Honda Odyssey Towing/Trailer Hitch Questions

hgoettmahgoettma Member Posts: 3

The hitch wiring for 3rd generation Odyssey is supposed to be a simple plug and play connection, like it is on the 2nd generation Odyssey since Drawtite provides a direct connect wiring kit (#118336).
However, despite the 3rd generation being on the market for 2+ years, I could not find any hitch manufacturer offering a direct connect kit (2nd and 3rd generations use a different factory installed connector). The only options currently available are;
1) purchase Honda wiring kit ($180). This is powered unit (draws car battery power to power trailers with lots of lights)
2) splice a generic wiring kit (like Drawtite 18130) into taillight harness
3) build custom connection to plug into factory provided hitch connector

Here is Do It Yourself instructions for option #3

I could not find a commercial connector that would plug into the factory provided connector. However, the individual pins on the factor provided connector are the same as on the 99-04 Odyssey (about 0.080” wide). A spade lug will fit on these pins (most are 0.250” wide), the smallest commercial spade lug available is 0.110” wide, and will fit snuggly.

1) generic wiring kit (like Drawtite 18130, or 99-04 Odyssey custom kit 118336)
2) 5 spade lugs (0.110” wide)
3) heat shrink tubing (Radio Shack)
4) 2 tie wraps (Radio Shack, Home Depot)

1) crimp the above spade lugs to car end of wire kit
2) for extra protection apply a small piece of heat shrink tubing to exposed section of spade lugs

Assembly; (about 1 hr)
1) Pull out the weather-strip at the rear trim panel (fig 1)
2) Remove the 2 anchor bolts (cargo net holder) from panel in 3rd row seat well (fig 1)
3) Lift to release the 10 clips (fig 1)
4) Pull out the weather-strip at the passenger side rear side trim panel (fig 2)
5) Remove the anchor bolt near the top of the side panel (fig 2)
6) Gently pull out on the rear side panel to release the two clips (fig 2)
7) Gently pull out the rear side panel (fig 3)
8) Connect 5 wires to junction box trailer wire connector port (fig 4)
9) Secure trailer wire kit to existing harness with tie wraps


  • hgoettmahgoettma Member Posts: 3
    Dont see a way to attach file with pics and schematics, so here is pin-out for wire kit (fig 4)

    Looking into rear junction box trailer port
    a ....................b

    __ ..__ ..__ .. __.. __

    pin function wire kit
    a gnd white

    b left yellow

    1 right green

    3 brake red

    4 tail brown
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    This would be a great guide! Click on "Guides" at the top of the page to start creating. If you need help, just holler! :shades:
  • amstaramstar Member Posts: 1
    Would you be willing to share the photos mentioned in your instructions? Please send the photos to [email protected] Much appreciated.
  • dougiefreshdougiefresh Member Posts: 1
    I think you are referring to 0.11" push connectors, not spade connectors - correct?
  • hgoettmahgoettma Member Posts: 3
    Yes, 0.11" push (female) type conectors
  • quicksilver1quicksilver1 Member Posts: 21
    Hello Folks:

    I did a search but could not find a concrete answer.

    I have an 07 Odyssey EX-L w/RES and thinking of purchasing personal watercrafts.

    First of all, will the Ody tow two Honda 3 seater turbo watercraft on a double trailer?

    Secondly, in what other should I add the towing acessories as reccomended by Honda? And do we really need a power steering cooler?

    Would love to hear from folks doing similar towing.

