pop up camper towing capacity
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Thread: pop up camper towing capacity

  1. #1
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    pop up camper towing capacity

    I am in the market for a pop up camper. What is the safe towing capacity of a 04' Ody? Also about the trans cooler and hitch where should I go to get one installed or should I try and tackle it myself? Should I go for air bags or is that just a luxury item?

    Mike

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  3. #2
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    Mike
    If you do a search you will find a wealth of advice re transmission coolers.
    My summary is that the Honda coolers are an easy install but not great on specs. There are some excellent posts with pics detailing installation of non honda coolers. They are far better specwise and much cheaper.

    02 lx

  4. #3
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    The towing capacity is listed in the owner's manual. Remember you have to subtract from the weight of what you can tow passengers and luggage. And campers are always listed "dry weight" in other words empty. Didn't get an owner's manual? see here:

    https://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/...01_OMANUAL.asp

  5. #4
    Registered User funfinder4's Avatar
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    For Pup Up info please visit this sight: http://www.popupexplorer.com/

    Although I don't own a pop up I have found this sight extremely useful in many ways. We towed a small '16 TT (see sig and like to photos) with our Ody for two years. I weighted it several times and averaged 2600-2700 lbs loaded for a weekend of camping. Although it did the job just fine for those two years I'd try to keep the weight at or below 3000 lbs just for good measure. This will give you enough capacity to load up the family into the van. As said before, the Ody has a 3500 lbs max tow rating. This is with only the driver and light cargo. What you really need to be worrying about is the GVWR & GCVWR of the Ody. As long as you stay under these ratings you should be fine (assuming you have all the required towing equipment).

    I can honestly say that our Ody did just fine towing our camper. I always towed in "D3" and kept the speed right around 60 mph. The van has more than enough engine power to do the job and go much faster while doing it, but the transmission doesn't (at least in my case with pulling a '9.5 foot high brick down the road!). I do have a transmission temp gauge installed and highly recommended one if your going to be towing close to the limits. I found every towing trip different and my speed had to be adjusted in order to not exceed my 260 degree threshold on the ATF temp. On some trips I could maintain 65 mph and not exceed 260 degrees. However, I did have a few that do to head winds caused me to slow down to 40-45 mph for brief periods of time.

    After two years of experience towing (what I believe to be pretty much the limit of the Ody) I can give you this short answer:

    If your going to do this on a limited bases per year, don't mind slowing down if weather/temp conditions merritt, and/or don't plan on the Ody as being the primary tower forever; Then the Ody suites the bill nicely and doubles as a great method of transportation when not towing!

    However, if you just want to "hook-up and go" and don't want to think about all the 'small' things, then keep looking for another car to tow with (think truck or full size SUV).
    '99 Odyssey LX: 135k; 2nd trans. @ 128k Hayden 678 Trans Cooler, Cyberdyne trans gauge, Prodigy brake controller, MaxLife ATF
    '06 Tundra DoubleCab: retired Ody from it's towing duties
    '05 Jayco Jayflight 27BH
    http://community.webshots.com/user/Funfinder4

  6. #5
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    Funfinder's info was good, but his experience was with a full height TT. That has a HUGE impact on gas mileage, wind influence and tranny load.

    I tow a Fleetwood Sun Valley (old model name Allegiance) with the Ody. This camper had a 'dry weight' of 2,000# and we are a family of four. I have few options on the camper (furnace, awning, battery) and moderate gear inside. I estimate that the camper weighs 2,700# loaded to go and that family and gear in the van weigh about 600#. That leaves me about 500# to spare below the Odyssey GCVWR.

    Because I have minimal wind resistance (no AC on the camper, no roof junk on van or camper), I am able to pull in overdrive under fairly flat terrain at 65-68 mph. Cruise control leads to hunting, but I can keep it locked in OD if I manually manage the throttle.

    The Odyssey would get tiring to drive if I couldn't use the OD. D3 revs high and that uses lots of gas and makes more heat. As a general rule of thumb, if the tranny can stay locked in OD, you aren't making a ton of heat. If it unlocks or downshifts a lot, worry.

    Any popup ought to be towed with electric brakes (which require a custom brake controller install) and a weight distributing hitch (I use Reese 350mini).

    I wouldn't recommend a trailer any heavier than a Fleetwood Sun Valley or Jayco 1207. It won't die immediately, but in the long run it will be tiresome to drive and hard on the van.

