Towing 2300kg van with Challenger 2.5 TD Auto (and generally)

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 18:34
ThreadID: 117383 Views:2342 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Anyone have any suggestions on towing a 2300kg van with a Challenger?

Anyone have any comments on these things I have heard generally?
a) use the manual shifting capabilities of the box rather than auto
b) downshift to keep revs above maximum torque
c) travel at RPM equal to maximum torque
d) downshift to 4th before you start up long hills (to reduce wear in overdrive 5th gear)
e) shift early from 1 to 2 even if you will be well below maximum torque in 2nd as it saves the gearbox from being hit with the maximum torque at maximum gearing.

The Challenger does not have a switch to turn off the overdrive. It kicks in both in 4th and 5th gears when the box senses it can handle it.

My top priority is being mechanically sympathetic to a smallish motor and the auto gearbox (given Mitsubishi detune the Torque of the engine for the Auto box).

Thanks in anticipation!
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Reply By: Notso - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 18:47

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 18:47
Leave it in Auto and let the box decide. The box has only 5 gears, 5th is an overdrive gear. What you think is the box going into overdrive in 4th and 5th is the torque converter locking up.

If you check your vehicle manual it should give you a guide on what to use for towing. As an example the Mazda BT50 recommends towing in sports mode Auto which basically changes the shift points.
AnswerID: 552108

Reply By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 17:49

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 17:49
If towing I,d use 4th gear in the manual mode. You use a little less fuel than using the 5th gear in auto and it responds better. Go to the Vic Pajero forum and check out the various threads on this subject.
AnswerID: 552170

Reply By: Member - escapesilv - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:12

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:12
Hi PaulH

We are towing approximately the same weight with our 2010 challenger, It handles it Ok, but when things get hard/sandy/long steep hills it tends to down shift to second gear and almost like if it got stuck in second gear, then will shift up to third gear at its own time.
This will happen in automatic or sport manual.
I have tried using automatic and manual and did not get any difference.
As for your a to e comments I agree with all.

Hope this helps.


AnswerID: 552217

Reply By: Max C3 - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 19:31

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 19:31
Hi PaulH,
I have a Pajero 2011 & am towing a 3 Tonne van, the Pajero manual states to tow in Auto only, There is a card in the sunviser that states also when towing to tow in 4 wheel drive mode.
I was told at one stage to tow in manual mode but during hill climbing (going over the rangers) the car would take control when there was overheating in the gearbox & it didn.t matter what I tried I could not get gear control of my car until every thing was all OK again. this happened a couple of times & when I contacted Mitsubishi about the problem the said not to tow in manual mode & to tow in 4x4 mode.
Also, not to use the aircon while towing as this takes extra power from the engine.
I have done this since & have had no problems towing the 3 tonne's.
I hope this helps you with your towing.
max C3.
AnswerID: 552555

Follow Up By: TomH - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 20:51

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 20:51

What is the ball weight of your van.
FollowupID: 838139

Follow Up By: Max C3 - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 12:10

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 12:10
The down load ball weight is maximum of 180 Kg, we had to have our van modified to have an empty down load ball weight of 110 Kg.
We have an empty van weight of 2450 Kg with a pay load of 600 Kg.
With careful loading we have not been over 165 Kg however, we only have around 450 Kg payload which includes 160 Kg of water.
The remainder is Generator, Fuel, Clothing, Food & the other essential's which allow for 5 to 8 days free camping.
FollowupID: 838162

Follow Up By: PaulH - Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 10:49

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 10:49
"we had to have our van modified to have an empty down load ball weight of 110 Kg"

Can you tell me what modifications were made to the van to achieve the reduced ball weight?
FollowupID: 838296

Follow Up By: Max C3 - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 11:28

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 11:28
We had the door mover to the rear of the van in front of the unsuit & the wheels moved forward.
In having this done the interior design had to be altered to suit the door relocation.
Basically, the LH side internally items had to be moved forward the same distance of the door width.
We also had a larger fridge installed which is located at the rear axle position & the water tanks were set further to the rear. (1 tank between the axles & the other behind the rear axle.)
The only fault I found was that I have to have the water tanks filled to a minimum of 3/4 full other wise the van tends to fishtail, especially down hill at around the 85Kl/Hr. With tanks 3/4 full, I have had the van to 100 Kl/Hr + & it trailed perfect.
FollowupID: 838427

Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 13:11

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 13:11
So you have a van with an ATM 50kg more than the tugs capacity with a loaded Ballweight of about 6%.

