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Old 05-02-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
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First good tow with 2004 I6 Trailblazer and Jayco 23B

So, a few weeks ago we did 5 days at Stone Mountain GA. It was a 220 mile tow down I-20 for us, some hills.

I KNOW my vehicle is at its limits, but we are stuck with it till our van is paid off. (Family RULE, ONE car payment only at any time).

It did well, but ran a hair warm at moments. I posted about this in Trailvoy 2 weeks ago but seems there is NO activity over there on the tow threads.

I ran in 3rd gear, towed between 55-65 MPH.

Mine is the short wheelbase, 2WD 3.42 rearend I6 engine, 2004 model with 158K miles.

Had my wife, and two small boys in car seats. I estimate we prob put around 600-700 lb of stuff in the camper, but thats nothing scientific, just the thought that stuff weighs more than you think.

X23B is 4100# dry.

My temp gauge straight up is the 210 mark. Driving around not towing it runs about 200-205 usually.

During tow, it ran a lot around 215. On numerous occasions it slid over to about 220, and on prob 3-5 occasions there and back combined it ran to 228. MANY people on Trailvoy say DONT trust that gauge at all, that it can vary up or down 20F from accurate.

Temps during our trip were 70s-80s.

I'd run in 3rd, and on a little grade, it would strat dropping, I'd let it slide down to 55 and sometimes under so as to NOT unlock the torque converter. If it dropped near 50, I'd let off the gas, shift to 2, and then the RPM would go to around 3500, and then I'd let it climb back up under throttle to about 4000 RPM and about 64 MPH, then let off and shift back to 3rd.

It would be SOME of these harder climbs as described here above where thet emp would slide over to those upper 220s.

It never showed any signs of power issues, or signs of running too hot.

The check engine light came on about 2/3 the way there, stayed on the day after, off the next day, and back on before we left. Same on the way back, and the next day its been off since. I had oil pressure, charge, fuel, and temp seemed ok so I let it roll.

I had a guy install a second trans cooler beyond the stock one before we left, so I doubt the trans ran hot.

Aside from that constant up/down speed, and cranking the sway bar really tight, I felt overall pretty good about towing it. I wonder if it could handle going up I-26 or I-40 into Tenn in the summer, but I'd hate to get half way to my destination and the thing run hot on me. then again, I don't really know what HOT is.
From an engineering standpoint, its the point that the water goes to vapor (stops cooling) and lifts the pressure cap, but what temp that is, I'm not sure.

I also ran the TB tires at 44 PSI(Max sidewall) and the trailer at 50 PSI (max sidewall).

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:19 PM   #2
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Seems you got it under control. If the Jones want to pass just let them go. Different vehicles and weight conditions determine the speed. Gear up is usual gear down or use the brakes more often which can heat up the brakes. The extra trans cooler is a good thing for towing those steep inclines special when they are long. Enjoy!
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:21 PM   #3
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We towed our X20E with a 2006 Trailblazer EXT, I6, 3.42 gears, 4WD. It was OK on the flat roads in WI. Just my wife and I. It was setup fine but the weakness was that I was close to the towing capacity and the payload. It was not stellar in the wind or on hills. I did that for one season. The truck had 160k on it and was going to need exhaust and a few other thing, so I decided to sell it and got the Sierra below. Night and day difference. Before our X20E we had a Jayco Kiwi 17a. A 3500# GVWR trailer. We took it to Yellowstone with the Trailblazer. Towed like a dream.

Never go by dry weight. That's weight of the trailer before options are added. You will never, ever tow at that weight ready to camp. The GVWR of the X23B is 4950#. That's the max the trailer can weigh loaded. The yellow sticker on the outside of the trailer and/or inside one of the cabinets lists the "as shipped weight", which will likely be 350# more than the published "dry weight". Loaded with your 700# of gear you may be overloading that trailer.

Trailvoy has been dead for years. The primary supporters there left and started a new site, GMT Nation. Pretty much all the members moved over there and abandoned Trailvoy. It includes all GMTs now, not just GMT 360/370. A lot of members have replaced their GMT 360/370s with full size trucks.

Random check engine lights on Trailblazer seem to be normal. Only worry if it flashes, sends you into "limp mode", or is running rough. Or if they don't go away. You need to find a way to monitor the trans temps, even with the cooler. Using the Torque app with a Bluetooth OBDII. Reader. You have to load PIDs with Torque but it will let you see a lot of useful info in real time. You can also check codes. I've had mine for 4 years and would not be without it. My Sierra has the trans temp readout.

I never had any high temp issues except climbing 6% grades, and that's normal. Do you have any kind of custom grill shell or other blockage?

