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Old 09-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #1
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Do you watch your temperature gauge?

Just got back from a quick trip in the smokey mountains. As I have not been towing long, I continually look down to be sure my temperature is within appropriate range. Especially when climbing a long hill of which there are several in the Smokey's. Attached is a photo of where my temperature gauge sits 90% of the time. When I go up a long hill that requires the engine to downshift, I try to keep the RPMs below 3000 and at a steady slow pace. As I am running the underpowered 4.7 v8 in the 1500 Dodge Ram I am very cautious. Before you start, I know I would not have to worry about it if I just had a big honking 3500 diesel, but I do not have one and can't afford one at this point. That is not my question.

As you can see from the photo the needle sits just to the left of the halfway mark. My guess looking at the other gauges is this is set as the optimal spot rather than just 1/2 way. When I reach the top of the mountain the needle will be pointed just about exactly the same distance to the right of the mark on the gauge. As you can see it does not appear that I am getting anywhere near the red-line portion of what I would assume as overheating. Of course this is what you do when the gauge does not show actual numbers but then again I am glad there is some sort of a gauge and not just an idiot light for when you are finally too hot.

As you would guess as soon as I start back down the hill and the truck shifts into a higher gear with much increased air flowing through the radiator. the temp returns to the previous pictured location in approx 1 mile or perhaps 2.

So do you watch your temperature gauge? If so what is its range? Of course if you have a huge truck pulling a Bambi your data will not be as helpful as if you are like me pulling a trailer that is closer to the recommended limit of your TV. I am pulling a 29' Excella with a small 4.7 liter V8. Had I known I was going to get an Airstream I would have at least got the 5.7.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Jon
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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My nearly identical Ram towing nearly identical weight Airstream did almost exactly the same thing. If the needle gets more than 3/4 of the way toward H, you will need to do something. Slow down, turn on the heat, turn off the a/c, pull over and let the engine idle with the heat on.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:19 PM   #3
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You could add an auxiliary transmission cooler if your truck doesn't have one already and it will take some of the heat load off the radiator. Also help the transmission last longer.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chillpoints View Post
Just got back from a quick trip in the smokey mountains. As I have not been towing long, I continually look down to be sure my temperature is within appropriate range. Especially when climbing a long hill of which there are several in the Smokey's. Attached is a photo of where my temperature gauge sits 90% of the time. When I go up a long hill that requires the engine to downshift, I try to keep the RPMs below 3000 and at a steady slow pace. As I am running the underpowered 4.7 v8 in the 1500 Dodge Ram I am very cautious. Before you start, I know I would not have to worry about it if I just had a big honking 3500 diesel, but I do not have one and can't afford one at this point. That is not my question.

As you can see from the photo the needle sits just to the left of the halfway mark. My guess looking at the other gauges is this is set as the optimal spot rather than just 1/2 way. When I reach the top of the mountain the needle will be pointed just about exactly the same distance to the right of the mark on the gauge. As you can see it does not appear that I am getting anywhere near the red-line portion of what I would assume as overheating. Of course this is what you do when the gauge does not show actual numbers but then again I am glad there is some sort of a gauge and not just an idiot light for when you are finally too hot.

As you would guess as soon as I start back down the hill and the truck shifts into a higher gear with much increased air flowing through the radiator. the temp returns to the previous pictured location in approx 1 mile or perhaps 2.

So do you watch your temperature gauge? If so what is its range? Of course if you have a huge truck pulling a Bambi your data will not be as helpful as if you are like me pulling a trailer that is closer to the recommended limit of your TV. I am pulling a 29' Excella with a small 4.7 liter V8. Had I known I was going to get an Airstream I would have at least got the 5.7.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Jon
Jon.

Installing a transmission coller will help.

However, the instructions tell you to mount it in front of the radiator.

I disagree.

First of all, you remove the heat from the radiator, and then put it right back in.

The best place to mount a transmission cooler is "below" the radiator, behind the bumper.

Mount it low enough so that ram air hits it, but high enough so that parking lot bumper strips can't hit it.

In that way, you truly remove all the transmission heat from the radiator.

Simple but very effective.

Andy
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:53 PM   #5
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Thanks Overlander63. That is what I was figuring. I am trying to decide if I should stick with this set up or upgrade to the 2500. I enjoy the gas mileage when not towing (ok tolerate it) but we are looking to take our first big trip to Canada next summer and weighting the whole power idea. It tows wonderfully and I have no problem on interstate or 2 lane road. I am not able to keep up with traffic when there are hills involved and I am ok with going a bit slower. It would be nice to be able to accelerate a bit quicker when merging on but we are careful non the less. Other wise I love the truck. Having a bad back I especially like the seat height and the lumbar support. It makes traveling fun.

Thanks also Wazbro. we do have the additional oil cooler and trans cooler with this model. I don't think it would be possible if it weren't for the set up.

