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Old 02-15-2016, 01:10 PM   #1
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2016 Honda Pilot Elite - Safe towing vehicle for a 16' Sport?

Hello, folks! A newbie here to Airstream travel and towing. My wife and I are very interested in learning as much as we can about Airstreams, towing, and proper TVs for towing Airstreams.

We are most interested in investing our money in the following:

-2016 Honda Pilot Elite (5,000 pound towing capacity)
-16' Airstream Sport

Looking at the specs sheet of the 16' Airstream, and knowing that our auto's add-on weights (us, luggage, et cetera) would be around 500 pounds, we figure an Elite's true towing capacity would be more in the 4500 pound range.

My questions:

1) Would 4500 pounds be "enough" to safely tow an Airstream Sport 22' safely and maneuverably through mountain passes and elevation changes? We are all about safety and want to have the chance at traveling safely across the United States.

2) Should we consider a TV with a higher tow rating capacity?
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:47 PM   #2
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While certain people feel you shouldn't tow any Airstream unless it's an American 3/4 ton P/U, IMHO you would have no problems towing with a Honda Pilot. A properly set up hitch with anti sway, and an oil/transmission cooler would be helpful, if not necessary.

Go to town and enjoy.
Cheers
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:47 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. This is a very contentious subject You will get opinions from folks that insist a Mazda Miata, when properly set up, can tow a 34 ft Panamerica with no problem at all, and also from folks that insist you need a diesel dually to tow a Bambi or else all the hell will break loose (and every other opinion in between).

I am a newbie myself and care much about safety. I personally would not exceed the manufacturer ratings. I am also more comfortable with having some capacity to spare (I would not go over 80% tow capacity of my tow vehicle).

It might be a good idea for you to do a test tow and see what is your comfort level. A couple of forum members tow with Pilots/Ridgelines in the mountains and could provide first hand feedback.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 02-15-2016, 02:28 PM   #4
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The 22 sport is 4500lbs gross, which is within the 5000lb capacity. Did not see a tongue weight capacity for the Pilot, so that is worth investigating. Trailer tongue/hitch weights are notorious for being specified as lighter than actual ready to camp configurations. It's easy to add tongue weight to a front bed model as there is a lot of empty space under the bed.

The short answer to your question is yes you can. The long answer is that it will require some care in loading the trailer and you may need to travel lighter than might be optimal depending on your RV style.

A nine speed transmission should be quite efficient and folks seem to like the Hondas. You might add the diesel Jeep to your consideration. It has sufficient towing capacity for a bigger trailer or more safety headroom and a healthy tongue weight rating. Not to suggest you walk away from the Honda as we really like the brand. Just weigh your choices so you know you are making the right decision.

You might spend some time calculating the weight of all gear and people including the WDH you intend to use. Define where and how you will store your gear. Then revisit your weight capacity specifications.

There are a lot of threads that deal with SUVs as tow vehicles. There are some folks with Honda experience. Take a quick look at the Ridgeline thread. You might add it to your consideration as well.

The Sport 22 is a nice trailer. It is the smaller version of the 23 that we have, so we like it. You might look at the FC20 to round out your investigation. There is a 20 thread that has significant information.

Folks find that their needs and wants drive them to a case of 2ftitis. Best to spend some time and figure out what will work for you long term. Also understand that there are upgrades which you may find appropriate and they will add some cost. Spend the time to understand the complete cost of ownership.

Good luck in your investigation. Pat

PS....no a Miata is a bad idea, but CanAm has hitched a 23 to a Vette and we saw a 23 being pulled by a 3/4 ton up in Idaho, so you really don't need a dually.
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Old 02-15-2016, 02:34 PM   #5
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There are elements that contribute more to overall safety than tow ratings. Full independent suspension of he Airstream and pilot, the relatively low center of gravity of both, and the aerodynamic front and side shape of the Airstream provide exceptional stability on the roadway.

