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towing questions

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by normaltype, July 13, 2011.

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    1. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      I just bought a 23' double axle travel trailer. Dry weight is 4300lbs with an additional 1500 for gear and water my max weight is under 6000lbs. Will be towing with electronic brakes, weight distribution and antisway. I have the XLT with the full towing package....3.73 rear, 7 pin wiring, trans oil cooler etc etc. Max towing is rated for 7100lbs with weight distribution so I am well within its capability.

      I don't plan on touring the continent 365 days of the year, but short local trips (couple hours drive) a few times per year.....maybe one long trip per year.

      My milage is at 40000 miles (i bought it used at 35000).

      When is the first scheduled oil change for trans, diff? How often should I change it?

      Towing experience. I don't expect it to tow like a 1/2 ton pickup, but how well do they tow. Any pointers/advice/things to watch for. I'm not a noobie to towing but I have never towed using a vehicle so small.

      Any advice (except the obvious like "get a 1/2 ton") is appreciated. Thanks!
       
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    3. D Hook

      D Hook Elite Explorer

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      Invest in a Scangauge tool. Plugs into your OBDII and will show you the trans temp as you're moving, along with numerous other data.

      At least you'll have a good indication of what the tranny's doing.

      Around $150-ish on ebay. Be sure you get one with the newer software version.

      I wouldn't do it if it were my vehicle but that's only because I have a severe aversion to replacing transmissions. YMMV.
       
    4. JoshMcMadMac

      JoshMcMadMac Well-Known Member

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      Here is a cheaper version that works just as well for most applications:
      http://www.ultra-gauge.com/ultragauge/index.htm
       
    5. D Hook

      D Hook Elite Explorer

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      Minus the all-important trans. temp gauge. According to their website:

      UltraGauge can display 75 possible gauges*. Gauges can easily be assigned to one of 6 positions on any page. The actually gauges available is vehicle dependent. If your vehicle supports any of the gauges listed, then the gauge will be available for display by UltraGauge.

      Please note: UltraGauge currently does not support metric units.

      UltraGauge currently does not support Manufacturer specific gauges such as Transmission temperature.


      I don't own one so please correct me if I'm mistaken. I would love to be wrong on this and save some cash.
       
    6. M1911A1

      M1911A1 Member

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      It's possible...just keep an eye on your tranny's temp. [scangauge] at that weight you are at the upper limit of your EX. my trailer is a 20' fleetwood mallard 5000 lbs. dry weight, and I have driven it all over the place, but with lot of caution: no high elevations {mountains}, make sure not to carry unnecessary extra weight,[we don't carry groceries or liquids on trips, other than a cooler for my wife and I] I watch my itineraries carefully to avoid traffic jams,etc. of course O.D. off, most of the time. Our truck has 80000 miles. In terms of maintenance follow the manual's instructions as for "severe conditions" if your truck has only 40000 actual miles I would'nt mess with the trans. fluid. The differentials and the transfer case are easy to check and/or replace fluids, so I would do that. Start thinking of using full synthetic motor oil. [Just a thoght, did you buy your truck from a trusted source? do you have records of repair/maintenance?]
      So...just take it easy, drive like an old timer, and you'll be o.k.
       
    7. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      Awesome tips guys. I picked up a scangauge.

      What temps are normal and what temp (max temp) should I pull over and let it cool(if it comes to that)?

      We have a lot of mountains here so they are kinda of hard to avoid. There is a particular highway/pass called the Coquihalla Hwy (aka "coke") is NOTORIOUS for destroying transmissions....mostly those who do no have oil coolers.

      If I can monitor my temps then it puts me at ease because it will help me to know if I'm pushing too hard. Even if I find I don't need it, its better to know I don't need it than constantly worry that I'm destroying my transmission.

      Again, the RV dealer assures me many people pull this type of trailer with an explorer and never have problems. Since my wife works there I don't think they would lie to us about it. ;)
       
    8. D Hook

      D Hook Elite Explorer

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      Hopefully one of the Ford techs can chime in and tell us what the normal operating temp is.

      Please post back how you like the scangauge tool.

      Good luck!
       
    9. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      Be sure to push the button on the end of the shifter stalk that turns the OD off when you tow...that will help keep your transmission healthy and happy.

      Normal operating temps for these transmissions is 150-170. I had mine touch 190 once in the mountains after a very long climb, but it went back down quickly. I'd say as long as its under 200 you're good to go. If it goes up higher than that for extended periods you are pushing it and could start to cook the fluid.

