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Odyssey 2019 EXL
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I am a newbie , even the 2" tow hitch in my car came from dealer 2019 Odyssey Exl.

Can someone guide me if I will need to modify anything if I keep the trailer GVWR below the 3000 lbs limit for this vehicle?
I read many points about transmission cooling and some weight distribution hitch. My Ody's
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hitch looks like a Honda OEM ad in the picture. Any comments to help me be safe in my first venture to Trailer camping with my wife n kids will be wonderful.
 

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2020 Honda Odyssey EX-L, Platinum White Pearl on Mocha Brown Leather
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Disappointing to see a Honda oem hitch that has a exposed cross member. My aftermarket hitch (EcoHitch) has a cross member that is hidden behind the bumper and comes with a life time warranty.
 

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I am looking for the same information. I have a 2019 EX. Pop-up trailer shopping right now. I have a lifetime power train warranty from the dealer I purchased it from. I need to make sure I don’t do anything to void that. There’s got to be members on here that are towing 🙂
 

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First, virtually all towing applications for the Ody should include a trans cooler. Second, what you are towing is actually more critical than pure weight. I've towed all over the country above the rating with no issue, but that was a pop up camper that is low profile and adds very little wind resistance to the equation. Frontal area, which is used to calculate wind resistance, is never published for the majority of mini vans and crossovers, but it should be. Towing a Uhaul that was 12" taller than my van at half the weight towed harder than my camper. Third, different applications require different additional items to tow safely. At 2,000 lbs+ trailer brakes should be part of it, which requires a brake controller and a trailer plug to accommodate the additional wire needed. A weight distribution hitch is possibly needed, I needed it for my application, but not all trailers a constructed with a stout enough frame to allow it.

As for warranty implications, to keep your factory warranty intact make sure you install all of the components necessary to match Honda's dealer install tow package. On 3rd party "lifetime" warranties, make sure to read ALL of the fine print. I wouldn't put it past them to void the warranty if the vehicle was used to tow.
 
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First, virtually all towing applications for the Ody should include a trans cooler. Second, what you are towing is actually more critical than pure weight. I've towed all over the country above the rating with no issue, but that was a pop up camper that is low profile and adds very little wind resistance to the equation. Frontal area, which is used to calculate wind resistance, is never published for the majority of mini vans and crossovers, but it should be. Towing a Uhaul that was 12" taller than my van at half the weight towed harder than my camper. Third, different applications require different additional items to tow safely. At 2,000 lbs+ trailer brakes should be part of it, which requires a brake controller and a trailer plug to accommodate the additional wire needed. A weight distribution hitch is possibly needed, I needed it for my application, but not all trailers a constructed with a stout enough frame to allow it.

As for warranty implications, to keep your factory warranty intact make sure you install all of the components necessary to match Honda's dealer install tow package. On 3rd party "lifetime" warranties, make sure to read ALL of the fine print. I wouldn't put it past them to void the warranty if the vehicle was used to tow.
Is there a trans cooler available for 5th gen odyssey? If I remember correctly, that's not an option even at the dealer. Like the OP, I have the lifetime warranty through the dealer and don't want to void it.

OP, you may want to look into Timbren SES bump stops to prevent sag. This van sags more than the last 3 we owned and these fixed it for us.
 

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Is there a trans cooler available for 5th gen odyssey? If I remember correctly, that's not an option even at the dealer. Like the OP, I have the lifetime warranty through the dealer and don't want to void it.

OP, you may want to look into Timbren SES bump stops to prevent sag. This van sags more than the last 3 we owned and these fixed it for us.
I'll take your word for it that there is not one available from the dealer, but I would be installing one if I was going to tow frequently. One thing I do is rent a flatbed Uhaul once a year for bulk mulch and tow about 2,500 lbs 4 miles. If that is all I was doing then I wouldn't bother, but I towed our pop up from central Ohio to San Diego and I certainly wouldn't do that without the cooler. It doesn't have to be a Honda cooler, in fact mine is the Tru-Cool 4454 discussed frequently here and it will fit on any gen Ody.
 

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I'll take your word for it that there is not one available from the dealer, but I would be installing one if I was going to tow frequently. One thing I do is rent a flatbed Uhaul once a year for bulk mulch and tow about 2,500 lbs 4 miles. If that is all I was doing then I wouldn't bother, but I towed our pop up from central Ohio to San Diego and I certainly wouldn't do that without the cooler. It doesn't have to be a Honda cooler, in fact mine is the Tru-Cool 4454 discussed frequently here and it will fit on any gen Ody.
All I'm saying is, I'd be weary of installing anything that will void my power train warranty. In my case though, if we ever do get a hitch installed, we plan to only used it for a rear swing away cargo box or a bike rack. Like I always said, "everything I need a pickup for - I can rent one for".
While I see the benefit of having an oil cooler installed, it may give them a direct way to void my powertrain warranty if the transmission ever fails.
 

