Towing in what gear?

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Thread: Towing in what gear?

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    Junior Member crah's Avatar
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    Default Towing in what gear?

    I'm towing an approximate 8500 pound 5th wheel in 4th gear at about 65 mph with the RPM slightly under 3000 averaging about 10mpg. The truck will tow the trailer in 5th gear, but there is too much shifting due to hills.

    Is towing at 3000 rpms for extended lenght ok? I tow like this for 5 hours at a time with 1 fuel stop. I have tried towing in 5th and get about the same mileage, but constantly have to fight the shifting with the foot pedal.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    I tow with a Tacoma and never tow in 5th gear. 60 mph is my best mpg speed, revs about 2600 and get as good as 13 mpg on straight level hwy, drops to 10 mpg in hilly areas. Really steep hills make me drop to 3rd gear, which at 55 revs right at 3k. Don't know if sustained driving the 5.7 at 3k will hurt the engine but am fairly sure that towing in 5th gear will trash your transmission.

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    4th gear sounds good. If the tranny wants to be in 4th, let it be in 4th. I don't think there are any long term issues that might result from such behavior.

    One thing I have found is that I like to accellerate in D and tow / haul. The wide open throttle is only available when in D and tow/haul. Once I get to speed, I go to S mode and set the gear that the tranny likes. For flat towing, 5th gear works well for my 6200 lbs trailer. 6th never gets used. If I were heavier, I might set it to 4th.

    Tom

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    Junior Member crah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Thanks for the feedback. Now please go over to my E-rate tire thread and get that one resolved.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by crah View Post
    I'm towing an approximate 8500 pound 5th wheel in 4th gear at about 65 mph with the RPM slightly under 3000 averaging about 10mpg. The truck will tow the trailer in 5th gear, but there is too much shifting due to hills.

    Is towing at 3000 rpms for extended lenght ok? I tow like this for 5 hours at a time with 1 fuel stop. I have tried towing in 5th and get about the same mileage, but constantly have to fight the shifting with the foot pedal.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with going in S-4 mode, other than you lose the TC lock/unlock feature. YOu see, the 6-speed has 2 OD gears with TC lock/unlock in both. Once you go to S-4 you lose that, and the TC will stay locked.
    It kinda feels like you have 8 gears vs. 6 in a way, cause they will give you about 200-300 more rpm's once the TC unlocks.

    I don't tow in S-4 mode so i don't know for sure, but i beleive at 65 mph the TC will not unlock for you when you come to a hill and the gas pedal goes down a little. If you tow in S-5 it would, thus giving you an extra gear sorta speak with the TC.

    I tow in S-5 mode on the flat, and D mode while climbing hills. I like S-5 simply due to the TC feature, as most of the time it keeps me from dropping a full gear. But i drive a little faster than you at 70 or so.

    But i see nothing wrong with 4th; and you can always pick up the TC feature by putting it in S-5 when you come to an incline.

    Did that help at all, or am i confusing the he!! out of ya?

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    Junior Member crah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Only Toyota for me View Post
    I don't think there's anything wrong with going in S-4 mode, other than you lose the TC lock/unlock feature. YOu see, the 6-speed has 2 OD gears with TC lock/unlock in both. Once you go to S-4 you lose that, and the TC will stay locked.
    It kinda feels like you have 8 gears vs. 6 in a way, cause they will give you about 200-300 more rpm's once the TC unlocks.

    I don't tow in S-4 mode so i don't know for sure, but i beleive at 65 mph the TC will not unlock for you when you come to a hill and the gas pedal goes down a little. If you tow in S-5 it would, thus giving you an extra gear sorta speak with the TC.

    I tow in S-5 mode on the flat, and D mode while climbing hills. I like S-5 simply due to the TC feature, as most of the time it keeps me from dropping a full gear. But i drive a little faster than you at 70 or so.

    But i see nothing wrong with 4th; and you can always pick up the TC feature by putting it in S-5 when you come to an incline.

    Did that help at all, or am i confusing the he!! out of ya?
    Thanks. It did help. I call that the half gear I always feel at a slight incline. It kicks down a little but not a full gear unless you press the pedal down further or leave it in cruise control. If I wasn't towing regularly in inclines S5 would be perfect, but with S4, I can practically leave my cruise control on and only remove it on steep inclines.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by crah View Post
    Thanks. It did help. I call that the half gear I always feel at a slight incline. It kicks down a little but not a full gear unless you press the pedal down further or leave it in cruise control. If I wasn't towing regularly in inclines S5 would be perfect, but with S4, I can practically leave my cruise control on and only remove it on steep inclines.
    So you feel the half gear while in S-4?

    You could also pop it in S-5 to gain the half gear, when you're on a slight incline. When mine drops to 4th on a hill, you can really feel the tq while pulling. It's right in the tq sweet spot, and it actually puts you in your seat a little. Seems like i'm right in the mid- 3k range, if i remember right. It's right when the TC unlocks that you feel the surge.

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    I'm pulling about the same weight as you.
    I press the Tow/Haul button and leave it in drive.
    There is one pass I travel frequently that the tranny seems to hunt more that I like so then and only then do I use the "S" mode to hold the gear.

