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Towing a Heavy Load

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Old 06-11-2019, 07:36 AM
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Default Towing a Heavy Load

Hello all! I just bought a boat, and with a full tank of gas, trailer and boat are probably weighing in around 4000lbs. My '97 S10 Blazer LS is rated to pull a load of 5000lbs, so in theory, I should be ok. However, I have around 210,000 miles and am a little worried about this larger load on my old Blazer. Does anyone have any experience, or stories to tell? Do you think the truck will be ok with that load? What are some considerations when it comes to highway driving, or hillier roads?

Also, what are some things that I should keep an eye on? Are there any immediate things that you would service/inspect/upgrade to prevent any mechanical failures?

Thanks as always to any thoughts on the matter!
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:45 AM
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Be sure to not tow in overdrive, I've heard that's hard on the transmission.

Other than making sure the truck is mechanically sound, goos tires, etc, you should be good.

Depending on tongue weight, might look into weight distribution hitches, or maybe stronger leafs/air shocks for the rear
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:19 PM
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You might also want to add an external transmission cooler, if you don't already have one.
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cleburne red View Post
Be sure to not tow in overdrive, I've heard that's hard on the transmission.

Other than making sure the truck is mechanically sound, goos tires, etc, you should be good.

Depending on tongue weight, might look into weight distribution hitches, or maybe stronger leafs/air shocks for the rear
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
You might also want to add an external transmission cooler, if you don't already have one.
Ditto to the comments above.

I burned up my 3/4 clutch pack and had to have my transmission rebuilt because I was towing using overdrive. I also tow up and down some pretty big grades.

When I had it rebuilt I had an extra external cooler installed for the transmission fluid. I also purchased a OBD gauge (Ultragauge) that allows me to also monitor the temperature of the transmission fluid. Our transmissions have this capability but no gauge on the cluster.

I tow a trailer/boat that weighs 2,200 lbs. For you I'd also make sure the trailer brakes work. If you don't already have brakes on the trailer you should at that weight.

Check the specs for the weight that can go at your hitch and make sure the tongue weight is not more than that value. For a 5,000 lb trailer I think the tongue weight could be about 500-650 lbs. At that tongue weight, some helper springs might be in order.
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cleburne red View Post
Be sure to not tow in overdrive, I've heard that's hard on the transmission.

Other than making sure the truck is mechanically sound, goos tires, etc, you should be good.

Depending on tongue weight, might look into weight distribution hitches, or maybe stronger leafs/air shocks for the rear
Good stuff. I just ordered fresh shackles for the leaf springs. Anything else that might be under additional stress? Anything in particular that I could do to the brakes to increase their durability?
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
You might also want to add an external transmission cooler, if you don't already have one.
Good call. Just ordered one. Cheap and easy insurance.
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:55 AM
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Wait, so you're saying that there is actually a sensor that reads trans temp that can be picked up using an OBD2 tool/gauge? The trailer does NOT have brakes...
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by christine_208 View Post
Ditto to the comments above.

I burned up my 3/4 clutch pack and had to have my transmission rebuilt because I was towing using overdrive. I also tow up and down some pretty big grades.

When I had it rebuilt I had an extra external cooler installed for the transmission fluid. I also purchased a OBD gauge (Ultragauge) that allows me to also monitor the temperature of the transmission fluid. Our transmissions have this capability but no gauge on the cluster.

I tow a trailer/boat that weighs 2,200 lbs. For you I'd also make sure the trailer brakes work. If you don't already have brakes on the trailer you should at that weight.

Check the specs for the weight that can go at your hitch and make sure the tongue weight is not more than that value. For a 5,000 lb trailer I think the tongue weight could be about 500-650 lbs. At that tongue weight, some helper springs might be in order.

Wait, so you're saying that there is actually a sensor that reads trans temp that can be picked up using an OBD2 tool/gauge? The trailer does NOT have brakes...


 
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Thuwaldt View Post
Wait, so you're saying that there is actually a sensor that reads trans temp that can be picked up using an OBD2 tool/gauge? The trailer does NOT have brakes...
First I've heard of that. That would be pretty cool. I've been planning to install a trans temp guage, be nice if there was a factory sensor to tap into
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Thuwaldt View Post
Wait, so you're saying that there is actually a sensor that reads trans temp that can be picked up using an OBD2 tool/gauge? The trailer does NOT have brakes...
Yep! Pretty cool, isn't it?

There is at least one more OBD-II gauge reader that can access that information that I know of but this is the one I got (see below). I liked the price and the form-factor for the readout.

The minimum number of readouts is four. The data I have it display for me are; Engine Coolant, Transmission Fluid Coolant, Corrected MPH (I have larger tires on mine) and the MAP sensor (purely for curiosity). You can also set alarms for all values.

If you are really nerdy, you can have to scroll through many pages of data and have more data per page. It also has the ability to read and clear the OBD-II codes that would display the "Check Engine Light". So it is only a basic code reader as far as that goes.

I've been pretty happy with it.

I mounted mine on top of the cover for the transmission hump that holds the remote cassette player.

UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center




 

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