Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

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se7en
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Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:29 pm

Figured some of you want to know the max towing number.
I will never do this again.

2 weeks ago, I picked up a double axle U-haul trailer 6x12 that weighs 1800 lb empty.
Loaded it with 1.5 cubic yards of sand/gravel mix - about 4000 pounds.
Then I put in 132 of concrete blocks - each weighs 38 pounds.
Bringing the total to 10,800 lb. Give or take.
Plus 2 people in the car and some light gear - maybe 150 lb.

Towed slow for about 1.5 hours through mixed flat-ish terrain - but then we started to climb the Rockies.
Changed elevation from 500m to 1000m in about 5 minutes and just a 10 minutes off the top going uphill at about 15mph (25kmh) - the transmision jumped out, all sorts of clanging and all lights went off - gave her gas she barely moved as if in neutral.

No cell service. 6 hours from home.
Then I remembered that a prayer is a good thing!
And I remembered that you can reset your car.
So i took off the black cable from the battery. Gave her a minute, put the cable back on and she started. Pulled forward 20 meters - same issue - as if the whole thing was exploding. Did it again - got 50 meters.
Some old timer stopped by told me to let her cool off for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes she pulled maybe 200m and died agian.
So I let her rest 30 minutes. And she miraculously she pulled over the top of the Rockies - the top plateau is relatively flat (elevation changes of maybe 50m max) for 1 hour. And one more hour downhill to farm. Driving 30mph with white knuckles. Going back through the Rockies towing an empty 1800lb trailer - no problem - 6hour drive.

I will never tow over 4000lb total including trailer. Not worth it!
Changed both differential fluids and the transmission fluid. I think i should have changed the transfer fluid also.
I honestly dont know what kind of fluids need to be changed.
157k miles on it. 2009 pathfinder. Just changed my suspension to Bilstein struts and shocks (not the springs on either). I also have airlift in the back.
Even tho its a story that ended well, don't do what I did.

Special thanks to SMJ here for helping me out through the years with her problems.


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palmerwmd
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby palmerwmd » Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:05 pm

Didnt we have a conversation on this subject? :lol:

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=20343&p=97798#p97798

I feel for you man... but its kinda self inflicted... :wink:

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se7en
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:20 pm

Yes we did :) - I stand ashamed. Good memory!!!

Yet that was for a 6000lb tractor. + Trailer.
When I undertook this journey I had no idea that blocks and gravel could weigh that much.
Until people at home depot would not load on the blocks... They read the tag on the trailer that allowed for only 3000 pounds.

So yeah! :) Never again.

Glad it worked out.

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palmerwmd
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby palmerwmd » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:07 am

So your transmission is working fine again?
It was clearly overheating.. hopefully you did not damage your seals too badly.

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se7en
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:42 am

Yes - no problems whatsoever. I drove back for about 7 hours through the Rockies towing the empty 1800lb trailer and no lights or nothing. changed fluids since.

Anything cheap I could do about the seals?

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smj999smj
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby smj999smj » Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:19 pm

If it's shifting okay then your seals are probably fine, as well. The clutch frictions would have failed before the seals. Service the trans fluid if you haven't done it since the overheat.

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se7en
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:46 am

Thanks, smj. I did the very next day - got the transmission fluid done. Also front and rear dif.
Transmission fluid looked dark - kind of like between cofee and maple syrup. I touched it for sludge an and there was some fine silt/sludge but no steel chips or anything i could notice...

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Swerve
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby Swerve » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:08 pm

se7en wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:29 pm
Towed slow for about 1.5 hours through mixed flat-ish terrain - but then we started to climb the Rockies.
Changed elevation from 500m to 1000m in about 5 minutes and just a 10 minutes off the top going uphill at about 15mph (25kmh) - the transmision jumped out, all sorts of clanging and all lights went off - gave her gas she barely moved as if in neutral.
you describe this, and I recall the feeling I have every time I climb the Coquihalla, pass the tunnel, where you seem to just climb and climb and climb, and you wonder... is my engine thermostat gauge working? everything seems fine, but should I drop a gear and slow to 80km/h (50 mph) just in case? Come on baby... don't fail me, don't fail me now... and then on the side of the road you see that poor guy pulled over with a hood open and one time I saw a HUGE trailer attached to a minivan that quit, and you just start to reach the crest, you feel the flattening of the hill climb happening and then what feels like an eternity later, you shift into top gear and feel a massive feeling of relief! And then you coast, and you smile, knowing that you're in a robust and reliable vehicle that is the Pathfinder!

