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Old 07-10-2018, 03:23 AM   #1
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Acura MDX towing

Last summer we were seriously looking at purchasing a new 23 ft. Serenity after spending about 1 year searching online for late model Airstreams. I had been in contact with Can-Am in London, Ontario since we own a 2011 Acura MDX which is paid for,and with 3 kids in college did not want to purchace a new vehicle. Our purchase of the new unit fell through but we were able to find a well maintained 2006 25 ft. Safari SE fab. We contacted Can Am and they recommended reinforcing the receiving hitch since it was rated at 500 lbs and the trailer’s tongue weight was 750. We did purchase the AS in Traverse City MI and towed it to Can Am who did the welding and also a set up before bringing it home to Northeast Ohio. Amazed at the stability with the Henley Arrow hitch that came with it. We plan to travel west in September from Ohio to Oregon and California. We already took a small trip through the Alleghenies on Rout 33 to Harrisonburg, VA. Did well although I downshifted with the paddle shifters on some 9-10% grades. Any concerns anbout our Western Trip?Click image for larger version

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Old 07-10-2018, 05:09 AM   #2
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Not wanting to rain on your parade, but the tow rating of an MDX is 5000 lbs, with or without the hitch enhancements, and a 25 footer will weigh well north of that. Your bigger issue may be payload. Check your door sticker for the actual payload for your MDX, but likely 1300 to 1400 lbs. Tongue weight is included in payload.
Not saying you can't do it, but you will be maxed out for a cross-country trip.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:32 AM   #3
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http://m.acura.com/pdf/owners/2016/M...MDX_Towing.pdf

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...542d07b489.pdf

Hitch Weight 720 lbs
Gross Weight 7300 lbs
Dry Weight 5210 lbs
Cargo Weight 2090 lbs

Just looking at the numbers, I would not tow this rig with your Can-Am reinforced Acura. Certainly cannot carry any food, water or clothing. I presume you obtained insurance, so someone is ready to underwrite it. But not me. Best of luck.

For your approximate $13K trade-in value, it might be worth your while to look at suitable pickup trucks with adequate tow ratings.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:14 AM   #4
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Too scary for me. What are you engine and transmission temps looking like.
“I” feel that you are forcing that little car to do something it was not made to do.
Legally if you have an accident someone is going to send you to the cleaners.
Towing outside the manufacturer spec is a risk that “I” am not willing to take.
Good Luck, and safe travels.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:33 AM   #5
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I'm an Airstream Interstate owner so I know little about towing but know quite a bit about Acura MDXs (own an '06 and '15). Their transmissions (specifically the torque converters) are notoriously prone to failure. Both of mine have the "judder" condition around 45mph. Towing a heavy trailer up and down mountains would not be something I would consider, knowing the "delicate" nature of these trannies. I would take the previous poster's advice and look into finding a tow vehicle that is up to the task.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:09 AM   #6
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. I would take the previous poster's advice and look into finding a tow vehicle that is up to the task.[/QUOTE]

I took this advice, and am glad I did. I had a 2016 Expedition Ecoboost with a 9200 lb tow rating, but only 1319 lbs payload. It had plenty of power to tow my new 6200lb (dry) 961 lb tongue weight Serenity 28, but still felt overwhelmed from a suspension standpoint.
So I traded for a 2018 F250 Diesel. The difference in towing is night and day (duh...) Makes towing so easy, I have to remind myself there is a shiny silver thing behind me. I would find it hard to go back to a lesser capable tow vehicle.
Towing across country is a big trip. Long miles, mountains and summer heat will take a toll on your MDX. Reconsider your options.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:35 AM   #7
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Not wanting to rain on your parade, but the tow rating of an MDX is 5000 lbs, with or without the hitch enhancements ...
I disagree. The hitch receiver upgrade makes a substantive improvement to your towing capacity. The towing capacity is not based on the overall suitability of the vehicle but only the receiver capacity.

