Towing a Camper - hot transmission tunnel (1 Viewer)

Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
121
 
I towed a camper for the first time with my '97 LX and had a couple of questions...

Specs-
'97 LX
315k miles
33" tires
2" OME lift
under 3k lb camper, but standard big square front (little aerodynamic, but not like a casita or r-pod or pop-up)
overdrive was turned off for the entire trip.

I've towed pretty heavy items (I towed a car on a flat bed trailer half way across the country), but this is the first time I've towed a billboard of a camper. I really don't feel like it was the weight of the camper, but the aerodynamics that was stressing the truck. I could barely maintain 65 on flat ground (overdrive off) and slowed down up hills. On the way back, it was pretty windy and if I was headed into the wind, I could barely maintain 60.

After about 3 hours of towing without stopping, I noticed that just the passenger side of the transmission tunnel was pretty hot. (driver's side was just warm). The temp gauge stayed in it's normal spot right below the middle, so the cooling system wasn't being taxed.

I need to get a transmission temp gauge to see how hot the transmission gets. (need to see if my ultraguage would have shown the transmission temp)

I was driving it with the gas pedal right on the kick-down switch (floored, but not kicking down), overdrive off. This made me think that maybe it was the catalytic converters getting really hot. Maybe they are getting clogged? (LX has 315k miles) How do you determine if the catalytic converters are healthy?

I am considering changing to 4.56 differential gears, to compensate for the tires, is that worth it to compensate for the tire height difference?

Thoughts?
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
785
Location
Canyon Lake, TX
 
 
The number one sign for a clogged catalytic converter is only being able to go a certain speed no matter how much pedal you put into it. In your case, does the truck only go 60 without the camper?

If your cruiser is like most, if you put another 3000 #'s behind it, you have increased it's weight by a ton and half. Literally! Then you add in the wind. That's a real tall order to ask from the engine to get you down the road. If you are like most people with trailers, the guy you bought it from told you how much it weighs, Then you filled it with a bunch of camping crap, and the new gross weight is 500#s more.

I think you have the situation in prospective. Bigger than stock tires. Big ass billboard trailer. Lots of wind blowing under the lifted truck. And an older and somewhat tired engine. "It be how it Do."

I personally don't think it would be worth changing gears to 4.56 for 33 inch tires.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
121
 
The number one sign for a clogged catalytic converter is only being able to go a certain speed no matter how much pedal you put into it. In your case, does the truck only go 60 without the camper?

If your cruiser is like most, if you put another 3000 #'s behind it, you have increased it's weight by a ton and half. Literally! Then you add in the wind. That's a real tall order to ask from the engine to get you down the road. If you are like most people with trailers, the guy you bought it from told you how much it weighs, Then you filled it with a bunch of camping crap, and the new gross weight is 500#s more.

I think you have the situation in prospective. Bigger than stock tires. Big ass billboard trailer. Lots of wind blowing under the lifted truck. And an older and somewhat tired engine. "It be how it Do."

I personally don't think it would be worth changing gears to 4.56 for 33 inch tires.
without the camper, I can go 80+, but it will slow down up hills.

The camper was a rental, so the next time I rent, I think I'm going to try a Casita, or R-pod to see how much better that is.

I'd rather tow with the land cruiser, but the other option is to use my wife's Porsche Cayenne S and it has a 7700 lb towing capacity, so the next time we go camping I try it.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
121
 
For sure on the weight, total weight was probably 3500, but I've towed that much before (open car hauler with a light car), so I don't feel like the weight was the major issue, it's definitely the aerodynamics (not that it matters, it's all about the total load on LX)
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
129
Location
Austin
I've had the same experience. It's just tough towing a huge brick with an old (and underpowered) engine, especially on hills. Transmission heat is likely just lack of heat insulation on the tunnel unless it's just crazy hot. May want to consider adding some heat padding to the tunnel as well. I have 35s and considered regearing, but don't tow enough to make it worth it. 35s would probably be the threshold for regearing
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
121
 
I think on my next campout, I'll rent either something with less frontal area, maybe try a pop-up.

thanks for the insight.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
1,447
Location
Israel
I towed a camper for the first time with my '97 LX and had a couple of questions...

Specs-
'97 LX
315k miles
33" tires
2" OME lift
under 3k lb camper, but standard big square front (little aerodynamic, but not like a casita or r-pod or pop-up)
overdrive was turned off for the entire trip.

