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Old 07-07-2009, 11:05 AM   #21
Wavery
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That's exactly the problem I was trying to lay out, Wayne. In my opinion, there SHOULD be regional exceptions (or at least regional advisories) on tow vehicle tow ratings. It doesn't take much thought to realize to realize that a single one-size-fits-all number cannot possibly cover all situations. But that is what the manufacturers give you. Again in my opinion, the tow vehicle manufacturers quote the best possible number (that is, the sea-level flatland number) because it maximizes their chance of selling you a vehicle. It is up to the buyer to realize that the flatland number won't apply when you are not in the flatlands.

I can guarantee you that a 3500-pound rated vehicle will not be adequate going up 8% grades at 8,000 feet as you approach a campground in Yosemite National Park in the high Sierras - or a campground at 10,000 feet in Colorado. I have gone both places with my TM and Explorer (rated 6800 pounds), and it was a long slow slog. [Full disclosure - I am unwilling to run the engine near red line for prolonged periods of time.] In spite of the fact that I had more than 2-to-1 margin (according to Ford), there were moments when I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Again in my opinion, there should be a regional advisiory, but since there is not, it is up to the owner to be smart about it.

Bill
Point well taken. The problem is, most consumers will still purchase a tow vehicle that will tow the maximum trailer with the minimum TV in most cases.

I would like to see people do as much research as possible to know EXACTLY what they have and what the limitations are.

It's really encouraging when we have discussions like this because it puts out a lot of information and opinions on towing the TMs. My fear is that someone, sooner or later, will not be able to stop one of these things going back down that 10,000' mountain that you mentioned.

Going up the mountain slowly offers little danger. The dangerous aspect is having a TV that can slow and stop that load going down those grades.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:12 AM   #22
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[QUOTE=harveyrv;60864
Going up the mountain slowly offers little danger. The dangerous aspect is having a TV that can slow and stop that load going down those grades.[/QUOTE]

Many years ago I saw a class C come within a few hundred yards of Sonora Summit. He was unable to climb any higher. He had to back down a narrow two lane road.

An undersized TV towing a trailer in that situation would have had a much more difficult time backing down that road.

There is a sign much lower down the mountain that states that it is not advisable to tow a trailer over that summit, but I am pretty sure I could.

I think I can, I think I can...
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:14 PM   #23
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When you are pulling a grade and you see the temp gage start to climb, that means that the engine is not releasing heat at a fast enough rate. As the moving parts of your engine heat up, they expand which causes more friction and less available HP. Think of your temp gage as a HP reduction gage. This means, the hotter that your engine gets, the more fuel that you have to give it (increased throttle) which, in turn, increases the heat even more. If the engine gets hot enough, it will actually "Seize", which means it will abruptly stop and may never turn again.

When mountain driving, keep an eye on the temp gage and don't let it get anywhere near the Red zone. If the gage is close, pull over, open the hood and let the engine cool down. If you haven't lost water, it's OK to leave it at idle for a few minutes before turning it off. NEVER open the radiator cap on a hot engine EVER. If you do, make sure that you are close to hospital a burn center because you may need it. This is very serious stuff. There have been cases where people have lost their entire face and/or received 3rd degree burns over their upper body. The Steam released from that radiator can be as high as 600 degrees. When the radiator cap is removed the entire cooling system may "Explode" all over you. That's roughly 3 gallons of boiling water and a huge amount of vaporous gas (steam), all released with a second or 2. That's not something to be messed with. The radiator cap should be cool enough to remove without using a rag for burn protection. If it isn't, leave it alone.

If you are using synthetic oil in your engine and trans, a 30 minute rest may be adequate. If you are using petrol based oil, the cooling process will be far longer, up to 2 hours. Never poor water on a hot engine. Although a spray bottle that delivers a mist can be very helpful. As the mist touches the hot surface, steam will be produces and the evaporation encourages heat release. This must be done with care because the steam can cause severe burns. If you have a 12V fan, that may help a lot. Don't run your battery down. If you can, use the battery from the camper. The thing that retains heat the longest is petrol based oils.
Great information, thank you. My question now is, "how do I figure out if I need to install a transmission cooler?"

Are there general guidelines for figuring that out as well?

