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Old 04-04-2005, 06:58 PM   #1
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Honda Ridgeline RTL Tow vehicle

I bought a Honda Ridgeline RTL a week ago , primarily for towing my 2001 19-ft Bambi. Yesterday I got the time to set up the Blue Ox weight distributing hitch for the new tow vehicle, along with a new Tekonsha Prodigy.

After 48 miles of test towing, the Ridgeline seems to be a very good match for the Bambi. It's sized well for me and has good pickup, and more importantly, stopping is very graceful and predictable.

A picture below shows the setup as I tested it in the beachsand off the side of the road. The Ridgeline in 4WD pulled the Bambi nicely through and out of the soft edge.

I hadn't bought a pickup truck before, but when I looked into the Ridgeline it seemed to me that Honda has applied their skills for quality and engineering thoroughness to this vehicle. It has been specifically designed for towing up to 5000lb trailers and so far handles my Bambi with ease.

Anyone else towing with a Ridgeline yet? I'd like to hear your experience.
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Marshall Swartz
2001 19-ft Bambi
2013 Honda Ridgeline RTL
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Old 04-04-2005, 07:06 PM   #2
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Marshall, you maybe the first one to have this setup. Looks nice, and nice to see Honda jump into the pickup market. here locally, you can only order a Ridgeline at this time. Jeff

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Old 04-04-2005, 07:22 PM   #3
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hi marshall

honda does great engines....always has, then wraps them in something very well designed, be it bike, mower, car and now truck. looked at the ridgeline at the auto show and the bed-trunk and two way gait are cool. others will be doing this soon.

there are often first year issues, even at honda, so i hope you don't suffer too many.

from your photo the rear end looks low. maybe it's just the angle or maybe the load distribution needs to be a little tighter. worse case is the rear suspension is over loaded and you'll need an up grade.

of course it could just be the photo.

keep us informed.
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Old 04-04-2005, 07:26 PM   #4
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You're absolutely right, the rear end is a bit low. While the left side was in sand, the WD hitch wasn't completely lined up in this picture. Trouble was, the sun came out over the Vineyard just when I had the chance to take a picture, so it was too good to pass up the shot! I have since adjusted the hitch head to level it.
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2013 Honda Ridgeline RTL
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Old 04-04-2005, 07:27 PM   #5
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Having been around Honda's for over 10 years, they are great vehicles, clearly.

In your case however, the back end looks like it's hanging too low. So I took a look at the Honda site and it claims that the V-6 truck has a 5k tow capacity. The Bambi weighs approx 4600lbs GVWR. That means the truck would have the ablility for 400 lbs more (2 passengers and some gear) before it reaches the max. Most seasoned towers like to have about 20% reserve tow capacity from the tow vehicles rating. You are either at or near 100% capacity which would make me a bit uneasy.
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Old 04-04-2005, 08:10 PM   #6
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That's what my Honda Pilot looked like before I adjusted the Reese hitch properly. With proper adjustment it tows 4300 lbs easily and comfortably, with great handling properties. I believe the Pilot has the same engine, tranny, and unibody truck frame as the Ridgeline, although I'm not sure what they did to the Ridgeline to justify a 500 lb increase in tow rating.
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Old 04-04-2005, 08:46 PM   #7
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After levelling

Thanks for the comments.

The Ridgeline has a closed-box frame that's unique on the Honda lineup. I can say it feels stiff, but the ride is very smooth. While I haven't towed more than 50 miles, I've put over 2100 miles on it in only 7 days since delivery and can say it's the best vehicle I've ever owned, even including the Odyssey I still have after 170k miles and an Accord with over 200k.

Here's a view of the Ridgeline after levelling the WD hitch.
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Marshall Swartz
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2013 Honda Ridgeline RTL
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:49 AM   #8
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hi marshall

yes that looks better and the honda looks great with the bambi....very stylish. i bet you're smiling big with that setup and rightly so.

i was wondering about the silver box behind the lp tanks. now i realize it must be a generator set up. this looks good too.

i'm no engineer or towing expert, so my observations are just that....

with a single axel trailer load distribution within the trailer is really important. if this were my set up, i'd find a scale and get a full set of weight measurements. truck plus trailer (loaded with water and fuel and gear), front and rear truck axel loads individually, tongue weight (especially with the genset and full lp tanks) and trailer axel weight. i'm told tongue loads of 10-13% are ideal and no more than 15%. then i would have some one film the rig while moving, accelerating and while applying the brakes. this would reveal any "dipping" of the hitch area during braking and could help with adjusting the load bars.

my understanding is that while braking weight centers shift forward, moving the load centers forward toward the hitch and rear truck axel. also the truck weight centers move forward too. that's one reason front brakes are bigger than rears. anyway watching a short video would reveal any "bobbing or dipping" that you might not feel from the driver seat. i think you are very close to the max weights, so mileage and brake pads might go sooner, also the truck hubs/bearing should be watched for wear. but if the loaded rig is stable and you're a careful can manage. there might be a temptation to tow with empty water tank but this would make the tongue load % higher and might be less stable.

being new, the aftermarket folks haven't made much for this truck yet but i'd be looking for a beefier rear antisway bar upgrade and rear suspension upgrades when they're available.

i'm a big fan of extra parts and backup systems...that's one reason i opted for a triple axel over a double. also being new to towing i'm planning to take an 'rv drivers course' early this season.

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Old 02-07-2013, 03:56 AM   #9
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Optimum Ball Height Question...

I tow a 19' International CCD with my 2007 Honda Ridgeline RTL with an Equalizer WD hitch. When the dealer set this up for me, it also seemed like the rear end of the truck was riding low.

Can anyone tell me the optimum ball height for my setup? And any other tips regarding an RTL with Equalizer and my 19 footer would be helpful.

I did raise the ball height and it significantly leveled out my truck and seems to handle much better with not so much weight on the rear end. Although now the trailer front end is slightly higher than the trailer rear end.

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:48 AM   #10
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Some dealers simply do not know nor care about what they are doing. I have some personal experience with this.

If you do not already have it in hand, download the manual for your hitch from the Equalizer website and simply follow their directions on setting it up.

I would suggest you may have the the elevation of the hitch head too high if the front of the trailer is higher than the rear. I would go for level and also make sure that you are achieving weight distribution to the front of the tow vehicle.

You are on the right track here with getting the elevation of the hitch ball set properly as the first and very important step. Beyond that are more important adjustments as well.

Good luck in getting it dialed in.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:38 PM   #11
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We put a lot of miles on a Ridgeline towing a # 3.000 lb boat. Great vehicle, the only thing I did not like, it seemed like any little rise in the road and the truck downshifted. If you locked the top two gears out, the truck made great power. I believe that truck would climb a tree with the boat in tow.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:10 PM   #12
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Hi from AZ. . . we ran into a fellow from Savannah last summer in S.D. who was pulling a 23 foot AS with a Ridgeline. He said it did very well. (& he was on the way to Alaska).....Regards, Craig

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