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Old 10-21-2012, 04:41 AM   #1
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Has anyone towed with a Honda Odyssey?

My wife wants a Honda Odyssey the next time we buy a car in about a year and a half from now. I would like for our daily driver to double s a second tow vehicle just in case the main tow vehicle is down for some reason. Our daily driver now is. 1999 Nissan Pathfinder rated at maybe 5000# towing capacity. I would never try to pull the trailer with it because it has a somewhat flimsy independent rear suspension and it has reached the end of its dependable life span. There is some issue with this car almost every day. I would just as soon get another full size pickup or SUV but my wife complains about how large our current tow vehicle is and doesn't want another "monster."
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:59 AM   #2
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We own a 2010 Honda Odyssey. I have never towed with it. It is rated for up a 3500# trailer. Payload capacity is somewhere around 1500#. We really like the Odyssey. However, volume of area available for cargo sometimes results in owners overloading them to the point of damage. With the second row seats out and the third row folded down you can stack 4 X 8 sheets of plywood flat on the floor and close the rear door completely. The largest trailer I would consider towing with my Odyssey is a pop-up camper.
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:30 AM   #3
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Pathfinder Suspension Problems

My '97 Pathfinder used to have flaky suspension and it degraded to the point that the vehicle could develop the "death wobble" at highway speeds. After going through all of the front end components didn't fix it (that's where the problem really felt like it was coming from) an on the ball mechanic discovered that the rear end link bushings were completely worn out and both link arms were replaced. That fixed the problem and tightened up the vehicle suspension remarkably. You should have a mechanic take a look at those bushings/arms on your Pathfinder.
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:43 AM   #4
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We have set up several hundred Honda Odysseys since they came out in 1999. They are a great tow vehicle with a short overhang to wheelbase ratio, low center of gravity, wide stance and good aerodynamics the end result is very stable and nice riding with more than adequate power. Fuel mileage is very good. The Odyssey has a very good independent rear suspension, I think your 99 pathfinder has a live axle.

Like a lot of vehicles you cannot get an off the shelf receiver with any strength for an Odyssey, we custom build our hitches for them. We can do that for you but it is a long drive from Mississipi for a hitch. I guess you would know it is an option should the need arize down the road.

Again like other tow vehicles it is important that the weight distribution system is the correct type and set up precisely.

I hope this helps.

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Old 10-21-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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There are folks on the forum towing their Airstreams with Toyota Siennas. I would think that characteristics are similar.

I've towed extensively with a Toyota Sienna - but not my AS.

If you go this route my advice is to always use premium gas. It's amazing the difference it makes - and it works out to be less expensive once you work out the mpg (or l/100km).
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:34 AM   #6
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We are towing our 1970 Safari with a 2009 Honda Pilot. It has a 4500# to rating and worked just fine hauling our trailer from Vancouver, BC around the coast of Oregon. We have weighed our setup at a roadside scale and determined that we are right at the upper limit of our tow capacity. We haven't tried any really big mountain passes yet, but we do have an 8% grade near our home. Going up that grade we have to take the slow lane and are going about 60-70 km/h at the top.

A more powerful tow vehicle would be better, but the fuel economy of the Pilot on the highway is very good and I don't know another tow vehicle with more power, similar fuel economy, and seats 7.

The Pilot has a integrated hitch receiver with a 450# tongue rating. We use it with an equalizing hitch.

I don't know what you are trying to tow, but if its smaller than the Safari (23') then perhaps this would be a good alternative to the Oddessy.

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Old 10-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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M. Honey....The Trailer Life Towning Guide shows a tow capacity of 3,500 lb for the 2012 Honda Odyssey. The 30' Airstream Classic has a base weight of 7,095 lbs and a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs. Think about the numbers and what happens if you injure somone in an accident and their attorney finds out you were towing a 10,000 lb trailer with a vehicle rated for 3,500 lbs. Think about voiding the Honda warrantee on your new Odyssey as soon as you tow a 10,000 lb trailer with it.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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2dabeach is right. If you have a 30' Classic like your profile indicates, then there is no chance you could use a Honda anything! Honda Ridgeline has a tow rating a little higher than the Pilot but is not even close to 7000#!

I wouldn't tow above the rated weight. It could be very dangerous in addition to being hopelessly useless on a moderately steep hill.

We chose an older Airstream due to the lower weight compared to new models. We got the largest one we could safely tow. With the Oddessy you are probably limited to a 16' Bambi.

You need a proper truck I'm sorry to say; not a minivan.
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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We tow a 30' Excella with our 2010 Odyssey, with 7 passengers in the Odyssey. If properly set up it is an excellent tow vehicle. Last summer we towed it nearly 7,000 miles, including twice through the Rockies. Mileage was approx. 13mpg for the trip, and then a wonderful 25 to 30mpg when not towing - which is about 90% of the year for most people. Towing was absolutely stable (we have a Hensley Arrow hitch) - we felt nary a cross-wind or push/pull from passing vehicles the entire trip.

