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Old 08-03-2015, 02:38 PM   #1
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Honda Ridgeline and Andersen Hitch

Finally got out with my new escape 19 for a trip. I have been practicing driving with it around town and backing it up (need more practice here!). After reading the instructions for the andersen hitch and trying a couple of different configurations, I decided on using the hitch in the rise position, in the lowest position. I chose this because after setting up the andersen weight distributing hitch and tightening it down to 3 to 4 turns this seemed to make the trailer the most level. However, if I followed the andersen manual it states to have the hitch ball 1.5 to 2 inches higher than the top of the level trailer coupler, in this configuration the trailer was tilted towards the back of the trailer and slightly off on all the levels on the trailer. So I went with the ball being more even with the trailer coupler.

So for other ridgeline users of the andersen hitch, how do you have it configured? How many threads showing on wdh after you tighten it down?

The trailer seemed to tow fairly well, a little time getting used to pulling it. I had no issues with sway though there was a pretty constant wind, and passing trucks did not seem to bother it much. I drove on Expressway going about 60/62 in 70 mph posted areas.

Also, I read the honda ridgeline manual and it states not to use D3 for flat towing, so I left the truck in OD. Anyone have a suggestion regarding using OD or D3? I ended up getting around 15.1 mpg.


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Old 08-03-2015, 02:49 PM   #2
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You want the trailer level or maybe a little low in front. I believe the number is either 19 or 21" couple height. I have mine set as low down it can be on my hitch.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:17 PM   #3
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I tow a 17B with a Honda Pilot and use O/D, 95% of the time. When I get to the start of a hilly section of road I shift to D3, and once the road levels out I shift back to O/D. This stops the transmission hunting back and forth between O/D and D3 which can lead to overheating.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 56reader View Post
Also, I read the honda ridgeline manual and it states not to use D3 for flat towing, so I left the truck in OD. Anyone have a suggestion regarding using OD or D3?
"Flat towing" would normally mean towing the Ridgeline on all four of its own wheels behind another vehicle, such as a motorhome. You're not doing that, and that wouldn't involve being left in gear anyway. I assume you mean towing a trailer on flat ground.

This is what the owner's manual says in both the transmission section and the towing section (at least for 2013, which is the model year for which I have a copy of the manual):
Quote:
When towing a trailer on level roads under normal driving conditions, do not use D3. This will increase the automatic transmission fluid temperature and may cause overheating.
Baglo can provide more details, but he found Toyota was serious about their similar direction for the RAV4. The vehicle manufacturer knows how the transmission is programmed, and the details of the mechanical design, so they know which setting will result in the best behaviour for reliability. If it needs to shift down, it will.

This vehicle has a five-speed transmission. I don't understand why anyone would force it to stay all the way down in third gear or lower when maintaining speed on level ground... that's not what the D3 position is for.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:57 PM   #5
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From 2008 RAV4 V6 Sport manual.
Note that I ignored the advice once going up an 8 per cent grade in 3 at times doing 90 kph. Almost reached the top and transmission warning light came on. No damage, but I won't do that again. I keep it in 4.

Found the second advisory which I am including to reassure those who might worry about the vehicle capability.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for replies.

Brian - you are right I was refering to towing on flat or level ground not towing the Ridgeline!

Looks like rav4 and honda are saying about the same. Use regular D, except going down hills use D3.

Anyone using andersen hitch with ridgeline?

Jim - it does seem level is the best, wonder if andersen hitch instructions are for a heavier trailer?

Attached is page from ridgeline manual I used for reference.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:44 PM   #7
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I chose this because after setting up the andersen weight distributing hitch and tightening it down to 3 to 4 turns this seemed to make the trailer the most level. However, if I followed the andersen manual it states to have the hitch ball 1.5 to 2 inches higher than the top of the level trailer coupler, in this configuration the trailer was tilted towards the back of the trailer and slightly off on all the levels on the trailer.
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Jim - it does seem level is the best, wonder if andersen hitch instructions are for a heavier trailer?
Yes, the target should be level, especially with the tandem Torflex suspensions of the Escape 19 Foot (and 21 Foot). I assume that the Andersen directions allow for the ball to drop by that 1.5" to 2" when the trailer's tongue weight is added, resulting in a level trailer. If it drops less, you don't need to allow this much.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #8
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Andersen hitch anti-sway only

How much do you need to crank the springs down on andersen hitch to only have anti-sway work and Avoid weight distributing as much as possible?

