Overheating

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by BirdsNest, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. BirdsNest

    BirdsNest Active Member

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    The fluids (transmission, radiator, oil, steering, etc.) were all flushed and changed about 10,000 miles ago at the 150K overhaul. Everything has been checked and topped off (if needed) recently, and the local Dodge dealership said there's no mechanical problems with the radiator, the thermostat, or the coolant pump(s). I really think it's just a matter of being at/over the towing limit combined with the extra stress of climbing a long and very steep hill - Parley's is a 12.5 mile climb at 8% grade.

    I was bored last weekend so I decided to test that theory. With the trailer and its cargo deck loaded up with all of the stuff we normally take camping, plus coolers weighed down with a bunch of water bottles simulating a weekend of food inside the Durango, but WITHOUT my wife and kids in the car, I pulled the trailer up and over Parley's Summit without any significant overheating. The engine did get warm, but not enough to cause a problem.

    So I've decided that there are several options:

    Get a new tow vehicle. (Not in the budget any time soon.)
    Pack a lot less stuff. (Have you tried telling four women - including 3 teenagers - to pack less stuff? ;))
    Go camping without the kids and their stuff. (VERY tempting sometimes!)
    Avoid steep hills as much as possible. (This will be the default choice most of the time.)

    As a secondary confirmation of the theory, we went camping about 6 hours away a few weeks ago, and were actually carrying about 400-500 pounds more than normal on that trip with a full 35 gallon water tank plus a generator and a big tent that my Dad couldn't fit in his car. I stayed around 65-70mph for most of the drive except when we passed through small towns with lower speed limits. We didn't have any overheating during that drive except for one somewhat steep spot near the Utah/Idaho border called Rattlesnake Pass where the temperature did start to climb a bit but didn't force me to pull over since it wasn't nearly as steep or as long of a climb as Parley's Summit. The engine didn't really warm up at all on the way back home on the same route carrying the same gear but with the water tank empty and most of the food gone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  2. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    I just pulled up the grade on 80 East out of SLC at the beginning of August. This was with a 2003 Ody van pulling our camper. Grade started out fine until a semi pulled out into the second lane (grade has three lanes) to pass a tanker truck and did not pass, but they both slowed down to 20 mph. Well, that killed my convective cooling with the reduced speed and I was watching my temp gauge and it went up to 271 F (I have my garmin linked into my OBD via ecoroute for this info). That was up from ~246F on normal pull. We opened the windows, turned the heater on full blast and kept going. That actually brought the temp back down to 246F. About 1 mile later, we ended up passing the semi on the right and got back up to speed (45-50 mph) and things were fine from there. It is a long grade, was quite hot that day. Turning your heater on full with fan on full does help with cool down. I don't understand the professional drivers that pull out to pass and then can't pass. It was obvious from the start that the semi was not going to be able to pass the tanker.

    We saw more than 10 folks pulled off the pull disabled during our climb and most of those were not pulling anything. Glad we used the heater trick and once we got past that portion of the drive we did not have anymore trouble with grades of temps. This was nearing the end of a three week trip, so we were pretty in tune with what the vehicle was doing as it pulled the camper.
     
  3. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Birdnest, another option is tow with empty water tank and fill it up at campground. Just be sure to put in filter at the sprout.
     
  4. BirdsNest

    BirdsNest Active Member

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    I normally do. I only pulled it full this last time because there's no fresh water available for filling tanks at the campground that we went to. I was just pointing out that even with all of that extra weight that normally isn't there, the Durango was fine since we didn't try to go up any really steep hills.
     
  5. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought... a radiator from a V8 Durango. A lot more square inch's of cooling surface
     
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  6. Yak

    Yak Well-Known Member

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    I've been down this road with my Dakota, fan clutch
     
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