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Old 07-26-2021, 06:03 AM   #1
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Bad bearing, sticky brake or something else?

Out on our first trip in over a year. Traveled from SLC area to central Wyoming. 06' FB Safari. Tow vehicle 2013 F150 ecoboost with tow package. Right off the bat, the truck "overheated" headed up Parleys Canyon. Transmission temp also got pretty high. Had to pull over some +8,000' passes and the symptoms repeated themselves, but we were able to keep and eye on them and mitigate them with changes to driving style. Temps never went beyond normal ranges, but higher than we normally see. Additionally we've gotten awful mileage on this trip. Sub 10mph (10-11 is our towing average) Trailer wasn't loaded that heavily.

We're towed all over the country and have never experienced these symptoms. I was thinking wheel bearing issue until another interesting development sppeared. We seem to have a mystery voltage drain somewhere in the trailer. Our 100w solar won't take the battery voltage above 13.2v, and we get a slow discharge overnight with nothing on but the fridge. That's not normal either.

We almost back to home base only a couple of hours away at this point. I have a couple of decent hills to pull over on the way home. We'll do the bearings when we get back,. It's time and honestly in our excitement to get out again we forget about them. How do we check for an energized brake?

I'm typing this on on phone so sorry for the somewhat abbreviated post. Any thoughts welcome
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:13 AM   #2
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It has been very hot…the highways are hot..everything is hot…record high temps here….what temp is overheating?
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
It has been very hot…the highways are hot..everything is hot…record high temps here….what temp is overheating?
The water temperature is an idiot gauge so I can't exactly say. Transmission Temps have been 235+ about 20 or more deg higher than normal. We don't really see the issues on "flat" or rolling terrain.
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:46 AM   #4
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Have you ever cleaned the rad? In 7 years a lot of bugs and other things can clog the air flow through the rad. How is your engine air filter? Have you changed your transmission oil and filter? All or these things have a great influence on engine performance. Optimal transmission temp is 175 to 220 degres. Above that you will have bad things happen. I would get the transmission looked at ASAP, and get the oil and filter changed, and replace with synthetic fluid.
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:49 AM   #5
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How old are trailer batteries, and what type of battery? If they are lead acid, have you checked and maintained them regularly? If over 5 years old they are due for replacement.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShullsinUtah View Post
How do we check for an energized brake?
Lot's of "Stuff" to cover. For a dragging brake my go to tool on the road is an IR Temp gun. Point at drum or hub and get temp readings. Compare to other wheels. Good for spotting hot brakes or hubs and also for finding a non working brake. No heat, it's not a brake. At a shop I'd raise wheel, spin and feel for good drag vs it don't hardly turn.

Very unlikely that one brake is energized. Power is common to all magnets but one brake can have internal issues that can cause dragging. do you have self adjusting brakes? Look for label on axle tube stating equipped with self adjusting brakes.

Engine heat, temp gun can also be a diagnostic tool but turning AC off and heater on can be a second emergency radiator in addition to steps you took.

Brake or bearing noise? Raise wheel spin by hand and report back with noise description.

Gary
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:04 AM   #7
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Feel the trailer hubs and wheels at a rest stop. But....I think if you had a trailer brake or bearing stiff enough to lower the milage on the truck or to slow it down you would know about in in short order. From the smell and the fire.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBWELL View Post
How old are trailer batteries, and what type of battery? If they are lead acid, have you checked and maintained them regularly? If over 5 years old they are due for replacement.

Just over 1 year, lead acid.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBWELL View Post
Have you ever cleaned the rad? In 7 years a lot of bugs and other things can clog the air flow through the rad. How is your engine air filter? Have you changed your transmission oil and filter? All or these things have a great influence on engine performance. Optimal transmission temp is 175 to 220 degres. Above that you will have bad things happen. I would get the transmission looked at ASAP, and get the oil and filter changed, and replace with synthetic fluid.
Sprayed out the rad Friday when it first got warm. Newish air filtet with less that 3k miles on it. Had high mileage full synthetic at the last oil change again 3k miles ago. I would say the radiator and coolant could use a flush and change.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:12 AM   #10
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"IR Temp gun"

Excellent idea. Thank you
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:52 AM   #11
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If the transmission was actually overheating limp mode would be activated.
In our Burb it's at 270°.

12.7v is 100% for an AGM battery. There is a constant parasitic draw on the electrical system unless the batteries are completely isolated. The Victron 712 system monitor is very useful in keeping track of things.

Checking for an energized brake... have someone step on the brakes while the trailer is connected and listen for slight hum noise or just lift the trailer and check one at time.

