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Old 02-27-2006, 01:27 PM   #15
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Bryan.

All insurance companies, pay for the insureds "negligence".

A more common definition, is an insureds mistakes, or if you wish bad judgement, or not listening to advice or suggestions, or just doing something dumb.

That has nothing to do with any manufacturers suggestions or advice.

The point is tha "NO INSURANCE COMPANY" can undo death or maiming.

Again, an insurance companies job, is to cover the insureds negligence, in the very broadest of form.

Andy
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Toasty's Dad
jack, the hitch tongue rating is 600 lbs, presumably without WD, because my Ridgeline owner's manual specifically recommends _against_ a WD on the same page on which the rating is posted.
jon
This is an interesting comment. I'd like to explore this one further. Why would an automaker recommend against using a WD hitch?

Jack
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
This is an interesting comment. I'd like to explore this one further. Why would an automaker recommend against using a WD hitch?

Jack
I don't know, I saw it in my Ridgeline's owners manual and asked the dealer about it. They provided no help so I went with how the vehicle handled with WD as opposed to how it handled without. The receiver was a class 3 hitch installed by the Honda dealer as part of the tow package. The specific quote is as follows:

"A weight distributing hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle, as an improperly adjusted weight distributing hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."

I commented to Honda in my owner survey about it but the question was never addressed.
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Old 02-27-2006, 02:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera
This is an interesting comment. I'd like to explore this one further. Why would an automaker recommend against using a WD hitch?

Jack
wild guess: load sensing brake proportioning valve. had one on an old truck...before I knew of "WD" and the issues. It would sense the load, and adjust the force to the rear brakes accordingly. a wd hitch could subvert this functionality, by "fooling" the truck into thinking its lighter than it is.
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Old 02-27-2006, 02:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62 Overlander
I don't know, I saw it in my Ridgeline's owners manual and asked the dealer about it. They provided no help so I went with how the vehicle handled with WD as opposed to how it handled without. The receiver was a class 3 hitch installed by the Honda dealer as part of the tow package. The specific quote is as follows:

"A weight distributing hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle, as an improperly adjusted weight distributing hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."

I commented to Honda in my owner survey about it but the question was never addressed.
Well duh....yes that's true but this is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Any improperly adjusted WD hitch can cause problems on any tow vehicle. The same point goes out for not having one. That can have the same effect.

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Old 02-27-2006, 02:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
wild guess: load sensing brake proportioning valve. had one on an old truck...before I knew of "WD" and the issues. It would sense the load, and adjust the force to the rear brakes accordingly. a wd hitch could subvert this functionality, by "fooling" the truck into thinking its lighter than it is.
If the load is balanced (same weight on front and rear tires), wouldn't you want the brakes balanced. I thought the load sensing valve would minimize the lockups due to an empty truck bed. I'm not sure how balancing the load on all four wheels fools the system.

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Old 02-27-2006, 02:34 PM   #21
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I think the issue is a lot more complex than brake proportioning. The Ridgeline is a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE vehicle with a toy rear axle that engages when wheel slippage is detected. It also has a dynamic vehicle stability system.

Who knows, or can guess, what will happen when you do an emergency manuever and the dynamic stability sytem/traction control computer tries to shift braking to the front and power to the rear axle, just as the rear wheels unload due to the weight distributing hitch.

Don't think of the Ridgeline as a truck. It isn't. It doesn't obey the same weight distribution rules as a pickup truck. My brother-in-law has one.
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I think the issue is a lot more complex than brake proportioning. The Ridgeline is a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE vehicle with a toy rear axle that engages when wheel slippage is detected. It also has a dynamic vehicle stability system.

Who knows, or can guess, what will happen when you do an emergency manuever and the dynamic stability sytem/traction control computer tries to shift braking to the front and power to the rear axle, just as the rear wheels unload due to the weight distributing hitch.

