Get hitch before shopping?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Disabilitylawyer, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    See? That was helpful! Feel free to continue to add to the list!
     
  2. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    Don't need to add to any list. The list is any camper over a GVWR is most likely a no and under is most likely a yes. You are the one that said she could "pull almost any popup available" which is incorrect.
     
  3. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Yes, that's exactly what I said. Thanks again for pointing out my grievous error but "almost any" does infer that the Odyssey cannot in fact pull every popup currently available, does it not?

    Simply doing my level best to be encouraging and at least somewhat helpful without contradicting anything anyone else has said and without becoming transfixed on the relatively inconsequential speck in anyone else's eye. See what I did there?
     
  4. mcbrew

    mcbrew Member

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    I can't comment on the Odyssey in particular, but it must be true that this statement is more true the larger the trailer gets. I have never had a vehicle with a tow package, and have never had a problem, even with vehicles in excess of 400,000 miles.

    If the OP was to tow a 130 pound Harbor Freight cargo trailer behind his van, I'm betting it would not need a tow package. Of course, we are talking about popup campers, not super light cargo trailers. Still, pop ups can weight less than 1,000 pounds or more than 3,500 pounds. That is a huge range. I will go out on a limb and say that he does not need a tow package to pull a 1,000 pound trailer. If it were my van, I would tow a 2,000 pounds trailer without a tow package.

    As far as weight, the most important numbers to know are the ACTUAL weight of the trailer and ACTUAL tongue weight once you are set up for camping. Some folks recommend using GVWR, but that is just the axle rating. A given camper may weigh 10% less, 23.7% less, or 14.2% MORE than the GVWR. Assuming a trailer actually weight the GVWR is like assuming that all cars on the highway are going exactly the speed limit, no higher or lower.

    I would take a scale with you that is capable of measuring the TW. As far as the actual weight of the trailer, you'd have to tow it to a truck scale or grain scale. We happen to have a CAT truck scale about 10 miles from the house, but you might not be so lucky. I think they charge about $12 to check the weight.

    Just to clarify: If you are looking at a big, heavy pup, then you should look into the tow package (OEM or aftermarket solutions). I think a lot of folks who have only towed heavy trailers don't consider all of the lighter ones out there that can be towed with a 4 cylinder car, class I or II hitch, and no tow package.
     
  5. kjmpdm

    kjmpdm New Member

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    Our 2003 Odyssey has been towing our now for sale 2009 Coleman Westlake the last 6years. Added hitch, prodigy brake controller, transmission cooler and the touring package stuff - also the back end was squishy, so our mechanic did something to help with that. I'm not technical :).
     
  6. swordfish

    swordfish Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, my error. I did get the B&M Super Cooler from Amazon.com, not from eTrailer. Went to my mechanic for installation. He said I had a bigger cooler installed by Honda already.
    Returned the B&M to Amazon without a problem, but embarrassed for not knowing I had a towing package.

    Is that qualified for a SPUT?
     
  7. JustRelax

    JustRelax Well-Known Member

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    mcbrew - Yes it would probably be ok to buy a lawnmower and pull it home on a trailer or a 14' Jon boat without the package and I'm sure people pull all the time without it. I've been looking online and I can't see where it has a tow rating without it. It is 3500 but must have brakes and the optional equipment installed.

    I wouldn't tow anything without a transmission cooler at the least in the minivan if it were mine. I had a Tahoe that I pulled a 19' fiberglass boat with that I only slapped a hitch on, but it didn't get a workout downshifting to maintain speed like a minivan would. I would think pulling a 2000# camper with any frequency over time will cook a transmission without adequate cooling but am more than happy for the guy that does it and doesn't have the problem.

    So when I said you basically can't tow - Honda doesn't list a tow capacity without it that I have seen. Can you pull a utility trailer infrequently and be ok, of course.
     
  8. Ryanincc

    Ryanincc Truth is poetry. Most Americans do not like poetry

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    That qualifies as MY SPUT [LOL] I had a feeling I might be wrong
     
  9. mv520

    mv520 Active Member

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    I'd put on a class III hitch, get your plan/strategy together on how your going to wire up a proportional brake controller, and then purchase (and keep receipts for) drawbars for both 4 and 6" rises and a 2" ball. And carry big wrenches so you can mount the ball when the time comes. Minivans are a (*)(#$ pain in that their rear bumpers are so low you typically need a 4-6" rise to make a PUP level (unlike everyone with a truck, who needs many inches of drop instead of rise). Then you can go shop for and buy a PUP (within weight constraints, etc) and get it home, on your own terms, without relying on the seller or scrambling to get a hitch on, and drive slowly/conservatively, without brakes. Then at home you can get yourself all set up with brake controllers, air bags or coilover shocks, trans coolers, etc. - all the stuff needed to make a minivan "tow ready". And return the other drawbar that you don't need.
     
  10. Puplife

    Puplife New Member

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    Just to give you an idea, I just had a transmission cooler and proportional brake controller installed on our 2005 odyssey last week. It was around $730 total. I got a good deal from a local mechanic I use frequently. One place wanted $650 just for installing the brake controller and all the necessary wiring. We had the hitch installed awhile ago. Bought a Curt online and had mechanic install it. I think it was around $400 total. I didn't by the ball mount until we knew what trailer we were buying. I ended up needing a 2 inch rise. Now I just need to get brakes installed on my trailer!
     
  11. dion

    dion Member

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    Consult your Odyssey's owner's manual. You can find it on line if you can't find it in the glove box.

    You need the transmission cooler and power steering cooler for ANY towing. And of course you'll need a hitch, as well as a wiring harness for running lights and brake lights.

    For all except the very lightest trailers (or maybe those with surge brakes), you'll need a brake controller and the wiring to connect it to the trailer via a 7-way plug.

    You also may want to run a charge wire, in order to charge a trailer battery from the Odyssey's alternator. That's an option that's especially useful if you want to camp without hookups on extended trips -- it may not be needed if you usually use hookups, or if you take short trips and can charge the battery at home.

    Honda recommends a weight distributing hitch and sway control for heavier trailers, but I've forgotten the exact weights at which those recommendations become effective. It's in your manual, though.

    As far as weight capacity, you have a max towing capacity of 3500 lbs. But that only applies if you have nothing at all in the van -- no passengers and no cargo. Every pound of passengers or cargo in the van takes a pound off the tow capacity. You'll have to do your own math considering what you'll be taking, but consider passengers, coolers, gear, and the contents of any water tanks or propane tanks on the trailer, as well as the trailer itself.
     

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