Towing an Escape 19 with an 08 Honda Pilot - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-10-2017, 11:41 PM   #1
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Towing an Escape 19 with an 08 Honda Pilot

I am new to this forum and have recently purchased an escape 19. I would like to hear if anyone is towing their 19 with a first gen Honda Pilot I have a 2008. If you are what do you have for accessories to improve the tow handling?

1. Is a load leveling hitch required? My gut feeling is yes account independent rear suspension, so the rear doesn't squatand lighten the front driving steering wheels. Recommended make and model?

2. What is a recommended trailer brake controller, once again I suspect this is an essential item but what make and model?

TN ......
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:52 AM   #2
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For starters, measure somewhere on your hitch that you'll be able to see after you connect up the trailer. Measure before hitching and again after hitching. Let the forum folks know the change, since every vehicle seems different.

Depending on your answer, your fellow forum members will help with advice on what amount of "squat" would be acceptable. Many like the "more connected" feel even if squat is not very much.

Bill
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:09 AM   #3
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Firstly, you will need to confirm your tow rating. In 2008, the Honda Pilot had either a 3,500 or a 4,500 lb tow rating. A loaded 19 will push towards 4,000 lbs.

I towed my 2009 19 with a 2009 Pilot most of the time for 6 years. Keep in mind, the 2009 was a redesigned model. While it was rated for towing 4,500 lbs, its GCWR (Gross Comined Weight Rating of the tow and trailer) was as high as other SUV's with a 5,000 lb tow rating. Honda had beefed up the suspension that year, and added a factory hitch receiver.

For me it was quite capable, with the only exception that on long steep grades, I either had to slow down a bit, or deal with continuous high revs. Wind would affect it a bit too. On the flat open road, it performed great, and I loved the vehicle for all round use, much better than a pickup.

Is your 19 a 2017 model? They are a bit heavier than the previous ones. This will further tax the Pilot's capability. That said, if all the ducks line up in a row, and you are not exceeding towing specs, I would say to give it a try, BUT be ready to have to purchase a new tow vehicle if needed. This is the approach my brother is taking with his new 2017 19 and 2010 Honda Pilot. He is willing to (and eventually will) buy a new tow vehicle if necessary. He does not want a pickup as big as an F-150, so is keen on seeing what the new Ranger will offer, otherwise will look at a Tacoma or other SUV.

I never used a WDH for the first 4 years, not to bothered by the towing nuances without one, but did use an Anderson hitch for a couple years, and it did smooth out the ride some. I would recommend one.
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:29 AM   #4
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OK this is educational! I thought my Pilot had a tow rating of 4500 pounds but will confirm.

The trailer is a 2017 escape 19 so therefore a bit heavier, and yes I expect I will have to upgrade the tow vehicle but like yourself I am very happy with the pilot as an all around vehicle, but it is creeping up on 10 years old, has 160k miles, but still runs perfectly.

I think a truck may be in my future as I would like to travel with a motorcycle or two in the box. However I would like to wait a year and see what Toyota does with the Tundra.

As far as measuring the amount of Squat, the trailer is still in Chilliwack, I'd like to have everything prepped on the vehicle before I get there. Given how much snow there is between Edmonton and there no point in going to retrieve it just yet, so I have some time.

TN ......
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:57 AM   #5
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I towed a 15B with a 04 Pilot. I recall that the owners manual had a section on how much squat is acceptable. Although my trailer was within the guidelines, I didn't like the "headlights up" appearance. Also, I didn't need or want a wd hitch. I installed Airlift 1000 airbags and was happy with the resulting ability to level the vehicle and to keep the hitch at the proper height to level the trailer.

The airbags don't distribute weight like a wdh, or increase the towing capacity. But if your Pilot meets all the towing specs, I recommend the airbags as a way to deal with the "squat" issue.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:07 AM   #6
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I think the standard brake controller is the Prodigy models made by Tekonsha. There are other brands but this seems to be the most popular. They are easily transferred from vehicle to vehicle with the possible purchase of a different connector cable. They also make a wireless model that seems to have had a good reception.

