Towing Do's and Don'ts

kmcdonaldkmcdonald Member Posts: 25

I have a '99 Isuzu Rodeo, V6, Automatic, 4wd.
It's Owner's manual lists it as being able to
tow upto 4500lbs.

In August, I have a trip planned to drive across
the country (Boston to Utah.) I am thinking
about pulling a small car (Hyundai Excel?? -
weighs less than 2200lbs.) with a tow dolly
from U-Haul (750lbs)

I know all this adds up to less than my trucks
capacity, but I'm concerned about the effects
of towing 10 or 12 hours a day for 4 or 5 days
straight. And I'm also concerned about hauling
the whole thing up and down the Rocky Mountains.

Anyone have any advice on things to do or not
do? ANy one have any routes through the mountains
that might be easier on my transmission?


  • z71billz71bill Member Posts: 1,986
    Have you ever pulled a 4,000 pound trailer? Before you take off on a 50 hour trip I would take a test drive of maybe 25 miles. Maybe you have a friend with a large boat or camper trailer that would let you see how well your truck handles the load. I think after 25 miles pulling 4,000 pounds with your Isuzu you will change your mind and leave the car at home.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    Take I-80 west through Wyoming, not I-70 through Colorado. Towing a Hyundai? Why? You going to have fun with a Hyundai in Utah? My advice...leave it at home. Enjoy the Rodeo instead. Or get someone to drive it separately, and a pair of phones, walkie talkies, or CB radios. No reason I can think of for towing a Hyundai from Boston, and doing that sort of long term diminishment to your transmission. Better to just buy another Hyundai when you get to Utah, because you won't want to go back to Boston!
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    LMAO!!!!!!!! Heck, with the U-haul rental fee and the gas savings by not towing you could buy a Hyundai.
  • kmcdonaldkmcdonald Member Posts: 25
    Unfortunately Leaving it home isn't an Option.

    It's my Girlfriend's car, and she moving to
    Utah for School.

    Thanks for the advice on the route. I was planning on using I-80 already, but it's nice to have someone else aggree with you.

    I ggree that driving both might be cheaper and everything but.... I guess I"m not being very convincing. We are planning on driving both
    when we get to any serious inclines.

    Anyway, Should I do anything special like getting
    the oil or transmission fluid changed more often?

    Also I've read in other posts about towing that
    I should use Drive and not OverDrive when pulling
    a load. My Automatic transmission, while it is
    a 4speed with OD, only has a Drive setting.
    The next setting is 3 (then 2 then L.)

    It also has a button for "power" mode which
    the Owner's manual suggests using for pulling
    trailers. Do you think that this button also
    turns the over drive off? or should I only
    use the 3 setting?

    AS for my experience. I have towed a 1700lb boat
    on a 700lb? trailer before with a V6 Automaitc
    GMC Sonoma. Not 10 or 12 hours a day, but I have
    pulled it on the highway.

    I guess I'll make sure the AAA membership is all paid up too!
  • kmcdonaldkmcdonald Member Posts: 25
    Hi again.

    Someone else suggested to me that I have
    U-Haul install a "towing package".

    What exactly does that include? I ordered my truck
    from the factory with the Class 3 hitch installed.
    and the wiring harness plug is already right there
    next to the hitch.

    Is there anything else I need? I admit to being a
    novice to all this... but at least I'm asking instead of just plowing ahead!
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Use gear selector position 3, with the power setting. You'll do just fine. Try to get about 10 to 15% tongue weight on the ball when you load the trailer.

    Wouldn't hurt to change tranny fluid after you tow.

    I routinely pull a 5,000 lb trailer using a 4.8L motor over 10,000' passes.

    Don't buy anything from Uhaul you don't need to...

    Just expect poor mileage.

    No problem with extended hours of towing, just let the motor spin fast in 3rd, much easier on all parts.

    Wouldn't hurt to start the tow with synthetic oil in the Isuzu engine (I'd use 10W-30 M1), and maybe a fresh air filter....
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    Of course Mark is pulling with a real truck....

    This reminds me of my dear niece when she used an Explorer to tow a car from Dallas to Virginia for college. The exploder was never the same, and became just another trade in. My Brother has a Honda Passport. If I'm not mistaken, it's the same vehicle, very nice I might add...with something like a 3.0 L V6, very peppy. Still would not chance it myself. One thing I'm sure about, you won't have to worry about overdrive. As Mark said, put it in 3rd to keep it from shifting excessively, watch the temp, and don't get in a hurry and decide to wring it's neck with extended high rpms. I know how important it is to have the sweetheart's head on your shoulder during this trip....your tranny may never be the same though. Just my $0.02
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    If you didn't catch my post in the other topic, I found a helicoil insert in my oil drain pan also.
  • rrichfrrichf Member Posts: 211
    There is another and perhaps better option. I've seen free wheeling hubs in one of the catalogs. (J.C. Whitney maybe) These go between the vehicle hub and the wheel. They are intended to allow the wheels to turn without affecting the transaxle. This may be a better option than the car caddy from U-Haul.

