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Old 11-14-2013, 10:39 PM   #1
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Question New TT owner, wanting towing upgrade advise

I have a 2003 Chev Avalanche and looking for what maintenance or upgrades or recommended. My TT is a 06' Forrest River 28a+, UVW of 5780 and GROSS 7500. So far here is my plan:
-Equal-I-zer Equalizer 10000/10K Weight Distribution Hitch
-Tekonsha P3 Electronic Trailer Brake Control Controller

I am considering the AIRLIFT rear air spring kit.

A few ?? Transmission cooler, upgraded brakes for truck,service rear diff and transmission? Install a tranny temp guage? Those are a few of my thoughts.

ANy info or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:10 PM   #2
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Well I can recommend the P3 brake controller. I have one and like it.

Look into getting a scangauge or ultra gauge to keep a eye on things. Not sure if the ultra gauge will read tranny temps. But I am sure the scangauge will.

Tranny cooler is always a great idea if your truck does need one. B&M make good ones.

Air bags can be a good idea. I am running air lift in my truck but only need about 30 pounds in them. But on a lowered truck help out with the ride.

As far as a good brake upgrade look into power slot rotors they are very good. And if you get those match them to a set of Hawk LTS pads. You will be very happy.

I would service the tranny and rear diff if you have not done that in a long time. I recommend red line synthetic for the tranny and diff. Great oil.

Other small things that can also help are K&N air intake. Cat back exhaust. And even a tune on the truck can really wake things up.

Also if you have not done a rad service in some time I would get on that. Dex cool becomes very unhappy when it gets old.
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:11 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I just hit 90K miles so i guess its time to service all those systems. I am not sure if the 03 Avalanche has a tranny cooler stock, is this standard? I def like to be proactive and I appreciate all your imput. How often should the tranny and rear diff service occur?
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:42 AM   #4
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I have a P3 too. If you use a WDH (and it's adjusted properly!) you may not need much in the way of air springs.
Better brake pads when the ones you have wear out.
An auxiliary tranny cooler is mandatory. Don't "flush" the tranny, just change fluid and filters.
A rear-end oil change to synthetic would be great.
A Scanguage hooked into your TV will tell you all of your temps and your "real" gas mileage.
A radiator flush is recommended also.

Can your TV handle the trailer? I got this off of Google, " Towing Capacity with 3.73 Axle: 7,100 pounds. Towing Capacity with 4.10 Axle: 8,100 pounds. Standard Payload: 1,322 lbs."
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #5
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here is a link to the 2003 towing guide.

http://www.trailerlife.com/wp-conten...Guide-2003.pdf

depends on which rear gear you have, 2WD or 4WD and if you have the 1500 or 2500 Avalanche. Not sure if they offered the 4:10 rear back in 2003. The towing guide only references the 3:42 or 3:73.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:25 AM   #6
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BigB, Decal in door and owners manual states towing cap is 7300. TT unloaded is 5780. That seems to be within acceptable limits.

SO a pan drop with filter change is the way to go and not a flush?Why is flush not recommended? I have read that a partial change and filter, then go back in after 1k miles and change fluid again. This will ensure total change out of fluids. Can you mix synthetic with the existing fluid that willbe remaining in tranny? Recommend synthetic for both?
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwdavis_17 View Post
My TT is a 06' Forrest River 28a+, UVW of 5780 and GROSS 7500.
So count on a wet and loaded trailer weight of about 7,000 pounds and a wet and loaded hitch weight of about 900 to 1,000 pounds - provided you minimize the weight you haul in the trailer. That trailer weight (plus a couple of passengers in the truck) will max out or maybe exceed the tow rating and probably exceed the payload rating of your Avalanche.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBaron
Can your TV handle the trailer? I got this off of Google, " Towing Capacity with 3.73 Axle: 7,100 pounds. Towing Capacity with 4.10 Axle: 8,100 pounds. Standard Payload: 1,322 lbs."
You'll probably exceed the GVWR of your Avalanche, but with the Equal-I-Zer hitch and air bags, you should be okay if you keep the gross trailer weight down to about 7,000 pounds, and drive like an old man that has to be very careful to prevent "accidents". Be sure to pump up the air bags to prevent your headlights from blinding oncoming drivers.

A big tranny cooler is required. If your Avalanche does not have the Heavy Duty Towing Pkg, then you need to add a tranny cooler at least as big as the one that came with that pkg. And bigger won't hurt a thing.

Heat is the killer of automagic trannys, so if you don't want a dead truck then don't allow the tranny to get too hot. "Too hot" is anything over 225 sump temp. How do you know tranny sump temp? With a tranny temp gauge that has the sender in the sump (tranny pan) or somewhere in the tranny that gives you sump temp.

