Bought a 2021 Honda pilot EX AWD to tow Parkliner - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2021, 10:20 PM   #1
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Name: Patti
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
Virginia
Posts: 65
Bought a 2021 Honda pilot EX AWD to tow Parkliner

Hello fellow travelers,
We made a hare-brained decision to replace our 2009 Honda Ridgeline with a 2021 Honda Pilot EX AWD. It has the 9 speed transmission which most newer one have now for some reason. Let's just say that I wish we had kept our old Ridgeline which was easy to understand and maintain. It is done though and after jumping through many hoops with the dealer we got the hitch and harness installed. They recommended we also have an ATF cooler added even though our Parkliner dry weight is about 2,000 Lbs. Then they said the cooler was not available so we would be fine without it! Hmm that was when they could not get the part.
We are thinking that we will be okay if we do not load up the Parkliner (wont fill the 40 gal fresh water tank, we don't use the propane so will leave the 2 tanks off, etc) Will try to avoid steep mountain passes.
Has anyone in the forum towed with a 2021 Pilot without the ATF cooler?
Worried about not having the ATF cooler.
Thanks
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:21 AM   #2
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Name: You can't call me Al
Trailer: Scamp
Massachusetts
Posts: 427
The 2021 Honda Pilot EX AWD has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds according to:
Honda

The parkliner says it's 2,300 pounds empty according to:
Specifications – Parkliner
(It also say 15 gallon fresh water tank, so I'm not sure where you've got 40 gallon tank)

If these both match your situation I think you'll be fine without additional equipment.

- If you drive sensibly, don't pass other vehicles, stay under 65 MPH, go slower then 65 MPH uphills etc etc etc.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:34 AM   #3
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Name: Bob Ruggles
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Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
The 2021 Honda Pilot EX AWD has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds according to:
Honda

The parkliner says it's 2,300 pounds empty according to:
Specifications Ė Parkliner
(It also say 15 gallon fresh water tank, so I'm not sure where you've got 40 gallon tank)

If these both match your situation I think you'll be fine without additional equipment.

- If you drive sensibly, don't pass other vehicles, stay under 65 MPH, go slower then 65 MPH uphills etc etc etc.


I tow my 19 foot Escape, dry weight (and nobody tows dry) with my Honda Pilot, 2019, and it does a very good job. Happy I bought it and thatís after towing with a 2015 Ram with hemi.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:35 AM   #4
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Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape
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Originally Posted by rgrugg View Post
I tow my 19 foot Escape, dry weight (and nobody tows dry) with my Honda Pilot, 2019, and it does a very good job. Happy I bought it and thatís after towing with a 2015 Ram with hemi.


Omitted dry weight of 3000 pounds.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:39 AM   #5
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What does your owner’s manual say?

If there is a Honda-branded ATF cooler available for this model, it may be required to get the full tow rating. The question is then what’s the rating without it? Your manual should have something to say.

I would want it myself. Despite the relatively light weight, you’re still pushing quite a bit of air. You’ll feel it when there’s a headwind, and so will your transmission. You may have to be patient until supply chain issues catch up. Have you tried other dealers and online?

Meantime , if you’re within the no-cooler rating and you avoid extreme conditions you should be fine until it becomes available.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:56 AM   #6
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
Pennsylvania
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Tongue weight?

Leaving two propane tanks off the tongue will reduce the tongue weight. If the tongue weight is too low, your trailer may sway.
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:33 PM   #7
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Name: Patti
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
Virginia
Posts: 65
Read somewhere in our sales info it was 2,000Lbs. Don't know where I got the 40 Lbs for fresh water from but that did seem way high so thanks for the 15 correction.
We do not drive over 65 and are careful drivers, so maybe we will be fine without the cooler. Thanks
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:35 PM   #8
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Name: Patti
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
Virginia
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Do you have the ATF cooler installed?
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:38 PM   #9
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Name: Patti
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starbrightsteve View Post
Leaving two propane tanks off the tongue will reduce the tongue weight. If the tongue weight is too low, your trailer may sway.
Oh no we would not want it to sway so guess we had better put the tanks back on?
We also have been unable to find someone to put a brake controller on before we leave. Everyone seems backed up til November.
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Old 09-18-2021, 04:38 PM   #10
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: '16 Parkliner
Iowa
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ATF Cooler

All cars have a Transmission Fluid cooler built in to the radiator, (as far as I know)
Towing packages might add a supplemental cooler in front of the radiator.
Hopefully you have an engine coolant temperature gauge. IF your transmission gets too hot, it should show up as an increase on the temperature gauge.

