towing with honda CRV - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-14-2007, 09:01 PM   #1
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I am in process of purchasing a 13' Scamp. I am really excited. I drive a Honda CRV (2003). Anything that I need to know? It has been suggested that I get a transmission cooler. I called one dealership and was told that they don't make transmission coolers for 2003 CRV's. I have also been told that the CRV has the equivalent of a tranny cooler already in it. I'm a little confused. Anybody else out there towing with a CRV? I also need to get a hitch package installed? Any info I need to know?
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:36 AM   #2
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I am in process of purchasing a 13' Scamp. I am really excited. I drive a Honda CRV (2003). Anything that I need to know? It has been suggested that I get a transmission cooler. I called one dealership and was told that they don't make transmission coolers for 2003 CRV's. I have also been told that the CRV has the equivalent of a tranny cooler already in it. I'm a little confused. Anybody else out there towing with a CRV? I also need to get a hitch package installed? Any info I need to know?
I have a 2000 Honda CRV and I am moving to a Honda Pilot.

You can add a transmission cooler for about 150 CDN$ installed by the dealer. This is not a Honda part but a "jobber' cooler. I had the same reply and the dealer said that "this is not necessary... if you stay within the SUV spec". You simply and realistically won't!. By the way, there is no "internal" specific transmission cooler. Your transmission fluid will be cooled as it is for any ordinary set up. You won't stay within the specs because you will add at least 300-400 lbs to the trailer just with your grocery, gas, canned goods, glasses, cutlery etc.. and by so doing you will easily exceed the CR-V spec which is, if I remember, a maximum of 1,500 lbs. I don"t know what's in already in the Scamp but I would say that you will even more add at least some of those items as the majority of us do : Tv, A/C, microwave, generator etc...

I've added a transmission cooler and climbed successfully Andes mountains in Mexico up to an altitude of 10,500 feet! No problemo! The temp gauge was sticking to the middle. Beware that for each 10F degrees exceeding the normal temperature you reduce your transmission life by 50%!!!

As far as the hitch is concerned you should install a class III hitch with a capacity of 3,500 lbs and and 350 lbs on the ball. Don't play with that go for the strongest hitch you can install. You will then have a good safe margin.

The big problem with the CR-V is the the suspension. This is the real weak point. The suspension is not capable of correctly handling a 1,500-1,800 lbs trailer. Period. And there is nothing to do. You won't only have 150-250+ pounds on the hitch but the back of your car will also carry weight. And the total weight of you suv and trailer will also exceed the limits.

The Cr-v is, if you are optimistic and not too sensitive as far as the security is concerned. will be at least "borderline". My conclusion after more than 15,000 miles towing a 1500+ lbs Trillium is simple. I'm moviing this week for a Pilot... and have added brakes to the Trillium to complete the picture.
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:46 PM   #3
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Name: Maggie
Trailer: 1990 16 ft Scamp Deluxe
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I have a 2003 Honda CRV with the tow capacity of 1,500.

I purchased a 1990 16' delux (weight of about 2200-2500) . . . the previous owner delivered. . . and a few months later I bought a Nissian Xterra with a tow capacity of 5,000!

Although I love the Honda -- I'll be selling it soon.

That's the solution I came up for myself!

Take care,
Maggie

PS: My Toyota Carolla also has the tow capacity of 1,500 - the same as my CRV.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #4
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It's surprising to me how negative the comments so far about the CR-V are, while the Element owners rave about the vehicle. It's a surprise because they're largely the same thing (depending on year). I suggest a search in the forum for "Element" for experiences and suggestions.

Automatic transmissions do have a [b]cooler, normally. Transmission fluid pumps out of the transmission and through a loop of tubing inside the cold-side tank of the radiator, where the fluid is cooled by the engine coolant before returning to the transmission.

In some cases, such as my Sienna, there is a version of the radiator with a bigger and more effective transmission fluid cooling section, and we need that (or an add-on cooler) to reach the higher rating towing capacity for the vehicle. In other cases, the additional cooling is done by a separate unit which looks like a little radiator; that was the original Toyota equipment for older versions of my van, and it's probably what the add-on coolers are.