I've done the Coquihalla in the R50 at least once a year for the past 10 years in the summer, and look forward to doing it for another 10 now in my R51, first one being this July!

For those of you who have seen the TV show "Highway Thru Hell", much of their rescues are on the Coquihalla Hwy here in BC.

So is this account then a case for getting a Bully Dog Tuner? I read somewhere- was it Terry in Winnipeg that said it? - that it has a Transmission Temperature display on it- could come in handy for when towing? And maybe also a case for the V8 Pathfinder front brakes upgrade especially for descending hills- smj just did this and is happy with it.

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smj999smj
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby smj999smj » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:41 am

Yes I am! :D

Image

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se7en
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:54 am

I know the feeling. Same highway I use towards Merit from Vancouver - several times a year.
I always see some schmuk with their their hood up steam coming out - feeling humbled it could be me :)...
Same thing going back home - just maybe 10 klicks west from West Kelowna - that climb seems to take forever but not as bad as your starting elevation is 500m.

Question to some of you OBD2 people. I have one unit (20 bucks) that connects to my phone through wifi and gives me all sorts of data, engine codes etc.

Is there a way to get it to read the transmission temperature. What should that temperature range be and at what point do you stop and take a break?
look at the post #4 from BlkDakDave:
https://www.mazdas247.com/forum/index.p ... grees%20F.

silverarrow27
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby silverarrow27 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:00 pm

If you're talking about those blue ELM obd2 devices and an app, I think you can buy a Nissan add-on like for the Torque app. You'll have to do a bit of research which will actually show you the transmission temps and if the app & add-on will work on the Pathy. Torque seems to be pretty popular with all crowds though, but it's a hit or miss for certain vehicles.

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ShipFixer
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby ShipFixer » Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:51 am

Nissan Data Scan II will read engine control module codes from an OBD II dongle with an ELM 327 chip in it. This is basically CONSULT II data for the ECM.

https://www.nisscan.com/NDSIIA/index.php

Unfortunately it does not receive transmission, ABS, or other module information. Or at least it hasn't lately, they do add features as they go. But it is better than plain old OBD II; I was able to diagnose cam phase issues from an incorrect cam chain tensioner job and have it repaired.

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se7en
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby se7en » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:03 am

Just downloaded the "MotorData OBD" app and purchased their $10 Nissan addon.
No luck with displaying transmission fluid temperature.
All the apps I have show me coolant temperature being around 185 degrees F.

Coolant temperature should be very closely related to transmission fluid temperature? Correct/incorrect?
Obviously i don't care for 10 degrees of difference but if it starts to approach 240 degrees it would be time to pull over and let the whole thing cool down?

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ShipFixer
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby ShipFixer » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:32 pm

The Nissan DataScan page I linked above has an explanation why both of these apps only get ECM data vs. all of the CONSULT II data.

Coolant temp is sort of related to transmission fluid temp, but not directly. Their cooling loops touch in one place, at one heat exchanger, but they are not dependent based on that. Hard to say but generally the transmission is going to be more tolerant of heat than the aluminum block engine.

I think the right answer is stop exceeding the capacity of the vehicle, over mountains :P But if this is going to be a habit, you can always add another inline generic oil cooler behind the grill and double or triple your cooling capacity.

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smj999smj
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Re: Towing Too Much - Transmission Fail

Postby smj999smj » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:26 pm

ATF temperature measured in pan or sump:

150F-Minimum operating temperature
175-200F-Normal operating temperature
275F-Maximum allowable temperature for short durations during long hill climbs
300F-Damage occurs to internal transmission parts, including warpage of metal parts, degradation of clutches and melting of seals.


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