Our 2016 Parkliner fully loaded weighs about 2800 lb. No problem for our 2017 Highlander. But, you should learn how to downshift on steeper up-hill grades, and, perhaps keep it out of "overdrive"
I think our fresh water tank holds about 30 gallons. The Black tank is 40.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:07 PM   #11
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Name: Patti
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
Virginia
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Oh maybe the blackwater tank is where I got the 40 gal. from. Thank you for your experience and positive suggestions. We are definitely going to take it easy on the hills.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
All cars have a Transmission Fluid cooler built in to the radiator, (as far as I know)... IF your transmission gets too hot, it should show up as an increase on the temperature gauge.
While it is true that most vehicles include a transmission cooling section within the radiator, it has not been my experience that increased transmission temperature shows up in the engine temperature gauge.

I overheated the transmission once on our previous tow vehicle, a Toyota Sienna. It did have an engine coolant guage, but it never moved. No warning lights came on, either. The vehicle suddenly went into limp mode during a long climb on a hot day against a stiff headwind while towing the Scamp. It did not have the tow package with upgraded cooling, but we were towing within its 2000# rating as equipped. Limp mode allowed us to exit the highway safely, and after a 30-minute cool-down, we were able to complete the climb. A subsequent transmission fluid change did show slight discoloration.

Our current tow vehicle, a Honda Pilot 2WD, has pulled the Scamp up similar grades in similar conditions. The engine temperature gauge never moves even though I am certain the transmission temperature rises during the climb.

The only way to really know what's happening with the transmission is to buy a device that plugs into the OBD2 port and reads the transmission fluid temperature data.
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Old 09-19-2021, 06:53 AM   #13
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Name: You can't call me Al
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
The engine temperature gauge never moves
Modern cars that have a temperature "gauge" are actually not displaying the engine temperature on that gauge.

It's just a version of an "Idiot" light. It displays Normal until the engine is way too hot, then it moves to Hot.

The last time I verified this was with a 2002 MINI Cooper using the ODB port vs. the "gauge" so I expect it's gotten even more prevalent.
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:49 AM   #14
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Hmmm… I never had an engine overheating situation in either of those vehicles (a 2000 Sienna and a 2011 Pilot), but I have on our 2006 CRV and our 2014 Express van. In both cases the gauge appeared to work as you would expect and caught the problem before anything drastic happened. The CRV was a stuck thermostat that developed rather suddenly and required a quick response to control. Thankfully, no internal or external loss of coolant. The Express started creeping up when stuck in traffic on a hot day. Turning off the A/C stopped the creep until we got moving again. Never found a mechanical cause for that one.

I do understand that modern vehicles generally don’t have direct mechanical gauges for anything. It’s all moderated through the computer system that in turn collects data from a variety of sensors. How the gauges function is dependent on the software.

To the point, I would not count on an engine temperature gauge to alert you to a transmission over-temp condition. I’d guess all modern vehicles have other fail-safes built in, though, like the limp mode that saved our transmission in the Sienna.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:24 AM   #15
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Name: Donald
Trailer: Bigfoot 5th wheel
Colorado
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AWD

Only the AWD models feature a standard heavy-duty transmission cooler. Since your Pilot is AWD, you should be just fine. You would think that your dealer would know that!
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:40 AM   #16
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I’d take it to a reputable transmission shop, have a temperature sensor installed on transmission, new gage in cockpit and after market transmission cooler installed. Put in series with the radiator cooler. As for brake controllers, kits are supplied with instructions, it’s not rocket science.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donniebob View Post
Only the AWD models feature a standard heavy-duty transmission cooler. Since your Pilot is AWD, you should be just fine. You would think that your dealer would know that!
Here is what the 2021 owner's manual says on p. 512 (click to enlarge). AWD with transmission cooler, 5000#. AWD without transmission cooler and FWD, 3500#. That tells me the auxiliary cooler is NOT standard, and the dealer is correct. I think it's been like that since the 2016 redesign. The 3500# rating is adequate for a Parkliner for now, but I would absolutely keep looking for the Honda cooler and install it as soon as it becomes available.
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At this point I am actually more concerned about the brake controller not being installed, because the owner's manual requires trailer brakes over 1000# trailer weight. Any competent auto mechanic can install a controller using a connector that plugs in under the dash. The Pilot is pre-wired for towing, so you do not need an RV or hitch specialty shop.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:40 AM   #18
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Name: Keith
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Jon is correct with owners manual, up to 3500 pounds with no ATF and up to 5000 pounds needs ATF.
As for brake controller, I use curt echo wireless controller. Uses Bluetooth and connects to your phone. ( lots of videos out there on it )
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Old 09-22-2021, 02:12 PM   #19
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Name: Butch
Trailer: Casita
Maryland
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Brake controller will need a Honda accessory for 7 pin. I found out the hard way that even tho my 7 pin was installed, there was no power to the controller w/o the Honda power pack that installed drivers side rear interior panel.
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Old 09-22-2021, 02:27 PM   #20
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Name: star
Trailer: Parkliner
South Carolina
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Take it to a reliable place that sells and services horse trailers if Honda won't help you. You need a brake controller and an extra cooler is never a bad ideal. IMHO
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