So if your Avalanche doesn't have a tranny temp gauge that gives sump temp, then you need to add one before you tow that 7,000-pound trailer. The parts should cost you less than $200. If your Allison tranny doesn't have a screw-in port that will give sump temp, then weld an NPT (tapered pipe threads) bung into the side of the tranny pan, near the bottom of the pan. The size of the bung should match the size of the threads in the sender. Be sure the gauge has the peg at 100 instead of the normal 140 so you'll know the gauge is working in the wintertime. Here's the one I had for 12 years of towing with one tow vehicle:
ISSPRO R5659R EV Series Trans Temp Gauge at DieselManor

Then change the tranny fluid to synthetic ATF because synthetic can handle more heat without deteriorating, and change the synthetic ATF at least every 30,000 miles.

When towing, the only time you have to be wide awake and watching tranny temp is when working the engine hard with an unlocked torque converter - such as climbing a steep grade at a speed less than about 40 MPH. Or any time you back the trailer. Or even in stop&go traffic. At speeds less than highway cruising speeds the tranny cooler doesn't do much cooling. And the unlocked torque converter throws a volcano worth of heat at the tranny cooler, exceeding the cooling capacity of the cooler. If that gauge sneaks over 220, then stop ASAP, put the tranny in neutral or park, and elevate the engine idle to over 1,200 RPM until the tranny temp falls back below 220. DO NOT install the sender in a cooler line. The "hot" cooler line will be much hotter than sump temp, sometimes over 300, which is fine if the cooler reduces it to less than 225. And the return line is the temp of the cooled ATF, not sump temp. There is no way to infer sump temp from either hot or return line temp.

Rear differentials rarely give any problem, but with a 10-year old truck I'd be sure the diff lube had been changed less than 50,000 miles ago. If you change the diff lube, be certain to use the exact diff lube required by your Owner's Guide. Mine required 75w140 synthetic. Ordinary 90w diff lube is not good enough. And you have to replace the pinion seal periodically after it begins to leak, but that's routine maintenance usually required only once every few years.

Additional braking power on the tow vehicle is not required, provided the trailer has good brakes and you use a quality trailer brake controller. Just maintain the truck brakes as you normally would for non-towing purposes. Use excellent parts at least as good as the Chevy OEM, but expensive special brake parts, such as rotors or calipers, are not required.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dwdavis_17 View Post
BigB, Decal in door and owners manual states towing cap is 7300. TT unloaded is 5780. That seems to be within acceptable limits. SO a pan drop with filter change is the way to go and not a flush?Why is flush not recommended? I have read that a partial change and filter, then go back in after 1k miles and change fluid again. This will ensure total change out of fluids. Can you mix synthetic with the existing fluid that willbe remaining in tranny? Recommend synthetic for both?
Flushing is a nono. Here is where you can ask your question or find your answer.

Former Allison Transmission Fluids Engineer
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:37 AM   #9
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Flushing a tranny is bad just go and get a a/c delco tranny filter and some redline synthetic fluid and you will be good to go. I change my tranny fluid and filter each spring or start of the camping season. Rear end fluid I do every 2 years.

Just go with a Scangauge and you will be able to monitor your trang temps with out having to try bolt in aftermarket gauge of some sort.

That trailer you are looking at is maybe a touch big. But set up correctly you should be fine and remember 60mph is all you really need to be doing as you are going camping.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:06 PM   #10
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Flushing is a nono. Here is where you can ask your question or find your answer.

Former Allison Transmission Fluids Engineer
That thread is over 40 pages long. I gave up after 15 pages, and didn't find any indication that Tom Johnson thought flushing a tranny is a no no. However, you have to defind "flushing". Any sort of chemical flushing is a no no for any modern automagic tranny.

However, flushing with the recommended ATF is perfectly okay. Tom even explains how he changes the ATF in an Allison. He drains it, changes the filter, fills it up and runs it until the tranny is warm, then drains it again and fills it again. That's sorta like flushing with ATF.

For changing the ATF on a Ford SuperDuty diesel pickup, a former Ford tranny engineer recommends flushing with fresh ATF. His detailed procedures result in 95% of the ATF being changed. And no chemicals are used - just ATF. The 4R100 tranny system holds almost 18 quarts of ATF, and 20 quarts is required to follow the correct ATF changing/flushing procedure.
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:47 AM   #11
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Flushing with something other than atf can loosen buildup that in turn can clog valves, etc. Some say it can affect the bands too, but I can't confirm that. Our TVs tranny is going out right now. 160,000+ miles of daily use as a bus had taken its toll...
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:06 AM   #12
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I would make sure flushing is required 1st. Not all trannies need it. For instance our 03 Accord says no to flushing. Depending on the ATF being used it's not always necessary to flush.
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