    PS: I just did a 3,500 mile tround trip DFW to SoCal trip. Van seems gutless at high speed and hills (but I came from a Ford Explosion and my daily driver is an EVO IX SE). Gas milage was around 24 mpg loaded with 4 kids, a Wife and luggage. By far the most comfortable vehicle for trips we've had. Thumbs up to the nav and dvd.
  • dohrmcdohrmc Member Posts: 14
    I often carry a 1980 Honda 110 Trail motorcycle on the back of my 2002 Ford Expedition. I can't even tell the bike is back there. I am thinking of replacing the Expedition with a minivan in search of better mileage. Does anyone have any experience using a hitch carrier like this? I don't know if the Odyssey can hack hauling an [approx.] 190-200# bike on a hitch. It will have to be a Class III hitch to fit my equipment. Any of you use a hitch on your Honda like this?
  • trmctrmc Member Posts: 7
    Has anyone self installed the full tow package (hitch, harness, ATF, power steering fluid cooler, air deflector)? Was it hard? How long did it take? Thanks for any tips.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    I'm looking for a Class III (for 2-inch square drawbar) that fits tight to underside of bumper. Have tried Curt 13561 but sits 1-1/2 inch below bumper cover. Having had similar on a 2000 Ody, it occassionally dragged on driveway entries even with no load.
    I fear web photos from mfrs are not necessarily accurate, so seek your experience.
    A note on Curt - is good design with sealed tube. My trial unit had mis-located right front mounting hole, too close to edge of bracket to re-dril without breaking through. A pro shop could bend it, but that responsibility I will not take.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    Hitch is a snap - try-fit it first for accurate hole location (see my posting today re Curt). Pull off the rear exhaust hangar (bar pulls out of lower rubber mount hole), slide hitch in from the rear over exhaust, loosely insert one bolt in rear hole. Lift left side up, inesrt 3 bolts loosely. Finish right side. Torque to 68 ft-lb, or other if directed by hitch mfr.
    Get a T-One plug in wiring kit, even if more $$ than univeral style. 20 minutes. Go real easy prying up plastic trunk liner panels.
    If installing brake controller, you need to tap into the brake light switch wire over brake pedal (make sure you have the switched wire - not hot wire). Then you need to run a single wire from controller to your 6 or 7 pin socket, left side of car, tucking under carpet trim. Also tap into back-up light wiring in rear if wanted.
    No tranny cooler experience yet, but buy the biggest plate style you can - max capacity is best. I have no idea why we need steering fluid cooler Honda has in their towing package.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    A pair of craft on a double should not need even a tranny cooler, (unless you do several hours at 80 mph in Arizona in mid-summer). Also, I have no idea why Honda suggest a PS cooler - we do not increase frequent steering action much with any trailer.
    Have pulled 3000 lb pop-up camper a few years with 2000 Ody - no coolers, no tranny probs, even though the 2000 was a tranny risk.
    I'm, now fitting up my new 2007, and looking for a close fitting Class III hitch - any ideas there? (see my other post today re Curt hitch).
  • eisimingereisiminger Member Posts: 10
    just installed a round tube class 3 hitch by hidden hitch. easy to install. dont remove exhaust rubber ,just slide rt side above exhaust and then start bolts on lt side. one man job.hitch was 150 and wireing kit was 40. looks great.
  • spectre15spectre15 Member Posts: 3
    I am planning to install a Hidden Hitch to my 2006 Odyssey. I have also ordered an E-trailer wiring harness since it was about a third of the factory trailer harness, and it is plug and play. What I do not like about the e-trailer harness is that they instruct you to simply hang the wire and plug out the rear hatch. I do not like the way this looks, and feel the wire will be cut over time.