Old truck and current X20E

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Old 05-02-2019, 01:33 PM   #4
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We towed our X20E with a 2006 Trailblazer EXT, I6, 3.42 gears, 4WD. It was OK on the flat roads in WI. Just my wife and I. It was setup fine but the weakness was that I was close to the towing capacity and the payload. It was not stellar in the wind or on hills. I did that for one season. The truck had 160k on it and was going to need exhaust and a few other thing, so I decided to sell it and got the Sierra below. Night and day difference. Before our X20E we had a Jayco Kiwi 17a. A 3500# GVWR trailer. We took it to Yellowstone with the Trailblazer. Towed like a dream.

Never go by dry weight. That's weight of the trailer before options are added. You will never, ever tow at that weight ready to camp. The GVWR of the X23B is 4950#. That's the max the trailer can weigh loaded. The yellow sticker on the outside of the trailer and/or inside one of the cabinets lists the "as shipped weight", which will likely be 350# more than the published "dry weight". Loaded with your 700# of gear you may be overloading that trailer.

Trailvoy has been dead for years. The primary supporters there left and started a new site, GMT Nation. Pretty much all the members moved over there and abandoned Trailvoy. It includes all GMTs now, not just GMT 360/370. A lot of members have replaced their GMT 360/370s with full size trucks.

Random check engine lights on Trailblazer seem to be normal. Only worry if it flashes, sends you into "limp mode", or is running rough. Or if they don't go away. You need to find a way to monitor the trans temps, even with the cooler. Using the Torque app with a Bluetooth OBDII. Reader. You have to load PIDs with Torque but it will let you see a lot of useful info in real time. You can also check codes. I've had mine for 4 years and would not be without it. My Sierra has the trans temp readout.

I never had any high temp issues except climbing 6% grades, and that's normal. Do you have any kind of custom grill shell or other blockage?

Old truck and current X20E



Thank you for the specifics. I donít mind getting an app and a plug in monitor but I donít know what a PID is.

As for the engine temp, how hot did yours run when climbing 6%.?? How hot can I let it go to without worry?

If say I climbed Saluda grade on I-40 I donít mind going up in second gear at 30 mph, but I am concerned at that slow speed with that much fire going through the engine that there wonít be enough cooling to keep the engine temps down. Thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:46 PM   #5
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I think it got to 220 or so. That really doesn't hurt in short bursts. Same for trans temps, short bursts of 230 don't hurt. The boiling point of antifreeze is 250.

One thing about your transmission. Has it been serviced? If so did you put in DEX VI fluid? DEX VI was introduced in 2006 but is backward compatible and recommended by GM in all their older vehicles. It's a synthetic blend that runs cooler and is more efficient than the DEX III your truck came with. My Trailblazer's transmission was a strong as ever at 160k on it. Change your trans fluid every 50k miles.

I have no idea what kind of a grade that is on I-40 so I don't know how to answer that. I took my X20E to Tennessee a few years ago with my Sierra. Hardly knew we were climbing a grade. The Trailblazer would have struggled through that. 4% and 5% grades, engine temp didn't move a bit, trans went up to about 220.

You can find out more about loading PIDS for Torque to get trans temps on GMT Nation. Great bunch of people there. Always lots of help available there.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:10 PM   #6
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This used to be our combination as well in the hills of OH. Not near the grades your dealing with, but I was comfortable with it.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:38 PM   #7
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We towed our x19h for four years all around the Midwest with a 2008 Trailblazer set up the same as yours, 3rd gear & 55-60 mph we did fine. I remember reading somewhere the the I6 engine was designed the run at a higher temp than most engines.

I did put Monroe load adjusting shock absorbers on the rear to help with handling the towing load.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
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We too, sometimes depending on how we load up are near our max capacity. One thing I have found, is to hose off the radiator once in awhile to remove all the road debris. I did this the first time going out to Custer SD, we were running a bit hot, on the inclines (it was 100oF outside). After that even in the big mountains as we continued to Yellowstone and Glacier, we ran much cooler.

I now have a Bluetooth OBDii scanner and use the Torque Pro app, I can monitor all kinds of sensors, including engine temp.

I fully understand 1 car payment rule. We try not to have any car payments, hence we drive old cars. But a new daily driver is in our near forecast .
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Old 07-10-2020, 04:52 PM   #9
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Reviving my old thread for a new tow season and possible temp issue.

We just took a trip to Charleston SC (130 miles away).

I use a WiFi obd2 monitor plugging under my dash and 5he dash command app.

I monitor engine and trans temp.

Most of the trip there and back (ambient temp was 90-94 F )

The engine temp while towing spent a lot of time around 228.
It spent some time at 223-226. And some time at 230. It even bumped to 232 twice for a minute and once touched 234.

I was running around 60 mph fully loaded prob 5000 lb towing in 3rd gear.

