Tow Vehicle - Equipment - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-30-2016, 04:28 PM   #1
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Name: Shelia
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Tow Vehicle - Equipment

I have a 2013 Honda Odyssey. I'm planning on buying a 16' Liberty (Casita) . I'm trying to understand the hardware aspect of what I will need.

As far as upgrading my Odyssey, I'll need a transmission cooler, a power steering cooler, wiring harness, hitch and "brackets" as the parts person called them.

For the camper I want to get the high lift axle, the better tires, the friction anti-sway control.

Do I need something for the radiator? I'll get the weight distribution hitch - does that go on the camper or on the tow vehicle?

Not being a mechanical person, I'm really confused by all the hitch-this and hitch-that language. I want to understand and be safe.

Could someone please explain to me the different parts of the hitch, tongue, etc? Pictures are even better.


And I have a jack and spare for my Odyssey but I'll also need a different size jack, won't I, for the Casita? And my understanding is that a full size spare is included with the Casita.


I appreciate your help and advice.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:11 PM   #2
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Tow Vehicle - Equipment

The metal part that bolts to the frame of your Odyssey with a square tube protruding out from under the bumper is the receiver.

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The removable piece that goes into the square tube is called the draw bar (or ball mount). That's what you attach the ball to. Most draw bars can be installed two ways: with the ball raised up (the rise) or with the ball lowered down (drop). You want to choose one with the correct amount of rise or drop (likely rise with a minivan) so that the trailer sits level when hitched up. The photo shows a draw bar in the drop position.

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The A-shaped frame piece on the front of the trailer is called the tongue. The receptacle at the tip of the tongue into which the ball fits is called the coupler. The hardware on top and inside the coupler that holds it all together is called the coupler latch.

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This illustration shows a proper level set-up with the draw bar in the drop position. In your case, you will probably have to flip the draw bar the other way so that the drawbar is in the rise position.

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I am wondering why you are getting the high-lift axle? You may have a hard time getting a level set-up with a raised trailer suspension matched with a fairly low minivan hitch. You will probably have to use a draw bar with a lot of rise which may create some issues: (1) it will put more stress on the receiver and drawbar, and (2) it may create interference between the tongue jack and the van's hatch.

You'll want to find out from Casita what the height of the coupler is on the 16' trailer with and without the high-lift axle (measurement B in the photo). If the high lift axle puts you way above the level of the receiver tube on your vehicle (measurement A in the photo), you may want to reconsider. Remember that the rear of the van will squat an inch or two under the weight of the trailer's tongue.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:27 PM   #3
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Nice job Jon
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:54 PM   #4
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Real nice job!!!

Jon, that was excellent!
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:57 PM   #5
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One additional piece of hardware I highly recommend is an anti-rattle device. Most draw bars have some slop in the receiver tube, which makes a lot annoying noises and can damage the receiver tube.

Here is a popular solution, but there are a lot of other ways to accomplish the same thing, off-the-shelf and homemade.
https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Acces...er/RM-061.html

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Old 08-30-2016, 08:30 PM   #6
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Hi Shelia,

You will also need a trailer brake controller for the trailer's brakes. This controller will need to be mounted somewhere on or under the dash of the Honda so it is within your reach when you are driving. The trailer will have brakes that are activated by electrical current.

When you plug the trailer into your Honda the wiring will activate the lights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and the brakes. And the electrical system should also provide a charge to your trailer battery while you are driving. When the controller is hooked up and adjusted correctly, applying the brakes of your Honda will activate the brakes of the trailer. You will not have to touch the controller once it is adjusted. There will be an adjustment knob on the controller to vary the amount of electricity the trailer brakes receive. The more amperage the more braking the trailer will have.

In addition there will be a sliding type switch on the controller that allows you to apply the trailer's brakes without applying the Honda's brakes. That is useful to check if your trailer brakes are working and how much braking it has. Electric trailer brakes are generally not real strong but if the trailer is lightly loaded or if the roads are wet they may be enough to cause the trailer wheels to slide. You do not want that. Adjust the controller down so that it doesn't happen.

With regard to the trailer hitch, you want the ball mounted at a height above the ground that makes the trailer perfectly level or just slightly higher in front when it and the tow vehicle are on a flat level road or parking lot. Since the trailer tongue has weight it will push the back of your Honda down an inch or two (possibly more) when it is hooked up. Take that into account when selecting the amount of "drop" or elevation of the ball mount.

If you are getting your Casita from the factory they should be able to give you advice about equipping your Honda to tow. I am not sure if they will install the equipment or not. If they do that would be great. If not I suggest finding a business in your area that specializes in installing trailer hitches. Get the hitch with the highest weight rating that will fit your Honda. Also get the ball with the highest weight rating and largest diameter shank. That should be 1 1/4 inch. The same installer will also be able to install and wire the controller and the trailer wiring plug.

