Cruise control while towing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-24-2020, 03:15 PM   #1
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Cruise control while towing

Hi all,


A few years back, I recall reading something about using cruise control while towing a trailer but do not remember the specifics.


What are the concerns related to using cruise control while towing?


Thank you
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:22 PM   #2
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It depends on how much of a trailer with how few of tow vehicle you're towing.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:29 PM   #3
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This is a 2018 Tundra (10k towing capacity) with a Casita 17'. Thanks again.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:33 PM   #4
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I see no problem with using cruise control if the ruck doesn't shift back and forth frequently.
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Old 05-24-2020, 04:12 PM   #5
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Read your manual. Mine says not to use cruise control when towing. It's also not recommended in the rain. I don't ask why, since I only use it briefly, to relieve a cramp in my leg.
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Old 05-24-2020, 05:42 PM   #6
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Many new trucks have adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, automatic emergency braking, vectoring, stability control, tow mode, even automatic sway control and speed sensitive steering effort, heck it will even warn you when you need coffee.
You're lucky if the thing will LET you control the speed with the throttle... Which BTW is no longer connected to the engine and is computer controlled anyway.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:12 AM   #7
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The service manager at our local RV repair shop says, "Don't use CC when towing under any circumstances -- it will eventually ruin your transmission".

When I said I was towing a 17' Bigfoot with a 2500HD Chevrolet diesel, he said, "It doesn't matter! Don't do it! You will eventually regret it!"

I respect his opinion but have to admit that I sometimes do use CC when towing on flat ground because the truck seems to be just loafing along.

My truck also has a tow/haul transmission setting that is supposed to readjust the shift points.


If you need more opinions, just Google "using cruise control while towing".
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:15 AM   #8
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I've used cruise control for most driving for over 30 years to avoid leg cramps. That of course includes my 10k miles per year towing my fg trailers now for over 10 years with no indication of stress or wear on my TV, A Honda Ridgeline for the past 7 years. So I don't see what the problem might be.
If it is causing excess wear on my tranny, then it's at a slow enough rate that I can accept it as part of my camping expenses.



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Old 05-25-2020, 10:34 AM   #9
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I tow with CC a lot of the time. Long flat stretches are perfect for it. If you need to go around someone just throttle up a bit, with it still on, and then let it settle back to its set speed. If you get into some hills and it begins to hunt for gears, which it will do with or without CC, just lock out the top gear until that stretch passes. CC also helps prevent the speed from creeping up, which I seem to do without it. In curvy sections, or in the midst of a group of cars, it's often best to cancel it, then resume when things open back up. On tow vehicles with lower power, you might have to sort of get a run at a hill and tolerate being a little slow at the top, so overriding the cruise is a good idea, as it cannot anticipate the upcoming hill. Just throttle up, without canceling, and let it settle back down later. If you get into some downhill sections, and you have an engine brake, turn it off to take full advantage of the braking.

Of course, follow the manufacturer recommendations, but I see no reason why using cruise would be hard on the transmission. But it might downshift and go to full throttle, in a situation where you might just give a bit more throttle and be patient with the speed.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:51 AM   #10
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ď heck it will even warn you when you need coffee.Ē <ó. Well that seals it. I need a new TV!
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:45 PM   #11
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I tow my Lil Hauley with a tacoma with a v6 engine. I do use cruise control on flat runs, but I shift the transmission from 5th to 4th gear. It never shifts and I only lose a wee bit of mpg. I am sure a tundra would be fine if you drop it down a gear. If it keeps shifting then don't use cruise control.
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TappyGee View Post
ď heck it will even warn you when you need coffee.Ē <ó. Well that seals it. I need a new TV!