Talk to the experts at CanAM (Andrew T has commented above already) - they know their towing specs and can answer any of your technical questions and concerns about ratings, warranties, etc. There are plenty of 'experts' on these forums who will weigh in (as above already) about the manufacturer's towing capacity, but that is the only item they focus on when towing involves so much more than that. And none of those posters have ever tried it, whereas CanAM has set up hundreds of Odyssey's and likely thousands of other combinations - tried, tested and true experience that has not let them down.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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Geobie's comments made me curious. While I'm no expert on towing, I am an engineer and would never exceed a specification without understanding the failure mode that the specification is set to avoid. (and there may be more than one component which sets the specification) I have always found tow ratings frustrating as you cant be sure what the failure mode is. Overheating, inadequate brakes, or a bent hitch? I have even heard that in one vehicle that the tow rating was based on the maximum load on the pin that locks the automatic transmission.

I am towing with my stock Pilot and would love to relieve myself of the concern I have about weight. I have checked the tow rating, the tongue weight, and confirmed the load on both my front and rear axles. All are within spec, but I'm maxed out on the specified GVWR (combined trailer and tow vehicle) so I'm always careful with cargo.

I read many of the Hitch Hints articles posted by CanAM with interest. It seems that in many of the cases, CanAM is selling a custom hitch solution. My comments applied only to exceeding the factory rating for the stock vehicle with a standard hitch.

What was your experience Geobie? I'm sure you can pull your trailer with the Oddessy and I'm encouraged to hear that you have had good experience with it. Don't you worry about liability risk in case of an accident? Does CanAM give you a new tow rating?
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:07 PM   #11
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Find us a case where liability existed. Anyone, anywhere who modifies a vehicle to suit his use. Commercial haulers using pickup trucks exceed "tow ratings" by double the amount. Or more. And the vehicle just runs on to past 300k with no real problems. And zero complications per law or insurance or regulatory agency. This "liability" thing is a canard.

What CAN AM does to a T is the same as any of us in the 1960's and 70's (and earlier and later) who used a car to tow a trailer that was "too big" according to weight. But aero resistance means more. Much more.

If "safety" is the criterion, then trailer disc brakes (etc) should be higher on the list. Same for a Pro Pride hitch.

If Andrew_T says you're good to go . . then you are. The Odyssey looks a better choice for TV than any other minivan by a good distance.

All the usual questions apply: How long will you keep it? How many miles in that time? How many nights aboard the trailer? Etc. This is the direction in which to find the answer. It is already known to be a good choice. So will it fit what the owner expects otherwise.

.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:07 AM   #12
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Hi Mike
The first dodge mini vans in the early 80's had 13" wheels little tiny brakes and 130 bhp on a 3 speed transmission. The tow rating was 3500 pounds, every front drive van made by every manufacturer since then is also 3500. Tough to beleive that all those different vans have identical towing capabilities espessially since they now have 17" rims large brakes 250-283 bhp and far more robust chassis and body structures. You really can't call them a mini van any longer. Generally the tow ratings are a risk vs reward equation for the car company and knowing how most trailers are set up and poor the towing charactiristics of trailers that are not Airstreams are I can't blame them. If I owned a car/truck company I would rate them all zero and tell the industry it's your problem. The auto company has control of maybe 30% of the towing equation but are the first to get blamed should something go wrong.

Mini vans are a low margin vehicle no sense taking any risk to sell a few more of those but an SUV can be quite profitable so it is worth going to a higher tow rating if it will sell more. For example on the highway the Odyssey is a better tow vehicle than the Pilot in pretty much every area even though the rating is lower. I could go on for pages on this but that is it in a bit of a nutshell.

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Old 10-22-2012, 05:20 AM   #13
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I had all rear suspension components replaced on the Pathfinder Friday. It has new links, coil springs, bushings, and shocks. Saturday I put on a new radiator cap. Now the check engine light is on. It might be an o2 sensor or a fuel injector. Last month I got a new battery, belts, and valve cover gaskets. In June I got new tires. It seems as if there is always something wrong with this car. Also I think it is rated to tow 5000#. I would never attempt to tow my Airstream with this aging hunk of junk.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
Hi Mike
The first dodge mini vans in the early 80's had 13" wheels little tiny brakes and 130 bhp on a 3 speed transmission. The tow rating was 3500 pounds, every front drive van made by every manufacturer since then is also 3500. Tough to beleive that all those different vans have identical towing capabilities espessially since they now have 17" rims large brakes 250-283 bhp and far more robust chassis and body structures. You really can't call them a mini van any longer. Generally the tow ratings are a risk vs reward equation for the car company and knowing how most trailers are set up and poor the towing charactiristics of trailers that are not Airstreams are I can't blame them. If I owned a car/truck company I would rate them all zero and tell the industry it's your problem. The auto company has control of maybe 30% of the towing equation but are the first to get blamed should something go wrong.

