Background - we have a 2011 Honda Odyssey and are thinking about purchasing a boat so I started looking at towing capacity/information. In doing an internet search, I found a post on a forum of someone towing a 7,000 lb airstream trailer with an odyssey, promptly followed by a slew of posts saying s/he was crazy, an idiot, will likely die on his next trip and go to hell, etc.
All this got me thinking - When I was growing up our neighbors had an airstream trailer that they towed with their 1978 Ford LTD. Now I don’t know the specifics of the trailer, but I’m guessing it on the order of 5-7000 lbs. Now, comparing the LTD with our Odyssey:
1978 Ford LTD
Engine: 5 L V8, 134 HP, 248 lb-ft torque
3 speed automatic transmission
4 wheel 300mm disc brakes
Towing capacity: ???
2011 Honda Odyssey
Engine: 3.5L V6, 248 HP, 250 lb-ft torque
5 speed automatic transmission
4 wheel, 320 mm disc brakes
Rated towing capacity: 3500 lbs.
I don’t have the details on the suspensions, but I’d wager that the Odyssey has a better suspension system than the LTD.
So the question I have is where does the 3500 lb rated capacity come from, is it necessarily unsafe to tow a larger load, and if so, how do you reconcile that with the fact that a vehicle that was arguably inferior in every aspect could tow something nearly twice as heavy? (for the sake of argument, assume that the odyssey has a proper hitch and transmission cooling, etc)