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Old 04-11-2012, 08:33 PM   #1
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Tow with O/D on or off? And what about downshifting?

Have had our 2000 Ford F150 since 2003. In the near decade that I've driven it, I've never used the little on/off button on the end of the shift stalk, even when I've towed a car or large pile of lumber with my car trailer. It has relatively low mileage and I don't want to damage the tranny at this point and I certainly don't want to get stranded on the far side of the country.

Now that I will be towing a TT that weighs around 4,000 lbs and for long distances at freeway speeds, I need to know what to do with the little button.

I am rather confused as to whether to tow in overdrive or not. There seems to be conflicting info out there from what I've read on Google. On our longest trip yet last weekend, we drove about an hour on the freeway at around 60mph. It tows great and doesn't hunt between gears. Got nearly 11mpg too. But it does seem underpowered at times say when going up mild inclines and I'd like to switch out of O/D. I does seem quite apparent that it IS okay to shift out of O/D on steeper hills to maintain power and speed. It feels like it would be better to turn O/D off sometimes because the RPMs feel too low. But maybe that's just the way it is?

If you have the option of driving with the O/D on or off (depending on speed, incline, etc.) is gas mileage affected much one way or the other?

Is there a really clear answer on this? And what's the recommended practice for manually shifting into a lower gear when going up or down a steep hill and does it matter if you do this while O/D is on or off?

I've also read that you can manually lock out the overdrive. I have no idea what this is about and how to do it. It sounds like damage to the tranny is caused by continuous hunting between gears while in O/D?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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tow/haul mode short version is it doesnt allow the converter to fully lock up and raises all your shift points so that it builds more rpm before shifting when starting from stop.
I only run o/d when on perfectly flat hi way . otherwise third it is .
and I all ways run tow/haul mode .

I have rebuilt my share of transmissions all be it earlier models with overdrive and almost every tow vehicle tranny that was run in overdrive smoked the clutch pack .

yeah yeah I know theres guys that have run o/d for 6 million miles and never used tow haul mode with no problems .
but now a days why take a chance . most transmissions run upward of 6 grand ! diesels add another 2 grand !
do what ya want but IMO no o/d and use tow haul !
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:25 PM   #3
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New F150's use 6th gear in tow haul mode. My truck uses 6th gear on the highway with 8500# behind it. I am guessing if the Ford Engineers thought it was detrimental they would have programmed the tow haul mode to not use 6th gear.

What does your owners manual say?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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I only use O/D (like f1100) when on flat roads and at highway speeds (60+ mph). As soon as I feel the engine start bogging down I let off the fuel and select tow/haul.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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I would not use overdrive with a 4k trailer, you will gain no fuel economy and the lugging is hard on the transmission and engine, Ford didn't have the tow\haul in those years so simply press the button to turn od off. You might get by using it on flat roads and tail winds, you can feel when it is struggling to tow the trailer,
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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My manual says do not use overdrive while towing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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I just know this isn't going to be popular but I keep it simple and I tow according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

My Sequoia has a tow/haul mode and they recommend it. I use it. I also followed the recommendations with my Ford F-150 and Jeep Grand Cherokee when I owned those. I did not tow with O/D with those vehicles.

Frankly, I trust the manufacturer more than Google. So what's your manual say?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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The older OD tranny..pre 05ish doesnt have tow/haul...just locks out overdrive. We have near 235000 miles on a 99 with the same tranny, it has towed, plowed and worked its whole life and still has the original tranny. The trick is to shut the OD off every time you start the truck, the only time the tranny should actually be in overdrive is if your traveling at a constant speed over 40mph for a good distance. Basically you should experiment, 4000 lbs is quite light but dependant on gearing and driving style, grades etc, you will not want the tranny shifting constantly. If the truck will hold the speed you choose to travel in overdrive then do it, if it looses speed then downshifts your better off to lock it out until your at a higher rate of speed.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunkfamily View Post
The older OD tranny..pre 05ish doesnt have tow/haul...just locks out overdrive. We have near 235000 miles on a 99 with the same tranny, it has towed, plowed and worked its whole life and still has the original tranny. The trick is to shut the OD off every time you start the truck, the only time the tranny should actually be in overdrive is if your traveling at a constant speed over 40mph for a good distance. Basically you should experiment, 4000 lbs is quite light but dependant on gearing and driving style, grades etc, you will not want the tranny shifting constantly. If the truck will hold the speed you choose to travel in overdrive then do it, if it loofunses speed then downshifts your better off to lock it out until your at a higher rate of speed.

Funny ! the two 1993 f250's in my shop both have tow haul
Mode on shift lever?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
My manual says do not use overdrive while towing.
X2
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