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Old 05-26-2013, 03:21 PM   #1
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Jerking/Chugging/bucking while towing--help?

First time out towing:
3170DS
Toad= 2003 Honda Odyssey
Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain tow bar
Roadmaster EZ Baseplate/Bracket
Blue Ox Patriot Braking system
Van in "N" key to ACC

When we first felt the bucking we thought it was from bumpy roads. Then we thought the brakes were being applied to the van as light came on for just a few seconds (on the inside controller). We turned it down to a 2 and then a 1 and bucking continued.
Somewhere in there we realized that we didn't have the "towing/haul" switch on the end of the gearshift depressed so we did that.
When we were on level ground bucking continued.
This was a trial weekend trip but we are leaving cross country in 5 days and are now concerned.
Help!!!
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with having a toad behind an RV but here is link to another web site that might help:

Motorhome Magazine Open Roads Forum: Dinghy Towing: Honda Odyssey


FYI below is the procedure Honda sent me back when they approved towing on most models.

" 02/22/02
(all models except CR-V)

Dear customer:
Regarding your inquiry on towing your Honda or Acura automobile behind a motorhome:
For your vehicle, the Owner's Manual advises against towing at more than 35 m.p.h or for more than 50 miles. However, this recommendation exists primarily because Honda has not conducted formal tests at higher speeds and for greater distances.
We are not aware of any particular problems being caused by motorhome towing of Honda/Acura automobiles with either manual or automatic transmission, so long as proper pre-towing preparations are made and the vehicle is towed at legal highway speeds.

Manual Transmission

When preparing to tow your vehicle, make sure the transmission is full of fluid. Do not overfill.
• Release the parking brake.
• Shift the transmission to Neutral.
• Turn the ignition key to the ACCESSORY (1) position to release the steering wheel lock. Make sure that the radio and all accessories are turned off.

Automatic Transmission

When preparing to tow your vehicle, make sure the transmission fluid level is full. Do not overfill.
If Honda/Acura automobile with an automatic transmission is towed with the front or all four wheels on the ground, you must do the following every day immediately before towing:
• Start the engine.
• Press on the brake pedal. Shift the lever through all the positions (P,R,N,D,2,1).
• Shift to D, then to N. Let the engine run for at least three minutes, then turn off engine.
• Release the parking brake.
• Leave the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (1) so the steering wheel does not lock. Make sure the radio and any items plugged into the accessory power sockets are turned off so you do not run down the battery.
If you travel more than 8 hours in one day (including stopping time), you must stop and repeat the above procedures.
NOTICE:
The steering system can be damaged if the steering wheel is locked. Always leave the key in the ACCESSORY (1) position to prevent damage to the steering system when towing behind another vehicle.
CAUTION:
Severe automatic transmission damage will occur if the car is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed with the drive wheels on the ground.

NOTICE:

Improper towing preparation will damage the transmission. Follow the above procedure exactly. If you cannot shift the transmission or start the engine, your vehicle must be on a flat bed truck or trailer.

If you tow a Honda/Acura vehicle with automatic transmission, the fluid must be changed every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Although experience has shown that the Honda/Acura transmission and powertrain are capable of being "motorhome towed", America Honda does not assume responsibility for any vehicle damage or liabilities incurred due to the towing device, towing vehicle, lighting hookup, or other towing equipment or towing procedures; any responsibility for these items is assumed by the owner/operator.
If you have additional questions, please call American Honda Motor Co. Inc. (National Consumer Affairs) at 800-999-1009. "
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:44 PM   #3
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Fonzie,
Thanks, but we are aware of all of this and have followed the instructions implicitly. Many, many people have towed the Odysseys for years without a problem.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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Do not know much about toads but could the antilock brake system be activating.
I too have a 3170 and would like to know how your trip goes. Mpg, etc.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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Seems risky to tow a Honda vehicle but I guess it being 10 years old, there wouldn't be too much of a loss if the trans gets toasted. Since you are close to your trip, if you can't figure it out just rent a dolly from U haul which will have automatic mechanical surge brakes. Put the toad on it and you will be good to go. Simple, easy and safe for you and your Honda.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
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Garrette,
After the trip home we are thinking a lot may be due to the Blue Ox braking system. That's my call of the morning. I'll post how that goes.
We were in the mountains and mileage was 6.73/gallon....crazy!
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:41 AM   #7
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ATVer,

Appreciate your comment re: Odyssey. BUT we have a family of 7 (6 of us traveling typically). Four are children 11 and under so we need a vehicle that will accommodate all. We own a 2011 Toyota Sienna, the 2003 Odyssey and a very old Infinity J30. Unless we buy something new....can't afford....we're stuck with the Odyssey. We just put over $3k into the setup to tow.
That said it would be really good if we could get our setup to work!
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATVer View Post
rent a dolly from U haul which will have automatic mechanical surge brakes. Put the toad on it and you will be good to go. Simple, easy and safe for you and your Honda.
I see that as a great suggestion - it keeps the Odyssey's drive train off the road and safe.
If nothing else it is a good step to get the toads brake system out of the equation. If it turn out to be the safest choice, get your money back on the brake controller. Then get one of these:
Roadmaster Tow Dolly with Electric Brakes | eBay
If not, return the dolly at the next closest U-haul location.

(BTW,Another problem with a brake controller mis-activating is that your toad will have no brakes when you get to the CG.)
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:54 PM   #9
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I tow a wrangler 4-flat down with the blue ox braking system on our 3170DS, I haven't experienced any of these issues.

Start with the process of elimination; can you safely take a drive (no hills) and do not use the brake system? If jerking/bucking goes away, you can focus on fixing the brake system. Did you follow the start-up calibration procedure on the blue-ox and test the arm activation? I have also heard that the blue ox doesn't fit very well in some vehicles driverside. If the seat is not firmly pulled forward and supporting the brake system it can operate erratically. You can fabricate a piece of wood to place in front of the seat and provide a sturdy support against the blue ox.

I think your issue is 1 of 2 things; either Odessy drivetrain or the Blue-Ox is not properly setup\installed. Good Luck fellow 3170 owner, let us know if you resolve this issue.

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Old 05-28-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofranco View Post
ATVer,

Appreciate your comment re: Odyssey. BUT we have a family of 7 (6 of us traveling typically). Four are children 11 and under so we need a vehicle that will accommodate all. We own a 2011 Toyota Sienna, the 2003 Odyssey and a very old Infinity J30. Unless we buy something new....can't afford....we're stuck with the Odyssey. We just put over $3k into the setup to tow.
That said it would be really good if we could get our setup to work!

Wow. You could have gotten a Master Tow Dolly with brakes for about half that and could tow any of your vehicles. Agreed if you already have $3K into your setup, you need to figure out a way make it work if you can't return it. If you can return it why not try the rental dolly for this trip and see how you like it. Some people don't care for dealing with the extra equipment if you aren't in a pull through site.
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