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The vehicle is rated for it's towing capacity without any modifications.

There is no need for auxiliary coolers, etc.

The previous gen Odyssey required many modifications before it could be used for towing.
 

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I do not see why anyone would want to modify or change the ODY method of cooling the transmission. First the transmission heat exchanger is built onto (not into the transmission.) Think of it as a radiator, what you see on the outside of the transmission heat exchanger is 2 tubes that are the antifreeze coolant supply and return side. The heat exchanger is actually bolted by 3 bolts to the top left side of the transmission body. On to the back of the body of the heat exchanger is two o-rings, one large and one smaller one. These holes allow the transmission fluid (Supply and return) to circulate to the temperature of the coolant and thus both coolant and transmission oil will be the same
temperature operationally. No need for an external cooler. Nuff said.
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I do not see why anyone would want to modify or change the ODY method of cooling the transmission. First the transmission heat exchanger is built onto (not into the transmission.) Think of it as a radiator, what you see on the outside of the transmission heat exchanger is 2 tubes that are the antifreeze coolant supply and return side. The heat exchanger is actually bolted by 3 bolts to the top left side of the transmission body. On to the back of the body of the heat exchanger is two o-rings, one large and one smaller one. These holes allow the transmission fluid (Supply and return) to circulate to the temperature of the coolant and thus both coolant and transmission oil will be the same
temperature operationally. No need for an external cooler. Nuff said.
You may be 100% correct and I may not be current, BUT I would personally want to monitor the fluid temp under max towing to see what temps are observed before arriving at that conclusion. That was done by at least one member with the 5 speed and that was what convinced me I would never think of towing without an added cooler. If the trans fluid reached 260 degrees and then counted on circulating through 200 degree coolant to reduce the operating temp with that short passage though the heat exchanger it may not achieve parity.

I certainly stand by my advice for anyone with a "lifetime" warranty to read the fine print for potential exclusion if used for towing. If that were the case it would not stop me from towing, but if that puts me completely on my own then I would proceed accordingly. In addition, read carefully the language surrounding the replacement of a failed drive train component. If they will pay for the replacement to be done at the dealer then chances are very high you'll get a brand new transmission, but if the contract calls for a rebuilt transmission you may be very disappointed with what you get and wish you had taken precautions to protect the original. You raise some valid points. I've got 226K on my van headed for 300K, so that certainly effects my approach, but for those who tend to trade or sell before 150K you can do things differently and get there. And as I stated before, what kind of towing being done is a big part of this. A couple of times a summer less than 100 miles from home, low elevation, and willing to take your time is different than my cross country trip with 800 mile days at 75 mph then tackling the Rocky Mountains.
 

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I'm guessing that you already found this thread, but it should give you a good idea of what the expect when towing:
what have you towed?

As I said before, your vehicle is rated for it's towing capacity without modifications. This includes over the river, through the woods, and across the mountain range. You will not endanger your FACTORY power train warranty if you are towing within the limits.

As far as any dealer lifetime warranty: these are usually most useful as toilet paper or as kindling to get you backyard fire started.
 

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I'm guessing that you already found this thread, but it should give you a good idea of what the expect when towing:
what have you towed?

As I said before, your vehicle is rated for it's towing capacity without modifications. This includes over the river, through the woods, and across the mountain range. You will not endanger your FACTORY power train warranty if you are towing within the limits.

As far as any dealer lifetime warranty: these are usually most useful as toilet paper or as kindling to get you backyard fire started.
I completely agree with you on the "lifetime warranty". There are frequently so many "I's" to dot and "T's" to cross. Those warranties cost the dealership a few hundred bucks a car and the reasons they are so cheap are many. A high percentage of new car buyers are 5 years/75K miles or less and out and the warranty is not transferable. Then you have the record keeping and official maintenance interval to follow. If the owner isn't staying on top of that and misses something it's void, and you can't rely on the dealer service advisors to keep you eligible as they can be very unreliable trying to upsell you everything under the sun one visit and scrambling to get you out of their shop the next. I've done that job and it can be tough staying on top of everything plus the rejection rate can have you skipping the pitch when you have been rejected a dozen times already for the day.

