Road trip - is our vehicle going to struggle? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-25-2016, 12:18 AM   #1
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Name: KRISTA
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
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Road trip - is our vehicle going to struggle?

Hi,....We are worried how our 2008 Ford Taurus X (all wheel drive) will cope on a big road trip from BC down through Utah and Arizona and back up the coast, 3 weeks this July. Even though our trailer is within the towing and weight constraints of our vehicle (and our trailer is wired for brakes), we worry about heat and our engine overheating (in the middle of the dessert with 2 kids in the back seat).

We've done a full renovation on our 1973 Trillium 1300. Aside from all the cosmetic stuff, we removed the body to have the frame fulled repaired, repainted and a new tortion axel put on. This spring we have a few test run, local trips planned before hitting the big road. Any advice on whether we are being over-worried or help on setting realistic expectations, would be appreciated, since we are yet to have any experience towing our trailer long distances.

Thanks.
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:58 AM   #2
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista View Post
Hi,....We are worried how our 2008 Ford Taurus X (all wheel drive) will cope on a big road trip from BC down through Utah and Arizona and back up the coast, 3 weeks this July. Even though our trailer is within the towing and weight constraints of our vehicle (and our trailer is wired for brakes), we worry about heat and our engine overheating (in the middle of the dessert with 2 kids in the back seat).
Any advice on whether we are being over-worried or help on setting realistic expectations, would be appreciated, since we are yet to have any experience towing our trailer long distances.
Thanks.
Hi Krista, it should be a bit warm in the deserts in July but it's supposed to be in the summer . Sounds like you've got the trailer squared away for the trip. You don't say what the mileage is on the tug but I would think as long as you have done all the maintenance for a good commuter vehicle you should be fine. I live in the desert and have never had a problem...so far but I do stay with "main" roads/highways as there is more traffic using it in case something should happen. Cell service can be spotty in some areas. On the flip side, people have been towing trailers and traveling all over the country for a bunch of years....have a fun trip . BTW, the worst breakdown I had (tranny) was with my two little kids along. It turned out to be one of those lemons to lemonade stories because of the great people we met during the repairs. Kind of funny as we really don't remember much of the big family get together at Lake Powell but the breakdown always makes us smile from those memories. You just never know.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:23 AM   #3
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Name: Kenji
Trailer: Scamp
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With a combo of a 2008 SUV/crossover with a V6 engine, and a 13 foot trailer I would say you will be perfectly fine.

Watch keep an eye on the engine temps up hills in hot areas, and to that end maybe inspect your radiator for corrosion before the trip. If the radiator is nice and clean with fully intact fins and little corrosion you won't have any trouble.

I tow my 16 foot Scamp deluxe with my 1993 Geo Tracker 2dr. It's a 4cyl 1.6l engine. It has almost 180,000 miles on it now. Just installed a torque cam since I have no need for speed with my trailer. (still does 70 on the flats towing it though!) No problem even in the very same hilly desert roads that you are planning on traveling. If my tracker had an automatic trans I wouldn't dream of towing my trailer with it though.

Your vehicle should actually be very well matched to that little trailer and should have no problems at all.
Make sure that the tires are in tip top shape on both the tug and the trailer though, that I can't stress enough. I had two tires fail on me during a long MI to CA to MI trip, both in AZ, and one was my spare! *facepalm* No trailer on that trip thankfully. The heat murders tires.


Have an excellent drive!
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:05 AM   #4
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Florida
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You didn't mention a transmission cooler. I consider that key.

In general we avoid AZ in the summer because it can be really hot. In hot weather we try to drive early in the day to minimize temperatures.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:51 AM   #5
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
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What Norm says.
Heat is an automatic transmission killer. Auxiliary cooler in series with factory in radiator cooler is a good addition when towing. Factory trailering packages typically have this included.
Russ
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:16 AM   #6
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Travelling in desert temps with kids and trailer makes this a serious concern and question, especially when your AC will be on. I have towed vehicles most of my life and make sure that I am prepeared for a breakdown if that happens. Does your car have proper instrumentation or just idiot lights for temp? I suggest taking the car to a trailer expert in your area and have him check the effectiveness of the rad, possibly add a transmission rad and make sure that all systems including brakes are in top shape. I personally believe it is not so much the weight of the trailer but the wind resistance of a square box like the Trilli that adds the stress to the tow vehicle.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:28 AM   #7
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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So,,, leave the kids with the grandparents,,, :-)

Seriously, train yourself to downshift on the uphill pulls.
Automatic transmission heat is generated by the torque converter.
The less it slips, the less heat. Only use the top gear (overdrive) when cruising on level roads. Downshift going downhill too to provide engine braking, stay off the brakes.
We've been to Arizona in the summer ... never again!

wc
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:02 PM   #8
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A transmission cooler is always a good idea.
Modern vehicles have greatly improved cooling systems than older vehicles. For one thing they run hotter with higher temperature coolant. They have temperature controlled fans or clutches for fans, which helps cool thing downs. Mine has the clutch it comes on when engine temperature is starting to get hot, which I can hear and shift down, slow down, and let things cool off a bit.
I've been in Death Valley in 100F temperatures and no problems with overheating. That was running the A/C.
In hot weather it's a good idea to carry extra water, and food as a precaution to problems.
Now go have fun don't worry.
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:31 PM   #9
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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trans oil temperature

Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
You didn't mention a transmission cooler. I consider that key.

In general we avoid AZ in the summer because it can be really hot. In hot weather we try to drive early in the day to minimize temperatures.
I found myself this fall running out of time to find and install a trans cooler in series with the radiator cooler for the auto trans.

I figured I had to at least install a temp gauge for the tran fluid temp so I can tell if I need to stop, slow down etc. It worked very well and I only went over 200F for a small portion of my trip thru New Mexico and Arizona. Nice to see whats going on inside the trans with temp. I think I put a coolant temp one in but I believe they are pretty much the same. I did have a machinist buddy make a tee so I could put it inline with one of the trans cooler lines to the radiator. There should be after market stuff out there but when you are in a hurry you kinda do what you have to to beat the snow.

2" Digital Oil Temperature Gauge Blue LED Smoke Lens Black | eBay

I have an old car and it does not have any way to monitor the trans temp. I know newer vehicles would probably turn on a light etc. if you were to get the trans fluid too hot but idiot lights I think ain't so great.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:16 PM   #10
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Neglected to mention, we always carry a case of water in the tow vehicle along with some munchies just in case. In the southwest we like the dirt and back roads.
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