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Old 03-21-2006, 08:44 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Towing Info Please, on our Honda

We are considering getting a 16ft bambi.
Our tow vehicle would be a 2005 awd honda pilot.
We have a tow package, and it includes a transmition cooler.
Question is...will we be powered enought to tow the little bambi...or not?
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:56 PM   #2
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Hi Pirates!

Welcome to the forum. There are some excellent posts here about how to figure what you can tow. Road King Moe did an excellent writeup on it some time ago and I will try to find a link for you.

In the meantime, I'm sure other members will offer good advice.

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Old 03-21-2006, 09:06 PM   #3
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I couldn't find the post I was looking for but here is a link to a discussion on another forum that may help you get started.

If I find the one I was thinking of, I'll post a link to it.

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Old 03-21-2006, 09:09 PM   #4
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hi pirates and welcome to airsteamin'

cosmo has given you a great link to read and learn....towing is about numbers....

trailer life lists the v6 pilot at 3500lbs max towing....
you will need to check the honda info to see if this figure is lowered....
with people/gear in the honda....yes that's correct, most tow ratings go down...
as stuff is added to the towing vehicle....

the honda ratings are further confused by having a different rating when towing a boat.......4500lbs......
why i have no clue.......

an empty bambi is 28-2900lbs......loaded is 3500lbs....

so these figures are really close....too close for me....

also you can find for the honda....a gcwr....gross combined weight rating.....

basically that is the max number for pilot and whatever is inside/ontop or behind it.... find this number, then add up the loaded airstream and the loaded pilot....most safety nuts suggest 80% of this figure as an upper limit...

find the trailer you love......then find the horses to pull it....

cheers
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:10 PM   #5
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My POV

Aaaaargh PIRATES! Welcome to the Forums!!

I happen to believe tow capacity and GCWR are the wrong place to start.

Look at this thread to see how to look at a tow vehicle's suitability. I give full credit to the Road King Moe approach that Cosmotini mentions -- that's where I figured out the full details about three years ago. A careful reading of an honest tow vehicle (TV) owner's manual should just about say the same thing.

Many small SUV websites (and Honda is no exception) leave off critical data. The Honda Pilot specs listed online gives a basic curb weight (or empty vehicle weight without options). Neither a load capacity for the Pilot nor the Pilot's GVWR is listed (ignore the trailer weight until you determine just how much dead weight you can safely load onto the Pilot's axles!).

I would recommend you look at your owner's manual with particular attention to the towing section. The detailed weight specifications will be listed somewhere. Here's the formula: Curb Weight + Load Capacity = GVWR. You want to make sure the proposed Bambi hitch weight, people you intend to carry and other load on board do not exceed the Pilot's load capacity. And here's a catch -- if the tow package is an option not available on the base LX or EX model, you must also subtract the hitch receiver (100-150#) under the back bumper from the load capacity. Airstream lists the empty 16' Bambi hitch weight at 480#; with LP in the tanks, WD gear mounted on the tongue, and any personal gear onboard I don't think you could expect anything less than 600# -- and most likely more. (16' Bambi's GVWR is 4500# and tongue weight will be in the 10-15% range -- 10% is rather optimistic...)

Some frameless monocoque SUV manuals (like the Touareg) specifically advise against using weight distribution gear. It would not be advisable to tow a 16' Bambi without WD gear -- I hope you've been lurking in the Forums because this was discussed just a couple weeks back. You'll have to see whether your manual's towing section gives any advice on WD gear.

BTW - anybody buying a new TV certainly should expect the dealer to let them read the towing section in the manual first!