And if someone wants to help me, specifically, figure out if I need one, my TV is a 2006 Toyota Sequoia and I'll be towing a 2720. I don't want to mess with minimums, I'd rather figure everything out at the maximum weight I may have so that I don't have to think about it every time. I'm not the type to try to figure out what I can get away with - I want to be safe at all times and have more than I need (hp, torque, stopping power, etc.). For example, I'll be installing a Prodigy before picking up the trailer next week, even though one dealer I talked to said that was way more controller than I would need.
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:24 PM   #24
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I also lean towards over-equipping vs. the bare minimum. For reference, I have a 2005 Sequoia with the factory towing package, which included an auxiliary tranny cooler. It would be easy to tell if you have one -- it looks like a small radiator, is roughly 6-8 inches tall and 3-4 inches wide, has 2 rubber hoses connected to it at the bottom, and sits directly in front of the A/C condenser, which is directly in front of the radiator. If you can't tell, I'll take a picture. If you don't have one, get one. They are very cheap insurance ($50-$100) for your several thousand dollar tranny. If you're at all handy, you can install it yourself. It's pretty easy.

Other than adding a Prodigy P3 brake controller (which was very easy as it was factory pre-wired), I did nothing to equip the vehicle to tow our 2720SL.

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Old 07-07-2009, 03:27 PM   #25
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Great information, thank you. My question now is, "how do I figure out if I need to install a transmission cooler?"
Good question. As a general rule, I think the answer is "Unless you have a moose of a tow vehicle, you need one." And I think Wayne is the only one of us who comes close to moose-dom. Look at it this way. Every car with an automatic transmission has a transmission cooler. The tow vehicle manufacturer puts in a cooler that is adequate to the needs of the vehicle - but no more. Why not? A bigger cooler would cost more, raising the price of the vehicle. And the manufacturer doesn't want that, of course.

So now, you put a trailer on the back of the tow vehicle - a trailer that weighs as much as the vehicle itself. (Both about 4000 pounds.) Now the transmission has to handle twice the load. Do you want to bet your tranny that the stock cooler will handle double the load that the mfr intended? Maybe not.

Another way to answer the question is to do some research on your vehicle, and see what goes into the factory-installed optional towing package. It is not always easy to find out, since some manufacturers are pretty coy. But if you can find out, I think you will find that it consists of a Class III hitch receiver, a 7-pin electrical connector, and an aux transmission cooler. There may be other things, but this is the core of the package. And from that, you can conclude that the manufacturer thinks you need it.

Hope this helps.

Bill
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:37 PM   #26
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The problem is, most consumers will still purchase a tow vehicle that will tow the maximum trailer with the minimum TV in most cases. I would like to see people do as much research as possible to know EXACTLY what they have and what the limitations are. It's really encouraging when we have discussions like this because it puts out a lot of information and opinions on towing the TMs.
Wayne, we are in exact agreement on this! One of the purposes of the entire TMO board is to help TM owners understand what is involved in towing a TM, and to truly understand it - not just accept unsubstantiated advice from someone's cousin's brother-in-law. As part of this, we want to help with the research on what all the ratings mean and don't mean, and your inputs to the process are great. And at the end, we all hope that TM owners will be a little more knowledgeable and a little better equipped than other trailer owners.

[soapbox mode OFF]

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Old 07-07-2009, 04:40 PM   #27
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And I think Wayne is the only one of us who comes close to moose-dom. Look at it this way. Every car with an automatic transmission has a transmission cooler.
Yes, but Wayne also carries 10,000 gallons of water/soda/beer, 2 motorbikes, a generator, 26 people, a lawnmower, snowblower, and hay baler. Ok, maybe the baler is a bit of an exaggeration. But point being, even Wayne needs a big tranny cooler.

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Old 07-07-2009, 05:04 PM   #28
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When it comes to trans coolers, bigger is generally better. In the case of the Sequoia, I think that I might consider getting one with an electric fan. They don't cost that much more and it looks to me like the front of that Sequoia doesn't give you a lot of air flow.

I love the Sequoia and have considered looking into one. They have a lot of capacity and options.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:18 PM   #29
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In the case of the Sequoia, I think that I might consider getting one with an electric fan.
Our Sequoia came with an electric fan. So does our Jeep Cherokee for that matter.

Dave
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:39 PM   #30
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Our Sequoia came with an electric fan. So does our Jeep Cherokee for that matter.

Dave
Are you talking about the electric engine fan or does it have 2 separate fans? Just curious......

For an add-on cooler, I like this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/REMOT...Q5fAccessories
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