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Towing and Overdrive

steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
Can someone explain to me why towing and overdrive
are a bad combination? I keep seeing the comment
cropping up, but never see the reason behind it.
I'm guessing it's something to do with having the
tranny continually shifting up and down or is it
more subtle and unpleasant?
Tagged:
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Comments

  • redufo2redufo2 Posts: 13
    The new Ford owners manual for a F250 only says two things:
    - Do not tow over 55 mph ( ya right )
    - Select a gear that will allow the trans to not hunt.

    I Try not to tow over 65 mph. With a 3 ton truck equipped with an automatic with 3.73 rear end and a 3 ton trailer thats over 9' tall running in over drive is at the torque / hp limits at 2000 rpm / 65 mph for the V10. To keep the torque converter locked up at 65 mph + it requies me dropping it out of O.D. Other V10 owners with a 4.30 rear end can keep it in O.D. when towing, but do not use it because there afraid of hurting the transmission.

    My thoughts are if your towing at 60-65 mph on flat land with no head wind use the O.D. to save on fuel if the trans doen't hunt and the torque converter will lock up. If you intend to tow over 2 tons of tall trailer at 70-80 mph then shift out of over drive on a automatic to keep from over heating things..........

    I feel for you and wish there were better OEM information available on towing with an automatic trans.
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    The way I feel about towing is take the normal weight that you tow, then find a truck that the max towing capacity is twice the weight you normally tow (sometimes this is not possible)what this will do is allow you to tow in overdrive because the truck will be over built for your application. I have learned this the hard way, it took 3 trucks for me to figure this out. I own a 21' boat that weighs around 5000# including the trailer. Previously I owned 2 f-150's according to the owners manual they could tow around 7000#, they would tow the boat but not well I killed 3 transmissions in the trucks and towing in overdrive was impossible. Now I have a Dodge with the Cummins and towing the boat is not a problem it stays in overdrive all the time except for steep hills. As for towing in overdrive I agree with the above post if your transmission will lock in overdrive there is not much of a problem as long as you have a transmission cooler.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    Once you are up to highway speeds on relatively flat run, it is ok to use OD. But never start out in OD. I have a friend who owns a tranny shop, he told me: besides overheating the tranny, internaly when not in OD the transmission behaves different as far as the gears are and it is less wear and stress on it when starting out in drive (or 3rd gear).
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    My truck is a 2000 Ranger with a 3.0L, 4-speed auto and 4.10 rear-end. This combo is rated to pull around 4300lb. My rig weighs 1400lb at most, 1500lb by the time I buy the next round of "essentials". So my tow rating is around 3x my load - which feels like a pretty good margin for error to me.

    I did some experiments with putting it into O/D when up to speed on flat or downhill sections and it had no problem maintaining speed and gear. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't be storing up a problem for myself. All the owners manual says about this subject is:

    "Use a lower gear when towing up or down steep hills. This will eliminate excessive downshifting and upshifting for optimum fuel economy and transmission cooling.".

    I wonder if "excessive shifting" is once every 10 seconds, minute, 5 minutes...
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    I think you're saying that I shouldn't be doing any acceleration while in O/D? Surely being in O/D doesn't affect the way gears 1, 2 and 3 behave? Isn't O/D just a 4th gear with a ratio less than 1?
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Tow/Haul mode dont need to worry about all the stuff. It reprograms everything automatically.

    Ryan
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    That's great for a Silverado, but I have a Ranger...
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Hint Hint

    Buy the Truck

    Ryan
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    No thanks, the Ranger is plenty for me AND it fits in my garage. I don't have a problem, I'm just trying to understand what I should and shouldn't do. And why...
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    I know sorry im just giving you a little harrassment. And possibly a suggestion

