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Discussion Starter #42
This is great news. So how do you like the trailer? How many people do you have sleeping in it? I'm looking at the exact same trailer.
We have three, two adults and a toddler. But we have had up to 5 and it has lots of room. Very pleased with the trailer and the slide makes a huge difference for room and comfort. do recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Where's the best place to get the air bags to keep the rear end from sagging when towing?
I purchased mine from etrailer.com. I did get them professionaly installed which was a bit expensive. $300. but they did a good job and installed the inflate valve next to the wiring harness plug in.
 

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MDX Tows Fine

I completely agree with WestMDXER's conclusion. I own a 2009 MDX. This summer I decided to purchase a travel trailer and do some travelling. I started looking at light weight trailers, but having looked at a number of options we found that our preference was an Airstream 25. The dry weight of a Airstream Safari 25 is about 6,000 lb, exceeding the specified towing capacity of the MDX, so we were agonizing over whether to get another towing vehicle, or compromise with a light weight trailer. We love the handling and the ride of the MDX and would rather stay with the vehicle. We consulted with Can Am in London, Ont, and Andy's advice was that we will have no problems with towing the Airstream with the MDX. Still feeling leery, I found a number of people who tow Airstreams with supposedly under-rated vehicles, talked to some of them, and was convinced enough that the MDX should be OK. So we went ahead with it. Can AM installed the towing hitch (re-enforced onto the MDX frame), brake controller, and anti-sway bar. The weight distribution hitch came with the used Airstream that I subsequently bought. The anti-sway bar is just basic stuff, nothing fancy. The 25 ft AirStream has two full propane tanks and a battery at the front, but the WD hitch keeps vehicle and trailer nice and level. Can Am re-adjusted the hitch and I think they did a good job and it made a tangible difference. We started with a small camping trip first, and, having no problems, went with a fairly long trip in July. Here's my experience:

We started from southern Ontario, through good highways and fairly level roads, went to the eastern tip of Quebec province (Gaspe area) which passes through some fairly steep (15%) hills, through New Brunswick which has both flat and hilly terrains, through Maine which has some back roads that has surprisingly steep grades (but not long), then returned through Vermont and New York. The journey took about a month and totaled about 5,000 KM (3,000 miles). We had mostly good weather, but also had a few days with heavy rain, and strong cross winds, and some hot (30+C) days. So overall I think we covered a fairly wide mix of road and weather conditions. I typically stay at about 90km on highways, and slow down as needed on steeper grades.

At no point did I ever come across any sway, or anything that remotely resemble out-of-control. The MDX tows the trailer with no problems. There is a slight, perceptible movement when a big truck or bus goes by, but the combo stays on its track, and steering correction is rarely needed. On typical gentle grades on major highways (say 5-10% grade), the MDX tows fine and does not feel labored. Both manual or auto under cruise control work fine under all conditions, although usually I put it on manual when going up steeper hills as I prefer to control it myself. Above 15% grade, the MDX struggles and needs to be put on lower gear (1 or 2), and I just let it slow down and take its pace. The engine temperature never moved one bit; the transmission warning light never came on. Braking was fine, although putting the transmission on low gear didn't help much in slowly down the combo when going down a steep grade, and constant braking was still needed.

The main complaint? The gas mileage sucks. The average mileage for the entire trip was 19L/100 KM (12 MPG). Not only it wears out the credit card, but it also means having to stop for gas every 3-4 hours. I don't mind stopping and taking a break every 3-4 hours, but I do wish the tank is bigger so I don't need to worry as much when I go through sparsely populated areas with few gas stations. A bigger engine with more power would be nice; a diesel would be even better.

But overall it is good enough and I am not going to spend more money to change vehicles. I am heading west next, and this fall we will do the big loop - Ontario to Vancouver through the Rockies, then go south the California, then Arizona, and Florida. It should be fun.




Summary of first trip with the MDX and Jayco X213

This is not a comparison of whether an MDX is a superior tow vehicle to a full size truck or other SUV's, which is obvious, but a fact finding on whether an MDX is capable of towing up to its Maximum.

Me: I am not a professional tow expert nor work in a related field, the summary below is that of my experience and should be taken as such. Do note that different travel trailers may react differently, old vs new, aerodynamics, brake systems etc. The most important is what type of driver you are...if you are a poor driver on a good day...I don't think it matters what you tow with.

Details: We traveled approximately 500km round trip ( 312 miles). The trip was North up the Fraser Canyon, very windy road with lots of hills and steep grades. Vancouver to Lytton BC

My MDX is equipped with a airlift suspension air bags (inflated to 30psi), Tekonsha P3 brake controller, factory hitch and weight distribution bars.
I did not weigh the trailer, but will guess approx 4500lbs loaded. The airbags worked awesome, the MDX did not sag at all!

Braking: the braking was excellent, no issues going down hill and the trailer did not push the MDX, Prodigy P3 brake controller might have something to do with the effectiveness of the trailer brake system. I did not experience any panic stops or aggressive swerving situations, but those situations would be of concern regardless of what type of tow vehicle you had, albeit at a different level. I made a concerted effort to maintain a safe distance and drive defensively.

Power - there were some very steep climbs, i would use the manual shift mode and put in third gear, as long as the revs were around 4000rpm, it had no issues pulling it up the steepest hills and accelerating if required, my average speed was between 80kph and 100kph. On flat or mild terrain it had no issues, although I would shift in sport mode manually between 4th and 5th, did not use 6th very often. I did not go much faster than 100kph (65mph) and could tell the faster I went the less stable the trailer would feel, so don't speed. Could it use more power, for sure, but when can you not.

