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Since the difference between the 3500 and the 4500 rating has to do with the aerodynamics of the trailer. it would lead me to believe that the limiting factor for trailers under 4500 lbs is heat load on the engine and drive line.

As for what sets the upper limit at 4500, it could be brakes, axel capacity, or additional heat load.
I doubt it is frame, engine HP, or Transmission capability (short term load).
It could also be a marketing trade off between warenty costs and perceived value.
 

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What frame?

Does anyone know for sure if the 3500/4500 towing weight is set because of the engine or the frame?

Given that the Pilot doesn't have a frame. Or, more accurately, its body is its frame, I would guess the main issue is the engine/drivetrain.

Honda's obsession with using coolers would seem to re-inforce that notion.
 

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The Unibody/frame

If you look under the pilot you will see it has a substantial "frame" compaired with most unibody vehicles.
Yes it is "body metal" formed into "frame members" rather than "body on frame" construction.
I would still believe that the "Body/Frame" regitity and strength would be critical factors when they determined the towing capacity.

As noted in other threads, the Honda factory hitch attaches to both the side 'frame rails', and the rear 'cross member'.
most aftermarket do not have this rear attachment.
 

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I have never seen the hitch for a Pilot. I don't know what the rating is, Class II or ClassIII. Is it a 2" receiver or smaller?

Here's some info on towing class from Uhaul:

Class 1 (Class I) hitch
Trailer hitch with capacity of up to 2,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 200 lbs tongue weight.

Class 2 (Class II) hitch
Trailer hitch with weight-carrying rating of up to 3,500 lbs gross trailer weight and 300/350 lbs tongue weight.

Class 3 (Class III) hitch
Trailer hitch with weight carrying rating of up to 5,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 500 lbs tongue weight. Also sometimes used to refer to a hitch with any 2" receiver, regardless of rating.

Class 4 (Class IV) hitch
Trailer hitch with weight carrying rating of up to 10,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 1,000 - 1,200 lbs tongue weight. Although many times any hitch with a capacity greater than 5,000 lbs gross weight is referred to as a Class 4.
 

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2" receiver

It is a 2" receiver.
The System (Vehical, Hitch, and all) has a rating of 4500 lbs, 450 Lb tongue weight for boats and 3500 lbs for other trailers.
The difference is due to the aerodynamic nature of a boat in tow.
The vehicle requires an additional transmission fluid cooler, and a replacemnet power steering fluid cooler with greater cooling capacity due to "higher underhood temperatures".

The Classes are general DOT ratings for hitch capacity and have little do do with the total coapcity of the hitch and vehical "system".
 

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The difference in tow capacity is (to my understanding) is simple. All towing one may do requires to you stay at a max 3500 lbs ..........UNLESS your towing a boat. Why the increase? I will give you two reasons, first is the aerodynamics of a boat. Second and more importantly, the majority of a boats wieght rests mainly on the axle's of the boat trailer. Because the majority of the weight is on the trailers axles and not on the Pilot, the Pilot can take a heavier load.
 

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Something for everyone

Honda tried to make this as universal as possible and gain economies by reducing the number of variations at the factory. Smart business move but lousy consumer move.
The real way to tow is to buy the thing from the factory with a towing package. Amoung other things it includes a different rear end, suspension, cooling etc, not some dealer added jaz.
I tow a boat occasionally and don't use the Honda, especially on the highway, not enough torque, rear end too high.
 

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Tongue weight

Rule of thumb is 10% of the trailer weight should be on the tonuge.
I have never heard that this is different between boat and utility trailers.
 

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Honda believes

their is too much extra heat build up in the engine compartment when towing and this helps to dissipate some of that excess heat.
 

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Re: 2" receiver

N_Jay said:
The vehicle requires an additional transmission fluid cooler, and a replacemnet power steering fluid cooler with greater cooling capacity due to "higher underhood temperatures".
 

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The Classes are general DOT ratings for hitch capacity and have little do do with the total coapcity of the hitch and vehical "system".
True, but what I was getting at was, if the Pilot had no more than a Class II hitch, you would be limited to 350 lb tongue weight. Is there any mention of max. tongue weight? I don't have the manual handy.

Rule of thumb is 10% of the trailer weight should be on the tonuge.
I have always heard this as rule of thumb also, but according to the DOT specs, that 10% appears to be the maximum. I'm not sure what the minumum is but I have heard that not enouph tongue weight could cause the trailer in tow to 'wander'.
 

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Yes

Low tongue weight makes for a VERY unstable tow set up.

I don't have the manual with me, so I will have to check tonight.

I will also look at the sticker to see if it lists a Class.

As a point of reference, I have also seen hitches listed at "Class 2 1/2"
 

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I've seen that the new Exploders come with a wimpy looking Class II hitch. Looks like something you would put on the back of a small car.:D
 

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The OEM hitch has a max tongue limit of 450 lbs. and is indeed a Class III hitch-
 

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towing....sure does!

here's a couple of shots of Belle & the boat behind it. We went over a LONG & STEEP bridge at 60 mph easy. The excelleration was fine on the freeway. Getting the boat back out of the water was no problem! We are very happy!!!
 

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the other shot

pix 2
 

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