    Ryan
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Is where the truck is shifting into overdrive and the truck slowly loses speed until it kicks down a gear, my f-150 would do this so I always turned the OD off. After a few trips with your truck you will know what hills make the truck work so turn off the OD before you start up the hill and you should have no problems. I believe the OD in an automatic transmission is not a gear at all but is nothing more than the drum in the transmission moving over a little bit to allow your drive gear (1:1 ratio) to be overdriven, I am not sure maybe someone with more tranny knowledg can explain to us better. Another thing you can do to keep from damaging the transmission is install a transmission cooler if not already installed and a transmission temperature gage to monitor the transmission.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    Overdrive is simply 4th gear. It's ratio is about 0.7 to 1, hence "overdrive."
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    According to my guy being in OD DOES effect gears 1,2 and 3. It has something to do the way the tranny couples or something, it was too technical for me. I believe this guy, he supposed to be good. Also use a tranny shop who not only will change the filter but uses the machine to suck out all the fluid. Also add an antifoam agent to the fluid when changing.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    OD.. Like a Vette. The 4 speed auto (700R) was actually a 7 speed. 1,2,3 all had an OD of their own.

    Put the silverado in 3 and drive around town. It too will seem to shift (coverter lock up).

    - Tim
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    My Silverado is actually a Ranger despite what Ryan says :-)
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Now dont put my words in my mouth. I made a suggestion that you buy one.

    Trust me you would be very happy i went from an S-10 to a silverado. Moving up in the world. Oh boy did i move up

    Ryan
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    a Silverado I'd first have to get a bigger garage. To do that I'd need to buy a new house. Things start to get kind of expensive! Especially when all I need is a truck to pull our boat. Oh, and to handle the odd Home Depot project. And my wife's mulch, soil and wood chips. The Ranger fits that bill nicely.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    You said HOME DEPOT? Why not menards??? Whats wrong with them?

    My truck doesnt fit in the garage bumper is in the way. IT sits out no problems. Only thing that scares me is hail and the time it hailed my truck was in the shop thank god. Little trucks come in handy i agree. What kinda boat do you pull? (sorry if u already said this)

    Ryan
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    people would understand Home Depot than Menards! I'll use either.

    I wouldn't like to leave my new truck outside - too tempting for some of the neighbourhood kids. About a week after I bought my RAV4, we found a hole punched in our garage door where someone had tried to break in. We have a stronger door now.

    Hail is scary, you're right. We had a big storm through here (Mpls, MN) a couple of years ago. My RAV4 got hammered in the company car park, as did the roof of our house. I was cowering in the basement at work 'cos there was also a tornado passing by.

    Boat is a Lund Rebel 1650V with a 40HP Honda. A nice comfortable fishing rig.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Only reason i made the menards comment is because i work there a few days a wk. I hate it but it pays pretty good.

    Nice boat next yr ill probably be getting a nitro or bass tracker.


    Ryan
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    Interesting, my wife had told me that Menards didn't pay very well, things must have changed. They must have if you're looking at a Bass Tracker!
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    ..he is still in the Ma and pops stage...ahh.. the good old days..

    However his new old lady wants a house soon and some kids....so look out!

    - Tim
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    I make almost $12 an hr on weekends and thats when i really work all my hours

    No house or kidds till im outta college.

    I have bills

    shell,mastercard, insurance

    Ryan
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Mastercard? Don't get into debt at such young age my man! Throw that sucker out!! (Especially when dating--you'll be paying for gifts after she leaves you!) LOL! 12 bucks an hour for that ring....oh boy....
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    Nah man i aint stupid i pay the thing off when i get it usually the next day. Im not stupid with my money trust me how do you think i bought my silverado (opps i mean tundra). WHo said anything about a ring? wow ive only known her for a few wks. Its going good though :)

    Ryan
  • redufo2redufo2 Posts: 13
    What your trans expert did no tell you.....but assumed you knew..............
    Any transmission be it manual or automatic normally has a gear that is 1:1. In most truck automatic trans missions it is "3rd", "Drive" or "D". When at 1:1 the power is transmitted with minimal loss in power, least friction ( lowest heat build up). The power transfer gets to the drive wheels like there was no transmission there (assuming converter lock up and or no clutch slippage). The torque loads mainly see only the in put and out put bearings of the transmission when in the 1:1 ratio. No great loads on secondary bearings used in gears that multiply the speed of the out put shaft that occurs when the ratio goes from 1:1 to .75:1 or .70:1 as seen in most truck transmissions.