I preface every question posed to me by friends and family about maintenance recommendations with questions of my own about how they are using the car and what their expectation for the car is. As I stated before, targeting 300K is completely different than 150K or less, and both the OP and subsequent questioners here haven't given us much to go on really. Severe duty schedules have pretty much disappeared in the industry, but really should still be a part of the maintenance equation. Towing is one of those. Even in my own house there are 2 very different models for our vehicles. Before Covid I was averaging 800 miles a week on my car 85% highway while my wife works a mile from the house and typically makes several trips a week 10 miles each way for groceries, etc. I do 5K full syn oil changes on both cars, but obviously my car is getting babied more than hers in that equation. As for getting past factory warranty, 36K isn't much of a security blanket. 3 oil changes and that's it. After that it's all on you, so if your plan is 200K+ you might want to make some adjustments. Let's face it, even Honda would really prefer the vehicle last just long enough that you're not PO'd too much to buy your next one.
 

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You may be 100% correct and I may not be current, BUT I would personally want to monitor the fluid temp under max towing to see what temps are observed before arriving at that conclusion. That was done by at least one member with the 5 speed and that was what convinced me I would never think of towing without an added cooler. If the trans fluid reached 260 degrees and then counted on circulating through 200 degree coolant to reduce the operating temp with that short passage though the heat exchanger it may not achieve parity.

I certainly stand by my advice for anyone with a "lifetime" warranty to read the fine print for potential exclusion if used for towing. If that were the case it would not stop me from towing, but if that puts me completely on my own then I would proceed accordingly. In addition, read carefully the language surrounding the replacement of a failed drive train component. If they will pay for the replacement to be done at the dealer then chances are very high you'll get a brand new transmission, but if the contract calls for a rebuilt transmission you may be very disappointed with what you get and wish you had taken precautions to protect the original. You raise some valid points. I've got 226K on my van headed for 300K, so that certainly effects my approach, but for those who tend to trade or sell before 150K you can do things differently and get there. And as I stated before, what kind of towing being done is a big part of this. A couple of times a summer less than 100 miles from home, low elevation, and willing to take your time is different than my cross country trip with 800 mile days at 75 mph then tackling the Rocky Mountains.
One of the things about the transmission/engine coolant is their temperatures should be the same or as you say in parity. In case of the transmission oil getting warmer from towing, then your coolant temperature would also raise up higher at the same time. This heat exchanger on the transmission is of what we would call a high efficiency of tracking temperatures. The best way to explain that efficiency is comparing it to a HVAC evaporator coil. There are two different type of coils, one is a high efficient coil (It looks like a cube) and the other is most commonly found in older air-handlers or your house A-frame evaporator. The tighter they can put the tubes in (in this case it would be the transmission tubes) with the coolant being around all the tubes inside of the heat exchanger.

Someone could build a new heat exchanger (made from copper would be best as long as the transmission oil and coolant would not corrode the coil) replace the Manufacturer heat exchanger but would probably void the engine and transmission warranty from Honda. This would allow a faster transfer and if the heat exchanger was twice the size it could come to the same size of the transmission oil inside of the transmission giving the oil a change of volume to cool or heat itself faster. But Honda engineers must have worked on this for sizing the heat exchanger with this engine/transmission with full cargo weight behind to say no extra cooling is needed for towing.

A maintenance tip here for the transmission filter. You are not required to do this unless your transmission is being rebuilt, unless you want to change it, there is no mileage or date to change it by. To change it out the heat exchanger must be removed, you do not have to remove the coolant lines unless you want to. Coolant will come out of bothe the heat exchanger and the engine from both hoses. Next you will have to remove 3-bolts to remove the heat exchanger on the transmission, there will be some transmission fluid come from the heat exchanger and a little from the transmission when it is removed have shop rags under the heat exchanger to absorb the oil. On the transmission or the heat exchanger you will see one larger o-ring and one smaller o-ring. You will have to purchase this and you filter ahead of this time. If you notice bo the heat exchanger and the transmission has NO SEALANT, do not apply any on reinstalling. You will see about a soda can size filter, on the transmission, using a J hook puller hook around the side and pull out the filter. Replace in the transmission your new filter, and on the heat exchanger the two o-rings and align heat exchanger to mate to the transmission and put in the 3 bolts to secure the heat exchanger. I would recommend to check the transmission fluid. But first you will need to start the engine (for only 5 seconds then shut off) and just let it fill the space in the heat exchanger with transmission fluid. Now check the level of the transmission and add oil if not level with the bottom of the oil level hole. Once again this is not mandatory to do!
XAT oil filter.jpg
 

