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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently the Element does well as a 'toad', that is, being towed behind an RV.

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/13772127.cfm

I looked up towing brackets. The Element takes the same one as the CRV. All the front trim is removed, and the steel bumper beam is replaced with a new one, the tow bar base plate. The towing bars are attached to brackets that stick out through the grill opening (the one we all cover with rain gutter grills).

paulj
 

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Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

I have seen comments in other web forums that Honda does not support towing the 2006 model auto 4WD four wheels down (such as behind an RV.) Can you confirm the official Honda statement on towing? Thanks.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

Don't know why the 2006 should be different than all the others. Same drive train, etc. My 2004 manual has detailed instructions on how to do this.:?
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

Cape Cod said:
Well, I finally got something of an answer from a dealer that I called - as of now the only 06 Honda model that is approved for towing 4 down is the CR-V. They say they must do testing to validate if they will support other models. The dealer said there is nothing in the 06 Element owners manual about towing.
Welcome friend.:) After you've been here a while or after you go talk to a sales person at a Honda dealership, you will realize that they know nothing about the Element. For the most part, the E is an unwanted step child. Don't know why, and a few dealerships "get it" but most don't.

Unless I'm missing something, each and every Element has one of two drive trains: Manual or Auto transmission. No other changes. What possible "testing" would be needed to decide a car thats been on the market for 3 years can do something? The first E owner I ever approached with the question about "How you like your car?" said "Great, I can tow it behind my RV".

Again, welcome, and if I'm wrong I will issue a public apology. YOU CAN TOW THE ELEMENT 4 WHEELS DOWN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

The 'Ask The Dealer' heading of this section is misleading. I don't think I've ever seen a reply by someone identifying themselves with a dealership. Maybe in early 2003 there was someone.

The 2006 has the same drivetrain as the earlier models, so towing options should be the same. The 2003 manual has 'Towing Your Vehicle Behind a Motorhome' pair of pages toward the end of the 'Driving' section. Besides specifying the '4 on the ground' towing, it spells out how to 'warm up' the automatic transmission.

Here is a thread on RVNET about the Element which also mentions this '06 CRV' only business.
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/16400078/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1.cfm

And from an operating faq (not 2006 specific)
http://www.ahm-ownerlink.com/Operation/index.asp?faq=operating#towing

This quote from the Civic FAQ may explain what is going on:

TOWING YOUR HONDA BEHIND A MOTORHOME
For your Civic, the Owner's Manual advises against towing at more than 35 mph or for more than 50 miles. However, this recommendation exists primarily because American Honda has not conducted formal towing tests at higher speeds and for greater distances.

We are not aware of any particular problems being caused by towing on all four tires, or "motorhome towing", of Honda automobiles with either a manual or an automatic transmission, as long as proper pre-towing preparations are made and the vehicle is towed at legal highway speeds.
In other words, nothing has changed between 2005 and 2006, but the lawyers are saying 'don't OK it without conducting formal tests'. My guess is that they have tested the more popular CRV but not others.

paulj
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

paulj said:
The 'Ask The Dealer' heading of this section is misleading. I don't think I've ever seen a reply by someone identifying themselves with a dealership. Maybe in early 2003 there was someone.


paulj

I have been here for for a couple years now and i have stated many times i work for a dealer.I found a bulletin today that backs up an earlier comment that Honda has only approved the 2006 for flat towing so far.Since nothing has changed power taine wise since 2003 i'd say with out a doubt the 2006 can be flat towed.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

Cape Cod said:
I have seen comments in other web forums that Honda does not support towing the 2006 model auto 4WD four wheels down (such as behind an RV.) Can you confirm the official Honda statement on towing? Thanks.
Here is a link to search results for "honda element towing" at the Motorhome Magazine forum site. This might answer your current questions and some that you haven't thought of yet :grin: .

