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May have towed too much weight

coconne3
Explorer
Explorer
Towed our camper for first time. Tv max 5000lb and camper single axle 4000lb.
On return trip, noted an odd smell when we would stop at lights. ( no warning lights and did not overheat). We took it to mechanic who found the transmission fluid had become co taiminated and burned (was drained and replaced in January prior to towing and it had the atf added when purchased. Mechanic drained and filled twice to get rid of odor and suggested we take it to dealer (appt is Monday). If we did tow too much weight, is this what we would have seen? If we decrease weight, is it safe to tow at some point? Hoping there’s an issue with the car but if there’s not I think the only answer is too much weight. We r attempting to get firm measurements of weight but kind of hard when can’t pull and need to wait for someone to help! Any suggestions would be appteciated
32 REPLIES 32

blt2ski
Moderator
Moderator
deltabravo wrote:
Bumpyroad wrote:
when I was comparing a pilot vs my highlander, the pilot was rated to tow 5,000 lbs. towing a boat, 3500 towing a trailer.
bumpy


Two tow ratings on one vehicle is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.


some rigs in the past had a ball vs 5w rating difference.

Ford had a poster out that deducted 2500 lbs if you were over 80sq ft of frontal area, another 2500 from 100-120 sq ft. A "NOT recommended you tow a trailer over 120 sq ft.

This issue is so common, it's not funny if you've ever looked at ratings for vehicles from the smallest to largest over 100,000 lbs of capacity.

Marty
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
2014 Chevy 1500 Dual cab 4x4
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer

stevemorris
Explorer
Explorer
again, what are you towing and what are you towing with?
that tow rating of 5000# is too much for most minivans, suv's and way too much for a car, it's bogus number for the ad executives to throw around
but, yes, it sounds like your trailer is too heavy for your vehicle
2017 Ram 1500 4door, 4x4, 5.7 l hemi, 8 speed
2008 KZ Spree 260

4x4ord
Explorer III
Explorer III
You should be able to tow a 4000 lb camper with a Honda Goldwing without burning the transmission fluid let alone using a Pilot. On the other hand if you want to burn up a transmission you don’t need to tow a trailer to do it. How do you know the transmission didn’t have burnt clutches prior to you towing or purchasing the vehicle?
2023 F350 SRW Platinum short box 4x4.
B&W Companion
2008 Citation Platinum XL 34.5

JRscooby
Explorer II
Explorer II
deltabravo wrote:
Bumpyroad wrote:
when I was comparing a pilot vs my highlander, the pilot was rated to tow 5,000 lbs. towing a boat, 3500 towing a trailer.
bumpy


Two tow ratings on one vehicle is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.


Well if you did much towing you would understand some things slip threw wind better than others.
You would also understand wind resistance has more affect than weight most of time.

deltabravo
Nomad
Nomad
Bumpyroad wrote:
when I was comparing a pilot vs my highlander, the pilot was rated to tow 5,000 lbs. towing a boat, 3500 towing a trailer.
bumpy


Two tow ratings on one vehicle is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.
2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator

bikendan
Explorer
Explorer
coconne3 wrote:
Sorry! New to this….
Tv is Honda pilot and Tt is a 19mdble surveyor
Max 55-60


One thing for sure, the trailer's loaded tongue weight is over your Pilot's max hitch weight of 500lbs. With a fantasy dry tongue weight of 470lbs, adding just the battery weight, it's over 500lbs. That's without the weights of factory options, dealer add-ons, water and trailer cargo.
Dan- Firefighter, Retired:C, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur:W, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever(RIP:(), 2014 Ford F150 3.5 EcoboostMax Tow pkg, 2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255 w/4pt Equalizer and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes

wowens79
Explorer III
Explorer III
We towed our popup some with our Pilot, but it was only 3000lbs, and lower wind resistance, and that is about all I would want to pull with a Pilot.

Unfortunately, I think you probably will need to be looking for a larger tow vehicle, or smaller camper.

Don't feel bad it happens to tons of people, there is a post almost daily about similar situations. Car and Camper dealers are horrible about telling people they can tow all kinds of things, and those sales people are either liars or ignorant (or both).

Good Luck!!
2022 Ford F-350 7.3l
2002 Chevy Silverado 1500HD 6.0l 268k miles (retired)
2016 Heritage Glen 29BH
2003 Flagstaff 228D Pop Up

ferndaleflyer
Explorer III
Explorer III
Buy a real truck. Problem solved.

Bionic_Man
Explorer
Explorer
Does the Pilot have a tranny temp gauge? If so, did you watch it.

If you truly are towing within its rated capacity, and the Pilot is new, any trouble should be an issue for your warranty, not you.
2012 RAM 3500 Laramie Longhorn DRW CC 4x4 Max Tow, Cummins HO, 60 gallon RDS aux fuel tank, Reese 18k Elite hitch
2003 Dodge Ram 3500 QC SB 4x4 Cummins HO NV5600 with Smarty JR, Jacobs EB (sold)
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sparkydave
Explorer
Explorer
What year is your Pilot? I have a 2015, I know the newer ones might need the transmission cooler added as an accessory to get the 5000 pound capacity. If it was hunting a lot on highways and you weren't shifting to lower gears as recommended in your owner's manual, you may have cooked the fluid. My Pilot did OK with our ~3200 lb camper (my Pilot is rated 4500), but it had its work cut out and I had to use D3 on the highways.

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
coconne3 wrote:
Towed our camper for first time. Tv max 5000lb and camper single axle 4000lb.


Odds are good it weighs a bit more than 4000lbs, UNLESS you've actually weighed it. If the sales brochure said 4000lbs, that did not include any of your stuff, the water, the propane, the batteries, etc..

Being right at the limit of weight AND the large frontal area is the problem.

Your Honda doesn't have a tow/haul mode either. So any time it isn't in top overdrive the torque converter in the transmission isn't locked, and is heating the fluid. Most likely it was NEVER in top overdrive.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
Beverley&Ken wrote:
Am I reading the original post correctly? You bought? the Pilot in January and they had to change the transmission fluid twice to get rid of the burned smell , that was long before towing. If that's correct, the transmission was badly damaged, long before you started towing. Hopefully covered by some type of warranty.


You aren't reading it correctly.

The mechanic changed the ATF twice *AFTER* the OP burned it towing the trailer.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
JRscooby wrote:
Before you go to dealer, check your vehicle, by VIN to find out what the ratings are. Not sure I would want to start the discussion with "I did this which is an excuse to void my warranty" when troubleshooting the problem.


While the OP was also not proficient about describing their issue and is largely ignorant about the entire concept of basic vehicle capability and towing, your warning of keeping their mouth shut if it’s under warranty is a good reminder, especially for people who have changed their blinker fluid more than once at the dealer, lol.

However I can’t imagine this same conversation here if it was actually under warranty.
Especially the part about having the trans serviced prior to purchase.

But the OP not only lacks even the most basic automotive knowledge, they also seem to have the inability to provide even the most basic relevant information. So based on the stale breadcrumbs they’ve provided imma go no warranty in this case.

It also needs to be realized that many are just venting, under the guise of asking for advice, and others are just “testing” their own theories on the public. (Those are the folks that never are “wrong” lol. )
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Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Beverley&Ken wrote:
Am I reading the original post correctly? You bought? the Pilot in January and they had to change the transmission fluid twice to get rid of the burned smell , that was long before towing. If that's correct, the transmission was badly damaged, long before you started towing. Hopefully covered by some type of warranty.

Ken


Nope you didn’t read it correctly. Back of the line and try again. (Although the OP wrote the post about as weirdly worded as I could imagine).
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold