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Dogwood

Towing question

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Dogwood

Should one always keep the overdrive off when towing or is it load weight dependent?  I periodically tow a boat (approx. 5000 #) or a 2 horse trailer (3000).

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dogrunner

Most half tons want it off. I know a guy that burned up a half ton chevy towing a horse trailer Chevy  did not want to cover it and he worked for them.  Years ago it did not matter but now the trans has that over drive gear. When I shift mine it goes up about 300 rpms.

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Birdcountry70

I go by how the engine and tranny are handleing the load.  If the tranny has to keep kicking down out of overdrive to maintain your chosen speed,  then turn it off.  If it maintains the desired speed without kicking down and is not lugging the engine I leave it on and usually see far less fuel consumption. It all depends on load weight,  hills,  wind etc. YMMV

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Dogwood

Should have added it's a 2008 Ford Expedition V8 5.4 L with 9000# towing capacity

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406dn

There are a lot of things to consider. 

 

What is the rear end gear ratio? 

 

Are you pulling long steep hills? 

 

What speed are you towing at on the highway?

 

When I towed with a 350 in a Suburban it would never have had the torque to tow a load in overdrive. My pickup with a Duramax engine can pull long grades in overdrive, rarely downshifting.  I just let the tranny decide which gear it wants to be in. 

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Chukarman
1 hour ago, Dogwood said:

Should one always keep the overdrive off when towing or is it load weight dependent?  I periodically tow a boat (approx. 5000 #) or a 2 horse trailer (3000).

 

Not necessary. I always believed that I should NOT tow when in Overdrive, but asked the leading expert on rebuilding Ford trannys for towing and hi-performance and he said it was a myth - it will not damage your vehicle. So I tow my Airstream or boat with overdrive ON. No problems.

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Birdcountry70
28 minutes ago, Chukarman said:

 

Not necessary. I always believed that I should NOT tow when in Overdrive, but asked the leading expert on rebuilding Ford trannys for towing and hi-performance and he said it was a myth - it will not damage your vehicle. So I tow my Airstream or boat with overdrive ON. No problems.

^This,  its just another gear. If you had a 5 speed manual tranny and you couldn't maintain speed towing in 5th,  you would simply use 4th.  No difference. 

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Dogwood

Good advice all and thank you.  Wonder why the OFF option even exists?

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Birdcountry70
1 minute ago, Dogwood said:

Good advice all and thank you.  Wonder why the OFF option even exists?

If you were towing a load weight that was right on the edge of what the truck could handle in overdrive,  but not quite,  the tranny would drop down, then build speed then kick up only to lose speed and drop down again in an endless annoying cycle just like this run-on sentence. ? 

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Dogwood
8 hours ago, Birdcountry70 said:

If you were towing a load weight that was right on the edge of what the truck could handle in overdrive,  but not quite,  the tranny would drop down, then build speed then kick up only to lose speed and drop down again in an endless annoying cycle just like this run-on sentence. ? 

 

Ah so master.  So ditto for say long substantial inclines?  

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dogrunner

 I had an 08 it was ok but not that lively my dad had an 09 much better in the power band. I think you and the trans will be much happier in tow/haul and in the power band, you will not loose much mileage and not always be shifting down which is annoying. 

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fourtrax57

"Extra" shifting isn't good for the tranny. What does the vehicle owners manual advise?

Good place to start in my experience. If it's a lighter load for the vehicle & it's not doing a lot of extra shifting I use the O.D. gear.

With a tach and listening to the vehicle it's easy to tell how / when vehicle is shifting. If the vehicle is down / up shifting quite often

I would use the lower gear / tow haul function.

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Curt

I think I'd just follow the recommendations in the owners manual.

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67diesel

Dogwood, remember what I suggested about fluid maintenance and you'll be ok.  There's that gigunda hill going out of TC that will work that vehicle pulling your boat.  5.4 3V is a pretty good motor.

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Natty Bumpo
23 hours ago, dogrunner said:

You have the 4 speed version, in 09 they went with  a 6 speed and bumped the motor up in hp/tq. I had an 08 it was ok but not that lively my dad had an 09 much better in the power band. I think you and the trans will be much happier in tow/haul and in the power band, you will not loose much mileage and not always be shifting down which is annoying. 

^^^^THIS^^^^^^

 

I have a 2011 F150 with the HD towing pkg and 5.0L engine. Pull a 20' dual axle equipment trailer loaded with Kubota plus various equipment; total around 8K pounds. Have to pull several big hills going down to the farm. I have learned to just leave it in tow/haul mode. The truck just runs smoother, both going up and down those hills. LUV the integral brake controller and stability control on that truck for towing that load.

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