There are lots of testimonials from people who've "toad" 2003-2005 Elements, and other Hondas including CRV's as well.

http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/cforum/index.cfm/fuseaction/search/parms/sw{honda%20element}|km{exact}|kl{m}|fm{31}|pd{365}|ma{}/sr/1.cfm

Hope this helps.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

lizzurd said:
I have been here for for a couple years now and i have stated many times i work for a dealer.I found a bulletin today that backs up an earlier comment that Honda has only approved the 2006 for flat towing so far.Since nothing has changed power taine wise since 2003 i'd say with out a doubt the 2006 can be flat towed.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the drive train on an Element 4X4 and a CRV 4X4 the same?
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

hig4s said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the drive train on an Element 4X4 and a CRV 4X4 the same?
The Crv and E actually use 2 different transmissions.The 2005 and up Crv's have Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

From the Honda web site online owners manual for the 06 Element

TOWING YOUR HONDA BEHIND A MOTORHOME

Your Element can be towed behind a motorhome at legal highway speeds up to 65 mph (100 km/h). Do not exceed 65 mph (100 km/h). Otherwise, severe transmission damage will occur. To avoid damage to the 4WD system, it must be "flat towed" with all four wheels on the ground.

When purchasing a tow bar, make sure you select a reputable manufacturer and installer. Follow the manufacturer's attachment instructions carefully. After attaching the tow bar to your motorhome, do the following Shift Procedure to prepare your Element for "flat towing".

Shift Procedure - 5-speed Manual Transmission
When preparing to tow your Element, make sure the transmission is full of fluid. Do not overfill.
Release the parking brake.
Shift the transmission to Neutral.
Leave the key in the ignition switch and the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (I) 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.


Shift Procedure - Automatic Transmission
Do the following every day immediately before you begin towing. Follow the procedure exactly. Otherwise, severe automatic transmission damage will occur. When preparing to tow your Element, make sure the transmission is full of fluid. Do not overfill.
Start the engine.
Shift to D, then to N. Let the engine run for at least three minutes, then turn off the engine.
Release the parking brake.
Leave the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (I) 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.


Extended Towing - Automatic Transmission
If you tow more than 8 hours in one day (including stopping time), you must stop and repeat the Shift Procedure above. You should repeat the procedure at least every 8 hours. (When you stop for fuel, etc.)

NOTICE:
The steering system can become damaged if the steering wheel is locked. Leave the ignition switch in Accessory (I), and make sure the steering wheel turns freely before you begin towing.

WARNING:
Failure to follow the above procedure exactly will result in severe automatic transmission damage. If you cannot shift the transmission or start the engine, your vehicle must be transported on a flatbed truck or trailer.

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.

If you tow an Element with automatic transmission, the transmission fluid must be changed every two years or 30,000 miles (48,000 km), whichever comes first.

American 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.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

NOW HEAR THIS! There is nothing in the 06 Owners Manual to indicate that you can tow the Element behind a Motorhome.Went by the local dealer this morning and out front was an 06 Tango Red Pearl with painted panels. Ask the sales guy if I could see the manual, he said that car is sold already, but sure. When I pointed out the section "Towing behind a motorhome" was missing, he quick went over to the SOP 05 in the showroom and sure enough, the section was in the 05 manual.

Want to thank JCStorbeck for his help, and he was right on. I'll leave it up to someone else as to WHY THIS CHANGE, but the 03-05 just gained appeal to certain folks who would want to do this type of towing.:|
 

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Evolving language

(Edited 11/20/2005 thanks to info from wankerklink below)

2003: "Severe automatic transmission damage will occur if the vehicle is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed with the drive wheels on the ground." (p. 199)

2004: "Severe automatic transmission damage will occur if the vehicle is not started or shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed with the drive wheels on the ground." (p. 142)

You can parse that sentence two ways:

1) "damage will occur if the vehicle is {not started} or {shifted from reverse to neutral}," i.e., do start the car, don't shift from reverse to neutral.

2) "damage will occur if the vehicle is not {started or shifted from reverse to neutral}," i.e., do start the car, and do shift from reverse to neutral.