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Old 05-25-2020, 12:59 PM   #13
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nanny vehicles!
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TappyGee View Post
ď heck it will even warn you when you need coffee.Ē <ó. Well that seals it. I need a new TV!
No you donít! Iíve decided I despise adaptive cruise control. It slows down and holds you so far behind the vehicle in front (like 5-6 car lengths) that youíre too far back to initiate a pass. Every time you overtake a vehicle you have to disable it, approach the vehicle and pass, then reset. Unless youíre almost the only car on the road, youíre constantly fiddling with it. My wifeís new RAV4 has it. I wonít even get started on the other nanny features.

I use the (non-adaptive) cruise on my tow vehicle on the flats. As long as the engine revs are in a comfortable range and the transmission is not shifting, I canít see any harm.
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
No you donít! Iíve decided I despise adaptive cruise control. It slows down and holds you so far behind the vehicle in front (like 5-6 car lengths) that youíre too far back to initiate a pass. Every time you overtake a vehicle you have to disable it, approach the vehicle and pass, then reset. Unless youíre almost the only car on the road, youíre constantly fiddling with it. My wifeís new RAV4 has it. I wonít even get started on the other nanny features.

I use the (non-adaptive) cruise on my tow vehicle on the flats. As long as the engine revs are in a comfortable range and the transmission is not shifting, I canít see any harm.
I don't have adaptive CC either but I do believe in initiating a pass far enough back to accelerate before changing lanes.
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:56 PM   #16
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My Dakota Manual says to not use cruse control while towing in one place and the other says to use it. Therefore I use it and have for close to 200,000 miles I had the Dakota. That includes going over the Siskiyou pass and the continental divide.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:27 PM   #17
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I may be going too far with this, but maybe not. I get the impression that manufacturers' admonitions against CC while towing is more a knee jerk CYA position than based on real concern. Even in this small group several have ignored the warning with no consequence.
I have 175k miles on my 2013 Honda Ridgeline, with over 1/3 of that towing, several times over the continental divide and twice up to the Canadian Rockies, so far with no noticeable strain on my tranny. Other than local travel, virtually all of that is using CC including all the steep climbs. The Ridgeline is one of the lightest 6 cylinder tow vehicles in common use. It's basically a Pilot gussied up to pretend it's a pickup. If it dies tomorrow I'll feel I got more than my money's worth.

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Old 05-25-2020, 06:26 PM   #18
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I got curious and checked my owner's manual (2011 Honda Pilot). The cruise control section mentioned a number of situations where it should not be used, including rain, snow & ice, hills, and winding roads. No mention of towing. The towing section doesn't mention it either. The manual is extremely detailed about every aspect of towing, so no news must surely be interpreted as good news. Use of cruise while towing is okay. Whew! I haven't been killing my vehicle using cruise while towing on flats!

I never use it on hills. It will downshift and apply maximum throttle to try to maintain speed. As directed in my manual, I disengage cruise and overdrive. I downshift into a gear that allows me to maintain RPMs at a reasonable speed with no more than about 75% throttle.

Walt, 180K on my Pilot. Not as much towing as you nor as large a trailer, but if it dies tomorrow, I'll be disappointed. I'd like to see if I can get 300K out of it I've never taken a vehicle that far. At the rate I'm driving these days, though, I'll have to live to 100!
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:28 PM   #19
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Gee if it wasn't for cruise control I wouldn't toe long distances. Generally I'm in CC as soon as I am on the highway. I set it to 65 or less and just get in the right lane and go. I hardly ever find anyone going slower than me so there is very little passing.

My 2016 F-150 had a 6000# tow capacity and that was not enough. It also had a 6 speed and there was a lot of shifting and engine revving on grades. The truck had a tow package with a 3.73 rear axle and it just wasn't enough.

The 2019 F-150 has max tow and max haul but the most important thing is the new 10 transmission. It is darn near magical. My BigFoot is about 50% of my tow capacity and I think that is about right.
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:57 PM   #20
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I had my RAV4 for three years before I discovered it had cruise control.
I like to have my feet in position to hit the brakes or gas ( as required ). I've only used CC when I got a cramp, which is about twice in twelve years. If the RAV4 had better seats, I wouldn't need CC at all.
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