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Old 02-04-2013, 09:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
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New to RV'ing - Getting tow ready and have questions


My tow vehicle will be a Honda Odyssey with 3500lbs capacity.

The trailer will be 3045lbs dry, and we will be camping locally, with no significant hills or curves.

I am banking on around 300lbs of cargo in the TT but will ensure I don't exceed 3500lbs.

I've been quoted $1400 from honda to have their tow package installed.

a.)Is this ridiculously expensive?

b.)Is a tranny cooler needed for my local excursions?

c.)What all do I NEED to equip my Odyssey for pulling?


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Old 02-04-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
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What year is the Ody? If you still have a warranty (we don't on our '05) then you will void the powertrain warranty if you don't have the tow package. The 3,500# tow rating is ONLY if you have the package installed BTW. The weak link in the Ody's is the transmission, I wouldn't tow over about 1,500#'s without the trans cooler.
You will have to watch your loading in the Ody too. I'm not sure how they calculate the tow rating. Is it for the Ody with only a 155# driver or loaded to the GVWR? Might want to call the Honda owners help line and ask.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:21 PM   #3
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I suggest using this towing calculator to accurately and safely match a trailer to your tow vehicle. You notice it requires actual weights for your Honda with everything loaded-ready to go camping, to proceed.
Mr.D offered sound advice. The price for a dealer-installed tow package sounds reasonable, there is considerable labor involved+parts. I would not consider towing without the tow package.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:42 AM   #4
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In your 300 lbs of cargo, you might want to think a little about the holding tanks too... at 8 lbs per gallon, if you haul fresh water or grey/black water around you'll have quite a few lbs of extra weight...

Our popup tent trailer had 26 gallons of fresh water tanks, including the hot water heater tank (but no grey/black tanks)... that was 208 lbs of weight just in water...
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Yes, you should pay for the tow package...or at least add the additional components from 3rd party providers to equal it.

Now for the bad news...and I'm not one of the "weight police" types nor do I adhere to the 80% of capacity rule (I tow right on the edge of "max" for my truck). Depending on additional information, you may not even be able to tow the trailer even if you have the tow package added. You don't mention the type of RV and that is where the trouble may lie. Your "dry weight" trailer may actually weigh, empty, more than 3500 lbs. The dry weight does not take into account the weight of the battery, LP gas and options; even mandatory options, like the awning, a microwave, etc. Another issue is with the tow vehicle itself. While it may indeed, with the proper tow package, be capable of towing 3500 lbs, you need to ascertain what the allowable "frontal area" is. For instance, my Journey can tow 3500 lbs, however, that 3500 lbs. is limited to having a frontal area of 32 square feet. That breaks down to an area of 4x8 ft. While I could find a full sized travel trailer that is well under 3500 lbs, I won't find a full size travel trailer that only has a frontal area of 32 square feet. Allowable "frontal area", in addition to the trailer's weight imposes additional restrictions. Using my Journey as an example, while 3500 lbs is easily doable, I would be limited to the type of trailer; for an RV, that would mean a pop-up (and a light one at that) as opposed to a full sized travel trailer. Additionally, you will need to pay particularly close attention to tongue weight...most vehicles designed to tow 3500 lbs are designed for the utility trailer, light boat, or ATV trailer typse of trailers and won't take a great deal of tongue weight and proper tongue weight is essential for a stable tow. You may find that you are limited to 350 lbs for tongue weight and you may be exceeding that with a trailer tongue weight of 400+ lbs that you will find on an RV type trailer. RVs typically put 11-16% of the gross weight of the RV on the tongue (5th wheels are even higher) to provide stability for their length.

Definitely spring for the tow package, but, only if all the other factors still allow for the RV you are interested in getting. If, for instance, you have your heart set on a full sized RV, but, are limited in frontal area, you should rethink your entire setup if it requires a different tow vehicle (no point in getting the tow package if your "dream" RV has a frontal area that eliminates the possibility of towing it regardless of the Odyssey's equipment). Hopefully you can get the setup to work for you!

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ryguy76 View Post

My tow vehicle will be a Honda Odyssey with 3500lbs capacity.

The trailer will be 3045lbs dry,
Since published tow ratings are for a stripped vehicle with no options, a partial tank of fuel, and one 150# driver, it's unlikely that your "real life" towing capacity will be 3,500#...it *may* be closer to 3,000#.

But the only way to know for sure is to load up your vehicle like it would be for a trip, with a full tank of fuel, and all the people, pets, and gear that will normally be loaded into it, go down to the local scales and get it weighed.

Once you know the "real life" weight of your vehicle, subtract that weight from the vehicle's GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating; i.e., what the loaded truck plus loaded trailer shouldn't exceed). This difference will be the maximum loaded trailer weight that you should be pulling.

As someone else mentioned, you might want to also weight the empty travel trailer before you purchase it, since, like the vehicle, it doesn't include manufacturer-added, or dealer-added, options. You may find that the "real life" dry weight is something more than the published dry weight, perhaps significantly so.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:23 PM   #7
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I've had to seriously rethink my strategy after reading all the feedback. The Odyssey in question was going to be borrowed from my parents until we were able to afford a new tow vehicle. After factoring $1500 for the tow package, I'd just assume use that money towards a purchase of our own tow vehicle. So now instead of a new vehicle in a year or so, we're looking at buying a used vehicle with an included tow package.

I have more questions on this, but will start a new thread as it differs from the OP.

Thanks, and look forward to your answer in the other thread.

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