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Old 02-15-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle weight to tow 19' Airstream

Hi. I am a little confused as to the tow rating of my Acura MDX '06. I would like to purchase a 19' Airstream. I have called a couple of Acura dealers. One said my tow rating was GVW 3,500 lbs. The other said because I have the tow package factory installed in my Acura - the tow rating is GVW 4,500. Who do I believe? If my tow rating is 4,500 lbs., would you recommend I use this car? Would like to get members input on this.
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:39 PM   #2
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Check your owner's manual first.

There are multiple tow ratings listed on line; 3500, 4500, 3500 but 4500 for a boat, and so on.

The tow package is referred to on one site as having a trans cooler and ps cooler, as well as the receiver. That could be it, and it would be simple for a mechanic to look under the hood and see if it has those if the owner's manual concurs.

If the limitation is tongue weight, then there are aftermarket hitches for this specific vehicle up to. 5000 lb rating with wd equipment.

I don't know that specific vehicle, but I would pursue it as it seems reasonable for that size trailer, subject to further investigation.

Set up of your wd hitch, and not overloading the tow vehicle with additional cargo, will also matter.

Jeff
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:09 PM   #3
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If you do choose this vehicle, make absolutely sure the Acura dealer completely installs ALL parts of the wiring harness that will be needed.
This is the voice of bitter expeience talking here.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennylynne View Post
Hi. I am a little confused as to the tow rating of my Acura MDX '06. I would like to purchase a 19' Airstream. I have called a couple of Acura dealers. One said my tow rating was GVW 3,500 lbs. The other said because I have the tow package factory installed in my Acura - the tow rating is GVW 4,500. Who do I believe? If my tow rating is 4,500 lbs., would you recommend I use this car? Would like to get members input on this.
Thanks

You should be able to get a build list from the dealer which would delineate what components were OEM as part of the tow package. The manual will likely be very general.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:50 PM   #5
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Towing Bambi

We own a 2006 MDX and after talking to my dealer, they recommend not pulling any trailer long periods of time,,as the suspension and frame is not designed to do so

We settled for a Tundra truck and have had no problems plus we have room to carry whatever we want
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:34 PM   #6
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pennylynne here is a similar thread. Different vehicle so know your applicable specs. It also contains some good advice on the use of a good and properly set up WD hitch as well as weight distribution within the trailer.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295...ml#post1912631

I tow our 20 with a Highlander which I've added a jet-pak chip, and use an Equalizer hitch. I've also spent time on the scales and moved weight around to affect my needs.

Bob
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:01 AM   #7
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Found some more information on line. Confirm this by checking your owner's manual, the document below refers to more detailed info in the manual.

The 2006 MDX was offered with a 3500/4500 tow rating that also considered the vehicle would have four passengers and their luggage when towing. That sounds like a conservative approach. They specified two figures (4500 is for a boat) because they found that a boat had less aerodynamic drag than a square box trailer. Not sure where an Airstream fits on that scale, but it isn't a square box. Both tow ratings have a 450 lb tongue weight rating. The tow package includes an auxiliary transmission cooler and a power steering cooler, as well as the receiver and electrical connections. A mechanic could confirm that those accessories are installed on your vehicle. The factory build sheet for the vehicle may not help because the towing package was offered separately for dealer installation. There are anecdotal reports of transmission failures on these models when towing without the recommended coolers installed. I would ensure you have them.

A 19 foot Airstream with a maximum GVW of 4500 lbs (likely less unless you load to the gills) seems a reasonable match to this vehicle. You are finding out that dealers may not know much about towing. Par for the course.

You will still need a weight distributing hitch, and proper setup.

Honda News document

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Old 02-16-2017, 09:50 AM   #8
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Jeff, great research. My only add is that the Toyota tow package also included an higher output alternator. I'm not an electrician but expect this is a good add and an easy aftermarket item.


