Tow vehicle advice - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-30-2015, 03:00 PM   #57
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Suggest tou go for the automatic trans with the addition of a quality trans-cooler...have it installed by a qualified transmission shop and not the dealer as they will only send it out to a transmission shop and charge you more than going direct.

If you elect to go with a standard transmission be sure you have a tach and keep the RPMs at the proper level or you will destroy the clutch and engine in the process.
This is not a concern with today's automatics as the are computer controlled and maintain the correct RPMs.

Good luck and Happy Camping!
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:13 PM   #58
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Quote: "If you elect to go with a standard transmission be sure you have a tach and keep the RPMs at the proper level or you will destroy the clutch and engine in the process." (Italics added)


And why/how is that? I can't say that I have ever heard that in some 50+ years of driving. And for about 1/2 of those years we didn't even have tach's in most cars. It sound like you may have been victim of a scare tactic by the pro-automatic crowd.


BTW: Automatics do not maintain the correct RPM, Only the driver or the cruise control has any say over that. But they can maintain the correct gear for the load.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:13 AM   #59
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For Bob Miller, All the information I have about the RPM/gear relationships when towing came from automotive experts and truck drivers who did the majority of their driving while towing in the Rocky Mountain States. Maintaining the proper RPMs is critical. Today's automatic transmissions utilize a computer to achieve this...if you drive a standard shift transmission that job fall on the driver.
Even the owner's manual often states to avoid driving in overdrive gear when towing with an automatic in hilly areas.
I drive a Toyota product with a 5 speed automatic...in hilly areas I set the transmission to lock out the 5th gear. When I do that my engine's RPMs rarely fall below 2,000 RPMs...this is all computer controlled in Toyota Products.
Setting the selector in the "D" position results in constant down shifting trying to maintain RPM in hilly conditions.....I do use the "D" position when running on flat and/or less hilly roads to increase gas mileage.
I did tow with a standard transmission and tach many years ago and found it to be a real pain in the a** !!! Most knowledgeable automotive professional feel that an automatic transmission is stronger than a standard transmission....this applies to today's automatics....the industry now shows better gas mileage on all its' automatic transmissions vs. standard shift transmissions....this is illustrated on the window stickers found on new cars and trucks.
Every year automatic transmissions get better and better...not so on standard shift models....they are "old school".

Happy Camping....no matter what you drive.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:19 AM   #60
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Uplander.... You have the right info!
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:07 AM   #61
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BTW: Automatics do not maintain the correct RPM, Only the driver or the cruise control has any say over that. But they can maintain the correct gear for the load.
Yes, but many modern automatic transmissions do control the rpm within the gear they are in. And, many are now using constant velocity transmissions that are almost entirely computer controlled. Nowadays there are many vehicles that actually get better mileage with an automatic transmission than their manual alternative. Don't get me wrong, I love my little sports car with a 6 speed manual gearbox, and there's no way I'd opt for an automatic on THAT car. But, the automatic on my F150 Ecoboost V6 is highly sophisticated and is able to give me a better performance curve and fuel economy than the manual transmission ever could.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:12 AM   #62
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But a wise man (one who has towed 1,000's of various combinations over 45 years) once told me that when towing you have enough things to be aware of and that is where the simplicity of an Automatic kicks in. He also said that at times it takes a few forward and backward moves to get backed into a campsite. That clutch in the manual vehicle can really heat up.

I agree with that wise man. Want a manual but use an Automatic.
A wise man indeed!

As a person who NEVER wanted to own an automatic & had only ever owned manual transmission autos I had to cave in & get my first automatic about 8 years ago when I was not able to get a manual transmission on my preferred car. Now on my second vehicle with a automatic transmission and have towed with both and I will never go back to owning a manual transmission auto for towing & or my daily city drive! Life is simple!

Like Uplander on my current Nissan has the option to lock out the Overdrive when towing up a hill - also recommend in the owners manual. With my Subaru I did not have that OD lock out option so I simple switched out of D into what they call Sport mode and manually controlled the gear shifting when going into hills.

With both vehicles I do indeed need to watch the RPM's and manually shift accordingly when traveling on large hills/mountain passes. Would not want to own a vehicle without an RPM gage.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:53 PM   #63
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I don't think that the examples of what over-the-road truck drivers have to do driving diesel's, with very limited RPM ranges, plays into the discussion at all. That's one of the reasons that they have so many gears to choose from, limited RPM range, usually about 1200-1500, so let's toss that reference as being a non-started in this application.


My reply was to the statement suggesting that a person towing an FGRV could "Destroy" both engines and clutches if they didn't have a tach to follow.... to which I still respond "Balderdash".