I've towed pretty heavy items (I towed a car on a flat bed trailer half way across the country), but this is the first time I've towed a billboard of a camper. I really don't feel like it was the weight of the camper, but the aerodynamics that was stressing the truck. I could barely maintain 65 on flat ground (overdrive off) and slowed down up hills. On the way back, it was pretty windy and if I was headed into the wind, I could barely maintain 60.

After about 3 hours of towing without stopping, I noticed that just the passenger side of the transmission tunnel was pretty hot. (driver's side was just warm). The temp gauge stayed in it's normal spot right below the middle, so the cooling system wasn't being taxed.

I need to get a transmission temp gauge to see how hot the transmission gets. (need to see if my ultraguage would have shown the transmission temp)

I was driving it with the gas pedal right on the kick-down switch (floored, but not kicking down), overdrive off. This made me think that maybe it was the catalytic converters getting really hot. Maybe they are getting clogged? (LX has 315k miles) How do you determine if the catalytic converters are healthy?

I am considering changing to 4.56 differential gears, to compensate for the tires, is that worth it to compensate for the tire height difference?

Thoughts?
" The temp gauge stayed in it's normal spot right below the middle " :rofl::rofl::rofl: this is good one very fanny

OEM temp gauge is B S do not count on it
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
9,773
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
 
I towed a camper for the first time with my '97 LX and had a couple of questions...

Specs-
'97 LX
315k miles
33" tires
2" OME lift
under 3k lb camper, but standard big square front (little aerodynamic, but not like a casita or r-pod or pop-up)
overdrive was turned off for the entire trip.

I've towed pretty heavy items (I towed a car on a flat bed trailer half way across the country), but this is the first time I've towed a billboard of a camper. I really don't feel like it was the weight of the camper, but the aerodynamics that was stressing the truck. I could barely maintain 65 on flat ground (overdrive off) and slowed down up hills. On the way back, it was pretty windy and if I was headed into the wind, I could barely maintain 60.

After about 3 hours of towing without stopping, I noticed that just the passenger side of the transmission tunnel was pretty hot. (driver's side was just warm). The temp gauge stayed in it's normal spot right below the middle, so the cooling system wasn't being taxed.

I need to get a transmission temp gauge to see how hot the transmission gets. (need to see if my ultraguage would have shown the transmission temp)

I was driving it with the gas pedal right on the kick-down switch (floored, but not kicking down), overdrive off. This made me think that maybe it was the catalytic converters getting really hot. Maybe they are getting clogged? (LX has 315k miles) How do you determine if the catalytic converters are healthy?

I am considering changing to 4.56 differential gears, to compensate for the tires, is that worth it to compensate for the tire height difference?

Thoughts?
The transmission tunnel always gets hot. It keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks hot while on long drives.

I DD my 80 and there is no such thing as keeping a cold drink in a cup holder on the right side or near the console.

It is due to the heat shields and the location of the catalytic converters just under the floor on the right side. Some have abated this by pulling the carpet and adding heat blanketing materials as well as sound deadening materials on the front floors and tunnel.
 

Bludozer

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
1,546
Location
Central Virginia
The transmission tunnel always gets hot. It keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks hot while on long drives.

I DD my 80 and there is no such thing as keeping a cold drink in a cup holder on the right side or near the console.

It is due to the heat shields and the location of the catalytic converters just under the floor on the right side. Some have abated this by pulling the carpet and adding heat blanketing materials as well as sound deadening materials on the front floors and tunnel.
The ol' long drive sweaty right leg is something we all know quite well.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
585
Location
Indiana
 
 
If you have a Scangauge - what was it telling you about the coolant temp? I have a 1970s hard-sided Apache pop-up that weighs in about 2000 pounds empty. I just towed it about 1600 miles and set the cruise on 65-70. Probably an extra 1000 pounds of people and gear on top of that. Coolant temp was 185. I have the Magnaflow y-pipe/cat and deleted one cat (it's a 94, so not a direct fit). I have 33" tires and the 2.5" lift.

Likely just the exhaust heat and not clogged converters. It runs exactly where you're describing the most heat. At what elevation were you towing?
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
121
 
Re: the heat on the tunnel, I've never noticed that drivers side being anything other than a little warm. That was the same this weekend, however, the passenger side was WARM.

I was towing at 800ft to sea level.

I'm going to connect and calibrate my ultraguage and semipermantently mount in the truck so I can get better temps, etc.

Sounds like not really an issue, just how it is.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
585
Location
Indiana
 
 
The heat is one issue but I wonder why you were topping out at 65. Did you notice any hesitation or detonation? Maybe it just like having a giant parachute behind you. I can see over and around my camper, so I haven't experienced that.
 

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