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Old 04-21-2013, 05:56 PM   #1
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Transmission oil all over the place

We had an interesting first tow of the 23b with our 4.0L 2006 Ford Explorer. After 30 minutes of driving and only 10 minutes from home the car started making very strange noises when the throttle was open - like a fan was kicking in. Noticed smoke coming from the underside, so pulled over on the hard shoulder. Saw that the seal on the transmission was poking out, and transmission fluid was leaking from the same place. Called AAA got ourselves and the TT towed home whilst the explorer went to the local repair shop. Transmission was OK (sure the life has been reduced though) and had seal replaced. Cause looks to have been a sludged up cooler. Had it cleaned out AND added a second cooler for additional cooling capacity.

There had been no indication of any issue prior to the noise, no gauges showing high temps and no warning lights about the transmission. I therefore invested in a ScanGauge2 so I can keep an eye on this for future trips.

This is where I could do with some feedback.

The Explorer seems to show a peak transmission temperature of around 175 degF when not towing. I did a practice tow today, and saw peak temps of around 180 degF on the highway, but after having left the highway and traveling on a 2-lane at 45mph, my temperatures started to rise. When dropping down to 35mph, I peaked at 200 degF. Are these temperatures acceptable? Should I be reaching as high as 200F? Anybody else got experience of towing with an Explorer?


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Old 04-21-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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I know there are others with more experience that can help you out. Have you looked to see what your tow rating is on your Explorer? Remember that number usually is based on an empty vehicle with an average size driver with not stuff.

What kind part of the world are you in? By that are you driving on flat land or in the mountains. I would think 200 degrees would seem high if you are in the flat lands. But if you were doing a lot of starting and stopping (ie inner city driving), it might seem reasonable.

I to want to get a scanner to watch my temps a little closer too.

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Old 04-21-2013, 06:36 PM   #3
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Wait until the warm weather gets here! You'll see 250 easily unless you have a monster sized cooler and then it still may not really help. I hate to say it but the Explorer is overloaded. It isn't necessarily the weight that is killing you, it's the added wind resistance.

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Old 04-21-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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Most tow vehicles have a transmission cooler core installed just in front of the radiator as part of the FORD OEM towing package.

Perhaps your Ford Explorer does not have this option. You may have to install a towing package to your Explorer to be successful towing anything as heavy as your 23B trailer....

Hope you got everything back home OK...

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Old 04-21-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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Most important, I would take your "loaded" TV/TT combination to a CAT scale to confirm that you are within all your Explorer's weight limits, and at the same time you will be able to confirm that the WDH is adjusted correctly (proper weight distribution). Also, avoid towing with fluid in the tanks.

Knowing where you stand with your loaded weights will be helpful.

CAT scale how to: https://www.jaycoowners.com/showthrea...igh-Your-tt-tv

As far as tranny temps, I'm not surprised that the Explorer is towing at 200 degrees...., I assume that your repair shop "flushed" your tranny and installed a new filter. TV's that tow often require the transmission fluid to flushed and replaced more often do to the higher running temps.

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Old 04-21-2013, 09:59 PM   #6
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thanks for the comments

Explorer has a GCVW of 10,000 lbs, with a max towing rating of 5,500 with the class 3 towing package that is installed. The empty TT is 4200 lbf, so in theory all should be fine. I have been towing in a pretty flat area so again not pushing the TV to hard. Since posting the thread, I read a few others, and 200 degF is not considered high. However it was pretty cool out today, so I am now concerned that once summer hits, I am going to be seeing and addition 30 deg F on top of the 200 degF I saw today.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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I spent two years and about 2000 miles towing a 23J with a 2005 explorer, 4.0 engine, and tow package. My trailer is a bit heavier than yours. I installed the Scangauge II before my first tow, and found, just like you, temps of around 175 deg. Towing the trailer, even in tow mode, you have to be very careuel of your tranny temps. I found that the worst type of hills were the long, shallow grades to climb, or towing into the wind. Once the tranny temps got over 200 degrees, I had a very difficult time getting them in control. Highest I ever saw was 240 degrees on a hot day and a long, long gradual climb. Finally pulled over at a rest stop to let all cool off. I think that you overheated the transmission fluid and caused the seal to fail, the seals just can't handle the heat and are one of the first things to fail with a severe overheat. Now that you have a gauge, you can monitor your temps well. One other thing I noticed is after a long climb, on the other side of the hill, temps will spike as the engine rpms drop, watch and keep the rpms up if you can. As soon as I see temps start to climb, I took evasive actions to try to control it. Down shifts, backing off on the speed, etc. Sometimes I was down to 40-45 mph on pretty flat looking roads just trying to get the temps down. I have a F150 now, haven't towed with it yet.

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Old 04-22-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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If you tow your camper based on transmission temperature...you are overloaded. I tried that already once, it doesn't work. When we bought our 2007 232 EXP, I had an AWD Chevy Astro with a 5,000 # tow capacity. I added a monster sized stacked plate tranny cooler and flushed with synthetic fluid. I also added a temperature gauge on the A pillar. In the high ambient temps I would easily see the tranny running consistently in the 220 - 250 range and we were not able to use the A/C. Ran with it for about 2 months and went out and traded on a Ram 2500 Hemi and have never looked back. I installed a temperature gauge on it as well on the A pillar and if I race from stop light to stop light towing, I might see 250. Most times I am in the 165 - 180 range and that is running with A/C and at a comfortable cruising speed. I no longer worry about it!

I would highly recommend you look at getting a bigger TV whether it be an Expedition or an F150 depending on what you want. Lots of great used rigs out there. I would start looking while the explorer is working and then when the right one comes along you will be ready. If you wait until you are heading on a camping trip and the tranny blows, it'll ruin a great vacation for sure!

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Old 04-22-2013, 10:56 PM   #9
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Great word of advice from LiftedAWDAstro. I too had issues, pulling 7500# trailer with a 2005 1/2 ton Suburban, heavy duty transmission cooler and all. Could never keep my transmission temps under control. Always even on cool days, flat ground ran a minimum 238 degrees pulling. Any hills or hot days and it would shoot up to 250. Finally when I had to pull over twice and let it cool from 260 degrees, I sold the Suburban and bought my current vehicle. Never looked back!


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