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Old 02-14-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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Towing Capacity for a Honda

I own a 2009 Honda Pilot (Rated 4500). I'm looking at the Flying Cloud 19' and 20'. I like the 20 alot more than the 19 but the 20 exceeds my GVWR by 500 lbs. Is this a big deal?
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:15 PM   #2
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I am new to Airstreaming myself, although I have towed a boat and utility trailers for many years.

NEVER exceed your vehicles GVWR rating unless you want to replace your vehicle sooner rather than later.

From what I have read, especially here on the forums, is that you really don't want to exceed 80% of your GVWR.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:16 PM   #3
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Yep, it's a pretty big deal.

1. Honda says vehicle can't handle it. Towing this will pretty much void your warranty.
2. Crash your rig, and you will be subject to liability issues for exceeding capacity.
3. Most importantly, crash your rig and you and/or others might end up hurt or worse...
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gumpdad714 View Post
I own a 2009 Honda Pilot (Rated 4500). I'm looking at the Flying Cloud 19' and 20'. I like the 20 alot more than the 19 but the 20 exceeds my GVWR by 500 lbs. Is this a big deal?
Are you saying the Airstream will weigh 5,000lbs or are you saying you will exceed the payload rating for your Pilot by 500lbs????
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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GeeWhiz, Do the mythmongerers really come out in force on questions like this!

In regards to noncommercial RV's that are within or near the 10k trailer and 15k TV limits that are a driver license issue in many states and are not extreme cases, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

The rating of interest is the GCWR. The GVWR only comes into play in regards to the tongue weight and how it is handled by the tow vehicle.

The GCWR is a wild guess in most cases and often provided for license and regulatory (e.g. smog controls or fuel use statements) reasons rather than capability reasons. The Gross Combined Weight Rating involves frontal area and other factors that are difficult to determine outside of a particular context.

Running heavy is not an invitation to disaster nor is it a primary crash cause nor is it really even a safety issue nor is it a liability issue. The issue is the fact that a driver needs to express appropriate behavior for the rig he is driving.

The weight ratings of most concern are those for tires and wheels. After that there is generally a lot of leeway. Consider what happens to a vehicle on the road and the shocks and loads that must be endured.

Anytime you load up a vehicle you need to compensate both in driving habits and in equipment adjustments. The 'towing package' for vehicles is an example of this sort of equipment adjustment. Hitch type, tires, and suspension can also improve weight handling capabilities. Differential gearing and similar hard core changes can be made as well. Maintenance also needs more particular attention with loads as well.

Generally, you do not want to exceed any weight ratings but going over by even 20%, especially for ratings such as the GCWR with an Airstream, is not an invitation to disaster.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:39 PM   #6
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Gumpdad,

Out of curiosity I looked up the factory specs of both your 2009 Honda & the 2010 Flying Clouds. Your Honda (if 4wd) does maintain a max. trailer GVWR of 4500 lbs. with the required towing package, and of course Honda states not to exceed this. The 20' Flying Cloud has a dry weight of 4211 lbs. so technically you can tow it and still have room for just under 300 lbs. of cargo on board and be within Honda's specifications. It's pretty close to maxing out the capacity of your vehicle though and personally, I would not choose cut it that close as 300 lbs. of cargo adds up quick with food, water, propane, etc. on board. I would personally choose to tow a lighter trailer if I had a Pilot - the 19' specs are more favorable.

What is not stated on the Honda website is the max. tongue weight allowed with the towing package. The 20' Flying Cloud has a dry hitch weight of 631 lbs., so this is no lightweight trailer for the size of the Honda Pilot. If you already have the towing package, you should check the decal on the hitch assembly to see what the ratings are, and if insufficient, see if there is a heavier duty model available that would handle this Flying Cloud.

I stand by by my earlier post in regard to my opinion on vehicle warranty info, safety and litigation. I can't, in good conscience, suggest to you that you can exceed recommended ratings safely and without consequence.