Also, do you need to grease the trailer coupler with andersen hitch?

Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:28 PM   #9
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Call Andersen- superb customer service & technical support: 800 635-6016.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:23 PM   #10
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Call Andersen- superb customer service & technical support: 800 635-6016.
Good idea! Gave them a call this evening and left a message.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:10 PM   #11
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I have the Anderson hitch on my ridgeline. Dennis set it up when we picked it. It's set one notch higher than the one in your picture. Dennis said to tighten until seven threads are showing, so that's what I've been doing. I do wonder at times if tightening the Anderson is pulling the unibody in ways it was not meant to move, but it's been working so far.

I tow with the OD locked out, assuming I remember to hit the button. I don't use the cruise and I get about 11 mpg towing the 21. I'm in New England, there really aren't too many trips where anything is flat for very long. I wish I could get 15. I barely get more than 15 when not towing.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:14 PM   #12
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Linda, we tow a 21 with our Ridgeline using an Anderson Hitch. I called Anderson with the same question you have about minimum weight distribution while maintaining sway control. They told me that 100# was required on the ball with the chains snug for sway control to work. The Ridgeline has been doing a great job of controlling our 21 the way we have it loaded. You do need to keep track of loading though, like will you be carrying weight (bicycles) on the rear, etc. We have ours pretty well balanced now so that we need very little weight distribution while maintaining the tongue weight to trailer weight ratio. The threads required on the Anderson depend on mounting of not only the ball to the receiver, but also the bars to your trailer frame. Right now I'm only using 3 turns, which is not much more then snug.

AND, to tell the truth, if I didn't already own the Anderson, I'm not sure I'd be using it. Sway control yes, weight distribution no.

I use Drive when towing, as suggested by Honda, and D3 when going down hill. The Honda guys told me to let the transmission find it's own gear when towing. On flats I use cruise control, but on climbs, even slight ones, I go out of cruise because of the amount of downshifts. So far I'm getting around 14 mpg towing the 21, if I remember right. And, D3 will control downhill speed up to about a 6% grade. After that you'll need some braking.

Have fun out there, I'm sure you'll do fine and so will the Ridgeline,
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:26 PM   #13
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I don't want to kick the hornet's nest (I guess I'm doing it anyways), but I don't intend to use a WDH for my Ridgeline. We've towed loaded utility trailers with no problem. We have a 2600# horse trailer that we use often with one to two horses with no problems. I think the best tool to get is a a trailer tongue scale like the Sherline. To each their own and what ever makes one comfortable; I sent this Ridgeline Forum post (not mine) to an RV dealer that was insisting that they wouldn't even sell me a camper without a WDH.


"I will try to offer this information without sounding condescending or disrespectful:

Honda has a staff of engineers that specialize in vehicle dynamics. There are members with advanced degrees including a specialist with a PhD vehicle dynamics. (This is the same group that developed the cooperative chassis control on the SH4WD system for the 2007 MDX.) These are the experts that have judged a WDH hitch as potentially dangerous device and should not be used. Even if these devices are set-up on a perfectly level surface, the moment that is produced on the tow vehicle is not constant and is a function of the gross profile of the road surface you are driving. You will experience a dynamic load condition that constantly varies during your trip depending on the road profile you are driving over. If a WDH is set properly, with a minimum amount of load removed from the rear axle (to avoid dynamic instability), a WDH hitch can reduce the amount of “sag” on the tow vehicle. The primary problem with these devices is they are specifically promoted for this purpose. Most users attribute the improved stability from these devices which results from the damping nature they produce from the yaw friction induced due to their design. The tendency for the non-technical user is to set the WDH hitch up to achieve a level visual appearance on the tow vehicle. This may remove too much weight from the rear axle and cause the stability issues which may result in a crash. The Ridgeline Front and Rear GAWR were designed, engineered and tested to handle the necessary towing loads without a WDH. Further, the rear brakes are appropriately sized for the increased braking forces caused by a load on the bed or a large tongue load created by towing a trailer. Increasing the front axle loading with a WDH for braking purposes is completely unfounded and unnecessary. The origin of WDH dates back to the late 60’s and early 70’s when most American families were towing recreational vehicles with passenger cars. Passenger cars lacked the proper brake sizing, front to rear brake proportioning, and Rear GAWR to handle a large travel trailer. The WDH allowed people to compensate for these weaknesses and tow larger trailers with their full size station wagons and passenger cars.

