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Old 04-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
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Towing: Ridgeline vs. Dodge Durango

Hi,

I am new to this forum and just purchased a 2001 Bambi to replace my 2009 Casita. I currently have a Honda Ridgeline towing vechile with a V6 250 hp, 245 ft. lbs. of torque and a 5000 lb towing capacity. I will be towing the Bambi in the mountains around Denver and need to get over the continental divide. The Casita had a GAWR of 3500 lbs and the Bambi comes in around 4300 lb. GAWR. The Ridgeline had no problem with the mountains with the Casita, but I expect I will need to upgrade the towing vechile to something more capable with the heavier Bambi. I am thinking of a Dodge Durango V6 with 290 hp, 260 torque and 6200 lb of towing capacity. Will this be a sufficient step up in towing capacity?

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Jos
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:56 PM   #2
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Hi, too bad about the Ridgline- they're great, we have one, but tow with a Tundra because it was the newer vechicle. Curious, why the Durango? I've been looking at the Nissan Frontier V6, has among the best towing acceleration towing 5000# to 60mph and I think it'd be a better truck than the Dodge in terms of build and reliability. We tow our 2850# Globetrotter with the V6 Tundra, it's okay at speed but labors on hills, the kind of hills we have here in nor cal.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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I have little doubt your Ridge will easily handle the Bambi assuming you are connected properly. Many may speculate it would perform as good or better than the Durango in many ways. Have a look at what Ridgeline owners are towing.... Ridgeline's can tow (photos) - Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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I'd look at other options... A Durango isn't much of a step up really, but it does get you into a rear-drive full-frame 'real' truck. The mileage isn't really that much better than V8 motors, especially when you are towing.

If you like the Durango though, it will easily do the trick.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. I believe that the Honda will handle the Bambi just fine.

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Old 04-14-2012, 07:04 PM   #6
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Regarding full frame, the Ridgeline is unibody with a full ladder frame. We've used ours for 105k, hauling construction materials without a problem.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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As Road Ruler says, connect it up properly and the Ridgeline will do the job for you.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64 View Post
Regarding full frame, the Ridgeline is unibody with a full ladder frame. We've used ours for 105k, hauling construction materials without a problem.
I'm thinking more about the rear-wheel drive for towing rather than the front-drive of the Ridgeline. Proper WD setup would be important for a front-drive vehicle.

The Ridgeline is a compelling package for a soft-roader.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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The new Chrysler Pentastar V6 looks to be a very good engine in all ways. I have seen nothing but favorable reports on it. It is a higher RPM engine than many are used to, but designed for that higher RPM and still excellent durability.

I believe Chrysler ditched 7 different V6's that they were producing, and now are using the Pentastar in virtually everything. So, it had to be smooth, tough, and economical. Shees I sound like I work for them... I don't. And of course, when I got my new Grand Cherokee, I went with the old Hemi V8...lol.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:22 AM   #10
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Thanks to all of you for your replies. They are helpful.

Would a hitch store or a particular commercial organization be able to comment on the specifics of the adequacy of the Durango V6? I know that the Durango comes with an optional "hemi" V8 engine that should easily do the job, but I would to like to buy the smaller V6 290 hp 260 ft torque one because 95% of the time I will be driving w/o the Bambi 19' on level coastal Texas roads. The difference in the two Durango engines according to the government statistics comes to about $700/year or 23 miles per gallon on the highway for the V6 vs 20 MPG for the V8

Unless I can get a definitive answer I may need get real life experience of trying to drag the Bambi up the mountains of the 10,000 foot Berthoud Pass to see if the Ridgeline is up to the job, and if, not approach a car dealer in Denver to see if they will let me test drive a Durango with the V6 engine to see if it is satisfactory.

Again thanks for all of your comments.

Jos
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:54 AM   #11
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We go above 10,000' routinely, towing our 22' without any problems. Don't see why you think you should have.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:55 AM   #12
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The tow vehicle that is also best for solo, non-towing driving is usually the best choice when hitch rigging can be made ideal. Compromising 95% of annual miles economy for a once-annual difficulty of a few minutes is contraindicated.

You haven't defined "satisfactory". It wouldn't bother me to be "slow" up a mountain pass. And no one would have been towing trailers in the 1960's if it was a concern either.

You'd want to find out the percentage difference in annual average EPA mpg between the vehicles considered. That is the closest indicator, not exclusively highway or city numbers.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:14 PM   #13
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I agree with Rednax. I don't want/won't buy something that is going to get dreadful mileage 100% to be able to tow effortlessly 2% of the time.

