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Rivernut

Towing

41 posts in this topic

Bought new (to me) Explorer, 2 dr. to replace totalled truck. Very reputable 4x4 shop say's I dont need a tranny cooler and probably tow, on level ground, in overdrive. Now this goes against anything I was told in the past. 1200 lbs. boat,motor,trailer. ohc, 4.0 ltr.,410 gears. Just looking for any educated opinions. Towing cap. is 3800 lbs. Thanks.

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My Ford Ranger (4x4 Extended Cab, 4.0L V6 Auto) ended up frying its transmission from towing a 2 place snowmobile trailer with sleds.

My experience with that truck is it does not like to tow at highway speeds (65+ mph). When you add any sort of grade change, it doesn't know what gear to be in. Most of my towing was back & forth I-94 and it was always bad through the Alexandria/Fergus Falls area.

I think you'll be fine on short distance trips, its just the longer distance runs through hills where you'll notice that truck isn't the greatest tow vehicle. It'll do the job, but I would definitely advise a tranny cooler and regular fluid changes as well.

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If any 4x4 dealer told me I could drive in OD with a load I'd be skeptical at best. Towing anything puts quite a bit of load on the engine, and you should ALWAYS tow out of overdrive (this is what your owner's manual would say as well).

Even though you are turning the engine more, you need to in order to keep the engine temps down...and if you have the tranny cooler (I'd suggest it as well) that will help as well. The higher the RPM's, the more fluid is flowing through the radiator and tranny cooler, which will help it from getting burned up. Funny thing here too is that if you tow in overdrive, you may be using more gas since it takes more to turn the higher gear.

No doubt you will feel the load behind the 4.0 engine, but I would really look at getting the tranny cooler. Better to be safe than sorry.

Steve

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Thanks for the input guts. My previous truck was a '99 Ranger ,4 Liter w/ towing package. ALWAYS towed out of O.D., never a problem. As I expected, I'm adding a tranny cooler and towing out of O.D. Thanks again.

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Quote:

If any 4x4 dealer told me I could drive in OD with a load I'd be skeptical at best. Towing anything puts quite a bit of load on the engine, and you should ALWAYS tow out of overdrive (this is what your owner's manual would say as well).

Funny thing here too is that if you tow in overdrive, you may be using more gas since it takes more to turn the higher gear.

Steve


I strongly disagree, I had many trucks and towed for hundreds of thousands of miles with autos, and on higway speed you don't have to be out of OD, also fuel consumption will be much higher in 3rd gear (or without OD). If you tow short distances on small highways and town, I would agree with this, otherwise I wouldn't worry. Best purchase you can get for your truck is a cooler and a tranny temp gauge, that will tell you what's going on (should be mandatory on any vehicle).

I currently own a Dodge diesel with manual transmission, and I just sold my old Dodge with auto and 253,000 miles, 1/2 of it towing heavy loads (I have all sorts of trailers).

Now, it could be Explorers are not up to this, I would listen to the suggestions above, main issue with auto transmissions is not to let them shift continuously, that's when they burn up.

BTW are you sure you have 4:10 rearend ? That sounds weird, usually it's a ratio for larger trucks, you should have a 3:73 or 3:5x or higher.

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Traded in an '02 Ranger in Dec.

At 34,000 a valve assembly in the tranny detached from its mounting and fried the tranny. The radiator also had to be replaced because of metal chunks in the fluid.

That tranny lasted 4,000 miles before the same thing happenned.

At 84,000 miles it started to make the same noise it did before the other trannies puked on me. No longer under warranty so I traded it in before it failed again.

I always towed out of OD. If I were you I would get the tranny cooler!

Pat K

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Congrats on being a grandpa. Yes, it does have 410's. Special order by customer and it's on the window sticker from original purchase. The manual does have a towing capacity listed for this this vehicle w/ 410's. I too thought it strange! Another difference between this and my Ranger is this is a 5 speed auto vs. a 4 speed.

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Many new trucks now say you can in OD, while most older ones said never to. If light trailer probably OK, but if the transmission ever starts searching - shifting back and forth every little hill, then you need to manually shift down a gear. The constant shifting a lot under load is really tough on the clutches and the gears.

Transmission temperature - cooler is always better! (Most 'trailer packages' from the manufacturer include a transmission cooler or an oversize cooler!)

Transmission fluid - synthetic will definitely make a difference. AMSOIL vs petroleum fluids - with AMSOIL you will cool the transmission fluid 30 to 50 deg just by changing to synthetic fluid. Yes, it is expensive, but a whole lot cheaper than rebuilding a transmission. When changing the fluid always drop the pan, change the filter plus drain (or flush) the torque converter.

Fluid change interval - if towing and using petroleum fluids 25,000 miles. 'Normal' driving in many owners manuals is 36,000 miles. AMSOIL 'Normal' 100,000 miles, 'Severe' 50,000 miles.

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Quote:

Quote:

If any 4x4 dealer told me I could drive in OD with a load I'd be skeptical at best. Towing anything puts quite a bit of load on the engine, and you should ALWAYS tow out of overdrive (this is what your owner's manual would say as well).

Funny thing here too is that if you tow in overdrive, you may be using more gas since it takes more to turn the higher gear.

Steve


I strongly disagree, I had many trucks and towed for hundreds of thousands of miles with autos, and on higway speed you don't have to be out of OD, also fuel consumption will be much higher in 3rd gear (or without OD). If you tow short distances on small highways and town, I would agree with this, otherwise I wouldn't worry.


I guess my 15 - 20 times a year 200 mile one way trips up north pulling a 2300 pound rig lie then and so does my truck odometer and calculator (both my hand-held and onboard the truck)... Last time I checked, I would get 15 pulling the boat out of overdrive, and 13 in overdrive.. and that is at highway speeds.. Oh...I'm not a math teacher or anything like that (cough, cough..) :-)

I also don't drive with the rig using cruise control either...so, I get another MPG out of that as well. Hmmm....

