using cruise control

Patrick w

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
766
Different then from a few years ago. When you only had a 4 speed, the transmissions weren't very smart, and could sometimes drop you from 4 to 3 to even 2 to try and maintain speed with your engine screaming at redline.
With more gears (and more hp than two decades ago) it's much better. The trick is to try and keep it in the power band.
I've towed in third, it was up a smaller pass, but it was so that I could keep it in the power. But cruise on flats just to keep me from speeding.
 

wtyrrel

Member
Mar 28, 2020
10
My TV is an '04 Volvo V70. Since it has an upgraded turbo and is tuned, I can't say if this is all Volvos/turbos, but I highly suspect that it is, if I set the cruise it will use the turbo without shifting to increase torque (towing or not.) If the cruise is off and I give it the same amount of gas by foot it will downshift before giving me the same amount of boost.
Using CC, I'll shift to D for big hills, and I've found that if I'm losing speed up a medium hill I can keep OD if I just lower speed a tad...then bump it back up after the hill (just as if driving by foot.)
Volvo also recommends using D > OD when towing (It's a 5 speed auto). I've always assumed this is to prevent gear hunting and shifting. I sure hope so, anyways! ;p
 

kcrouth

Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 3, 2015
80
Durham NC
On the flat interstate through Nebraska and Kansas with light traffic, yes. Through the hilly terrain of Georgia, no.
It is tough to use it on hills and mountain roads. When i tow (Tacoma + 2000+ lb Coleman) i typically cut the overdrive off on the transmission, use 4th gear and below. The RPM stays up a little higher where the engine is happier.
 

MRBINNC

New Member
Jul 14, 2016
1
With my 1988 F150 w/ 5.0l V8 4 speed with overdrive and later with my 1998 F150 w/ 4.6l V8 4 speed w/ overdrive (no tow / haul modes on either):
-I would use cruise control in light / steady traffic, this allowed me to pay more attention to traffic in front & coming up behind me. But once traffic started to tighten up, get heavy or stop & go; I definitely didn't use cruise.
-I did use overdrive on flat & relatively flat terrain on the highways w/ light traffic. Once the transmission wanted to hunt, I would take it out of overdrive. Never had any transmission issues (had the 1988 for 160K miles & the 1998 for 230K miles).
 

Jay6m

New Member
May 31, 2020
8
Just to give you a background on a few things. The Tow/Haul button doesn’t prevent overdrive. It tries to prevent transmission overheating concerns. The more the torque converter(TC) works within the trans, the hotter the trans will get. Delaying or preventing overdrive, will lower how hard the TC works, thus lowering the overall temp of the trans. Additionally, selecting the towing button will keep the TC clutch locked-up under increased loads. In another words, when the TC clutch is locked, the torque multiplication characteristics of the TC are disabled. When that occurs, heat is not being generated by that component. Typically, the TC clutch unlocks, results in more power and heat, somewhere between 25-50% throttle. There are a lot of factors that apply here that I am not going into detail on. Suffice it to say, with the tow/haul button pressed, you may need to go to approximately 3/4 or more throttle in order for the clutch to disengage. This then allows for the engine to generate more power and not the TC. This significantly reduces trans load. That button will often keep it out of overdrive but doesn’t prevent it. It all depends on the load, not just the weight, such as wind resistance.

I didn’t read every thread response on this but the bunch I did read leave out two important things. Wind resistance and vehicle weight. I started with a pup but now have a TT. Especially the TT on particularly the open flats can get very windy. Your TT may be half of your towing capability but when that wind is pushing hard against the front of the TT, you TV will be working a lot harder. Just because you are on the flats, doesn’t give you a pass for using overdrive.

Also, particularly you pup users, how loaded up is your tow vehicle? If you have have a 3k lbs capacity with a 1500 lb pup, it seems fine. Check your Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR). If your minivan has 7 people inside and the rear is loaded up blocking the rear glass and you are also using a rooftop luggage carrier, you are going to exceed the max weight and really work you trans hard, regardless of the pup being only half of capacity. You cannot just look at capacity and think you are always fine. Wind and TV weight are major factors in determining how hard the power train works. I hope this is helpful.
 

TRACY GROMER

Member
Jun 20, 2018
55
Phoenix, Arizona
I would read your TV manual for specifics for your vehicle, but I do not use CC on hills -- I figure that I can see the hill coming up and can accelerate early enough to have the power to make it up the hill as I enter the hill. In contrast, the CC cannot see what is ahead and has to react after the car senses the need for more power. I figure I'm using less gas and treating my engine better by anticipating that need and controlling the gas and speed myself. It's just a smoother tow that way.
 

stierheim

Member
Apr 22, 2013
65
Just to give you a background on a few things. The Tow/Haul button doesn’t prevent overdrive.
This depends on the manufacturer and the specific vehicle/transmission. With a large engine and a heavy duty transmission, tow/haul may utilize overdrive. On smaller engines or when the transmission is not a heavy duty design, tow/haul will lock out overdrive.
 

YeHaRuby

New Member
Sep 11, 2020
8
In General, the issue is with the tow vehicle and transmission life. Continuous hard shifting with the automatics while using cruise control can reduce it's lifespan. The cruise control isn't smart enough (even modern cruise control, it's better but still not optimal) to realize you are going over a small hill and have xxx lb trailer behind it, so it will hit the throttle really hard to maintain rapidly lost speed. This causes an abrupt; harder shift than normal. If I am going on flat interstate highways, I may use cc but if i get in a hilly area then I don't use it.
 

Robmoo

Active Member
Aug 12, 2017
102
In General, the issue is with the tow vehicle and transmission life. Continuous hard shifting with the automatics while using cruise control can reduce it's lifespan. The cruise control isn't smart enough (even modern cruise control, it's better but still not optimal) to realize you are going over a small hill and have xxx lb trailer behind it, so it will hit the throttle really hard to maintain rapidly lost speed. This causes an abrupt; harder shift than normal. If I am going on flat interstate highways, I may use cc but if i get in a hilly area then I don't use it.
I use my cruise until I get into just such a situation. I don't need my TV accelerating like a formula one to just to get over a hill.
 




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