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Acura MDX Towing



  • newfie86newfie86 Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 MDX and I tow a 4400LB boat and trailer that I bought late last year. (20ft bow rider with inboard). Other than excessive fuel consumption I have not noticed any negative effects on the MDX. I did not install the transmission cooler yet, however I will do that this year to be on the safe side. On a straight run I can do 120km/h without too much strain, however I notice a steep drop in speed on an incline but the transmission will kick down a gear but I do feel the MDX work hard to get to the top of the incline. I expect this to be normal considering I am close to the max towing weight.
    I wouldn't worry too much if you are going short distances, however for long distances I would get the cooler. My trailer has tandem wheels with surge brakes. I don't notice the weight when I stop due to the trailer brakes.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • arnold10arnold10 Posts: 2
    This helps a lot Thanks. The fact that you are at the top end of the boat towing capacity without much difficulty gives me confidence I can pull this camper. I went and bought the camper this weekend. I am planning on getting the trans cooler installed along with a sway control as Acura does not receomend a weight distributing hitch. The camper is a single axle with surge brakes so I'll go with that. Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. I plan on pulling it about 150 miles in April, I'll post how it went.
  • We're planning to tow a 2007 Rockwood HW258G pop-up (2436 dry axle weight) with our 2003 MDX. Does anyone know why a power steering cooler is required for the 2003 MDX towing package? I understand the transmission cooler, but not the power steering cooler. Also, if anyone has any experience towing with a 2003 MDX please reply your experiences. Thanks!
  • morozmoroz Posts: 1
    Lots of great information on the site, however I have a question that has not been addressed. I am looking to buy a seadoo islandia, dry weight with trailer of 5100lbs. I know the acura is rated at 4500lbs, however I will not have 600lbs in passengers nor 200lbs in luggage and will only drive 2hrs. Will it do it? Usually the dealer underrates it to be safe and not spur any lawsuits etc. Thoughts? I would put a tranny cooler on it.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    You might find this discussion interesting while waiting for MDX responses:

    Utility Trailers are Dangerous
  • perktdperktd Posts: 2
    I was able to get a Valley Hitch plus the wiring harness installed in Portland, Oregon for approximately $325. I think it looks as nice as the Acura hitch and I am very pleased with the entire package. Don
  • Hi Don -

    I live in Portland and just got a 2009 MDX. Where did you buy your hitch and get it installed?


  • I just got my Valley Hitch and wiring kit in the mail. Everything looks good. Did you get one installed? If so where did they run the wiring harness? I can hook it up but then they want me to just pull it out and lay it out the back of the trunk. Id rather get it under the MDX if i can. Any info would help.
  • I purchased a Reese Hitch and installed it myself on our 2003 MDX. There's a tow loop on the drivers side that must be removed. I installed the bolts on the tow loop side without any trouble, but I ended up snapping off the nut that's welded in the frame for one of the bolts on the passinger side since the threaded holes on that side were rusty. You shouldn't have this issue with a newer MDX.

    As I recall, I removed the storage panel to access a few screws to remove the rear molding panel and the harness connector is under the panel and has a dummy connector connected to it. The supplied harness plugs into the connector under the panel and then goes thru an access hole that has a rubber plug.

    I ended up selling my MDX and got a GMC Yukon with auto-adjusting rear air-shocks to pull our camper. The rear suspension on the MDX was way to soft to pull our 3000 lb highwall pop-up.
  • shall2shall2 Posts: 1
    We have a 2008 Acura MDX and need to tow a car from NY to NC this summer. We should be just under the 5000 lb advertised limit. ANy suggestions on where to get/rent a tow package? Any pre-cautions to take?
  • Hi, I have a 09 MDX. I am considering buying a Uhaul Hitches (~$300 installed). Does anyone have any experience with Uhaul hitches? Any watch out or alternatives? Thanks.
  • dougsokodougsoko Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Acura MDX and just got a hitch installed. I found a great way to save! I bought the hitch at - part 08L92-S3V-200A. I paid $228 for the original Acura part +$40 for FedEx ground shipping. I called my local mechanic to see if he could install the hitch (because two dealers in CT were asking $770 and $820 to install the hitch with wiring). My mechanic said he could do it, but the best place was U-haul. I called up my local Uhaul (happens to be a very big Uhaul with it's own hitch install department) and spoke to the owner. They only install Uhaul hitches, but put me in touch with their hitch mechanic directly. He had been installing hitches for 15 years and knew everything about the hitch I had purchased and about the install specific to the MDX (he knew about lowering the exhaust, heat shields, etc).

    Because I would only be towing a trailer 1 time/year max, he recommended that I keep the wiring for the trailer in the trunk and not keep it on the outside of the car where it would corrode. I also did not have to pay for the expensive OEM wiring kit. With the MDX (2004) the dealer instructions say to remove the plastic piece below the bumper. He asked right away if I owned the car and if I planned to keep the hitch on indefinitely. When I said "yes" to both, he said that he can make it look nice by cutting the plastic sqaure hole (for the hitch receiver). He installed the hitch that way and it looks great! Much better than any dealer installs when you see all the metal hitch tubing beneath the car! I am surprised the dealers don't do this! In the event that the hitch accumulates some rust over the years, you won't even see it!

    Also, for the wiring, he ran the wire into my storage compartment of the trunk. Inside the compartment, he left 4 ft of wire with the connector on the end. When I do tow, he showed me how you can pull the wire out and close the trunk on it without causing any damage to the wires.