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As far as the hitch is concerned you should install a class III hitch with a capacity of 3,500 lbs and and 350 lbs on the ball.
If the capacity is only 3,500 lb, that's a Class 2 [b]hitch... but what I think Normand might be suggesting is a hitch with a 2" receiver box, which provides some more choice of accessories than the 1.25" box typical of lower classes. I tow my 3000 lb (when loaded) 17' Boler with a Class II hitch with 1.25" receiver. I agree that it is a good idea to make sure the hardware is plenty strong enough, but overkill is unnecessary - I would see what's available and fits well.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:39 PM   #5
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A Class II hitch (I made a m istake Brian) has a 3500 maximum weight. Class I doesn't have an adequate safety margin with a maximum of 2,00 lbs as may 13 feet fibreglass trailers easily reach 1,500-1,800 lbs in the real world. Recommending 3,500 lbs hitch is NOT overkilling. It is just a safe side recommendation.

As far as Element and CRV are concerned they have both in North America the same motor : 2354 cc 166 hp. They both have a maximum towing capacity of 1500 lbs. The Element has a maximum LOAD capacity of 675 lbs and the CRV has a maximum load capacity of 850 lbs this including in both cases passengers.

Element should not be more capable than the CRV as far as towing is concerned. As a matter of fact they have a lower load capacity. Basically they are similar vehicles and there is absolutely no safety margins as a tow vehicle for our fibreglass trailers as far as specifications are concerned.

My experience with a CRV is that the CRV has an adequate motor but their suspension in no way strong and safe enough to tow a 1,500 lbs trailer on long trips. It is a borderline tow vehicle for us.

I towed my Trillium with it for sure (near 25,000 km) but I won't in the future for safety reasons and I would not recommend it to anyone. As a matter of fact that is the only reason why I decided to move for a Pliot. The CRV is a great little SUV and I would have otherwise kept it for many more years.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:38 PM   #6
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I see a disturbing trend here to assume that the trailer will be heavier than the CR-V's rating. While that may be a reasonable assumption, since many people seem to tow trailers without weighing them or the combined trailer+tug rig, another option is to do it right and keep track of the weights. In that case the trailer will not exceed 1500 lb as towed, and a Class I hitch has plenty of capacity margin.

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Class I doesn't have an adequate safety margin with a maximum of 2,00 lbs as may 13 feet fibreglass trailers easily reach 1,500-1,800 lbs in the real world. Recommending 3,500 lbs hitch is NOT overkilling. It is just a safe side recommendation.
I agree that Class I is marginal for trailers which approach that loaded weight (2000 lb), and the next step up is indeed Class II, 3500 lb. Some owners of 13' eggs claim to be much lighter than that - usually because they take great care to do so - and for them Class I should be fine.

I'm sorry if I was not clear... I wasn't thinking of the Class II rating for an 1800 lb trailer as overkill, so much as the Class III recommendations (which are quite common), or even Class II for an under-1500 lb trailer. When faced with the choice of a good Class I hitch and a massive Class III alternative for the same vehicle (sometimes there are no other choices), I think that in the right conditions the Class I can be a reasonable choice and the Class III may be overkill.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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The CRV should tow a Scamp 13' just fine. Since Honda doesn't require an extra transmission cooler on the CRV (nor the Element), you don't need one to tow the 1,500# limit. However, a lot of people think you just gots to have one. I never put one on my Element and never saw any evidence of it overheating.

There is some evidence that the CRV towing limit may be purposely understated in the U.S. for some reason, although I recommend staying within the limit for all the regular reasons (warranty, liability in a crash, etc.). Here's a comparison of the 2007 CRV towing capacity in Australia to the U.S.:

---------------------- Australia ------------------------- U.S. --------- Element
Specs
Horsepower ----------160 (118kW)---------------- 156 ---------- 156
Torque ---------------- 162 (220nM)----------------- 160 ---------- 160
Weight MT/AT ------- 3,197/3,307 (1470/1500kg)-- 3,406/3,472 -- 3,527/3,578
Length ---------------- 181" (4610mm)--------------181" ---------- 169"
Wheelbase ---------- N/A----------------------------- 103" ---------- 101"

Towing
Auto w/Brakes --------- 2,645# (1200kg)---------- N/A
Manual w/Brakes ------ 3,307# (1500kg)---------- N/A
Either w/o Brakes ----- 1,323# (600kg) ----------- 1,500# ------- 1,500#
Tongue Weight (A/T)-- 265/331# (120/150kg) ---- 150# --------- 150#

