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OK,

I found a pop up that I really want but it will put me over the 3,500 lbs Honda reccomends.

I get the fact that the reccomended limit is 3,500 lbs but I would like to hear from others who know towing, have towed, and understand the limits and reccomended limits.

I have a stacked plate trans cooler and will change fluid very often, baby the Odyssey on the road and take it easy with hills, acceleration, stopping etc.

The pop up is a Fleetwood Niagara rated at about 3,500 lbs. I will have 5 people and full luggage so I am thinking 4,000 lbs or so.

Yes I know the manual states reccomended towing limits, but it also reccomends speed limits and everyone exceeds this so I am simply wondering if anyone has exceeded towing limits long-term and what the implications have been...

Thanks.
 

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I would advise against it. I own a 2009 Ody and do not think it could handle the load well. I do A LOT of towing, in fact my truck rarely goes anywhere without a trailer of some sorts behind it. Two boats, one 3000 lbs and one 5000 lbs, a utility trailer that is always loaded 2000 lbs to 5000 lbs, and a 10,000 lb 5th wheel/toy hauler. I do all my towing with a F 250 Powerstroke.

Here are some reasons why I do not think the Ody could handle it. I know when we load our Ody with 4 people and a dog and luggage for a weekend, it is already squatting the suspension and it feels “heavy” on the road. Now with the pop up, you will be adding 250 to 500 lbs tounge weight to the suspension. In addition, the Odys are prone to brake warping. One hard stop or one large/steep downhill could cause damage to the brakes. Plus the Odys are prone to transmission problems. Then there is the failing shock problem of Odys. Adding more weight may cause the shocks to fail. You may also be exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the Ody which could get stopped and get you a ticket in some states.

I would also be concerned that 3500 lbs may exceed the weight rating of a Class II hitch. I am not certain, but it might. I would suggest a Class III hitch and finding a Class III hitch for an Ody might be tough. Not to mention that the tounge weight of the pop up might exceed the Class II rating.

Most campers have two weight ratings. A dry weight, which is the empty weight and a wet weight. The wet weight includes the extra weight of full propane tank(s) and full water tank(s), it does not include the weight of any gear, such as dishes, linens, food, ice chests, etc. Double check the weight ratings because if the dry rating is 3500 lbs, adding propane, water, and general camping gear adds weight fast.

Before you tow with the Ody, I would make the following suggestions:

1. Make sure the pop up has brakes and they function properly. Install a good trailer brake controller in the Ody to operate the trailer brakes.
2. Get a quality Class III hitch installed.
3. Install a very large transmission cooler and change the fluid often.
4. Don’t tow in overdrive. Towing with excessive weight in overdrive creates enormous amounts of heat and can cause transmission failures.
5. Keep speeds reasonable. Since you will be maxing out the Ody’s tow rating and maybe the GVWR, you may experience a lot of swaying. If the pop up starts swaying, it can cause the Ody to start swaying which can cause a very bad accident. This is the “tail wagging the dog” syndrome. VERY DANGEROUS.
6. Inflate your tires to the Max psi that is stamped on the sidewall. This allows the tire to reach its max weight rating and causes less sidewall flex which causes less heat build up in the tire.

I am not trying to sound negative or discourage you at all. In fact I encourage everyone I know to go camping and let their kids experience and enjoy the outdoors. BUT I do see a lot of bad accidents every year from overloaded vehicles or vehicles that are towing excessive amounts of weight. When I am towing my 5th wheel, I am maxing out my F 250 and I have had some “white knuckle” moments. Those are not fun! You don’t want a fun weekend to turn tragic or endanger your family. I’m sure others will chime in and give additional advice or say I am full of BS, but I do have a lot of experience towing. LOL!

Just my .02. Hope this helps.
 

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You might not want to max out the tire psi. Maybe max psi minus 2 or 3.
 

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As stated above, its one thing to tow over the rated limit with an empty van, but now your adding people and "STUFF" that takes even more away from your true towing limt. Do the math and your WAY over the limit.

I would not use the Ody in this case...
 

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I tow a pup that is around 3,500 lbs loaded. The thing you need, and you need a good one, is a weight distributing hitch. Don't fool around with air bags, they merely cover up the problem. I use an equal-i-zer hitch. Tows great. Of course, electric brakes and a quality controller are also a must.

Also, slow down! What is the hurry?

Google Hitch Hints / Andy Thompson for some thoughts on minivans as tow vehicles.

