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Old 08-03-2020, 12:25 PM   #1
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Basecamp 20 / Honda Ridgeline Combo?

I have a 2017 Honda Ridgeline (AWD), with the 5,000-lb. GVWR. I'm wondering if that's sufficient to use for towing a Basecamp 20. It seems to get awful close to the limits of the 20's specs.

I'd consider the Basecamp 16, but would really prefer the 20. I tend to be conservative on safety-related issues, though, and want a solid safety margin on something like this.

I live in Maryland, and most of the usage would be in this part of the country.

Thanks for any and all advice! I hope to join your ranks soon!
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:57 PM   #2
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For the Ridgeline the towing weight limit is due to technical (engine, transmission, axles, braking, suspension) performance. Safety and stability becomes an issue with 10-20% more weight. So even with the Basecamp 20, the max towing weight will be under 4300 giving you a performance margin of 14% which is pretty good and a stability margin of about 30% at highway speeds. I would be very surprised if you experience any issue with this configuration. I think it is a good combination. For extra peace of mind you could get a transmission fluid temperature gauge or just get a IR temperature reader and shoot the brake rotors right after stopping, the transmission pan and differential 5-7 min after stopping. You want the brakes less than 350, the transmission less than 200, and the differential less than 270. But if you don't go out to the steep grades out west you likely will never see temperatures close to these.

Get a high quality but low tension WD hitch with excellent sway control and add a bit of extra pressure to your rear tires but stay below sidewall labeled max pressure and you won't have any issue with sway or steering response and stability.
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:31 PM   #3
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Brian makes some great points!

The Ridgeline is slightly under powered when pulling up a big grade. The longest grade that we did was 9 tp 10% for about 27 kms. The RL was happy at 50 mph but could have done more if I wanted to listen to the engine at 4,500 rpm. Keep in mind that this engine like to rev like other V-tech engines.

A few more ponies would make for better match.

The HD tranny cooler that comes on the AWD Ridgeline does a pretty good job of keeping the transmission cool. My fluid is still bright pink with no smell or signs of burning.

The AWD system is amazing and really makes the combo feel stable. We are towing a Sport 22'FB and it is similar to the BC 20' but the tongue weight of the BC will be more. This is where you will run into challenges.

The published BC 20X tongue weight is 535 lbs. We have seen these easily 100 lbs more on similar sized trailers. Ours has a published tongue weight of 422 lbs. but we usually run around 500 lbs.

If you use a tongue weight scale and load your trailer with more to the back, you should be able to keep the tongue weight near 535 lbs. Keep in mind that Ridgeline max's out at 600 lbs. and that is conditional on number of people. Your cargo capacity will also be a concern as you will be running close to the max ~1,477 lbs very quickly. Loading some cargo into the trailer will help.

You will need to plan how you load the trailer and truck to make this work within the specifications.

Brian's comments about WD hitch is right on. We added a WD hitch and it made all the difference even though we towed a few trips with our bumper hitch.

Our trailer has a max weight of 4,500 lbs and a hitch weight of 422 lbs. We usually have it loaded up to about 4,000 lbs. with a 500 lbs hitch weight.

I have attached a shot of the rig with WD in action.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:03 PM   #4
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Thanks, Peter! Makes me think that maybe the Sport 22 FB that you have is the way to go instead... ?
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Keith_Ward View Post
Thanks, Peter! Makes me think that maybe the Sport 22 FB that you have is the way to go instead... ?
Hi Keith, keep in mind that Airstream stopped the Sport line in 2019 and now you get a bunch of Bambi's. I have seen some 2019's for sale in the classifieds a while ago. We happened to find a new one (old stock) at a the dealer in March when sales were non existent so we got a really good deal on it.

Towing advantages with the Sport 22FB with the Ridgeline.
- Lighter weight for easier towing
- Light tongue weight for easier towing
- Narrower at 7'-4" wide for easier towing

Similar sized Bambi's will give you 5,000 lbs axle compared to the Sport's 4,500 lbs axle.

You get 2 AGM batteries on the tongue of the Bambi's adds about 65 lbs to the tongue. The sport comes with one GRP24 12V battery (we have changed ours for a bigger lithium beast with no real weight penalty).

The Sport will sit a bit lower than the Basecamp which will limit your offroad excursions. However, many have added a 3" lift to raise up their Sport and I think the same would apply to the Bambi's. This would certainly make the rougher roads more possible.

So our Sport's biggest advantages to towing is that we can tow without adding mirror extensions where the other trailers are 8' wide now. The Basecamp is 7'-9" wide so a tad wider than the Sport 22' but still narrower than the Bambi's.

If you have a chance, check them both out to see if that helps you make up your mind.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith_Ward View Post
I have a 2017 Honda Ridgeline (AWD), with the 5,000-lb. GVWR. I'm wondering if that's sufficient to use for towing a Basecamp 20. It seems to get awful close to the limits of the 20's specs.

I'd consider the Basecamp 16, but would really prefer the 20. I tend to be conservative on safety-related issues, though, and want a solid safety margin on something like this.

I live in Maryland, and most of the usage would be in this part of the country.

Thanks for any and all advice! I hope to join your ranks soon!
Your max hitch weight on that Ridgeline is 500lbs which is what the Basecamp 20' tongue weight is listed at with batteries and propane tanks and empty otherwise(?) I'd be very leery. Don't forget the weight of your hitch needs to be accounted for in hitch weight too.

