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Towing and Transmisson Maintenance

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by chcav1218, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    My truck has about 180,000 miles on it and I have driven it for about the last 40,000. I have a few questions about the maintenance of my transmission because I am going to be towing a heavy 35' camper trailer about 1500 miles.

    First off, I have been told not to have my transmission flushed because I don't know if it has been done regularly in the past and could stir up debris and cause problems. Is this true or should I not worry about having it flushed?

    Second, Should I install a transmission cooler? They're not very expensive so I wouldn't mid doing it. Is it worth it?

    Third, What kind of brake controller should I be looking for?

    Thanks for any help guys
     
  2. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    JMO but it is a cardnal sin to flush a transmission with many miles on it.. I personally did it years ago.. Thought I was going to be nice nice to my truck.. give it some love.. flush the tranny fill her up with nice new fluid.. she went nowhere.. tranny job.. oh and yes it was right before a snow storm..
     
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Check out this thread for a effective and safe exchange procedure you can do yourself. Post #2.
    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=92981&highlight=fluid+exchange

    Synthetic Fluid will give you the best protection, and run cooler.

    Your truck probably has an auxilary cooler. If not, add one.

    For a brake controller, the Tekonsha P3 is very highly regarded.
     
  4. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    Do you know if it has the original tranny or if the guy before you had it rebuilt? If he had it rebuilt, say, around 120,000 miles or more, then I wouldnt be concerned with changing/flushing the fluid, as this is about the time when a new tranny would be flushed. If it is still on the original tranny....DONT TOUCH IT. 180,000 miles on a tranny that spent its life doing towing and plowing duty is excellent, and flushing it can only hurt it as you may be on borrowed time anyway.
     
  5. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    i hope you have towed before, because thats a big trailer and if you dont have trailer breaks then you obvisoly havent pulled a double axle yet. becareful bout sway too
     
  6. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    just a once. it was and 18' dual axle flat bed with a tractor on it. its gonna be interesting.
     
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    "Letting a sleeping dog lie" when it comes to transmission service is one of the biggest wives' tales ever. People run into trouble when they go to quickie lube shops, or any other garage - including dealers - that are doing trans flushes rather than a proper filter change and service. It is much faster, and therefore profitable, for a tech to pull a cooler line, connect a couple of hoses, and pump out a few quarts of fluid. Also, by not dropping the pan, they reduce the likelihood of a call back due to a leaky pan gasket. The procedure I outlined in the linked thread is perfectly safe. I have done it several times, and it is endorsed by the best mechanics on this site and others.

    What kind of trailer will you be pulling? Fifth wheel or "bumper pull"
     
  8. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    Hey chcav1218, does your truck have a trans temp guage?
     
  9. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    thnx 2cor. unfortunately its a bumper pull. im kinda nervous about it. any pointers?
     
  10. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    and JD, no it doesnt have a trans temp gauge.
     
  11. ontario026

    ontario026 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    B&B where are you??? LOL What's your input on this? I have heard exactly what 2Cor said, "that not touching a 'neglected' higher mileage tranny is the best bet" is a wives tale and may stand true for some old school transmissions, but is not detrimental on modern trannies when done correctly...

    Matthew
     
  12. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    put one in it, you''ll be glad you did, and before you get on the high way with this thing, make sure you can drive with it regulary and figure out how high youll need to set your breaks to.
     
  13. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    Believe me it is a bunch of horseshyt!!! My truck has 156k on it, flushed the trans as outlined in that thread around 154k, do plenty of towing in the landscaping season and plowing all winter. Trans shifts smoother and runs cooler than it did when I got the truck with 85k on it. Do it yourself, very simple job and you dont have a clown trying to get off easy and make a few bucks without doing the job properly!! Alot of the new fluids have good additive packages in them to help recondition old seals with a bunch of miles on them. Stick with a good mobil one synthetic or amsoil, you will need the long filter for the 4L80E, flush that torque converter out and you will be happy. Your truck is the same as mine (unless it is the obs with the 5.7) so dont let people scare you or fool you. The truck does have an aux trans cooler providing it has the tow package/plow prep which it more than likely does. That is more than fine for a stock truck pulling a heavy camper. Pulled my car from Cleveland Ohio to Kansas City, Missouri this July while the temps out there were in the 90's without the trans temp going near the 200 mark. As for the controller, I personally run the tekonsha prodigy and love it!!! Very easy to adjust for a heavier load and much nicer to stop with the brakes being applied more or less pending pedal pressure. Worth every penny for me
     
  14. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    Is it a simple install or will I need to get it done by a shop? I plan on going on a few short test drives to see how everything handles.
     
  15. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    Before I was concerned with another cooler (im sure your truck has a stock cooler) I would install a trans temp guage so you're not running blind. Are you going to be going through any mountains? Do you know the the LOADED weight of the trailer is? What is the rear end ratio of your truck? Sorry for all the questions but I would hate to see you ruin your truck.

    2COR517, I did the same sort of bucket flush on my 4l80e, except I cut the square part off of the filter and connected a hose to the neck of the old filter and pulled the oil in that way out of a bucket. I put a utility sled under the tranny to catch the old fluid because the fluid literally came out of the entire bottom of the tranny, not just in 1 location. I then had to add the capacity of the pan back into the tranny via the dipstick hole. I understand that many problems related to transmission flush failures are due to the high pressure flush, but is it possible that the detergents in the new tranny fluid could could cause crud to break loose inside of the "dirty" tranny and still cause a failure?
     
  16. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Two words for you. Hensley Arrow. Google it. Go to RV.net and do some reading there too. Those guys are the experts on towing.

    Put one in soon. That way you will have an idea what is normal.

    B&B "endorses" the procedure in post #10 of the thread I linked.
     
  17. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    My truck is the same as yours. I'd love to see some pics of it sometime. I think im going to do a fluid change like that thread says. I'm hoping to have it rebuilt this summer.
     
  18. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,882

    Well if you have the Silverado 2500 4x4 with the 6.0, then you will already have a trans temp gauge in it. It is on the lower left side of the dash cluster below the driver info center.

    I will have to get some new pics of the truck soon. Havent done much on the exterior as of yet, all my money is under the hood, lol
     
  19. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I've never heard of anyone doing it that way. Sounds messy, and very risky to me. Risky because if the hose came out of the filter inlet, you would pump the trans dry. Plus, you are pulling unfiltered fluid into your trans.:nono: With "my" procedure you just need a piece of 3/8 fuel line into a bucket. I actually use washer fluid jugs. You can see the color change easily, and you don't have to handle the old ATF again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  20. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    That anti sway hitch looks pretty sweet but its $$$$$$