No wonder it fishtails down hill.

You say you have 450 kg payload so where does the rest go that you list
FollowupID: 838437

Follow Up By: PaulH - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 14:22

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 14:22
Thanks TomH for the details. Sounds expensive!

I note that the recommendations I have seen for ballweight seem to suggest 8-15% or 7.5-12.5% when loaded and ready to go for the holiday.

Unloaded, my Tow Ball Weight TBW with van unhitched and on a scale under the pin (the jockey wheel is back a foot or more and would give an incorrect TBW) at Tare is 250kg being 14.4% of 1740kg. (Tare is no gas and water in tanks and no added load)

Loaded after hitching and with the weight distribution hitch WDH connected and tensioned I expect it to be between 258 and 276, depending on loading in box on A Frame and in tunnel boot at front of van and under bed. I should make clear that the tow ball weight is a defined term measured with the van disconnected and doesn't change, it's just that the WDH redistributes the weight previously on the jockey wheel.

When first connected the towball puts say 145% of the TBW amount on the back axle and reduces the weight on the front axle by 45% of the amount of the TBW, leaving the van axle with unchanged weight.

The tensioning of the WDH adds about 34kg to my van axle weight (and reduces the weight on the back axle of the tug by 98 and increases the weight on the front axle of the tug by 64) (all compared to what it was after the van was first hitched and with jockey wheel removed from the van).

With the expected 35kg heavier loading in these front areas, my ball weight as a percentage of total loaded van weight will likely fall between 279 kg being 12.5% of 2237kg incl 254 litres of water and 276kg being 13.8% of 2003kg incl 20 litres of water.

The weights in the range in the paragraph above keep me well below the 3000 towing capacity, and below:
a) the 1990 van axle weight,
b) the Gross comined mass of tug and van,
c) the ATM of the van,
d) the tug maximum back axle weight,
e) the tug maximum front axle weight,
f) the tug maximum payload
(even after the transfer of the towball weight from the the jockey wheel to the towball when the van is hitched and after the redistribution when the WDH is connected and tensioned).

Those weights keep me within the recommended ranges of towball weight to loaded van weight both before and after hitching of van and after connecting the WDH.

The TBW measured as defined does not change but the weight of the van effectively does by the 34kg weight redistributed back to the van from the tug by the WDH to re-level the tug.
FollowupID: 838442

Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 14:26

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 at 14:26
Was replying to MaxC3 sorry Yes I know all that
FollowupID: 838443

Follow Up By: Max C3 - Friday, Apr 24, 2015 at 20:28

Friday, Apr 24, 2015 at 20:28
Hi Tom H,
I don't have any other items to make the designed 600 Kl pay load, therefore I am towing with less than maximum.
Fishtailing will occur with any duel axle set up which does not have independent suspension to each wheel. in short, when the unit starts to sway the weight of the van is transferred to one side & this side the axle centres are closer to each other, when the weight moves to the opposite side the axle centres change therefore the van tends to steer itself from side to side.
I don't know the correct terminology or the calculations (if any) but that's how fishtailing occurs.
FollowupID: 838619

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Apr 24, 2015 at 20:39

Friday, Apr 24, 2015 at 20:39
Axles dueling Thats different .

Strange that my 25 footer never did that.

However everyone to there own.

No matter how you try to fudge numbers they basically stay the same and if you have to go to all that trouble to appear to stay legal you have the wrong tug or the wrong van.
FollowupID: 838621

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