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I noticed that the owners manual for the 2002 Odyssey (Page 265) specifically recommends a “weight distributing hitch” for trailers over 1850 pounds. Is the Honda factory hitch a “weight distributing hitch”? I can not seem to get an informed answer to this question.
 

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The Honda dealer installed hitch is just a regular frame mounted class III. As far as I know all accessories are still intalled at the dealership not the factory.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by moopie:
Is the Honda factory hitch a “weight distributing hitch”? </font>
Your Odyssey's trailer hitch is most likely the standard, class III hitch with a 2-inch square opening that will accept a tow ball-mount which is a 2-inch square metal bar that slides into the opening of your vehicle's hitch and has a round ball for the trailer's tongue . What I have described is a basic towing set-up and is what you see on most vehicles towing a trailer. If you are not towing a lot of weight, this is perfectly fine. But if you have a heavy trailer, this basic set-up puts all the weight of the trailer's tongue (called Tongue Weight which is around 10 percent of total trailer weight) on the the rear of your car. This causes the rear end to sag and the front-end to lift which upsets the normal balance of car. This plays havoc with your steering, braking, and ride quality, not to mention safety if you encounter an emergency situation. So what do you do?

You get a "weight distributing hitch". It costs a little more because it includes two long metal bars and some connecting chains that will "distribute" the weight to the front axle. The result is the vehicle is level, all tires have equal weight--especially important since the drive wheels are in the front, and things are a lot safer. If you plan on towing a heavy trailer, I would highly recommend getting one since it really made a difference when I was towing a heavy trailer. I have a link below that gives a better explanation:

http://www.etrailer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=E&Category_Code=awd
 

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Hi Voyager.

Not wanting to "void" anything I had Honda install their towing package on my 2002 Odyssey. After looking over the weight distributing hitch information, I'm pretty sure the Honda hitch is, as you suspected, a plain old hitch.

I installed the hitch with the anticipation of purchasing a pop-up camper in the not too distant future. These go from around 1000-2500 unloaded weight to 2500-3300 gross vehicle weight. I assumed (stupid me) that the hitch that Honda sells should be able to pull these trailers as they are under the vehicles 3500 towing capacity.

Does anyone know if I can:
1. Retrofit additional parts onto my existing hitch to make it in effect a distributing hitch?
2. Couldn't I simply rear load the trailer to aleviate some of the tongue weight, or is it more complicated than that?
3. Would air shocks help any?



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  • ’90 4Runner – lacking for a family of 5
  • ’02 GG Odyssey EX-L-RES – my new best friend

TNUCKELS
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by moopie:
I noticed that the owners manual for the 2002 Odyssey (Page 265) specifically recommends a “weight distributing hitch” for trailers over 1850 pounds. Is the Honda factory hitch a “weight distributing hitch”? I can not seem to get an informed answer to this question.</font>
I've been trying to understand this issue too. Although I have no experince with this structural weight kind of hitch issue, I've looked any many third party hitches and it seems that the ones that say they are wieght distributing "tie" into the frame farther away from the weight. They look like they might attach to the frame across a greater distance.

That probably didn't make any sense, but look at the picture for the draw-tite hitch receiver Part # 75103 at www.draw-tite.com.

What do you think?

[This message has been edited by BobN (edited 01-28-2002).]
 

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tnuckles, I put the towing package on for the same reason (pop-up camper towing). I still plan on using it for that!

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1996 Odyssey 120,000 miles
2002EX Odyssey w/towing package
http://www.homestead.com/weaverhouse/index.html
 

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<<Does anyone know if I can:
1. Retrofit additional parts onto my existing hitch to make it in effect a distributing hitch?
2. Couldn't I simply rear load the trailer to aleviate some of the tongue weight, or is it more complicated than that?
3. Would air shocks help any?>>

I would use extreme caution in trying to load the trailer heavier in the rear. This could cause serious sway if it got going and would be very dangerous to you and your new Odyssey!

One good resource for your towing questions would be the group for pop-up trailer camping. Go to www.google.com, then groups, and search on pop-ups. The group name is alt.rv.pop-up-trailers. Great group of people and very helpful.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tnuckels:

Does anyone know if I can:
1. Retrofit additional parts onto my existing hitch to make it in effect a distributing hitch?
2. Couldn't I simply rear load the trailer to aleviate some of the tongue weight, or is it more complicated than that?
3. Would air shocks help any?

</font>
Tnuckels you might want to read through the towing facts on the Drawtite website. They have a good explanation of the towing process and safety concerns.
 

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I apologize for the confusion I may have caused. The weight-distributing hitch is an after-market item that goes into your Honda-installed hitch (you can get from any hitch installer). In other words, the Class III hitch on your Honda is fine.

The bottom line is that the Honda hitch may work fine, but try it with your trailer to see how it does. After reading other posts, I get the impression that the independent rear suspension on the Odyssey tends to squat quite a bit under load so I would assume that a heavy trailer may really lower the rear. If the rear end sits too low and the steering feels funny while driving with trailer, you may want to get a weight-distributing hitch or air-assist for rear suspension (see nemogira's mod in the tech section). One final comment, you will need to modify trailer to accept weight distributing hitch, if that is what you decide. Again, look at link I posted for a couple of pics and a better explanation. I'm not an expert in this, but I did have a 96 Mercury Villager that I used to tow a pop-up trailer. I tried without it first, eventhough owners manual said I need a weight-distributing hitch (it was a big pop-up). When I put trailer on hitch, the rear just about bottomed-out and that was without packing car with people and supplies. I think it was a 3 or 400 dollars to have it installed, but it made a big difference.


http://www.etrailer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=E&Category_Code=awd
 

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Voyager I think you have got the "weight distributing hitch" explained now. I was going to try and explain but I am glad you did it.

I personally am not a bigfan of them on small setups, because the trailing setup becomes quite complicated and the driver needs be to able to understand the setup and may need to make adjustments while travelling.

My parents had the weight distibuting hitch setup with their long travel trailer and it was really needed for multiple reasons. One reason it was needed, was because the trailer was longer when the full size van that pulled it. The trailer being longer than the pull vehicle can get in a see-saw motion and it having a long leveler arm can lift and mash down the rear of the tow vehicle without the hitching setup. And two, the weight of the trailer. This trailer also had electric brakes, I would recommend surge brakes on the trailer instead.

After having both good and bad trailering experiences. My conclusions are the difficult of trailering is a ratio of the trailers weight vs pulling vehicles weight. I personal like the number of 0.3. I did a 0.75 twice and it was a very challanging drive because the trailer just pushed shoved the truck all over the rode.

Just my cents
BrianB
 

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Thanks to all for clearing up much of my confusion. With everything these days being its own branch of science, and the fact that I don’t yet own anything to tow, I haven’t done my homework in this area. Unfortunately, making relatively informed decisions any more is a real time sink. The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” seems a way of life. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to use and enjoy some of the stuff I research and buy. And then the blackness and despair set in ~~~

Oh well ... beats having to trust old crazy Vern down at the Bait&Tackle.


Here is a pointer to some product info on some of the different setups available: http://www.ehitches.com./contents.html This page clearly shows that you can retrofit your trailer/hitch to make it a weight distributing setup if it is called for.

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  • ’90 4Runner – lacking for a family of 5
  • ’02 GG Odyssey EX-L-RES – my new best friend

TNUCKELS

[This message has been edited by tnuckels (edited 01-28-2002).]
 
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