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Can someone help me interpret all of the info about towing with my 2019 Acura MDX. The manual and everything I've read says my MDX SH-AWD with ATF (auto transmission fluid cooler), factory installed hitch & Harness, anti sway (and maybe Weight distribution hitch) CAN tow up to 5000 lbs. But then a lot of people have said this is not correct and to us the weight listed on the sticker on my drivers side door which says total weight of passengers and cargo should not exceed 1711 lbs (way different that the 5000 lbs listed in the owners manual). Safety is big for me but also not wanting to get a huge truck to tow a small Travel Trailer. Trying to keep the weight of the Travel Trailer to around 3500-3700 lbs. Can this be done? Should this be attempted? And please no more acronyms "GVWR added to the GCWR" etc.. I am confused enough.
 

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Can someone help me interpret all of the info about towing with my 2019 Acura MDX. The manual and everything I've read says my MDX SH-AWD with ATF (auto transmission fluid cooler), factory installed hitch & Harness, anti sway (and maybe Weight distribution hitch) CAN tow up to 5000 lbs. But then a lot of people have said this is not correct and to us the weight listed on the sticker on my drivers side door which says total weight of passengers and cargo should not exceed 1711 lbs (way different that the 5000 lbs listed in the owners manual). Safety is big for me but also not wanting to get a huge truck to tow a small Travel Trailer. Trying to keep the weight of the Travel Trailer to around 3500-3700 lbs. Can this be done? Should this be attempted? And please no more acronyms "GVWR added to the GCWR" etc.. I am confused enough.
Why would you listen to random strangers? The weight on the driver’s side door has nothing to do with towing. It’s the suspension load. For heavens sake,go with what the manual says.
 

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Agreed. It’s not easily spelled out. Try finding the terms GVWR or GCWR anywhere in the manual or the specs listed.
 

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The key words are "up to". That does not necessairly mean you can pull 5000 pounds. I guess if you were a 150 pound person towing with a quarter tank of gas and nothing else 5000 pounds would be OK. Make that a TT with a wife and a couple kids plus what ever else you have in the car and your towing capacity drops dramatically
 

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what about two adults with a combined weight of about 325 plus two dogs and a tank of gas plus misc cargo (clothes, food, etc) not to exceed another 300 lbs plus our weight of 325 lbs. We are looking at travel trailer max weight of 3750 and that is the absolute maximum weight we would consider.
 

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In summary, the 5000 lb limit assumes two passengers of 150 lbs each along with 15 lbs of cargo each. If you add other passengers and cargo you are supposed to subtract that from the 5000 lbs limit.

There are many who will tell me (and have told me) that I should not tow what I do. But I tow a travel trailer with a dry weight of 4300 lbs. My wife and I plus 2 younger kids travel in the vehicle. Any cargo goes in the trailer and we pack light, including keeping the water tank empty and buying our food local when possible.

We are on the limit. I have been through the CAT scales and we are over the allowed total combined weight by 100 lbs. That represents 1% overweight. I am not telling you this as an endorsement of towing at max capacity. But I can tell you that the MDX is a very capable tow vehicle. I have used it in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont without trouble and have been very impressed by its ability both in normal and “tight” spots. I use a properly set up WDH, brake controller, and I have two friction anti-sway bars. When hitched up I have 1/2” of difference between the front and rear fender measurements.

Crosswinds are noticeable because the rear suspension tends to squat when the trailer is being pushed on the side by wind. It doesn’t push the vehicle off course, but it’s noticeable. After you’ve been driving for a bit though you get used to it.

I take my time, I choose the right gear, watch engine and transmission temperatures, and I give myself lots of room to maneuver. I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

I only offer my experience for what it’s worth.




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By the way, here is some good reading to help decipher all the acronyms and tow jargon.



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what about two adults with a combined weight of about 325 plus two dogs and a tank of gas plus misc cargo (clothes, food, etc) not to exceed another 300 lbs plus our weight of 325 lbs. We are looking at travel trailer max weight of 3750 and that is the absolute maximum weight we would consider.
Your still forgetting something. If your looking at a high wall TT with a GVWR of 3700 pounds you need to subtract approx 20% for wind resistance. If your looking at a tent trailer, which would be your only real option keep it on the smaller size. Weight adds up really fast and you likely could wind up actual scaling far more that your guessing.
Now there is one thing not discussed yet. On a lot of vehicles the trans oil cooler has been causing clunking noise. There has been a few reports of dealers removing them to satiafy complaints.
 