      Another thing to think about is making sure your rear axle fluid is up to the task. A good synthetic 75W-140 like Mobile 1 LS or Amsoil Severe Gear will help keep those gears cooler. Also, since you don't know when this or the transmission fluid were last changed, I'd do both before starting to tow that heavy of a load.

       
      Last edited: July 13, 2011
    10. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      What's the difference between the tow/haul switch and o/d switch? (sorry, haven't opened the owners manual yet)

      I know o/d switch turns off o/d so what exactly does tow/haul do?
       
    11. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      hmm I am not sure mine doesn't have a tow switch. Check your owners manual on that one.
       
    12. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      Lol. Guessing I am Answering my own question.... It changes the shift points.
       
    13. D Hook

      D Hook Elite Explorer

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      Not aware of a tow/haul switch.

      The OD switch just locks out the 5th gear, keeping the vehicle in 4th. I never tow in OD, even on flat terrain. Keeps the RPMs up, helping to cool the transmission fluid and less strain on the transmission. Never had transmission problems towing with an Expedition and a Tahoe. I don't think I'll even try it in the Explorer. At least, not any distances over a few miles. Boat's too heavy for it and the tranny's too fragile.

      I'm pretty sure the PO of mine towed a lot with it because the repair records show it's on its' third transmission and the tow ball shows quite a bit of use. Last transmission was installed only 25,000 miles ago. Not worth the risk to me, as long as my wife's Expedition is available. YMMV.

      BTW, where's your tow/haul switch located? It's a separate switch from the OD switch?
       
    14. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      yeah, theres no tow/haul switch.....confused with something at work so I'll be towing with o/d off
       
    15. D Hook

      D Hook Elite Explorer

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      Ronin: Thanks for posting up those temps. I've been wondering what operating range was for these transmissions.
       
    16. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      No problem :thumbsup: I don't tow but I usually average temps of about 155*-165* on the highway. In 95*+ weather in stop/start driving with the A/C blasting I will usually see temps in the low to mid 170* range.

      Another thing that should help is a Performance Automatic 5r55s deep transmission pan (part number pa27455kt). It adds 4 extra quarts and you can get it with a dipstick to make checking/filling the fluid easier.

      Here's a link showing one installed on The Electrician's truck if you scroll down a bit: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=318184&highlight=5r55s+deep+pan

      You can get from this link: http://www.cjponyparts.com/5r55-dee...s-dipstick-and-filler-tube-2005-2007/p/ATP7K/

      I was able to get it on sale with a discount code applied also for $289 shipped. If I can find the code I'll post it up in this thread.
       
      Last edited: July 14, 2011
    17. M1911A1

      M1911A1 Member

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      With my 5R55S normal running temps: 150-170, even towing; going thru elevations goes to 175-180. Don't let it go above that. @190 degrees you can drive it safely until the next stop, but then I would rest it. Take it easy with it and you will be O.K. Have a great summer!
       
    18. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      Awesome tips guys thanks! I picked up a scangauge and thanks for posting up temps! Give me some piece of mind to be able to keep an eye on the trans.

      Like I originally said, I'm not a towing noob so I know how to tow/haul and I appreciate all the tips on how to tow.....what I had asked about (maybe it wasn't clear) is tow handling characteristics of the explorer. I'm curious about handling with the light weight/short wheelbase. I've heard good and bad. Some say no issues towing...you won't even know you're towing and some say really bad sway problems.

      Ford went to the independent rear suspension to improve handling on the 3rd gen due to all the 2nd gen roll overs. I would assume the explorer would be more prone to sway this way....or does this actually reduce sway? Should I have anti sway on the trailer? Should I invest in a rear sway bar for the explorer? Both?

      Of course I will tow properly and with caution at first until I get the feel of the trailer and I can add anti sway at any time. I'm just curious what the advice/opinion is from those of you who've done a lot of towing with the explorer....is antisway worth it?
       
    19. M1911A1

      M1911A1 Member

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      I don't think you need anti-sway. I don't have any experience with any other EX but a 3rd. gen. but lots of experience with half and 1 ton pick-ups and can say that the EX is excellent in terms of stability and control. Of course you need weight dist. bars, and brake controller, but you know that...JUST DO IT...! LOL
       
    20. joecrna

      joecrna Active Member

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      In my opinion, a must with a trailer of much size.
       