And I think a 2,000# hitch doesn't require a "safety margin". It has a 2,000# capacity and a normal 13' Scamp is going to be below that.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:24 PM   #8
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....
There is some evidence that the CRV towing limit may be purposely understated in the U.S. for some reason, although I recommend staying within the limit for all the regular reasons (warranty, liability in a crash, etc.). Here's a comparison of the 2007 CRV towing capacity in Australia to the U.S....
I am very well aware of that article. Even with brakes it would be impossible to tow a trailer weighting 2,400 lbs up to 3,300 lbs. The front wheels would no longer be on the ground!!! I would try to get explanations to such a nonsense before giving it a try. I don't want to kill myself on the basis of ridiculous Australian figures!

I personally experienced a broken hitch (it was a brand new 3,500lbs U-Haul hitch with a manufacturing default) and let me tell you that you will NEVER convinced me to tow a 1,800 lbs trailer with a a 2,000 lbs hitch supposingly because the safety margin is included in the 2,000 lbs rating. I don't understand people who don't play it on the safe side. Same as far as towing capacity is concerned. Yes you can tow a 2,000 lbs trailer but it is far too much than the suspension can handle.

By the way have a look on the Wikipedia about the Element and on the CR-V.

Also have a look on this (being in the "discussion" part on the Wikipedia) :

[b]"Attention NORTH AMERICAN contributors!

[b]WITH REFERENCE TO THIS ARTICLE, AND PARTICULARLY TO CONTRIBUTORS BASED IN NORTH AMERICA....
Please don't assume that just because something applies in America, that it applies worldwide."


This surely works also both ways.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:37 PM   #9
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I am very well aware of that article. Even with brakes it would be impossible to tow a trailer weighting 2,400 lbs up to 3,300 lbs. The front wheels would no longer be on the ground!!!
Well, it's all depending upon the hitch weight. I think a CR-V could tow a 10,000# trailer level if the hitch weight was 150#.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:59 PM   #10
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Well, it's all depending upon the hitch weight. I think a CR-V could tow a 10,000# trailer level if the hitch weight was 150#.


The problem is that most of 13 feet trailers, in the real world, are between 200-250 lbs and even more on the hitch.

That is more than a class I hitch can handle ans also more than a Honda or an Element can handle (spec = 150 lbs or 10% of towing capacity).
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Old 07-16-2007, 01:49 PM   #11
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My Scamp 13' weighed 1,800# and had a hitch weight of 165#.

I think the Australian CR-V numbers are so "high" as they are still a can-do country, while the US is rapidly becoming a lititation, comfort and safety country where the biggest form of exercise is moving a game controller.

I do keep this famous example of too-little towing capacity on my website: http://bigfoot48.googlepages.com/home Choose "Why choosing the right towing vehicle for your trailer is important."
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:55 AM   #12
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My Scamp 13' weighed 1,800# and had a hitch weight of 165#.

I think the Australian CR-V numbers are so "high" as they are still a can-do country, while the US is rapidly becoming a lititation, comfort and safety country where the biggest form of exercise is moving a game controller.

I do keep this famous example of too-little towing capacity on my website: http://bigfoot48.googlepages.com/home Choose "Why choosing the right towing vehicle for your trailer is important."


Now I'm really confused and worried....all the info that I'm getting from the hitch retailers is that they can't put anything other than a Class I hitich on the CRV. What has been your experience?
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:01 AM   #13
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I suggest you go here http://www.crvownersclub.com/ and see what the experiences of other CR-V owners have been. And have you talked to UHaul as they're the ones who put a Class 3 on my Element? Also check etrailer.com
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:18 AM   #14
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I think the Australian CR-V numbers are so "high" as they are still a can-do country, while the US is rapidly becoming a lititation, comfort and safety country where the biggest form of exercise is moving a game controller.
I'm not trying to be contentious, but do you have any evidence of this? That's the first thing that many people bring up when comparing US stuf to any other country.

The reason I ask is that I once researched the specs on one of the Honda vehicles, US and AU, and found enough differences to convince me that, although quite similar, they are not the same vehicle in both countries and therefore there may (or may not) be something other than local litigiousness (if that's a word). Even your own numbers show minor differences (HP and torque) suggesting that the engines/fuel/ignition systems are not identical. I wish I had saved the results of my research (I just looked at published specs in both countries).

