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This whole conversation has gone WAY off rails because you're making one big wrong assumption. There's no such thing as a class 3 hitch for an Element. There are class three hitches, but as soon as you mount it on an Element, it's only as good as the sheet metal frame that it's bolted to.

I agree that paying Honda $600-800 for an undersized drawbar hitch is stupid, but you can't expect a standard class three hitch to suddenly turn your Element in to a more capable towing vehicle.
They do. I have one on my element. Here are the options:

https://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2005_Honda_Element.htm
 

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They do. I have one on my element. Here are the options:

https://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2005_Honda_Element.htm
Sorry Gearhead. Those are nice class three hitches when they're in the box, but when you bolt one on your Element, it's still no more capable than the dinky little thing that Honda sold OEM. The reasons people buy the larger hitches are to get the more reasonable price and the 2" drawbar size.
 

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This topic for towing capability for the Element has been very well long debated. You can go deep into this forum with multiple threads and posts since the release of the Element.

Everyone knows what the manual says for towing. So if you're looking to play it safe, then roll with those numbers.

I understand everyone's argument against the class 3 ratings. Which is why I said its contradicting. If that's the case why even bother making a Class 3, and then rating it for those numbers?

But I think (and I think others would agree), there is enough information out there to say that the Element can handle more. Specifically the overseas E's and CRV's, and the availability of Class 3 hitches with higher ratings. As well as previous member posts on their towing experiences.

Obviously be safe and use common sense, and do things and try things at your own risk.

But I can say personally, with my experiences and my build with a modified class 3 hitch - that I have towed above the manuals rating multiple times without any issues. I guess next time I'm towing above 2000#, I'll just post some pics. Maybe take a video or two. I just towed 1600# over the weekend with rental stump grinder. So I was pretty keyed in on towing with this thread.
 

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This topic for towing capability for the Element has been very well long debated. You can go deep into this forum with multiple threads and posts since the release of the Element.

Everyone knows what the manual says for towing. So if you're looking to play it safe, then roll with those numbers.

I understand everyone's argument against the class 3 ratings. Which is why I said its contradicting. If that's the case why even bother making a Class 3, and then rating it for those numbers?

But I think (and I think others would agree), there is enough information out there to say that the Element can handle more. Specifically the overseas E's and CRV's, and the availability of Class 3 hitches with higher ratings. As well as previous member posts on their towing experiences.

Obviously be safe and use common sense, and do things and try things at your own risk.

But I can say personally, with my experiences and my build with a modified class 3 hitch - that I have towed above the manuals rating multiple times without any issues. I guess next time I'm towing above 2000#, I'll just post some pics. Maybe take a video or two. I just towed 1600# over the weekend with rental stump grinder. So I was pretty keyed in on towing with this thread.
I don't doubt for a second that you do tow as you say I just can't understand the way some seem to think it is a conspiracy or mis-rated somehow the way the vehicle is rated by the manufacturer?

There are plenty of reasons there might be heavier load non factory hitches for every vehicle made but none of them negate or enhance the manufacturer rating for towing and load capacity.

Does anyone know for sure that the vehicle sold anywhere else with the same name is really identical to the one they decide it is?

Anyway I have no doubt no one will likely change their mind or actions about this topic and I have had this conversation a whole lot of times for sure.

Buying a nice used full size P.U. with a V8 motor for cheap money is what I did and I have nothing but peace of mind now when towing as needed.
 

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I read a few things on the good 'ol internet and then got reminded of this commercial about the Tundra:


I just thought it was an interesting and funny reminder. Definitely above manufacturer rating, definitely above towing capacity, and they chose to do it anyway and then market it.

I bet that was an interesting conversation between Toyota engineers, marketing, and their insurance folks.
 

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You'll find like I did that Jaguar is rated for 3300 towing but the Chrysler 300 is only 1500 like us depending on setup.

I should also reiterate that the owner of this company cautioned against me towing my 27' international with the element because of it's abysmal power numbers. He also incorrectly assumed the element was built on the Honda Civic platform (accord for what it's worth.)
 

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You'll find like I did that Jaguar is rated for 3300 towing but the Chrysler 300 is only 1500 like us depending on setup.

