Transmission Coolers for your TUG? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-24-2016, 09:36 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Mitzi
Trailer: LilSnoozy 12/01/16, Tug 2012 Dodge Citadel
Florida
Posts: 406
Transmission Coolers for your TUG?

Trying to learn as much as possible, since in my younger days I thought I would still be capable of backpacking at this age/stage in the game. But let's face it, camping in a trailer is far, far better than no camping at all.

One RV101 tip I read stated that it was very important to have a transmission cooler in your tug, otherwise the strain of pulling the trailer would shorten your transmission life span.
Understand that I have only had TWO CARS since I was 16 that didn't have a stick shift, and that was so long ago the stars were not in their present configurations. But the writer of this tip only discussed its applications with automatic transmissions.
I don't know if I'll be lucky enough to have my elderly diesel van be able to pull my projected trailer, or if I will have to purchase a used SUV. Don't know if I'd be lucky enough to find a 5 speed out there...ANYHOOO...
Is a tranny cooler all that necessary? And what about if I do wind up with a 5 speed?
__________________

__________________
That's my job. I read...and I know things
Mitzi Agnew-Giles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2016, 10:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
KenjiFox's Avatar
 
Name: Kenji
Trailer: Scamp
Arizona
Posts: 119
Registry
Transmission coolers are more required the heavier the trailer is vs the tow vehicle weight. If you are adding on a really light and aerodynamic trailer to a large heavy van, it's not going to heat the transmission up that much more. Especially since you will likely compensate by going slower. That said, heat is the number one enemy of an automatic trans. I would always put a cooler on any Automatic vehicle, even if I didn't plan on towing with it. That also said, I have never owned an automatic, and likely never will.
I'm nearly allergic to them.

This brings me nicely to your second question; the manual 5 speed... or seven speed, or any manual box for that matter.

You don't need to worry about anything with a manual trans. They don't care if you are pulling 10 vehicles up a hill pedal to the metal in first gear all day. They don't slip and heat wont kill them. The clutch slip when taking off generates more heat load on the input shaft bearing than towing lots of weight up hills will.


TLDR; Trans cooler is an extremely good idea, but not 100% needed depending on the capacity of the vehicle and the weight and wind resistance of the trailer.
Manual trans = GO! Free to tow, no worries, ever.
__________________

__________________
KenjiFox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 06:09 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
honda03842's Avatar
 
Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
Posts: 7,300
We've always had a manual transmission until our last tow vehicle. Our manual transmission, 4 cylinder Honda CRV was great towing our Scamp 16. When we bought our Honda Odyssey 6 speed automatic we added a transmission cooler. Our son has a 4 cylinder automatic Honda Accord for his Scamp 13 and has added a transmission cooler.
__________________
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
honda03842 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 06:57 AM   #4
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,055
Many vehicles come with transmission coolers. Check your owners manual under towing and perhaps ask the local dealer. Raz
__________________
Raz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 08:23 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: Dale
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper; 2002 Highlander 3.0L; 2017 Escape 21'; 2016 F-150 5.0L Fx4
Alabama
Posts: 580
Mitzi, I'm sure others will chime in who can explain this better, but manual transmissions have dry clutch plates that make physical contact such that, when engaged, the rotation of the engine directly rotates the gears in the transmission. The primary problem is if the clutch plate face "burns" to a smooth surface and starts slipping, or the spring mechanism that pushes the two plates together weakens, allowing slip, or breaks, so the clutch doesn't work anymore. In contrast, automatic transmissions have what's called a fluid-bathed torque converter. The rotation of the engine pushes the fluid, and then that fluid forces the transmission to rotate. Since it's not a direct connection (normally) there is always a little heat generated from fluid dragging across the spinning converter plates as the plates try to force the fluid (I hope that makes sense), but the transmissions are built to handle this normal heat. Under excessive towing stress (like pulling extra weight up a long incline), the transmission fluid gets caught between an engine trying to spin at one speed and a transmission that is struggling to spin as fast. So the transmission fluid heats up more than normal. And over time, the extra heat breaks down important viscosity properties of the fluid that allow it to do it's job. And everything spirals downhill from there. (If others have a clearer or more accurate way of explaining that, please chime in.) Anyway, my understanding would be that if you're towing within factory specs on relatively flat terrain like in Florida, you likely won't have a problem. If you hit the hills often, you might want to change your transmission fluid more frequently than the owner's manual stipulates to replace any "burned" fluid. If you hit the hills often and don't want to worry about the possibility of more frequent transmission fluid changes, add an extra transmission fluid cooler to help keep the temperature down and the fluid working like it should. That said, I believe more and more of the newer transmissions are including "lock-up" mechanisms in the torque converter so that, once the vehicle is cruising in overdrive, there is a physical locking of the converter plates such that there is no slip (for better fuel efficiency) and less heat build-up. Then when you drop out of overdrive or hit the brakes, the lock-up disconnects and you're back to a regular automatic transmission. (Anyone have more insight on that?) Anyway, I hope most of that is somewhere near right and that it helps you understand what you're dealing with and making decisions about. (Again, I hope those more knowledgeable in this area will chime in to correct any mistakes in my attempt to explain this.) Dale
__________________
War Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 11:28 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Dale
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper; 2002 Highlander 3.0L; 2017 Escape 21'; 2016 F-150 5.0L Fx4
Alabama
Posts: 580
Mitzi, Our 2002 Highlander came with the factory towing package of the time, which included an extra small transmission fluid cooling radiator tucked under and behind the driver's side fog light utilizing an air foil opening in the lower grill area for air intake (it's about 8" x 4" x 2"). I tried to take a photo of it (below), but you have to use your imagination a bit. You'll see a bug stuck to it just like a real radiator! In taking the picture, I also realized how much it needs a good flushing to clean out old road grime blocking much of the air flow and cooling capacity. Lesson learned! Some on this forum have installed a temperature gauge to monitor the temperature of their transmission fluid as they travel.
Attached Thumbnails
DSC08564.jpg  
__________________
War Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 11:36 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Iowa
Posts: 621
That's about the size of it. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to learn how to downshift, both towing uphill, and coasting downhill. That takes the strain off the torque converter and reduces heat build up.
__________________
Wayne Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 12:16 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
Posts: 592
At the risk of starting a fire storm of comments....towing is best done with an automatic transmission. Automatic transmissions are stronger than manual transmissions...they (thanks to computer controls) know when to shift and keep engine RPMs at the right point.
If the manufacturer rated your vehicle to tow XXX lbs and your tow weight is less than XXX lbs you are good to go.
Get a trans cooler installed by a qualified transmission shop and go !
__________________
Uplander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: Scamp 16 Ft layout 6
Wisconsin
Posts: 18
Transmission cooler

As many have stated add a trans cooler. Now the question is how larger should it be and what might be the cost of the oller alone. There is a web site that shows cooler size based on GVW of the vehicle and trailer being pulled. It also shows how to mount the cooler and plumb it as well. The cooler must be on the side of the radiator that allows for the air from the radiator to pass to the oil cooler secondly. This insures the engine radiator receive the cool air first. There typically is a 10 to 15 degree temp rise from the rad. air into air out so this leave adequate cooling air for the trans cooler even in high ambient temps like AZ. For the DIY person it is very easy to add a trans cooler. Cost from $40 and up. Secondly if you tug has many miles on it you may want to clean the inside of the radiator and outside. Radiator become less efficient as time passes making them cool less. Wash the outside making sure you can see thought the fins in all locations. Then treat the inside with radiator flush. Truly can't hurt.

