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Discussion Starter #1
I have been meaning to post this for a while.

When I was looking for my next vehicle one thing I wanted was the ability to tow my boat among several other things. I didn't plan to tow the boat that often, but still I wanted decent towing. I considered lots of SUV's, but as a daily driver they get lousy mileage and are prone to rolling over.

Honda does not promote the Odyssey for towing. My guess is they don't want to take sales away from the MDX or now Pilot. Actually I think the Odyssey is the best one for towing because of its firmer suspension and lower ride.

I chose not to get the Honda installed towing kit because it was too expensive and frankly I was not sure it was up to the task of towing my 28' sailboat. Instead I installed a DrawTite Class III hitch and a Hayden transmission cooler.

My first towing trip was from Nor.Cal. to So.Cal. This 400 mile trip included passing over a 3500' grade. The Odyssey performed flawlessly. The transmission did a great job of chossing a gear and even with the heavy load I could pass. We comfortably towed the boat at speeds from 55 - 75 including the grade. It was mid afternoon and air temp was in the upper 70's yet the Odyssey temp guage didn't even hint at getting too hot. Handling was superb pulling the double axle trailer and boat.

Thanks Honda for making a great towing vehicle that I can fit all my stuff into including the sails!!
 

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You are kidding us, right? It seemed plausible until I looked at the picture. That is one huge boat.

Some of us are wondering if we can pull pop-up trailers weighing maybe a third to half of that boat and trailer. Any idea what the combined weight is?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's for real

Looks can be deceiving. The boat & trailer way about 3900#'s. If you recall both the Pilot and MDX are rated for 4,500#'s for boats because boats are much more streamlined and mine is no exception...

http://www.a27class.org/A27Brochure.htm

I can honestly say the Odyssey did a great job of pulling the boat (and yes we do take down the mast when towing over the road).
 

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I believe you but it did occur to me that you might be putting us on when I saw that picture. Any other mods to the Ody other than the trans cooler? Some of us are turning our's into tanks.

You have certainly raised the bar for towing. We'll have to see if anyone on OC can top you. I did read on another forum that someone was towing a 4500lb Airstream with no problems.

Nice boat by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The manager of the place that sold me the 2002 Oddy EX-Navi told me that he regulary tows his 20' ski boat with his 2000 Ody and takes a bunch of big guys. We have more HP and an extra gear.

Now I don't want to imply that towing a large load frequently would be good for the Odyssey, but I figured the few times we tow the boat to a regatta it would do just fine.

Why would the MDX and the Pilot be rated for 4,500#'s for a boat, but not the Odyssey? The Odyssey is also more aerodynamic than either of these. I really think Honda just wants to promote the SUV's (based on the same Ody platform) for towing.

I think allot of guys (& we don't have any kids) pass up the Odyssey for an SUV when they never plan to take it off road. Why pay for crappy mileage all the time? BTW Our mileage dropped to 11 MPG (from 23 MPG) when towing and the engine ran in the 2500 - 4000 RPM range. It was not able to shift down to the 1900 range we see so often when not towing. This is to be expected. Braking was good as the trailer has surge brakes.

I really looked hard at the MDX, but the extra cost and the fact I couldn't fit the sails in were the clincher. I don't regret the decision.
 

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Thanks for the additional info. On the greater tow rating for the MDX/Pilot: Four wheel drive may factor in.

Rear wheel drive is generally considered better than front drive for towing because of possible traction problems when starting off up hill but you obviously launched and pulled your boat with no problems.
 

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Yes, the VTM-4 system on the MDX/Pilot shifts some power to the rear wheels when the vehicle is under acceleration.
 

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Nice boat, and I too thought you were putting us on with that picture. I don't feel bad hauling my two mountain bikes with a hitch rack. Did you have to install an airlift system for the rear?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Air lift system

The trailer is dual axle so that makes the tounge weight relatively light so no air lift system is needed. The trailer will balance on the two wheels. Also much of the weight of the boat is in the keel bulb. So it's low and center.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Another picture

A close up picture of the hitch. Not the most attractive hitch, but I believe the strongest.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wheelbase

Oh one more thing the Odyssey has a longer wheelbase than the Pilot or MDX which is preferred for towing.
 

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Thanks for you post.

Drawtite, I just ordered that today. 'Looks ugly' I really can't tell from your picture. Was it an easy install? Also, do you remember the part number?

The boat lift is your savior for towing that. I could never imagine the Ody pulling that up a ramp out of the water. Come to think about it, I don't think anyone could as the keel may not retract and the tongue wouldn't be long enough, ay?

MDX/Pilot towing capacity.... maybe theirs is higher as they might be on frames, as our Odysseys are unitized with some subframing.
 

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Good to hear the Odyssey can perform. I suppose if you had a bunch of big guys sitting in the rear seat that the weight would be distributed to your dual axel trailer which should help the rear end of the Ody from sagging? I find the rear springs on the 2002 Ody to be less than adequate. Too bad they didn't beef them up a bit. I am going to install airbags in the rear suspension because when I've got 7 people in the van (3 adults in the back seat), the van looks rediculous from the back. The rear wheels toe out and the nose points up.

I regret installing the Honda trans cooler. Its only slightly better than the factory cooler which was just a tube. The upgrade is the same tube but with fins on it. It looks like the third party TCs have much more capacity which you definitely need in your application. Did you also install a steering fluid cooler?
 

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rray,

After researching the towing issue here, it appears that many people have had hitch dragging (on the ground) problems as it is apparently much lower than the other two predominate hitches.

Have you expereinced this problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
No I haven't experienced the hitch dragging on the ground with the drw-tite hitch.

BTW When I tow the boat I only have one passenger, not that the Odyssey couldn't handle more, but I am sure performance would be offset

The Hayden transmission cooler is much bigger then the Honda Factory one. No need to add yet another cooler to the PS system.

Yes I can also ramp launch with the tounge extender. Not a problem as the keel retracts so the boat only has a 3'4" draft
 

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rray,

Can you please post the model of the Hayden transmission cooler or provide a link?

Also - can you please describe any installation details you have?

Thank You!
 

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rray said:
Yes I can also ramp launch with the tounge extender. Not a problem as the keel retracts so the boat only has a 3'4" draft
Sweet. Have you ramp launched with the Ody yet?
 

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26' trailerable sail boat

Rray,

Can you post more pictures of the launch and retrieving of the boat?

For others considering a 26' trailerable sail boat pls visit this site
http://www.macgregor26x.com

This one is light 'cause its water ballested and have a retrievable Centerboard.

Enjoy

Sstar
 
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