The towing rating is based on the strength of the receiver in North America. IIRC a minimum of 10% of the trailer weight is the recommendation for the tongue weight. If the vehicle manufacturer engineers and manufacturers a low quality, stamped metal receiver that can only handle 500 lbs then it logically follows that the towing capacity would be 5,000 lbs.

However, if you increase the strength of the receiver to a Class IV (which is capable of handling a WD hitch with 1,000 tongue weight) then, if you stay with the 10% tongue weight rule of thumb, your trailer weight could be up to 10,000 lbs and it could be towed safely (i.e. avoiding sway at up to 65 mph), if loaded correctly.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:11 AM   #8
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I disagree. The hitch receiver upgrade makes a substantive improvement to your towing capacity. The towing capacity is not based on the overall suitability of the vehicle but only the receiver capacity.

The towing rating is based on the strength of the receiver in North America. IIRC a minimum of 10% of the trailer weight is the recommendation for the tongue weight. If the vehicle manufacturer engineers and manufacturers a low quality, stamped metal receiver that can only handle 500 lbs then it logically follows that the towing capacity would be 5,000 lbs.

However, if you increase the strength of the receiver to a Class IV (which is capable of handling a WD hitch with 1,000 tongue weight) then, if you stay with the 10% tongue weight rule of thumb, your trailer weight could be up to 10,000 lbs and it could be towed safely (i.e. avoiding sway at up to 65 mph), if loaded correctly.

By that logic, if I put a really big 2.5 inch receiver hitch like the one on my new F250, the MDX can tow 15,500 lbs...
Vehicle tow ratings are based on many factors, and the hitch is only one of them. Engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, unibody construction and many other factors contribute to the rating. I tend to trust the engineers who designed the vehicle to understand it’s limits.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:01 AM   #9
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...I tend to trust the engineers who designed the vehicle to understand it’s limits.
It isn't the engineers who specify the hitch it is the marketing department. Why, they say, put an expensive hitch receiver capable of WD on a vehicle that most people won't use for towing.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:09 AM   #10
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Not an Acura MDX but set up by Can Am. Currently with 500,000 k and 300,000 k towing a 25 Safari and then a 30 International. Sent out to pasture as a daily driver. It will be coming for a visit next week. Your Acura should do just fine. Click image for larger version

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Old 07-10-2018, 09:14 AM   #11
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I suspect that vehicle manufacturers match the hitch rating to the overall vehicle capacity. It makes no sense to put a heavy, high capacity hitch on a vehicle not capable of utilizing it. It might also encourage someone to assume a vehicle with a 10,000 hitch can safely tow 10,000 lbs, despite the vehicle’s 5000 tow rating...
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:27 AM   #12
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Well, free advice is always worth the price. :-/

If you do decide to keep your currant rig, I would be interested to hear how it does towing up and down the Rockys in Summer, or if you are getting shoved around by the wind wall from big rigs passing you on the freeways.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:32 AM   #13
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You are trying to defy the laws of physics. There is no way I would drive that setup across the Rockies, or anywhere else for that matter. I drive conservatively and in 2 years I have had 2 situations where I was cut off by another vehicle on the Interstate. Both times, I had to swerve aggressively and if I had been towing with anything else I would be a statistic.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
I disagree. The hitch receiver upgrade makes a substantive improvement to your towing capacity. The towing capacity is not based on the overall suitability of the vehicle but only the receiver capacity.

The towing rating is based on the strength of the receiver in North America. IIRC a minimum of 10% of the trailer weight is the recommendation for the tongue weight. If the vehicle manufacturer engineers and manufacturers a low quality, stamped metal receiver that can only handle 500 lbs then it logically follows that the towing capacity would be 5,000 lbs.
Agreed. Lots of posters saying it can’t be done, while others are just out doing it.

The MDX is built on the same platform as the Pilot and the Odyssey. Isn’t there an Odyssey documented on here that was pulling a 34 tri axle for extended time and distance?

Take it easy on the hills out west, manage the payload, and the OP can tow just fine.
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