On your Honda you need to be concerned about two numbers. Everyone looks at the towing rate but as Jim mentions just as important is the Gross Combined Weight Rating. Be familiar with this, particularly down the road, as you consider a different vehicle with a motorcycle.
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:45 AM   #7
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I don't know about the '08's, but the newer Pilots have a 3,500 lb rating for 2WD and either 3,500 lb with AWD or 5,000 with AWD + transmission cooler. The 4,500 rating was upgraded to 5,000 lbs in the 2016+ model. I think the stock sticker on the hitch for yours will say 3,500 / 4,500, so you may have to verify that you have the ATF cooler installed to know for sure. You can ask towing questions on piloteers.org and you will certainly get an answer quickly.

We have a 2017 Pilot EX-L AWD that will become our tow vehicle for a 17B while we are between Touaregs. Our 2012 Touareg TDI is being bought back as part of the emissions lawsuit. We will try to find a 2013-2016 in Feb 2018 when the lease is up on our Audi A6, but for about 6 months we will be towing with the Pilot and longer if we can't find one at the right price. I will be using a WDH.
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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I pull my 19' with a 2010 Honda Pilot

I originally put an Equalizer WDH on my 2010 Honda Pilot (rated for 4500lbs) pulling my 19' with 4 six volt batteries in the front box and a high tongue weight of 600 lbs. I also had air bags installed inside the rear coil springs for additional fine tuning. This worked well until I noticed after about a year that the factory installed hitch welds were starting to fail. This was caused by utilizing the WDH with a high tongue weight and a crappy factory welding job on the hitch. I then extended the rear bumper and moved 2 batteries to the back with a resulting tongue weight of 450 lbs, perfect ratio with my total trailer weight. I still use the WDH because it gives me good traction on the front wheels with front wheel drive. I feel this is especially important when going up a steep hill in the rain, on gravel or in less-than-desirable conditions. I can feel the front wheels slip sometimes without it. The welds I have now are much better than the factory job and I keep an eye on them and don't think they will fail again. If I had the money to afford it I would get another tow vehicle without uni-body construction and a much stronger hitch design but what I have now will do for a few more years.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True North View Post
I am new to this forum and have recently purchased an escape 19. I would like to hear if anyone is towing their 19 with a first gen Honda Pilot I have a 2008. If you are what do you have for accessories to improve the tow handling?

1. Is a load leveling hitch required? My gut feeling is yes account independent rear suspension, so the rear doesn't squat and lighten the front driving steering wheels. Recommended make and model?...
"Load leveling" is somewhat misleading, so I suggest using the industry's standard term: "weight-distributing hitch" (WDH) or "weight distribution" (WD).

Just to simplify the decision:
  • Whether the rear suspension is independent (such as in the Pilot) or a beam axle (such as most pickup trucks) has absolutely nothing to do with how much the rear end squats.
  • The lightening of the load on the front wheels (if not using a weight-distributing hitch) depends only on the weight on the hitch, the distance from ball to tug's rear axle, and the wheelbase of the tug - it has absolutely nothing to do with the suspension design or how much the rear end is allowed to squat.
So don't worry about the suspension being independent.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True North View Post
I thought my Pilot had a tow rating of 4500 pounds but will confirm.
I suggest re-reading the owner's manual. The cargo and Towing a Trailer sections provide all the information needed about the ratings. We can help with interpreting it.

Honda's limit of 4500 pounds is only for boat trailers; the limit for other trailers is 3500 pounds. This distinction by Honda is unusual, and presumably results from one of two factors:
Frontal area
Boats have relatively low frontal area and aerodynamic drag for their mass, which reduces the amount of power needed to keep moving and thus reduces overheating of drivetrain components (engine, transmission, final drives. I think this is the likely reason; some other manufacturers provide explicit limits for the frontal area of the trailer.
Stability
Power boats tend to have much of their mass concentrated at the engine, which is reasonably near the trailer axles (especially with an inboard engine), which helps stability.
You might either keep the trailer under 3500 pounds loaded, or consider it to be somewhat boat-like in its aerodynamics and mass distribution.

To determine how much cargo and trailer weight you can add to your Pilot, you can compare its weight to the ratings. You can weigh with the expected passengers and cargo, or weigh the empty Pilot and add the known weights of passengers and cargo. To get actual total weight and weight on each axle, the highway scale on the Yellowhead 5 kilometres east of Ardrossan is easy to reach and use.
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