Website: transmissioncoolers.us: Hayden Tube & Fin cooler
__________________
Jim in De Pere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 01:09 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
Posts: 592
When towing in extreme heat or up a long mountain grade it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your temperature gague(s). Pull over if it gets too high and let things cool down. I had to take a cool down break when climbing the Rocky Mountains...as did semi tractor trailers and other campers...even with an excellent transcooler.
__________________
Uplander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 10:37 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Doug
Trailer: Scamp 16 ft.
Missouri
Posts: 129
Our Ford Escape 6 cylinder was not designated as a tow vehicle. Still, it was rated at 2000 pounds tow weight. We did have a transmission cooler installed. That is the main item in tow rated vehicles. Larger radiators are as well. Wiring harness and tow hitch of course too. So, the tranny cooler was a wise investment.
__________________
Flyboyscamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2016, 08:39 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Mitzi
Trailer: LilSnoozy 12/01/16, Tug 2012 Dodge Citadel
Florida
Posts: 406
I have learnt a lot! here. Thank you everyone for the education. My Saturn Ion is rated for 1000 lbs towing so even with an egg type I'll have to do a different tug. Need to measure the trailer hitch height from ground and see if I can locate its owner manual. Haven't had it out in 2 1/2 years- since the heavens opened upon us while taking my son and family white water rafting on the Chattooga- 24 1/2 years after the first time I had taken my son down that river. Discovered the hard way the van leaked like a sieve and haven't been able to find an auto body shop willing to work on it since. But a camper in a park I stopped to talk to suggested trying marine shops that may be willing to patch it up. The problem lies in determining where the leak is...
Check manual for tow limits. Wash intakes and clean out old tranny fluid and add fresh. Watch engine temperatures. Think I have the basics memorized...
__________________
That's my job. I read...and I know things
Mitzi Agnew-Giles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2016, 09:27 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 5,558
Registry
Transmission Coolers for your TUG?

Meant to say this before... engine temperature does not tell you how your transmission is doing. If you want to monitor that, you have to add your own gauge. Transmission overheating when towing is more likely than engine overheating, in my experience.

The transmission in my first TV, a Toyota Sienna, overheated during a long uphill climb in severe conditions (high ambient temperature and strong headwinds). The engine temperature gauge on the dash never budged.

On that vehicle, electronic controls sensed the overheating and sent the vehicle into limp mode, saving the day and the transmission.

It did not have an auxiliary transmission cooler, and I was under the 2000 pound limit for towing without it, but the severe conditions tipped it over.

Lesson learned. Install the cooler, even if it isn't required. A gauge is nice, but I'd spend my money on the cooler first.
__________________
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2016, 08:14 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
JWScarab's Avatar
 
Name: Joe
Trailer: 2013 EggCamper & 2011 Silverado Reg Cab 4x4
Ohio
Posts: 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyboyscamp View Post
Our Ford Escape 6 cylinder was not designated as a tow vehicle. Still, it was rated at 2000 pounds tow weight. We did have a transmission cooler installed. That is the main item in tow rated vehicles. Larger radiators are as well. Wiring harness and tow hitch of course too. So, the tranny cooler was a wise investment.
Agree 100%! If you ever buy a new vehicle, and even if you dont plan to tow - buy the tow package! I worked 6 years for a "automotive cooling" company designing cooling systems. the "tow package" comes with a factory tranny cooler, a larger radiator, trans temp gauge, and hitch/wiring. Its WELL WORTH the extra $ for that option. Last resort, adding a tranny cooler is good, but if at all possible, go with an OEM tow package!

Dont push your tranny to the limit, or engine temps/oil to the limit. While you are at it, use full syn oil.
__________________

__________________
2013 EggCamper #120

Joe's EggCamper Journal
JWScarab is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Transmission coolers Gene Masse Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 8 02-26-2015 02:56 PM
Starting the search: new tug, which transmission? Kent I Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 12 08-15-2009 10:25 PM
Which of these transmission coolers is more effective (Odyssey)? Bryan L. Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 6 06-02-2009 03:49 PM
Koolatron 12v coolers jack maloney General Chat 9 02-08-2006 07:53 PM
12V Coolers Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 1 06-14-2003 08:54 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.