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Discussion Starter #1
First off, I have a 1995 Bronco 5.8 with the tow package (the hitch, wiring and external transmission cooler, etc)

I will be towing a 2800 lb Nissan sedan (less than 20 ft long) from Northern California to Mexico (across the notorious grapevine mountains and through San Diego Mountains a total of about 630 miles)

(if you wanna know why I'm towing it, transmission exploded on nissan and costs only 250 for a completely professionally rebuilt one at a friends place in Mexico. I'm not dishing out 1k for this car on this side of the border. Money is tight, plus I was going to visit my friend anyway)

Here's my questions:

1. Overdrive on or off? I came here for answer but most FSBers are split between overdrive button.

2. How to prevent transmission from overheating? You would think that it shouldn't be an issue with the external cooler but last time I went into Mexico the transmission spilled all the oil out due to the tremendous heat in Mexicali area (it was 117 degrees yesterday.) This time I'm going back and towing. Would driving at night help? (apart from being cooler, less traffic would mean I would be running more instead of stopping and thus air would go into the tranny cooler)

3. Downhill braking: all with engine correct? Only use brakes for emergency or its not an issue?

4. Top speed? Can I comfortably go about 65? I've read not to go over 55mph but the speed limit on the 5south for California is 70mph. Also 65mph doesn't sound good when not in overdrive?

5. Anything else I should check on my truck/adjust before starting this odyssey?

Thanks a ton.
 

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MARBLE GARGLER!
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overdrive off, get a bigger or a second trans cooler, 55 mph with a trailer... cause if you get in a wreck you kill all possibilities of saving money in mexico ! New transmission and transfercase fluid.....
 

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Is pulling the trans out and bringing it down out of the question? Just a thought.

Certainly driving at night would be cooler. Allow enough time so that can be an option, if you see the engine temp going up, you know that the trans temp is going up too. Pull into a hotel, and go swimming. :)
 

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And NO ENGINE breaking.
Using the drivetrain to slow down, Especially with an additional 2,000 LBS makes frying your transmission that much more of a possibility.
Yeah, you might shorten the life of your brakepads but, I will take $50.00 in new pads over a destroyed transmission every day of the year.
 

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4. Top speed? Can I comfortably go about 65? I've read not to go over 55mph but the speed limit on the 5south for California is 70mph. Also 65mph doesn't sound good when not in overdrive?
California Vehicle Code

22406. No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a highway
at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour:

(a) A motortruck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any motortruck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle.

(b) A passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle.

So yes.. the 5 south is 70mph, but you by law can not exceed 55


5. Anything else I should check on my truck/adjust before starting this odyssey?
Research the Calfiornia Vehicle code.. With a trailer you are bound to stay in the #3 and #4 lanes only.. (2nd lane from right and the right lane)
 

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~*~*~*~*~*~*~
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First off, I have a 1995 Bronco 5.8 with the tow package (the hitch, wiring and external transmission cooler, etc)

I will be towing a 2800 lb Nissan sedan (less than 20 ft long) from Northern California to Mexico (across the notorious grapevine mountains and through San Diego Mountains a total of about 630 miles)

Here's my questions:
1. Overdrive on or off? I came here for answer but most FSBers are split between overdrive button.
This depends really..... Personally, ~3500 lbs is quite a bit, but you can see how it reacts on flat land once you get to your desired speed. But seeing as your going through the mountains, I'm gonna say off.

2. How to prevent transmission from overheating? You would think that it shouldn't be an issue with the external cooler but last time I went into Mexico the transmission spilled all the oil out due to the tremendous heat in Mexicali area (it was 117 degrees yesterday.) This time I'm going back and towing. Would driving at night help? (apart from being cooler, less traffic would mean I would be running more instead of stopping and thus air would go into the tranny cooler)
Another cooler would help for sure. The night driving would probably be my choice due to the terrain added with traffic and of course the heat.

3. Downhill braking: all with engine correct? Only use brakes for emergency or its not an issue?
Engine braking helps a TON. That's another reason to leave the OD off.