We're rooting for you to make it into the Airstream owner's world!! Let us know if this has been helpful please.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:36 AM   #6
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hi again pirates.....

don't ya just love clear advice......

this is mostly for canoe stream, but read along.....

so bob we mostly agree the pilot is marginal (a gentle way of saying not adequate)

moe has given us lots of good reading....as i suggested most maker's tow rating don't account for passengers, gear or fuel IN the tow vehicle.....so THE MOST IMPORTANT figure IS the gcwr.....

quote moe.....
"The tow vehicle's Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is what's important here. It's largely determined by the amount of engine power and gearing, up to a point. The further you are below the GCWR, the better the tow vehicle will perform on hills and in mountains."

so why don't you think the gcwr is a good place to start?

it is the total for tow, trailer, loads in both, accessories, hitch...everything rolling....

now as for honda.....
turns out they don't rate like the ge'em, ford, dodge...but rather like vw.....

so the 3500lbs IS WITH 4 passengers and fuel....a more honest rating....right?

and while the tow rating for the pilot is more honest (includes people/fuel)....the GCWR is still the best number to find and stay under....by 10-20 percent....i cannot find gcwr for the pilot...you will need to..

and the reason for the difference between trailer and boat?.....well honda is one of the few factoring frontal area into the calculations.....and the boat is more aero so......more can be pulled throught the atmosphere.....than a flat nosed trailer....

the touareg isn't frameless monocoque.....infact it IS one of the few hybird designs with monocoque/over rails......and they don't recommend against w/d systems.....it just doesn't raise the tongue rating which is >700lbs already.....right?

the honda also is a hybird monocoque with ft/rr subframe tubular/rails...

now the trailer in question is 3500 max rating loaded.....so tonque weight need not be 600lb or more as you suggest.....but can be 350-400 safely correct? perhaps at 4500 you are referring to the 19 footer not 16?

at 350-400 lb tongue..... w/d isn't need either is it?

and we already know that honda advices against w/d on the pilot and ridgeline, right? and with a tongue well under 500lbs....it isn't needed...

ok pirates.....bob and i may differ on details, and i'm no expert either......

but we agree the honda pilot isn't really ideal for towing a new bambi....even with the 'factory tow package' which is a tranny cooler and....? the pilot is right a the limit.....and with a full load of pork rinds....may be over......

cheers
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Old 03-22-2006, 02:27 AM   #7
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"Considering" a key word here....

Quote:
Originally Posted by PIRATES
We are considering getting a 16ft bambi.
Our tow vehicle would be a 2005 awd honda pilot.
We have a tow package, and it includes a transmition cooler.
Question is...will we be powered enought to tow the little bambi...or not?
Good thing you have not already purchased....
Frankenstein says - "Bambi good to camp in"
Frankenstein also says - "Honda too little to pull Bambi"
Frankenstein still insists - "Fire bad!"
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PIRATES
will we be powered enought to tow the little bambi...or not?
Not really. As 2Air said, it's just too close to the max tow capacity. If there are no passengers, driver, fuel or gear in the Pilot, maybe.
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:04 AM   #9
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I defer to those with more knowledge and/or experience than I have. However, I'm remembering my friend, Gordon, who towed his Bambi all over the west with a VW Beetle! This was in the late 1960s and very early 70s. He now is more conventional with a later, larger Airstream and adequate TV.

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Old 03-22-2006, 08:19 AM   #10
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well, I've heard first-hand reports of a Honda Pilot towing a much heavier trailer than that, with very good results. It has alot of horsepower and torque for its size.

Personally, I think these "ratings" are nothing more than arbitrary numbers that indicate more what the factory is willing to absorb in terms of liability than anything resembling the vehicle's true capabilities. They're not based on anything concrete; if you exceed them, you won't turn into a pumpkin. and they already build in a large safety factor. adding your own on top of it is like the signature out there that talks of the glass being "half full" or "half empty"...but really: twice as big as it needs to be.

just take a look at the "ratings" for the chrysler 300. it has a huge power plant...same as in their trucks. but the TR is only 2000lbs. why? same plant in a truck=9000+ rating. I know,I know, frame and suspension matter. but its mostly the powertrain. The marketing department doesn't think this is an issue for the target market, so they just slap on a basic "yeah, go ahead and tow a snowmobile, if you need to" rating, and they don't have to actually test it for what it can really do. but the ratings on trucks go "up up up up" every year, without any perceivable changes to the vehicle itself. Hmmmm.....
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:26 AM   #11
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gross trailer weight

My 19CCD has a gross weight of 4500 lbs. I believe that the 16 has a GTW of 3500lbs.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:22 PM   #12
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Specs readily available on the internet

Honda 2006 Pilot specs (including towing specs) are here:

@ http://automobiles.honda.com/models/...t&Category=ALL

Airstream 2006 Bambi specs are here:

@ http://www.airstream.com/product_lin...mbi_specs.html

It appears the dry weight of the Bambi is the maximum tow rating of the Pilot 2WD....

