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Old 07-02-2014, 02:20 PM   #15
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There's often talk about "scaring away newbies" and putting fanciful ideas in their heads that manufacturers tow ratings might not be set in stone. The thing is, how about a bit of balance?

I was a newbie a little while ago, the same as the OP. I took some professional advice when I started out and, having had my minivan properly set up, have proved by dint of three years safe and trouble-free towing that the professional's advice was correct and the manufacturer's tow rating could be exceed with impunity.

Having benefited from my own experiences, I don't think it's wrong to offer anyone an alternative view of towing capacities. Ultimately it's up to the individual to decide how they are going to tow but, armed with a broader knowledge, they will be able to make a more informed decision.

In this thread, the OP asked about towing with a Honda Odyssey; he's had both sides of the debate and I can't for the life of me see how that would scare him off.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:36 PM   #16
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Thank you!

Thank you. My take away it that a 2003 may tow the Argosy but the transmission will likely fail. Also there is some difference regarding how much this vehicle can tow. I appreciate all the advice. The upshot is that I need another tow vehicle. If I still want an Odyssey then I would need a 2006 or newer with a tow package or simply use something like a Ford 150 or similar. John
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:14 AM   #17
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if you check a site called CarComplaints.com | Car Problems, Car Complaints, & Repair/Recall Information you see not only is the transmission in the odyssey bad in prior years, the cars have the same issues as well..

Of the top twenty worst cars, Honda was listed in 5 different years models with transmission being the top complaint.

not an unknown issues with Honda.. now they may be better.

As for towing with an Odyssey, i would be more inclined to listen to the guys on the forums ACTUALLY using the van for towing than the ones NOT using the vans for towing.

The peanut gallery is wide and long but the actual users are the real deal..
users like

Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad
Andy; andreasduess
and others you can find and talk with about there experiences..

man this bashing the mini van tow vehicle is getting old.. as noted by the absence of Andy T.. not chiming in unless i missed his post.. I wonder what the number of mini van they, CanamRV, have set up and are still pull is at this point.. hundreds??
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:22 PM   #18
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:37 AM   #19
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Towing

Since my original post I have been researching this and cannot find any evidence that car manufacturers actually test and rate their vehicles for towing (that only means I have not found this info, they may test). As has been pointed out the tow ratings have not changed in years and years for various models even as those same models seem to change.
In anything like this the answer to 'magic fairy dust', in my experience, is simply to follow the money. At every turn I am told to buy a big expensive truck. Every picture from my growing up and in the manuals for older trailers (my 1976 for example) show trailers towed by 4 door sedans not PU trucks (yes I know most were V8 but V6 have had some great design improvements over the years). Pick up trucks were designed to be working farm vehicles not family holiday vehicles. The safety ratings on trucks do not match passenger vehicles. In a few blocks of my house I counted almost one PU truck per house. Now I live in Alberta, big oil, big farms but in a big city PU trucks here are as common as sand on the beach and very expensive to run for a family 'car' and likely not as safe.
I think it is all about the money. Trucks are not as safe as cars, big is not safer. Trucks are cheaper to make, and high profit. Follow the money.
I really suspect that no one at any of the big car/truck manufacturers have done any real work or put any real thought into towing anything. If they had I think we could find it?
I had no idea when I bought this trailer just how much controversy is out there.
I do appreciate the concern on both sides for safety as well as enjoyment. The problem is no one (including me) seems to have a handle on any reliable research or expertise.
Also hitch technology most people use is as old as trailers. Newer innovations like the Hensley Hitch and similar are not accepted. Yet they do employ solid engineering principles. What do the studies tell us, or are there any third party studies? If not why not? Follow the money.
I have discovered that Andy Thomson is a towing hero to some and a anti-hero to others. There is little to back up either view except that Can Am has been in business for over 40 years and have not been sued into bankruptcy. Word of month seems to be in Andy's favor, at least from his customers.
With so many people towing very large trailers you would think that the engineering studies and expertise would be settled or at least much clearer than it is. This leads me back to: follow the money.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a great trailer. People have been wonderful in helping me. Thank You!! I am disappointed with the manufacturers and their lack of any real solid test reports and engineering studies. Tow vehicles will continue to be a great subject to bring out lively discussions, as I have discovered much to my surprise, maybe someday the vehicle manufacturers will will help us out with some real info not based solely on profit. Also perhaps the way we tow will also develope with some great engineering designs.

