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Old 03-05-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
Jensent
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D3 for towing

Daughter and husband tow an inboard ski boat with their 2011 Pilot. When the transmission starts "hunting" they shift to D3. Problem solved. After driving the Pilot, the Ridgeline is on my short list. Does the Ridgeline transmission have the same capability to be operated in 1st, 2nd,and 3rd (D3)locking out 4th and 5th gear (both are overdrive) to prevent "hunting" ? Nearest dealer is some distance from home.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
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Re: D3 for towing

Yes it does have the D3 gear
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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Re: D3 for towing

The manual says to only use D3 for hill descent, but that seems silly to me. Lugging and hunting are the things that wear the motor and transmission, repectively, when towing. If running D3 prevents either in your particular load/trip combo, then IMHO use the tool that is there.

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Old 03-05-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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Re: D3 for towing

2011 Pilot manual Pg.447 states, "Use D position when towing a trailer on level roads. D3 is the proper shift lever position to use when towing a trailer in hilly terrain." Pg 448 states "If automatic transmission shifts frequently while going up hill, shift to D3." Sounds like the way to go.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:44 AM   #5
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Re: D3 for towing

My 2008 OM provides different instructions and guides against that logic. The Honda auto tranny is different from conventional automatics. It doesn't use planetary gears and consequently has smaller clutches that work with higher pressures and temps.

http://www.ozhonda.com/forum/showthr...=1#post3080121



I have seen no guidance for transmission selection when towing in hilly terrain. The same page that cautions against using D3 also says to use 2 (D2) for more power when climbing. But it doesn't mention towing.

Guess you're only supposed to tow on level ground.

Question for those of you with newer (2009-) RLs: are the transmission instructions different that what my 2008 OM says? More in line with what the 2011 Pilot manual says quoted in the post above?
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
Ian Brantford
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Re: D3 for towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedlever View Post
I have seen no guidance for transmission selection when towing in hilly terrain.
Let it hunt. Use D3 if necessary for downhill braking.
Quote:
Guess you're only supposed to tow on level ground.
No, you can tow on hills. :-) It will rev a lot on the uphills. Let it rev.
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Question for those of you with newer (2009-) RLs: are the transmission instructions different that what my 2008 OM says?
They are the same. It's probably even more important for 2009 and newer, since the mid-range gearing is lower.
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More in line with what the 2011 Pilot manual says quoted in the post above?
Nope. The Pilot is a different vehicle with a different engine and transmission. They are similar in design, but not the same. The Ridgeline's design favours towing more than the Pilot.

Let it hunt and rev when needed.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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Re: D3 for towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Brantford View Post
Let it hunt. Use D3 if necessary for downhill braking.

No, you can tow on hills. :-) It will rev a lot on the uphills. Let it rev.

They are the same. It's probably even more important for 2009 and newer, since the mid-range gearing is lower.

Nope. The Pilot is a different vehicle with a different engine and transmission. They are similar in design, but not the same. The Ridgeline's design favours towing more than the Pilot.

Let it hunt and rev when needed.
Well there you have it. QED.

(But I am curious why Honda chose to put the words, "level roads" in that section. That seems to be a point of distinction for some reason.)

Out of curiosity, do you know what is different about the design of the Pilot tranny? I know it doesn't have the 47mph whine my RL has. But otherwise, it seems to operate identically, has the same transfer assembly setup, same fluid requirements including quantities, etc. But the Pilot does not have the same towing capacity as the RL.

I'll have to check my 2006 Pilot OM for towing instructions. Don't have it at hand at the moment.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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Do NOT let it hunt if you can avoid it. This is one of the main reasons transmissions fail in vehicles like these. Continued shifting and torque converter slipping cause heat to build up relatively quickly especially under a heavy load, like towing at highway speeds. Stick it in D3 or D4, which ever causes the vehicle to minimize shifting. The engine will handle the higher revs just fine an will not cause any significant additional wear. Your fuel mileage will suffer, but a few extras bucks on gas is a lot better than buying a new trans. Unfortunately the trans in 1st gen MDXs is the weakest link...so baby it when you can.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:41 PM   #9
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Re: D3 for towing

Nothing like conflicting information.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:42 PM   #10
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Re: D3 for towing

I've actually experienced the opposite of hunting, but maybe the ones who tow should weigh in: When I was climbing some of the roads in NM and CO, I found the truck would 'hang' in 3rd on hills and only upshift after the road leveled. I tried a few times to get it into D4 on occasion by lifting etc and no.. the truck seemed content to stay there even at 65-70. I was not hauling anything more than a weeks worth of travel gear.

My thoughts while driving? It must be a different set of algorithms; if it 'thinks' that you're towing/climbing it switches over into another mode and holds back on shifting.

Since I've been back in prairie-land, the truck loves shifting low and holding 5th locked. The truck seems to be smarter on a lot of things so I'd be for just letting the truck figure out what it wanted to do.
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