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Your still forgetting something. If your looking at a high wall TT with a GVWR of 3700 pounds you need to subtract approx 20% for wind resistance.
I’m curious to know where you found this. I just went back to the MDX manual and I don’t see anything about this. I do know that when we used to tow with our minivan (obviously not the same trailer) it did talk about the frontal surface area considerations, but not Acura.

Incidentally, while reading the manual again I noticed that the 5000 lbs limit assumes TWO occupants with 15 lbs of cargo each, as long as it’s the 4WD version with transmission cooler. I’ve corrected that in my post above.


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Here we are with our 2nd generation MDX(2011). We did have reinforcement to our receiving hitch and we travel with 2 adults, half full propane, minimal fresh water.
Adjustments.jpg



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In summary, the 5000 lb limit assumes two passengers of 150 lbs each along with 15 lbs of cargo each. If you add other passengers and cargo you are supposed to subtract that from the 5000 lbs limit.

There are many who will tell me (and have told me) that I should not tow what I do. But I tow a travel trailer with a dry weight of 4300 lbs. My wife and I plus 2 younger kids travel in the vehicle. Any cargo goes in the trailer and we pack light, including keeping the water tank empty and buying our food local when possible.

We are on the limit. I have been through the CAT scales and we are over the allowed total combined weight by 100 lbs. That represents 1% overweight. I am not telling you this as an endorsement of towing at max capacity. But I can tell you that the MDX is a very capable tow vehicle. I have used it in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont without trouble and have been very impressed by its ability both in normal and “tight” spots. I use a properly set up WDH, brake controller, and I have two friction anti-sway bars. When hitched up I have 1/2” of difference between the front and rear fender measurements.

Crosswinds are noticeable because the rear suspension tends to squat when the trailer is being pushed on the side by wind. It doesn’t push the vehicle off course, but it’s noticeable. After you’ve been driving for a bit though you get used to it.

I take my time, I choose the right gear, watch engine and transmission temperatures, and I give myself lots of room to maneuver. I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

I only offer my experience for what it’s worth.




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Godspeed. Only thing I'd recommend are better than OEM rotors/pads.
 

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All towing ratings for all vehicles are calculated using a flat bed trailer with XXX pounds of dead.
weight. Not taking into consideration high wall wind resistance is just asking for trouble. While my 20% number may not be totally accurate you will soon find thats a pretty close starting point. Years ago we had a Chevy Trailblazer, yea a 2002. Bought a 20 foot TT that by all the numbers was a great fit. I could tow at highway speeds, barely, forget going up hills. Two trips and I knew I had made a miatake. Traded it for a Tahoe and went camping. My point is, towing at the margins is no fun, and greatly increases wear and tear on your tow vehicle. Many consider the Acura ZF9 speed not the best transmission out there, so there is that to consider also. Yes, I have a trailer hitch on my X to tow my 5x8 utility trailer. It does great for that. In fact just made two loaded trips across the scales at 6760 loaded. And honestly, maybe another 1000 pounds would be about all I would feel comfortable with. We were avid RVers for over 35 years, our last was a 13,500 pound fiver. The right tool for the job is a motto you really need to go by.
 

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I think these post are outstanding the whole string is good so far. No BS just experiences and numbers. I also had a TT for years and had a big boy diesel to tow it; it was over 8K dry. I bought my MDX thinking we might tow a a pop up or small TT. I did put the Acura hitch on it, (which I bought from an online salvage company for $90). And I will use the MDX to tow an enclosed trailer or a trailer for my UTVs, etc. we plan on keeping vehicle for a while so I'm not going to push it. We are getting another RV just don't know which type so I am taking my MDX out of the equation. I have towed with the Odysseys for years, enclosed trailers and open trailers and was surprised by the ability of the vans to tow. The Ody and the MDX both weigh over 4k so it helps with towing and I've never had a problem. I know the MDX can tow more than the Ody, but we like it so much that we don't want to stress it. If you want to tow with it keep it in the numbers or "close" (scales is the best way to check), and keep up with your tire pressures keep them on the high range, by the tire manufacturers numbers on the sidewall of the tire.

So good job on the posts, great info.

Big Al
 

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A word about tires for the MDX for towing. This is from CanAm RV in Canada. Our local mechanic also did the all wheel alignment but aligned it for towing.