Re aerodynamic drag, we recently followed I-5 SB thru the Ca Central Valley. We started seeing high wind warnings around Corning, then again at Santa Nella. I never would have guessed it was that windy when driving. I attribute the stability to both the design of the TT as well as the WD hitch (Equalizer)

Bob
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:52 PM   #9
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Last week I traveled west in I-15 and later north on I-5 and ran into high wind warnings on both highways. I tow my 20' Argosy with a factory tow pkg equipped 2014 Tacoma. I don't use a WD or anti-sway hitch, just the basic ball hitch. I added air lifts between the frame and leaf springs, but only to adjust for the slight upward angle of the headlight beams when the trailer is towed.
I was often passed by fast moving tractor-trailers and sometimes exceeded the speed limit myself in order to pass slower moving traffic. I could always feel a slight air bump on these passing situations or when hit by a heavy gust of wind. But at no time was there any sway induced on the trailer. I attribute such good handling characteristics to the close weight equivalency between my TV and trailer, the good suspension of the Tacoma, and the good aerodynamics of the Argosy.
Having said all that, I believe the MDX with tow pkg will make a good TV for the 19' Airstream and benefit from the good weight and aerodynamics that I experience. However, because the MDX does not have the heavier frame as my Tacoma, a weight distribution hitch seems advisable.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:05 AM   #10
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Towing with my Acura MDX

Thank you everyone for your input on whether my Acura MDX with tow package can tow a 19' Airstream safely. A few years ago I was towing my 19' Airstream with this car when I got in an accident. I was traveling on a highway in Arizona with a speed limit of 85mph - semi trucks were allowed to drive this speed! That day a semi truck came up behind me at a high speed and then continued to pass me and then pull in front of me without slowing down! That action caused my trailer to sway out of control until it flipped on it's side. My trailer and car skidded to a stop in the opposite direction of traffic. Thankfully, my car did not flip over and I was not hurt. Later, I was told that the wind caused by that passing truck may have caused me to sway. Before that incident I had traveled many times with trucks passing me, without ever having a problem. I also was able to climb up and down mountain roads without difficulty with my trailer. My car and trailer set-up included a hitch with equalizer bars and a anti sway bar. I also had trailer brakes installed in my car. The Airstream dealer I bought from set this all up for me. They assured me that it was a perfect fit. Wanted you to know why I am cautious before buying again. Not afraid to buy again. Three years have passed because I had the trailer repaired at Desert Autoplex in Mesa, Arizona. They were inexperienced in Airstream repair (although they sell Airstreams) They did not total it as they should have, and I had to seek legal help. We just settled, so now I am in the market to buy. Sorry for the long story.
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Old 02-18-2017, 03:20 AM   #11
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Would appreciate more details on your accident. Specifically, what was speed of semi; and what was your speed?

Note: I know of no roads with 85 mph speed limit in Arizona.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:21 PM   #12
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To clarify- I was traveling on Interstate 85 in Arizona going south toward Gilda Bend. Although the posted speed limit is 75mph, trucks are allowed to go this speed, but not to exceed 85 mph! I could not clock the truck's speed, but, it was so fast I hardly noticed him! I was going between 55mph and 60mph because I was towing a trailer. I do not understand this allowable speed limit even at 75mph for semi trucks! The patrol officer that responded to my accident just said this happens all the time. They can not do anything to catch these speeders - even though I had witnesses - but, no license plate reading.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:44 PM   #13
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Your experience makes your own case for a sway elimination hitch, Hensley/ProPride, rather than a sway control hitch or device.

I don't know what your hitch setup and adjustment was on the previous Airstream, that has a lot to do with stability. Some people think they can get by without sway control, or lightening the tension on the bars for some reason, or a "good enough" sway control setup because it's a smaller Airstream. We all should be careful of that advice, as you most probably know very well.
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:38 PM   #14
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Note: Interstate 85 is a north/south route on the east coast, and it does not pass through Arizona. The highway in this thread is Arizona State Route 85 (a.k.a., AZ-85 or AZ SR-85), and the posted speed limit is 65 mph. Please note that I am not questioning the OP's accident details; just clarifying those surrounding the location.
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