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What gear for towing?

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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What gear for towing?

I am about to move from LA to Temecula (about 150 miles) and will be using a 5'x8' U-Haul trailer. The trailer weighs 900 lbs. empty. I assume the cargo will be anywhere from 1/2 - 1 ton total (high estimate), placed both in the trailer and the bed of my truck. Most of the way is flat land with the occasional up and down grades. I have a 2010 V6 Sport with tow package and Trans & Rear Leaf TSB. This will be my first time towing and I would like to know of any advice you may have for me. I have read the towing bible thread, as well as many others on this forum. I am confident that it should be simple as I am well below tow capacity. My question is:

Gear selection: I want to be in 4th for any uphills but would you recommend OD for flat land? I would like the better MPG but not if it is at the risk of over stressing the transmission. Should I try to leave the truck in D and monitor the Trans Temp and shifting of the truck? If the trans stays in a good temp range and the trans doesnt hunt, is there any risk to wear by driving in D?

I am being cautious here and just looking for advice on anything I may be overlooking.

Thank you.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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As long as the transmission isn't hunting for gears, I keep it in D for towing. On extended uphills or downhills, I'll go to 4. Just be mindful when you load the trailer. How you load the trailer could be the difference between a nicely tracking trailer and fighting it 100% of the time. You want a little more weight in front of the trailer axles vs behind. If you overload the rear, it can start swinging.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Loaded up the truck and trailer to the max. Had a little sag in the rear but the little taco held up very well. I was surprised at how easy she pulled everything and at times I had to look back and make sure the trailer was still there because it didn't feel as if I was towing at all. I spent time planning the weight distribution, which kept the trailer tracking with minimal sway. Trans temp stayed below 140 the whole way including uphill climbs and stop and go street traffic. Good job Toyota.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixinus View Post
Thanks for the reply. Loaded up the truck and trailer to the max. Had a little sag in the rear but the little taco held up very well. I was surprised at how easy she pulled everything and at times I had to look back and make sure the trailer was still there because it didn't feel as if I was towing at all. I spent time planning the weight distribution, which kept the trailer tracking with minimal sway. Trans temp stayed below 140 the whole way including uphill climbs and stop and go street traffic. Good job Toyota.
Success
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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I was told by my transmission instructor to never tow in overdrive. The lightweight aluminum planetary gear carriers can't hold up to the constant jerking the trailer gives the drivertrain. He showed me an example. It was ugly. The man had 20yrs experience in rebuilding transmissions in a trans-only shop. I tend to believe him.

Go 55-60 and take it easy. Follow Nixinus' suggestions, but weigh it, to make sure you're not overloading the rear axle, or tongue.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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You did your homework and did it right. One thing I always try to do when towing or hauling heavy loads is to keep the engine in the powerband and not lug it(2000-2400 RPM) for our engines.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skytower View Post
I was told by my transmission instructor to never tow in overdrive. The lightweight aluminum planetary gear carriers can't hold up to the constant jerking the trailer gives the drivertrain. He showed me an example. It was ugly. The man had 20yrs experience in rebuilding transmissions in a trans-only shop. I tend to believe him.

Go 55-60 and take it easy. Follow Nixinus' suggestions, but weigh it, to make sure you're not overloading the rear axle, or tongue.
I would like to know more about this. If there is a problem with components of the drive train not taking the push-pull motion well, wouldn't it affect all gears? Or are you referring to the push-pull of gear hunting?
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
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One more thing I want to add is that the transmission stayed at a constant temp regardless of what gear I was in. I assume that was the case because of the relatively lighter load I was carrying.

I don't quite understand where 5th gear Heya used in our trucks, considering its a 6 speed and we don't have a 5th gear manual option. I found that if I left it in OD and applied throttle then the truck would downshift. I assumed it went into 5th because in that situation I could manually put it in 4th and it would do another downshift.

