Ford Explorer Overheating When Towing - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-06-2009, 12:20 AM   #1
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We are looking for some advice regarding an overheating Ford Explorer when towing a Bigfoot.

We bought a 1992 17ft Bigfoot and took it out for our first trip last weekend but we found our Ford Explorer was overheating whenever we reached over 70kms on the highway or if there was any sized hill to deal with.

We have a 2000 Ford Explorer, 2DR, 4.0L, 6 cylinder Sport model which, doing the research, should be easily capable of towing the Bigfoot according to the stats. The vehicle has an automatic transmission with the intergrated transmission cooler/radiator set up along with the best axle ratio for towing so the vehicle should be able to cope with up to 4750 lbs.

We have done all the usual checks on the vehichle and found nothing wrong and the vehicle drives perfectly when not towing. I think we need to make some upgrades but I'd like some help in deciding which to go for. In order of preference, I suspect that adding an additional transmission cooler, an engine oil cooler or maybe an electric fan would rectify the problem. Does anyone out there have experience with the problem and any success in finding a solution.

While out, we did have the trailer weighed and with all our "stuff" in it, it weighed in at 2750 pounds - well within the vehicles towing capacity.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 07-06-2009, 05:09 AM   #2
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Name: Yvon
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft 1992
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We have the same trailer that you have and nothing problem to tow it with a Chevrolet s10 4.3 L
If tou overheat on hill or hightway check for radiator dirty or cloged!!!!!!! or low in coolant
I work in automotive mecanic , and all orverheat in high speed is normaly radiator or air supply to radiator
Check for exterior radiator obstruction (mud, full of moskito and also some people put a screen in front of radiator and this one reduce of 30% air flow
You can also check the fan cluch if you have a mecanical fan cluth vs electic fan
the addition of transmission cooler is suitable for the transmission but dont reduce engine temperature
If you dont see anuthing , go to radiator shop and make a cleaning of the interior radiator ( flush with special product)to remove some obstruction in radiator, only radiator shop can make a good job to remove all accumulation in radiator

When you tell that the engine overheat , what is the max degree the the engine overheat ?? in degree???

Yvon Chayer

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Old 07-06-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1979 13 ft Boler, 1987 & 1988 Bigfoot 5th Wheel
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What Yvon said.
1979 Boler B1300 | 1987 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | 1988 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | We officially have a collection!
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:46 PM   #4
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if you have automatic overdrive, make sure you are not using it to towq in I.E. 3 not OD
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for all your advice....I'll try getting the radiator flushed, test it again and let you know how it goes.

I've checked all the usual suspects such as checking for obstruction of the core and the fan clutch is operating smoothly.

I am not sure of the exact temperature when overheating but it quickly rises to between 3/4 and the red areas of the guage on the highway. Both hoses on the radiator were hot immediately so coolant seemed to be flowing.

My theory with the transmission fluid is that I thought that if the transmission was getting too hot then it would reduce the efficiency of the radiator.So adding the transmission cooler maybe it would then reduce the radiator and engine temperature. But I am open to all and any alternative suggestions.

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #6
Trailer: 13 ft Casita
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I doubt your trany is causing your engine to overheat... as stated before I would look closely at the radiator and the water thermostat.... I have a ranger with a 4.0 and a van with a 4.3 and live in the Ozarks and have no problems towing our casita..
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:31 AM   #7
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Install a NEW radiator cap and thermostat. (Yes, A bad cap can cause this problem.)

Sometimes Just flushing will not fix a radiator especially if is really plugged up. If plugged they need to remove it, take the top off and "ROD" it to remove the gunk.

The electric fans are really a nice option.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:15 PM   #8
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Adding a transmission cooler may not be sufficient help for the engine but it will sure help the transmission. If you engine is heating up to 275 (and it can) degrees then your tranny is also that hot and that is too high for a tranny to have any longevity. You may want to try changing to a lower temp thermostat. That would be the cheapest way to start. If you want to check your Thermostat, put it in a pan of water with a thermometer (don't let the thermometer hit the bottom of the pan) and bring the water up to a boil watching what temp the thermostat opens.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:39 PM   #9
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An extra external tranny cooler would really help a lot like Bill said, and I would say a new thermostat would be the way to go...spend the (not much) extra money and get one from Ford. yours could be sticking closed a bit. The aftermarket ones seem to be a bit hit and miss.

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