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Old 09-03-2014, 12:48 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by dmward View Post
Sounds like the "TSA" feature is more around sway control. This is common with tow packages (for example, see this on the F150 - ).

The WDH will NOT provide sway control, unless you get something like a dual cam setup (which does weight-distribution + sway).

Sounds like you're doing the proper research by contacting the vehicle manufacturer. Provide the details on the trailer that you are wishing to tow and ask them if they recommend that you tow it with the MDX. You might get a very different answer than from the RV dealer
Re: the sway control, you are 100% correct. But as part of a tow package, it is not as strong or capable as a good add-on WDH. I can disable the Acura TSA as there is a toggle for that. So I thought that I had the answer by disabling the TSA and using the Equalizer 600/6000, which includes a 4 point sway control. It is top rated.

But then Rustic Eagle and at least one other person focused in on the Unibody Construction, which means that the after market WDH could actually cause frame damage or . . . (fill in the blank). I will check with the factory and see if someone higher up the food chain can explain this in simple terms to me and I will post whatever I find.

Either way, we are happy because we will have our TT and we have time to figure out the rest of the equation. Thanks for the video.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:37 AM   #22
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I recommend you read the article on page 6 of this on-line magazine.
http://rvlifemag.dgtlpub.com/?i=2321
If you want to contact the author, look at his dealership website here.
http://www.canamrv.ca/
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by giddyup View Post

But then Rustic Eagle and at least one other person focused in on the Unibody Construction, which means that the after market WDH could actually cause frame damage or . . . (fill in the blank). I will check with the factory and see if someone higher up the food chain can explain this in simple terms to me and I will post whatever I find.
This is a wide spread rumor that Unibody construction is weaker than body on frame but there isn't one piece of evidence that I have found to prove it.

I have surfed the web far and wide to find an instance where a unibody had a complete failure of its hitch because of towing. I haven't found one.
The idea that a unibody can not allow leveraging the weight to the front end is pure conjecture and speculation.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
snip.....Will try Acura again tomorrow and will post what I find.
It will be interesting to hear how they respond to your inquiry.

On a similar subject......,

I purchased a new Subaru Outback a couple of months ago with unibody construction, and have been looking into the weight/towing capabilities while considering a rooftop tent, and/or towing a small cargo (or tent) trailer for my hiking trips.

While doing my do-diligence I found that a member of a Subaru forum contacted Subaru of Canada in reference to weight distribution and the Subaru unibody. This is a very specific case and I wouldn't generalize it, but it was an interesting read.

Subaru forum link, reference Post #1: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...on-system.html

My point in sharing this is that I'm also working through a similar path of questions as yourself outside the JOF forum.

I did rule out towing my Jayco Eagle (it's not actually hitched):



Bob
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:07 PM   #25
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We have an '05 Pilot with an Equalizer and a X17Z. Go to a scale and set it up right and you will be fine. Please check with Acura, Honda rates the towing capacity of the Pilot with 4 adults and their luggage in the vehicle. The factory hitch has 12 attachment points where-as the after market units have 6-8 with the same published ratings. The factory hitch and mounting is over engineered. Honda USA recommends against a WDH because they are worried that it will be set-up wrong. Get all your weight limits and set it up.

We are right at the published limit on the towing, our X17Z is 3055 dry (which includes full propane per the sticker) and 300 TW. The '05 is rated at 3500# and 350 TW. We have air bags in the rear which I use often when loaded up and not towing. I aired them up with the WDH and they didn't change anything. Our front end raises 1/2 inch and the rear drops 1 1/4". We are within all the limits for axle weights and are right at the limit for total towing at 3500#. It is amazing how light you can pack when you need to. We just did did a bit over 3000 mile from Chicago to Yellowstone around a bit out west and back. No problems, perfectly stable. Ran out of some steam at 7500+ feet but pulled like a champ.

Find the MDX's limits and hit a scale. You can get a basic set-up with the Equalizer instructions, then use a scale from there to fine tune. Hope that helps a bit.

PS I did a lot of research over at Piloteers.org before towing also. They may have some MDX info there as well.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:58 PM   #26
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Today, I spoke with an Acura factory rep; hitch mfg. guy; Acura regional service rep; Richardsons' RV; and a hitch distributor. Here's the deal as I now know it:

There are several overlapping issues:

1. The MDX has a 5k# towing capacity, but the hitch is limited to a Class III (4K# capacity) only. As you all likely know, if you add a WDH to Class III hitch, it increases its rating to 5K#. BUT, Acura "recommends" that you not use a WDH and that gives you a big disconnect between their advertised 5K# capacity and their "approved" 4K#. To me, this seems to be an issue of false advertising, but someone else will need to fight that battle.

2. According to Honda, the issue with the WDH install is twofold. The underframe of a Unibody constructed vehicle has nowhere near the strength of the old fashioned frames most of us grew up with. This means that a WDH could possibly add enough leverage to twist the frame. Acura says that the second issue is that the MDX pulls more from the front (even with AWD or 4WD) and that, too, can cause issues with the WDH. (I don't know . . . I think I stopped listening after the part about the frame twisting.)