I hope others will offer their experience.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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Temp gauge

We watch the temp gauge like crazy -- even before our towing days. No less important than the speedo!
Temp sits routinely at approx 40% --normal in our 5.7 Jeep v-8 hemi. But the long haul 4 to 6 mile uphill grades 6-7% take us up to 80% on the gauge easy. Dont like it! We also keep the rpms under 3000 but have to stop and cool off or watch the gauge as we coast downhill. So far this vehicle settles back at 40% readily -which works for us.
We slow to 35-45 mph on these climbs and just have to get used to it.
BTW we're talkin Smokey Mountains , Asheville and North GA mountains only.
Also --will never have a vehicle without a temp gauge of some sort.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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Thats our mountains choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitorj View Post
We watch the temp gauge like crazy -- even before our towing days. No less important than the speedo!
Temp sits routinely at approx 40% --normal in our 5.7 Jeep v-8 hemi. But the long haul 4 to 6 mile uphill grades 6-7% take us up to 80% on the gauge easy. Dont like it! We also keep the rpms under 3000 but have to stop and cool off or watch the gauge as we coast downhill. So far this vehicle settles back at 40% readily -which works for us.
We slow to 35-45 mph on these climbs and just have to get used to it.
BTW we're talkin Smokey Mountains , Asheville and North GA mountains only.
Also --will never have a vehicle without a temp gauge of some sort.
I keep saying that our truck pulls like a champ...when it is flat. of course we live in Western NC and there is no where to go that is flat. Don't get me wrong, the reason we love living here is we love the mountains. It is just not easy to go anywhere from Asheville that does not require some sort of long climb up a hill either coming or going. This past weekend the drive through the Nantahala gorge was great. In another few weeks when the leaves are at their peak it will be even better, except there will be lots of other folks driving small (fast) cars on the road getting pissed off that I am taking my time enjoying the leaves.

One of these days I will get to the "younger" mountains out west.

Thanks
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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Get you a scanguage II to monitor engine and transmission temperatures. It will tell you the real numbers instead of looking at a meaningless gage. You can also monitor slip ration which tells you if the torque converter is locked or not. Unlocked it can lead to overheating of the transmission. An external trans cooler in addition to the one in the radiator is a good thing. Leave the one in the radiator because it helps the trans warm up faster and also provides cooling when there is not much air flow through the radiator like when you are parking.

Perry
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chillpoints View Post
Thanks Overlander63. That is what I was figuring. I am trying to decide if I should stick with this set up or upgrade to the 2500. I enjoy the gas mileage when not towing (ok tolerate it) but we are looking to take our first big trip to Canada next summer and weighting the whole power idea. It tows wonderfully and I have no problem on interstate or 2 lane road. I am not able to keep up with traffic when there are hills involved and I am ok with going a bit slower. It would be nice to be able to accelerate a bit quicker when merging on but we are careful non the less. Other wise I love the truck. Having a bad back I especially like the seat height and the lumbar support. It makes traveling fun.

Thanks also Wazbro. we do have the additional oil cooler and trans cooler with this model. I don't think it would be possible if it weren't for the set up.

I hope others will offer their experience.
I now have an F250 with the 5.4 gas engine, and it gets 15 mpg not towing, and 11 mpg towing. It is a much more capable tow vehicle than the Dodge. The Dodge got 15-17 not towing, and 9 towing.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:39 PM   #10
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That's nothing!
That's where it should be for towing.
It's doing it's job.
And if that's were it was while towing up mountains your ok.
Read
my post from last week on my 2005 4, 7l Dakota.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:41 PM   #11
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Jon, good idea to keep an eye on the temp gauge and the others as well. Generally, most gauges in most vehicles are oriented so in their "normal" range the needle is pointing straight up. That way a quick glance across the instrument panel, with all needles pointing near straight up, means everything should be OK. Exception: the gas gauge. It always reads best when pegged to the right. If pegged to the left, could be trouble!!

John
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who offered suggestions and insight. I did go back and read the crazy adventure from Safari-Rick and am glad that is not my case.

Andy, if I have a factory trans cooler (conveniently mounted to the side of the Radiator) would it still be advisable to add an additional cooler or am I just pushing it to hard?

Sandlapper, How do you get your gas gauge to peg to the right? It seems like opening the door to get back into the truck at the gas station causes it to begin the decent back to the left.

It is tough to be in this "almost good enough" size of vehicle. It will tow it but for how many years and and what cost. My guess is one transmission rebuild would cover the difference in a similar year and condition 2500. Oh well I guess that is part of the fun of fine tuning your setup.
Jon
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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I dont think youd see much difference in engine temps by putting in an aux tranny cooler. One thing you could do (as long as it doesnt mess with your computer) is put a cooler thermostat in. I noticed on my F-250 itd get hot if I just let it idle for too long. Replaced the thermostat and viola! Doesnt creep much. I also have an aux trans cooler on mine, but its to keep the tranny cool, not the engine.

And your gauge on your truck would be a dummy gauge. It shouldnt read much difference whether its actually getting hot or not. You could install either an aftermarket gauge, or like stated earlier, a ScanGauge. Then you can monitor EVERYTHING on your truck, including engine and tranny temps. Theyre not bad priced either. I think something like $130
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #14
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Face it you must get a honking big diesel as soon as possible!

Think of this way, we can't afford obamacare either, but we are "buying" it anyway... That buying in your budget is so quaint... You got to follow our leaders example!
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