    Looking at the factory trailer wire harness installation manual, they tell you to remove the rear bumper to access a grommet to run the wires through to get the trailer harness down to the trailer hitch. I would like to know if any of you know of a more accessible grommet that will allow me to run the wires to the trailer hitch without removing the rear bumper? Thank you for your help.
  • squasheadsquashead Member Posts: 19
    Just bought a 2008 EX-L DVD/NAV. Turned in my 2000 EX. I have been towing a small boat (16') for 1.5 years without the tranny cooler, power steering cooler, no probs. Two of my neighbors who pull smaller boats were told NOT installing a tranny/power steering cooler could void the warranty, they both did it, and are not sure if it was necessary. When purchasing the 08, they tried hard to sell the towing package, but it looks like a lot of fluff to me. However, considering the warranty void potential, I am rethinking the tranny/ps cooler only. Forget what they wanted for the hitch, I can have that done for 1/2 their cost, but the tranny/ps cooler is a different animal. Anybody heard of the warranty void statement, similar experience?
  • eisimingereisiminger Member Posts: 10
    I installed a hidden hitch,round tube ref. 15 . honda wanted 238 for a tranny cooler. I got a large cooler ( hayden) at checkers for $50. installed for $100.Seems to be A ok.not worried about power steering cooler whats up with that ?
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    I concur 100%. And good shopping. What could be the logic for recommending a PS cooler? Do we steer a lot more with a trailer? Maybe backing it into a difficult spot, but surely not much more than a tight parallel park on an ordinary day without the trailer. Now consider a good looking mesh grill in front of the coolers to minimize risk of stone punctures. I hear Honda does not honor claims for tranny cooler or AC condenser damage based on their inadequate grill protection.
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    I have an 8 month old 2007 ody and I turned down the tow package from the dealer. I didn't understand the need for the 2 coolers etc.
    (Everything purchased from etrailer) I bolted on a Hidden Hitch Class 3 round tube for 150.00 #70750 (discontinued),T-One Vehicle Wiring Harness 40.00 #118438, etc. The hitch was a breeze to install (easier w/ 2 people) the harness was a breeze (go easy removing the panels) Everything works great.
    I bought the Sears fold up utiltiy trailer hooked everything up and away I went. So far so good.
    I'll report back if problems occur.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    With your Sears fold-up utility trailer, I expect your loads to be light. Plus load will be low profile, adding little to drag. I would not expect a cooler to be needed at all. You probably do not need Class III either, but it is a good long term plan.
    My own trailer is 3000 lb Fleetwood pop-up camper I intend to haul accross continent & over mountains, close enough to the Honda 3500 lb limit that I will add a large Q tranny cooler, but pass on the PS cooler. Also adding a lower grille screen to protect the delicate stuff that Honda neglected (see other threads on this.) Thanks for your input, angrypear.
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    Exactly. The odd jobs. Small loads. If I get serious, then my equipment gets serious. Thanks for the comment.
  • carguy74carguy74 Member Posts: 18
    i just have a few things to mention to you guys that want to do it yourself on these hitch and tow packages...... i don't recommend using any after wiring of anykind. i have seen many problems with honda's comming into the shop with lights or body electrical not working because of after market wiring. you can do it yourself if you have the honda wiring kit.... alot of after market wiring system will fry the factory wiring. and as for the trans and ps cooler, you will need it to do the job if you plan to pull anything heavy for many years or for a long trip. what alot of people don't realize is that you need those coolers to cool the fluid when pulling heavy toys, especially if you pull for a long trip. you can't just hook up a hitch and lighting and expect to pull a 2000lb on up trailer or toy and not expect any wear on your fluid,trans and power steering system. and anyone who says aftermarket wirings don't hurt anything have no idea what they are talking about.....for example....aftermarket wiring splices into taillight don't and that extra draw of power will eventually short or cause electrical problems... everything is made for a purpose....a brake bulb and wiring is only made to take on that amount of electrical load only....not extra loads.
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    I already had the idiot light for the airbag come on before wiring up for the trailer. (maybe Honda's wiring isn't that good to begin with anyway?) I guess if you don't follow the instructions provided something could go wrong. I didn't have to splice anything and a fuse was provided. The fuse was 7.5, if that amount causes trouble something really is wrong. It's after market but everthing provided was made for the purpose and well made.
  • Do you just stick the flat wire out under the hatch when you use the trailer or did you find a way to route it to the outside? I purchased the same wiring harness and was surprised when I read the instruction to "store in the jack compartment for future use."
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    On my 2000, I had a wiring bundle that included the flat four, plus one conductor for electric trailer brakes and I added a heavier ground. I simply drilled a hole at a convenient spot in the rear face of the body steel behind the trim panel, cleaned up the burrs from the hole, rolled the wires into a circular bundle with numerous layers of electrical tape, and passed the pigtail through the hole. (A grommet might have been better, but I did not have one.) The winding of tape was thick enough to jam into the hole, forming a weather tight seal. It lasted me 7 years - no trouble. I mounted a 7-conductor trailer recepticle outside on the hitch tube beside the drawbar. I intend to route the wiring the same way when I do my 2007 next month.
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    Yes. I stick the wire under the hatch when I use the trailer and store it in the jack compartment when not in use. It's practical not professional.
  • windywwindyw Member Posts: 1
    Being a single mother with two kids, I need some advise from you about towing since my husband is deployed in Iraq. I have Odyssey 01 EX and I am going to move to other city (500 milles) with my two sons and also I am going to tow Uhaul trailer, based on my calculation the loaded trailer will be arround 1900 lbs. I got hitch class 2 installed by Uhaul and they said I don't need extra ATF cooler because there is already transmission cooler installed in my car, do you think it is right ? and I went to honda dealer, they said I need a better ATF cooler, and something that is funny, they suggest me to buy aftermarket ATF coller since honda doesn't make ATF cooler for Odyssey 01, do you think it is right?
    If I need really ATF cooler, what kind of cooler should I buy and where I can go to get the cooler installed? how much doest it cost ?
    Beside ATF cooler, do I need another kind of cooler in order to be safe towing 1900 lbs trailer?
    How long can I drive the car with trailer between the rest ?
    Thank you very much for your advise.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    Unless you are in very hilly country, and allow time to stay at 55 mph on the flat, and this is an occasional or one/time trip, don't waste your cash. Ensure engine oil, tranny oil and coolant are topped up and cruise easy. Stops are not needed, but when you do, park in a place you can see the car and pop the hood up to allow more cooling.
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    Thank you for your family's service.

