 2004 Pilot. Honda says that the tow rating is 3500# for regular trailers and 4500# for boats. I wonder what they consider poontoon boats? My 24' pontoon boat weighs close to 3500# boat, motor, trailer, etc., therefore I am wondering how it might pull. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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Tow Away

You shouldn't have any problems!!!!

Tow Safely!

PILOTinginCO
Sagebrush Pearl-EX
 

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As I understand it, the reason for the extra 1000 lbs. is allowed when towing a boat because the boat is somewhat aerodynamic. I don't think a pontoon boat has any helpful aerodynamic qualities. I still wouldn't worry one little bit about it, as long as you have the transmission and power steering coolers installed.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! I thought that the additional 1000# was due to aerodynamics. Sometimes automakers will indicate the square footage of frontal area for trailer and thus drag.
 

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You should be fine with a 3500# trailer. Yesterday I took my parents' boat to the river. My mom drives a Tahoe but she wanted to use the car for garden stuff and my dad wanted to put the boat in the water, so I offered the use of the Pilot. It worked very well, I was surprised at the ability of a "small" SUV since we have been towing with the Tahoe for many years. The boat we towed was a 1978 16' Sea Ray bow rider, it weighed about 2700# in 1978 when delivered and the trailer weighed about 1000#, we figured another 700# in gas and added weight from the years of the boat asorbing water into the wood frame, so that takes us to 4400#. I had two other adults and a dog in the Pilot when we towed it and the Pilot worked as well as the Tahoe ever did. Yes the transmission hunted between 4th and 5th on the highway and I had to fill up with premimum fuel but I would rather have used the Pilot and gotten 15-16 miles/gal. than the Tahoe which usually gets 10-12 towing. Overall I am extremely happy with the Pilot and I think its towing abilitlies are right where Honda rated them, which isn't always the case when manufactures give a tow rating. Way to go Honda, and the Pilot delivers yet again! :29:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for that vote of confidence in the Pilot. Does the Pilot have an overdrive lockout? I guess now all I have to do is wait to see what changes there will be in '04. Just need to know what the "electrical changes" will be.
 

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The Pilot does not have an overdrive lockout, but you can select D3 which will keep the transmission in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gears only.
 

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The Pilot does not have an overdrive lockout, but you can select D3 which will keep the transmission in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gears only.
I just towed my boat the first time and wished badly I had the lockout. While cruising at 60 mph I noticed the rpm gauge jumping around a bit. This confirmed that the tranny was hunting a lot. I was a little peeved. My wife said "don't look at it". So that's what I did and no problems. The suspension is a little soft for towing purposes. On the plus side was launch ramp performance. Pulling the boat out of the water was flawless, no slippage at all.
 

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TheWorm said:
How 'bout some pics of the boat? :4:
Again if I get the digital camera or scanner in the near future I will post them. It always seems that I never have enough time to get my own stuff done. I did take pictures of the "rig" with a 35mm camera so I hope to get them on here soon. It is also killing me that I haven't had time to get our brand new computer hooked up, hopefully tonight I can get to Home Depot to get the cable and jacks I need to run the cable for the high speed internet up to the office, then I have no excuse for not going out and buying a digital camera. Patience, I must learn patience...:4:
 

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PSUPilot said:
The Pilot does not have an overdrive lockout, but you can select D3 which will keep the transmission in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gears only.
Actually, given that BOTH 4th and 5th gears are overdrive, D3 is effectively an overdrive lockout.

I wonder what the tranny failure rate will look like 5 years from now, given the steep gearing. This tranny was first used on the '01 MDX, then the '02 Ody, and now the '03 Pilot.
 

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Yeah, I tried D3. The RPMs were too high. About 3500 @ 60 mph. D4 would have been perfect and put me at about 2500 rpm.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I tried to post a picture that I have of the pontoon boat, but it is too large and I can't seem to resize it. My new camera allows me to resize on the fly so I'll get some this weekend.
 

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I'm thinking the pontoon boat will be right at the max for the Pilot. Here's why. Most pontoon boats are not aerodynamic. In this case the Pilot's max tow rating is 3500 lbs. It's the less wind resistance of a conventional boat that gives the extra 1000 lbs. Towing a squared off vessel like pontoon boat is the same a towing a travel trailer. Of course, it all depends on how tall and flat the front of the boat is.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the download information. Here's an old picture. I've added a bimini in the front which will, of course, add weight and drag.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, it did work this time. The boat now has another bimini in front which will add more weight and drag. Now what are your thoughts about towing this boat? It has a 90hp Merc 2cycle.
 

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pmw0826 said:
Yes, it did work this time. The boat now has another bimini in front which will add more weight and drag. Now what are your thoughts about towing this boat? It has a 90hp Merc 2cycle.
If you are at 3500# I say no problem. It also depends on where and how far you are going and from the size of the trailer wheels my guess would be that you don't tow long distances. I found the Pilot to be very competent with a boat that weighed almost 1000# more than you are talking about. It comes down to priorities, if you want the best tow vehicle because you are towing all the time this is not it, but if you want the best mid-size SUV with good towing abilities the Pilot is a great choice. Of course I am biased being a Pilot owner, but I spent a lot of time evaluating how much towing vs. other driving and the full-size SUVs did not make sense, and on top of that I was very impressed with the Pilots abilities towing. I hope this answers your questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you for the information. I have the boat in a launch and store program now and don't envision much towing. . .perhaps once or twice a year. Therefore the Pilot should do a fine job.
 
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