Mini vans are a low margin vehicle no sense taking any risk to sell a few more of those but an SUV can be quite profitable so it is worth going to a higher tow rating if it will sell more. For example on the highway the Odyssey is a better tow vehicle than the Pilot in pretty much every area even though the rating is lower. I could go on for pages on this but that is it in a bit of a nutshell.

Andrew T

Andy -

Very useful input. I agree that the origins of tow ratings are highly questionable. Your example illustrates that very effectively.

What I struggle with is the payload capacity. I find that it's difficult to find a TV that allows a family of 4 with some limited gear to fit within the payload capacity of most vehicles and also carry the weight of a hitch (ProPride) plus the percentage of tongue weight that is transferred.

When you are setting up a tow vehicle, how do you deal with the question of payload?
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:57 AM   #15
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For the OP (and others I guess), Andrew T set us up to tow a 2011 28' International with a 2011 Toyota Sienna. He did as he's outlined in his posts; modified the hitch, added extra transmission cooling, a brake controller, sway control and a weight distribution system.

Despite the trailer weighing more than twice the manufacturer's tow rating, the setup tows confidently and efficiently. We average around 12 mpg (US) and I've never experienced any sway, despite some potentially sway inducing situations. It stops without drama and handles highway or slow twisty roads with ease. It certainly won't break any speed records on hills but when I tow I'm on vacation so I can live with that. Perhaps most pertinent, and Rednax has already alluded to this, I have a daily driver that averages 28 mpg when not towing.

Last year we drove from Ontario to Florida and home via New Orleans over a period of eighteen days. I'm happy to report that the Sienna worked perfectly on that trip and all others.

So, will a Honda Odyssey, which is very similar to the Sienna, work? Properly set up, yes it will.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:50 PM   #16
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Thanks Andrew, I really appreciate your answer!
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:27 AM   #17
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So, if you were going to pick any minivan to use as a tow vehicle, which one would it be? and why?

I was reading the latest ASL article by Andy T on "power", and applied the formula to my pickup truck. care to guess what the numbers were? lol!

For kicks, I dug up numbers on a dodge caravan--very similar profile the Acadia/Traverse/Enclave.

From the comments in this thread, it sounds like the mini's are all pretty similar, but I'm just wonderin' if there's one that stands out for any particular reason.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:18 AM   #18
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Hi Chuck

There is no clear winner. I like the rear suspension of the Odyssey better than the rest but I prefer the selectable 6 speed transmission in the others. If you want all wheel drive then the Sienna is the only choice. The Caravan is the best value and the stow and go seats are great.

We put 52000 miles on our 08 Town and Country and now have about the same on our 2011 Caravan. Most of those miles are towing, hundreds of short test drives etc. Neither has needed a repair as yet even on the original brakes. The 2011 3.6 Litre has a little less low end torque than the 08 4.0 Litre but the fuel economy is amazing for the size of vehicle it is.

We have a customer who travels extensively with a 30' Classic with 200,000 miles on a 2002 Odyssey and other who has well over 100,000 on a 2004 Sienna also with a 30 Classic. We have customers with the Quest and Hyundia/Kia but no long term use history with either as of yet.

The Quest is interesting in that it has a longer wheel base and full independent suspension like the Odyssey however towing with the CVT transmission is a different experience.

If you are thinking of a used van don't get a Chrysler before 2008 and make sure a 08-10 has the 6 speed transmission, the 3.0 liter came with a 4 speed. The Ford Freestar from 04-08 did a great job for us as did the GM vans but only those with the 3.9 litre engines.

A little of the SUV/Pickup mentality of "big mushy tires sell better" has been creeping into the van segment so we do often change to a lower profile tire on these though it would not be at all critical with your 23'. It makes such a difference that even if I never towed anything I would change the tire size when the time came for new ones.

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Old 04-20-2013, 05:41 AM   #19
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What about a 2013 Ford Escape

I think I'm finally coming around to the idea of letting Can-Am set up a TV for us since I'm sick of the 15mpg I get with my '06 Explorer.

My question is what do you think about towing a '63 Globetrotter with a 2013 Escape 2.0l Ecoboost and 6-speed automatic? It would have 17" rims with fairly low profile tires and (I suppose) the class II tow package as starters.

The globetrotter is currently being refurbished and will probably weight a little more than when it left the factory (~3200 lbs vs 2990 lbs). Most of our towing from here out will be with 2 adults and a dog since our daughters aren't going to be at home much longer.

We probably won't tow more than 4,000 miles a year with it.

Thank you.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:42 AM   #20
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We may still buy a Honda Oddysey, but I won't tow the long, long trailer with it. Maybe a second pickup. I'm thinking a used Ram 1/2 ton regular cab with an 8' box and the 5.7. My plan is to take my motorcycle with me in the bed of the pickup while towing the Airstream. I cannot do that with my current pickup- 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax with the 5.5' box.
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