The is infrared handheld temperature gage is useful when OTR.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:47 AM   #12
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I have external TPMS but still check wheel temps with IR at most fuel-ups. Got time to kill while fueling so might as well put it to good use.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:53 AM   #13
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Lots of info pops up when I googled F150 EcoBost transmission overheating when towing. Apparently it is a known issue for that little drivetrain.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:37 AM   #14
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The A/C rad is in front of the main rad. I took my truck to a shop and had them remove the rads and clean between them. I wash mine out from the outside regularly and have bug screen in ftont of grill. I was amazed at what came out from between the rads, and what was in the main engine rad when they were removed. This will be a every 4-5 year maintenance for me.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:37 PM   #15
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Well, we were in South Western Wyoming today, and I saw a little tire/automotive shop. I took a flier and run in and asked if there was any chance they could repack the wheel bearings during the Am. They said they could so I dropped the trailer with them. I think we found part of the problem. I hope my crappy cell phone pic shows up.

This was off the passenger front wheel. How I dented a wheel bearing, I'm not sure.



The guy who serviced them also said the 3 of the 4 drum brakes were overly tight and he adjusted them.

That improved the situation, but did not 100% solve it. We still ran hot towing uphill with both the transmission and water temps (we had 3 long uphills and on 2 of the 3 the water temp went above normal, but not to the point of full on overheating. Had the grades been longer, I feel certain they would have). We were traveling in the heat of the day between 3-6 pm. I think we're going to do a fluid replacement on both the transmission and cooling system as a start. Will that cure the problem? I don't know, as it only occurs when towing. I guess I just have to hook up and drive the trailer around to find out. lol.

We made it home safely, with dad being overly stressed the past couple of day.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:36 AM   #16
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I wonder if somewhere along the line, (you have a double axle trailer) something happened like hitting a curb or a big hole or something that bent that bearing, and caused the axles to become misaligned. That would not have anything to do with your voltage problem, but it would explain the gas mileage and the heat of the transmission and engine. Maybe you even noticed the trailer a little bit crooked in the mirror; The trailer not following exactly straight behind the truck? Over time this would show up an uneven treadwear on your tires, and you might even notice extra heat on the tread when stop while on the road. It can happen suddenly, like you experienced. This is just a guess, my friend. Good luck and Gods grace down the road.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:48 AM   #17
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Do you have your sway control activated ? Is it possible you have a conflict happening with the Ford sway control system. I have Hensley and always disable mine on my Navigator. Check out this thread. May not be your problem but worth looking into …

https://www.f150forum.com/f82/ford-b...ontrol-496368/
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShullsinUtah View Post
We seem to have a mystery voltage drain somewhere in the trailer. Our 100w solar won't take the battery voltage above 13.2v, and we get a slow discharge overnight with nothing on but the fridge. That's not normal either.
Here is a quick check. See if your fridge light goes out when the door is closed (hold the switch closed with your hand when door is open). I suggest this as we have had this issue with same symptoms (and this after having the switch supposedly fixed). During the interim, I've removed the buib from its socket.
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:12 AM   #19
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A small poodle towing a 5360 pound trailer across mountains.

If you can see mountains in the distance buy premium gas. This is a simple solution and will save 35% of your stomach lining. Drive 45 mph maximum on larger grades, with the ac off and the heat on full with fan on full, windows open. To find out if you have a phantom bearing issue stop at the top of grade and smell trailer wheels for unmistakable brake smell. Touch hubs for excess heat. Likely you have cold hubs with non-smelly brakes on the mountain top.
Never drive when too hot at tranny or radiator. Never ever. Stop and have a nice break. Make a cup of tea. Maybe a sandwich. You aren't getting paid by the hour.
Crossing the continental divide is a very big deal.
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:36 AM   #20
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Agree with that. Don't pass that slow truck climbing the hill. Make sure you have overdrive lockout or hill climbing mode engaged. Temp gauge can go slightly higher than usual but if the needle swings way up you need to stop or crawl in first gear, manually shift down and keep the RPMs below 2000 or 2500. Lots of drivers if the engine is really hot, stop but don't shut off the motor, just open the hood and take a nap. Unless you have lights on the dash or it's steaming. How about an alternative temperature gauge? I drove an 18 wheeler for a while, go way slower over mountains and hills. Shut off the cruise control, keep your foot steady on the gas at 2250 RPMs, let it downshift if it can't pull the hill, and don't worry if you lose speed. All those other suggestions are good, too. Checking tires, hubs, drums with the back of your hand every time you get out.
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