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Discussion Starter #1
It would probably help if I framed that question better.

I just towed my new hybrid lightweight travel trailer home. From PA to NJ, about 1.75 hours total. 2ndary roads and highway. The thing weighed in at 3200 pounds or so, with estimated 425 or so on the ball (easy to figure out based on the factory ship weight w/ propane, just add the weight of the battery and the front mounted hot water heater's 6 gallons that I should have drained prior to departure). No WDH as my dealer didn't think I sagged enough in the back to warrant it; he told me everything drops a little.

So I go home - don't have any problems to speak of. I can definitely tell its there, and sometimes I got this 'surging' sensation. During my test drive my dealer told me that it was normal and just the nature of having some decent weight behind me. Nothing to be concerned with.

And I wasn't. I drove home a little 'tight' or nervous as I never towed anything that big before, but I got there. I even forgot to put the sway bar on, and while I did get a little bit of a different sensation when the tractor trailer blew by me the truck held true. I probably would have had NO issue if I had the sway bar installed.

One time while stopped on a incline I gave it some gas to get going and the front wheels chirpped, but than I guess the 4wd figured it out and all was well. Pulled it up the hill like a beast - I was quite proud of her.

Now - here is why I'm posting this. On the travel trailer forum I am a part of, I get the impression that they think I'm crazy. No WDH, I didn't get it weighed, Honda's can't tow, 4750 pounds how about 80% of that, blah blah blah.

When I point out that:

A. My manual clearly states 3 passengers of 150 pounds, 15 pounds of gear each, leaves me 4750 pounds to pull and 600 on the ball.

B. My manual clearly states Honda doesn't recommend a WDH.

C. So if A and B are true, than Honda had to have engineered the truck to pull 4750 pounds w/ 600 on the ball and no WDH.

The folks on the trailer forum think I'm smoking dope.

?????

So what is it fellas? I felt like I'm good to go, but the other forum folks have me wondering if I signed a death wish or something. I thought the truck did pretty darn good actually, considering all the doom and gloom I read outside this forum.
 

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The world is full of Ridgeline haters.
 

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It is very simple. The people with other trucks are used to reduced expectations because those other manufacturers have a long history if inflating their specs to be very optimistic. That is the reason for the 80% rule -- it's a fudge factor to be realistic for them. They simply haven't seen a truck whose specs include safety margins.

Here is an accounting of the sad history of towing specs:
http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/trailer-tow-rating-standards/
 

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What I would offer as additional info is that many of them are towing significantly heavier loads: 9K, 12K, 16K, some even more. Those require more vehicle and WD hitches, goose necks and/or fifth wheel hitches.

Simply point out that you're RL is rated for 5000# and that you're only towing 3200 pounds, which is well under their recommended 75/80 percent allowable safety factor (which for the 5000 #RL would be something like 3700# including passenger and gear).

Q: is the allowable tongue weight 500, or 600# as you claim? I don't remember that spec. In either case you are still safely below that amount.
 

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Here are the specs on the tongue load from my 2008 OM:


IMO, S1njn is in good shape with his setup. Ian nailed it when he mentioned other trucks' inflated towing capacity. Honda is one of the few (if any) who determine their towing capacity honestly. There's a spec for this mentioned elsewhere on the ROC.
 

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There are plenty of 'weight police' on the RV forums. You are within Honda's limits. The quality of your tow may be hampered on some steep climbs but you can live with that. If you are within spec and the truck and trailer are level you should not have any problems.
I tow a light camper and my only concern is the less than stellar brakes on the Ridgeline. I just compensate with more trailer brake bias.
To be fair to the RV folks. I towed my old hybrid with a 2500 chevy, 6 liter with 4:10 rear. Big difference in tow handling. ALSO a big big difference in MPG !!!
 

