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I own a 2015 FWD MDX that I would like to use to tow a small travel trailer that weighs in a 3800 lbs. According to Acura, my limit is 3500 lbs but the AWD version with Acura transmission cooler is 5000 lbs. Does anyone know why AWD is 5000 and FWD is only 3500. Same engine and transmission. If I add a transmission cooler, can I tow up to 5000 lbs?
 

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No, even if you added the auxiliary transmission cooler your MDX is limited to 3,500 lbs.

The most likely explanation, in my mind, is due to tongue weight, and lever-action. The tongue weight is applied at the rearmost point of the vehicle, and that has a lever (see-saw) effect that causes the rear to squat and the front to lift.

On a FWD MDX, this means you're removing the effective weight on the front axle. This reduces your ability to put power down to the ground.

On an AWD MDX, power can be directed to the rear and still be effectively put to the ground. In fact, as weight increases on the trailer, the rear axle can gain additional traction. There's also an ancillary benefit with the MDX AWD due to torque-vectoring. The SH-AWD system can direct power left/right to improve stability and cornering while towing (and when not towing, for that matter).
 

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Personally, I would not be concerned with being less than 10% "Overweight" on a vehicle that with AWD is rated at 5K. Make sure your tongue weight is below 500 Lbs. 400 to 425 should be OK for a stable ride.

To be really safe, a weight distribution hitch will transfer some of the load to the trailer tires and the MDX front tires.

My 2014 SHAWD tows 3000 lbs. like it's not even there.





 

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3800 pounds empty or fully loaded? A 3800 pound trailer loaded might be 4500 pounds. Also be aware that trailer weight and vehicle weight combine. The heavier the trailer the less that can be carried in the car. Look it up.
 

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FWD is the enemy here, frankly, I wish they had kept all the MDX’s AWD.
 

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Personally, I would not be concerned with being less than 10% "Overweight" on a vehicle that with AWD is rated at 5K. Make sure your tongue weight is below 500 Lbs. 400 to 425 should be OK for a stable ride.

To be really safe, a weight distribution hitch will transfer some of the load to the trailer tires and the MDX front tires.

My 2014 SHAWD tows 3000 lbs. like it's not even there.





Nice, what type/ model of trailer?
Thanks,
 

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No, even if you added the auxiliary transmission cooler your MDX is limited to 3,500 lbs.

The most likely explanation, in my mind, is due to tongue weight, and lever-action. The tongue weight is applied at the rearmost point of the vehicle, and that has a lever (see-saw) effect that causes the rear to squat and the front to lift.

On a FWD MDX, this means you're removing the effective weight on the front axle. This reduces your ability to put power down to the ground. [...]
This. But loss of traction at the front end may also cause loss of steering control, and that's bad. This is especially problematic in wet or otherwise slippery conditions.
 

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This. But loss of traction at the front end may also cause loss of steering control, and that's bad. This is especially problematic in wet or otherwise slippery conditions.
True. I didn't mention that, however, as that would affect the AWD equally as much as FWD... So I wanted to focus only on the "differences".
 

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True. I didn't mention that, however, as that would affect the AWD equally as much as FWD... So I wanted to focus only on the "differences".
A tire has a finite amount of traction at any time. It can be used for propulsion, braking, lateral acceleration ( steering ), or some combination, but it's a zero sum game. As an avid cyclist who spends a great deal of time on ridiculously skinny tires, often on ridiculously unsuitable substrates, I am keenly aware of this effect. :surprise:

Shifting some of the propulsion traction load to the rear tires does change the amount of traction available at the front for steering, so AWD is superior in this regard, not equal.

In the extreme, a tire that has "broken loose", and is spinning wildly from exceeding its traction limits, has minimal steering capability. "Spinning cookies" with RWD is great fun, but with FWD when you don't want to, it's a whole different story.
 

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If I add a transmission cooler, can I tow up to 5000 lbs?
It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish here

MDX definitely has more than enough power to pull that weight, but your issue is stability.

My trailer is 4500 lbs (I have SH-AWD and transmission cooler) and although the rear squatted down pretty low, the front of the car did not lift. So the front still has the same traction, but less relative traction (less stable).
Obviously, my low-profile pop up trailer are much more stable and easier to tow.

I have also towed a similar weight R-Pod a few times and it was NOT stable even with weight distribution hitch, and I don't plan on doing that again.
Also, weight distribution hitch puts a lot of stress on the MDX's unibody frame. I think it bent something and my hitch receiver looks a tiny tiny bit crooked to one side (or it's all in my head).

So, it really depends on what you are towing, what kind of terrain, what speed, your towing experience, and how careful you are.

Lastly, depends on where you are, it's probably illegal to tow over the rated capacity marked on the hitch sticker. Not that anybody ever checks, but please be safe.
 

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A tire has a finite amount of traction at any time. It can be used for propulsion, braking, lateral acceleration ( steering ), or some combination, but it's a zero sum game. As an avid cyclist who spends a great deal of time on ridiculously skinny tires, often on ridiculously unsuitable substrates, I am keenly aware of this effect. :surprise:

Shifting some of the propulsion traction load to the rear tires does change the amount of traction available at the front for steering, so AWD is superior in this regard, not equal.

In the extreme, a tire that has "broken loose", and is spinning wildly from exceeding its traction limits, has minimal steering capability. "Spinning cookies" with RWD is great fun, but with FWD when you don't want to, it's a whole different story.

the traction a tire has is also proportional to the weight on it. An identical tire with more weight has more traction than one with less weight on it. That is the reason drag racers lift the front wheels; all the weight is on the driven wheels. Why there is a difference between the AWD and FWD I don't know. I can tell you that my 2006 RL SH-AWD was limited to 1200 lbs towing. The same car in other parts of the world had a 2,000 pound limit. It may have to do with what Acura is willing to accept as their liability fixing things that break from the extra stress towing brings. It could also have to do with what the competition is offering. Considering that when towing to the max capacity the internal load is two passengers only and 15 lbs each baggage it seems like most people won't be towing a lot of weight in the car and a heavy trailer.
 

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Also, weight distribution hitch puts a lot of stress on the MDX's unibody frame. I think it bent something and my hitch receiver looks a tiny tiny bit crooked to one side (or it's all in my head).

Hold on, what????

Have you had this verified? That’s a serious issue if true.


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