    Our 03 has 84,000 miles on it (~9k towing) with no powertrain problems yet. Overall, I'm happy.

    Skip the airbags. A weight distributing hitch eliminates the rear end sag AND puts weight back onto the front wheels (the ones that steer, power and do the most braking). Air bags just eliminate the sag, but do nothing about the lost weight on the front wheels.
    Last edited by manualman; 01-29-2007 at 12:53 PM.
    2012 EX (hers) 03 LX (reserve force)
    2013 Chevy Cruze Eco (stick!) commuting average 40mpg

    Gone:Caddy CTS (neutered, aka auto trans), Jetta 1.8T (stick!),95 & 02 Saturn SL (stick!)

  7. #6
    Registered User funfinder4's Avatar
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    Originally posted by manualman
    The Odyssey would get tiring to drive if I couldn't use the OD. D3 revs high and that uses lots of gas and makes more heat. As a general rule of thumb, if the tranny can stay locked in OD, you aren't making a ton of heat. If it unlocks or downshifts a lot, worry.
    My van ran only 2500-2800 rpms depending on the speed and averaged a whopping 13 (sometimes 14) mpg while towing a full height camper. Ask anyone that tows TT's and those kind of numbers are actually quite good! And I could use my cruse control if I was in "D3"! That made cruising for long stretches very easy!

    Also, it's been my experience that under these kind of conditions where lots of torque is needed that down shifting to a lower gear makes the ATF run cooler. The internal ATF pump is driven by the rpm's of the engine. So if you drive 60 mph @ 2800 rpm in 3rd gear you are circulating more fluid throughout the transmission (ATF cooler) during any given mile than driving 60 mph @ only 1800 rpm in 4th gear (or 5th gear for '02 and up owners). I've seen this time and time again while towing and watching my transmission gauge rise after shifting into 4th.

    The same amount of torque/power is needed to tow your load whether your in 5th or 3rd gear. The only thing that will cause you to get less mpg in 3rd instead of 5th is the added engine resistance (friction) for the extra ~1000 rpm's.
    '99 Odyssey LX: 135k; 2nd trans. @ 128k Hayden 678 Trans Cooler, Cyberdyne trans gauge, Prodigy brake controller, MaxLife ATF
    '06 Tundra DoubleCab: retired Ody from it's towing duties
    '05 Jayco Jayflight 27BH
    http://community.webshots.com/user/Funfinder4

  8. #7
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    I second the recommendation for electric brakes. I was pulling a fairly large 2000lb Starcraft Popup...with the electric brakes installed I really felt much more secure on the road..the van basically stopped like it did without the trailer. Once, before the i had the electric brakes installed, I was towing that same trailer with a Dodge Dakota (yeah OK I learned my lesson, it's gone now) and was cut off by a *%^!!&* driver..in panic stop, I could feel the popup pushing the truck..it was scary.

    THere are laws by state that determine if you have to have trailer brakes, but if you are looking at a fairly large popup I would recommend them.
    2000 Odyssey LX
    2002 CR-V EX
    1987 Porsche 944
    2001 Ford Escort
    2000 Hyundai Tiburon

  9. #8
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    Thanks for all the insight. Any suggestion on a tranny cooler and p/s cooler? I was thinking of going to Uhaul and having them install it. Should I buy my own parts and get someone else to do the install?

  10. #9
    Registered User funfinder4's Avatar
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    mikewright1,
    Most of us here are pretty good DIY'ers. If you feel like you don't want to tackle this job yourself then yes take it to a shop and have them do the install. My suggestion is this however if your going to have the work done by someone else:

    1) Take it to a trusted transmission shop for the cooler installs not UHaul.

    2) Ask to have a "Plate and Fin" type cooler installed (like this: http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...85309015eNzvkv) instead of the cheaper "tube and fin" type( like this:http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...85309015uCrEZW). I've had both and trust me the Plate and Fin type is much better, the tube and fin just didn't keep my temps down enough. Only about 50% of us here also installed a power steering cooler, it's your choice on if you want to skip this or not.

    3) While it's at your trusted transmission shop have them change our the ATF. Ask and make sure they are going to use the Honda ATF Z1 only (since your van's so new) and if needed buy the fluid for them at your dealer and bring it to them.