Good luck in your decision and further research.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:00 AM   #7
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re "I stand by by my earlier post in regard to my opinion on vehicle warranty info, safety and litigation." - it is too bad the facts don't. I have been looking high and low for support for such claims and continue to seek something reliable and relevant. The reality I have found so far is that warranties are not at issue, legal liability is not at issue, weight ratings are often based on matters other than safety or capability, and minor excess weight is not a crash cause factor.

I agree that it is not appropriate to suggest exceeding any weight limits or such things but I also think that suggesting risks and liabilities not supported by reality is a bit more of a problem than a minor weight rating excess.

You can compensate for heavy loads. You cannot compensate for a false premise.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:04 AM   #8
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If you are buying the trailer to travel and see the country, then I don't think a Pilot is not going to be very satisfactory or long lived pulling a trailer at or over it's max recommended weight. The Pilot is a great vehicle, but was never designed to be a heavy duty tow rig. If you are going to pull the trailer 20 miles to the local lake or 50 miles once every month or two to the the beach, no big hills or mountains and not a lot of interstate traffic, the Pilot should be able to get your trailer to and from. A vintage Trade Wind weighs in around 4000 lbs. with a tongue weight of around 350-400 lbs., might be something to think about. Otherwise a good 1/2 ton pickup , pick your make, will give you more room, more power, longer life, and added safety. Sometimes we have to compromise, but safety is one area when it does not pay.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, it depends.How far do you intend to pull your Airstream and in what kind of terrain? Close to home, in the flats, you may be able to do OK. Going long distances in mountainous terrain with the rig that you are proposing would most likely be a very unpleasant towing experience.

Ready to camp, that 20' Flying Cloud in going to weigh 5000#. Add to that any cargo or passengers in the Pilot and your going to be significantly overweight. Not that the Pilot can't pull the Airstream, but it will not be fun.

Some would travel in a rig like this. It is not within my comfort zone, but to each his own.

Remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the largest single cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin242 View Post
...I can't, in good conscience, suggest to you that you can exceed recommended ratings safely and without consequence...
FINALLY!

a canadian with good sensibility in regard to vehicular towing specs and personal liability...

it must be that midwestern levelheadedness...

keep posting and enjoy !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumpdad714 View Post
I own a 2009 Honda Pilot (Rated 4500)...
gump'...

welcome aboard and it's good you are checking specs and exploring THESE issues be4hand...

'towing capacity' is a derived figure and often misleading.

following the often advised 80% notion helps one to NOT be mislead into going OVER any one rating/capacity....

the 4500lb quoted (as an example) doesn't include passengers, gear, options and so on IN the pilot...

in other words 4500 is with a 150 lb driver and a few gallons of fuel.

but ADD another 3-500 lbs of people or stuff IN the vehicle at the 'towing capacity' is reduced by THAT amount...

making 4000 lbs a more realistic figure from that 4500 lb ideal/empty starting point.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumpdad714 View Post
... the 20 exceeds my GVWR by 500 lbs. Is this a big deal?
i think u must mean gCwr not gVwr...

the gVwr is pretty generous for the pilot and results in a payload (carry capacity) of 1500-1600 lbs...

this is MORE than many mid sized trucks (older models) and FULL size suvs from deeetroit, indiana OR texas...

so the pilot is a good PEOPLE/stuff hauler....

but the gCwr is a limitation at ~9500 lbs and THAT is where the 20ft stream pushes OVER the ratings...

