Issues towing new 16' home with Honda Pilot

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angle77
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Issues towing new 16' home with Honda Pilot

Just towed home a new 16' from Backus to Michigan with a 2018 Honda Pilot and were quite surprised by how hard the car seemed to be working. Wondering what others' experiences are? The AWD Pilot is set up for 5,000 lb. towing and has a 3.5 liter V-6 and 6 speed transmission.  We had constant downshifting to 4th gear at 60-65 mph with cruise control on, on very minor hills, like highway overpasses, causing us to wonder how we would ever tow in the mountains.  The car did shift into 6th gear on the flat, but downshift on the slightest incline.  Our gas mileage was terrible at 15-16 mpg - normally get 28 when not towing.  I expected 18ish just by gut.  Tried the D4 "towing in hills" button in the gear shift but that limits transmission to 4th gear as the highest which causes 3,000 rpm at 60 mph - pretty high for long term travel.  We called Scamp about possible electric brake issue - helpful but seemed to rule out brake issue (did not have our brake controller connected to see how car would handle braking without it).  I tried coasting in neutral down a pretty steep grade descending to the Mississippi River leaving Minnesota and was actually slowing down from 60 mph to 55 mph where I stopped the test.  I was expecting the opposite, Does anyone tow a 16' with a Honda Pilot and what are your experiences?

athearn2
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Winter Gas

We just returned to Maine from a trip to Florida. This was our fourth big trip with our 13 Scamp towed by our 4 cylinder Nissan Frontier. It was the latest in the year trip we have done with this rig. On the previous 3 trips we were able to average 20 MPG and had occasional issues with needing to down shift depending on terrain. On this latest trip we barely  averaged  16 MPG and had many occasions were we felt we really needed more power. Our truck seemed to be running fine but it just acted very tired. Our mechanic felt very strongly that the poor fuel mileage and performance was due to "winter blend" gasoline. That is, the gasoline companies use different formulas in winter and summer. The winter formulas have less "bang for the buck".

angle77
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Wow, I didn't know that.  I

Wow, I didn't know that.  I wonder if mid-grade or premium gas would help that out.  I'll have to try it.  Thanks for the info!

Writer21
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I agree with the mid-grade or

I agree with the mid-grade or premium gas comment .And don't buy e-85 fuel. I doubt if you were doing that, but just in case. E085 supplies about 72% of "ummp" of gasoline.

ac0gv
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It's EPA air pollution laws

When traveling for the State of Wisconsin I always bought my gas as far from Millwaukee as I could. Refiners alter their gasoline formulations depending on the seasons / locations, and summer gasoline contains more energy than winter-blend gas. A primary difference between winter- and summer-blend gas is their how easily the fuel evaporates at increased temperatures. If the fuel doesn’t evaporate readily in cold temperatures, the engine will start hard and run rough when it’s cold outside.

https://www.gasbuddy.com/go/winter-gasoline-its-no-myth

Sunfish
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Power and gas mileage issues

Hi.  I think your towing issues are not unusual.  I probably pulled our 16-ft Deluxe Scamp on the same roads from Minnesota that you were on with a old Dodge Grand Caravan.  It worked quite hard on some of those hills.  I bought a used Dodge Durango, which has a high towing capacity, because I did not want to struggle with big hills again.  My Durango has the factory towing package with some heavier duty parts.   However, my speed still drops on big hills but not drastically.  I use the manual shifter paddles in hills. The towing capacity with most Honda Pilots is about 3500 pounds unless you have their Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD System.  Your gas mileage seems normal.  Pulling a trailer is like dragging a big parachute behind a vehicle.  It is not unusual to see gas mileage drop by 33%.  Maybe, gas formulations can explain part of the problem.  However, it is normal to have less efficiency in cold weather or extremely hot weather.  

angle77
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Thanks for your feedback.  I

Thanks for your feedback.  I have been reading about towing on the Honda Pilot owners site and have pretty much found that my experience was "normal".  Apparently, my expectations were out of line due to inexperience in towing.  Our gas mileage was actually better than what many quoted.  Mid-grade or premium gas is supposed to improve mpg and downshifting as does keeping speed down to 60mph. Driving without cruise control is also supposed to reduce downshifting.  Several on the Pilot towing forum said they towed for long hauls in 4th gear at 3,000 rpm!  Several were towing trailers well over 3,000lbs!  I can hardly imagine that after towing our empty 1,800lb. Scamp.

ac0gv
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Scamp weight

If you have not had your Scamp on the scale, it would be a good idea.

My 16' deluxe was a few HUNDRED lbs over the listed shipping weight.

 

randy17440
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cruise control

Just a comment about cruise control.  My TV has a manual transmission, so I don't run into that when towing, but my other car is a 4-speed automatic.  My experience with cruise is that it's just aggressive about trying to maintain the set speed.  It will downshift on hills that I wouldn't downshift from 5th gear in my manual vehicle.  The car has a "manual shift" option.  On the highway, I put it in 4th and keep it there unless I start to seriously lose speed and RPMs on a big grade.  Then I downshift it manually.  

Randy

Randy in Paonia

markjazzbassist
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1.  never use cruise control

1.  never use cruise control when towing, auto manufacturer's DO NOT recommend using it when towing

2.  per the manual in your vehicle, Overdrive should be OFF

3.  drive 55-65mph for best gas mileage

4.  get the brake controller and use the brakes on the scamp, find the sweet spot setting so you're not using all car brake or all scamp brake, you want equal amounts of both

 

I tow a Scamp 16 (albeit an older one that is lighter) with a Honda CRV and have no issues.  i follow the above and it tows wonderfully.

1987 Scamp 16

seahorse
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Towing with CR-V

The towing rating for a CR-V is 1500 lbs. How do you manage the Scamp 16' weight of 2000+ lbs?

Chris

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