Friday, I'm curious about you're not wanting to use the front-biased awd Ridgeline for towing. Is it that the front wheel traction is reduced from the tongue weight at the rear? We're contemplating setting up the Ridgeline to tow because the work truck is usually disgusting and no fun to travel in! Our Globetrotter is about 3300# fully laden, and the Ridgeline is rated for 5000#. You can lock all four wheels together, but I don't think you can/ want to drive like that, at speed and on pavement
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:04 PM   #14
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Ok,, the EPA stickers tell a different story than what one deals with in the real world.. The v6 is a great little engine if its just pushing a SUV around,.. but real world everyone I talk too is getting better overall fuel MPG with the 5.7 hemi loaded or unloaded..

You have to remember under a light load it cuts back to become a 4cyl engine..

I have one in a full sized 4x4 pu,, and empty am always bumping 20mpg... Towing our 27' Overlander runs at 14 mpg..

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Old 04-15-2012, 05:11 PM   #15
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Globie64

The Ridgeline should be an excellent towing vechile for the Globetrotter, about 3300# fully laden. We have been towing a Casita 17 foot for the last 2 years. It is about 3500 lbs fully laden and it has been a dream to tow with the Ridgeline. We travel between 60 and 65 with about 600 lbs in the truck and an anti sway bar and never had a problem with the Ridgeline in hills and mountains, etc. We obviously slow down in the mountains, but have not been limited by power, or wind gusts. Thus, I would strongly recommend the Ridgeline for 3500 lbs and under.

I have no experience with the Ridgeline for the Airstream 19 and note that fully laden it comes in around 4500 lbs. From reading all the forums (Ridgeline, Airstream) I get the impression that some people think that it would be no problem and others say that it would be working very hard to get up and around the mountains. I plan to leave the Airstream around Denver and do two or three trips per year in the Rocky Mountains (got to get away from the Texas heat).

I hope that this informaion helps.

Jos
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #16
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Your experience with the Casita is invaluable to your "problem". The big difference is in weight of the TT. Did you ever scale this previous rig to see how the axle loads were on the TV & TT? That would be the sort of info where a really accurate seat-of-the-pants comparison could be made.

Towing either on the flats would be about the same. The A/S possibly superior but one would need to compare axle type and ground clearance. Hitch rigging will also be a factor in how one drives over the other (same hitch even, but how well adjusted according to scale values).

But weight isn't nearly as important as aerodynamic resistance when comparing one trailer to another. And these are fairly close in a lot of respects.

Was there ever a time you felt the Honda/Casita rig really at it's limit? And if so, how would you have defined that? Time spent at wide-open-throttle? Braking? Other?

It may be that placing perceptions on a continnum with others will help to clear the fog around what otherwise appear to be fairly similar trailers (except as weight, etc, differ).

.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:50 PM   #17
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Thanks JP, I've heard good things about towing with a Ridgeline around here, very hilly and windy roads. The Tundra V6 vs the Ridgeline unladen struggles. Our Ridgeline just passed 100k, and I wish we could get another (for a spare) before they go out of production, it's been an awesome vehicle. I imagine we'll get another 100k out of it. The one thing in that is a significant advantage in the Tundra over the Ridgeline is that you can hold the transmission in any gear, with the Honda, just 5th, 3,2 or 1. I drive in 4 in the Tundra a lot, so it won't lug. Maybe the Ridgeline won't have the same problem
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:37 AM   #18
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Towing in the mountains

One post script. I have rechecked the Ridgeline's manual and it states that it looses 2% towing capacity per 1000 feet. Thus at 10,000 feet it has lost 20% of its towing capacity. The Durango (I think V6) according to a Dodge fleet manager, has lost 27% of its towing capacity at 10,000 feet. Thus, if the Bambi 19 is fully laden, it would surpass the towing capacity of the Ridgeline and just meet the towing capacity of the Dodge Durango. I am basing this on a towing capacity of the Ridgeline at 5000 lbs and the Durango 6200 lbs, both at sea level and a Bambi GVWR of 4300 lbs. By the way, 10,000+ feet is the height of a number of CO mountain passes.

One fly in the ointment in this calculation is I don't know how to address the combined weight of both the TV and the trailer using the above formulas. That's probably where real life experience comes in, because one can never get access to one of the engineers that designs these vehicles.

Jos
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #19
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Just hook up the Ridgeline, get the hitch right, and give it a try. You already have it, by all accounts its a great vehicle, and it will probably do fine. Keep the speed down.

I admit being old school, where 45 mph up grades was a norm. Drop the Ridge into one of the lower gears, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

250 net horsepower is a lot, in historical terms and you have plenty of gear choice in transmission. Honda engines live just fine at 3500-4000 rpm on grades. Everything loses 3% per thousand ft, except for turbo engines.

If after a few outings, it doesn't feel right, or overtaxed, then cross the bridge.
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