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Old 07-23-2011, 08:37 AM   #1
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Towing in extreme heat

Is there anything different or "special" about towing in this extreme heat? Such as adjuisting the tire pressure on either the TV or the Trailer? Or any other advice from experienced travelers -- other than cancel the trip?

Thanks for your input
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
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I live in extreme heat with over 100 days of 100+ temperatures every year. I don't do anything different for summer towing then I do for winter towing. Tire inflation is more critical since an under inflated tire will heat up more quickly and to a much higher temperature.

Hook up the trailer, crank up the AC in the TV and drive to a cooler location works for me.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:57 AM   #3
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Me either, Summer here is 90's to 100 Just make sure your radiator is full!!
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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We're in agreement with Richard on the tire bit. Summer heat is much harder on improperly maintained tires. Watch that speed and the road surface carefully all the time but especially in the heat of summer. Have fun out there!
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:23 AM   #5
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I like as big of safety margins on the tires, bearings, gear oil, rubber parts, electronics, etc. as I can. I've towed in 120 degree weather, but I don't like it.

I already keep the speed down in high 50s. If its very hot I'm even less likely to creep up in speed. The other thing I do is leave in very early morning and get as many hours of "cool" driving in as possible. A lot of driving is possible between 3 am and 10 am. The effect of the extreme heat is cumulative, and just minimizing exposure when possible is a good thing.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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I was wondering the same thing last week, when towing in extreme heat to the Mount Rushmore national monument from Rapid City. Most of the climb was in second gear, and a few times, the Jeep dropped into first gear and the second stage of the air fan (the one that sounds like a jet taking off) kicked in.

We pulled over once to give the Jeep a quiet 20 minute break.

If I had known what the altitude rise was going to be (which I could have checked with google maps), I would have paid an RV place to let me drop off the trailer at the bottom and taken the climb with TV alone.

I didn't cook anything, but the temp gauge got to the 3/4 mark a few times (normal temp is just below halfway).
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:13 AM   #7
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In the southwest desert areas, 110+ is normal in the summer. I think our hottest day in Phoenix was 118 degrees so far, and the temperatures on asphalt are even higher. Assuming your tow vehicle is in good condition, underinflated tires are probably the cause of most roadside breakdowns, especially on trailers.

We run the maximum sidewall pressure on our Bambi; so in the early morning before the sun hits the tires, I make sure they are pumped up to 80 psi (Michelin XPS Ribs, load range E). Then, I check tire temperatures when we stop for fuel or driving breaks. As long as the temperatures are steady, I don't check pressures during the day. In the mornings, I check pressures again, and I don't let air out if the pressure goes up. However, I do top them off if it goes down during the trip, which will happen when headed for higher country where it's cool.

Same process for our Tundra, but the tire pressures are much lower. Even so, we run higher pressures than on the door sticker, which seem to be targeted towards a cushy, passenger car ride. The owners manual says 30/33 (front/rear), but this results in the shoulders wearing excessively. Instead we run 46/42 when not towing and 46/50 with the Bambi hooked up. These are Michelin LTX MS2, load range E.

After our Marathon failures, we switched to 16-inch wheels and LT tires; and I think our tire failures are behind us. However, we still limit speed to 60-65 (even though the new tires are more reliable), which saves fuel and provides a little more safety margin in case something does go wrong.

Same routine in the winter, but we monitor tires more closely in the summer.

I don't mind driving in the heat, but hate loading and unloading at home during the daylight hours; and we can't wait to get to the cooler climes.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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The best thing to do in extreme heat is go up high enough to escape it. That is not always possible. Like has been said, watch tire pressure. A TPMS system helps. We have had to let air out from time to time as morning temps in the 40's go up to the 90's and above.

Watch the fridge as it can not always handle direct sun on the fridge side. When you park at the end of the day try to get a space with the awning on the west side to shield the trailer from the sun. Turn on the A/C right away and set it at 60˚ until the trailer cools off—this seems to cool it faster than starting at 70˚. Open the vents to exhaust hot air from the trailer for a while. The furniture will be hot and radiate that heat for some time. It takes time to cool a trailer that's been in the sun all day without ventilation.

When you go down long grades, gear down and spare the brakes. Rotor warping is more likely at extreme temps.

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Old 07-23-2011, 10:54 AM   #9
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I tend to drive 5 mph slower in high temps, even slower than that if a 15+ mph headwind.

Same as others on the tires dealing with a blowout in 100 deg temps is not good for your health.

Once you get to the CG camp in a shady site.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:44 PM   #10
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Long steady hauls in the heat are good for the a healthy engine but may kill one that is on its last legs.
Make sure you have the right engine oil for the job. If you have an older well used engine, and using a winter weight oil, the heat may cause engine problems.
Coolant pressure cap should be in good condition and coolant should have proper antifreeze mixture to help handle the heat.
Make sure there is no blockage of air flow to the radiator. (bugs etc.)
If the engine overheats on a pull, use a lower gear and keep revs up.
Never shut off an overheated engine unless absolutely necessary. It is important to keep the coolant circulating to avoid damage.
If the temp. gauge is in the red, SHUT OFF THE AIR CONDITIONER, shift to first and run at 2500RPM, to move air around the whole vehicle, rather than parked.
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Originally Posted by garry View Post
I tend to drive 5 mph slower in high temps, even slower than that if a 15+ mph headwind.

Same as others on the tires dealing with a blowout in 100 deg temps is not good for your health.

Once you get to the CG camp in a shady site.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:48 PM   #11
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Here's another tip. If your TV starts overheating, turn on your heater and run the fan at full speed. Definitely not comfortable, but will help cool down your TV.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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We agree with Phoenix on the tires. We upgraded to Michelin LT tires after serial failures with ST tires. Long freeway drives with air temps above 100 was the common denominator of our ST tire failures. D rated and E rated, it didn't seem to matter, as most of ours ended up on the side of the road in pieces.
We never did blow out a Maxxis, so if you have to have ST tires these are the best.
No problems with the tow vehicle although we have a 6,000 gvw trailer and a 10,000 pound tow rated vehicle. The temp gauge never moves off of a quarter. If you are at the upper end of your tow rating (or over), make sure your vehicle is in top condition and take it easy up and down the hills. In extreme temps, it is easier to overheat the brakes.
When you go into camp after trailering all day at 100+, it is hot inside the trailer. It takes hours to cool down the trailer with the AC running at full blast. We turn on our air and run both fantastic fans to suck the hot air out of the trailer. If you have that option, sit in an air conditioned building for a while, go in the pool if there is one, or if there is a breeze, it is cooler to sit under the awning outside.
Be careful of pets. Our old dog suffers in the heat. We can't put her in the trailer and go out to dinner.
In the old days, when we were poor students and our cheap cars didn't have a.c., we would drive when it was cool and hole up when it was hot. In our last long road trip, we drove until almost dark. It was much more comfortable to set up the trailer and it cooled down much faster when the sun wasn't beating down on it.
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