What gear to tow in - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-29-2017, 03:57 PM   #1
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Name: Connie
Trailer: 1995 16' Scamp Deluxe
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What gear to tow in

My Subaru dealer told me to tow in 2nd gear instead of drive when I had my 13 Boler. (The Subaru was rated to pull 2000# max and the 1980 Boler was around 800#dry.)⌈ Am wondering if I should still tow in 2nd gear to pull my 16 ft Scamp with a Honda Pilot rated for towing 4500#. Any thoughts??
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:17 PM   #2
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What does your Pilot manual say?
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:18 PM   #3
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If your Pilot is like our 2008 Ridgeline, there is a button to keep it out of overdrive for towing. We used that mode for about the first 2 days when we picked up out Casita (heavier, I think). Mileage was awful so we went back to normal overdrive, only using tow mode when we were doing a lot of mountain driving. Ridgeline is over 170,000 miles now with no problems.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:41 PM   #4
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Glen-you are a genius! It never occurred to me that the manual would have it! Thanks so much! It says use D on level roads and D3 in hilly terrain!
Connie
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:23 PM   #5
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One does take a mileage hit if OD is off that is for sure. But the closer your tow is to the rated capacity of the tow vehicle the more issue allowing the transmission to bounce between OD and regular drive gear will be.


If you find that the transmission is shifting up and down a lot you might want to do what your owner manual says to lock out of overdrive. Be that D3 or OD/off button or whatever. In hills transmission will bounce back and forth every time terrain shifts from up to down or vice versa which is why manual says lock it out there.


Good to check your owners manual and follow it's directions. Mileage hit is easier to take than a trans rebuild.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:57 PM   #6
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I hook my trailer up to my tow vehicle , climb in my truck , put the truck in gear (Drive) , push the tow / haul button and go.
Works for me everytime

Not going to burn up a $4000 transmission to save 10 cents in gas or gain .02 MPG's !!
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
I hook my trailer up to my tow vehicle , climb in my truck , put the truck in gear (Drive) , push the tow / haul button and go.
Works for me everytime

Not going to burn up a $4000 transmission to save 10 cents in gas or gain .02 MPG's !!
You're not going to "burn up" a transmission because you allow OD. And you are not necessarily going to get worse mileage just because you lock out OD.

Best thing is to do what the manual says, but the problem with towing in OD is that the engine is running too slow to pull the load so it shifts down and then back, over and over. A lot of thought has gone into the programming of the transmission logic, but it is never perfect for every situation. Proclaiming that the transmission will burn up if you don't try to outsmart the programming, is not correct. Shifting is a normal activity, but it can get annoying and the throttle response is poor when in too high of a gear. Modern shift technology locks the torque converter on every shift. This eliminates the overheating since heat buildup is caused by a slipping torque converter.

Lugging the engine and running it too slow will reduce mileage, so it's often better to be in a lower gear as far as mileage is concerned, not worse. Plus the lower gear gives better throttle response, better hill climbing ability and better engine cooling.

Engines have an efficient working RPM. Below this or above this, they will get worse mileage. But it's not just the RPM that determines mileage, it's the work being done. Keeping the engine in it's efficient working range and at near maximum torque, will give best mileage for the work being done. And it makes towing much more pleasant in the mountains
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:49 AM   #8
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My 2017 GMC Sierra's 6 speed transmission is smart enough that when I push the tow/haul button it does not blindly shift out of OD and there is no back and forth between 4th, 5th, or sixth speed and locking or unlocking the torque converter.
Additionally when cruise control is on it even uses engine braking going down hills.

Yes it came with an owners manual and I have read it too.

Joe
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:50 AM   #9
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The owners manual for my FJ Cruiser recommends towing in 4th gear rather than in Drive (D). I use a ScanGage in my FJ to monitor transmission fluid temperatures at two sensor locations while I tow. Regardless of whether I am towing my 19' Escape, my 15B Escape, or my small utility trailer, there is a huge reduction in transmission fluid temperatures (sometimes 20F or more) just by switching the transmission from Drive to 4th gear. Even though the engine is running at higher RPM's in 4th gear compared to Drive, I am convinced that it is easier on my transmission to tow in 4th gear as the owner's manual recommends.
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Joe Romas View Post
My 2017 GMC Sierra's 6 speed transmission is smart enough that when I push the tow/haul button it does not blindly shift out of OD and there is no back and forth between 4th, 5th, or sixth speed and locking or unlocking the torque converter.
Additionally when cruise control is on it even uses engine braking going down hills.

Yes it came with an owners manual and I have read it too.

Joe
So is my Ram pickup. I too read my owner's manual and I called Ram. I was told by the factory to use tow haul mode when towing my trailer , that's what tow haul was designed for.
The fuel mileage difference between towing with or without the tow haul mode being engaged is too small to be of any concern.
Constantly trying to manually select gears while driving is distracted driving in my book , I let the vehicle's computer make those choices for me. So far it has worked remarkably well.
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:49 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ice-breaker View Post
The owners manual for my FJ Cruiser recommends towing in 4th gear rather than in Drive (D). I use a ScanGage in my FJ to monitor transmission fluid temperatures at two sensor locations while I tow. Regardless of whether I am towing my 19' Escape, my 15B Escape, or my small utility trailer, there is a huge reduction in transmission fluid temperatures (sometimes 20F or more) just by switching the transmission from Drive to 4th gear. Even though the engine is running at higher RPM's in 4th gear compared to Drive, I am convinced that it is easier on my transmission to tow in 4th gear as the owner's manual recommends.
Same thing here, I have a Highlander, I'm using a Scanguage too.
In 4th gear the torque converter is locked most of the time, while in 5th (OD) it would unlock at the slightest incline. Most of the heat is produced by the TC when unlocked.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:51 PM   #12
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Gear ?

Judge : "What gear were you in when you had the crash ? "

Defendant : "I was in my track suit, Nikes and sports socks . "
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:17 PM   #13
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Name: Darral
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So now what??? We going to outlaw manual transmissions? I'd rather tow with a "manual" TEN times over an automatic. Distracted driving? I've heard some absurd things on this forum and I declare I believe this one tops it all!

And yes, my Nissan Frontier has a 5-speed MANUAL transmission. My eyes are constantly on the road...otherwise, how would I know to gear up/down when ascending or descending a hill???

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
So is my Ram pickup. I too read my owner's manual and I called Ram. I was told by the factory to use tow haul mode when towing my trailer , that's what tow haul was designed for.
The fuel mileage difference between towing with or without the tow haul mode being engaged is too small to be of any concern.
Constantly trying to manually select gears while driving is distracted driving in my book , I let the vehicle's computer make those choices for me. So far it has worked remarkably well.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
Judge : "What gear were you in when you had the crash ? "

Defendant : "I was in my track suit, Nikes and sports socks . "
Just what I thought when I first read the header on this thread!
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