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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We got our 2017 Honda Pilot back in the fall and just bought a 25 foot trailer. I figured there would be some difficulty off the bat accelerating and we kept our max speed at 65 miles per hour. I noticed that my RPMs were going through the roof when attempting to accelerate - especially going up hills ( I did anticipate this). I did some online searches and some suggestions were made in regards to using the paddle shifters, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to just keep my car in the regular driving gear and take it easy while accelerating. I understand that I have to take it easy with towing this trailer as it's just over 3,800 lbs. I'd appreciate any suggestions you guys may have on this. I don't want to ruin my transmission and just want to be as smart as I can with towing the trailer.
 

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2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
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Just because your trailer says it has a weight of 3800 lbs that does not mean you can safely tow it. Is your Pilot 2wd or AWD? Do you have the ATF cooler? 6 speed or 9 speed transmission? How many passengers are you carrying? What is the total gross weight of the vehicle, and trailer when fully loaded, (potables) food, gear etc, including passengers and their luggage/gear. Is the tongue weight where it should be, too light or too heavy? Do you have the Eco button pushed?

There are a lot of factors, I have only mentioned some, that come into play when pulling a trailer.

Yes the sequential shifter is good for towing. I use a 3/4 ton PU as my tower. It has an OD shut off button on that is specifically for towing so that the thing never goes into the top road gear. You can do the same with the sequential shifter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So the good news is that I have all wheel drive and have 9-speed transmission. I've never used the paddle shifters before so I'm nervous about driving and then having to switch modes. Should I start out using the sequential mode instead and then work it up from there? I do have Eco mode on. I'm not sure what the ATF cooler is.
 

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Automatic Transmission Fluid cooler. Google it (images), then look thru the bottom grill opening to see if its there. Post a pic looking thru the bottom grill......we'll tell you if you have a factory Honda ATF cooler.
 

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Do not tow the vehicle again until you have done the following:

1. turn off eco mode.

2. Verify you have the ATF cooler. It should look something like this....
137995

and it will be installed in front of the radiator area, generally the lower area,

3. Read the manual completely on both towing a trailer and sequential shifting.

4. Make sure that you have accurately figured out the total weight of the vehicle and trailer including all passengers and gear. The few bucks the Public weight station charges is worth the money.

Make sure you understand tongue weight and how to properly load the trailer to get the proper tongue weight. Even better, at least to me, get one of these. I use the larger, bigger drop version on my truck. Makes tongue weigh simple.
 

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IMO......If towing just about anything, I would spend a little coin on a device, that simply plugs into the OBD-II port under the dash, that will display tranny fluid temp (TFT). There are a number of devices out there that will display TFT along with other data. FWIW, I use a ScanGauge II and currently have it set to display transmission fluid temp (TFT), engine coolant temp (CT1), radiator cold tank temp (CT2) and intake air temp (IAT) on our '17 Ridgeline.

Our Rigi is FWD AT6, so no factory cooler. When I noticed TFTs at 200F+ (211F peak) just running around town in high 90s ambient temps NOT towing, I decided to add an aftermarket tranny cooler to the Rigi......like I have on numerous past vehicles. Yesterday, 107F ambient was displaying on the dash.....however, TFT peaked at 168F with similar slow driving around town as when I saw 211F. YMMV🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can try to take a better picture but let me know if this is clear enough.

137996
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Automatic Transmission Fluid cooler. Google it (images), then look thru the bottom grill opening to see if its there. Post a pic looking thru the bottom grill......we'll tell you if you have a factory Honda ATF cooler.

Thanks so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Automatic Transmission Fluid cooler. Google it (images), then look thru the bottom grill opening to see if its there. Post a pic looking thru the bottom grill......we'll tell you if you have a factory Honda ATF cooler.
I just posted my picture below
 

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That looks like a tranny cooler to me.

It would be interesting to know TFT when you are towing your trailer.......even not towing, for that matter.
 

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The next thing I would suggest is to pull your trailer, loaded up, across public scales. They will measure both trailer weight and tongue weight, for a very nominal fee. Doing so eliminates any/all guessing. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just started freaking out because I was looking at the fine print next to my hitch and it says that the safe maximum out of 3,500 pounds and I was lead to believe that can pull 5000 pounds.
 

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I believe AWD and the tranny cooler boost the tow limit from 3500 lbs to 5000 lbs......at least that's the way it is for the Ridgeline. Someone else needs to verify that.

I presume you are not the original owner? I don't think Pilots come from the factory with a hitch.....I'm thinking it's a dealer installed accessory, as is the trailer light harness and tranny cooler, but again, an experienced Piloteer needs to verify.
 

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Make sure you get the weight the right way. Take everyone in the family with you. Have them pack their normal stuff they would take, make sure that the vehicle is fully fueled and the trailer is fully loaded along with the amount of potable water you will normally carry, and then go to the scale. It is easy to lull yourself into a sense of security on the weight if you don't do this. I have found that most people can not estimate the weight of the gear/luggage etc that people bring with them, and they most often estimate low not high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Make sure you get the weight the right way. Take everyone in the family with you. Have them pack their normal stuff they would take, make sure that the vehicle is fully fueled and the trailer is fully loaded along with the amount of potable water you will normally carry, and then go to the scale. It is easy to lull yourself into a sense of security on the weight if you don't do this. I have found that most people can not estimate the weight of the gear/luggage etc that people bring with them, and they most often estimate low not high.
This is very helpful. Thank you so much! I think the next step is ensuring that I have an ATF. We have a camping trip planned for Friday. I was able to get the trailer home saftley to my home from the rv place (over an hour and a half drive) without any issues so I'm hoping it was a good indicator.
 

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I'm guessing that you have the Honda OEM hitch due to the 3500 lb tow limit sticker. The ATF cooler(Honda OEM) comes with a new sticker that raises that tow limit to 5000 lb. If you don't have the 5000 lb sticker, there's a good chance that you don't have the ATF cooler
 

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The pic in the OP's post #7 sure looks like a cooler. 🤷‍♂️ Presuming that is the Honda cooler in the OP's pic, then whomever didn't apply the new 5K lb sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm guessing that you have the Honda OEM hitch due to the 3500 lb tow limit sticker. The ATF cooler(Honda OEM) comes with a new sticker that raises that tow limit to 5000 lb. If you don't have the 5000 lb sticker, there's a good chance that you don't have the ATF cooler
The pic in the OP's post #7 sure looks like a cooler. 🤷‍♂️ Presuming that is the Honda cooler in the OP's pic, then whomever didn't apply the new 5K lb sticker.
I just double-checked an hour ago and there definitely is a cooler there. I agree, the previous owner did not replace the sticker.
 

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I have a 2019 Elite AWD with dealer installed hitch and ATF. I have not weighed my loaded trailer but don’t think I am over 4k. Based on this thread, I’m going to take it to public scales and find out where I really fall.

One more suggestion I would make is to put it in Sport mode, in addition to Eco off. Maybe Dalton and PLT could comment on if they think that is good plan or not. It moves the shift points to higher RPM and helps me when I am towing. I have a dual axle trailer, which makes me feel like I am reducing the workload on my Pilot a little. Not sure what yours is.
 
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