4500 lb pilot (empty) + 5000 lbs stream (20ft) =9500 lbs....

now add people/stuff to the pilot and the combo WILL be over the gCVwr ...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumpdad714 View Post
...Is this a big deal?
many ways to interpret this question and reply.

spend time reading the many threads on going OVER the limits or trying to stay within the 80% notion...

combined with the horror stories and "i do it fine" testimonials...

then toss IN bryan's fear mongering ABOUT fear mongering...

it' all reads like a BIG deal.
________

most of us WANT and TRY to be within safe, responsible and reasonable boundaries...

the challenge is PLOTTING those lines...
________

the pilot is a very capable suv and load hauler with a solid driveline and awd...

yours is nearly new and should be durable and reliable based on the the historical data...

with attention to TIRES and RIGGING and LOADING and awareness of STUFF carried...

then accounting for FREQUENCY, DISTANCE, LOCATION for towing and SPEED of towing and TYPES of roadways and weather...

the pilot+19ft OR 20ft stream could work out ok.

it would NOT be my choice...

for anything more than the occasional weekend at a near by lake or rural park, or maybe a urban festival...

but others would just HAMMER that setup and take whatever happens as a result of the adventure.
_________

i like the 20ft floor plan, they've packed a LOT of living space in it (really closer to 21 ft)...

but it IS a lot of trailer for 1 axle and 2 tires...

so how will the combo perform WHEN a blowOUT happens or when a road hazard or LOTs of traffic is encountered...

i dunno, do you?
_________

rich L the aslife magazine baron towed an older argosy with an older pilot and the combo worked fine...

family of 3 on the road and with LOTs of adventures...

the argosy (vintage thunder) /pilot combo is covered somewhere in their blog...

before they UPsized to a 30 ft stream and bigger suv...

here are a few threads here wit relevant postings...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/questions-5620.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...1-as-6659.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...les-12727.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-16035.html
_________

best of luck, keep thinking and checking the SPECs and beware of stepping INTO any testimoniaHOLEs...


cheers
2air'
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:38 AM   #11
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Here we go again!!!! Most of this is all opinion. I have exceeded the max tow of my Sequoia which is 9800#. I had no problems. Would I want to do it on a long trip? NO for the 11 mile one why trip and then back again it was fine.

Then comes the 80% rule. All subjective. Here is a thread I started on only towing 80% of the tow rating to see If we could figure out where it came from... NO LUCK http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rom-53739.html

Personally I wouldn't want to tow that thing very far. The handling may be bad and it will probably be a hard ride. Even with a weight distributing system and sway control, Which you would need.

As far a liability goes. Also I haven't been able to find anything either but doesn't mean there isn't any. When I talked to my Toyota deal. They said it wouldn't void the warranty as there are play in the numbers, But they in no way suggest or recommend you go over those limits. What damage can it cause? They couldn't tell me.

You can be liable in an accident in most states if you don't have trailer brakes over a certain limit.

I don't think anyone would recommend towing over the weight limit if it can be helped.
But circumstances do arise, and it then comes down to how you feel about it.

Now That said, Most RV dealers will tell you any rig you drive up with will tow it. Not true. Many autos can be adapted to tow just about any rig if you want to spend the money. We have some guy with cars towing 30' #100000 airstreams here. Would I do it. ????? not sure. but it is being done...

Bottom line is It's not recommended.

and with all that said. My rig only comes in at 5500 lbs give or take so I'm well below the 80% rule. sometimes I forget it's back there on long trips. Even in the mountains and winding hills... I wouldn't if I was maxed out...
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:54 AM   #12
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Another thing to consider - the 4500 lb limit drops significantly as you add passengers. Check the manual - if I remember right, it's a step function, not simply subtracting the passenger weight.

Personally, I'd feel happier towing a new 20' with my Odyssey and its longer wheelbase/lower CG than I would with a same drivetrain Pilot, despite the Pilot's higher tow rating.

I got to say, I also like the idea of an older tandem axle trailer or even a mid-2000s 22' CCD tandem (although those trailers have some issues.) It boggles my mind that a 22' or 24' Argosy weighs less than a new 20' Flying Cloud. Of course, there are very different ownership experiences between vintage and new...

Tom
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanl View Post
GeeWhiz, Do the mythmongerers really come out in force on questions like this!

In regards to noncommercial RV's that are within or near the 10k trailer and 15k TV limits that are a driver license issue in many states and are not extreme cases, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

The rating of interest is the GCWR. The GVWR only comes into play in regards to the tongue weight and how it is handled by the tow vehicle.