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Towing with the RL is not an issue - the truck was carefully designed by an extremely talented group of engineers to pull trailers up to a 5,000 pound limit. Why 5,000 pounds? Because that's what the Honda team's research indicated was the "sweet spot" for their target market. The following quotes come from the Honda Ridgeline introduction materials back in February 2005, and detail the engineering approach they took. (This info is all available through the Honda website)

I have taken the liberty of highliting a few pertinent points. If the RV folks keep giving you grief, just use the info below.

5,000 Pound Towing Capacity

As part of the Ridgeline's truck DNA, its towing capacity rating of 5,000 pounds enables it to haul a wide range of trailer modules such as a medium-sized boat, two AquaTrax personal watercraft, or a two-axle camper/ "toy hauler" in the low 20-foot range (depending on camper type and load weight). Honda's market research of truck owners who tow a trailer indicates that 84 percent tow less than 5000 pounds, making the Ridgeline a good match for the way most people actually use a truck. To access the truck's full towing capability, simply add a Honda accessory hitch and wiring harness. All necessary transmission and steering coolers are standard equipment, along with factory-installed pre-wiring for quickly connecting a four- or seven-pin trailer electrical harness. Stopping power is provided by a robust braking system that features high performance 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, and Vehicle Stability Assist.
When they screech about how the RL is "a minivan platform with a unibody and not a real truck with a ladder frame", point out the following:
Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline uses a new generation of truck platform with a ladder frame and a unibody for enhanced levels of safety with class leading rigidity and performance. The Integrated Closed-Box Frame with Unibody Construction is engineered to balance the rugged traits of a dedicated truck frame with high levels of safety, handling and fuel economy of a unibody design. Underneath the unibody frame sits a fully integrated ladder frame comprised of seven crossmembers with high-strength steel reinforcements that create six fully boxed zones with the lower portion of the unibody. The benefit of the unibody construction (compared to traditional body on frame construction) is better space utilization and vehicle packaging, better handling, and enhanced energy absorption capabilities. MacPherson struts are used for the front suspension and a space saving multi-link with trailing arm suspension is used in the
rear.
For when they screech about lack of braking:
Braking System

The Ridgeline is equipped with the pickup truck segment's most advanced braking system with four-wheel disc brakes and a four-channel Braking System designed for the heavy-duty cycles imposed by towing and heavy payloads. The brake system hardware is tuned for quick response, low effort, and short pedal travel. For optimum performance with widely varying loads, the Ridgeline features an Electronic Brake Distribution system (EBD). Brake Assist is used to assist with brake function during accident avoidance maneuvers. At the rear, a select-low braking strategy is used to preserve directional stability in slippery driving. In the event one rear wheel verges on lock-up, triggering a pressure modulation at that wheel, brake pressure is also diminished at the adjoining wheel to preserve lateral stability.

Extra-large brake rotors and calipers provide the capacity necessary for short stopping distances and excellent fade resistance - even with a heavy load in tow - and the precise pedal feel expected of a Honda. The vented front rotors are 12.6 inches in diameter and 1.1 inches thick. Solid drum-in-disc rear rotors are 13.1-inches in diameter and 0.43-inch thick. The Ridgeline features dual- piston calipers on the front wheels for even more secure stopping. A drum-type parking brake mechanism is positioned within the inner portion of the rear rotor. The compact tandem-type vacuum booster consists of two 9-inch diameter booster chambers.
An excellent summary of the towing capabilities:

Towing

The 2006 Honda Ridgeline was engineered to provide compact truck levels of towing capability with simplicity and minimal amounts of additional equipment required to utilize the maximum capacity. As a result, the Ridgeline has a long list of standard equipment geared exclusively to towing duties including automatic transmission and power steering fluid coolers, pre-wiring for both 4-pin and 7-pin trailer wiring harnesses, a dual fan radiator and heavy duty brakes.

The Ridgeline's towing capacity of 5,000 pounds allows it to haul medium-sized boat trailers, camper trailers, cargo/box trailers, personal watercraft, utility trailers and much more with confidence and ease. Engineered from the ground up with towing in mind, the ladder frame has seven crossmembers that provide bending rigidity more than 2.5 times stiffer than the best performing compact truck body-on-frame competitor and rear torsion rigidity more than 20 times stiffer. The ladder frame/unibody construction translates into towing toughness with strong load- bearing paths positioned throughout the vehicle. The transmission features a low final drive ratio, high capacity bearings, heavy-duty clutches and stronger shafts. The engine has a fresh air intake to supplement good torque production in hot weather.

