Towing in Overdrive? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-27-2003, 07:32 PM   #1
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Towing in Overdrive?

I'm going to be towing my "new" 77 Trillium 4500 with my 89 S10 4.3 auto. Should I tow in overdrive or "D".
Thanks
Todd
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Old 04-27-2003, 07:35 PM   #2
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OD

Todd: Driving or towing in overdrive or "D" can do more harm to your overdrive on your transmission.

- Ray
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Old 04-27-2003, 08:26 PM   #3
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Hi Tod
I have GMC Sonoma 5 speed stick shift.I only tow up to 4th gear.I was told that to tow in 5th gear I could possibly wreak trany.This info from a RV teck.I pulled all my trips last year in 4th gear.No problems.:wave
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Old 04-27-2003, 08:41 PM   #4
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Overdrive

Todd, do you still have the owner's manual? That is your best source of correct information for the year/type of your vehicle.

My husband's GM truck has an tow button. His book says he can use overdrive as long as it isn't shifting too frequently (steep hills). My GM SUV doesn't have a tow/haul button and my book says to always tow in third gear -- never in drive (with overdrive). Interesting note, it also says that I should not use my speed control.
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:01 AM   #5
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My '87 Volvo's manual says overdrive is okay if the trailer is under 2000 lbs, and if you install a tranny cooler. I will see though, maybe on the freeway, but otherwise 3rd should do. Haven't actually towed it yet.

Blossom
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Old 04-28-2003, 06:46 AM   #6
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Hi Todd!

Your tow vehicle's owner's manual is your best source of information about towing.

It differs from manufacturer to manufacturer ... and model to model.

If you don't have the manual, stop in at your local Chevy store and ask the service guys.

Whether or not your manual says ok or not ok, or whether or not you decide to tow in overdrive or not, ALWAYS ... repeat ALWAYS shift down to a lower gear if you find your tow vehicle "hunting" (shifting) between gears rapidly.

When you start up a hill, it's normal for a transmission to downshift, but if the transmission downshifts for, say, ten seconds, and then, upshifts for ten seconds, then decides it has to downshift again ... this "hunting" between gears will kill your transmission quickly.
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Old 04-28-2003, 06:53 AM   #7
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Found the manual

I found the owners manual and it says it's ok to use overdrive if the trailer is under 3000 lbs. I'm surprised as I worked in service at a Chrysler dealer and it was a big no no to tow in overdrive (I saw the damage several times that can happen to a Dodge Ram transmission that was in overdrive while towing!)


Thanks
Todd
P.S - This is the first time towing for me. I am off this week so I am going to hook up the trailer and drive around town by myself to get used to it and to also practice parking (when everyone else is at work and wont see me making a fool of myself!)
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Old 04-28-2003, 07:28 AM   #8
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towing in overdrive

Todd:

Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:03 AM   #9
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Overdrive

Todd - Glad you found your owner's manual. That's always the best place to start. You'll know when you need to downshift. Like Charles says, when it starts to 'hunt' for gears it's time to shift. Don't worry, you'll know. Kinda like shifting a manual transmission...you get the hang of it, then never even have to think about it.

Towing: Practice is not only a good thing, it is a fun thing. I also believe that it helps the trailer to get it out and move it around once in a while.

Backing? When I'm by myself, I'm a true poster girl for backing. I have even impressed myself a few times. However, when anyone I know is watching ... :o Even I wouldn't believe me when I said how well I can back. So, don't worry about you're backing, you'll get to where you need to go when you need to get there. ;)

Have fun!
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:47 AM   #10
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Todd ... glad you got the info. Chevy says it's ok for me to tow in overdrive in my Suburban. But as I said ... if your transmission starts "hunting," then downshift to a lower gear, ok?

>>by myself

Sometimes, just to amuse myself, I'll go down and hook up the trailer and tow it around ... go to the health club ... the grocery store ... a nearby state park (where I'll practice backing into campsites ... trying to avoid trees).

Like Suz says ... it's good for your trailer ... and good for your soul.
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:21 PM   #11
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My personal opinion is that I don't care what the owners manual says, I'm not towing in overdrive. The simple reason is that using overdrive will at best improve mileage 1 or 2 mpg, and maybe not even that, so my additional gas cost is pretty minimal when compared to a $1200 transmission rebuild.

I blew a manual 5-speed on a pickup truck once, driving across the country with a full load (not towing, just loaded). Lost 5th and 3rd gears, as they shared the same spindle. Cost $950 to fix. They said overdrive is only intended for running with light loads. I took it to heart.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:35 PM   #12
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I generally agree with Paul -- why would one risk a $1200 + transmission overhaul for an increase of 2 - 3 miles per gallon in fuel economy. Also a person usually has no control of when and where a breakdown is to occur.

However, in my case towing our 16ft Scamp with a 83 Blazer with a turbocharged diesel and 3.73:1 gears hardly puts any strain on the drive-train in overdrive. So I do use overdrive at cruising speeds on level ground. I also seldom use more than 1/4 throttle in overdrive.
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:24 PM   #13
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Thanks for "Hunting" description.

Charles - thanks for posting the explicit description of "Hunting". I always wondered exactly what constituted hunting.

My 4Runner v6 hasn't hunted yet. I haven't exactly been driving on challenging terrain either. I'm going to follow the user manual and long discussions with the Toyota service technicians and mostly drive in overdrive unless there is lots of shifting going on or I'm going down steep hills.

I am going to add a transmission cooler before our summer Colorado trip. Also deemed completely unnecessary overkill by Toyota folks, but they had a place they recommended to do it and it's cheap. I'll probably always be in 3rd gear in those Colorado mountains anyway - won't try the overdrive thing there.

Now, one of these days I'm gonna git me one of them new v8 4Runners!

Audrey
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Old 04-29-2003, 03:41 PM   #14
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Went on a practice run today..

I hooked up the Trillium to the S10, checked and rechecked everything and away I went. I was amazed at how easy the trailer was to tow. Didnt really notice it being there. I think that has a lot to do with the torsion bar suspension that the Trillium has. The only thing I did notice is that due to the height of my bumper hitch, the trailer tows with it's butt a little close to the road- I'd say about a foot. The only concern I can see having is if the campsite has a bit of a hill to the lot-the bumper on the trailer may scrape the ground. I practiced parking and didnt have any real problems as long as I tok my time. Next step: Actual camping trip!

Todd
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