As we who have towed all know, the dry weight is never the actual towed weight.... it is much lower than what the trailer ends up to be (with all your supplies for camping & accesories)

If someone is foolish enough to accept the liability of towing a travel trailer that, when loaded, EXCEEDS the manufacturers' stated limits of the tow vehicle..... then that person should have no problem when their auto insurance/auto manufacturer/trailer manufacturer refuses a claim

Ratings exist for a reason, no matter what "armchair engineers" think
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:43 PM   #13
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I gotta second Jim's comments. I do also agree with Chuck to some extent as well.

My take is that power makes up only one part of the multipart equation.

Wheelbase, brakes, transmission, driveshafts, body/frame all are not just words, but major components to what makes a good/safe tow vehicle. Yes my Impala SS (325+hp, 390ft/lb torque and 3.73s) moved our Safari and I moved it over 3000 miles before upgrading to a 3/4 Suburban. By the numbers and modifications, that Impala could have moved a 34' Airstream. I didn't do it because of the other parts of the equation. Note I didn't say tow the Safari. The reason I say that is because the Safari was equal or greater in weight to the Impala, plus the Impala didn't have the proper wheelbase. The Suburban tows the Safari.

Now I am keenly aware we are talking about a 16' Bambi, but the reality is that one can bring to scale the same priniciples to the combo in question. That said, the rating will clearly be surpassed in a heartbeat and although it's only a 16' Bambi, I don't feel the driveshafts, transmission, unibody, etc are up to the challenge of near 4000lbs once fuel, passengers cargo and the full wet weight of the 16' Bambi. There are several different ways you can calculate it, but to me, they all equal pushing it.

Can the Pilot move the 16' Bambi? Sure, no question it can. The real question is however, can it tow it and are you willing to put you and your passengers lives at possible risk for doing something that many folks, including the manufacturer say might not be a good idea?
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:01 PM   #14
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TV Load Capacity vs. Tow Capacity

One last word .... (as if!)

2air' -- A good friend has a Toyota Highlander and he feels at the max handling his large Coleman popup. We would all agree these comfortable reliable vehicles are pushing it with a Bambi of any length.

My point commonly is this -- When a TV reaches its load capacity, in the real world it is usually well short of its tow capacity. The exception is unreal; i.e., one lightweight driver and nothing else in the TV. Doing the math I usually find that overmatched tow vehicles (when two people in a TV + internal cargo + tongue weight reaches specified tow vehicle load capacity) are usually only about 2/3d's of the way toward their tow capacity.

The right answer is delivered either way in this thread, but tow capacity can make a tow seem reasonable when the tow vehicle is actually overloaded.

(I would have answered sooner but my broadband was out yesterday. Almost 44 hours without Airstream Forums!! I can quit any time, really I can .... )
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:18 PM   #15
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hey canoe str' welcome back.....

broadband siberia huh?......bummer.....

the i.v. is open now......ahhhhhhhhh, better.

i was just surprised to read you down on gcwr....
since it seems to be the one big/all everything figure...
that we don't want to exceed....and really at 80% or so...

and we now need read the towing figures differently for vw, honda and some others...
because they are figured after loading the t.v.....the touareg for example is 7000+lbs after being maxed out inside/on top of the beast....

i think we are going to see many more models rated for towing....with the t.v. full of stuff.

which brings us back to gcwr....the full load, everything rolling...as the real deal.

welcome back to hi speed digital dialog
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
Personally, I think these "ratings" are nothing more than arbitrary numbers that indicate more what the factory is willing to absorb in terms of liability than anything resembling the vehicle's true capabilities. They're not based on anything concrete; if you exceed them, you won't turn into a pumpkin.
Arbitrary Ratings: Tell that to the judge who is hearing the case when you are being sued for killing or injuring someone as you tried to avoid an accident that you did not even cause and I bet the outcome would be the same as if you drove the family car around knowing the brakes did not work; that being you will more than likely be found guilty of gross/criminal negligence or worse.