    I would stick with Uhaul's advice. Your car is 8+ years old and you are making a 1 time trip and you have a transmission cooler. I would think your money would be better spent insuring the car was in shape for the trip - brakes,oil,air etc. Also, If you don't have experience towing loads like this I would talk to Uhaul about making this trip safely. For instance, backing up is an acquired skill. The only other cooler Honda offered was for the power steering. I make infrequent short trips with a lighter load so I don't have either cooler.

    I don't understand the last question.

    I had a 2000 Odyssey ex that never towed anything and the transmission died last summer. You can prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but nothing is guaranteed.
  • tony17112acsttony17112acst Member Posts: 35
    When I look up the towing capacity of the Odyssey, I find "3500 pounds." However, do you need a towing package installed to do this or do all they all tow 3500 right off the lot? I am looking at a 2008.

    Thanks! -Tony
  • angrypearangrypear Member Posts: 6
    Yes, you need a towing package.
  • kominskykominsky Member Posts: 850
    Honda recommends a tranny fluid cooler and a power steering fluid cooler for towing with your Ody. They make both.

    That said, I agree with others that for a one-time trip of 500 miles, you could probably get by without either. Not knowing the type of roads you'll be travelling, I would guess somewhere around a 9-10 hour trip if driven straight through. It probably wouldn't hurt to stop every couple of hours and give things a chance to cool down. Travelling with kids, frequent stops are almost a guarantee anyway. ;)

