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Old 08-09-2017, 12:34 PM   #1
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
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Tow Haul

When towing, do most of you engage the tow haul all the time or only when in variable terrain?

Also, is it beneficial to utilize 4 wheel drive when towing?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-09-2017, 12:36 PM   #2
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GM's position is if your GCW is 75% of the vehicle's GCWR, TH mode is of benefit.

Your discretion on 4WD based upon road surface conditions.


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Old 08-09-2017, 12:37 PM   #3
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Depends on the brand and year of tv. My2006 Cummins only changed the shift points when using thaul. The newer trucks are totally different, someone else will give you the info. I used it all the time I towed because that's what the owner's manual said to do.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:39 PM   #4
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Tow haul yes, 4x4 only when conditions warrant it. Most trucks have warnings in their manual about using 4x4 on dry pavement. You can grab to much traction and break axles.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:36 PM   #5
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My 2013 F150 dash instructions say to use Tow/Haul in hilly terrain. Otherwise mileage improves without it on flat terrain. In Tow/Haul with cruise on, it will select lower gears on steep declines. Great help in braking.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:49 PM   #6
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On the 2017 F-250 Tow / haul seems to be a pretty good idea when you have a big trailer.

Unless you are on a very loose surface, 4x4 mode (or rear lockup) will shred your tires pretty fast. It is also going to give you some odd handling characteristics on a normal road. AWD or "on demand" 4x4 is something different than true 4x4 so it has a different set of rules.

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Old 08-09-2017, 01:52 PM   #7
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I only use tow/haul in hilly country on my JGC. It locks out 6th and raises the RPM. Effectively lowering my gas mileage by a couple of MPG.

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Old 08-09-2017, 02:22 PM   #8
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This week I spent about two hours reading threads in this forum and truck forums on this exact question. You can search and find that there are answers all over the map. There is a consistent opinion that Tow Haul is probably better for transmission life, at the cost of a bit of fuel mileage.

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Old 08-09-2017, 04:05 PM   #9
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In the hills, yes.

The implementation varies between models and manufacturers. Generally, it changes shift points and mappings to optimize power (or braking), and reduce gear hunting. Some will change the fueling and ignition tables of the engine. May also change how aggressively the torque converter locks up (which can really help minimize heat in the transmission).

Of note and little known, Toyota's also have a Tow/Haul mode. It is much more subtlety named "ECT PWR". This is unfortunate as most owners don't know this. Even professional publications, such as The Fast Lane Truck - Ike Gauntlet, fail to understand this for their tests. Where they will engage tow/haul for domestic models, yet not understand they should do this for the Yota's to optimize performance and shifting.

From Toyota's manual:
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:17 PM   #10
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First off - 4wd should never be engaged for extended periods on pavement without extenuating circumstances like snow.

Tow/Haul will depend a lot on the vehicle. On my diesel RAM it makes the exhaust brake a lot more aggressive, and while it doesn't lock out 6, it doesn't hit it as readily either. I almost always tow my 30' with tow haul on.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:20 PM   #11
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4 wheel drive is another interesting thing that really depends on car model (how the 4 wheel drive is implemented) and conditions.

Most trucks are 4WD, which use a transfer case to split output between the front and rear axle (no center differential). These should never be used in high traction situations (i.e. dry or even rainy asphalt). Snow conditions is a maybe, perhaps in really low speed use. As engaging 4WD can cause the tires to slip in and of itself when cornering and could cause loss of traction at speed. So it's of limited use to loose/low traction scenarios.

AWD is different thing altogether, in that these generally have a center differential to accommodate the tire speed changes. For user selectable AWD, I would engage AWD at the earliest sign of weather or slippery conditions. Best not to wait until there's a loss of traction event before engaging.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:31 PM   #12
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I never use it with my 17 2500 ram, 6.7 Cummings, 6 speed auto...I don't use cruise either....
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Old 08-09-2017, 05:00 PM   #13
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If towing I use tow/haul. It's not rocket science.

Not using tow/haul when towing is like not using 4 wheel drive in a blizzard to save fuel, it makes no sense at all.

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Old 08-09-2017, 05:20 PM   #14
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Tow haul on my GMC Savana van primarily changes the shift points which is beneficial for power purposes and eliminates gear hunting. Personally once you hit OD, you are getting best mileage whether tow/haul is activated or not. When you encounter a grade however with tow/haul engaged that downshift out of OD will come sooner which will help you maintain speed and you will stay in that lower gear until the computer detects that OD can hold speed with the current grade your on.

I've accidentally left tow/haul off and it soon becomes evident upon acceleration that I have to step harder on the gas to get me up to speed because I'm going into OD too early with a resultant fall off in acceleration. Same on going uphill, I lose more speed more quickly due to OD not being able to maintain speed and eventually we do drop down a gear but we are at a lower speed than if tow/haul is engaged.

Personally I don't want to play head games with the computer and the heat caused by excessive hunting and the cost of transmission repairs due to heat outweighs the small penalty in gas mileage.

I would assume that tow/haul for different makes might be different so I can only speak knowledgeably regarding my GMC. It obviously is there for a reason and for me its a benefit that I can detect as I drive and know it is beneficial in my use. Now if I was pulling a much lighter trailer I might not notice the hunting and power loss. But when you are pulling 8,500 lbs or so, it's very obvious as to its benefit.


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