Honda’s WDH recommendations were made by engineers – not by lawyers. The owners manual is a legal document due to our litigious country and political climate. The owners manual is drafted by a group of professional writers that are usually better linguists than a band of engineers that usually can’t spell. A legal staff also reviews the owners manual because they have a technical background in law and they are familiar with the legal wording and potential liability issues represented by a band of opportunist looking to make a quick fortune. The wording in the Ridgeline owners manual is the result of a team of individuals that came together with a collective agreement that a WDH is extremely easy to miss-set and is therefore a dangerous device. This whole discussion validates this concern. If this appears too cautionary, then perhaps the language should be re-worded to be more clear about the potential pit-falls. However, it is difficult to anticipate the hundreds of potential set-ups on the market without targeting a specific piece of hardware.

The fact of the matter is the Ridgeline was properly designed to tow the rated trailer without the use of a WDH. If you wish to ignore this recommendation by a staff of technical experts in vehicle dynamics and formulate your own guidelines based on your personal experiences – proceed at your own risk. However, please do not encourage others to follow your path without equal cautionary sensitivity for their safety. "
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:24 PM   #14
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Mesa, good post! I saw this one also, after I purchased my Anderson, and wish I had waited on that purchase. I've towed our 21 comfortably with and without the Anderson. The way I have it setup now, I have a very expensive sway control device.

Using a Sherline to setup and verify tongue weight is a good idea. But paying attention to contributing external factors is a must (especially for a twin axle trailer) for attaining an accurate measurement. I worked for many years in Metrology and it took Brian B-P to open my eyes to what looked like a simple measurement. If a Sherline is purchased, buy the 1,000lb model. The best accuracy from an analog gauge is in the center of it's dial, for us, that's near 500 lbs.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:30 PM   #15
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Right, so I don't need it for my Yukon either, yet my dealer suggested one.
The main point in the above lengthy quote is to not over-tighten the bars or chains as it will have an adverse effect.

For more information of How to Tow Safely buy the Guide from the RV Consumer Group for $13.95.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Also, do you need to grease the trailer coupler with andersen hitch?
Yes, the coupler should be lubricated to reduce wear as the trailer pivots on the ball nose up and down over bumps. Some Andersen No-Sway users have seen substantial wear on the top back of the ball and the part of the coupler bearing there - less tension on the chains means less wear.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:24 AM   #17
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I have never used any type wdh Use a simple anti sway bar. works great
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Call Andersen- superb customer service & technical support: 800 635-6016.
Phone is 800-635-6106 for Andersen Customer Service.

I spoke with them, all good as I have it configured. Instructions are guideline, but most important to have level and some weight on hitch ball, different based on TV and trailer. And adjust tension based on need, just like everyone said!

Also, andersen hitch guy recommended a little grease the trailer coupler but not the hitch ball.

Thanks for suggesting to call!
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:43 PM   #19
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I stopped at Andersen last year in Idaho. I had purchased the wrong brackets.or rather was provided the wrong brackets by the seller on Amazon. Andersen came out to the parking lot and removed and reinstalled the correct brackets, gratis and I was on my way to Osoyoos, 15 minutes later.
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:55 PM   #20
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Sorry 56reader for my dyslexia!
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