The second interpretation is wrong, perhaps disastrously so. It ought to read "damage will occur if the vehicle is not started, or if it is shifted from reverse to neutral." For want of a comma, a car was lost?

2005: "Severe automatic transmission damage will occur if the vehicle is shifted from reverse to neutral and then towed with the drive wheels on the ground."

Identical language to 2003. Maybe someone caught the bad wording in the 2004 manual, or maybe some owner misinterpreted the wording, wrecked a transmission, and raised holy hell with Honda.

The 2004 manual generally has less information than 2003, yet it includes a section on removing a fuse for extended towing. That seems to have gone away.

The section in the 2004 manual specific to towing a car with a manual transmission was dropped. The instruction to check the manual transmission oil level seems strange to me, since it's not really a trivial procedure.

Hig4s, what about that "online owners manual"?
 

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Re: Evolving language

ramblerdan said:
hig4s, what about that "online owners manual"?
The '05 manual refers to the E as "vehicle", not "car" on page 155. There is no reference to "manual transmission" equipped Es in the section entitled "Towing Your Vehicle Behind a Motorhome" which starts on pg.155 and ends on page 156. On page 217 of the manual entitled " Emergency Towing" it states in part " The only way you can safely tow your vehicle is with flat-bed equipment"---"any other method of towing will damage the drive system." The paragraph I quoted from makes no distinction between 4WD or 2WD or AT OR MT.

The "check the transmission fluid level" instruction is part of the "Automatic transmission models" instuctions. Hope this helps.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

Yes, the 2004 manual also states in the Emergency Towing section that "The only way you can safely tow your vehicle is with flat-bed equipment." This seems absurd given the separate instructions for towing four-down behind a motorhome elsewhere in the manual. I think the logic here is that 1) in an emergency, the car is disabled and won't start and 2) the car is an automatic.

M/T cars should be OK whether the engine runs or not: Assuming the transmission oil is full, just leave it in neutral and tow four-down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

ramblerdan said:
"The only way you can safely tow your vehicle is with flat-bed equipment." .
I suspect that the real intent of this warning is to prevent a tow truck operator from lifting up one end of the Element (with hooks or wheel lift) and driving off with the other end rolling on its own wheels. Pulling an Element on to a flat-bed requires a short distance 4-on-the-ground towing.

Why doesn't Honda say it is ok to tow an Element with the lower end resting on a dolly? Most tow trucks carry such an item.

paulj
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

paulj said:
Why doesn't Honda say it is ok to tow an Element with the lower end resting on a dolly? Most tow trucks carry such an item.
Good point. So when requesting a tow, ask for either a flat bed or a truck with a two-wheel dolly. Could affect the wait time, as not every tow service has a flat bed.
 

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Re: Is 2006 Auto 4WD model towable 4 down?

ramblerdan said:
So when requesting a tow, ask for either a flat bed or a truck with a two-wheel dolly. Could significantly reduce the wait, as not every tow service has a flat bed.
I own an old Civic AWD wagon and that baby has been towed 3 times in the past 13 years. Learned after the first tow to ask for a flat bed. For some reason, the tow guy (the second time) couldn't get it to roll using a 2-wheel dolly so I know now just to ask for a flat bed. :|
 

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Anyone using their E as a toad?

We are about to get a motorhome and plan to use the E as our dinghy.

Anyone already using their E as a toad? (I'm sure there were a couple in Columbus at the Big E-vent last year.)

Got any suggestions regarding brands/sources/tips for fastening a towbar to the E's rather flimsy front chassis structure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Anyone using their E as a toad?

The 'similar threads' list below includes what I found out about tow bars a couple of years ago. I suspect all brands (2, 3?) use the same approach - remove the plastic, and replace the underlying 'bumper' with the tow bar.

There has also been some recent discussion whether the 2006 (automatic) is towable. Instructions in the manual have changed, apparently because Honda wants to protect itself against potential transmission damage.

paulj
 
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