Handling: you can certainly tell the trailer was behind when a large rig passed by, it would initially create a vacuum when it was beside and the trail would sway slightly toward the big truck and then sway back once the rig passed you. The experience was a bit of a surprise the first few times and then i became used to it. To clarify, the sway was very minimal and far from being a white knuckle experience. I spoke to some friends and with large trucks and they stated there is always some moderate sway when towing large vehicles. The weight was noticeable at times and you could feel the trailer pushing the MDX in certain circumstances, such as turning into a corner going downhill at hwy speeds, but again this was minimal and expected when you are towing close to 5000 pds.

Overall, my wife who was concerned with the findings I made when researching the MDX capabilities for towing, was at ease and even napped part of the way. After the first hour of towing through this terrain, i began to feel comfortable with all the changes to the dynamics of towing and was at ease for the rest of the trip. I was pleasantly impressed.

Fuel economy...yah it sucks avg 12mpg...but towing a 4500lb trailer, what do you really expect...

Conclusion

The MDX is more than capable of towing the set up described above, would I prefer to tow with a full size truck vs the MDX, the answer is yes. But am i going to run out and trade my one year old MDX, take a financial hit on the steep 1st year ownership depreciation, NO. My personal opinion, if you are looking to buy a MDX to tow a large trailer such as mine, I would recommend you purchase something larger, a late model half ton or full size SUV (QX56, Lexus LX570 or Sequoia). You certainly do not need those massive 3/4 ton, diesel blah blah units...unless that is what you want.
However...if you are similar to me as in you already own a late model MDX and enjoy the unit for the 95% of time you are not towing and are considering buying a travel trailer...GO FOR IT! Honda is a marvelous engineering company and they historically do not make claims they cant meet. In the future, i will eventually get a full size vehicle to tow with, but only when the $ figures make financial sense, until then we are going on a longer trip later this summer down south with the MDX.
 

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It seems like the biggest bang for the buck for upgrading MDX for towing comes from upgrading the OEM transmission cooler - does anybody have a recommendation that helped their MDX for this?

(biggest bang beyond the standard tow kit w/ brake controller, etc.)

I have a 2008 MDX with just shy of 100k miles and I'm going to be towing a Jayco Swift 184BH. Here's its basic stats:

Unloaded Vehicle Weight (lbs) 2,625
Dry Hitch Weight (lbs) 315
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs) 3,500
Cargo Carrying Capacity (lbs) 875

I've been reading through this thread and this other thread to try and make sure I'm doing everything I can to preserve the long-term health of my MDX.
 

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Doesn't the 2010+ MDX come with a tranny cooler, oil cooler and high volume cooling fan standard or is that part of a factory option package if one got the tow hitch included? Do you use load leveling bars with a heavier load?

Feff
 

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Doesn't the 2010+ MDX come with a tranny cooler, oil cooler and high volume cooling fan standard or is that part of a factory option package if one got the tow hitch included? Do you use load leveling bars with a heavier load?
Just ordered the OEM trailer hitch and harness kit from Tim. He was kind enough to answer the question above.

Feff
 

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Just ordered the OEM trailer hitch and harness kit from Tim. He was kind enough to answer the question above.

Feff
What was the answer? Should the +10 MDX be updated to heavy duty trans cooling system?
 

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Fellman---I missed what you are towing. It must be above rated capacity if you are adding air helper springs.

If so there are a lot of things to consider. If you are barely above rating, drive at lower speeds, have ideal tire pressure, accelerate slowly, drive in light traffic where you can stay well behind other cars, do not hit any bumps very hard, do a very good job of changing transmission fluid much more frequently than recommended, drive REALLY is very short...you might get by...and not significantly reduce MDX life...
 

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Does the new 2014 mdx include all this for towing. I have a 2012 and it it wonderful towing a 217 hurricane deck boat. I am not so sure about the new mdx. Can anyone give me some insight?

Thank you
 

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Does the new 2014 mdx include all this for towing. I have a 2012 and it it wonderful towing a 217 hurricane deck boat. I am not so sure about the new mdx. Can anyone give me some insight?

Thank you
Depends on what version of the 2014 MDX you have?

2014 and 2010-2013 MDX Passengers (150lbs per passenger) plus sh-awd w/ ATF cooler (cooler standard on 10-13 MDX, optional on +14 MDX):
2 passengers, 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg)
3 passengers, 4,750 lbs (2,155 kg)
4 passengers, 4,500 lbs (2,041 kg)
5 passengers, 4,250 lbs (1,928 kg)
6 passengers, 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg)
7 towing is not recommended with 7 passengers

2014 MDX Passengers (150lbs per passenger) plus sh-awd w/o ATF cooler or 2WD models:
2 passengers, 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg)
3 passengers, 3,250 lbs (1,474 kg)
4 passengers, 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg)
5 passengers, 2,750 lbs (1,247 kg)
6 passengers, 2,500 lbs (1,134 kg)
7 towing is not recommended with 7 passengers

I don't know if adding the ATF cooler for the 14 FWD MDX would increase the tow limit to the sh-awd levels? From page 484 in 11 MDX manual and page 309 of 14 manual.
 

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Holly thread revival! I just bought a 2012 MDX with the plan of towing a small camper. I thought 5000lbs sounded great until I read the small print. 5000# with 1 passenger, 4500# with 2, 3500# with 4, etc... Kinda committed now I bought the rig; luckily I am not as ambitious as the op and was looking at a used tab 400 or 320, they are under 3000# dry and max at 3900# and 3500# respectively GVWR and only 10 to 13 feet long with a teardrop shape. Would the MDX be suitable to tow one of those or similar possibly?
 
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