    BTW, "thank you!" to your husband for his service and your family for their sacrifice.
  • skernskern Member Posts: 3
    I got the wiring harness but no instruction does anyone have a pdf file of how to install,looks like quite an install ,the 2004 one i had was just plug it in

    rt [email protected]
  • kominskykominsky Member Posts: 850
    check this out... I think it has what you need.
  • romarlesromarles Member Posts: 1
    Hi Folks,
    My job requires a lot of traveling to different states, towing a small trailer. Do you think my '95 Odyssey would be up to the job? It has the 4 cylinder engine. I would have it outfitted with a Honda hitch and wiring for $360.00 at a local trailer supplier.
    Thanks for your input.
    ps - the reason I am thinking of using a trailer is so that my family can come with me sometimes - otherwise I could fold up the back seats and everything I carry could be loaded inside the vehicle
  • ozzy088ozzy088 Member Posts: 6
    Well, ordered a draw-tite hitch kit (Class II) from etrailer for my 05 Ody - The 12.5 mm bolts provided did not have a prayer of a chance of going into the factory threaded holes in the rear subframe. :mad: It wasn't even close, they would've sheared if I had tried to 'gorilla-torque' them in - certainly the torque required to zip them in would have exceeded the recommended torque setting in seating them. So i had a 1/2" tap in my tool box, and tapped out the 4 holes required in mounting, then simply bought a couple of 1/2 x 1 grade 5 bolts. Those bolts fit fine, and plan on finishing the install tomorrow w/ some loctite. :D Has anyone else had this type of struggle from these hitch kits? :confuse:
  • rocky44rocky44 Member Posts: 1
    I wouldn't do that if I were you. I just installed a hitch on my '03' Ody 2 weeks ago, and I thought I had the same problem. Turned out the holes were just so filled with road grime that had become basically welded in place by the years, the only way I could clean it out was with the proper sized metric tap, aided with lots of WD-40. You tap that out to a 1/2 inch, then put a load on it, after a few miles on the road, you might just find yourself missing a hitch, and trailer! Believe me, these ARE mm holes, most likely like mine, 1.25 pitch. Good luck.
  • benfbenf Member Posts: 36
    What's the difference between pulling a 1000-lb trailer or a van full of 200-lb men?

    Wouldn't it be fair to say that if your trailer and van's total load are less than the maximum load for the van alone, you should be fine without the tranny fluid cooler?

    I assume the tranny cooler is recommended for the worst case scenario: a fully loaded van and some additional weight in a trailer. As to what is a fully loaded van? : 6-200lb men and some gear behind the seat, say a total of 1500-lbs.

    Does Honda recommend a tranny cooler for a total internal payload of 1500-lb? If not, what's the difference between that and a relatively empty van pulling a 1000-lb trailer?