Industry practice is to boast a high maximum tow rating, even though some sacrifice of passengers and cargo may be necessary to suitably accommodate such a trailer load - in some cases limiting the vehicle to one passenger to accommodate the maximum specified towing capacity. The Ridgeline's 5,000-pound rating is calculated to include up to two passengers and 200 pounds of cargo.

To help ensure that customers will be able to move a maximum-rated load up a grade from rest (such as pulling a loaded boat trailer up a launch ramp), engineers sought out the most challenging entry roads and launch ramps in the country. Through extensive field testing, they verified that the Ridgeline can handle extreme conditions.

The Ridgeline's tow hitch and other hardware needed for the job are factory engineered for dealer installation. The dealer- installed trailer hitch is a Class IV receiver-type design that bolts on with no drilling, cutting, or bumper-cover modifications. A short harness to provide electrical power to trailer lights and aftermarket trailer braking systems plug into a connector provided at the rear of the vehicle.
 

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A few points to consider when towing with the Ridgeline:

1) It is a great truck, but it is powered by a V-6 with relatively low torque compared to the V-8 trucks that many might be used to towing and hauling with. The V-6 makes power at high RPM, and when towing and hauling you will see the engine running at high revs sometimes and switching gears to try to keep things in the sweet spot. This is expected behavior. Check trailer weight, check tire pressures, make sure things are within limits, mash pedal and go.

2) Use premium (Super Unleaded) fuel. You will get another 10 hp and when towing every extra pony is very valuable.

3) Many roads and highways that had 55 - 65 mph limits just a few years ago, are now 70, 75, even higher in some places. Your vehicle may have the power to tow a given trailer at the higher speeds, but be aware the designers may not have put much thought into vehicle handling while towing at 80 or 90 mph. In general, higher speeds when towing equals worse handling and more white-knuckling of the steering wheel. Driving a bit slower will generally make your experience much more enjoyable, and much safer to boot.

4) When you have your trailer brake controller installed, make sure you read the manual and know how to adjust the gain on the controller BEFORE you take off on that first trip. If you don't, you may encounter lots of fun with trailer brakes that lock at the slightest touch of the pedal, or brakes that function weakly even with a strong push on the pedal. Hook up to your rig, look at the lights on the controller, and make sure it is dialed in correctly with a quick pull around the neighborhood. A big parking lot at a school or church is a great place to do your brake checks.

5) Most important step of all: HAVE FUN
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all of this everybody.

As to Uncle Festus, I experienced 1 (but knew to expect it having owned Hondas in the past I know they need to rev to produce their grunt), I did 2, as to 3 I stayed at 60 on the highway no matter who was passing me, and 4 my controller is 'boosted' a smidge to grab a little faster. It worked pretty well for me - I'm happy w/ it. :)

5 will take some time as I get used to this !
 

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Uncle Festus, great post. I'll have to bookmark that for future reference.
 

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My 22' rig weighs pretty close to the OP's. Been towing it all around the SW for 6 years now with my '06 RT. I do not have sway bars or a WD hitch and never had sway or disturbance from passing trucks. Here it is on top of one of the many 10,000' passes we've been on.:act030:
 

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Just to add some personal experience, None of these have used a WDH.

I have owned two Ridgelines. Between them I have towed 3 different trailers.

Two boats. Boat 1 trailer is 3650 loaded. No brakes. Towed without incident approximately 14,000 miles to date. I can tow this rig at 65mph all day long.

Boat 2 is about 3000 loaded. It is a pontoon so it has wind resistance similar or worse than a typical camper. Trailer has surge brakes only. Towed approximately 2000 miles to date without incident. The wind resistance is a pain on this rig and keeps the speed below 65 (55-60 is best). Above 65 kills the MPG, and causes the truck to run at around 4000rpm for more than I am comfortable with.

