2017 Honda Pilot towing capability - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-15-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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2017 Honda Pilot towing capability

I recently purchased an AWD Honda Pilot. It is rated at 5000 pounds for towing, with a 500 pound tongue weight. My dream trailer would be an Escape 19. GVWR for the Escape 19 is listed as 500o, with dry weight of 2950, and hitch weight at 256. Passengers would be 200 pounds human and 150 pounds of dogs. Generally I would not be traveling with empty fresh/grey/black tanks. It seems to me that the Pilot should be capable of pulling the Escape 19 - is there something I am missing? I would add a transmission cooler and weight distributing hitch to the Pilot. Is anyone here pulling an Escape 19 with the new Pilot?
I have not pulled a trailer since pulling a horse trailer many years ago. Currently I have a 24 foot Born Free motorhome, but want something where I can have a car to use once I get there (not keen on pulling a toad).

Bonnie
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:20 PM   #2
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GVWR is how heavy you can make the trailer. You are not likely to fill it with cast iron pots and pans so won't come close. Lots of 19s are towed by Pilot, Highlander, 4Runner and the like.
Pop over to the Escape Forum and do a search for more on towing with a Pilot.
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:39 AM   #3
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From what I can see you are on the right track. The transmission cooler is required by Honda; without it the tow rating is only 3500 pounds.

I did hear some rumblings on the Pilot forum (Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums) about the new 9-speed transmission used on the top trims. That would be another good place to hang out for a while. There's a section for the 3rd-generation model (2016+) as well as a section for towing.

Regarding the tanks, I can understanding traveling with fresh water, but why would you travel with full black & grey tanks? If they're both full you're looking at (26+19) gal. x 8 lbs./gal. = 360 pounds of unnecessary weight. Add to that the fresh water tank, which weighs 224 pounds when full. That's almost 600 pounds! If you camp at a site without a dump station, I would recommend finding one nearby when you check out.

Best wishes from another Pilot owner (2011 LX 2WD)!
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:38 AM   #4
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Actually, what I said was that I would generally NOT to traveling with full tanks. Occasionally I will be going to a dog show without hookups, and then would carry fresh water, but other tanks would always be empty, as they have a service come to empty your gray/black water tanks.
I like the Escape 19 over the 17 because it has 2 axles. I think 2 axles likely will pull better than a single axle (less sway). And its probably why the tongue weight is only 6 pounds more.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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I think that is what you *meant* to say. One issue I have with my '08 Pilot is uneven wear on the rear tires due to sag of the independent suspension. I'm rated at 3500, and pull every bit of that with a 17 Casita. Power on hills was adequate, but not confidence building. I suspect that 2500 on a 19 escape is a 'base weight', without options. Find some real world weights, done on a scale.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:39 AM   #6
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A good place to look

Trailer Weights in the Real World
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:03 AM   #7
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Yes, now that I went back and reread, I see that I did not say what I meant. I called Escape to ask about the dry weight for the 19. She said that the 2017 model is a bit heavier at 2950, but that it does include a finished interior. I asked her what "heavy" options people generally get Are not standard, and she said AC (100 pounds) and extra insulation (from 120 to 220 pounds depending on how much you want). So it does seem that a vehicle rated for 5000 would be able to tow one without putting you at the max. Since I will be looking for a used one, it would be lighter by 300+ pounds.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:34 AM   #8
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I have the 2017 Honda Pilot AWD with trans cooler, towing package. I pull a 2016 Parkliner with no problem. Parkliner dry weight 2300# hitch wt 220#, 2017 Escape 19 dry weight 2354# and hitch wt 256# so doesn't seem a problem to me. I use the Pilot as my only vehicle and am extremely happy with it.
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:12 PM   #9
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In the past the Pilot and the Ridgeline had many things in common. I'm not sure if that still applies but in evaluating the new Ridgeline I found a couple of things that I didn't like. The first was the spare. Being temporary, it's not recommended for towing. On the Ridgeline a full size spare won't fit in the tire tray so you have to carry it in the bed. Second, the gear shifting is limited to low and drive, allowing you to brake with your gears almost impossible. However, it would not surprise me if they had a towing mode where the transmission senses the descent and does things automatically. My CRV has that. Something to check out. Good luck, Raz
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:59 PM   #10
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Pilot Towing

Recently I returned from a round trip to Arizona towing just over 2,000 miles each way. Before going, I read the section on towing in the owners manual and found that for my 2012 Odyssey a weight distribution hitch was NOT to be used as it could adversely affect handling. Not knowing about the Pilot, the manual would be the first thing to check before spending money on possibly unneeded equipment. The Odyssey pulled good and automatically downshifted on some of the down grades and as expected the MPG suffered. Be safe on your travels.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim G. - Ohio View Post
Recently I returned from a round trip to Arizona towing just over 2,000 miles each way. Before going, I read the section on towing in the owners manual and found that for my 2012 Odyssey a weight distribution hitch was NOT to be used as it could adversely affect handling. Not knowing about the Pilot, the manual would be the first thing to check before spending money on possibly unneeded equipment. The Odyssey pulled good and automatically downshifted on some of the down grades and as expected the MPG suffered. Be safe on your travels.
Jim, my 2008 Pilot also had such a warning in the owners manual. In talking to couple of Honda pros, they told me that the warning is primarily about the unibody construction, and the tendency of users to get over confident with a WDH making overweight issues seem to 'disappear'.

I made the decision to equip my Pilot with a WDH based on several factors. One was that I started with some Firestone Airbags, but they made little difference in the ride height when taken to the max psi (35). Two, there is huge number of anecdotal accounts of successfully towing the the Odyssey/Pilot with a WDH. Three, the Honda guys told me to get the smallest capacity WDH I can find. They said a lot of folks will default to the larger sizes because they are more common, and therefore cheaper. Some will put a 1000 lb capable hitch on a vehicle with a 350 max tongue weight. Then they over do the lift, asking the uni-body to absorb too much of the pounds that the trailer frame is responsible for. THAT can put too much weight on the on front wheels, affecting handling negatively.

I did a 6000 mile westerly trip with my air bags, and the Equal-i-zer 400 lb hitch (adjusted to an even lower lift capacity due to shortened lever points), and had zero issues accept the aforementioned uneven tire wear.

I do plan to replace the Pilot as my primary though, as I want another level of confidence that i can go 'anywhere'. We encountered one hill on a secondary road in TN that I almost 'ran out of truck' on the way up. It was extremely steep, but I'd like to get to where even that doesn't scare us. Colorado, Utah and Arizona were no sweat. I'll likely go F150.

Going outside the parameters of the manual is indeed a dangerous game, but this minimal intrusion vastly IMPROVED my handling over running too nose high (making for less traction on the front wheels... it was pretty easy to spin the tires pulling onto the highway). The *sales people* at Honda are real quick to say the new generation is better at towing, but I don't see a substantive difference.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:19 AM   #12
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What the manual says is that use of WDH is not recommended because improper adjustment can adversely affect handling, etc. It is a caution, not a prohibition. Sounds like lawyer-speak for "we won't endorse it because we can't control whether it's used correctly." As said, many have successfully employed a light duty WDH, properly tensioned, without issue.
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