  • phil0044phil0044 Member Posts: 4
    You talked about tapping into back up light wiring for trailer towing. The back up light is on the door of the Odyssey & it is not clear to me how to best splice into it to connect a 'blue' wire to the trailer. Do you have any info? The dealership installed my hitch and wiring some time ago but did a 4 wire without the backup wire.
  • phil0044phil0044 Member Posts: 4
    I have a trailer with disc brakes & it requires a connection to the Honda backup lights to keep the trailer brakes from locking when you backup. The dealership only installed 4 wire trailer connection for me & the backup light is on the van door. I'm not sure how to connect the backup wire needed. What is the best procedure to splice into the backup light to run a blue wire to the trailer?
  • danbrooksdanbrooks Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2008 Odyssey and want a hitch for a bike rack and maybe a utility rack. I've looked at a few hitches on line and watched the U-Tube demo of putting a hitch on a 2006 Odyssey. It looks simple enough but, the Honda installation guide says you have to remove the bumper, drill and cut some holes. What's that about?
    Also, any suggestions for the best hitch for my purposes?
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    Hi danbrooks. Just did the 2007 with a Putnam class III hitch (for 2"X2" drawbar), part # 25238. No need to remove anything except the rearmost exhaust pipe hangar temporarily. No drilling except that the holes did not line up exactly, requiring a half hour of round file use to open up a couple. (I had tried a Hidden Hitch first, but its hole alignment was worse.) I read the Honda brand hitch instructions on-line, and it requires bumper removal as it fits up a bit higher and interferes with the bumber, requiring the trim. With 300# tongue weight and an equalizing hitch, I have had no particular problem with the hitch touching down in driveways. You will find more variety of specialty drawbar attachments for bike racks etc if you go to the class III. The six metric bolts come with the hitch. If not with yours, be sure to confirm the bolt is 12 mm. Installation (after filing) is only 15 minutes. Use a torque wrench for sure! Good luck.
  • towquesttowquest Member Posts: 2
    I recently purchased a popup camper with GVWR of 3000 pounds. The 07 Odyssey Touring is rated at 3500, and does come standard with the trailer towing preparation. What exactly is the "trailer towing preparation" and what is the best setup for towing 3000 lbs? I am planning on a class III 2" receiver. Thank you.
  • towquesttowquest Member Posts: 2
    What was it you were towing?
  • sotolsotol Member Posts: 2
    My 2000 Honda Odyssey will be pulling a 3000 lb. tent-trailer. It's a ball hitch without the stabilizers. There are power brakes on the trailer, with a switch under steering wheel when needed. I also had a transmission cooling device installed. When the trailer sets down on the ball hitch, it makes the back end of the van much lower than the front end and the hitch is only about 7" above the ground. RV dealer suggested sports shocks to raise back end a bit. Does anyone have a safe but cheap solution? Thanks.
  • robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    There are air bag kits that can be installed inside the coil spring to raise the rear when towing.
  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    Tongue weight is likely 300 to 450 pounds for this size trailer. Should not be outside these limits. Your hitch should be Class III, and you definitely need load-distribution attachments to distribute load back to the frame of the vehicle. With this, sports shocks are not likely needed. My own 200 and now a 2007 are both OK with this, and handle well at highway speed. Also consider anti-sway bar if trailer is not low profile. - Ken
  • markrrmarkrr Member Posts: 7

    I bought the drawtite Hitch for my 2000 Odyssey and it worked great. I am looking for my 2008 Odyssey, using etrailer and probably going with hidden hitch. Which drawbar did you get and how does that work for height on what you are towing? They have Ballmount 2-3/4" Rise or 4" Drop and otehr combinations but I just was not sure which height I should go with. I am buyign a class lll, with 2" ball. I mainly tow our sunfish, very light and fairly low to ground. I also will use the bicycle rack in the hitch.

  • bernikenberniken Member Posts: 18
    Hello Towquest: Mine is a Fleetwood Niagara pop-up tent trailer, 14' box, at 3000 lb approx.. I have Class III 2-inch square with load equalization (due to the 300+ lb tongue weight). Also added anti-sway bar, but with the low trailer profile, probably do not really need it. My 2007 is the EX, no tranny cooler (yet) but I will add the biggest I can fit. I do not intend to upgrade the PS cooling coil, as I doubt its need. Keep your speed down, as this engine is a gas hog - worse than my former 2000 model. You need to stay at 55 to 60 mph (keeping revs at or under 2000 rpm as much as possible). This will greatly help the tranny heat situation also. ..Ken
  • bikechuckbikechuck Member Posts: 15
    Recently I added a hidden hitch to my Honda Odyssey Van. The only thing I ever intend to use it for is a bicycle rack.

    The bicycle rack I purchased said to go with a 2 inch opening which I did. The thing that is concerning me is that there is quite a bit of wobbling going on after pinning the bike rack into the hitch.

    Should I try to shim this in some way to reduce the wobble or should I just accept the fact that it wobbles around a bit?
  • cwalticwalti Member Posts: 185
    Honda states that the coolers are not required for towing lbs<1,000... There are always 'legalistic safety margins' included....
  • co_copco_cop Member Posts: 17
    What is that brand of the bike rack?

    I got a Thule 4 bike and at first it appeared that it wobbled a bit. My rack uses a screw through the receiver hole and once tight it does not wobble.
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