Towing in overdrive

Submitted: Monday, May 15, 2006 at 23:38
ThreadID: 33930 Views:5921 Replies:10 FollowUps:11
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Hi guy's
I recently finished a trip with my 1996 Toyota Landcruiser auto on gas pulling a 17ft caravan from Adelaide to Darwin.I towed always with power mode on and overdrive off.the rev's were at 3000, if I selected overdrive this reduced rev's to 2400,does anybody know if towing in overdrive on flat roads would affect my auto?
thanks
shanebo
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 23:46

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 23:46
Generally, we don't risk it. It is worth using the extra fuel rather than risk loosing the gears in the outback. We pull a heavy van with a Patrol 3 ltr td, and my husband (who generally doesn't let me drive with the van) keeps the revs around 2500 - 2750. One day he forgot to put the overdrive off after a day of driving without the van, and he wondered what was wrong - it was jumping up and down between the gears sending the gauges crazy. Much smoother with the overdrive off. With our manual landcruiser similarly we don't use 5th gear when towing a heavy load. I hope you enjoyed your trip.
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AnswerID: 172879

Reply By: Muzzgit (WA) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 23:50

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 23:50
I'll get my head bitten off again, but here goes.

Firstly for saying that if you phone Toyota or Nissan they will tell you not to tow in top gear in either a five speed manual or a 4 speed auto. In the auto they say it gets hot, burns the Trans fluid which stuffs the whole thing up.

Secondly for saying that lately I have come to the point of saying.....STUFF IT!!!
I now tow our Jayco outback Finch in overdrive and can now comfortably sit on 110 or 120 and even 130 depending on the road conditions/weather etc;

As soon as the speed gets back to 100 I drop it back into 3rd and sit back on about 98klm untill I can get up and going again.

The Jayco is only 980 kg so this will not be as heavy as your caravan, and my next "add on" for the car is a larger trans cooler.
AnswerID: 172880

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 00:09

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 00:09
Hi Muzzgit

We used to tow a small van like a Jayco Dove - a Finch is even smaller - and the Patrol hardly knew it was there. We towed in overdrive as it was not a heavy tow.
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Follow Up By: Brett_B - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 17:16

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 17:16
Muzzgit

I have an outback Finch and for the last 5 years have towed it around in 5th gear (no auto) I have had no problems with the G/Boxes in my previous and current Hilux

I am like you, dont load it up, cruise on the flats, if it drops below 100kph for a hill I would select 4th

Its all good

Brett
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Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 07:57

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 07:57
I do tow in 5th in the manual diesel pajero, and usually use 5th at just above max torque of 2000rpm, at about 2300/2500rpm, or 85/95 km/hr. 100 is 2700.
However, I do change down earlier to 4th than I would without something behind, and heavier the load, earlier I change to keep 4th (or the next gear) at the best rev range for power, and the same again if I go down to 3rd, or even 2nd with the trailer sailor.
I try not to lug the engine, and do not use full throttle in 5th, but use 4th instead.

I tow at different times:-
1. 750 kg camping trailer - tows really nicely at 100km/hr in 5th.
2. 1200kg caravan - tows nicely at 90/95km/hr in 5th.
3. 2200kg trailer sailor - max speed about 85km/hr, ocassionally in 5th when level or down hill. Might do 90 at the bottom of a hill in 5th, as I like to be slow over the crest and gently accelerate downn a hill. \/ to the poor people behind, but I do try and keep left and are very aware of traffic behind me.

I always understood from my mechanical text books that bearings are killed by load AND lack of revs.
I change gear box oil on a regular basis too, every 2 years or 50,000k.
Done 263,000k now since new without any transmission porblems.
AnswerID: 172893

Reply By: Rigor - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 08:02

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 08:02
FWIW I agree , tow in overdrive /5th as long as you don't labour the thing . The way I see it the situation is like tyre pressures , it all depends on what you are doing where , there is no hard and fast rule . When I tow I am acutely aware of the load and when I come to a rise knock it back to 4th , same with strong headwind . If your load is so heavy that you are labouring at 100Ks think about buying a bigger vehicle for safety reasons as well.
Cheers dave L.
AnswerID: 172894

Reply By: banjodog - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 08:46

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 08:46
The most common component that get overlooked by most vehicles fitted with automatic transmissions is a decent oil cooler for it. The standard factory oil coolers really aren’t up to the task under heavy, extreme or prolonged loads.

Fitting a good after market cooler will enable you to tow with confidence in overdrive – but the general rule of thumb is to be sensible in your driving techniques and don’t take risks in remote areas.

AnswerID: 172899

Reply By: Isuzu MU - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 10:30

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 10:30
120-130km p/h with a van in tow.... is that safe? Is that legal?
AnswerID: 172907

Follow Up By: muzzimbidgie - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:36

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:36
SAFE? well, on some roads up north it's a breeze

LEGAL? absolutely not
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 15:39

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 15:39
depends on which state your in....
NT would be ok wouldnt it? while its 100/110 in the others
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Follow Up By: Tony J - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 19:28

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 19:28
"NT would be ok wouldnt it?" - NO! 100kph when towing.
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 21:50

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 21:50
okay!
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:40

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:40
I refer you to POST number 33,830 and re-print my comments from it.......

