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2017 Traverse
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Discussion Starter #1
I would have searched for a thread on this but I don't see a search function.
Anyway, I have a 2017 with the tow package. Here are some of the questions I have about it that the manual doesn't really go into detail.

Tow Mode - What does this actually do for the vehicle.
Transmission Cooler - I believe that is built in and if it is, where would I see if the Tranny is getting taxed?
Manual vs Auto - I realize in manual we can control the gears. But does auto work while it tow mode?

Side note - we just bought a camper that with the additional weight is about 3500lbs total. It handled very nice I thought. We put a weight distribution/sway setup on it.
I just had some trouble keeping the rpms from bouncing between 2m & 3m but I will figure out that sweet spot.

Dan
 

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Tow Mode - What does this actually do for the vehicle.
Transmission Cooler - I believe that is built in and if it is, where would I see if the Tranny is getting taxed?
Manual vs Auto - I realize in manual we can control the gears. But does auto work while it tow mode?

Side note - we just bought a camper that with the additional weight is about 3500lbs total. It handled very nice I thought. We put a weight distribution/sway setup on it.
I just had some trouble keeping the rpms from bouncing between 2m & 3m but I will figure out that sweet spot.

Dan
Sounds like the same vehicle, 17 traverse tow package.

Transmission cooler is included with this package. I think the fan is also bigger as well. I've seen topics on this before.

In general the tow mode changes the way that the vehicle shifts the transmission. It will keep the vehicle and a lower gear automatically longer until it's certain it can run in the next gear up. You should definitely feel that/see that when in tow mode. This inherently should keep your transmission cooler because it's not consistently shifting between gears.

Personally the only time I would use the manual shifting is if I know that I'm coming in to a hilly area and want to keep the gear from going from 5th to 6th and just keep it in 5th or something. Does a better job than my 2012 Acadia did. I think they've made some improvements over the years.

Unless you install some kind of third-party transmission temperature gauge, I don't think you're going to be able to see "taxing" with the stock gauges and idiot lights.

Another thing is it will also keep the alternator in a higher capacity output to make sure that you're charging whatever batteries might be connected through the wiring harness.

We have a pop-up camper we use, about the same weight as what you have and it does just fine with it. No sway bar.

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Tow/haul also changes the turn signal "momentary" blinks from 3 to 6. (Momentary - Push the turn signal lever down to start the blinks and release it - don't push it far enough for it to stay on by itself.)

1st Gens have a slightly thicker "HD radiator," so it does a little bit more coolant and transmission oil cooling. There are no provisions for seeing the oil temperature; so no way to know if it's being "taxed." (2nd Gens have a slightly thicker "HD radiator" too, but in addition, the 2018/2019's seem to have an additional aux oil cooler mounted under the front fascia. This cooler doesn't show up in parts searches for 2020's, and no one with a 2020 has so far confirmed if they have it or not, so I'm guessing they don't. The 2018/2019's also have a tranny temp readout in the DIC, but the folks with 2020's say they don't have it.)

1st Gen fans are all the same. (2nd Gen seems to have two different fans doing a parts search, although in the pics I've seen, they look identical; it may only be related to mounting differences between the 2nd Gen standard and HD radiators??)

Only time I tried manual shifting is when I wanted it to go into a higher gear than it wanted to be in. But it won't let you do that (you can shift lower, but not higher), so I found the manual mode to be useless. With my 4,000 lb trailer travel trailer (not a popup), it would run in 4th gear at about 3200 rpm at 60 mph on flat level ground. I wanted to kick it up to 5th gear, but it wouldn't let me. It would only go into 5th on a down grade and it never went into 6th unless I was stopping. Any little upgrade would drop it into 3rd. I wasn't thrilled with this so I bought a REAL truck (pickup) to pull my camper.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tow/haul also changes the turn signal "momentary" blinks from 3 to 6. (Momentary - Push the turn signal lever down to start the blinks and release it - don't push it far enough for it to stay on by itself.)

