Considering the Niagara HW - First PUP

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by dbbyleo, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Ted S.

    Ted S. Member

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    Glad to hear you are happy and it is working well.
     
  2. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Sweet photo. Sorry to hear about the climbing trouble. I'm hoping my gas guzzling Yukon won't have that issue with 4.10 gearing and the big old 5.3L V8.

    I'll just start a new thread on the comparison topic and then hopefully Keith will reply with his thoughts. I'd like to hear folks weigh in.
     
  3. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    Yeah, when I went down to Crested Butte a few weeks ago I had to drop into second on the climb up Monarch Pass. Really makes me think that the 11,180 Max combined tow weight is totally not applicable to Colorado. Before I purchased the Niagara I had a close friend tell me that you really need to take 20% off the tow numbers for Colorado and I now figure that to be correct.

    I don't have a way of monitoring the tranny temp, but my Tacoma was delivered with the cooler factory installed, and I figure that was a must. The good news is that many of the "experts" on Tacoma World seem to think the 5-speed automatic that the 2nd Gen Tacomas have are million mile transmissions. Since I plan on keeping my Taco for a very long time I guess I will see. (there are numerous folks with 2nd gens on TW that have over 300K miles on them and are still going strong)

    I always send my oil to Blackstone for analysis. The oil currently in the engine will be the first with significant amounts of towing on it. It will be interesting to see if I see increases in any of the metals.
     
  4. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    Once Justin gets his, we should have a Colorado Niagara-only camping trip. Maybe you could trade the Yukon for a Tacoma to make it match better? [8D]
     
  5. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Keith... I took out that OEM aux cooler in the tacoma and replaced it with a larger one (from B&M). And yes, much of that mod and research was done off of TW intel. This Tacoma for me a keeper too. Included to all the things I had done was also a tranny flush. I'll be doing that probably every 50k miles from now on instead of the recommended 100k.

    Anyway... Now that I'll towed it over these mountain passes, I know I can live with it. Just need a little patience for those climbing segments.

    Happy Camping...
     
  6. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    On my 2002 Tahoe 5.3L I added a AME air intake system which added 15HP and 2 MPG.
     
  7. ricko

    ricko Member

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    Congrats on your Niagara - We absolutely LOVE ours and tow with an '07 Tundra.

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as we do ours.

    Good luck!

    Rick
     
  8. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Nah I'll just pass you on the hills and then you'll catch up when I'm stopping for gas.

    I'll have to check out that air cleaner - those numbers are pretty impressive!
     
  9. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    [LOL]

    I have a Scan Gauge II and on the 360 mile Erie to Crested Butte trip (which includes crossing Monarch and Kenosha Passes) I got 15 MPG up and 17 MPG back towing the Niagara. I normally get 22 MPG around town. 4.0L-V6 economy only seems bad when a Yukon blows more doors off going uphill. [;)]
     
  10. supton

    supton New Member

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    Get a ScangaugeII. The Ultragauge will also read ATF temp. If you are tempted to go the used route on them, be careful, earlier units won't do ATF; but the SG is like $160 and the UG is like $60, something like that--I bought my SG when (I think) it was the only game in town. ATF temp is shockingly high in my Tundra, despite the ATF cooler--but lots of Tundra owners report that. It's thought that the WS spec ATF handles the temp better than old school ATF's (which aren't in use in newer vehicles anyhow), and really, Toyota's are kinda known for having pretty reliable automatics. Just the same, it's easy for me to see 220F in my truck on the highway if I run with the convertor unlocked, and I've seen 230F when it's in third (six speed, but it's very similar to your five speed, it just picks up a second overdrive) at 30mph. And in the driveway backing up the pup.

    I'm toying with replacing my WS with Valvoline MaxLife, as IIRC MaxLife is full synthetic, but haven't gotten that far just yet. Different discussion for a different forum.

    Anyhow, the SG/UG can display multiple things at once; I right now have engine temp, ATF, instant mpg and mpg for the tank. They will read volts, trouble codes, etc too. Really nice to have.

    I too have read of the reducing by 20%. I thought it was running no more than 80% of GCWR, not running with 80% of max towing though. Might not make much of a difference in the end, the big thing is to basically avoid having to run the TV "flat out", which in the case of towing up significant inclines at significant elevation you basically are.
     
  11. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    I'm really glad the Scangauge came up in this conversation. I've never heard of it but I immediately love it because I want to monitor transmission temp. My Yukon has the blank spot where the gauge would be if I had a Sierra. I've looked into various ways to add it to my factory cluster but the Scangauge makes it much easier and cheaper and you get the extra capabilities. I will check on the Ultragauge also since it is even cheaper. If it will do trip mileage then that may be enough for my needs.
     
  12. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    I have a ScanGauge II and it doesn't have anything about transmission fluid temperature. Not sure if that is an SGII issue or just that the signal is not there on the 2011 Tacoma. YMMV.
     