It seems to me that driving a rig that is over the vehicle's gross weight, (knowingly or unknowingly), combined or otherwise, and being involved in an accident would leave you open to major liability in a court of law. Even if the accident/incident is not your fault, it would be a hard position to defend.

You may not even have to hurt someone outside of your vehicle to be brought before the judge. Injure or kill a family member in your own car through ciminal negligence, (driving without brakes; driving under the influence; driving over gross), and the state might prosecute criminally.

All the legal hassles aside, what's your family worth?
What's your peace of mind worth?

We all take risks every day all the time. The object is to manage the risk and bring it down to an acceptable level that makes the activity's outcome to safely end in our favor. It is probably safer for me to stay home and watch Jerry Springer on the television than to pull my 31' travel trailer down I-80. However, Springer doesn't interest me as much as western Montana, so I have a tow vehicle which is designed to safely handle the task of towing in the Rocky Mountains and TiVo Springer for when I get back home.

Do the research and do what's right. Get the tow vehicle that will safely and legally handle the trailer you hope to buy, or buy a lighter trailer that your current tow vehicle is safely designed to tow.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:44 PM   #17
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Thank you for the informative responses.

I too have a Pilot (2004) and have been wondering if towing any size of Airstream was a realistic proposition. The Pilot's weakness is the Aisin transmission, which makes for smooth shifts but can be overheated long before the engine is working hard.

To make matters worse we need to sleep 6, and although my 4 kids range from 10 months to 7 years, they are only going to get bigger. So it seems an impossible combo to find a large enough Airstream of any vintage that doesn't outweigh the Pilot's abilities.

Thanks all for giving me some insight.
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:02 PM   #18
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Sleepy brought up a good point. It might could do it, but it doesn't mean it would be good for it. I think this is really an irrelevent point considering the liability issues that have been brought up. You know we have the highest per capita number of lawyers in the world. If that doesn't scare you into getting a proper sized tow vehicle, I have some beach front property in AZ I'd like to sell you over the phone.
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:47 PM   #19
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A few links were given in the March posts in this thread, none of which contained any real load capacity info (curb/empty weight + load capacity = GVWR). I googled and found this on MSN. It clearly says that the Pilot maximum payload is 1323 pounds. For the purposes of normal handling, anticipated mechanical wear, design of the suspension, emergency maneuvering, and maximum braking you cannot exceed this load on or in the tow vehicle.

What makes up this load? For starters the weight of any vehicle option not a part of the base model. If a 2" hitch receiver isn't standard you just about have to begin with the 150-175# this will add. But we hardly have to go there... Sleepy, add the weights of all family members. To that add the advertised trailer hitch weight plus after-market front end trailer weight (hitch bar, weight distribution gear, LP in the tanks, spare tire if ordered -- all at least 200-300# minimum). All these weights added together are borne by your tow vehicle alone -- weight distribution gear does not throw any of that weight back to the trailer axles. The basic premise is to drive with your tow vehicle below or approaching specified load capacity (payload or whatever you call it). Let's not even talk about tow capacity when a Pilot would be so heavily overloaded before you even turn the key.

The current F150 or F250 thread has some good considerations to look at. Read between the lines because there is info that goes beyond Ford trucks. There are many members very satisfied with larger capacity vans. Your kids will grow up rapidly and I suspect you'll consider at least a 25' before you're done. Just let me say that 1/2-ton trucks/vans/Suburbans also have a very hard time fitting within TV load capacity with 6 people and a trailer that big.

You may not go any of these directions at all but please understand the first hurdle is to always fit within TV load capacity. Therein lies safety.

Tow capacity and GCWR are nothing but fluff if you aren't within TV load capacity specs! When looked at closely, it is evident manufacturers must figure tow capacity with only one thoroughbred jockey and a gallon of gas on board.... There are many Forums jokes about a certain dealer in the vicinity of our northern border that misleads people to believe that even an AMC Gremlin has enough oomph to pull an Airstream.
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