I have a 2004 Honda Odyssey and a pop-up camper that weighs 1400lbs. I called Cottman transmission service and they said a cooler would be $189 whereas our usual mechanic said the trans cooler and the power steering cooler would cost $1059 with labor and parts. What is the difference and what would you reccomend? Thanks alot!!!
First off, look in your manual and see what the recommended towing capacity is for your van. I found that your van is rated at 3500 lbs!
THEN, if your camper is ‘towable’ by your van, call Honda and using your VIN # check to see what you have factory installed already for cooling. According to the specs, your van far exceeds the ability to tow this camper. YOU may feel differently and need a load leveling hitch, or sway control hitch installed. But the capacity of the van should handle the trailer fine.
Some (alot) of vehicles come with heavy duty towing packages pre-installed. It would be ashamed to find out that yours was already there, when you wanted it, and an unscrupulous shop wanted more $$$ when you already have it!
The comment that a ’ power steering cooler’ is suspect. I would doubt that this mechanic is honest. (Unless your interpretation is real)
I would go with the Cottman cooler. Your van has the capacity to pill this camper but Minivan transmission are usually the same as the car chassis they are based on and marginal for towing. I don’t see why you would need additional power steering cooling. Make sure that they use only Honda transmission fluid to add to the system, even if you have to bring it yourself.
Power steering cooler…I don’t know how towing a camper is going to increase the temperature of the power steering fluid.
If your van doesn’t have separate cooler from the radiator then I suggest you get one. If you have Honda towing package then I’d be surprised it’s not already there. If it’s not then I’d go with the one from Cottman…They are NOT that difficult to install and they don’t cost that much…Since this vehicle is capable of towing I’ll bet the brackets are already there…just have to hang the cooler and run the lines…$189 sounds reasonable…$1000 seems awfully high…
I would definitely get the transmission cooler. Your van may be rated for that much weight, but ratings often simply mean it is possible - they aren’t accounting for damage done. You could probably tow all day in an Odyssey, but it would likely shorten the lifespan of the transmission, and they were notoriously bad as is in the late 90s - early 2000s in Odysseys. 2004 is right on the edge of that bad window.
By adding a cooler, you’re keeping the operating temp down, which is DEFINITELY a good thing, plus you’re getting just a tad bit more coolant in the system, which helps as well (note: this does not mean to go overfilling your transmission - just that by making the routing for the lines just a bit longer, you must have a bit more fluid to keep the level in the trans pan the same.
$189 seems like cheap insurance to me, and well worth the cost.