  13. smallcamper

    smallcamper New Member

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    Scan gauge II has the X gauge feature. You enter codes from their website to read transmission temp. I have trans torque converter as well as trans pan on my Toyota Fj Cruiser.
     
  14. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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  15. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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  16. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I have had an autoxray 6000 for years. Decided to take it on our for the first time on trip through WV. Saw 230 degrees as max on transmission [:(!], engine coolant 197 max. I use Valvoline MaxLife and a extra transmission cooler. Not happy with 230 degrees. Will be swamping out the transmission cooler with a 19,000 btu unit. I don't won't to see over 200 degrees.

    Just bought an ODB for my android so I don't have to take the autoxray. Very sweet with the Bluetooth android app by Torque . [8D]
     
  17. supton

    supton New Member

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    FYI, I see 230 on my Toyota. Which has a factory tow package. Looking at the transmission, it has an external thermostat. I have not looked at bypassing it, to force the ATF to go through the cooler all the time. But my point is, if you have a thermostat it might block your cooler from doing its job -- for all I (we?) know, Toyota might not allow ATF through the cooler until 230. I don't think I've seen over 230, but I haven't exactly tried to see how high I can make it.

    Furthermore, on at least mine, there is a thing where ATF is warmed up by coolant--so the ATF sorta wants to stay at coolant temp. Driving on the highway, locked up, and I get about the same temp on both fluids. YMMV. I can tell exactly when the convertor locks up, and in about a minute's time it drops to coolant temp.

    You've got MaxLife, from what I understand it's a pretty good synthetic. Might not have to worry about it, if you do some periodic pan drops. Plus Toyota's aren't particularly know for transmission failures. They occur, but they are known for being robust.

    [I worry about the same things myself, so I've looked at this too.]
     
  18. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    So how did you make out?
     
  19. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    My toyota has the factory tow package, which is a over size cooler in the radiator. On steep long grades it would get into the 230's degrees, so I added an additional cooler. I use a scan tool to get the reading. I like the B&M coolers that have a bypass, so on cold days some of the TX fluid bypasses the cooler. I read somewhere that any thing over 195 degrees shortens the TX fluid life. We also run maxlife fluid and twice a year change fluid in the pan (4 qts) about 1/3 of the total fluid. But have been thinking about b&m racing fluid??
     
  20. supton

    supton New Member

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    Can't comment on B&M racing fluid. But I wouldn't. Toyota's aren't known for breaking transmissions. Their FWD stuff isn't legendary, they will break; but overall not bad.

    See if you can find the manual (sometimes people scan 'em and post 'em) for your transmission. 2001, I would not guess that it had a coolant warmer, but I could be wrong. Point is, I doubt it will ever go below coolant temperature, not until you get the ATF away from it. The ATF can only warm up from that point once the convertor unlocks. As for the drop in transmission life, I would have to dig into further. But be careful: most of those charts are much older than your vehicle, and geared towards domestics. Transmissions have come a ways, along with the fluid. I'll see what I can dig up, but I don't think momentary temps of 230 are the damage-causing temps they used to be.

    Also, that's quite the fluid change program. I doubt you'll see problems at that level of fluid changing. Not until the clutches wear out, and from what I'm reading, the clutches are a wear item, just like the clutch in a stickshift car. Some day all automatics need a rebuild. It's a matter of making it to a reasonable lifespan.

    I tried to search for MaxLife and transmission life, found this thread:
    http://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-gen-t4rs/68732-atf-temp-how-hot-too-hot-2.html#post585977
    It lists the B&M cooler, which says to aim for 180-200 after cooler.
    http://bmracing.com/wp-bnmcont/uploads/bm_cooler_techdoc.pdf
    And goes on to explain how 195F ATF should last 100k, and fluid at 240 might be toast in 5k -- but doesn't state what kind of fluid (full, semi or non synthetic). Worse, their preceeding statement says to get ATF below 180-200 pre-cooler not transmission outlet. So what is B&M recommending? Beats me.

    Typical unlocked torque convertor losses are around 3 to 5%. 1hp is 2545Btu/hour. Blind guess of needing about 150hp (half to 3/4 throttle) to motivate up a hill means about 7.5hp of ATF heating. So you need to shed 19,000 Btu/hour. At this point I get a bit lost, I'm not used to heat calculations like this (more of an electronics guy), but it does sound like the larger unit is a good idea. Especially if the cooler was the only one (did you retain the factory one?). Without knowing some F/Btu rise numbers, I'm stuck as to what to think about for temp rise. All I can calculate is roughly how much heat is going into the fluid, and guess at what kind of rating the cooler needs to be.

    My only comment is, if the transmission won't open up its thermostat until 200+F, then you will still see a temperature rise out of the transmission above what you are hoping for. Temperature is being controlled, and your frequent fluid changes will mean the fluid is always good; but you'll still see high temps due to the thermostat, not the cooler.
     

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