Towing

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
I'm towing a firebird from Texas to Louisiana. To much weight? I'm on the road now. Basic slt model
 

TollKeeper

Supporting Donor
Member
Dec 3, 2011
8,053
Brighton, CO
I seriously doubt it would be to much weight, but it could all depend on your trailer too.. More info is needed, about your truck, and the trailer...
 

Mark20

Member
Dec 6, 2011
1,630
Sounds like you need to get some more weight to the front end of the trailer. You want 10-15% of the total weight on the hitch ball. If you've got stuff packed on the back of the trailer, move it forward.
 

Bartonmd

Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
Not too heavy, likely. Move the car forward if you can (it is on forward, right, not backwards?).

Also, make sure you're towing with the selector in 3rd.

Mike
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
gmcman said:
Is the trailer a car dolly or a car hauler with 4 tires?

It was the one with four tires.I got it home safely. I had to put the car in backwards cause the front bumper was hitting the ramps. Yes I towed it in third gear. Burned a ton of gas. I hated that. I put it in cruise control and let the computer do the shifting up the hills. Felt like it was struggling a little bit. Maybe time for a fluid change?
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
warriorpluto said:
. I put it in cruise control and let the computer do the shifting up the hills. Felt like it was struggling a little bit. Maybe time for a fluid change?

NEVER set the cruise with a trailer, chalk this up as lesson learned.

Always load the rear of the tow vehicle so you can see it squat down slightly.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
Let me go back to that statement......Don't use cruise on your tow vehicle with such a load that is near the maximum, especially on hills.

If I have a light load on a long flat road I might use it, I like to know how much pedal I need to break out of the converter lockup.
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
gmcman said:
Let me go back to that statement......Don't use cruise on your tow vehicle with such a load that is near the maximum, especially on hills.

If I have a light load on a long flat road I might use it, I like to know how much pedal I need to break out of the converter lockup.

Trust me it knows when to shift and it did a great job at it.cause I was definitely not giving it enough pedal and it was dragging up the hills. Thought I was going to burn up the transmission. Put it in cruise control and problem solved
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
gmcman said:
NEVER set the cruise with a trailer, chalk this up as lesson learned.

Always load the rear of the tow vehicle so you can see it squat down slightly.

Oh yea the guy who I bought it from had a doctor's appointment and I had to hurry and leave. I paid 4k for it with all maintenance records. Trans am a4. Didn't have a chance to figure out how to get it on without cracking the bumper. The ramps were crap on that thing
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
I am glad you got it home safe. Unfortunately that is about the only thing you did correctly.

Always tow in 3rd gear! Always use your foot and your head when your towing. It is much easier to control transmission temps doing it on your own rather then the vehicle trying to always keep the truck at 60. Always tow a vehicle with the proper tongue weight, having the car backwards I guarantee that was not the case. If you were having issues loading the truck then explore your area. It could have been as simple as finding a driveway with a 6" curb on it that you can load off of.

At least you made it home without killing yourself or anyone else on the road though, nice job! :thumbsup:
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
Regulator said:
I am glad you got it home safe. Unfortunately that is about the only thing you did correctly.

Always tow in 3rd gear! Always use your foot and your head when your towing. It is much easier to control transmission temps doing it on your own rather then the vehicle trying to always keep the truck at 60. Always tow a vehicle with the proper tongue weight, having the car backwards I guarantee that was not the case. If you were having issues loading the truck then explore your area. It could have been as simple as finding a driveway with a 6" curb on it that you can load off of.

At least you made it home without killing yourself or anyone else on the road though, nice job! :thumbsup:

I did tow in third. Never in overdrive. The trailer was only wagging a little bit because of the winds in Texas. The trailer was crappy anyway. I'm a safe driver for the most part though.
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
And thanks for the information on the curb trick. I'll try it if there is a next time but I.wouldn't want to.do it again. I'm not a towing kind of.guy. you ought to seen me trying to back the thing up lol but I learned quickly. If I.ever tow again it will be a full size truck
 

Bartonmd

Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
The only time I've ever towed a car backwards on a shorter trailer and gotten enough tongue weight, was with the Isuzu Impulse that we used to rally race, and only because the front of the trailer had a tire rack with 2 sets of tires, and a box with spare transmissions and other misc. parts in it. There is no way you had enough tongue weight with the F-body backwards on a UHaul trailer.

Also, they say not to use cruise control when towing, because cruise is reactive, not proactive. It waits until you get 2-3mph below the set speed, then pins the throttle to get you back up to the set speed, usually trying to do this up a hill, no less.

Mike
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
Bartonmd said:
The only time I've ever towed a car backwards on a shorter trailer and gotten enough tongue weight, was with the Isuzu Impulse that we used to rally race, and only because the front of the trailer had a tire rack with 2 sets of tires, and a box with spare transmissions and other misc. parts in it. There is no way you had enough tongue weight with the F-body backwards on a UHaul trailer.

Also, they say not to use cruise control when towing, because cruise is reactive, not proactive. It waits until you get 2-3mph below the set speed, then pins the throttle to get you back up to the set speed, usually trying to do this up a hill, no less.