Steve

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Quote:

I guess my 15 - 20 times a year 200 mile one way trips up north pulling a 2300 pound rig lie then and so does my truck odometer and calculator (both my hand-held and onboard the truck)... Last time I checked, I would get 15 pulling the boat out of overdrive, and 13 in overdrive.. and that is at highway speeds.. Oh...I'm not a math teacher or anything like that (cough, cough..) :-)

I also don't drive with the rig using cruise control either...so, I get another MPG out of that as well. Hmmm....

Steve


Those numbers don't make sense to me. One question: is the tranny shifting a lot while in OD or does it stay in OD through the pull? If it's shifting, I can see the MPG dipping below pulling out of OD.

This is my rule of thumb. I tow starting in OD. If the truck wants to shift out of OD on slight hills or going into the wind, I'll pull it out of OD for the remainder of the trip. If it's happy in OD, that's where it stays. I see a huge improvement pulling in OD than out. 107K and going strong.

P.S. My mom is a Dr. of Mathmatics...does that count? grin.gifgrin.gif

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Once I am up 169 a ways, more hills show up, and especially when I get northwest of Garrison. So...when I have done the overdrive thing, it doesn't shift more, but it is a steady incline from the Cities with more hills in the end. Going from 700 feet or so in the cities to 1350...

Since staying out of overdrive, I don't travel as fast either and don't ever use the cruise control. I rarely go over 65 even if I can, unless everyone is flying by me...then I need to or I am a hazard out there...

I'm not trying to pick a bone with anyone, but my truck (5.7 HEMI) just performs that way. O.D it doesn't do as well...

Steve

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Steve,

I wasn't doubting you, just trying to figure out why you are seeing the numbers you are. I'm curious about it. smile.gif Pulling the hovercraft with a gross trailer weight of about 2400 lbs, I'd get around 14-16 mpg with my Isuzu Amigo 3.2L in OD at between 65-72 mph. Out of OD, I got around 10-11 at the same speeds.

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To quote the old tranny guy that rebuilt the transmission on my 2000 Ranger "unless you want to visit me again take that thing out of overdrive when you are towing anything". The Salesman that sold me my new F150 told me the same thing. I take it out of overdrive whenever I tow.

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I started thinking about this more last night... I would guess we see different numbers in all the vehicles because their gearing might be just a bit different, their shift points might be different, etc. So..I guess I'm changing my thoughts a bit and seeing this as all pretty relative in the end. Different driving styles, tire size, tire design, gear ratios, tranny gearing, pulling weight, engine power, wear and tear, etc all come in to play.

Nonetheless, if I offended you Valv, I didn't mean to be that snotty, so I do apologize if I was a little too sarcastic in my response..

I'll still stand by my statement, though in towing out of overdrive, regardless of what I am pulling.. I just feel it is easier work on the engine and tranny...

Steve

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VMS no problem, you are a teacher, I have 5 children, I guess it takes a lot to offend both of us.

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I would agree...

Funny how we can get called almost every name in the book and we can just look at them and smile, saying Thank you very much.. smile.gif

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On the subject of tranny coolers, how difficult are they to install? Is it worth spending the extra cash to have a professional install the cooler? I've been told you can purchase them for about $85.00 or have one installed for about $200.00.

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It is actually very simple, if you do any mechanic work it won't take much.

You will have to probably remove your front grille, position cooler in front of radiator, remove the in/out oi lines from transmissions to radiator, and build the bypass.

If I remember correctly oil goes from transmission into radiator, out to aux cooler, then back to transmission.

Any cooler kit will have detailed instructions, but if you feel uncmfortable, $ 200.00 is a good price, and peace of mind having done a good job.

I suggest a temp gauge also, which has to be installed on output oil line of transmission (to measure highest temp), you WILL NOT regret it.

Finally, if you decide to sell the vehicle you can remove the whole rigging and install it somewhere else.

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So what about manual trannies? Just use the same advice: if you have to shift too much, keep it out of overdrive?

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yep...

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Quote:

So what about manual trannies? Just use the same advice: if you have to shift too much, keep it out of overdrive?


I hope you are kidding right ? Manual transmission don't have an overheating problem.

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As for the mpg thing, the more power and torque your truck has, you can get better economy in od, if your truck is bogging down and your stepping into it more just to keep it in od to keep the same speed you will use more gas. So if you are pulling a 2000lb trailer with a f350 power stroke diesel i would say leave it in od. but if you are pulling the same trailer with an f150 gas truck I would most likely take it out of od, depending on speed, wind, wind drag of what your pulling, ect... A good way to tell if you should be using od or not is while you are driving give it a little more gas if the truck doesnt respond and go faster take it out of od. Now as for your explorer, take it out of od when you are pulling, unless its a light load, them 4.0 sohc engines are high reving engines and produce most of their power at higher rpms. And keep your speed down under 65 mph and your milage will be ok, not good, but ok, you will get better milage with a bigger engine while towing! And yes put in the tranny cooler, service the trans at the same time!

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Out of curiousity, why dont some of you use cruise while towing?

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Cruise would require the transmission to do alot of shifting on hills,and possibly wind drag. If your vehicle has enough towing power and the load was light enough cruise would not be a problem.

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With the cruise control on the vehicle tries to maintain the preset speed so on slight inclines with a load the vehicle would try to regain the lost speed as soon as possible by accelerating heavy. Then when the speed is reached it will let off, then do it all over again! But as noted if you have a light load, and enough power its not as hard for the vehicle to regain the speed.

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