    I don't thing you will hurt anything towing in 4th.

    When on flat land, I have found my sweet spot to be in Drive with the Cruise set to 61 mph (55mph speed limit here when towing).

    At this speed I am turning 2,200 RPMS and I am in 6th gear.

    If I hit any rolling hills then of course this doesn't work.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Only Toyota for me View Post
    So you feel the half gear while in S-4?

    You could also pop it in S-5 to gain the half gear, when you're on a slight incline. When mine drops to 4th on a hill, you can really feel the tq while pulling. It's right in the tq sweet spot, and it actually puts you in your seat a little. Seems like i'm right in the mid- 3k range, if i remember right. It's right when the TC unlocks that you feel the surge.
    No half gear in S4. I used to drive in S5 and that's when I felt the half gear or the converter locking and unlocking. Since I'm going to the Grand Canyon quite a bit these days, there is too much shifting once I pass Kingman.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivecodys View Post
    I'm pulling about the same weight as you.
    I press the Tow/Haul button and leave it in drive.
    There is one pass I travel frequently that the tranny seems to hunt more that I like so then and only then do I use the "S" mode to hold the gear.

    I don't thing you will hurt anything towing in 4th.

    When on flat land, I have found my sweet spot to be in Drive with the Cruise set to 61 mph (55mph speed limit here when towing).

    At this speed I am turning 2,200 RPMS and I am in 6th gear.

    If I hit any rolling hills then of course this doesn't work.

    Bill
    How's your MPG at that speed? Your sweet spot seems perfect for flat terrain. I will have to give it a shot next time I'm in a flat area.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    2200 rpm in 6th gear at 61 mph doesn't sound right. In 6th gear at 2000 rpm I am doing 74 mph. You sure you're in 6th gear?

    Tom

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by crah View Post
    How's your MPG at that speed? Your sweet spot seems perfect for flat terrain. I will have to give it a shot next time I'm in a flat area.

    The best I have recorded is 10.1 mpg on flat land.
    I average 9 mpg overall trip. (mix of mountains and flat land during a 170 mile trip)
    My worst was 8.3 and that was with high winds.

    From most V-8 gassers like us, I hear that 8-9 while towing is the norm.

    I have never tried going slower than 61 or 62 mph. I'm afraid I would get ran over.

    I do remenber one poster over on the RV forum stating that he got 11 mpg at 55 mph. That's dangerously slow to drive in this state.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomhole View Post
    2200 rpm in 6th gear at 61 mph doesn't sound right. In 6th gear at 2000 rpm I am doing 74 mph. You sure you're in 6th gear?

    Tom
    Yep, pretty sure it's in 6th gear 2,200 rpms, 61-62 mph.

    I'm taking a trip this weekend, with about 30 miles of flat land before the climb, and I will check again just to make sure.



    Bill
    Last edited by fivecodys; 05-27-2009 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivecodys View Post
    Yep, pretty sure it's in 6th gear 2,200 rpms, 61-62 mph.

    I'm taking a trip this weekend, with about 30 miles of flat land before the climb, and I will check again just to make sure.



    Bill
    I don't know about that either. Sounds like fifth to me. In sixth you should be about 1500-1600 r's.

    I'm at 2700 r's in S-5 with the TC locked at 70 mph or so.

    I'm sure glad we didn't get a ticket going thru your neck of the woods. We went flying thru there about 70-74 mph last spring. Of course, it was on the outskerts of town. He!!, going thru town was like 50 or so with all the traffic.

    You talking about that steep azz hill south of vegas? That is a steep climb, and loooooooong as well. That hill is where my dad set the cruise at 75, and it didnt' drop below that speed with his 9k lb fiver behind.

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    Default Re: Towing in what gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivecodys View Post
    The best I have recorded is 10.1 mpg on flat land.
    I average 9 mpg overall trip. (mix of mountains and flat land during a 170 mile trip)
    My worst was 8.3 and that was with high winds.

    From most V-8 gassers like us, I hear that 8-9 while towing is the norm.

    I have never tried going slower than 61 or 62 mph. I'm afraid I would get ran over.

    I do remenber one poster over on the RV forum stating that he got 11 mpg at 55 mph. That's dangerously slow to drive in this state.

    Bill
    I think that's why I brought up the question in the gear to tow. Either though towing in S5 was not a complete nuisance, the shifting was getting old, and I averaged about 9-10mpg. Using cruise control was out of the question. Now when I tow in S4, at 2900 rpm (64-65mph), I can easily get 10mpg and use the cruise more. I just have to shut off the cruise on hills. After 5 hours of driving, I figured out the type of hill I need to shut off my cruise on so it doesn't kick down to 3rd. Maybe I found the sweet spot in S4. I think most people (including me) are more comfortable towing at a lower RPM. I think I was getting about the same MPG's or little less with S5 but regulating my foot pedal a lot more, and shifting quite a bit. S4 I can sit back and use cruise control most of the way, but also have to see the RPM consistently at 2900.
    2007 DC 4x2 5.7 SR5

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