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Discussion Starter #1
New member here and been reading various posts on towing. Great info here but have a few specific questions.

I have a 2010 RT, had it for two years and the wife and I love it. To date I've only pulled a 6x14 utility trailer with a 900 lb sidecar motorcycle with it maybe 2000 lb. total. It seems to pull ok but from time to time you could smell the transmission when accelerating or going uphill. Although I didn't use the D3 button on the shift lever.

My RL didn't have the trailer light harness included so I bought a cheap aftermarket one that plugs in between the taillights with the standard 4 wire lights for my utility trailer. I don't have an accessory hitch, all I have is the stock hitch receiver under the bumper that came from the factory.

The wife and I are almost empty nesters (24 year old hasn't left yet but hey he's an adult and can feed the dog when we go) and we have had buying a travel trailer on our bucket list. We really like the Winnebago 2101FBS that weighs 3840 lb. dry. Link: http://winnebagoind.com/products/towables/2015/minnie/overview. It's on sale at a local RV dealer, I almost bought it but I want to make sure I can tow it and find out what mods I need to make to the RL first. I've never RV'ed before so I am a cluelesss noob on that too.

Questions:

I've seen other RLs towing campers here, is a 3800 lb. reasonable or should I be looking at something lighter? Can the RL tow this trailer in the NC mountains OK?

Will the RL tow this camper on the interstate at highway speeds or Do I need to plug along at 60 mph or less. What kind of gas mileage will it get?

The camper has a 6 pin connector for the lights and electric brakes. The genuine Honda harness is expensive and looks complicated (dealer install). Is there an aftermarket model anyone can recommend ?

Do I need a brake controller? I've never used one. How do they install?

Do I need a different hitch or will the stock one work? Is a weight distribution hitch or sway bars necessary?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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That's a lot of questions but I'll try. First - a properly running RL will have no trouble with that load. If you're smelling something I'd get it looked over before towing.

I'm unsure what you do have so lets just say ... you will need the entire towing hitch, wiring and brake controller, and it should be a 7 pin if you expect trailer brakes. I would recommend a weight dist. hitch with sway bars, just to be extra safe. Most trailer tires are limited to 65 MPH, that's what I attempt to obey.

Leave the D3 switch alone, let the RL figure out what gears. Remember to watch your cargo weight and balance the load so you have 15% on the hitch.

I previously pulled a 4037# dry HiLo /5K loaded. The Ridge handled it well but I personally objected listening to its need to use lower gears.

Most important, loose the free-loader. Tough love.
 

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We have some good friends with the same situation. Good kid, nearly 30, college grad - now teaching college biology. Pays rent while his working mom cooks, does his laundry, etc. He'll not grow up/ find a bride/ maybe start his own family, living under the wing.

Back to the RL. The dealer selling you the trailer can quickly look/see what you have and advise what you'll need.
 

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I just looked at your link and then noticed ... although your dry weight is acceptable you will need to limit the total loaded weight to the RL max rating of 5000#. And ideally you should have 15% of the trailer weight on the hitch, which has its own limits. I think the RL hitch rating is 600 pounds but not sure.
 

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Questions:

I've seen other RLs towing campers here, is a 3800 lb. reasonable or should I be looking at something lighter? Can the RL tow this trailer in the NC mountains OK?

[I think you are reaching the limit if you have any added weight as in what you take along in the truck or trailer.]

Will the RL tow this camper on the interstate at highway speeds or Do I need to plug along at 60 mph or less. What kind of gas mileage will it get?

[It has enough power to get up to speed. Expect single digit mileage in the mountains.]

The camper has a 6 pin connector for the lights and electric brakes. The genuine Honda harness is expensive and looks complicated (dealer install). Is there an aftermarket model anyone can recommend ?

[I just did the 7 pin install with a factory kit 2 days ago. Not difficult and after seeing how the factory segregated each circuit I highly recommend it.]

Do I need a brake controller? I've never used one. How do they install?

[Yes. You're towing enough to need additional braking for hills and when eventually some idiot will pull out in front of you at highway speeds. There's a plug under the dash for the controller. Just screw the unit to the lower dash panel.]

Do I need a different hitch or will the stock one work? Is a weight distribution hitch or sway bars necessary?

[Should be adequate.]

Thanks in advance for your help.
I would have to see about towing in overdrive. My last truck would hunt for gears unless I turned it off.

