View Full Version : towing capacity

04-15-2004, 02:19 PM
Hey there,

Anybody out there pulling an outback l/s with an acura mdx? The mdx is only rated at a 3500 pound towing capacity. I am currently pulling my boat with a yukon, but would like to trade up to an mdx, but need to be able to pull the boat. Thanks in advance, and if you would please reply to me directly at danny@jcacompany.com

04-15-2004, 03:30 PM
The MDX is a fine vehicle. I believe it is an evolution of the Honda van platform. I had a look at the Honda Pilot this spring (same vehicle as the MDX under the skin). It does not have the full frame construction, stopping or pulling power of your Yukon. Most of the small to medium SUVs sit on a unibody platform. Although their official towing capacity is 3500 pounds, I do not think they ideal for towing these boats.

Shoemaker Mobius
04-15-2004, 05:48 PM
I tow my 2004 Mobius LSV with a 2002 Ford Explorer rear-wheel drive, 3.8L V6 and have had no problems.

04-17-2004, 11:17 PM
The Honda Pilot is rated for 3500 lbs towing unless there is a boat and the max tow rate is then 4500. They say this is due to aerodynamics of the boat dueing towing. The MDX may be the same since it is built on the same platform. I tow with a 97 Mercury Villiager minivan with a 3500 towing capacity and hold my breath every mile. I will soon get a small pickup with a 5500 towing capacity. My thoughts (although they are not worth much) is use the MDX on a very limited basis and only over flat terrain. Also check to see if the MDX's towing capacity is like the Pilot's with a 4500 pound boat capacity.

04-18-2004, 11:33 AM
My experience - I fried the tranny in my Dodge Gr.Caravan even with trans. cooler.
I now have a 4WD Durango with a small V8 (4.7L?) It does the job pretty well. I always pull the boat in 4WD, just feels better. Gas mileage is horrible.

I think you also need to consider the abiliy of the vehicle to pull the boat out of some less than friendly landings. That is why I went with 4WD. Last thing you need is to get stuck not being able to get your boat out.

I think you need consider the concept of de-rating, never run at max rated capacity. I would never try to pull one of these boats with 3500 max capacity, regardless of claims of areodynamics. If you look at the specs on this web site you will see that these boats with trailer run about 3800 lbs. Then figure additional 200 lbs for fuel and 100 lbs for gear, spare tire, and coolers you are at 4100. This is about 90% of the capacity of a vehicle rated at 4500 lbs. Don't forget that some vehicles the max towing capacity may include vehicle load as well. This means the wieght of passengers and cargo inside the vehicle while towing.

If I am traveling more than a few miles I normally do not fill the boats fuel tank until I get to my destination.

And let's not forget breaking. Your tow vehicle has to be able to adequately stop the whole thing in a reasonable distance without wearing your pads down to nothing on the ifrst attempt.

My 2cts.

04-18-2004, 11:32 PM
I use a F-350 Crew Cab Long Bed with a 7.3 Diesel.......The only problem I have is going too fast...
storz & bickel volcano vaporizer (http://vaporizers.net/volcano-vaporizer)

04-20-2004, 09:08 PM
I am an engineer at Honda and let me tell you that I would not tow with an MDX. Whoever stated that the unibody will not pull like your Yukon they are 100% right. We do not make a vehicle that is capable of towing 4000lbs. Or atleast I wouldn't tow that much with one of our vehicles and I work there.

04-26-2004, 08:34 PM
I'll have to go with batman1171 on this one I use a '03 Duramax have no problem towing in the mountains in Colorado or pulling the distance to mead or powell. plus Diesel=great power and mileage

04-26-2004, 09:25 PM
The choice I made was concurent with the following posts. I purchased a 04 Dodge 2500 Ram with a Cummins diesel. I feel like I have a piece of mind. Besides I love the truck.

04-26-2004, 09:43 PM
I'd tow with some sort of detroit v8 iron, even if it were aged.

3/4 Ton 4wd Burb with 6.0 gas does well except in mountains. Better if it had a different rear end ratio. Hard to back it without lurching. Barn doors mess-up visibility when backing or driving. Long wheelbase plus short trailer tongue make backing-up a pain in the butt.