Mileage was very good too. I averaged about 16mpg with some hills, some city driving and a fwy detour because of a closure. I chalk that up to the lighter load and an average fwy speed of 55-60 mph.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixinus View Post

I don't quite understand where 5th gear Heya used in our trucks, considering its a 6 speed and we don't have a 5th gear manual option. I found that if I left it in OD and applied throttle then the truck would downshift. I assumed it went into 5th because in that situation I could manually put it in 4th and it would do another downshift.
Its a 5 speed with a lockup torque converter.
You were mistaking the unlocking of the
torque converter as a down
shift from a non existent 6th gear
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixinus View Post
One more thing I want to add is that the transmission stayed at a constant temp regardless of what gear I was in. I assume that was the case because of the relatively lighter load I was carrying.

I don't quite understand where 5th gear Heya used in our trucks, considering its a 6 speed and we don't have a 5th gear manual option. I found that if I left it in OD and applied throttle then the truck would downshift. I assumed it went into 5th because in that situation I could manually put it in 4th and it would do another downshift.

Mileage was very good too. I averaged about 16mpg with some hills, some city driving and a fwy detour because of a closure. I chalk that up to the lighter load and an average fwy speed of 55-60 mph.
The Toyota has a locking torque converter. When you first apply the throttle when in O/D, you are feeling the torque converter unlock, causing the RPMs to raise. Then, when you shift to 4th, that is an actual downshift.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:06 PM   #12
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Thank you for the clarification. I did wonder why the last "gear" was only a short drop in rpm but it all makes sense now.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:24 PM   #13
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I pulled 5k lbs with mine across the country PCS awhile back and you wouldn't even think you had a load behind it. I dropped out of overdrive once just to take it easy on the tranny, but 90 thru the rockies was nothing.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixinus View Post
One more thing I want to add is that the transmission stayed at a constant temp regardless of what gear I was in. I assume that was the case because of the relatively lighter load I was carrying.

I don't quite understand where 5th gear Heya used in our trucks, considering its a 6 speed and we don't have a 5th gear manual option. I found that if I left it in OD and applied throttle then the truck would downshift. I assumed it went into 5th because in that situation I could manually put it in 4th and it would do another downshift.

Mileage was very good too. I averaged about 16mpg with some hills, some city driving and a fwy detour because of a closure. I chalk that up to the lighter load and an average fwy speed of 55-60 mph.
How did you monitor your tranny temp?
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavis92 View Post
How did you monitor your tranny temp?
probably a scanguage or ultragauge
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 95 taco View Post
probably a scanguage or ultragauge
How? I have an Ultragauge and my 05 V6 does not feed it tranny temp.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:57 AM   #17
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What Gear should i tow in?

I have a v6 tacoma and in my manual it says to tow in 3rd gear but everybody on here is saying 4th. I usually use 4th cause in third the rpm stay around 3500 and it sounds like it wants to change gears. not to mention the gas sucking issues....any thoughts?
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killbeal View Post
I have a v6 tacoma and in my manual it says to tow in 3rd gear but everybody on here is saying 4th. I usually use 4th cause in third the rpm stay around 3500 and it sounds like it wants to change gears. not to mention the gas sucking issues....any thoughts?
Just keep it in the highest gear unless on a hill
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:47 AM   #19
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n00b question, but I drive an 01 v6 prerunner automatic. Am i able to shift gears on the fly? Or do I need to pull over, shift, then go again? About to make a cross country move, and have never towed anything before.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdavis92 View Post
How? I have an Ultragauge and my 05 V6 does not feed it tranny temp.
The scan gauge might have more features than the ultra gauge
He might also have the torque app for android devices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Baum View Post
n00b question, but I drive an 01 v6 prerunner automatic. Am i able to shift gears on the fly? Or do I need to pull over, shift, then go again? About to make a cross country move, and have never towed anything before.
Shift on the fly, but the 1st gen autos are 4 speed instead of 5 like the 2nd gens.
Basically all you have to do is push the o/d button on the shifter and it will limit the transmission to 1-2-3 gears.
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