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Old 04-10-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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Towing with 1/2 ton & no tranny cooler?

We decided to do a seasonal for this coming year, so I sold my K2500 and bought a K1500 since I no longer needed the 3/4 ton. My brother-in-law said he'd let me use his truck to pull our camper to our site, but I'm considering just trying it with my truck. Here's what I have...

Truck - 1998 Chev K1500 ext cab, short box, with a 350, 4 speed auto, I believe a 4L60. Not sure what gears it has. It has a tranny cooler, but the previous owner disconnected after a line started to leak. Specs online show the truck has 255hp, 330 torque. The truck has been well maintained and runs very strong. Previous owner pulled a Lite 5th wheel with it, so it has brake controller and overload springs.

Camper - 2001 Fleetwood Prowler LS, 30' with slide. 8700 GVWR, 6190 Gross Dry Weight, 840lb Hitch Dry Weight.

I'd only be towing about 25 miles and, other than 2 hills, it's a relatively flat drive. Any idea if my truck would struggle pulling it that short distance? Without the tranny cooler hooked up, could I run into overworking the tranny?
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:18 AM   #2
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I would for that short of a trip. Just take it easy. I assume by seasonal that you're only towing twice a year. To and from. I would still use a WD hitch as your receiver probably isn't rated for 900lbs without one.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply, Cumminsfan!

It would be twice a year if we tow it home. Otherwise, there's a guy near the campground that will tow it to his storage in the fall and back to the campground in the spring for $100, which includes the winter storage. I'm guessing we'll go that route.

Yes, we'll be using our equalizer hitch to tow.


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I would for that short of a trip. Just take it easy. I assume by seasonal that you're only towing twice a year. To and from. I would still use a WD hitch as your receiver probably isn't rated for 900lbs without one.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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I wouldn't try it without at least a tranny temp gauge that will give you sump temp. Heat is the tranny killer, and any sump temp more than the 225 red line will kill the tranny in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:53 AM   #5
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^^^ What Smokey said...I cooked a tranny on the road, had it serviced at a transmission shop in Las Vegas, NM, made it over the mountains in western NM, got started up Vail pass when it blew. 100 miles from home and spent 3,000 bux getting my truck fixed.

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Old 04-10-2014, 05:17 PM   #6
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You can try it but you best friend is driving at a speed where the torque converter is locked up. Most heat is generated when the torque converter is unlocked. So slow driving will be the real heat generator verse highway speeds.
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:04 PM   #7
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I would not tow without the tranny cooler hooked up. Now you say the lines look disconnected. Now is there a after market cooler you can see. Now the rad should have a build in cooler if that one is still hooked up you may be ok. But really with that tranny you should still have a second one installed inline with the factory cooler in the rad.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:19 PM   #8
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I would install a new tranny cooler. Cheap insurance. I have towed a boat that weighed about 7000 lbs with that drivetrain with no problems. About 50 miles to some of the boat launches about 10 times a year.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:12 AM   #9
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It's not worth spending one cent on your truck. Keep the rev up and don't ever use the overdrive. Your truck performs best at 3000 RPM. And 25 miles is nothing. I towed a 2000 lbs trailer loaded with 2 cords of hard wood and 1/2 cord on the truck every fall for 6 years with a 4 cylinder 4 x 4 that distance and more. Never hurt the truck. In fact the truck did more heavy work then my F250.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:50 AM   #10
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It's not worth spending one cent on your truck. Keep the rev up and don't ever use the overdrive. Your truck performs best at 3000 RPM. And 25 miles is nothing. I towed a 2000 lbs trailer loaded with 2 cords of hard wood and 1/2 cord on the truck every fall for 6 years with a 4 cylinder 4 x 4 that distance and more. Never hurt the truck. In fact the truck did more heavy work then my F250.

Exactly, he's only towing 25 miles. It'll take 5 miles just to get up to normal temps. I find it hard to believe that in 20 miles the tranny will be toast, especially towing on the flats. If the tranny does grenade then it was shot to begin with.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the input. I kind of figured I'd get different opinions, but that's why I like this site. Honest answers.

I think I'm going to just use my brother-in-law's truck. That way my wife can haul all the deck materials with our truck.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the input. I kind of figured I'd get different opinions, but that's why I like this site. Honest answers.

I think I'm going to just use my brother-in-law's truck. That way my wife can haul all the deck materials with our truck.

Thanks again!

That make perfect sense.
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