    3.1) Also it's highly recommended that you have a transmission temp gauge installed while it's at your trusted transmission shop. Here's an example of mine: http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...85309015LQTVuc

    4)Have a hitch place install the hitch and electric brake controller on your van. RV dealers can do the job but most rush it since they try to do it on the same day you pick up your camper.
    Last edited by funfinder4; 01-30-2007 at 11:53 AM.
    '99 Odyssey LX: 135k; 2nd trans. @ 128k Hayden 678 Trans Cooler, Cyberdyne trans gauge, Prodigy brake controller, MaxLife ATF
    '06 Tundra DoubleCab: retired Ody from it's towing duties
    '05 Jayco Jayflight 27BH
    http://community.webshots.com/user/Funfinder4

  11. #10
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    funfinder, your van probably couldn't lock the torque converter in OD even on flat terrain. An unlocked TQ does make a lot of heat.

    I've verified that I can not only hold OD, but keep the TC locked up (geeky me, I recorded non towing rpms at various speeds and compared).

    Your 4 speed tranny probably had a much friendlier D3 than us 5 speed guys. I'm sure my 65 mpg rpms are over 3,000, which IIRC means it opens up the VTEC or is right on the verge thereof.

    I have only a 10,000# GCVW rated tube/fin cooler and have never been unable to keep my hand on it upon pulling over to check. I also sniff and change my ATF airly often - never any burn smell.
    2012 EX (hers) 03 LX (reserve force)
    2013 Chevy Cruze Eco (stick!) commuting average 40mpg

    Gone:Caddy CTS (neutered, aka auto trans), Jetta 1.8T (stick!),95 & 02 Saturn SL (stick!)

  12. #11
    Registered User gen3usa's Avatar
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    this is an excellent forum topic, thanks for the useful info! i have a quik ? does anyone have any idea as to who has the cheapest hayden 678 cooler, those of you who have purchased them would know best!

    thank you all for the plethera of info here!

    tom

    i just bought a coleman utah TT and im getting the van setup for hauling it.
    2004 EX-NAV w/ Hayden 678 + Pod gauge
    Prodigy Brake controller
    2001 Polaris Scrambler 400
    1999 Coleman Utah 24'

    www.gen3usa.com
    polaris the only way out!

  13. #12
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    Zoiks! The Utah is a lotta camper for the ole Odyssey.

    Once you get her all setup, best weigh the whole rig on a truck scale and make sure you aren't over the 8,265# tow rating. With that camper, you'll need a fairly tight belt as regards packing.

    Good luck!
    2012 EX (hers) 03 LX (reserve force)
    2013 Chevy Cruze Eco (stick!) commuting average 40mpg

    Gone:Caddy CTS (neutered, aka auto trans), Jetta 1.8T (stick!),95 & 02 Saturn SL (stick!)

  14. #13
    Registered User gen3usa's Avatar
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    ya i will, i know the trailer is 2400# dry. the trailer GVWR is 3250#
    so i only get to load about 800# which i never will. im getting a truck in six months so that will be the end of the ody pulling days. but for now for some local camping to get this thing figured out. do some local camp sites, nothing outside of 100 mile radius till the truck gets here. im getting the friction sway bar, brake controller, and tranny cooler for the van as insurance. thanks for all the usefull info here.

    tom
    2004 EX-NAV w/ Hayden 678 + Pod gauge
    Prodigy Brake controller
    2001 Polaris Scrambler 400
    1999 Coleman Utah 24'

    www.gen3usa.com
    polaris the only way out!

  15. #14
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    We tow our pop-up quite a bit. Dry weight of 2300lbs. With my family of 5 and gear I'm pretty sure we are right at the max GVW. We do not have the optional trans or power steering cooler. At 98k miles we have not had any drivetrain issues. *knocks on wood*

    Generally don't use cruise and limit speed to about 65. 15 mpg is pretty normal for us while towing.
    Last edited by sjn951; 02-02-2007 at 08:00 AM.
    Steve

    '02 Odyssey EX-L w/107k miles and the trans works flawlessly
    '94 F250 Supercab 7.3 Turbo Diesel - Real trucks don't need spark plugs!
    '89 Porsche 944 Turbo - modified with some extra go fast goodies

  16. #15
    Registered User gen3usa's Avatar
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    say funfinder, or anyone else, what should the running temp of tranny be? and what is the tops one should ever let the tranny temp get to? im installing the temp sensor and gauge and was curious.

    funfinder check your pm's

    thank you all
    tom
    2004 EX-NAV w/ Hayden 678 + Pod gauge
    Prodigy Brake controller
    2001 Polaris Scrambler 400
    1999 Coleman Utah 24'

    www.gen3usa.com
    polaris the only way out!

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