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Old 09-01-2014, 04:33 PM   #1
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Acura MDX and WDH - What to do?

After changing our minds more times than I can recall, we just ordered the x20e hybrid, and also ordered an Equalizer hitch and a P3 brake controller.

Our TV is a 2013 Acura MDX (5K towing capacity)

THEN we read the MDX manual: Acura does not recommend using a WDH because of its built-in TSA (Trailer Stability Assist). It does, however, suggest adding some sort of sway control . . .

Really? We had become sold on the Equalizer. What are other MDX owners doing? Hellooooo . . . Anybody?
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:42 PM   #2
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I would think it will need something. That X20E will have likely close to 600 pounds TW as it will weigh over 4K
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:00 PM   #3
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More info from MDX manual:

Weight Distributing Hitch: A weight distributing hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle, as an improperly adjusted
weight distributing hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking
performance.

Your vehicle is equipped with trailer stability assist function. This function works on the same sensors as the vehicle stability assist (VSA) system. This function helps to stabilize the vehicle/trailer combination when the trailer severely sways or oscillates.

If the function detects vehicle/ trailer instability, it checks if the swaying is caused by the trailer, and if the trailer swaying or oscillation is increasing. The vehicle/trailer combination is more affected by crosswinds, buffeting, and improper tongue load. These conditions can make the trailer unstable, and cause it to sway. stability assist begins to stabilize the vehicle/trailer combination by reducing the vehicle speed. The control unit sends signals to selectively apply the brakes and regulate the engine output. The brake lights of your vehicle will be turned on automatically by the system even if you do not keep the pressure on the brake pedal. When the brakes are applied, the trailer's
brake lights come on along with the vehicle brake lights. When the trailer stability assist activates, you will see the VSA system indicator blink. Trailer stability assist cannot prevent a loss of control. Always reduce the vehicle speed and steer firmly. Do not brake suddenly or make quick steering motion. It could cause the trailer to jackknife or turn over and the system becomes ineffective. Trailer stability assist cannot prevent swaying that can occur in crosswinds and in normal and emergency driving maneuvers. It helps only to stabilize the vehicle/trailer combination in these conditions, after the oscillation becomes severe. Trailer stability assist will also be ineffective while driving at high speed or towing a trailer with a high center of gravity.

Does anyone have experience with this device? Is it a good idea to override the system and go ahead with the Equalizer?
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:03 PM   #4
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Sorry for being so long winded, but our MDX manual also says:

Sway Control
This device is recommended if your
trailer tends to sway. Your trailer
maker can tell you what kind of sway
control you need and how to install it.

What is the manual suggesting that we do? Is it safe to override the VSA and continue with the Equalizer? or . . . ?

What would you do?
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:48 PM   #5
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Like I said above, I do not believe you will have a choice. Once you hook on to that big a trailer loaded ready to camp I think your TV is going to squat and your front end is going to lift up considerably. A WDH is the only way to correct that.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:07 PM   #6
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I'll be honest here... I haven't seen an MDX tow much more than a couple of jetskis.

If they do not recommend a WDH, then they likely don't want you towing a trailer larger than a pop-up with it. The X20E is 3700# dry, with 370# on the hitch. You'll need to distribute that somehow.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:28 PM   #7
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I don't see how a WDH would make the situation worse. Just make sure you don't exceed the max tongue weight for the factory receiver. YMMV.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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The 2013 Acura MDX has the Uni-body design, which IMO is the underlying reason for Acura "not recommending" the use of a WDH.

Does your Acura MDX owners manual have any reference to a maximum trailer tongue weight limit? I thought the MDX had a maximum 450lb (maybe 500lb) trailer tongue weight limit (?).

Also, don't forget that the published MDX 5,000lb tow rating decreases by the weight of passengers, cargo, etc..

As far as a sway control device, any trailer has the potential for a sway event...., so a sway control device should be utilized with the VSA system.

Based on the Acura information presented, I wouldn't use a WDH, which IMO may rule out the X20E under loaded conditions.

Bob
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:57 AM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for trying to help. I don't know what we would do without the feedback from forum users.

We expect the TT to be about 3,900# because our only upgrade is the television. MDX has 5,000# tow capacity with 500# max. tongue load. The TT has a factory installed Class IV hitch (with wiring harness; tran cooler, etc.) Does this suggest that it might have been intended to tow something more than a jetski? Or am I missing the point here?

Obviously, we never really intended to test that MDX tow package until I made the tactical error of going to a big RV show and falling in love with the Jayco Hybrid.

I can see that we might be cutting it close on weight but we don't need to carry much as we are used to camping (way) light. If the tongue weight is only 400#, we will have room for ourselves, the dog and 450 - 650 pounds of "stuff". Anyway you look at it, the MDX will need to be replaced in the next year or so and at the rate we are going, we will still be trying to figure out how to hook it up and drag it out of storage.

At this point, I am inclined to stay with the x20e because the Big Guy likes the slide and I wanted to stay away from the extra length of the x23b. We can load it up and then weigh it. If the weight(s) are higher than we hoped, we can switch out the MDX sooner rather than later.

I also sent an email to and left a message for Equalizer about the WDH questions and will re-post what I learn there. I think that the person who commented on the uni-body construction may have been right.

All that said, if I am missing the boat here, please speak up.

In closing, the Big Guy was definitely correct - Those darned RV shows can become mighty expensive.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giddyup View Post
snip....... The TT has a factory installed Class IV hitch (with wiring harness; tran cooler, etc.) Does this suggest that it might have been intended to tow something more than a jet ski? .......snip
The Class IV hitch is rated up to 10,000 pounds towing capacity, 600 to 1,000 pounds tongue weight...., but not all Class IV hitches are rated for both Weight Carrying (WC) and Weight Distribution (WD). In your MDX's case the vehicle's 500lb tongue weight limit is the trump card over your Class IV hitch's rated capability.

The MDX's specified 500lb tongue weight maximum 'suggests' to me that the vehicle's OEM Class IV hitch was intended to be used in a Weight Carrying mode, not Weight Distribution with a WDH.

I agree, the best you can do with the X20E is confirm all your loaded weights and stay within your specified weight limits.

No, your not missing the boat..., your asking all the right questions.

Bob
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