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Old 05-30-2020, 03:45 PM   #1
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Switch off OD when towing an HHR?

I have a Chevy HHR that we tow behind our 2001 Ford V10 chassis Class A Newmar. What is the thinking on using OD? When I pulled a boat with my Explorer they suggested always turning off the overdrive. Same thing with the V10?
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Old 05-30-2020, 03:54 PM   #2
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When I had my 30 ft, E450, V10, 4 speed and towed a Kia Soul, I left OD on unless I found it shifting too many times on rolling roads.

At 60 MPH, on Interstate highways, it was almost always on, unless the downhill speed was climbing. Then I switched it off to help keep the speed down.
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Old 05-31-2020, 06:07 AM   #3
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OD behaves more like a fourth gear than an overdrive.

I generally leave the OD on. About the only time I turn it off is when climbing and I know I need to keep the rpms up. Sometimes when climbing a hill, I'll allow it to automatically downshift out of OD, then I'll disable the OD so it won't upshift before I reach the top of the hill. This prevents it from popping in / out of OD.

Like Twinboat says, the rolling hills (I-44 through Missouri) are a pain as its constantly shifting, I'll turn it off and leave the cruise control engaged, it holds speed up and down the rolling hills.

My 99 Southwind hauling a Saturn Vue toad weights right at 22k lbs. My older non-pi V10 only puts out about 270 hp. So keeping the rpms up there is the only way to make power
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:09 AM   #4
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Have towed our HHR behind our 1999 Bounder for over 30,000 miles. Never turn off the OD. Chuck
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutas View Post
When I pulled a boat with my Explorer they suggested always turning off the overdrive.
Who is "they?" "They" obviously don't know what they are talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
OD behaves more like a fourth gear than an overdrive.
Can you explain what that means? How is a fourth gear different than an overdrive gear? Other than spelling I don't see ANY difference.

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Originally Posted by chuckbear View Post
Have towed our HHR behind our 1999 Bounder for over 30,000 miles. Never turn off the OD. Chuck
If the trans isn't frequently shifting in and out of overdrive there is no reason that overdrive needs to be disabled when towing.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Can you explain what that means? How is a fourth gear different than an overdrive gear? Other than spelling I don't see ANY difference.
Depends on your definition of Overdrive. When I think of an OD, I think of a separate gear box that can be engaged. We have these on our farm equipment and trucks.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:36 PM   #7
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My definition of overdrive is a gear ratio that is less than 1:1. For example, the overdrive on the 4R100 transmission in these vehicles is 0.71:1.

In this transmission there is a separate overdrive gearset. That set can operate in 1:1 which is used in reverse and gears 1,2, and 3 or at 0.71:1, which is only used in fourth gear, also known as overdrive.
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Old 05-31-2020, 05:11 PM   #8
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There you go, Call it an Overdrive or a 4th gear, either one is acceptable. Its hard to write "4th gear" on that little switch on the gear shift lever, so OD may be a better fit. :-)
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It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:17 AM   #9
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OD OFF/ TOW MODE does several things that can help YOU and the rig; 1) changes in shift points, gets you down-shifted earlier and up a hill/ mountain faster; 2) Lower gear/ higher RPM puts more Trans Fluid thru the COOLER, so Trans runs cooler and fluid and trans last longer; 3) In heavy, slow, CITY Traffic, gives more engine braking, requiring less hydraulic braking; 4) Down hill or down mountain grades, OD OFF has usually maintained enough engine braking for me to NEVER/ SELDOM have to hit the foot brake, saving it for emergencies. THAT IS A REAL PLUS
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:17 AM   #10
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OD OFF/ TOW MODE does several things that can help YOU and the rig; 1) changes in shift points, gets you down-shifted earlier and up a hill/ mountain faster;
OD OFF and TOW MODE are two different things. In 2001 these chassis had OD OFF. All OD OFF does in the shift schedule is prevent the transmission from shifting to fourth gear, also known as overdrive. The 1-2 and 2-3 shifts will happen at the exact same speed with overdrive on or off. It also does not affect when the downshifts happen.

In later years (2005 for the V10 chassis) OD OFF was changed to TOW/HAUL. TOW/HAUL does what you describe, OD OFF does not.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:40 PM   #11
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<<
In later years (2005 for the V10 chassis) OD OFF was changed to TOW/HAUL. TOW/HAUL does what you describe, OD OFF does not.>>
Hmmm, not sure how you figure, mine a 99-e450sd 4-speed, w/ "OD OFF" feature; description was from MY limited 12k miles 3-yrs experience from SLC to TN and Chicago? WHAT do you think is different? I know 4-speed vs 6-speed?
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:53 AM   #12
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<<
In later years (2005 for the V10 chassis) OD OFF was changed to TOW/HAUL. TOW/HAUL does what you describe, OD OFF does not.>>
Hmmm, not sure how you figure, mine a 99-e450sd 4-speed, w/ "OD OFF" feature; description was from MY limited 12k miles 3-yrs experience from SLC to TN and Chicago? WHAT do you think is different? I know 4-speed vs 6-speed?
I am speaking from my 19 years of experience as an automatic transmission engineer at Ford. It was my job to program how the transmission operated. I am intimately familiar with the software that controls when the trans shifts.
I am telling you that the older four speed transmission did not have software that made the OD OFF act like the TOW/HAUL mode that you described.
With the OD OFF the trans will shift 1-2-3 with the exact same shift schedule as it does with OD on. There is only one set of shift schedules, and it always uses them, for both upshift and downshifts.
If you turn off OD the trans will provide engine braking in each gear. With OD on it only has engine braking in fourth gear.
There are two possibilities if yours works differently than this. One, it has
aftermarket software that operates differently, or you expect that it is different, so it seems different to you.
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
If you turn off OD the trans will provide engine braking in each gear. With OD on it only has engine braking in fourth gear.
I've never noticed the engine braking difference, but now that you mention it. I do notice the engine braking in the first three gears, thats the reason I manually downshifted. If I'm manually downshifting, I usually have the OD off :-)

I like the way my 4 speed behaves, shift points, manual operation, torque converter lockup, etc. At some point in the future (years) I'll probably upgrade to a newer model, it would probably be a 5 or 6 speed.

I'd consider a change in the software so the transmission (and the TOW/HAUL button) behaves similar to my 4 speed.
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It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 06-03-2020, 01:10 AM   #14
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1) So you are saying (factory) OD OFF does not change shift points, like TOW/HAUL does? 2) OD OFF higher RPM does till put more fluid thru cooler to keep trans cooler?

What about OBD-2 System Ready learning transmission for smoother shifts? Can you explain a little? Still applies to trans w/ OD OFF? Thanks... just curious in my retirement :-)
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