Just some thoughts as I try and unravel all this.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:42 AM   #20
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I haven't read all of the replies, but a past owner of a 2003 Honda Odyssey. We had to replace the transmission at 100,000. We were the second owners of the vehicle and believed it had been replaced before. At 177,000, the transmission failed again. We never towed anything with this vehicle/

After researching and talking with mechanics, the Odysseys in the early 2000's suffered a major design flaw and a class action lawsuit was filed because of this. So even when owners got the transmission replaced, repeated failure often occurred at about the same mileage turnover (as previously stated every 80,000 miles). Now, yes replacing transmissions is part of owning a vehicle, but typically next to engine replacement, it isn't something that is on your radar screen that early in a car's life and on a repeated basis. I wouldn't by an Odyssey that was before 2007, that's for sure, even if I wasn't towing a single thing ever.

Before the Odyssey, we owned a 2003 Mazda MPV minivan. If some dude not running a redlight hadn't Tboned me, we would still have that van today most likely. We towed our popup everywhere with that thing with a van load of gear and four kdis and it never struggled ever.

I don't think I'd feel comfortable towing anything larger than a popup with a minivan, but I'm not an expert and it looks like some people do and have no problems.
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:28 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frjohnssc View Post
Since my original post I have been researching this and cannot find any evidence that car manufacturers actually test and rate their vehicles for towing (that only means I have not found this info, they may test). As has been pointed out the tow ratings have not changed in years and years for various models even as those same models seem to change.
In anything like this the answer to 'magic fairy dust', in my experience, is simply to follow the money. At every turn I am told to buy a big expensive truck. Every picture from my growing up and in the manuals for older trailers (my 1976 for example) show trailers towed by 4 door sedans not PU trucks (yes I know most were V8 but V6 have had some great design improvements over the years). Pick up trucks were designed to be working farm vehicles not family holiday vehicles. The safety ratings on trucks do not match passenger vehicles. In a few blocks of my house I counted almost one PU truck per house. Now I live in Alberta, big oil, big farms but in a big city PU trucks here are as common as sand on the beach and very expensive to run for a family 'car' and likely not as safe.
I think it is all about the money. Trucks are not as safe as cars, big is not safer. Trucks are cheaper to make, and high profit. Follow the money.
I really suspect that no one at any of the big car/truck manufacturers have done any real work or put any real thought into towing anything. If they had I think we could find it?
I had no idea when I bought this trailer just how much controversy is out there.
I do appreciate the concern on both sides for safety as well as enjoyment. The problem is no one (including me) seems to have a handle on any reliable research or expertise.
Also hitch technology most people use is as old as trailers. Newer innovations like the Hensley Hitch and similar are not accepted. Yet they do employ solid engineering principles. What do the studies tell us, or are there any third party studies? If not why not? Follow the money.
I have discovered that Andy Thomson is a towing hero to some and a anti-hero to others. There is little to back up either view except that Can Am has been in business for over 40 years and have not been sued into bankruptcy. Word of month seems to be in Andy's favor, at least from his customers.
With so many people towing very large trailers you would think that the engineering studies and expertise would be settled or at least much clearer than it is. This leads me back to: follow the money.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a great trailer. People have been wonderful in helping me. Thank You!! I am disappointed with the manufacturers and their lack of any real solid test reports and engineering studies. Tow vehicles will continue to be a great subject to bring out lively discussions, as I have discovered much to my surprise, maybe someday the vehicle manufacturers will will help us out with some real info not based solely on profit. Also perhaps the way we tow will also develope with some great engineering designs.

Just some thoughts as I try and unravel all this.

Money obviously is very important for any business, but the theory that sedan/minivan ratings are lowered to push customers toward high profit pickup trucks does not fly as German manufacturers are Not in the pickup market in North America yet they rate their sedans/minivans similar to Ford/GM/Chrysler. If VW had a sedan that could tow 7000#, they rate it as such. They are in the business of making money not losing it.