Happy camping!
 

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Welcome to the ROC!

I don't trailer yet, but have followed many of the trailer threads since joining ROC.
- Use premium fuel when towing.
- Likely MPG will drop to ~10-12mpg towing a travel trailer with a large aero footprint.

Again, I haven't towed, but those are some tidbits I've picked up.

Good luck & Happy Camping!
 

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Questions:

I've seen other RLs towing campers here, is a 3800 lb. reasonable or should I be looking at something lighter? Can the RL tow this trailer in the NC mountains OK?You should be fine but your mileage will be under 10 i expect. Also like others said get the tranny looked at first. I towed a 3800 pop up in Alaska with no issues but it didnt have the airload yours will have.

Will the RL tow this camper on the interstate at highway speeds or Do I need to plug along at 60 mph or less. What kind of gas mileage will it get?With both of our pop ups I was able to maintain 65 MPH with no trouble, Just remember you need more stopping distance and your not going to do any jack rabbit take offs so dont pull out in front of anyone.

The camper has a 6 pin connector for the lights and electric brakes. The genuine Honda harness is expensive and looks complicated (dealer install). Is there an aftermarket model anyone can recommend ?

Do I need a brake controller? I've never used one. How do they install?Installing the brake controller is pretty easy and there are threads about it on here. Its one plug and some screws for mounting. Get the harness for the controller you decide on thats for the truck. The hardest part is there isnt a lot of room behind the dash.

Do I need a different hitch or will the stock one work? Is a weight distribution hitch or sway bars necessary? I tow with the stock one with no issues. Others swear by weight distribution and sway bars. Honda says not to use WD. Personal preference but also check state law. In MN you cannot tow anything over 1500 lbs without a brake controller.

Thanks in advance for your help.[/QUOTE]

Have fun and I'd recommend looking at a Trail Manor. Also remember your going to get 100 opinions from here and most of them with be waaaay to the side of caution/fear. Go with whats legal and what your comfortable with. Also look at what you want to put in the camper and include water weight and stuff so you stay under the 5K limit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies. I don't plan to haul a lot of gear in the camper but when you add propane tanks, some water and general gear, it's probably not hard to add another 500 lbs.
 

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My camper experience is limited as I bought an older 70's era camper then sold it before really using it. While you may like a certain layout/size think about how much you really need, something smaller may fit you just as well.
 

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I tow a 3,000 pound pop-up camper and got about 14 mpg on a 3,000 mile trip up to Nova Scotia, Canada (lots of hills). Of course a pop-up does not act that much like a wind sail.

I suggest towing without water if you can to save weight. Also, it is a good idea to purchase a full size spare. I found a good used wheel here: http://car-part.com/ (A buddy in the auto insurance business told me about that site.)

I use a Tekonsha Primus IQ brake controller. The wire harness under the dash was difficult to find. I believe it had blue tape covering the connector (when I finally found it.)
 

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"I suggest towing without water if you can to save weight."

I would alter that idea a bit, as follows: I always carry some fresh water (1/5 tank?) - just in case of an emergency on the road toilet need (I want to be able to flush). I also carry a bit of water in the black tank, to keep any remaining solids moist and moving (some folks add a 5# bag of ice when ready to move out); the idea is we don't want anything in there to solidify and form a pyramid.

Your ideas may differ.
 

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I am throwing my recent experience on here for information regarding towing a travel trailer.
Trailer 4300 lbs (3900 plus gear and options) Keystone Fireside 19 ft (23 ft total)
Inside the truck 480 lbs
Tongue load of trailer 450# + Hitch 65 = 515 lbs.
Now for the road results. Traveling from Houston to Palo Duro Canyon park. starting at sea level and climbing to 3200 ft once near the canyon and over the course of 650 miles I averaged 8.5 MPG while running 65 MPH. RPM never exceeded 4100 and the truck shifted as needed between 3,4,5. Climbing out of the Canyon with a 10% grade for 1.5 miles the truck was able to hold 22 MPH while in 2nd gear. The return trip was much the same but with a 16-20 mph head wind. the truck spent most of the day in 3rd and 3800 RPM while I set the cruise at 62. MPG dropped to near 8 on the return trip due to the head wind.