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Discussion Starter #15
Can someone help me interpret all of the info about towing with my 2019 Acura MDX. The manual and everything I've read says my MDX SH-AWD with ATF (auto transmission fluid cooler), factory installed hitch & Harness, anti sway (and maybe Weight distribution hitch) CAN tow up to 5000 lbs. But then a lot of people have said this is not correct and to us the weight listed on the sticker on my drivers side door which says total weight of passengers and cargo should not exceed 1711 lbs (way different that the 5000 lbs listed in the owners manual). Safety is big for me but also not wanting to get a huge truck to tow a small Travel Trailer. Trying to keep the weight of the Travel Trailer to around 3500-3700 lbs. Can this be done? Should this be attempted? And please no more acronyms "GVWR added to the GCWR" etc.. I am confused enough.
Update... the seller was nice enough to let me hook up his Winnebago 2100bh and let me drive it around neighborhood. His rig has a dry weight of 3750 well under my max towing limit but after driving it (very slowly) for a few miles in a residential neighborhood I felt like my MDX was working hard to tow it and breaking was kinda scary. It was eye opening for me. I think we are going to look at a smaller unit weighing just under 3000 lbs dry. I hope that the lower weight (about 750 less than what I tried yesterday) will make a big difference.
 

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I just looked at the Forest River site (Recreational Vehicles | Forest River Inc., A Berkshire Hathaway Company) and saw that a few of the R-Pods might be a good fit for the MDXs. I'd look and see what the bigger manufacturers offer to get an idea of what I could feasibly tow. I always look for a separate shower and at least a queen sized bed and one slide for my shrinking family (my preferences). I am almost down to one child left at home. So my needs are shrinking. I'm a believer in just getting out there and doing it with what you have, but with my last one still in sports my ability to use an RV are limited to after thanksgiving till June, which isn't worth it to us. Back when the kids were small I could us a TT/RV from June through October, and we used the heck out of our TT. I almost bought a ridgeline so I could tow more, but the MDX can tow the same amount and the MDX is hard to pass up as a family hauler. Also we had a Navigator extended that I could tow 10K and never got to use it bcs sports were always in the way. I bought it to tow and just threw up my hands after trying to buy a TT around the kids schedules.
 

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Dry weights are a marketing gimmick designed to sucker uninformed people i to buying more than they can safely handle. Instead look only at GVWR of any prospective purchase. Also reme,ber you will need a brake controller before you can even think about towing. Correct trailer brakes will stop the trailer. Bottom line look for something 3000 GVWR and you might be satisfied.
 

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An Airstream Bambi or Caravel may fit the bill. We bought our first travel trailer, a 2006 Airstream Safari, in 2017 for our 30th Anniversary. Thevtwo of us took a 1 month 6000 mile trip from Ohio to the West Coast and back one week after we sent our youngest to college. We went with airstream because of the resale value down the road. The one we found was bigger than we planned but we were able to get our 2011 MDX receiving hitch reinforced to support the weight on the hitch and it has towed great. Absolutely recommend starting an empty nest this way if you are able to no matter what TV/TT combo you have.


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Update... the seller was nice enough to let me hook up his Winnebago 2100bh and let me drive it around neighborhood. His rig has a dry weight of 3750 well under my max towing limit but after driving it (very slowly) for a few miles in a residential neighborhood I felt like my MDX was working hard to tow it and breaking was kinda scary. It was eye opening for me. I think we are going to look at a smaller unit weighing just under 3000 lbs dry. I hope that the lower weight (about 750 less than what I tried yesterday) will make a big difference.
Kudos for the test run! Yes, it takes a bit of getting used to as far as the effort the car makes to tow something. As for the braking, I am assuming you didn't have an electric brake controller installed so you weren't set up properly for that. Done right the trailer brakes take care of the trailer, so you are back to the car taking care of itself which is the way it's supposed to be. I'm not disagreeing with your decision to look for something smaller/lighter, but at 3,750 max you were within the limits the MDX is designed for. The point made earlier about wind resistance is absolutely correct, though as for the 20% reduction that is more of a ball park. Some manufacturers actually print a frontal area chart for calculating the reduction, but Honda does not which is a shame. I've pulled a pop up all over the US with my Honda Odyssey (same power train just less horsepower) 500 lbs over the the rated max with no issues even in the mountains, but the low profile is what makes that work. An enclosed cargo trailer at half the weight (1,800 lbs) pulls much harder and the van struggled to hold 65 mph on flat ground without dropping a gear while the camper rolls right along at 75 mph no problem.

The bottom line is a proper set up and realistic expectation is the key. If you plan to do most of your camping 100 miles or less from home and understand that 55-60 mph max might be all you can comfortably go then the 3,750 lb trailer is fine, but if a cross country trip is what you are looking to do then going lighter or lower profile would be wise. Also, spend some time on the RV Itch forum. Lots of good people there to help. Besides traditional pop up campers there are travel trailers that compact like this Tow Lite
 
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For whatever it's worth, the 9-speed trans has a very low first gear. Almost a creeper. This definitely will help to get the weight all moving when first starting out.
 
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