As they say max tow rate doesn't mean much without max hitch weight and max payload. 500lbs tongue for a 4300lbs trailer is 11.6% tongue weight.

Im going thru this with my 2020 Subaru Ascent that I bought 4 months before COVID hit and subsequently ordering a new RV. My 20X is supposed to arrive in November. I'm fairly certain I'm going to have to get a different TV.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:05 PM   #7
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Hi Q-man, the Honda manual shows the following:

If Keith can keep the tongue weight at around 535 lbs, that that still gives a cushion to the maximum allowed.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:15 PM   #8
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Keep in mind though that the Honda engineers are placing this max payload/tongue weight on passenger comfort not performance, safety or stability. If you don't mnd bouncing a bit, higher tongue weight is safer and more stable. If you do mind it and you also want stability and safety, consider air bags or helper springs to increase spring rate.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:30 PM   #9
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Keep in mind though that the Honda engineers are placing this max payload/tongue weight on passenger comfort not performance, safety or stability. If you don't mnd bouncing a bit, higher tongue weight is safer and more stable. If you do mind it and you also want stability and safety, consider air bags or helper springs to increase spring rate.
Hi Brian, There are zero manufacturers making airbags and helper springs for the Ridgeline. It is not one of the cool kids! Perhaps some higher load range tires could be added.

With WD the Ridgeline does just fine with this amount of weight and is still super smooth at least with our setup it is. No bouncing around and very stable. Honda's is using their very smart AWD system on the Ridgeline as they do on the Acura's as well. Something to do with advanced Torque Vectoring.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
Keep in mind though that the Honda engineers are placing this max payload/tongue weight on passenger comfort not performance, safety or stability. If you don't mnd bouncing a bit, higher tongue weight is safer and more stable. If you do mind it and you also want stability and safety, consider air bags or helper springs to increase spring rate.
Keep in mind insurance companies are not going to cover your liability in an accident if any of your weights exceed what is specified in the manual.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:59 AM   #11
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Suggesting "higher tongue weight" than what was being discussed is not the same as recommending exceeding what was specified in the manual. For peace of mind I was explaining the purpose for the relatively low tongue weight to provide a degree of assurance that going up is sound. I was also explaining what the person might experience if they did raise tongue weight. 15% tongue weight is the most stable and safest choice for towing. Lighter tongue weights become unstable.

As far as insurance goes, are you speculating regarding insurance or can you show that it is common practice for insurers to deny claims if any aspect of the vehicle does not follow the OEM specifications.

By court precedence the insurer would have to establish negligence on the part of the owner, and it's not enough to simply reference the owners manual. This is particularly true when the guidance is addressing passenger comfort and not safety or stability. It would be hard to argue in court that something having nothing to do with safety caused and unsafe situation. On the contrary, as an expert, I might argue manufacturers who design a vehicle for and advise 10-12% max tongue weights are being irresponsible at the very least.

It's a catch 22 because the manufacturer is aware that people purchase vehicles when empty and not towing. They test drive the vehicles to compare them and if a vehicle rides stiff, compared to a competitor, they may loose a sale. This is particularly true when the vehicle is competing in several market categories as is the case for vehicles with low towing limits.

But the fix is easy, simply stiffen the suspension a bit, or put up with the squishy ride. Or do what PB_NB does and carefully manage tongue weight and sway control.

From a stability and safety standpoint, following the manual at max tow, while still adequate, is the least safe route and this is unfortunate.
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Old 08-05-2020, 10:49 AM   #12
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Transmission and oil cooler would also give you another margin of error.Some Honda models may already have these with a tow package. Big help on long trips and higher altitudes.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:23 PM   #13
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Transmission and oil cooler would also give you another margin of error.Some Honda models may already have these with a tow package. Big help on long trips and higher altitudes.
All the second generation Ridgelines with AWD have the factory HD tranny cooler. I am not too sure about the first generation but I think they did as well.

It is strange that Honda would max out the towing capacity at 5,000 lbs and give you a tongue weight max of 600 lbs. Pretty hard to achieve 15% as Brian stated.

The suspension is compliant but not squishy. The ride with our without the trailer is very nice while still providing control. Having come from a series of firm riding vehicles with our last one having adjustable bounce and rebound control, set on the higher side. That was a firm ride, but the Honda is smooth.
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Old 08-05-2020, 08:57 PM   #14
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Good Combo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith_Ward View Post
I have a 2017 Honda Ridgeline (AWD), with the 5,000-lb. GVWR. I'm wondering if that's sufficient to use for towing a Basecamp 20. It seems to get awful close to the limits of the 20's specs.

I'd consider the Basecamp 16, but would really prefer the 20. I tend to be conservative on safety-related issues, though, and want a solid safety margin on something like this.

I live in Maryland, and most of the usage would be in this part of the country.

Thanks for any and all advice! I hope to join your ranks soon!
The Baseline 20/Ridgeline should be a great combo. I have a friend who pulled his 25 foot FB to Florida and back from Ontario Canada for four consecutive years with no problems except complaints about the small fuel tank. I have caravaned with him on many occasions and was always amazed that the Honda Ridgeline kept up with me on everything but the steepest hills.
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