My dash gauge seems to perfectly match my dash command app numbers.

The trans has the aux cooler my guy put on last year. It was consistently 203-207 towing.

When weíd pull off the highway the temps would head down toward 218-215.

I looked up the boiling point of water at 20 psi and see it boils at 228. Not sure what the antifreeze boil point is but concerned Iím gonna blow the head gasket.

We are taking a short trip to lake greenwood Sunday for a few days which wonít be a ton of highway torture testing.

However end of July we are going 250 miles to Jeckyll island and Iím concerned if I have an issue that could strand me on the highway.

Iím gonna hose off my radiator tomorrow morning. I called my usual repair guy. He mentioned maybe the fan.

The original fan clutch and water pump were replaced at 90,000 miles. Has 160,000 now.

Thought appreciated.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:15 PM   #10
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Good ideal to change the radiator hoses if not done already.
Any transmissission maintenance?

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Old 07-10-2020, 08:24 PM   #11
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Good ideal to change the radiator hoses if not done already.
Any transmissission maintenance?

I keep my 2001 dodge ram in good condition because I can't afford another truck!
Yea I forgot. Those hoses were replaced last June. Top and bottom hose and new radiator fluid.

Canít rexall any transmission work. It was checked but I think my mechanic said leave it alone as I recall.

Iím just not sure if I should be super worried about running around 230 temp or this is just ok for that load on this vehicle and donít sweat.
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:53 PM   #12
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Under a 14 to 15 lb pressure, your antifreeze, if a 50/50 mix, won't boil over until it's above around 265* or so.
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:13 AM   #13
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We just towed 150 miles to a new spot. Basically on any version of a hill. And im talking midlands South Carolina it runs 226. 228. 230 engine temp and once touched 232.

Once we got to I95 going south itís very flat and the engine ran 221. 223 about all that way.

Likewise the trans was running 206 when the engine was hotter. And about 198 when flat.

I hosed off thebradiator before we left but didnít see much come out.
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Old 07-13-2020, 08:45 AM   #14
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Trans temp at 206 won't hurt a thing. Spikes to 230 won't hurt it. Sustained temps at 220 and up could be a problem in the long run.

Did you ever switch the trans fluid to DEX VI as I suggested above? It's way better that the DEX III that was used in your Trailblazer from the factory. Supposedly it runs a little cooler, and is certainly better lubrication.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:42 AM   #15
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Trans temp at 206 won't hurt a thing. Spikes to 230 won't hurt it. Sustained temps at 220 and up could be a problem in the long run.

Did you ever switch the trans fluid to DEX VI as I suggested above? It's way better that the DEX III that was used in your Trailblazer from the factory. Supposedly it runs a little cooler, and is certainly better lubrication.
Thanks. I feel good about the trans tempos. I donít feel that good about the engine running a lot at 228-232.

I have not changed any fluid. Maybe I misunderstood. Didnít know there was a III VS A IV. I read people talking about green ya orange. Iím sure orange is in there. And I r dad green s ok as long as all orange is flushed well first. Didnít feel comfortable in getting all orange out so I left it.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:15 AM   #16
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I believe Doc Brown is referring to DEX IV Transmission fluid, not coolant. You need to have your transmission and coolers flushed and switched to the DEX IV Fluid. Your transmission will thank you later.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:25 AM   #17
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I believe Doc Brown is referring to DEX IV Transmission fluid, not coolant. You need to have your transmission and coolers flushed and switched to the DEX IV Fluid. Your transmission will thank you later.
Correct.

Sorry Rhizzlebop if I was not clear. I did talk about it in an earlier post.
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Old 07-25-2020, 11:13 AM   #18
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Correct.

Sorry Rhizzlebop if I was not clear. I did talk about it in an earlier post.
Thank you. Iíll ask my guy next I take the trailblazer to him about switching it.

Last trip was fro cola SC to Hilton head SC. As for engine temps, just the rolling slopes leaving Columbia would run the engine up to 234 and consistently 228-230.

Once we got towards i-95 and headed sound on I-95 where itís virtually flat the engine was consistently 223-226 maybe touched 228 once.

Now if we pulled off the highway to get gas etc the engine would creep up to 236-237 but if I parked and just ran the engine up about 1000 rpm for a few minutes it would cool down to 217-219.


I noticed while driving around while not towing when set up at the campground it was 95F ambient and the engine would run 205-214

Surprisingly at these higher engine temps I donít hear the dump truck sounding engine fan blower I have heard in years past. That fan clutch was replaced in 2010 due to failure at 90k miles. Has 160k now. Not sure if itís failing or not.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:46 AM   #19
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Some owners swap out the clutch fan for dual electric fans. I replaced my clutch fan twice when I had my Trailblazer.
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