Also to say car manufacturers do not test their vehicles with regards to towing is not accurate. Toyota trucks/SUVs are SAE towing standard compliant (google SAE towing standards to get details on the tests). 2015 GM trucks are also compliant. I suspect Ford and Ram will follow soon. I am not surprised if Sedans/minivans are not tests, as those are not designed as tow vehicles. Testing is meant to verify specs. There no point to tow test if the specs says not a tow vehicle.


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Old 07-06-2014, 07:26 PM   #22
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This thread prompted me to have a conversation with the Fairy that dusted my minivan...

She says she dusted it with a set of Michelin LT MS tires, Ray-bestos brake pads, Monroe coil-over shocks, sport anti sway bars, a transmission cooler, trans temp gauge, atf+4 with a pint of synthetic whale oil. She dusted an AGM Marine starting battery, Tekonsha p-2 brake controller, A heavy duty tow harness, the brightest legal headlights, Reese class three hitch and a very clever Reese mini-lite 350 anti-sway/weight distribution system.

I like the way the Fairy dusted up my rig. It handles like my old 1LE Camaro, fast enough towing at 65mph, and is very stable, comfortable, and quiet. It is a 2007 short wheelbase Caravan rated to tow 1800lbs. The Grand Caravan is EXACTLY the same car but 11 inches longer, 100lbs heavier, same motor and trans, same radiator, but rated to tow 3500 lbs with a “tow package” that mechanically consists of nothing but automatic self leveling air shocks. The Grand Caravan specified to tow 3500 lbs with “Tow Package” is a ruse. The air shocks are inferior to a Weight Distribution Hitch. Owner's manual states not to exceed trailer frontal area of 40sf. Towing in third gear "(3)" as stated in owner's manual, I get 11-15mpg tanks. Unhitched, in "(D)" I get 25mpg highway, 19mpg in town. My “cents per mile” is very low.

Minivans are great for light towing, and highly functional when not towing. All the Fairies around here drive minivans. Just a minute ago a Toyota Seinna went by with seven fairies in it, hauling a three axle unicorn trailer, loaded with more unicorns than I could count.

I won't have a different TV until I finish building a “designated” '68 Chevy Nomad for my '68 GT. It won't need fairy dust.
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:29 PM   #23
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A question for those of you that have been to CanAm to have a minivan or sedan setup to tow a larger trailer; does CanAm have any guidelines where they say "no this trailer is too large for this tow vehicle and we don't recommend using this trailer with this tow vehicle and won't set it up"? There must some such limits they use.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:04 AM   #24
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I hesitate to wade into this morass - nothing useful will come of this discussion - but a few points should be made:

1. The pictures I've seen of Can-Am's setups often include frame rails welded underneath, in addition to the other modifications listed. Not magic fairy dust; steel. (Note, I tow with a pickup and probably always will, given that we carry things like bikes and tools in the back of it, and a pickup is a pretty handy vehicle to have around. But I was very curious on how Can-Am pulls it off, so I did some searching around.)

2. I'll also point out that Can-Am is the only dealer I know of that posts videos of the road tests with their modified tow vehicles with the trailer, doing slaloms and such. It's refreshing to see a someone stand behind their work that way. I haven't seen any other dealer do that, even with the default tow vehicle of pickups (it'd be interesting to see how they do in comparison). If you haven't watched their videos, they are worth seeing - they really put the rig through some decent turns, hard braking, etc. Watch them and then decide how your rig would handle those maneuvers.

3. There was a thread just a few weeks ago where people with diesels were attacked for wanting to go up hills at highway speeds. You should slow down and enjoy the scenery, we were told. Now, the shoe seems to be on the other foot - you shouldn't be going slow up hills!

4. On transmission failures: The transmission in my B190 - a vehicle that was designed to be able to tow from the ground up - also failed, so the claim that a transmission not built for towing is going to fail is hard to swallow: Transmissions built FOR towing fail, too.

On the original topic: With proper modification by pros who know what they're doing, this minivan probably could be made to work - except for the transmission issue. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title. A friend of mine had one and went through a couple transmissions, without any towing.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:38 PM   #25
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Sadly, as happens with most threads where a discussion of tow vehicles becomes an episode of "Towing Wars", this thread has outlived its usefulness, and is now closed.
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