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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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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
2air'
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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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Old 02-28-2006, 01:41 PM   #29
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hi toasty, leipper and others

toasty...hey that's great that the family was on board when the honda was weighed....

couple of other thoughts...
your loaded trailer is very close to max...and while i realize these "official" limits are in reality soft....trailers, like people tend to gain weight over time....as clothes, food, toys, tools and beer are added.

i suggest watching this closely....and moving more stuff into the bed on the honda...in front of the rear wheels....during panic and stopping it would be better not to have the trailer "pushing" the honda around.

your tongue weight is too high....try to get the tongue weight closer to 350 lbs....this will make a huge difference on the rear end of the honda....and is still safe...

it is true the tongue needs to be weighted...but more isn't better or safer....and certainly 10% is enough....

find out what the gcwr is and do not exceed it......it's probably around 10k...and most safety minded go for only 80% of that figure...which is another arbitrary guideline...

your honda has a payload of 14-1500lbs? and you are at 800 lbs or so even when hitched up? move more cargo into the honda from the trailer....that will tranfer the load to the honda (where it should be) and lower tongue wt, trailer wt, tail forces...and so on....

make sure the tires are inflated properly when towing....

lastly the honda has great brakes...much better than the trailer...so you need to set up the trailer brakes carefully and so they activate well....you should feel some pull rearward during firm stops....do not let the trailer push the honda...

sure it's all scary but gee wiz camping sure is fun and towing is fun too...we are manly men!

leipper...

sure most trucks are nose heavy.....

but they are also rwd. or 4x4 with locking diffs or rear bias awd..

honda uses a light duty awd system from borg warner.....
that is full time front wheel drive.....
with traction only going to the rear during front wheel slippage...

toasty's current set up had decreased the drive wheels load, the opposite of what happens when a truck bed is loaded....don't you agree?

and most trucks are built and rated for carrying a load in the bed...honda describes the ridgeline as "truck like"......it's a fine vehicle...with lots of innovations but in reality it is more like a grown up vw rabbit truck or subaru baja than a 1/2 ton body on rail frame truck....

think about the classic airstream moho on a p30 chassis vs the gmc moho of the same vintage on a fwd oldsmobile drivetrain....

these gmc things are nice....but have trouble in wet grass or on small inclines....because of the front drive but heavy butt setup...

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:10 PM   #30
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Focusing in on tongue weight for a moment...

Before weighing, we stuffed 21 gallons of water under the front dinette to simulate a full tank of water, since we're currently winterized. When full, the tank sits... under the front dinette anyway.

I suspect that's a healthy part of the high tongue weight.

ALSO, isn't the WD hitch and sway bar gonna add a LOT to the tongue weight?? I mean Lordy, a hundred pounds or more of hitch stuff stitting on the A-frame ins't gonna do my tongue weight any good...

Or does it count differently with WD? In other words, what _is_ a "correct" tongue weight with the hitch components installed?!?! And if my max is still 600 lbs or under, I'm not sure it's achievable with a tank of water, a coupla tanks of propane, a battery, a Reese, and a sway bar all sitting on the A-frame.

Little confused again,
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:27 PM   #31
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Quote:
but they are also rwd. or 4x4 with locking diffs or rear bias awd..

honda uses a light duty awd system from borg warner.....
4WD and diesel both influence weight capabilities but don't alter the basic idea that a pickup is designed for most of its load in the rear. I know that, for instance, an F250 4x4 hardly notices a 31' Airstream on behind. I also know how to load a pickup without a trailer that makes for a very squirrely driving experience! ;-)

Now consider the B-Van, an E350. It has to go gas because the weight of the diesel uses up too much of the carrying capacity. And the extended rear doesn't help any for towing handling. - This is like why have an Ambassador rather than a Sovereign because they have the same GVWR and the Sovereign's extra length takes up a few hundred pounds that the Ambassador uses for cargo capacity.

The Ridgeline uses the Odyssey engine and tranny if I understand right. I wonder if it also implements VSA. I agree that it isn't a heavy duty truck and isn't sold as one. To me that only means an appropriate consideration for its limits, as any driver should provide for any rig. It is not a drawback, it is a choice. And, like all choices, it has its tradeoffs.

The one that gets me is the milage citation I saw here a while back.

Jon has a good point about the extra weight of a WD hitch. But if that is a factor, I think you're cutting the edge a bit close. If you are having to emulate an airplane pilot in load calculations you really need to get a bit more leeway in capabilities, I think. This is supposed to be 'recreational' and not stressful. Although I do know some folks who find weight and distance calculations recreational ...
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:29 PM   #32
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toasty

while parked, unhooked and with a w/d hitch mounted on the front of the trailer yes the tongue load increases....but the trailer frame can support it and since you are not hooked up or moving it really doesn't matter...within reason.

some hitch brands leave a lot on the tongue when parked (hensley) and others only leave a little hardware....watch when folks disconnect....

once the trailer is connected to the t.v. with the proper stinger/shank/dropbar, and after the spring bars are properly adjusted....
the trailer tongue is no longer carrying the hitch...i know it's confusing.

at this point the hitch wt is being carried by the t.v. receiver and t.v. frame....

hope this helps....a little

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:40 PM   #33
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hi leipper

define pickup truck? that's the problem....

the honda isn't like a 150, 1500, tundra, titan or even an el camino...
forget the 3/4 ton analogy....find a 1/2 for comparison....

it is a fwd unibody vehicle with a bed....and much better compared to the touareg, cayenne, mdx, or pathfinder...

unloading the front end which drives and steers isn't a good idea...

and as i posted earlier the way the receiver connects and supports loads...limits how much can be carried on the hitch...

cheers
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:09 PM   #34
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I think I see what you're saying about the truck carrying the hitch weight, 2air. Thanks. And BTW, that avatar cracks me up all over again everytime I see it. Is this pic of a close personal friend or a self-portrait?

