First TT. Do I need XMSN Cooler?

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saw1953

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Dec 27, 2005
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Richmond VA
We bought a 27' Trail Sport that weighs about 4300 lbs and are going to tow it with an F150 4X2 V6.  A friend mentioned installing a transmission cooler.  Can anyone tell me if they have done this and if it really helps protect the transmission.    Sheila
 

Steve CDN

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Sheila,

Welcome to the RV Forum!  Though I am not familiar with the F150, my first response would be yes, add a transmission cooler.  For the cost and ease of installation, you would save yourself considerable expense in the event of transmission overheating which typically occurs in hill climbs.  Cavitation damage, which is pin holes caused by transmission fluid boiling up can lead to destruction of the transmission, a problem that occurs in transmissions under extreme stress.

Additional, more experienced opinions on the subject are welcome, so Sheila can make an informed decision.

Thanks for joining the RV Forum, Sheila...feel free to jump in to any ongoing discussion or start another.

Enjoy the Forum!
 

Ron

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Sheila,

Welcome to the RV Forum.  I agree with Steve in that it would be a good idea to add a transmission cooler. Another important item is to check your weight capacities and don't exceed the rated tow rating or gross combined weight rating.

I'm sure you will get more information from members that tow.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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A transmission cooler is one of the best things you can do for youre tow vehicle. Heat is the #1 enemy of transmissions and few things generate heat like towing a heavy load.  But you might want to check to see if your F150 was factory equipped with a trailer-towing package - if so it already has a transmission cooler.

Also check the towing capacity - your F150 with 4.2L V6 could have a max tow rating as low as 2200 lbs or as high as 5600 lbs, depending on bed length, cab style, rear axle, transmission and options.  If you don't have the information, a  Ford dealer can check the specifics for your particular truck based on its VIN.  You are talking about a fairly heavy trailer for this size truck, so make sure you are within its limits.  You should also be aware that any load you carry in the truck (passengers & gear) reduces the amount you can tow. You must subtract the weight of passengers and gear from the max towing capacity.

Good luck with your new rig. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.
 

judway

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I agree with all of the previous posts, BUT the cooler usually goes in front of the radiator. This blocks some of the cooling air to the regular radiator and can cause overheating of the engine. I had this problem and two of my friends also had the same problem, especially on hot days. I would definitely install a transmission cooler , but would try to find some other area to put it instead of in front of the radiator.

Wayne/FL
 

Williebfree

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Dec 26, 2005
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I also extend a welcome to the forum. There is A LOT to learn and it is best to read about mistakes than to experience them (and pay for it ;) )

All the above postings are very valid. I have a 1984 Chevy C-10 that needed many upgrades to handle the TT I bought. Some upgrades included a tranny cooler, larger radiator (4-core), Electric brake, and weight-distribution Hitch. I suspect your V-6 is not going to be strong enough for the task of pulling your trailer, especially on any prolonged grade (hill).

Ask qualified technicians to show you the Ford "specs" about your truck to learn the true details. Additionally, you might want to have your trailer weighed to know, for sure, what it weighs.

Best wishes!
 

Karl

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Sheila,

Heat is your transmissions' worst enemy. Most vehichles can be (or are) equipped with an optional tow package which includes a transmission cooler; among other things. This may be in the form of a cooling coil located inside the bottom of the radiator, or may be a seperate cooling coil located in front of the radiator. Some are a combination of both. Bottom line is that they are well worth having for whatever driving conditions you encounter. Having it installed in front of the regular radiator is best, and does not usually decrease the engine cooling capacity to any noticeable extent. Number of cores, frontal area of the radiator, etc, is not something you normally have any control over - it's something that's designed by the vehicle manufacture for your particular vehicle and the driving conditions it's expected to encounter. In fact, I would challange anyone to tell how many cores are present without physically taking the radiator apart. What you should be doing is watching the temperature gauge on a regular basis when driving up long grades, in hot weather, or high altitudes. When it starts to creep up beyond the normal range, pull off and let everything cool down some; then continue your trip. Maintenance is equally important. Make sure your cooling system is clean, replace and top up the coolant at recommended intervals (as per the manufacturer or as required), check and replace hoses and belts as required, and keep the area in front clean of leaves and other debris.  Thermostats are also important. At sea level and normal atmospheric pressure, water boils at 212F. At higher altitudes it will boil at a much lesser temperature, and those bubbles will greatly reduce the cooling efficiency. A good, all around thermostat would be one rated at 190F opening temperature, and is the one normally installed by the manufacturer. Without knowing your GVWR, options, engine size, rear-end ratio, etc., it's difficult to say whether your tow vehicle is up to the task, but perhaps someone who's more familiar with the F-150 can step in and shed more light.     
 

squonk32

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I have the same travel trailer and pull it with a Silverado 1500 with the 5.3ltr engine and 3.42 gearing and it pulls well. With typical options the Trailsport TS27QBSS weighs about 4500 lbs without water tank full. My Silverado has the tow package and I added Timbren supplemental suspension system.  I live in Fort Worth, Tx and have only traveled within a 150 mile radius of the area but so far so good. This is a great travel trailer  but I would definately suggest a transmission cooler.
 

Ron

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The other big consideration is can you tow the trailer legally and safely without exceeding the GVWR or the GCVWR.  When over loaded one can be opening themselves to liabilities should they get in an accident.
 
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