John
 

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I tow a vintage Airstream Argosy with my Odyssey. The trailer weighs about 3000 lbs loaded - but I'm only hauling two people in the van, plus various bikes and kayaks.

I got my van set up by Andy Thomson, as mentioned in the post above. It will be necessary to use weight distribution - I use a Eaz-lift hitch with 1000 lb bars for my trailer - and you'll need some form of anti-sway device.

I'm very impressed with the handling of this combination, but note that your pop-up may tow differently from my Argosy.

Finally, I kinda wish Honda made it easier to set up the van for towing, rather than adding a bunch of coolers and bodging in a wire harness - it would be nice to just buy an Odyssey with a tow package from the factory and just plug in a brake controller like in a newer Pilot or Ridgeline...
 

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Laphroaig said:
8634 lbs on the balance last week (Ody + Coleman pop-up). Absolutely no problem.
The EX-L spec gross weight is about 4600lbs. Subtract your 8634lb total says your towing about 4000lbs. And depending how much stuff and how many people you have in the van your actually towing less than that.

I would feel fine with that.
 

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From http://www.rvlifemag.com/RV38-1/hitchhints38_1.html

As far as towing capabilities are concerned, it is interesting to put things into perspective. Twenty-five years ago, Lee Iacocca’s first Dodge minivan came with a 130 HP engine, 3-speed transmission, and tiny little brakes and suspension – it boasted a 3500 lb. towing recommendation, and it seems that all front wheel drive vans since then have the same recommendation no matter how capable a tow vehicle they are.
--Bill
 

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that is a really good article, it makes perfect common sense. I do tow over my recomended weight, I am pulling a trailer that weighs around 4200 pounds fully loaded. and My van does just fine. now once I did leave it in overdrive by accident (didnt notice I had placed it in OD) and she slipped some so I pulled over let it cool down and put it in 3rd and she did fine for the rest of the hour drive home. now I use synthetic fluid only in my tranny and I have a decent trans cooler that I bought at ADVANCED auto. for $40.00 bucks. Now I do not try to pull it in July and August here in Louisiana because it reaches 100 degrees pretty much all 2 months long, but I also use straight water and water wetter as well in my radiator which runs 10 degrees cooler than antifreeze.. cooler is better in my book. Heat kills the tranny and so does leaving it in overdrive for too long lol, SO DONT use OVERDRIVE. Take it from me but now you have to know my van has close to 300,000 miles on it too.

Oh and a weight distribution hitch does make all the difference in the world I saw this first hand and Now I want one. I couldnt believe how well this thing works.
 

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A Niagara is a brute. Buy a Utah instead and you'll manage.

We pull a Sun Valley with the Ody. We are fully equipped with trailer brakes, Prodigy brake controller and Reese 350mini wdh hitch. The rig rides like a dream and I am able to tow in overdrive. The trailer is 2,000# empty, 2,700# loaded to go (no water, firewood or AC unit) and we manage 19+mpg freeway towing (family of 5). My measured GCVW is 7,850# or so, but my front van axle is within 50# of its max rating.

We've towed all over America with this rig and it is awesome. I would not be able to tolerate having to tow in D3 with screaming revs at 65mph. I'd go nuts. 157,000 miles on the clock, about 18k of it towing. Original trans.
 

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Folks,

I have a 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L and have a towing question.

I'm looking to purchase a KZ RV (Model 16RBT). The UVW is right around 2,270 with the hitch weight being right around 290.

I have a family member that is a sales manager at a dealership so I got a deal on the Honda tow package $950 for parts and installation.

I talked to a dealership today and the salesman seemed to think I would need some "additional equipment". Let me know what you think.

Weight Distribution Hitch – Is the Honda hitch a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Sway-control setup -???

Electric brake controller -???

Air Lifts -???

Miss anything?

OdyClub newbie appreciates the help! :)
 

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Weight Distribution Hitch – Is the Honda hitch a Weight Distribution Hitch?
No. A weight-distribution hitch is an insert that goes in the Honda hitch receiver. It has a ball on it as well as connections for two load bars. These load bars are essentially big springs that transfer weight from the rear of the van back onto the front wheels, counteracting the tongue weight of the trailer. This improves steering of the tow vehicle.

The load bars are sized (by weight specification) to roughly correspond with the tongue weight of the trailer. You'd probably use 500 lb bars.