The GCWR is a wild guess in most cases and often provided for license and regulatory (e.g. smog controls or fuel use statements) reasons rather than capability reasons. The Gross Combined Weight Rating involves frontal area and other factors that are difficult to determine outside of a particular context.

Running heavy is not an invitation to disaster nor is it a primary crash cause nor is it really even a safety issue nor is it a liability issue. The issue is the fact that a driver needs to express appropriate behavior for the rig he is driving.

The weight ratings of most concern are those for tires and wheels. After that there is generally a lot of leeway. Consider what happens to a vehicle on the road and the shocks and loads that must be endured.

Anytime you load up a vehicle you need to compensate both in driving habits and in equipment adjustments. The 'towing package' for vehicles is an example of this sort of equipment adjustment. Hitch type, tires, and suspension can also improve weight handling capabilities. Differential gearing and similar hard core changes can be made as well. Maintenance also needs more particular attention with loads as well.

Generally, you do not want to exceed any weight ratings but going over by even 20%, especially for ratings such as the GCWR with an Airstream, is not an invitation to disaster.
I'm quoting this in its entirety because I agree with all of it.

The GCWR serves regulatory and marketing purposes and limits the warranty exposure for the automaker. In general, these ratings are extremely conservative.

I will note that, in the motorcycle world, Harley-Davidson and Honda don't publish a GCWR for their bikes and officially declare trailer towing to be disallowed. Now try to find a 10 year old Goldwing without a hitch. There aren't any.

Any increased load is going to be tough on the TV and cause parts to wear faster, and there's a point beyond which this will occur quite rapidly. It is generally the clutch (if a stick) or the transmission (if an automatic) that takes the biggest beating. These are tradeoffs the owner can make based on their needs, wishes, and the alternatives available to them. It is not a safety tradeoff provided that proper braking and hitching systems are used and axle weight limits observed.

To 2air's point, you do have to consider how and where you're using the trailer, because a reasonable person would consider some setups sufficient for occasional short trips in flat terrain that would not be wise for frequent, length trips in the mountains.

2air among others have said in other threads that you select the trailer you want and then get a TV to match, not the other way around. That's the ideal, and you don't want compromise your trailer choice today because of the TV you have available. Airstreams outlast several TVs.

But the other side of that, which experienced RVers tend to forget or minimize, is that people who are new to RVing often find purchasing a trailer and a TV all at once to be intimidating --- financially, mentally, and practically. I believe that there is some wisdom in working with an existing TV if at least marginally suitable for a year or two and then making choices at that point armed with the knowledge that only experience can bring.

It's hard to find good statistics on trailer accidents. However, based on the best available data, it is clear that most minor accidents involve inexperienced drivers failing to allow sufficient clearance. It is also clear that most major accidents where the trailer was a contributing factor involve separation of the trailer from the tow vehicle (caused by a coupler that is unlocked or misadjusted, missing lock pins, use of the wrong size ball, or less frequently structural failures of the coupler or hitch frame), with much smaller numbers caused by insufficient braking or uncontrollable sway. It would take a highly creative reading of the data to conclude that exceeding the GCWR of the tow vehicle had anything to do with accidents.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:58 PM   #14
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2 follow jammer's jammin...

the issue NOT mentioned yet is that MANY/most/the majority? of NEW streamers...

who start in a little one...

upSIZE early to a little bit bigger one.

then do THAT again.

so for TOTAL noobs that start small it is often wise to start with a gently used unit...

smaller, lighter and MORE matched to the existing tv.

then when and IF the 'stream thang turns into a regular affair and a larger unit is wanted...

well u get the point.
__________

that's another reason to subscribe to the 80% notion as it relates to the tv capacity...

since the next stream might still be UNDER 100% of the mule.

it's all good, but some choices are less good than others.

and buying BOTH the stream and tv gets very expensive each time around...

(and we may have scared OFF the op, or this was a 1 time baiting post)

cheers
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