    My concern would be the radiator of the tow vehicle! When you are towing, you'll be burning from 50% to 100% more fuel. This generates heat. The heat is removed by the radiator. Your Isuzu is probably anemic in the radiator department. You probably should go to an independent radiator shop and have a radiator core installed with more vertical cooling columns. I had this done once and went from two columns to four for about $150. Worth every penny I might add.
    Good luck,
  • kmcdonaldkmcdonald Member Posts: 25
    That's a good idea. I'll have to look into that.

    I suppose I should refrain from using the AC then
  • cygnusx1cygnusx1 Member Posts: 290
    my .02

    1. Get your trans serviced before you go. A plain old drain servicing will probably suffice.

    2. When you get there, get the trans serviced
    again, but specifically ask that the trans be
    flushed. If you just take it to any old place, a trans service to them means just draining it and maybe putting a new gasket on.

    Call around a few shops and specifically ask if they have a flush machine. It's way better for your trans for it to be flushed once you get there. Flush machines are relatively new and not all shops have them so make sure to ask. Also, when they drop the pan, ask them to examine the
    pan and the fluid for any shavings, parts etc. Just don't go to some in-and-out oil change shop that says they also service transmissions. Chances are they won't flush it.
  • cdeancdean Member Posts: 1,110
    make sure you don' have to disable the transaxle on the car you're pulling. You can put the towed car in nuetral, but the wheels are turning the back portion of the transmission. since thr torque converter acts as an oil pump, you're back end of the tranny will be spinning without oil and will burn up. on towed trucks you can disconnect the driveshaft, or leave the engine running.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    The towed car is a stick shift - in which case, who gives a.

    The easiest way of doing it on something like an Excel if it is automatic is probably to get a dolly that will lift the front (drive) wheels off the ground.
  • steveeaststeveeast Member Posts: 158
    The original posting said he'd be using a tow dolly.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Very few sticks allow 4 wheels down towing these days.

    Nothing wrong with a dolly.

    Doubt you'll have overheating problems on a new vehicle if you run 3rd gear. I wouldn't do squat to a new vehicle's tranny (unless you add a cooler) before the tow, it's only after you tow that you should to an ATF change.

    Quad - thanks for the drain info
  • towcrazy2towcrazy2 Member Posts: 337
    If you MUST to that load for that distance, I'd concurr with several previous tips:

    1. Dolly's a good idea, particularly for handling.
    2. Have your trans fluid changed and fileter cleaned before you leave.
    3. Stay out of Overdrive!
    4. Change your rear differential lube to synthetic.

    Good luck!!
  • moparmadmoparmad Member Posts: 197
    My only advice is that my first stop would be the Isuzu dealer.Go to the service manager and ask thier advice.No one should know your vehicle like the guys who work on them everyday.If you bought an actual towing package on the vehicle it may have already had a tranny cooler and bigger radiator installed,your dealer should be able to tell you this.If your dealer looks at you and tells you your nuts then you will have to decide if it is worth destroying your ride over.My guess is that they will tell you it is fine,just take it easy and stop often.I would assume if you are taking that long a trip you would get the vehicle serviced before and after anyway.
  • kmcdonaldkmcdonald Member Posts: 25

    Thanks for the responses.

    I have looked in to the Tranny cooler. I've
    gotten prices ranging anywhere from 126 to
    "about $400."

    The dealer where I bought the truck definately
    suggested installing it, but they wouldn't do
    it (couldn't find the parts in the Isuzu parts

    The dealer where I'm having some work done this
    week, Quoted me $220 for parts and labor, but
    when I asked what this would do to my warranty,
    said it would "probably void it if the cooler
    could even remotely be responsible for the

    Uhaul was the one who quoted me $126 installed.

    $126 or $220 isn't really all that bad for
    insurance against Trans mission failure...
    but Having it cancle the warranty after only
    a little over a year is a different story.

    Seeing as how I'm pulling a load that is well
    within the Trucks rated capacity, I would
    think that any malfunction will be covered
    by the warranty. Right?

    So right now I'm leaning toward not getting
    the Cooler put in. My only reservation is
    if this trip does do some damage, but the
    failure doesn't rear it's ugly head until
    after the warranty expires... Oh well...
    Life is always a risk.

    Also the more I dig the more I think the
    Transmission fluid is already getting
    pumped through the real radiator along with
    the engine coolant. (separate tubes I assume :)
    and the dash does have an ATF temp. warning
    light. I think I'll just keep my eye on that,
    and stop if it ever comes on.

    Thanks again for every one's help.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Agree with your last post decisions. Just don't give in to the urge to see how it pulls in OD (4th).
  • moparmadmoparmad Member Posts: 197
    Sounds like you got it handled...have a good trip.
  • meredithmeredith Member Posts: 575
    After 30 or more days of inactivity....

    this topic is being "frozen." It will be archived or deleted in the next 10 days or so.

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