Cheers

Bruce
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:47 PM   #7
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Make sure the Honda Odyssey is rated to pull the 16' plus, or around 2500 to 3000lb
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:58 PM   #8
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Also Shelia,

I would talk with other Casita owners on this forum to see if the 16 ft Casita is prone to sway before I went with the anti-sway apparatus. Those and weight distributing mechanisms complicate hitching and unhitching the trailer. They are also heavy and expensive. Anti-sway devices can cause problems on slippery roads by reducing the ability of the tow vehicle and trailer to recover from a skid.

With regard to the radiator I would wait and see if the vehicle is prone to run warm when towing. Honda gives a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds for the Odyssey in their literature. They should have the radiator engineered to handle that. The same with the transmission and power steering cooler. In fact I do not see how towing a trailer would cause any additional heat on the power steering. Where people get into over heating problems is in very hot weather while/and/or trying to go too fast up long upgrades, especially mountain grades. When towing or driving in general avoid having the foot pedal on the floor, especially in those circumstances. Give it 2/3rds throttle and let a lower gear in the transmission do the work. That means you will be going slow up hill. That is ok.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
Also Shelia,

I would talk with other Casita owners on this forum to see if the 16 ft Casita is prone to sway before I went with the anti-sway apparatus. Those and weight distributing mechanisms complicate hitching and unhitching the trailer. They are also heavy and expensive. Anti-sway devices can cause problems on slippery roads by reducing the ability of the tow vehicle and trailer to recover from a skid.

.
All trailers given the right conditions are prone to sway.

Particularly if the party loading the trailer is new to it and makes the mistake of loading to much to the extreme rear or front and or hitches the trailer with the tongue up on the front end. Even having the tongue high by as little as an inch from level can make a big difference to the tongue weight on most of the fibreglass trailers 17' & under and not in a good way.

An anti sway bar is a simple light weight devise that is easy to hook up and may help to prevent a big wag. And yes they do need to be loosen off - a simple turn of a handle when towing in wet conditions & backing up.

A Weight Distribution hitch on the other hand is indeed heavy and will take a bit of time to hitch up each time but it is not something that many with a 17 'or smaller trailer owners find they need to use.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:04 PM   #10
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We currently tow a 1990 Coleman Plantation tent trailer with a 2009 Kia Sedona. The trailer has a dry weight of 2750 lbs, loaded it's probably about 3300 lbs, & the Sedona has no problems at all. We expect to be able to tow our new 17' Casita SD also without issues.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by PeggyD View Post
We currently tow a 1990 Coleman Plantation tent trailer with a 2009 Kia Sedona. The trailer has a dry weight of 2750 lbs, loaded it's probably about 3300 lbs, & the Sedona has no problems at all. We expect to be able to tow our new 17' Casita SD also without issues.
Peggy, you may find you have issues with excessive tongue weight towing a 17' Casita with a 3500/350 rated minivan. In our trailer weights database, Casita 17'ers average 420# on the hitch.

For the OP, a 16'er should be fine.

I, too, wondered about the mechanical upgrades you listed. Did that list come from Honda? I've only heard that Honda recommends adding an auxiliary transmission cooler. Your owner's manual should tell you exactly what additional equipment is required to tow the maximum rated trailer weight.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:42 AM   #12
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On the question about a jack for the Casita, your Honda jack will work fine. I've towed with 3 different Toyota minivans and all had a jack that I used for the Compact Jr and the Bigfoot.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:02 AM   #13
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You will likely need a different sized lug nut wrench than the tow vehicle.

As to the jack, check before you actually need it. The two issues are: (1) will it fit under the frame with a completely flat tire, and (2) will it raise the trailer high enough to get the wheel (with a fully inflated tire) off the ground.

If the ride height of the vehicle is similar to the trailer it will probably work, but if there is a mismatch (high clearance vehicle + low clearance trailer or vice versa) you may have a problem. Our Honda Pilot jack will not fit under the frame of our Scamp with a flat tire, but the jack in my wife's CR-V will.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:07 AM   #14
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Name: Jack L
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If you are in a situation where your jack is too tall to fit under the frame and you have some leveling blocks or pieces of wood you have everything you need to lift the trailer. Just put some blocks of wood or plastic leveling blocks in front of the tire that is flat and pull the trailer forward so the tire is positioned up on the blocks. If you have enough blocks this will get the job done. You should have enough room to get the jack under the frame. Another solution would be to use a shovel and dig a hole to put the jack in the hole. The blocks will work anywhere. The shovel solution is only going to work if soul conditions permit.
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