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I started towing a 1700 lb popup trailer this year. It's probably close to 2,500 lb loaded. Her is my experience and setup:

1. Trailer hitch - $150 or so from e-trailer, hidden crossmember similar to the OEM Honda one.
2. Wiring - Not sure if the OEM hitch gets you a 4-pin connector installed, but you'll need to do some work to make it usable with a 7-pin connector. My trailer has a 7-pin connector, so I ran a 12v lead and installed a 40A fuse so that the trailer battery would charge while being towed. Also allows me to run the fridge on the way.
3. Braking - I'm using a Curt bluetooth brake controller to trigger the brakes on the trailer. Works pretty well, and didn't require any additional wiring to the brake pedal or installing any ugly brake controller units inside the car.
4. Suspension/Ride Height - The Odyssey needs a lot of help in this area, the Timbren SES was a HUGE help and I would recommend anyone who is considering towing not hesitate to install it.
5. Transmission cooling - NOT necessary to install any external cooling on the tranny. I monitored my transmission temp with an OBD2 scanner on a steep grade and my max temp was 194F with ambient temps around 70F. For comparison, the transmission temp was 204F when NOT towing with ambient temps at 100F. After gathering this data I'm completely comfortable towing my trailer without worrying about the transmission temp.
 

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I started towing a 1700 lb popup trailer this year. It's probably close to 2,500 lb loaded. Her is my experience and setup:

1. Trailer hitch - $150 or so from e-trailer, hidden crossmember similar to the OEM Honda one.
2. Wiring - Not sure if the OEM hitch gets you a 4-pin connector installed, but you'll need to do some work to make it usable with a 7-pin connector. My trailer has a 7-pin connector, so I ran a 12v lead and installed a 40A fuse so that the trailer battery would charge while being towed. Also allows me to run the fridge on the way.
3. Braking - I'm using a Curt bluetooth brake controller to trigger the brakes on the trailer. Works pretty well, and didn't require any additional wiring to the brake pedal or installing any ugly brake controller units inside the car.
4. Suspension/Ride Height - The Odyssey needs a lot of help in this area, the Timbren SES was a HUGE help and I would recommend anyone who is considering towing not hesitate to install it.
5. Transmission cooling - NOT necessary to install any external cooling on the tranny. I monitored my transmission temp with an OBD2 scanner on a steep grade and my max temp was 194F with ambient temps around 70F. For comparison, the transmission temp was 204F when NOT towing with ambient temps at 100F. After gathering this data I'm completely comfortable towing my trailer without worrying about the transmission temp.
Sounds like you are dialed in. For a point of reference, what year and model is your Ody? That can make a big difference.
 

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I'm on a 2018 EX-L - good call, bandit400.

One additional thing I wanted to mention regarding suspension:
Weight distribution can be a delicate setup. I learned after installing my hitch that it was NOT rated to be used with weight distribution. Only the 3rd party hitches with a visible cross-member are capable and rated for such use. I'm not sure about the OEM Honda one. Even with a hitch that allows the use of weight distribution, trailers that are under 3000lb might not even have a frame strong enough to have this type of system installed. It makes sense to use one of you're towing frequently, but at that point...why would you buy an Odyssey :)
 

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I'm on a 2018 EX-L - good call, bandit400.

One additional thing I wanted to mention regarding suspension:
Weight distribution can be a delicate setup. I learned after installing my hitch that it was NOT rated to be used with weight distribution. Only the 3rd party hitches with a visible cross-member are capable and rated for such use. I'm not sure about the OEM Honda one. Even with a hitch that allows the use of weight distribution, trailers that are under 3000lb might not even have a frame strong enough to have this type of system installed. It makes sense to use one of you're towing frequently, but at that point...why would you buy an Odyssey :)
I'll confess that I am using a WDH with the OEM hitch pulling my 3,500 lb pop up. I've seen no documentation telling me whether it is or is not approved to be used with one. With my set up I had to have it and I am actually 500 lbs over GCVWR, but in spec on each axle. I would be over on the rear if not for the WDH, but if I totally take the sag out of the rear suspension it overloads the front. I'm not recommending anyone venture down the path I went lightly as it takes a lot of homework, but it can be done. The fact that pop ups are low profile is really what makes the Ody a great tow vehicle for them. The drive train is stout enough, especially since '07, and gets a 5,000 lb tow rating for the same combo in the Pilot, but the Ody is actually better set up for towing if you firm up the rear suspension because it has a longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity making it more stable.
 
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