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Old 07-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #1
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Newbie question: Using cruise control, Overdrive

Looking for some wisdom on pulling our trailer. We're headed out tomorrow, first time traveling with a trailer and obviously excited to get going but wanted to ask some general question s about driving / pulling a travel trailer.

Tow vehicle: 2000 Lincoln Navigator
25' trailer, weight approx 5500 lbs

1. I heard using overdrive is 'bad'... Is this correct?

2. Can I / should I use cruise control while on the highways to improve fuel economy?

3. Just had electric brake installed. Any tips on that?

4. The fridge has electric/gas auto option. Do I leave it on 'auto' while driving and keep the LP gas tanks 'on'?

Thanks everyone! Can't wait to leave
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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I have towed a 4000lb trailer with our 5.4L Expedition many miles. It rarely upshifted to OD. When it did, it was either on a flat or down grade and soon downshifted again. You do not want to cycle continuously in and out of OD, that is bad. With that trailer, I doubt you'll ever see OD. Cruise is fine in D.

If you leave the fridge on "auto", it will run on 120v if plugged into shore power or the generator is running. Otherwise it runs on gas, or set it to gas for gas only. Never had trailer brakes.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:09 PM   #3
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Overdrive can be bad on steep downgrades, because of free wheeling. You need the tranny to help provide braking when going down steep grades by down shifting. If your TV is not setup for towing with a tow package then using the OD would be a bad Idea. You can ruin a tranny by its constant hunting gears and shifting back and forth and overheating. I doubt with the weight you will be pulling if you will get into overdrive very much anyway. Cruse control on the level is fine if the tranny is not hunting and shifting up and down all of the time. As far as leaving the propane on while traveling It depends on a lot of factors. Generally the fridge will stay cold enough and the hot water tank will keep the water warm untill you get to the next rv park , campground. Without having to run the propane while traveling. Check your owners manual. Many do it and I do sometimes. But to be safe Most of the time I shut it off will traveling until I get to my next stop for the night.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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I don't usually use cruise any time but that is just me. The thing I don't like about using cruise while towing is that (at 60) while vehicle is charging ahead, you will travel about 70' before you can get your foot to the brake pedal. That just bothers me.
I usually run frig on propane but like others have said unless it is very hot and/or you are traveling a long day it should stay cold enough.
Have a nice trip.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:50 PM   #5
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Read your trailer brake controller owners manual , every brake controller is a little different ,and remember most trailer brakes are not self adjusting , they have to be manually adjusted, set like a 54 Buick. So every 3>5000 miles of towing they need attention.
If the trailer is brand new, they may need adjustment , right away , if you don't feel they are working properly.
The manual will tell you what to expect out of your trailer braking system.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:58 PM   #6
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There have been several threads asking the fridge question. Most leave the propane on and the fridge on. They always tell you to turn it off especially when filling with fuel but again, most leave it on. I can't tell you how many times growing up I witnessed people smoking while filling their cars/trucks with gas. It almost impossible to start gas on fire with a cigarette, contrary to what you see on TV.

I used CC pulling a TT but only when on flat ground and when I needed to rest my foot for a bit. Using the cruise will ask the engine to work a lot harder than it needs to just to maintain speed going up a grade. Staying at say 62 MPH all the way up a grade is not necessary. Just take it off CC and get to a steady 50-55+ speed and climb the hill. Using the extra fuel to keep it at 58-60 is not worth the $$$. I always tried to keep the RPM's from going to high because it is a waste of fuel and really does not get you there much faster.

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Old 07-21-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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With that vehicle pulling that weight overdrive will probably be useless. If it will pull it in that gear and stay there, fine, use it. But I bet it will rarely get there and hunt back and forth so I would just lock overdrive out.
The same is true for cruise control. If you vehicle will maintain the cruise control speed, great, use it. I would bet it won't. It will do a lot of shifting and surging and you'll be better off not using cruise.
I hope you have a momentum based brake control and not a timer based one. The momentum unit offers far smoother brake application
Yes, turn your fridge on auto and leave the propane on. That is how it is designed to work. It will work very well.

Cylon, what do you mean you pull a 4,000 pound trailer and have never had brakes. As far as I know just about every state requires brakes at 3,000 pounds. Some have a lower limit than that. Does MI not require trailer brakes at that weight? Do you never leave the state?
Just curious.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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I have an 03 ford expedition....pull a 5000lb camper. I normally drive with the overdrive and cruise off, I figure a little extra gas is cheaper than a transmission. But on flat areas it will work ok to use OD, but I don't use cruise
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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When I am towing, I never use O/D; I put it in "tow/Haul" mode and leave it there. On the other hand, I always use Cruise Control except when I am in heavy traffic, rain, or winding roads.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
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When I am towing, I never use O/D; I put it in "tow/Haul" mode and leave it there. On the other hand, I always use Cruise Control except when I am in heavy traffic, rain, or winding roads.
Not trying to hijack but when I pulled my 5er home. 100mi, it did a lot of up and down shifting to maintain 65. 5.4 f250 I ended up getting 8.9 mpg.... shoulda been above 10 I figured. My next outing will be 30 mi on the highway. Should I turn the OD off and keep er at 60?
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:37 PM   #11
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I tow with a diesel and pay attention to RPMs at a given speed and select the "gear" accordingly. I want to maintain about 1,800 rpm as what appears to be my optimal rpm. I would suggest finding the best towing rpm and select accordingly.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben77 View Post
Looking for some wisdom on pulling our trailer. We're headed out tomorrow, first time traveling with a trailer and obviously excited to get going but wanted to ask some general question s about driving / pulling a travel trailer.

Tow vehicle: 2000 Lincoln Navigator
25' trailer, weight approx 5500 lbs

1. I heard using overdrive is 'bad'... Is this correct?
If your transmission upshifts/downshifts more than once every 5 minutes, YES.

2. Can I / should I use cruise control while on the highways to improve fuel economy?
Only on level ground, and if #1 does not happen
3. Just had electric brake installed. Any tips on that?
Set it up exactly per owners instruction sheet. As you drive while towing you may fine tune it if necessary. The trailer brakes must be working properly before setting-up the controller.

4. The fridge has electric/gas auto option. Do I leave it on 'auto' while driving and keep the LP gas tanks 'on'?
Yes leave it on auto, until you reach a fuel station then turn off. LP tanks may remain on until stored or refilling.
Thanks everyone! Can't wait to leave
Take your time and enjoy!
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:43 AM   #13
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Not trying to hijack but when I pulled my 5er home. 100mi, it did a lot of up and down shifting to maintain 65. 5.4 f250 I ended up getting 8.9 mpg.... shoulda been above 10 I figured. My next outing will be 30 mi on the highway. Should I turn the OD off and keep er at 60?
How did you figure on 10 mpg? That seems rather unrealistic to me. I think a gas V8 pulling a FW getting 8.9 is pretty good. I'd be real happy with that.
60 would save some gas over 65. If by highway you mean interstate I wouldn't go too slow under the speed limit. You are more of a traffic hazard that way.
If the truck is shifting in and out of OD a lot then I would turn it off.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:50 AM   #14
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How did you figure on 10 mpg? That seems rather unrealistic to me. I think a gas V8 pulling a FW getting 8.9 is pretty good. I'd be real happy with that.
60 would save some gas over 65. If by highway you mean interstate I wouldn't go too slow under the speed limit. You are more of a traffic hazard that way.
If the truck is shifting in and out of OD a lot then I would turn it off.
I get about 18-19 at 65 without hard passing.
10 gallons got me 89 miles. I took a highway which speed limit is 65 minimum 40 and interstate limit 70 minimum 45
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