Has anyone on the Honda groups written to Honda asking about the differences? If there are physical differences, they might answer it (but likely not if it's a litigation concern)?
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:24 AM   #15
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I have no evidence that the vehicles are exactly the same (with U.S. weighing more with probably safety devices) and post it only for the interesting entertainment value. However, they are clearly very much similar, which still leaves the huge towing difference unexplained.

And everyone should note that the AU limit without brakes is actually lower than the US limit. So apparently AU puts a lot of value in trailer brakes in the towing calculation.

As a contrast, I believe AU has the Odyssey at a 1,500# limit vs. the 3.500# in the U.S.

I don't know of anyone contacting Honda over this.
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:28 AM   #16
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Generically speaking, most (if not all) automobiles with automatic transmissions have transmission coolers. The transmission cooler is usually located in the bottom of the main radiator and you can see the transmission fluid lines going into it. For trailer towing, transmission cooling usually refers to an additional transmission cooler in series with the radiator cooling.

It's kind of like tire pressures, far better to err on the side of too much cooling than too little.

Regarding safety margins in just about anything, the capacities were set with the margins in mind; to exceed the capacities for a very short time under unusual circumstances may be OK, but to mentally adjust the capacities upwards on a permanent basis is exceeding the intent of the original design and may be asking for long-term trouble.

The 2,000 lb limit on a hitch design is not just to handle 2K lbs of dead weight, but to also handle it in live situations like violent road maneuvers and sway. Exceeding limits has a lot in common with Russian Roulette except that the odds can be computed in RR...
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:56 PM   #17
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I dunno how much or little my two cents might help, but here goes! hehe
I have an automatic 2001 Honda CRV (first generation design) and I have a 1973 Compact II that I tow with it. I don't have anything aftermarket-wise, no add on trans cooler or trailer brakes or anything. I have the heavier duty Class 2 hitch that takes the 2" inserts vs that little wimpy Class 1 thing, and am very happy with that. I BELIEVE that the Compacts are some of the lightest weight FBRV's, so I think I'm well within my tow capacity.
I try to keep my speed around 60 MPH, and make it a point to stick to the slow lane all the time. While it is a load on my CRV (gas mileage goes down to like 17-18MPG) I think that if one uses plenty of good common sense and follows good trailering etiquette (Leave a couple of car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead, stop now and then to let the vehicle cool off, especially after a big grade, etc) I THINK I'm doing okay. I also have the tranny fluid changed more frequently, like yearly, to keep it fresh and free flowing for my hard working transmission. I've wandered around on the Honda CRV website looking for info and advice on this, and this all seems fairly acceptable.
I DO also think that if I were to go with a mildly heavier rig, like a 13' Scamp with a bathroom or something, let alone a 16'er, I would move up to a bigger TV.
But for my little Compact, or one waverunner, or my quad on it's little flatbed trailer I think are all quite within the abilities of my CRV.
So there's my two cents, hope that helps SOMEBODY! hehe Joe
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:29 PM   #18
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Now I'm really confused and worried....all the info that I'm getting from the hitch retailers is that they can't put anything other than a Class I hitch on the CRV. What has been your experience?
I checked the Reese web site, and found that they offer only a Class I. The availability of larger hitches with 2" boxes (which don't impart any greater towing capacity to the vehicle) for the similar Element may be due to the different owner groups: the Element is more likely to be chosen by "active lifestyle" users, who are more likely to tow stuff than the "station wagon" user.

I don't see any reason to be worried. A Class I hitch is perfectly appropriate for any trailer which the CR-V should be towing (which means no more than 1500 lb). If a 1500 lb trailer has too much tongue weight for a Class I hitch (likely 200 lb limit), it probably also has too much for the CR-V, and more than it should have anyway.

If there is a problem, I think it is with the trailer, or the tow vehicle capacity (not the hitch)... and we don't even know that there is any problem there, since we don't know what ithe trailer weighs.
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:54 PM   #19
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etrailer has one 2" for the 2003 CR-V: http://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2003_Honda_CR-V.htm
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:26 PM   #20
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After MUCH shopping around on the 'Net, that's where I found my hitch at, ETrailer.com. Was the hitch I was looking for, and the best price around too! They not only had the hitch, but the wiring harness too. I THINK I found the directions for connecting the harness on a Honda website though, like a technical manual for Honda techs. Between that and the instructions that the hitch and harness came with, I was able to get everything connected up just fine.
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