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Towing with a Honda Pilot



  • Got a great deal on a tight 2003 Pilot with tow package and 135k miles. It has been used for towing before as can be seen from wear on the hitch and screw holes from what is more likely trailer brake controller.

    It will be used to tow a small box trailer with my Harley and some other kit in it, 2.5k lbs max. Newly handicapped I'm towing rather than riding my bike around now.

    Then I read about the trans problems w/2003 :-(

    Is there an easy way to see if the necessary transmission modification has been made?

    The Honda Service Department hasn't seen the car since 90k mile check-up. Copies of their service records are on the way. They want $2k for timing belt, water pump etc. and once they have it they'll surely hit me up for brakes, shocks, etc. My trusted mechanic can do this for much less of course and I'm leaning that way.

    Thoughts solicited. Thanks!

  • jeffrimjeffrim Posts: 1
    Have a 2009 Pilot EX-L and want to tow a 2800 lb. 16' travel trailer.Bought the trailer but afterwards realized the DGVW is 5000# and the Pilot's rated at 4500#. Did I screw up and buy a trailer that's too heavy fully loaded? If I add a throttle body spacer for torque and load it lite, will I be okay or should I sell my new trailer? HELP!!
    Also, I read that I shouldn't use my included anti-sway weight distribution bar with the that true?
  • Jeff: I hate to say this, but I tow a small enclosed trailer and I don't think that the Honda Pilot is well suited for towing, and certainly NOT a 16 foot trailer. Even the 4WD model like I have says 4500 lbs.

    You will kill your transmission and need $7K in repairs in 6 months. That is my prediction. Should you sell your trailer? Yes, or your Honda. If you tow something that exceeds the rating of your vehicle, you will void the warranty, and put yourself and your passengers at risk of injury in an accident.
    By the way, we rented a large Toyota Sequoia SR5 and that thing had a hellacious towing capacity. Maybe you need a different SUV or a pickup truck. Just saying.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,172
    Well.. looks like I will be getting a new toy to have along with "The Beast". I'm looking at a 15' Gillgetter Micro Pontoon (Gillgetter website) and I should have no problem pulling it with him. I have the full towing package along with the off-road package, so this looks to be like a fun time ahead. I've had campers and boats before, so this willbe nothing new for me. I'll post pictures when I do get the boat.


    p.s. - the main picture on the website is a GMC Terrain pulling it, which in turn is smaller than the Pilot anyway.
  • tmacytmacy Posts: 1
    I've got a small, hardshell camping trailer that weighs about 1500 lbs (I think) and has a tongue pull attachment. I'm thinking about getting a 2002-2005 Honda Pilot with decent mileage (probably 140k+), and am wondering if the two would be compatible.

    Do I need to look for a particular kind of hitch on the Pilot?

    Would towing wear be extremely detrimental to the Pilot?

    Thanks for any advice; I don't know very much about the topic.


  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,172
    If your looking at a used Pilot and want to tow with it, make sure it had the towing package. Anyone can put a hitch receiver under the back of one, but with the package you also get the Oil Cooler, Tranny Cooler and heavier duty suspension and gearing for low range pulling from stop.

  • smash591smash591 Posts: 2
    Howdy All, after reading a lot of the early comments in this thread, I wanted to add my two cents. I personally added an OEM style hitch to my 08 Pilot SE and DIY installed an electronic brake controller and 7-pin RV connector for the purpose of towing a 4k lb Fleetwood pop-up camper. I even used a weight distributing hitch to level the ride and had absolutely no problems at all for the multiple trips to Ohio from Georgia. The electronic brake controller is a life saver in those instances when sway takes over, a tap on the manual electronic brake actuator and the trailer snaps in line and then I slow my roll and pay attention to my speed and conditions. :-). I have also towed a 1978 Dodge Aspen on a tow dolly from Ohio thru West Virginia to Georgia with no problems, and that was without the electronic trailer brakes. So, enjoy your very capable , well built Honda Pilot, but drive and tow responsibly.
  • DIY Towing ready in 4 hours...

    With a good set of opposable thumbs, the hitch and wiring harness can be installed. Three bolts on each side. Open the rear driver side tire jack compartment to find the plug n' play harness wiring receiver. ~$140 eBay, 1 hr

    As for the tranny cooler (VIP) & Power steering cooler (LIP; Less Important Piece), one must progress to the Anthropithecus Era. See this great install vid ~$50 eBay, 2-3 hrs (curse you bumper clips!)
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