1st Gens have a slightly thicker "HD radiator," so it does a little bit more coolant and transmission oil cooling. There are no provisions for seeing the oil temperature; so no way to know if it's being "taxed." (2nd Gens have a slightly thicker "HD radiator" too, but in addition, the 2018/2019's seem to have an additional aux oil cooler mounted under the front fascia. This cooler doesn't show up in parts searches for 2020's, and no one with a 2020 has so far confirmed if they have it or not, so I'm guessing they don't. The 2018/2019's also have a tranny temp readout in the DIC, but the folks with 2020's say they don't have it.)

1st Gen fans are all the same. (2nd Gen seems to have two different fans doing a parts search, although in the pics I've seen, they look identical; it may only be related to mounting differences between the 2nd Gen standard and HD radiators??)

Only time I tried manual shifting is when I wanted it to go into a higher gear than it wanted to be in. But it won't let you do that (you can shift lower, but not higher), so I found the manual mode to be useless. With my 4,000 lb trailer travel trailer (not a popup), it would run in 4th gear at about 3200 rpm at 60 mph on flat level ground. I wanted to kick it up to 5th gear, but it wouldn't let me. It would only go into 5th on a down grade and it never went into 6th unless I was stopping. Any little upgrade would drop it into 3rd. I wasn't thrilled with this so I bought a REAL truck (pickup) to pull my camper.
So you ran it in Auto but the towing mode kept it from going into higher gears?
I am curious about running in Auto while towing. Because my wife may need to drive it while I drive a Jeep once in awhile.
I sure wish Jeep would make a wrangler that could pull 5000lbs lol
 

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So you ran it in Auto but the towing mode kept it from going into higher gears?
I am curious about running in Auto while towing. Because my wife may need to drive it while I drive a Jeep once in awhile.
I sure wish Jeep would make a wrangler that could pull 5000lbs lol
They do, but it also has a bed and is called Gladiator... over 7k when properly equipped.
 

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So you ran it in Auto but the towing mode kept it from going into higher gears?
I am curious about running in Auto while towing. Because my wife may need to drive it while I drive a Jeep once in awhile.
I sure wish Jeep would make a wrangler that could pull 5000lbs lol
Assuming she's towing, she should be fine running it in auto mode with the tow option engaged, it was made to do this.

Manual mode gives you a little more downshift control but in most circumstances it's probably not really needed.

As greentraverse said, The tow mode will most of the time keep the engine running at higher rpms or better control and pulling power. In my pop-up, once I get above 65 70 mph it'll slip into 6th gear often on flat surfaces. A Heavier tow may not allow this.

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Rpm will be up to keep engine in it's HP and torque range. 3.6 operating / power range is higher rpm than a V8 like a 5.3 with the same HP rating. Computer knows engine load and how much throttle is being applied and shifts accordingly.
My '20 w/9 speed will never go into overdrive towing, my 6 speed 5.3 Tahoe will never go into 6th in tow mode pulling the same trailers on the same route.
 

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I am very aware of that unit. So is the wife and she thinks they are ugly. I have to pick my battles lol.
They can look a little "stretched" on the small tires and no lift models. They look really good with slightly larger tires though, maybe a slight lift as well.

Honestly, they won't perform any better while towing. The Pentastar is at best comparable but I find the GM 3.6 to have better low end torque due to the DI.
 

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In most states any trailer that weighs more than 3,000 lbs must be equipped with trailer brakes. Expecting the truck's gas engine to provide enough engine braking for the truck and is load and that of the trailer is wrong. A diesel engine with an exhaust brake can provide a good deal of engine braking but the engines are designed for this use.

It is also silly to talk about a "real truck" to tow a lightweigh trailer. I used a 2500 diesel to tow a 13,000 lb boat trailer load but after selling the boat I no longer needed the diesel with its much greater cost to operate and so I sold the truck.

Each truck is different in how the transmission works and some have grade control and this also affects handling and whether one should be in Auto or in manual mode. It pays if you plan to tow with any vehicle to read the manual and see if there are any trailering or towing specific guides online.
 