.
well, along the same line of reasoning, though. there are "sensors" that do things automatically...and the computers to which they're attached are not detecting or considering the effects of a wd hitched load. unintented consequenses may result.
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:01 PM   #23
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Guess the Honda is off my list of possible tow vehicles.....guess I need to throw it on the no can do list with Nissan, Toyota, and Rovers. I'm bummed, cause they were all at the top of my list as good tow vehicles.
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Guess the Honda is off my list of possible tow vehicles.....guess I need to throw it on the no can do list with Nissan, Toyota, and Rovers. I'm bummed, cause they were all at the top of my list as good tow vehicles.
Exacto mundo, and the other sad thing is, while towing it gets the same mileage as the 460 V8 in my regular tow vehicle gets while towing, about 9 mpg, and at a much slower pace.
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Old 02-27-2006, 09:44 PM   #25
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hi toasty's dad and others

jon

i've read the 2 threads on your w/d issue, including the numbers you've posted.

wanted to add my thoughts on your set up, and w/d systems and other related issues in the threads.

1. t.v. design.......the honda is somewhat like the vw on this issue. both are unibody frames/ladder frame combos.....this design gives the benefits of unibody for the cabin (stiffness, crumple zones, quietness, less wt), while the boxed/ladder frame aspect helps carry a load and tow...neither are as tow worthy as a 1/2 ton or bigger truck/suv but both are better than most unibody suvs....

2. w/d or not?......does your manual FORBID using w/d or just recommend against it?...
i suspect the issues are.....
-the receiver,
-how it attaches to the ladder frame,
-and the strength of the ladder frame.

look at how your factory receiver attaches to the frame...and look at the receiver design...it's really not very stout (sort of like that batch of gm receivers that were replaced)and the section that attaches to the ladder section is really short. it looks very much like the weaker receivers (round bars, short attachment, thin welds...)

w/d systems can transfer a LOT of FORCE through the drop bar to the reciever and into the FRAME of the t.v. so while it is rated to 600lbs....w/d increases the "effort forces" into/through the receiver/frame area...

also there is the liability aspect that honda suggests in the "improper setup" disclaimer....but i suspect this isn't the main issue....you would need to speak with a honda factory engineer who is willing to tell the truth....for the complete answer...

the ridgeline is stiffer than the other hondas built this way...but still not as stiff as a true body on frame truck/suv design. and it is a front wheel drive with rear assist...this is ok for towing, but an issue with your "numbers"....

you have a 16 bambi? with a max loaded trailer weight of 3500lbs?

do you need w/d...no.

would i use w/d with your honda......yes.....

unless you make some other changes.....

i'll explain my thinking in another post....

cheers
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:21 PM   #26
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ok toasty

now for your numbers....

i'm not being critical...just thinking along with you....i know you want safety first.

you posted a t.v. weight of 4820lbs?
was this with fuel/gear but without you and your family? i'll assume no one was inside...
silly as it sounds people and dogs need to be INside during the weigh in....

you didn't weight ft/rr axles individually? gotta have those numbers....

here's why...

the factory reports curb wt of 4500lbs....
with a front / rear distribution of 58%/32%.....the honda is nose heavy!
and i would assume the handling/brakes/steering are tuned for this normal posture...

so for an empty ridgeline.....that's 2610 lbs front.......and 1890 lbs rear......

using your 'hitched up' numbers.......2540 lbs front.....and 2800 lbs rear......

the FRONT WT DROPPED by 70 lbs and the REAR WT INCREASED by 910 lbs...

so it is not an issue of 280lbs at all.

your numbers suggest the rear axle load increased by over 900lbs while the front axle load actually went down....

this is exactly what should happen and can be predicted when a load is added behind the rear axle.....without a w/d system.

your numbers are "trailer un hitched" 3440 lbs? and 'receiver wt' 540 lbs?

was the trailer level when the tongue wt was measured or did you drop it down? if it was level.....your tougue wt is too high imo....

i realize everyone suggests 10-15% and i agree....BUT i haven't seen anything that explains why 10 is the magic low number....have you?

i agree towing control is better with a positive tongue wt....but why 10% as the minumum?....wouldn't 5% be ok too?