4. Top speed? Can I comfortably go about 65? I've read not to go over 55mph but the speed limit on the 5south for California is 70mph. Also 65mph doesn't sound good when not in overdrive?
I've done a lot of towing with a bronco over all these years. You gotta be careful. They can get squirrely QUICK and EASY. Depending on the condition of your rig, you should be able to go 65 if the tongue weight is ok. Too much tongue weight, and things can get hectic FAST. I don't want to scare you, just stating facts. But if your local law states 55, then just do it. Do it right, do it safe.

5. Anything else I should check on my truck/adjust before starting this odyssey?
Yes. Try to note the condition of your front end. Bad ball joints, bad radius arm bushings or brackets can hamper a smooth tow.

Tire pressure is KEY too. Make sure all tires are at proper levels, specially on the trailer/tow dolly (car if on the dolly).

And NO ENGINE breaking.
Using the drivetrain to slow down, Especially with an additional 2,000 LBS makes frying your transmission that much more of a possibility.
Yeah, you might shorten the life of your brakepads but, I will take $50.00 in new pads over a destroyed transmission every day of the year.
I answered this above, but wanted to give a little more of my thoughts on this, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Yes this may generate a little more heat in the trans, but not as much as if you were doing a brake torque. He's running a cooler. He's already gonna attempt a tow with a short wheelbase truck, any help should be used. I've still got the stock E4OD on my truck, and I use engine braking all the time. My shifter is always moving, whether I'm driving or braking, everyday. Engine braking can slow you down a lot faster when using your brakes as well, and is the best when on snow and ice without using brakes.
 

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California Vehicle Code

So yes.. the 5 south is 70mph, but you by law can not exceed 55
this is one of those stupidness laws I never understood. you have traffic moving 75mph or faster and trailers can only go 55. then you get people cutting those off towing because they are fawk sticks and ignorant of the laws.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok I got this so far:

1. Overdrive off, especially up and downhill. (On flat straightaways I might be able to turn O/D on depending on how the engine/transmission feels)

2. Get bigger/new transmission cooler (we'll see about this, because money is getting tight) and it would definitely help driving at night.

3. Downhill braking, I'm thinking an about 50-50 combination of brakes and engine braking (in 3rd) Would this help reduce heat in both brakes/transmission (as opposed to 100% on either brakes or engine) or am I just going to burn up both my brakes AND transmission?

4. Keep steady at 55mph although idiots might be flying by at 75mph+, just take extra precautions.

5. I'm thinking about doing a complete tune up (besides the regular oil change) I would double check the tires are at correct pressure and would changing transmission fluid + filter help? I've already done the sixlitre works to it and that definitely helped. Also obvious things like no A/C up hills.

hmmmm anything else?
 

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Your manual states tow with OD on. Your truck will handle 3500lbs just fine with OD on, even up small(er) hills. Use your cruise control, if it starts to bog down, shift it out of OD yourself until you clear the obstacle. If it bogs back down when it shifts back into OD, leave OD off until you return to "normal" road.

Engine braking is fine, just be light with it. It you jerk forward in your seat, the trailer is going to jerk forward too. Really, as long as your brakes are in good condition you won't have any problems. If you get into a situation that requires to ride the brakes downhill, downshift and engine brake.

Load your trailer correctly. Follow the trailer's manufactures directions. If you have too much weight on the tongue, your bronco's rear end will really sag and you will be very susceptible to sway (trailer wag). If this happens, don't panic. Hold the steering wheel and slow down. Push the brakes VERY VERY softly to slow down. Do not slam on them in a panic, it will end badly.

Plan your route. Make sure you try to avoid high traffic times at all cost. Plan your stops. Drive for everyone else on the road. Make sure you keep triple the distance between you and the traffic in front of you than you normally do.

You don't NEED a new tranny cooler for 3500 pounds, but it won't hurt. If you have the stock mechanical fan it'll be pulling plenty of air through the stock cooler, and as long as you don't drive like a retard, you aren't going to hurt anything. It's not like you are overloading your truck.

Oh, and is the trailer a flatbed or a dolly? I really don't recommend a dolly, they are a bit of a pain.

As far as the speed limit. Do what the trucks are doing. Everyone is used to driving with semi's on the road, and you will have about the same maneuverability as a semi.

I towed a 4500lbs car/trailer the other day for 500 miles, and i was really surprised how well the bronco handled it. No problems at all, and the tranny actually ran cooler than it normally does. The E4OD ups line pressure when calculated engine load increases.
 
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