I should also reiterate that the owner of this company cautioned against me towing my 27' international with the element because of it's abysmal power numbers. He also incorrectly assumed the element was built on the Honda Civic platform (accord for what it's worth.)
All I can say is wow... that's crazy and impressive.
 

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the 2003 Element was based on the platform used by the 2002 CR-V. the 2002 CR-V was based on the Civic platform but with an SUV body.
Sorry, Nacranym, but tht's a misconception that keeps popping up from time to time. The Element started out based on the Accord, not the Civic. You can look at Honda's own promotional stuff if you'd like to verify it. It probably keeps coming up because of a bad article in Wikipedia.
 

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Sorry, Nacranym, but tht's a misconception that keeps popping up from time to time. The Element started out based on the Accord, not the Civic. You can look at Honda's own promotional stuff if you'd like to verify it. It probably keeps coming up because of a bad article in Wikipedia.
The element isnt based on the accord at all. There was a team of designers and engineers that developed the car without the major platform adaptation and the only carry-over was some bits of the CR-V/MDX/Pilot.


Trying to stay relevant, this really doesnt effect the towing conversation at all. I'm still waiting for a fail video of someone trying to tow extra heavy with an element :D
 

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This was volumetrically filled with stuff including:

All my tools, (hand box back then and a big bag of power tools, full bicycle wrench set and a bunch of bicycle specifics)
1960s shopmaster bandsaw
10” thick pillow top queen bed
Solid wood exterior door (1920s 3x7)
iMac.
3 boxes of records.
Pots pans chairs etc.
400lbs motorcycle.
2 bicycles.

Trailer weighed in at 800lbs before someone welded on a bunch of angle to shore up some rust damage.

Car was also volumetrically full of other crap like clothes books a stereo (70s) tower speakers and a chair.

Made it all 4000 miles from PGH to Charleston to phoenix. Back roads. Lots of hills. Springs’s sagged Like hell afterwarda but it held itself together.

Think I got 13 mpg tho.

The airstream was more recent and less advisable. I only drove it around the storage lot. Lots of area to catch wind.
 

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Nice Cursh....

Had the chance to help out a buddy over Christmas weekend and took some pics.

No real world driving around but wanted to put my hitch to the test.

- 2000lbs empty
- 1000cc Quad, Can-am Renegade (700lbs dry)
- Good amount of gear in front of the Renegade including a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 (100lbs)

We typically hook up to so we can remove the quad from the trailer. Lots of weight on the tongue and I was quite surprised it held up. I kept wondering if it would tweak while lowering, but no issues. Suspension pretty much bottomed out, as you can easily see.

With the quad out, I did do some small driving around the neighborhood for about 1/4 mile, slight hills and a few stop signs, and backing up and parking of the trailer. E was able to pull it fine, but under this situation I'd say way too much tongue weight even with the trailer empty.
 

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The rated towing capacity has everything to do with liability and is dictated by the insurance folks. The Same exact Element is rated to tow 3236lbs in Australia when using trailer brakes. I towed 2500 lbs with my 04 Civic 800 miles no sweat.... also no weather and no traffic to deal with.

If trailer brakes are an option they really help even with trailers within the weight limit. Stiffer compliance bushings will help you out and if A/T a transmission cooler as well.

Common sense and patience is the key with towing, You should be just fine but at the same time, it IS much easier to find trouble.
Actually the Honda Element is not rated to tow 3236 lb in Australia. What happened to generate that figure is a silly matter of people reading the manual that was from the USA which stated the weight in lbs and then because they live in a metric country thinking it was stated in killograms (kg) and reposting it as 1500kg rather than 1500lb. So when the next person came along and converted 1500 kg back into pounds then prest-o change-0 a brand new urban myth about the tow rating in all those metric countries outside of the USA was born. It is not true, the Honda Element specifications did not increase anywhere else, it is just a commonly made error in math that happens when information from a country on a different measuring system is mistaken for being in a system that produces nearly twice as high a numerical value if you don't use the right system. It is nothing more than a simple Typo of switching lb to kg that created this mythical misinformation. Someone from Snopes would have caught that error in a few seconds.
 
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