1/2 ton 4wd silverado with 5.7 does well. Short cab, short wheelbase makes backing-up easy and high visibility. 5 speed allows you to feather the clutch and control the back-up in low range 4wd. This is best for me. ( I have to back up a gravel hill, turn a tight 90 degrees, and have 2 inches clearance on each side of the poles to get into the garage.)

3/4 ton conversion van with 5.7 pulls well in straight line. Handles mountains because of the axle ration ( low top end ). Can't handle a wet ramp or gravel at all. Tires spin.

Ditch the little stuff. Buy a stump puller to tow with if you can.

04-26-2004, 10:15 PM

Sounds like you have a few choices that is always good... But anyway you said that your suburban has the barn doors in the rear and that it is tuff to see when backing up.

Well if you ask me and i really dont mean to be rude but what are you doing looking back. It is so much easier to use your mirrors.. But i guess that just comes from me towing a trailer a bunch.

Anyone else agree with me that you dont need to look backwards when putting your boat in the water and that it is just easier to use your mirrors.

04-27-2004, 12:11 AM
I open the tailgate on my Durango bth for hooking up and for backing up.
I have never gotten good with the mirrors.

04-27-2004, 12:59 AM
Well, what I mean is that the width of the barndoors is pretty healty, so that when a car is following me on the road, there is a perfect blindspot that makes the car difficult to see back of me. Have had cars pass me that I wasn't expecting The side mirrors don't catch it either when its poised back there following. In retrospect, I'd trade the convenience of the barn doors for a regular tailgate any day.

On backing, people say to use the mirrors, else turn around, but don't do both or you get confused. I'm a turn-arounder by nature and it works in the truck, but it messes me up cause with the burb I catch myself doing both. All kinds of blind spots when I turn around in the burb. Guess it really is a problem with me more than the vehicle. When I do the 90 thing and try to hit the garage opening, the rear starboard of the boat can hit the wall when the port trailer tire looks like its hitting its just about on the mark on the cement apron, depending on the angle of the rig. With the burb, I have the lurch thing going on too, so the whole deal is easier with the truck.

Truck has a quarter million miles on it now, but still runs strong. Nothing like an injected v8.

These days we have a pair of Newfoundlands traveling with us, so the truck is not usually an option. Sometimes when we get home, we actually unhook the burb and re-hook to the truck to get the boat into the garage.

So, there's a mess of excuses and ramble.

04-27-2004, 02:29 AM
You may be able to get by pulling your boat with the MDX, but after switching from the Yukon, the bottom line is that you probably won't be happy with it. The biggest thing I'd look at is long term reliability. The MDX is probably a great vehicle for everday driving, but how long is it going to last and be reliable if you pull your boat with it on a regular basis. Personally, I'm a Ford guy, but check out any current American made truck with a full 4 door cab. You'll get the same passenger carry capability plus the flexibility of having a bed in back to carry whatever you want without the worries of stressing the vehicle beyond what is was intended over its lifetime.

04-27-2004, 09:56 AM

OK i see what you mean now. That center part of those doors could make it a pain to see other vehicles.

Driving a truck i dont have that problem....Have you ever thought of buying a Diesel ie. Duramax? i think that you would be really impressed. I have a 4-door short box and have no troulbe getting it in and out of tight spots. The wheel base is just right for the long towing also it is really stable doesnt shake around a lot like my one 1500 single cab chevy.


07-13-2004, 06:07 PM
I pull with a toyota tacoma w/3.7L v6 and it pulls ok. I am probably going to trade it in though on a toyota tundra. It is just too much weight on an engine and tranny that was not designed to tow 4000# boats. V8 is the way to go!! Art

11-27-2004, 08:17 PM
well ..not sure how an MDX is s "trade up" from a Yukon but oh well... thats another story.

I think you need to listen to the honda employee on this one. I mean I pull an Outback LS with Cherokee not a GRAND Cherokee either. It does ok but it dogs on the hill and I CAN'T use it in the mountains. And the Jeep is rated at a full 5000 lbs.

I think if you buy an MDX, you use it for people only or risk destroying it. If you want it that bad then get a old beater to pull the boat.. Othewise find something "n the middle" like a loaded Yukon to pull the boat with.

I've figure due to gear, gas 3 folks riding in the jeep, it quickly adds another 1100-1500lbs to your tow. If you find that you are under powered not only will "things get expensive" but you have the added pressure of breaking down in front of friends family and have to deal with them while you're alredy stressed.

SOOoooo ... do you really want to risk something like that ?