    Best of all - the hitch install only cost me $120 for install, wiring, everything..All in, I got the OEM hitch with install and wiring for $388! What a bargain.

    I would recommend other people to guy my route. For the savings and aesthetics it is a no-brainer!

    FYI - i did not have coolers installed since I would only be towing a single motorcycle over short distances, i mainly got it for a bike rack
  • Hi,

    I have a question.

    I was planning on moving a ping pong (table tennis) table using my friend's Acura MDX. Has anyone been able to move it successfully? Or should I find a pick up truck for moving the table?

    Thank you.
  • I have a 2003 MDX and I am going to be pulling a uhaul 6x12 tandem axle trailer cross country. Has anyone installed an aftermarket Trannny cooler in their 01'-04' MDX. It seems pretty easy, just wanted to get some more info. Thanks!!
  • We had the dealer install the tranny and power steering coolers to tow a 2800 lb camper for one season. We ended up selling the MDX and got a GMC Yukon because the tongue weight was too much for the MDX to handle. You probably won't have the same issue, but before you spend the money to install the coolers I suggest that you test the weight of the uhaul on the rear end to see if you're happy with how it look/handles. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried driving the camper around the area BEFORE I spent the $$$ for the coolers.
  • Hey.. I just got a 2010 MDX. So it says a max towing capacity of 5000lbs, and i have a boat that weighs just about that. How max is this max? Is this totally a bad idea.. anyone outhere with similar experience willing to feed me some feed back?
  • inat3inat3 Posts: 1
    I tow a boat that hovers just under the 5k limit with an '08 MDX with the factory tow package. I do not tow long distances but in the past 2.5 years I've never had a problem.
  • epchuepchu Posts: 1
    I have problem with the U-hual. I have a 2006 MDX and after they order and installed the Hitch for me , the told me they can't put the heat shields back and
    now it look very odd from behind. they told me they can't do anything about it.
    I think the problem is the hitch they ordered or may be they did not instal right and not wanting to correct it.

    Any advise? Thanks!

  • Hi All; Can anyone give me direction as to the validity of the chart on page 357 as to the max drop in hitch clearance to ground once a trailer is hooked up? I tried numerous times with two different trailers of different weights and configurations. It seems that in all instances the drop down with a trailer hooked up was significantly more than the max of 1.50". The statement below the chart states that the tongue weight would be over the 450 lbs recommended. I do know that one of my trailers comes in at 3200 lbs. This does not seem right even with the possibility of a 15% possible tongue weight. Any help would be highly appreciated.
  • We want to install a trailer hitch on my Acura MDX 2006 to tow an aluminum trailer weighing 750 lbs. It is basically to go to the dump and maybe to take branches to the dump too. The Acura dealer insists we need a power steering coolant and a transmission coolant. Between the hitch (and we have the ball part), wiring harness, and the two coolants and FOUR hours of labor to install it is $1350.!! The trailer only cost $1350. Would anyone have any suggestions? Aftermarket installation? We are in NH if anyone has any suggestions in this area. thanks
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Given the rate at which posters are indicating MDX torque converter failures I wouldn't even trust fully loading, all seats filled, the MDX, let alone towing.

    But that means the (st,d)ealer is correct, you need a transmission cooler as a minimum if you plan to tow.
  • That seems pretty hefty -- I'd seriously look for an aftermarket solution using a mechanic that specializes in hitches/wiring. Even with such a light load, I'd also make sure the fluid changes are all done (transmission, transfer case, differential) -- of course oil as well. By the way, I was at my local Acura dealer a few weeks ago to get some of those fluids, and they have a new rear differential fluid (somehow different from the owner's manual recommended transmission fluid). I'm kind of ticked off -- I just changed my rear diff fluid with the trans fluid recommended in the owners manual (I bought it from a Honda dealer), and now feel like i should change it already. I guess its only another $20.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I would NOT use any fluids except those recommended by the factory.
  • To me it seems what the dealer is recommending is overkill. Anything less than 2,000 lbs. total should be no problem, especially for very occasional use at moderate speeds on relatively flat roads. Obviously if you're regularly going up steep mountain roads at higher speeds and long distances it's a totally different story.

    I like the suggestion of going aftermarket, and not spending any more than necessary. You just need to find somebody trustworthy that knows what they're doing.

    But if you're uncomfortable, one alternative would be to sell your 2006 MDX and get a different vehicle where towing your expected loads won't be an issue. Even the newer MDX's are rated at 5,000 lbs. - I regularly tow a boat with my 2010 w/factory hitch. Fully loaded it's about 3,000 lbs. and the MDX does a great job.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The real problem with the MDX towing is that the SH-AWD system is always engaged, even on highly TRACTIVE surfaces, during even the slightest level of acceleration.

    Having a tow attached means taking a longer period in acceleration mode to get up to the speed you desire. The longer you spend in acceleration mode the longer the drive train remains over-stressed.

    The answer might be to find a way to disengage the rear drive except for times of obvious need.
  • It seems not too many vehicles were sold during the financial crisis, so 3 year old off-lease SUVs are not as good a deal as they were a year or so ago. That would be nice if you can buy new or certified and get that extended powertrain warrantee. Otherwise, would paying for the aftermarket hitch and adding that light towing load really make a difference between transmission failure vs no problems? I doubt it; maybe if it is one of the problem transmissions/torque converters it would fail a bit sooner than otherwise (in which case better to have bought another vehicle or a 2007+ MDX with factory hitch).
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