according to the article in the winter 'airstream life'.....the europeans routinely tow with tongue wts as low at 5%....so who know? the point is 10% isn't a magic lower limit...

my point is......
if your tongue wt is correct (540)....it could be lowered alot (to 350 lbs) and this would make a BIG DIFFERENCE on the honda rear end....

imagine you have a 4-5 foot bar stuck in the reciever....now stack 500lbs on the back end....... this load is about 1000 lbs at the rear axle.... which pushes down the rear and pushes UP the front....reduce that number to 350lbs and the load to the rear axle drops to 700 while the front axle no longer lifts....

i don't know what the ideal load distribution is for the ridgleline when towing....but given the NORMAL distribution is 60/40...and remembering it is front wheel drive.....you might want to adjust your current numbers....steering and braking and cornering and so on....
will be affected somewhat...

my approach would be to use the lightest w/d set up and 400lb spring bars...
OR reduce tongue load and upgrade the trailer brakes to discs....

more later...and i realize others will have better approaches to the issue...

i'll try to describe what i've learned w/d does....

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:52 AM   #27
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Hello 2air and All,

THANK YOU! That's just the kind of reasoned argument I was looking for.

I had a long conversation with the hitch guy this morning, and what he told me is almost _exactly_ what you concluded:

>do you need w/d...no.

>would i use w/d with your honda......yes.....

Given the weights, he told me that WD isn't necessary; I'm close to the tongue limit for the hitch, but not over it, and the other weights didn't alarm him. He also assured me that WD would definitely do no harm, and that I would probably notice improvement in handling.

62 Overlander reported just such an improvement in his actual experience towing with a Ridgeline with a similar trailer length and weight.

You also pointed out something persuasive that nobody else has:
the huge _change_ in weight distribution on the truck axles, that happens when it's hitched up to the trailer.

I guess it could be that Honda designed the truck with all of this in mind, and antcipated the change in distribution with loading. OTOH, they for sure had to have designed it to handle _without_ a big tail load, so apparently reducing said tail load should be at worst harmless and at best beneficial (or so I intuit anyway).

BTW, we were indeed in the truck at the weighing, which was indeed loaded for travelling (though only a 3/8 tank of gas). We just don't have much in the truck - it's all in the trailer!

I'm not at all qualified to discuss whether a "low" tongue weight is good or bad; what I've read sez that the lower the tongue wegiht, the greater the tendency to sway. Dunno; this is the first thing I've ever towed bigger than a utility trailer.

Bottom line, I'm gonna have a Reese WD installed. Also a friction sway bar, which the hitch guy told me was quite sufficient for my situation.

My first post-intall trip will be back to the scale, to make sure I get it optimally set.

THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR TIME AND ADVICE!
jon
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Old 02-28-2006, 10:14 AM   #28
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Given the weights, he told me that WD isn't necessary; I'm close to the tongue limit for the hitch, but not over it, and the other weights didn't alarm him. He also assured me that WD would definitely do no harm, and that I would probably notice improvement in handling.
Thanks for passing along your experiences, what you found, what you learned from the discussions, and getting 2air on the air. Good stuff.

It intrigues me that suggesting someone follow manufacturer's recommendations would get a heated response. There are obviously non rational factors involved.

Quote:
I guess it could be that Honda designed the truck with all of this in mind, and antcipated the change in distribution with loading.
I can't quite see anyone trying to design a pickup that didn't have these considerations in mind. As 2air noted, the Honda is heavy in front when empty. From what I can tell, that is rather typical in pickup trucks.

It also does appear that some modern vehicles, especially in these frame body vehicles can make a number of adjustments for load including suspension, braking, transmission, and engine tuning. This goes along with ABS and Honda's fly by wire throttle and wheel slippage adjustments to correct some steering defects.

There are a lot of add-ons to improve handling. Some have a major effect and some take a biased driver to notice. I don't know where the WD on the Ridgeline will fall in this but you do have "actual user experience'" to guide you and that is about as good as it gets.

Drive Safe!
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