Sway-control setup -???
You'll want that too. It's either built into the weight distribution hitch (like a Reese dual-cam sway control) or attaches to a knob on the hitch and the side of the trailer tongue. It reduces the tendency of the trailer to wag. I use a simple friction sway-control device.

Note that some set-up parameters (make sure the hitch ball is as close to the bumper as possible, set the angle of the hitch ball as in the instructions) will also markedly improve tow rig handling.

Electric brake controller -???
You need that too. It activates the electric brakes on the trailer. To install that, you need to have a 7-pin connector installed on the van. It will use the wiring from the 4-pin connector that comes from the Honda hitch (if you get the factory wiring - there is cheaper aftermarket alternatives), plus adds a charge wire (which recharges the trailer's battery) and a wire from the brake controller.

The brake controller itself needs to be wired into power and a lead from the van's brake pedal switch. There are several comprehensive threads here on how to do this.

Air Lifts -???
My view is that air bags in the rear shocks just cover up for not having properly set-up weight distribution. Setting the bars properly is a process - you tighten them by attaching a certain number of chain links to a mount, and then measure to see that all corners of the tow vehicle have a similar drop.

This stuff is hard to grasp without seeing it - a trip to a RV shop would probably help (although they might try and tell you that you need a big truck to tow your trailer, as would most RV forums.)

One more thing - don't skip using this stuff. I use an Eaz-lift Elite weight distribution hitch; with friction sway control, it's under $300 online. A Prodigy brake controller can be found for $100 new. The hitch is a bit of a hassle to connect and set-up, but it makes a big difference - I've towed with and without one, and it's much better to have the equipment.
Good luck!
 

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minemen20 said:
OK,

I found a pop up that I really want but it will put me over the 3,500 lbs Honda reccomends.

I get the fact that the reccomended limit is 3,500 lbs but I would like to hear from others who know towing, have towed, and understand the limits and reccomended limits.

I have a stacked plate trans cooler and will change fluid very often, baby the Odyssey on the road and take it easy with hills, acceleration, stopping etc.

The pop up is a Fleetwood Niagara rated at about 3,500 lbs. I will have 5 people and full luggage so I am thinking 4,000 lbs or so.

Yes I know the manual states reccomended towing limits, but it also reccomends speed limits and everyone exceeds this so I am simply wondering if anyone has exceeded towing limits long-term and what the implications have been...

Thanks.
I use our 2007 odyssey EX-L to tow a 3500lb GVWR full height travel trailer (weigh station gave me 3100 for the loaded trailer ready to camp). I added class III receiver, weight distributing hitch, brake controller, charge line for the trailer batteries, and transmission fluid cooler for the van. It tows fine, but we are careful to pack light so we don't overload the van.

I'm sure the van will handle 4000 fine as long as you are setup properly. Not sure I would be comfortable going over the factory rating, but that's just me.
 

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Did you start with the Honda tow package or go through an aftermarket hitch vendor for you setup?

I'm interesting in picking up a lightweight trailer (3500# GVWR) and want to set up my van correctly.

The Honda kit is roughly $1200 installed.

I've found pricing for parts alone to be $650 (Honda stuff) and aftermarket stuff is roughly $400.

The hitch install looks simple enough. The ATF and steering fluid cooler a bit more tedious but not impossible. I really don't like messing with electrical for the wiring though.
 

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traffic002 said:
Did you start with the Honda tow package or go through an aftermarket hitch vendor for you setup?

I'm interesting in picking up a lightweight trailer (3500# GVWR) and want to set up my van correctly.

The Honda kit is roughly $1200 installed.

I've found pricing for parts alone to be $650 (Honda stuff) and aftermarket stuff is roughly $400.

The hitch install looks simple enough. The ATF and steering fluid cooler a bit more tedious but not impossible. I really don't like messing with electrical for the wiring though.
I did it all myself, Honda charges too much. Class III hitch cost me about $250 (reese). 4Pin wiring about $40. 7pin wiring kit $50 (from etrailer.com includes all wiring, relays, etc.), prodigy brake controller $90, WDH w/ 600 lb bars $250, ATF cooler $40.

It gets pricey to have honda or a shop do it, but if you are a bit handy and have some time you can do it yourself quite easily.
 

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brake controller

Agree with the not towing suggestion. I regularly tow a popup and it does great.....however, mine is fleetwood bayside, not niagra so it weighs less.

Question.....anyone know of a good brake controller? Mine is being traded and I need a new, economical replacement.
 
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