Mike

Well either I wasn't giving enough throttle or time for a fluid change. There are alot of hills in Texas. I didn't feel the transmission was doing its job. Unless this is the way it's supposed to feel. It was my first time
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
Generally when you tow that kind of weight for a distance, you want to monitor your trans temp. I believe the cluster will warn you of overtemp but you don't want it to reach that point. I would pull the dipstick and look for brown or burnt smelling fluid, if pink then you should be fine..I think your TB did fine just different circumstances for you.

You can tell when the trans goes into lockup, this is where you want it. Generally a 2-300 RPM drop when in 3rd or 4th once you level out and have slight pressure on the accel pedal, this keeps the trans fluid from being cooked.

The trailer wandering back and forth (yaw) generally becomes the "tail wagging the dog" and can escalate quickly if conditions are correct. Always load the tongue and reposition if necessary.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
A scangauge II is great for monitering trans temps while towing.
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
gmcman said:
Generally when you tow that kind of weight for a distance, you want to monitor your trans temp. I believe the cluster will warn you of overtemp but you don't want it to reach that point. I would pull the dipstick and look for brown or burnt smelling fluid, if pink then you should be fine..I think your TB did fine just different circumstances for you.

You can tell when the trans goes into lockup, this is where you want it. Generally a 2-300 RPM drop when in 3rd or 4th once you level out and have slight pressure on the accel pedal, this keeps the trans fluid from being cooked.

The trailer wandering back and forth (yaw) generally becomes the "tail wagging the dog" and can escalate quickly if conditions are correct. Always load the tongue and reposition if necessary.

Oh ok. I checked the fluid and it's still normal. I was thinking about buying an aftermarket valve body with upgraded parts to prevent wear. Has anyone here used one? Monitoring the transmission temperature would be very helpful. Is this scan gauge expensive? Any other ways I can monitor the temperature digitally?
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
Thanks again guys for tips on towing. I learned a lot now about weight distribution of the trailer. Glad you guys were a little easy on this rookie.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
warriorpluto said:
Oh ok. I checked the fluid and it's still normal. I was thinking about buying an aftermarket valve body with upgraded parts to prevent wear. Has anyone here used one? Monitoring the transmission temperature would be very helpful. Is this scan gauge expensive? Any other ways I can monitor the temperature digitally?

I haven't heard of a specific valve body for towing but that's not to say there isn't one. Generally the wear is in the clutches and overheated fluid, when fluid is overheated things go bad real quick.

Are you looking into setting your rig up for towing?

I would invest in an aftermarket cooler and a trans temp gauge or even a Scangauge as HARDTRAILZ mentioned.

How many miles on the trans?

I don't think a valve body is going to help your cause, unless yours is bad which I doubt. Something you can do is what I did and that's replace your separator plate between the valve body and the transmission case if you have 100K miles or more. After repeated shifting the check balls hammer the plate and you can lose pressure, pressure loss will keep the clutches from fully engaging thus eventually causing failure. Other things will cause pressure loss and that's the seals and bushings further into the trans but if you keep up on your fluid changes they should last quite awhile.

The 4L60E is an excellent transmission, just kinds soft in the setup for our particular platform.
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
gmcman said:
I haven't heard of a specific valve body for towing but that's not to say there isn't one. Generally the wear is in the clutches and overheated fluid, when fluid is overheated things go bad real quick.

Are you looking into setting your rig up for towing?

I would invest in an aftermarket cooler and a trans temp gauge or even a Scangauge as HARDTRAILZ mentioned.

How many miles on the trans?

I don't think a valve body is going to help your cause, unless yours is bad which I doubt. Something you can do is what I did and that's replace your separator plate between the valve body and the transmission case if you have 100K miles or more. After repeated shifting the check balls hammer the plate and you can lose pressure, pressure loss will keep the clutches from fully engaging thus eventually causing failure. Other things will cause pressure loss and that's the seals and bushings further into the trans but if you keep up on your fluid changes they should last quite awhile.

The 4L60E is an excellent transmission, just kinds soft in the setup for our particular platform.

Oh ok. I have 161k on my transmission. It still shifts great but I'd like to keep it that way. Any links on this separator plate. I.May do this when I change the fluid next week
 

Mark20

Member
Dec 6, 2011
1,630
warriorpluto said:
Thanks again guys for tips on towing. I learned a lot now about weight distribution of the trailer. Glad you guys were a little easy on this rookie.

We'll go easy on you this time. But next time; you have to share what you learned! :thumbsup:
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I'm using Torque to monitor trans temps. So for the cost of the app plus an adapter, you can monitor all kinds of stuff.
 

warriorpluto

Original poster
Member
Apr 12, 2012
215
C-ya said:
I'm using Torque to monitor trans temps. So for the cost of the app plus an adapter, you can monitor all kinds of stuff.

Oh ok I'll try that app.seems cheap enough
 

blazinlow89

Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,088
warriorpluto said:
Oh ok I'll try that app.seems cheap enough

You also need an ELM 327 adapter or something similar. Its worth every but of the $20-$30 it will cost you for the app and adapter.
 

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