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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings, Gruppe: I just test-drove the Pilot and the Toyota 4runner V8, as I am shopping for a new vehicle for general commuting, travel, and occasional boat towing. I'm wondering if anyone has towed with the Pilot.

Our boat and trailer weigh 4100 lbs and we do tow occasionally, mostly short distances at below 50 mph. Current tow vehicle is 97 Grand Caravan which has 3500 lb towing limit and struggles with our boat. I had been assured that the boat/trailer would not go over the limit, not true.

The Pilot specs and owner's manual give 3500 lbs as the limit for towing, but allow 4500 lbs for boat trailers. What gives? The dealer had no clue. The only thing I could imagine for the difference is that most boats have less wind resistance than your typical travel trailer.

I'd like some feedback or a pointer to another forum where this has been discussed. BTW, I did like the Pilot better for my purposes (better ride, more room) but the V8 4runner did, of course, have a lot more power for towing. I think it would be overkill for the limited towing we do.

Thanks in advance,
Jon
 

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You are correct. The difference in tow ratings with a boat is because of wind resistance.
You have a tough choice to make. When you get you boat loaded down with fuel and supplies you will be at or over the limit for the Pilot. It might help to know where you will be towing. If on flat land for short distance, then maybe the pilot might suffice.
 

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If you do a search under towing there are many good threads on the subject. I tow my bass boat quite often and it does quite well. My boat weights 1900lbs with trailer and the Pilot handles it better than I had expected. I also test drove the 4runner before I bought the Pilot and is also good but for my purpose the Pilot was the winner. If you don't need the extra space or can do with worse gas mileage go with the 4Runner (also much better off-road). If gas mileage and space as well as a better ride are more important to you then look no further than the Pilot. If your towing is over 4000lbs but is not done often the Pilot should handle it with no problem. A third one to consider would be the Nissan Murano if you are OK with the looks and less space but is an excellent choice too.
 

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If the Caravan worked the Pilot wil be fine

Of course this is not a recommendation to exceed the rated limits of the vehical.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow what a good list this is! Thanks everyone for the useful comments and pointers. I will continue my research and let you all know what I decide.

One comment assumed that the Dodge GC handles the boat ok. Sorry if I left this impression, the GC is definitely overmatched when the trailer is attached. That's one reason (only one of many) we are trading it.

Jeffola, If you are out there, can you please contact me offline? I'd like to ask you a few questions. Your Pilot looks great with the boat behind it!

Jon
 

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I have not towed with our Pilot but I was surprised last weekend. I had the whole family in it and set the cruise on 65 mph. We were driving in Southern Illinois on relatively flat land and and it was frequently downshifting to third gear to maintain speed on slight grades. This was 5 people with a total weight of 675 pounds and no gear. Maybe this was because 65 mph falls at a poor spot in the gearing. If I was going to tow something over 3,000 pounds for any distance or any hills I think I would look into something more powerful. You said short distances below 50 mph so you might get by.
 

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??

You sure it was dropping to 3rd?

The first "downshift" you would feel or see on th etach would be the torque converter unlocking (Still in 5th)
The next would be the 5th to 4th drop
Then would be the 4th to 3rd drop.
I have never had mine go to 3rd without a good bit of throttle (My doing).
I do notice the torque converter unlocking nore than I would like, but that is too be expected with such a high 5th.
 

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You may be right and I am mistaking the torque converter unlocking for the 5 to 4 downshift. In that case it would be dropping to 4th instead of 3rd. I'll have to be more careful with my counts and see what it comes out to.
 

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QUestions

Does this happen with teh cruse control on, or with yourt foot on the gas?
I tend to drive between 70 and 80 on th ehighway, and notice it unlock at most inclines, but only a hill will take it to 4th.
Touching the gas to accelerate will quickly take it to 4th.
 

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On our Thanksgiving trip to Ohio, had as many as 8 folks and LOTS of gear in the Pilot - nop problems with downshifting or lack of power.

bakerlar:2:
 

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Re: QUestions

N_Jay said:
Does this happen with teh cruse control on, or with yourt foot on the gas?
I tend to drive between 70 and 80 on th ehighway, and notice it unlock at most inclines, but only a hill will take it to 4th.
Touching the gas to accelerate will quickly take it to 4th.
I noticed it with the cruise control which holds a tighter range. I think with my foot I'm more likely to let it drop some speed on an incline.
 

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tach difference ?

If my torque converter is locked, I guess I cruise at 80 mph at around 2,100 rpm. If it drops out of the torque converter, what does tach register at 80 mph?
What is the difference in rpm for 5th locked vs 5th and not-locked?
 

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Torque converters

An unlocked torque converter will have a speed vs load curve, not a fixed RPM at MPH.
I think I see about 2500 to 2800 when the converter is unlocked at about 80MPH, but I was not paying real close attention.
 

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We towed our S2000 from North Carolina to New York and back with no problems. Towed very, very well. No lack of power, IMO. Also, braking was not an issue. I was very concerned at first but it towed fine.
 
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