Trailer 3 was an open race car rig. Low wind resistance, and dual axles. But it weighed 5500#. Towed this rig approximately 15,000 miles without incident. 70 MPH was no problem with this rig except uphill. Trailer had electric brakes which makes a giant difference in stopping.

And yes that says 5500# which exceeds the Honda rating. the truck handled it fine. I traded that truck for the new one at 196k miles.
 

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With that much towing, I'm curious what maintenance schedule or prompts you followed cccbock?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had to bounce from the Hybrid Trailer forum - the guys over there are basically telling me I'm a moron for towing what I'm towing w/ a Ridgeline and no WDH. Seems if I don't have a F150 or something similar w/ a WDH I really shouldn't be towing anything besides a Pop-Up/Fold Down trailer. According to them.
 

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With that much towing, I'm curious what maintenance schedule or prompts you followed cccbock?
Sorry, just caught this Speed.

I religiously follow the MM on the truck for ALL scheduled maintenance. The VTM-4 and xfer case follow the MM.

In addition, I change oil and filter at 50% prompt on the MM. Always.

I also change the tranny fluid every 20,000 miles regardless of the MM. This is a full change using a full case of fluid. After a lengthy tow (over 1000 miles) I will drain and the fill the tranny once and check the magnetic plug for excessive sludge. Hondas seem to really like fresh fluid.

I change the PS fluid every 15,000 miles. For whatever reason, the Ridgeline (and my wife's Odyssey) fluid gets very dirty, very quickly. Part of that is living on a dirt road. Part of that is a lot of short distance driving, and annual high mileage. I drive about 30k a year and the wife 15k. Also I think part of it is design of the system. My first RL had a steering rack replaced at 70k under an extended warranty claim so I've been very religious about the PS fluid.

I rotate tires on the MM schedule, and the brakes get done at the dealer (I do brakes on all my other cars). They do a really good job on them for some reason...unlike most of their other services.
 

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I had to bounce from the Hybrid Trailer forum - the guys over there are basically telling me I'm a moron for towing what I'm towing w/ a Ridgeline and no WDH. Seems if I don't have a F150 or something similar w/ a WDH I really shouldn't be towing anything besides a Pop-Up/Fold Down trailer. According to them.
They must have forgotten that most towing up to 5000 lbs was done with trucks about the same size and weight as the Ridgeline up until the late 1990's. I guess that everyone who did that for decades was stupid.
 

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Sorry, just caught this Speed.

I religiously follow the MM on the truck for ALL scheduled maintenance. The VTM-4 and xfer case follow the MM.

In addition, I change oil and filter at 50% prompt on the MM. Always.

I also change the tranny fluid every 20,000 miles regardless of the MM. This is a full change using a full case of fluid. After a lengthy tow (over 1000 miles) I will drain and the fill the tranny once and check the magnetic plug for excessive sludge. Hondas seem to really like fresh fluid.

I change the PS fluid every 15,000 miles. For whatever reason, the Ridgeline (and my wife's Odyssey) fluid gets very dirty, very quickly. Part of that is living on a dirt road. Part of that is a lot of short distance driving, and annual high mileage. I drive about 30k a year and the wife 15k. Also I think part of it is design of the system. My first RL had a steering rack replaced at 70k under an extended warranty claim so I've been very religious about the PS fluid.

I rotate tires on the MM schedule, and the brakes get done at the dealer (I do brakes on all my other cars). They do a really good job on them for some reason...unlike most of their other services.
Sounds like you are exceeding the severe service maintenance schedule... which is about half the normal schedule.

I'm impressed. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
They must have forgotten that most towing up to 5000 lbs was done with trucks about the same size and weight as the Ridgeline up until the late 1990's. I guess that everyone who did that for decades was stupid.
I think its more the lack of WDH than the actual truck, but the fact that its a Ridgeline and not a Taco of Frontier wasn't really helping me.
 
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