I did a bit of searching and I can't find any current automatic transmissions that have any control over engine RPM, but the opposite has always and still applies.
While selecting a different gear will have an effect on RPM, that's caused by load, not the transmission.


And the real bad news..... This reply is late because I just pulled my Hunter Compact-II 1,265 miles in two days, with less than 10% of that on interstates, crossed numerous passes in excess of 8000 feet high, all with a manual 5 speed, and I didn't cause the destruction of anything any more than I did when I towed with my last 5 speed..... that still had the original clutch at 155,000 miles.


If someone wants the convenience of an automatic, that's fine, but there is nothing about a standard transmission that is inherently going to cause the demise of anything.
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:52 AM   #64
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If someone wants the convenience of an automatic, that's fine, but there is nothing about a standard transmission that is inherently going to cause the demise of anything.
Different strokes for different folks. Not a problem.

One of my pals tows his dual axle trailer with a pro set up Volvo S60 sedan/T5 manual. This was his comment on another forum.

"I've towed with a manual transmission car for the past 6 years, and am now switching to an automatic. Slow speed backing should be much easier!

I never found the manual to be an issue in the mountains. It just kept me busy shifting. I figured out how to double-clutch on downshifts a long time ago, so downshifts were usually smooth with no shock loads on the driveline".
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:59 AM   #65
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We just sold our manual transmission 2004 Honda CRV with 250,000 miles. We have towed just about everywhere in North America. When we sold it the CRV had it's original clutch. Never a transmission problem or an engine problem or never added oil between 5000 mile changes.

We traded it i on a Honda Odyssey with an automatic transmission. The Odyssey is more comfortable and with the automatic it is easier to back up. However if they still made the CRV with a manual transmission, we would have bought another and never tried the Odyssey. Since the Odyssey purchase we do like the Odyssey better.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:14 AM   #66
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The clutch 's seem to much more durable than they used to be. My pal with the Volvo S60 5cyl, T5 lived in the Rockies and towed his 27'r all over the continent a few times and it too still had the original clutch. That is impressive.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:18 AM   #67
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If you can drive the manual and have the skill it will last a very long time. If you slip the clutch excessively to get going or ride with your foot on the clutch then it's live is in serious doubt.
Once the clutch is locked up then it's job is basically over except for the small springs that absorb the torque pulses from the engine. These can and do wear out and bread occasionally and cause harshness and rattle.
The new DSG transmissions are just like the manual transmission except that they have two clutches and two transmission geartrains (one for odd and one for even gears) These clutches are often "wet" which means that they are lubricated with a spray of oil to keep them cool and modify their engagement for smooth shifting and starting.
These only really build heat on starting from a standstill for the very brief time it slips. Since the 6 speeds give a very low first this is very short.
The only heat buildup for this type of transmission is that time and the added heat from the small hydraulic pump that provides the pressure to operate the system.
This is the wave of the future! The computers shift better than any manual driver could (other than me and those of you that want to question me!)
The draw back to the DSG is that instead of the springs in the center of the clutch to absorb the torsional vibrations the DSG has a Dual Mass Flywheel that has the springs between the crankshaft drive flange in the center and the OD of the flywheel. As in the clutch these springs eventually fatigue and wear out and break and the flywheel will have to be replaced. But no torque converter to build heat constantly and waste power!
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Old 06-10-2015, 01:01 PM   #68
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Hi friends, thanks for all the input. I have found a used vehicle that seems like a good fit...98 Chevy s10, v6, auto 4spd ( no choice there). The body and tranny are sound, engine rebuilt, very well maintained. See you on the road!

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Old 06-29-2015, 10:21 AM   #69
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Just wanted everyone to know, I just returned from 2000 miles. My s10 worked wonderfully, pulls like a dream AND I can run ac at the same time! Engine temp was in a safe range, mpg dropped as we all know happens when towing. I attribute this to the need to refrain from using the overdrive gears. So, I am unpacking and planning my next trip to retrieve my Boler, yeah!!!

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Old 06-29-2015, 01:21 PM   #70
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You might do a bit better if you hold your towing speed to 55 mpg. I get about a 2-3 mpg hit when towing my Hunter Compact-II @55 MPH with my S-10, 2 dr Blazer, V6 5speed.

We just finished a 5000+ mile trip through the Rocky Mountain states and averaged 16.2 mpg for the entire trip. I use 5th only on flat roads and above 50 MPH.


BTW: If it wasn't already done and documented, a fresh tune-up, especially new plugs, will do wonders for your economy.
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