The third element toward safety beyond good tow vehicle and trailer design is a very good weight distribution hitch and its exceptional setup. Get this right with your Pilot/Airstream combo and you will be as good as it gets.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad love mom View Post
Hello, folks! A newbie here to Airstream travel and towing. My wife and I are very interested in learning as much as we can about Airstreams, towing, and proper TVs for towing Airstreams.



We are most interested in investing our money in the following:



-2016 Honda Pilot Elite (5,000 pound towing capacity)

-16' Airstream Sport



Looking at the specs sheet of the 16' Airstream, and knowing that our auto's add-on weights (us, luggage, et cetera) would be around 500 pounds, we figure an Elite's true towing capacity would be more in the 4500 pound range.



My questions:



1) Would 4500 pounds be "enough" to safely tow an Airstream Sport 22' safely and maneuverably through mountain passes and elevation changes? We are all about safety and want to have the chance at traveling safely across the United States.



2) Should we consider a TV with a higher tow rating capacity?

Is it a 16 foot or a 22 foot airstream ? I see mention of a 16 foot and another mention of a 22 foot.
I have a 16 foot Airstream that I pull with a Honda Ridgeline and it pulls beautiful. However, I probably would not pull a 22 foot with my Honda Ridgeline. My preference is to have a little more safety margin. The 22 foot would max out my Ridgeline. You can do the comparison between the Pilot and Ridgeline.

Ron


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Old 02-15-2016, 07:22 PM   #7
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For the last three years, we have happily and safely towed our 34' 1984 International with our Honda Odyssey, same platform as the Pilot, which is rated to tow 3500lbs - our trailer weighs more than double that.

With a payload of 1350lbs, the Honda had ample margin as far as weight carrying capacity was concerned, axle weight was always int he green and the engine didn't struggle once. The low centre of gravity and the independent suspension, coupled with a Hensley hitch, kept things wonderfully stable.

Equip your trailer with a good hitch and enjoy - Hondas make wonderful tow vehicles.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:25 PM   #8
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We have been towing a Sport 16 with our 2015 Pilot AWD which has a factory hitch with 4,500 lb. rating. We have had no problems at all -- very stable (and we do not use a WD or sway device.) Admittedly we have not towed any big grades or high elevations, just over the foothills of the Appalacians from Ohio to Florida, but seems to have plenty of power and decent towing gas mileage (12-15), depending on speed, terrain and wind direction. You might want to check out www.piloteer.org for more discussions on towing with a Pilot.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad love mom View Post
Hello, folks! A newbie here to Airstream travel and towing. My wife and I are very interested in learning as much as we can about Airstreams, towing, and proper TVs for towing Airstreams.

We are most interested in investing our money in the following:

-2016 Honda Pilot Elite (5,000 pound towing capacity)
-16' Airstream Sport
There are many, many Pilots towing Airstreams. Many are towing Airstreams larger than the one you are considering. The key is getting the right connection hardware (WDH, brake controller, etc), for the task and getting it set up correctly.

Best of luck. You have the potential for a very nice rig.
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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I would think a new Pilot would be an excellent tow vehicle for a 16'.
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:41 PM   #11
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Check your owner's manual or with your dealer to determine if your Pilot is rated to tow with a weight distributing hitch. My nephew's 2012 Pilot is not.
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:17 PM   #12
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#1 No
#2 Yes! Get a 1/2 pickup. You won't be barely getting by!
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:26 PM   #13
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I tow my 2012 Sport 16 with a 2014 6 cylinder Jeep Trailhawk We camp extensively in the Colorado and Wyoming mountains. The Jeep has a GVWR of 4500 lbs. We climb to 12000 feet regularly with no problems. Since we tend to use USFS campgrounds, one trick we have learned is not to fill the water tank until we arrive. That saves about 140 lbs for the climb up. Have fun!
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:16 PM   #14
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#1 No
#2 Yes! Get a 1/2 pickup. You won't be barely getting by!
That's incorrect information. At between 1300 and 1500 lbs, the Pilot can carry more weight than many a 1/2 pickup, has better suspension all round, has a better transmission and an engine that's proven to work well with far greater loads.
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