    So when some one uses the drive or disables the O.D. it is in a 1:1 drive ratio. This causes the least amount of ware in conditions like towing. While it is the least ware on the trans there is more wear on the motor and lower mpg.

    Not all transmissions are design to handle high torque loads when transmitting the power indirectly through a planetary O.D. like the 700R4 trans in my old chevy. Towing in O.D. lead to it's early death at 135,000 miles (only 1/4 was towing miles).

    I hope the Automatic in my new 2000 SD Ford is up to the task. Only time will tell. If it dies an early death, then I be setting my sites on an Allison 5 speed around the corner. Until then I tow in O.D. at 60-65 mph at approx. 2000 rpm and see how long the trans will last when towing 3 tons around.

    EEE
  • steveeaststeveeast Posts: 158
    Ford tell me that my ratios are:

    1st gear = 2.47, 2nd = 1.47, 3rd = 1.00, 4th = 0.75, reverse = 2.10.

    which fits what you're saying above.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    I drive a Dodge auto with the 4.10 rear end. Yes I know the 3.54 is more popular. But I talked with numerous folks at campgrounds and found those with the 3.54 towed in 3rd and those with 4.10 towed in OD on the flat and mild hills. When the trans downshifts for a hill they turn OD off so it doesn't hunt back and forth. The 3.54 has to downshift to 2nd. Some install a trans temp gauge that seems like a good idea. A friend has installed one on his Dodge and he's never had a problem with overheating with the 4.10 and OD. I also have the new slighly larger tires Dodge offers, LT265 that give me more like a 3.73 when compared to the more common LT245. At 65 mph in OD I am just under 2000 rpm. At 72 solo just under 2200. And with towing if I need 3rd I am almost 2900 at 65 mph. I have only towed once with my truck (lastweekend ) but feel this will work out. The greatest problem with the auto is overheating. The greatest heat is generated when shifting. So avoiding constant shifting (hunting) is a must. ... Rich
  • bigsnagbigsnag Posts: 394
    Do Ford OD trannies have something that keeps them from hunting gears???
    I always tow in OD with the cruise set near 75-80. However, when I tow my 3500# boat with my F-150 and I come to a large hill it will lose speed until it has to shift down into third. When it does it regains the speed quickly, BUT once it gets back to that speed it doesn't shift back up into OD. That is until I top the hill, then it will shift. It's like the electronic control on the tranny has the ability to tell that there is an increased load, i.e. the hill, which made it have to downshift, and it won't let it hit OD until that increased load is gone, i.e. topping the hill. Anyone with any knowledge about this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • blightblight Posts: 22
    redufo2,

    You are all wrong on the 1:1 minimal friction and torque loads on only the input and output bearings. Your frictions are going to be about the same no matter what gear you are in, and the torques are going to be through all the bearings in the path of the gear you are in. Your bearing loads will be least on the input shaft when you are in the lowest gear, but you will run at a higher engine rpm. I have always heard that heat is the biggest by far cause of problems with transmissions. I believe the main causes for heat are slippage (like under loads and shifting), and slow fluid flow (like in OD). If we believe the manufacturer on max tow loads, then we should believe them on towing recommendations. My info from Ford says that it is OK to tow in OD unless it starts to "hunt". Since I am only towing about half of the rating, it does fine leaving it in OD all the time (so far). When I am towing uphill or in high winds, the transmission automatically downshifts out of OD and stays there as long as it needs to. That is why they call them "automatics". I have a Ford Probe that the transmission went out at about 130K with no towing. Think towing in OD lead to it's early death?

    bigsnag,

    Your F-150 does what all transmissions attempt to do. Some are more successful than others, though. Before electronic controls, transmissions used engine vacuum to try to determine when it needed to downshift or upshift. Now with the electronic controls, we have throttle position sensors, air mass flow sensors and other information for the computers to figure out much better when it needs to shift, and when it should wait a little longer. So, to answer your question, yes it sort of does know there is an increased load based on it's sensor inputs.
This discussion has been closed.