Thanks, Leipper, for providing cross-exam on this issue. I agree completely that:

>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

Me neither. Going ahead with a WD is just my best guess for now. Will letcha know if I find improvement.

Thanx,
j
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:31 AM   #35
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hi toasty and others

i know you understand my comments aren't meant to belittle the honda...or by extension the owners....

earlier i mentioned how the receiver attaches as a possible reason for the load rating...and issues with w/d hitches....

here are a couple of pixs of the honda and vw receivers...the vw looks a little beefier (square cross bar, larger diameter) but attached to the unibody on end....most receivers bolt along the box beam lengths...

the honda does this but only with 3 bolts and the crossbar is round and not reinforced much at the box attachment....like the recalled gms....

w/d systems transmit large twisting forces through the receiver into the t.v. and need to be reinforced/attached to handle this....more so than just a downward load on the receiver...

i still think it would be useful for a w/d on the honda...but with highter bars (4-600) and regular inspections of the underside...

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-01-2006, 01:13 AM   #36
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here is the honda and vw image in word file...

scanned for all viruses, worms, trojans...and so on.

and here is a link with clearer pics of the ridgeline receiver install...

http://www.hondapartsdeals.com/Honda...iler_hitch.pdf

imagine sticking a 10 ft long bar in the receiver opening and pulling up....that's what a w/d does....

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-01-2006, 08:19 AM   #37
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Hey 2air,

No offense taken in re the Honda Ridgeline. We were aware of its strengths and limitations at purchase. I viewed it as a "cruck" from day one, though now I just call it The Blob.

Since this vehicle will be doing 80% of it's miles while towing nothing, we skewed toward Honda's reported reliability, its carlike cornering and handling, and it's outstanding safety features and crash test ratings.

It's not by any stretch an optimal tow vehicle. However, we're well within its rated capacities. And, we are VERY prudent drivers, which IMO counts for more than all the fancy gear one can buy. I don't ever plan on seeing the speedometer north of 60 while towing.

One of the nice things I've found about towing a trailer is that you can't even see the enraged guy behind you who's flipping you the bird 'cause you're so pokey.

jon
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:28 AM   #38
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I wouldn't be worried about the hitch. It is welded all the way around unlike the GMs in question. My local Airstream dealer was worried about the same thing and after inspecting it said that it appeared to be well made and should be worry free. The attachment to the unibody frame at the bottom looks the same as the attachment to the bottom rail of the frame on more typical trucks. Like I said before - it works and when hooked up with the equalizer the vehicle rode and drove like a single combined unit. I have disk brakes on the Caravel with the Prodigy brake controller in the Ridgeline so coming to stops is silky smooth.
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:44 AM   #39
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" define pickup truck? that's the problem...." -- Good grief! First its save the planet even if you ignore what the manufacturer tells you. Now its the fine details of word definitions. What do I say to stimulate such responses?

The problem is whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.

Well, we have a good debate going that is swimming in numbers. That can be fun but confusing if you aren't careful to keep all the numbers in the right place and note the appropriate and necessary caveats and conditions and precision and accuracy involved.

But that really doesn't address the real problem either: whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.

There is an awful lot of real world experience that is getting ignored. Yes, pay attention to GCWR. hitch ratings, and GAWR. But then keep in mind that there are an awful lot of folks on the road with many many miles of experience who aren't using WD or sway control. That says that much of the discussion here is about the second order issues, not whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:04 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
" define pickup truck? that's the problem...." -- Good grief! First its save the planet even if you ignore what the manufacturer tells you. Now its the fine details of word definitions. What do I say to stimulate such responses?

The problem is whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.

Well, we have a good debate going that is swimming in numbers. That can be fun but confusing if you aren't careful to keep all the numbers in the right place and note the appropriate and necessary caveats and conditions and precision and accuracy involved.

But that really doesn't address the real problem either: whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.

There is an awful lot of real world experience that is getting ignored. Yes, pay attention to GCWR. hitch ratings, and GAWR. But then keep in mind that there are an awful lot of folks on the road with many many miles of experience who aren't using WD or sway control. That says that much of the discussion here is about the second order issues, not whether the tow vehicle in mind (Honda Ridgeline) can tow a 16' CCD with reasonable safety and driver comfort.
This is true. I think the answer is in the Honda manual.

For the Ridgeline it is as follows (from the Honda manual):

GROSS COMBINED WEIGHT RATING (gcwr) - The maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle and trailer is 10,088 lbs, with the proper hitch, at sea level. The gcwr must be reduced by 2% for every 1,000 feet of elevation.

GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (gawr) - The maximum allowable weight on the vehicles axles is 3,105lbs on the front and 3,245 lbs on the rear.

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (gvwr) - The maximum allowable weight of the vehicle, occupants, cargo AND tongue load is 6,050 lbs.

Honda notes that the recommended tongue load is 10-15% of the total trailer weight.

Just plug the 16' CCDs numbers in and check everything on the scales.
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