BTW, the Acura factory rep said that he has photos to prove the twisting, but is not allowed to share those. The conversation was recorded with full ID given on both sides (including my VIN) and documented with a case #, so I have no reason to doubt him.

Acura also says that the installation of the WDH in itself does NOT void the warranty, BUT if there is an incident that causes the frame to twist, then that would not be covered by warranty.

3. Acura dealerships can install Class III (2" receivers) only. If you decide to go the Class III with a WDH route, it will need to be done by another shop.

4. Then there is the issue of the Acura tow package component of the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which I mistakenly called TSA in an earlier post. The manufacturer says that the Equalizer with 4 pt. sway control will eliminate the sway that causes the VSA to engage. There is also a switch that can turn it off.

All of the above was confirmed by the hitch distributor, etc. Richardson's double checked my research and confirmed what they could and were surprised at some of it; the Acura service guy was a bit clueless but knew they could not install anything other than what is listed above; and the Acura factory guy listened, understood, had experience with, and was able to explain all of the above from their POV and their policy.

Bottom line: As many of you have already decided, we are installing the WDH (Equalizer 600/6000) on the Class III hitch and moving on. We will be very careful to stay well within our weight guidelines and distribution and cautious in our near term driving.

There is definitely a new TT and a new TV in our future. If you are in Southern California, be on the lookout for an x20e with a renegade Beagle aboard. The refreshments are on us, but remember we can't tote a lot of beer as long as we are towing with the MDX.

Thanks for your help and I hope my research and posting has helped someone else.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:01 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by greobr33 View Post
We have an '05 Pilot with an Equalizer and a X17Z. Go to a scale and set it up right and you will be fine. Please check with Acura, Honda rates the towing capacity of the Pilot with 4 adults and their luggage in the vehicle. The factory hitch has 12 attachment points where-as the after market units have 6-8 with the same published ratings. The factory hitch and mounting is over engineered. Honda USA recommends against a WDH because they are worried that it will be set-up wrong. Get all your weight limits and set it up.

We are right at the published limit on the towing, our X17Z is 3055 dry (which includes full propane per the sticker) and 300 TW. The '05 is rated at 3500# and 350 TW. We have air bags in the rear which I use often when loaded up and not towing. I aired them up with the WDH and they didn't change anything. Our front end raises 1/2 inch and the rear drops 1 1/4". We are within all the limits for axle weights and are right at the limit for total towing at 3500#. It is amazing how light you can pack when you need to. We just did did a bit over 3000 mile from Chicago to Yellowstone around a bit out west and back. No problems, perfectly stable. Ran out of some steam at 7500+ feet but pulled like a champ.

Find the MDX's limits and hit a scale. You can get a basic set-up with the Equalizer instructions, then use a scale from there to fine tune. Hope that helps a bit.

PS I did a lot of research over at Piloteers.org before towing also. They may have some MDX info there as well.
Thanks for the info, and we are on board with your plan. We are campers and know how to get by without a lot of stuff. Have you seen the kitchen in the x20e? It is tiny - works great for me, as I don't cook. Whoo Hoo! Look at all the packing we avoid with that one.

I will check out the site you mentioned. Check my latest post - hopefully, it recounts may last bit of research on this subject.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
Today, I spoke with an Acura factory rep; hitch mfg. guy; Acura regional service rep; Richardsons' RV; and a hitch distributor. ......snip
Kathleen,

We appreciate greatly your follow-up and the detailed information provided. The information will be a great reference for others to consider when evaluating their own Acura MDX towing needs.

Travel safe and enjoy your X20E

Bob
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:34 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by nbhybrid View Post
This is a wide spread rumor that Unibody construction is weaker than body on frame but there isn't one piece of evidence that I have found to prove it.

I have surfed the web far and wide to find an instance where a unibody had a complete failure of its hitch because of towing. I haven't found one.
The idea that a unibody can not allow leveraging the weight to the front end is pure conjecture and speculation.
I, too, searched for either a first hand experience or photos. It's like trying to hunt down the Loch Ness monster - everyone has heard of it but no one actually witnessed it. My closest personal confirmation was from an Acura factory rep - recounted in my earlier posting of this evening - elsewhere on this thread.

You've gotta admit, however, that it does give you a reason to ponder the workaround.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:45 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by David472 View Post
I recommend you read the article on page 6 of this on-line magazine.
http://rvlifemag.dgtlpub.com/?i=2321
If you want to contact the author, look at his dealership website here.
http://www.canamrv.ca/
Thanks for the link to this article. I posted a long message earlier this evening recounting the results of another day spent sleuthing. We are having Richardson's RV do exactly what is suggested in this article. Without that we would otherwise be hog-tied to a 2" receiver.

I liked the article and (in fact) read most of the online magazine.
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