Towing a 17B with a 2004 Honda Pilot? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-07-2019, 07:20 PM   #1
rvr
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Towing a 17B with a 2004 Honda Pilot?

Hi,
I am planning to soon tow my new 17B with my 2004 Honda Pilot. According to the owner's manual, the Pilot can tow 3500lbs (or 4500 lbs for boat trailers?).
The manual also mentions that "a weight distribution hitch is not recommended", but also mentions that "a sway control device is recommended if your trailer tends to sway".
I got 3 options from Escape:
- Equalizer hitch (pro-series 600lb Trunnion)
- Equalizer hitch (pro-series 600 lb Trunnion) with sway control bar
- E2 by Fastaway integrated sway control and weight distribution
We are new to towing so all recommendations will be strongly appreciated!!
Javier
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:45 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
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I am towing ( for ten years now ) my 17B with a RAV4 ( 3,500 tow, 350 lb. tongue ), using the Pro-Series WD hitch, without sway control bar. Toyota also says they do not recommend WDH, but the reason is they don't make one and they haven't a relationship with a WDH manufacturer.
I understand the reason Honda doesn't recommend one is their concern that it might not be properly installed ( since they didn't make it ).
Your call, but I'd go with the $350 Pro-Series.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I understand the reason Honda doesn't recommend one is their concern that it might not be properly installed ( since they didn't make it ).
Even if there were a Honda-branded dealer-supplied WDH, it would likely not be adjusted properly by most owners. I don't think it's "who made it" issue.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvr View Post
I am planning to soon tow my new 17B with my 2004 Honda Pilot. According to the owner's manual, the Pilot can tow 3500lbs (or 4500 lbs for boat trailers?).
It sounds like there is some confusion here. Boats are typically easier to tow than big boxes (cargo or travel trailers), for two reasons:
  1. they have low frontal area (for aerodynamic drag), and
  2. they usually have lower tongue weight for a given trailer weight, and are more stable at that lower tongue weight than a travel trailer.
So, even if both Escapes and many boats are fiberglass, the Escape doesn't count as a boat.

Also, as stated in the manual,
Quote:
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) - The maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle and trailer is 9,700 lbs (4,410 kg)
If the Pilot weighs around 4,400 lb (2,000 kg), that leaves 5,300 pounds (2,210 kg) for
  • the trailer, including everything in it
  • all people in the Pilot
  • all cargo in the Pilot
  • any optional equipment in the Pilot not counted in the empty weight above
  • towing equipment (ball mount or WD hitch system, sway control devices...)
That's probably okay, but it's worth checking. The limit which might be more likely to be reached would be the rear axle load; the manual doesn't provide that, but it's on a sticker at the driver's door, and the loading table provided in the manual calculates how much the trailer tongue can weigh (without exceeding the rear axle rating) based on how many passengers are in the Pilot and an assumption about what each one weighs.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:41 AM   #5
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Javier,
We have a 17A and tow with a 2011 Honda Pilot. Your Pilot is of the same tow capacity as ours, 3500 lbs. Engine HP and torque are similar. We have towed all over the western US, including many mountain passes. The Honda does well; we're happy with the performance.
Regarding sway: since the axle is 12 feet from the hitch, we have no sway. I have tried to induce sway, and it doesn't. We have driven in high crosswinds, and the trailer is very stable, with barely a shudder at gusts.
So, IMHO, no sway device is needed for a 17.
Regarding a weight distribution hitch (WDH): we chose not to use one initially, and after 3 years and 12000+ miles, I have no reason to use one now. That being said, we are careful with the weights of camping items and where they are placed in the tow or the trailer. 17's can tend to be hitch heavy (we are at 350-370 lbs. currently). If there was more than the 2 of us, and more gear, especially heavy items, we might think about a WDH, so we don't tow nose-high.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:17 AM   #6
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Javier, Plan A 17s are more than 400 pounds lighter than Plan Bs so you should factor that into your decision making.
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