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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there, I’m currently in the process of setting up my 2010 mdx for towing a single axle travel trailer. Currently I purchased the curt class 3 hitch, factory 7 prong wiring harness, brake controller and controller adapter. Seems like everything is going to plug right in no problem. Is this too good to be true? It took a lot of research to do my self but I’m wondering if anyone has done their towing set up similar? Just an FYI, the Acura dealer was no help and told me I shouldn’t tow anything that requires a brake controller, however the car is already wired to accept one and the vehicle max tow capacity is 5k pounds. Of course Acura knew this was possible, why the hell would they wire in a brake controller plug. Anyone with similar install experience I’d love to hear your story.
 

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Brake Controller Thread

There is a thread here, that I cannot find currently of course, with a guy that set up his MDX to tow a good sized AirStream trailer, approaching the 5K limit as I recall. He was happy with how it was doing. Having towed all kinds of trailers over the years all over the country I can tell you a big flat front wall and the wind resistance that creates is your biggest challenge. I think you are headed in the right direction, but two things you probably should address. First is upgrading the transmission cooler. The factory cooler is inadequate for heavy towing IMO. I did my own on my Honda Odyssey and the MDX won't be much different. I chose the Long TruCool 4454 because I live in a cold climate and it has a cold fluid bypass for winter time, but there are many others that would do the job and the cold fluid bypass can be added as a separate valve if you pick a different cooler. The other thing I think you will end up wanting is a weight distributing hitch to level things out and give you a more stable towing experience. It will take a lot of the bounce and sway out. I'd be glad to share more about getting the set up dialed if if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the feedback Pkrface. I am planning on getting the distribution hitch since I’ll be loaded around 4,500 lbs I had thought about the tranny cooler but I hadn’t found any information recommending an upgrade, however I noticed on newer models it is recommended to have a tranny cooler installed for towing.

So To be clear your suggesting I upgrade the original to a larger one?

I will have to see if there is one installed from the factory on my 2010. I have no idea if they were installed on some models or if it was part of the factory tow package. Luckily our first trip is all interstate driving which is pretty flat.

I hope to make a post in the future for an installation recommendation with all the parts I have used and an honest truth of how easy the entire installation was or was not. Photos a must.

Your insight is appreciated.
 

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Your MDX should have a trans cooler from the factory. IMO the concept that "flat interstate driving" is enough easier on the transmission is false. Most people tend to tow at the fastest speed they feel comfortable pushing the tow vehicle based on engine RPMs and the gear that works the best. 65 mph on flat in 4th or 5th gear pushing a lot of wind can heat up that trans just as much as 40 mph up a hill in 3rd gear. At the very least get new fluid in the trans before the trip. I have not towed with my MDX, but have been all over the country with my Honda Odyssey. I switched to full synthetic Mobil 1 fluid via 4x drain and fill before my first long trip and had to stop and add along the way. The next trip I was prepared to add and never had to, so my conclusion was I still had about 15% old fluid on the first trip and it couldn't handle the heat the same as the synthetic, so it burned off. I have since switched to Valvoline MaxLife and run it in both My MDX and my Odyssey. The current DW1 factory fluid is supposed to be much better than the previous OEM fluid and I believe it is listed in Canada as synthetic, but not in the US due to labeling regs.

Also, are you aware of the issue with the radiator internal failure mixing coolant and trans fluid being fairly common with this generation of MDX? If you still have the original radiator it would be highly recommended to bypass the internal trans cooler which would magnify the need for a larger external cooler or replace the radiator as a preventative measure, and because the 2010-2013 models are known for oil consumption keep an eye on the oil level as well.

I am in no means trying to discourage you from towing with your MDX, but if you hope to have it for a number of years yet then setting it up for success is very important.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I guess my interest is if anyone had experience radiator failure at 90k miles as that’s where I’m at. I Just picked up all my new drivetrain fluids yesterday. I would seriously consider a larger tranny cooler in the future especially traveling over mountain passes.
We’ll have to agree to disagree because Flat interstate driving and hill driving are completely different on the vehicle according to basic physics of momentum. That’s not opinion. Different RPM ranges and shifting points for flat or hilly roads.

Seems as though I’ve covered all the bases. I’m very comfortable towing and confident the MDX will do just fine. I find it hard to
Believe Acura under engineered this vehicle as to not handle recommended use guidelines when towing. Mind you the dealer don’t know **** about it and sound stupid when they flat out disagree with the owners manual, which is exactly what they would want you to look at. Obviously everything wears out faster when under extra stress. We all know this. Hell, there’s even service recommendations for higher stress driving environments including towing.

Anyways, I can’t wait to share the install and honest opinions on towing with the MDX.
 

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Well I guess my interest is if anyone had experience radiator failure at 90k miles as that’s where I’m at. I Just picked up all my new drivetrain fluids yesterday. I would seriously consider a larger tranny cooler in the future especially traveling over mountain passes.
We’ll have to agree to disagree because Flat interstate driving and hill driving are completely different on the vehicle according to basic physics of momentum. That’s not opinion. Different RPM ranges and shifting points for flat or hilly roads.

Seems as though I’ve covered all the bases. I’m very comfortable towing and confident the MDX will do just fine. I find it hard to
Believe Acura under engineered this vehicle as to not handle recommended use guidelines when towing. Mind you the dealer don’t know **** about it and sound stupid when they flat out disagree with the owners manual, which is exactly what they would want you to look at. Obviously everything wears out faster when under extra stress. We all know this. Hell, there’s even service recommendations for higher stress driving environments including towing.

Anyways, I can’t wait to share the install and honest opinions on towing with the MDX.
Best of luck! As for the radiator it seems to be a time issue more than miles. Mine happened at 155K and 11 years old. There are plenty of others out there at less miles. Not trying to scare you. Awareness is a very helpful thing vs not knowing and not watching for the signs of an issue. If caught early the transmission can be saved, but run for too long with coolant in the trans fluid is a death blow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good to know about the coolant trans mix issue. Seems like something you’d only find out from experience. I haven’t had any mechanical issues or signs of issues, but only owned it for 2 years and put 8k miles on it😜. It’s been awesome and enjoyable.
 

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Good to know about the coolant trans mix issue. Seems like something you’d only find out from experience. I haven’t had any mechanical issues or signs of issues, but only owned it for 2 years and put 8k miles on it😜. It’s been awesome and enjoyable.
I didn't experience it myself as I purchased mine right after some unfortunate sap had the bad luck of learning the hard way, but when I was working at a repair shop I saw it more than once. The trans will slip, shift harshly, etc., when it happens and too many people either don't recognize it or figure the damage is already done and just keep driving, but I have seen it caught early and flushed out successfully. There are plenty of threads here on the issue generally Gen1 and Gen2 units, but I know I saw at least one Gen3 (2014+).
 
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