I am pleased with the performance of the truck. I accept that I am not driving a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck. It was very stable and I never felt at risk of loosing control. i certainly wouldn't suggest a Ridgeline to anyone who tows loads like this one on a weekly basis or plans trips to the mountains but for me latching up my trailer 6-10 times a year for runs like this one or shorter it will do fine.

BTW I used a WD Hitch but put minimal tension on the bars. The truck has minimal sag with my set up. I made some measurements and the truck drops 1 1/2 inches without the WDH bars. I put a little tension on the bars to reduce the sag by 1/2 inch.
 

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I tow a pro line 16 ft aluminum trailer with 2 atvs or 3 sleds about 3500 to 4000 lbs total The truck tows it well BUT the transmission is always shifting up and down. We do a lot of mountain towing. Just bought a new 4 runner to tow hope it makes a difference. Love my ridgeline would NEVER sell it just trying something different.
 

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JohnBG
Welcome, You will love the Winnebago trailers. I bought a Winnebago 1801fb last summer and love it. They make a quality travel trailer. We tow about 4100 lbs loaded and the ridgeline handles it well. I do recommend an WDH and sway control. I use the E2 and i always feel confident and safe when towing especially in the mountains of Colorado.
It sounds like you do not have the factory honda trailer package on your ridgeline ? if you do not have the factory towing package you may not have the transmission cooler which is included in the package, the trailer brake harness is also included in the factory trailer package just ad the brake controller of your choice. I would definitely recommend the transmission cooler for towing something that heavy.
Good Luck with your future purchase!!

Robert
 

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JohnBG
Welcome, You will love the Winnebago trailers. I bought a Winnebago 1801fb last summer and love it. They make a quality travel trailer. We tow about 4100 lbs loaded and the ridgeline handles it well. I do recommend an WDH and sway control. I use the E2 and i always feel confident and safe when towing especially in the mountains of Colorado.
It sounds like you do not have the factory honda trailer package on your ridgeline ? if you do not have the factory towing package you may not have the transmission cooler which is included in the package, the trailer brake harness is also included in the factory trailer package just ad the brake controller of your choice. I would definitely recommend the transmission cooler for towing something that heavy.
Good Luck with your future purchase!!

Robert
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe ALL Ridgelines have the same transmission cooler, correct???
 

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Yes, all Honda Ridgeline's have the Transmission Cooler.

All the Factory Wiring is installed except like the last 2 feet and a relay and fuses in the Engine Compartment and a place for the Electronic Brake controller
 

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Winnebago makes this trailer as well. Exact same as the Minnie Winnie's, but much nicer colors. This one in the picture weighs 3400 dry. Pulled it 3000 miles in 6 months with no problems.
New member here and been reading various posts on towing. Great info here but have a few specific questions.

I have a 2010 RT, had it for two years and the wife and I love it. To date I've only pulled a 6x14 utility trailer with a 900 lb sidecar motorcycle with it maybe 2000 lb. total. It seems to pull ok but from time to time you could smell the transmission when accelerating or going uphill. Although I didn't use the D3 button on the shift lever.

My RL didn't have the trailer light harness included so I bought a cheap aftermarket one that plugs in between the taillights with the standard 4 wire lights for my utility trailer. I don't have an accessory hitch, all I have is the stock hitch receiver under the bumper that came from the factory.

The wife and I are almost empty nesters (24 year old hasn't left yet but hey he's an adult and can feed the dog when we go) and we have had buying a travel trailer on our bucket list. We really like the Winnebago 2101FBS that weighs 3840 lb. dry. Link: http://winnebagoind.com/products/towables/2015/minnie/overview. It's on sale at a local RV dealer, I almost bought it but I want to make sure I can tow it and find out what mods I need to make to the RL first. I've never RV'ed before so I am a cluelesss noob on that too.

Questions:

I've seen other RLs towing campers here, is a 3800 lb. reasonable or should I be looking at something lighter? Can the RL tow this trailer in the NC mountains OK?

Will the RL tow this camper on the interstate at highway speeds or Do I need to plug along at 60 mph or less. What kind of gas mileage will it get?

The camper has a 6 pin connector for the lights and electric brakes. The genuine Honda harness is expensive and looks complicated (dealer install). Is there an aftermarket model anyone can recommend ?

Do I need a brake controller? I've never used one. How do they install?

Do I need a different hitch or will the stock one work? Is a weight distribution hitch or sway bars necessary?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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