    21. k2sb2003

      k2sb2003 New Member

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      i towed with my 02 explorer on a regular basis up to 144k miles. the only thing i added was a different HD trans cooler(ford installed it). i did also have a scantool to watch temps but southern california with the O/D off in the dead heat (over 100) up the grapevine or out the I5 to the high desert it was awesome. I didnt use the anti-sway device but i also had advancetrac which saved my ass in heavy winds and a semi. i was towing a 20ft enclosed car trailer loaded, to be honest i was asking for something stupid to happen because im pretty sure i was over the 7200lb capacity. it was perfect though. totally wish i had the truck still, best vehicle ive ever owned.
       
    22. normaltype

      normaltype New Member

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      Question about transmission oil and oil temps.

      Anyone know where the trans oil temp sensor is located? Sump or Converter outlet (precooler)?

      Reason I ask is it makes a difference as to what oil temp readings I will recieve.

      I got the transmission oil up to 198F on the weekend, it was pretty hot out. Scared the crap out of me because someone here says don't go over 200. So i did some research.

      What I've found is that 180F is normal operating temp and for each 20 Degree increase the oxidation rate of the oil doubles up to 300F (+- a few) is when metal warps and damage will most certainly occur.

      So a 200F max transmission oil temp is not unrealistic as long as they are not for a prolonged period of time. So for example, a long hill climb (5 minutes) with temps reaching max 240F then cool back down would not be unreasonable and would only mean the life span of the oil has been shortened.

      Just means more frequent oil changes. Which makes sense.

      Also, a possible good tip i found is that because the oil cooler relies on foward motion (air flow) to cool the oil, simply pulling over is not enough you must idle at 1200rpm to engage the cooling(coolant) fan. Anybody hear this tip before? Does it make sense? I'm not familiar with the fan system on the Explorer so I'm not sure it would apply. Might be something to keep in mind.

      PS i've tried my trailer with and without anti-sway and the anti-sway DEFINATELY makes a difference on 5000-6000lb trailer. Not realistic for short hauls or city driving. But long highway hauls over and hour its a definate bonus.


      Looking forward to your replies. THanks!
       
      Last edited: August 2, 2011
    23. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      I believe the temp sensor is located in the solenoid body, so I THINK it reads temps in the pan (pre-converter temps). I have the shop manual at home and can look this up later to verify.

      I did say in an earlier post that you shouldn't exceed 200* for extended periods (my opinion based on the fact that fluid starts to break down when you start getting up in the 200's). As you said, when getting it up in the 200's regularly just expect to have to do a fluid change more frequently as a maintenance item since you're exposing the fluid to more severe usage.

      I have noticed that with the A/C on the trans cooler gets hotter air going to it since the A/C condensor seems to "pre-heat" the air, so that temp reading is not surprising. That and with the O/D off I am pretty sure that the torque converter stays unlocked...that slippage would contribute to heating the fluid if I am correct on that.
      As far as cooling, obviously your fan pulls air through the radiator at idle and not moving, so putting the trans in park and sitting will allow for some cooling. More airflow of course would be seen at highway speeds as you said but cooling might not occur as effectively unless coasting or on flatter terrain.

      You could possibly help the fan pull more air (thus helping cooling) by installing a Hayden or Four Seasons severe duty fan clutch. That would help in hot weather and heavy load conditions and at about 50 bucks might be worth trying. Your mileage will take a hit from the clutch being engaged more fully but you could swap in the OEM one in cooler weather.

      I'll take a look in my trans manual when I get home and see if this is all correct. I'll post up with what I find out later.

       
    24. badloser

      badloser Member

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      I just completed a 2000 mile trip towing 6200lbs through the Smokey Mountians in Tennessee with my 04. I never turned on the tow switch and just drove it normal. I had no issues at all.I have the tow package and V8 and am really impressed with this SUV. I towed about 7500lbs and used the tow switch and burned up the fluid so I did a trans fluid change from my local dealer and went on the trip with out using the tow mode. I think a treans temp guage is a great idea.
       
    25. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      OK so I have confirmed the temp sensor is located in the solenoid block. Still not 100% sure if this is pre- or post- torque converter in terms of fluid flow...though I still think it is probably pre-converter.

      I learned something else...with O/D off your torque converter can still lock up. All it does is take away 5th gear and allow engine braking in 4th gear...now it makes even more sense why that mode is recommended for towing (4th gear is a higher ratio than 5th and so you should have more pulling power).

      I am going to be installing a deep transmission pan on my truck soon. My hope is that by adding 4 extra quarts of volume, that will help with keeping the average temps lower. The pan is aluminum and there are cooling fins on it so that may help also.

      NormalType I still wonder if for your application a severe duty fan clutch might help with the transmission cooling.
       

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