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Towing situation: Comments wanted

My 94 EB EX (173K mi) rwd autotrans with trans cooler and Class III hitch has a 5800 lb towing capacity as determined via the owner's manual with the differential ratio taken from the door sticker (3.73).
But I would still like to hear some comments on my planned towing trip. This will be 200 miles from Ft. Lauderdale to south of Orlando on the fairly flat Florida terrain. I will be towing a 500 lb Demco dolly carrying a Hyundai Elantra 2600 lb. There will be about 700 lb total additional load (people and gear), maybe a little more. So the total weight will be around 3800 lbs (2000 lb under rated towing capacity).
Any comments pro or con would be appreciated. What about using overdrive? Thanks.
 




wood1

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I would add another cooler, larger the better. I have two, the original and another the same size installed in series. Coolers have to be installed so that the hose connectors are on the side or bottom to prevent air locking.

Adjust your bands. This usually has to be done to these transmissions every few years. If you have never done it, yours needs it.

Replace the fluid with synthetic. Use a Fram dacron filter. It filters better than the screen type filters. These transmissions are sensitive to small particles in the fluid. I actually installed an external filter that uses an engine oil filter that is in series with my coolers. The filter should be before the coolers.

Make sure your engine cooling system is up to par and the antifreeze it topped up. When it runs low you may not really have problems with the engine but the transmission will overheat and spew fluid out of the front seal.

Never tow in OD. You are much better off if you never select OD unless you are driving faster than 50 MPH or so. I only select OD if I am at highway speeds. Certainly never if you are towing anything more than a light trailer.

If you are really serious about preserving the transmission add a temp gauge and a pusher electric fan in front of the cooler(s). Keep the temp under 190 or you will be reducing the life expectancy of your tranny.

Good luck with your trip.
 




wood1

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I meant to talk about changing the fluid too and forgot. In the A4LD you cannot drain the torque converter as in other transmissions. If you just change the fluid in the pan it is less than half of the fluid. To change it all I unhooked the cooler and ran a bit of hose into a 5 gal pail. When you start the engine and leave it in park, the fluid will run out very slowly, you can put a funnel in the dip stick tube and replace it with your new synthetic as it runs out. When the colour (yeah that's how we spell it) is nice and red and clean and you have run a good amount through it, maybe 15 quarts or so, it has all been changed out.

This method is better than the controversial tranny flush you might read about. That method can disturb sediments and other crap that has collected in the transmission and can cause issues. The way I describe (and how I did it to mine) is simply replacing the fluid basically by letting it leak out but not letting it get too low. No pressurizing, back flowing, etc.
 




prince402

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Thanks, wood1, for the fine details. Your description of fluid change and why you do it that way settles some of my long outstanding questions about the conventional changes about which I am skeptical. The simplicity and thoroughness is nice. Thanks.
 




wood1

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Glad to help out. I have 325000kms on my original trans. I did rebuild the valve body a few years ago when I added the extra cooler and filter. I used Glacier's how to thread, very easy to follow. I have only had one issue since and that was when the coolant got low (leaking lower intake gaskets) when the young feller was driving it when it barfed all it's fluid out the front pump seal. Very unnerving. Luckily it was fine once we filled the transmission fluid and coolant.
 




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