"Not sure about Toyotas, but with my GU Patrol 4.2TD, the BIG difference between TOWING in 4th and 5TH is the EGT. The manifold temperature when travelling at around 100k/h DROPS by around 100 degrees C if I drop the old girl back to 4th GEAR after working her at around 2050 revs in 5TH. Revs go up to around 2500, but temp DROPS from around 530oC to around 440oC (these temps are very "ball-park" as the actual temp varies considerably depending on head winds, gradient etc).
Just to expand on the matter of gradient.......even a slight uphill section of road will see the EGT rise by 60 to 100 degrees.
My camper trailer weighs around 1200kg and I do drive in 5TH GEAR as long as the EGT gauge tells me that it is sustainable. I also tend to be guided in my GEAR selection and speed, by keeping an eye on my Boost gauge.
IMHO anybody with a turbo vehicle, especially an aftermarket fitted one or one that has been tweeked, MUST fit the EGT gauge as a minimum and preferrably a boost gauge as well.
My Patrol was a 2000 model that suffered from the 5TH GEAR spline problem and Nissan replaced it at around 80,000klm under warranty, BEFORE it actually collapsed.
My advice is that it is (or should be) okay to tow in 5TH GEAR in the right circumstances. By that I mean that you should drop back to 4th GEAR as soon as you strike a slight hill or if you are aware there is a head-wind etc. Basically, you should never make the vehicle labour in 5TH GEAR.
Just my opinion and may not be relevant to your Tojo.
Cheers mate
Roachie"

YMMV
AnswerID: 172910

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:25

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:25
Well put Roachie. I believe in short term pain (fuel and speed) for long term gain (car should last longer).

I forgot to add in my previous follow-up - we also generally drive around 80 - 90 with a heavy load (unless the driver is in a hurry). This saves fuel as well as engine stress. The 3 ltr will tow comfortably at 120 on a fairly level and straight road, but why? Live ain't that short unless you make it be.
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Reply By: Member - Colin (WA) - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:43

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 11:43
Hi Shanebo,

I also have a landcruiser auto towing a camper trailer (750 kg). So I rang a few gearbox specialists and they all said if its in overdrive and is hunting in and out of 4th-5th gear take it out of overdrive.
So now I drive in overdrive on the flats and turn it off when I come to hilly areas have kept a eye on the trans oil it has been fine it gets changed every 40 000k. If you are going to do a large trip then maybe as said before a larger oil cooler would help.
regards
Col
AnswerID: 172911

Reply By: Member - Wayne M (WA) - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:25

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:25
Hi All,
This is a very timely post because I’ve just got back to work after what should have been three weeks sitting on the beach at Warroora Station. I say should have been because , you guessed it, gearbox bearings called it quits half way to Geraldton. In the past I had always towed in fifth believing it was only autos that you needed to be a little gentle with but not so, apparently. $1200.00 and 5 days delay we finally got to our destination a little wiser for the experience. Incidentally, O’Briens in Geraldton did the work on Terrano and I was very happy with their service so if anyone else needs work done on their 4bs they were good with us.
AnswerID: 172962

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:40

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 16:40
Such bad luck Wayne for it to happen when you were on holidays (isn't that always the way), but your post says it all. I think our Landcruiser gearbox rebuild was about $4-5,000 - and we hadn't towed heavy loads in 5th.
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Brett_B - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 17:22

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 17:22
Wayne

If you dont mind me asking, how heavy was the trailer/camper/caravan you tow ?

Were you towing when it gave up ?

Ta

Brett
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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne M (WA) - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 19:55

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 19:55
Hi Brett,
We were towing an A van Adventure that was probably a little overweight as we had three weeks worth of supplies on board and we tend to take a few luxuries. Started hearing bad bearing noises around Jurien, so started only using 4th and noise went away (fixed) unfortunately we had to slow down for road works at Eneaba and the noise was also evident in 1st 2nd & 3rd . Topped oil at Dongara but no improvement which meant a stay in Geraldton. We’ve done four or five of these trips and the vehicle has done 190,000 kms so no doubt it was one of those accumulative things.
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Reply By: shanebo - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 18:01

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 18:01
Hi Guy's

Thanks for all the info, I believe the best thing for me is to use overdrive only on the flat,at 90kph as my van weighs 1600kg.As our next trip will be to Hervey Bay your info will be helpful

thanks
shanebo
AnswerID: 172978

Follow Up By: awill4x4 - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 23:14

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 23:14
Shane a lot of the info above has been directed towards manuals and not automatics which you have. A simple question. Does your automatic transmission lock up the torque convertor in both 3rd and 4th gears?
If it does, use 4th gear on the flat and 3rd on the climbs. If not, do yourself a favour and get manual lockup switch for your torque convertor so you can lock it in any gear you like. I've installed this on my auto GQ and I tow in 3rd gear with the torque convertor locked. When it's locked the auto temps drop dramatically, I know this as I've got an auto temp guage hooked up and can monitor auto temps under all conditions. I've also had a heavy duty valve body assembly fitted which gives much more positive shifts between gears.
Absolutely the best thing you can do for your auto is to keep it cool and I've gone to the extent of deleting the radiator trans coolers entirely and have 2 front mount units running in series.
The best place for 4x4 auto info is from Wholesale Automatics and the owner is Rodney Hudson Davies. I've got a couple of links below about Toyota specific auto mods.
Regards Andrew.
Wholesale Automatics
convertor lockup
Extreme valve body

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