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In most states any trailer that weighs more than 3,000 lbs must be equipped with trailer brakes. Expecting the truck's gas engine to provide enough engine braking for the truck and is load and that of the trailer is wrong. A diesel engine with an exhaust brake can provide a good deal of engine braking but the engines are designed for this use.

It is also silly to talk about a "real truck" to tow a lightweigh trailer. I used a 2500 diesel to tow a 13,000 lb boat trailer load but after selling the boat I no longer needed the diesel with its much greater cost to operate and so I sold the truck.

Each truck is different in how the transmission works and some have grade control and this also affects handling and whether one should be in Auto or in manual mode. It pays if you plan to tow with any vehicle to read the manual and see if there are any trailering or towing specific guides online.
A real truck could be defined as a Frontier or a Gladiator in this case. Say what you want about the archaic design but a ladder frame and leaf sprung rear suspension have proven to be the best at controlling a trailer and reliably doing so with less moving parts. Sway control and heat buildup on the tiny rear diffs used in IRS crossovers can be pretty challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I got back from my second short trip towing. About 100 miles. It rides pretty well and definitely controls my camper. I did drive one way in manual and on the way back was in auto. obviously in tow mode. It did seem in auto the rpms would stay a bit lower at times but would peek around 3500 when pushing a hill. That is where my concerns are. Regardless of what gear, going up some of these hills I will be pushing 3300-3500 rpms until I get over that. Does this sound in the wheelhouse or a cause for concern?
 

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You don't say what speed you were trying to maintain. Sounds to me like you have a popup, not a full size TT?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You don't say what speed you were trying to maintain. Sounds to me like you have a popup, not a full size TT?
Sorry about that. I am pulling a 16ft couples campers that weights in at about 3700lbs when loaded.
Speed was about 60-65. In that area I don't need to do 80 lol.
 

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Sorry about that. I am pulling a 16ft couples campers that weights in at about 3700lbs when loaded.
Speed was about 60-65. In that area I don't need to do 80 lol.
Re-read the last paragraph of my post (#3). You seem to be doing slightly better than I did with my 2011. I was doing 3200 rpm on the flat and level at 60 mph and the rpm'st only went up from there. I sure didn't like it. That's why I bought a pickup with a V8.
 

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Well I got back from my second short trip towing. About 100 miles. It rides pretty well and definitely controls my camper. I did drive one way in manual and on the way back was in auto. obviously in tow mode. It did seem in auto the rpms would stay a bit lower at times but would peek around 3500 when pushing a hill. That is where my concerns are. Regardless of what gear, going up some of these hills I will be pushing 3300-3500 rpms until I get over that. Does this sound in the wheelhouse or a cause for concern?
Those RPMs are completely normal, these engines aren't pushrod V8s that make tons of torque at 2000 RPM. It's all about peak torque. Just make sure you follow the sever service intervals and are using high quality oil and transmission fluid, that should help keep everything really happy.

Over on the Pilot forum, the older Pilots with the 5 speed there are many people who run them at or over 4,000 RPM for extended periods while towing, just the nature of a high-revving V6 in a heavy crossover towing near the limits.
 

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Recently I pulled my 6x6x12 Cargo trailer 500 miles round trip. Lightly loaded vehicle and trailer. Trailer is 1500 lb. empty, had about 500 lb in the trailer. It's wind drag even with a slight V nose is significant.
Towed it in FWD btw, no difference in performance from tow mode other than less fuel usage.
Had a little FWD wheel spin pulling out of a couple driveways is all I noticed. If loaded it would have been in tow mode. I run my Tahoe in tow mode as it constantly shifts in/out of 6th and tow keeps it in 5th. Traverse seems to have better logic and doesn't shift as much when not in tow mode.
A couple big hills it went up at 3500 rpm, normal as this engine has a max. of 6500 rpm and ''little'' 3.6 needs to rev up to get into it's power band. Same hills in the Tahoe it's downshifting and winding up also.
Yours is acting normally.
I tow the same trailer with my Tahoe 5.3, that cargo trailer tows and uses the same fuel as the 18' pontoon I tow.
Trans. in auto will try to get into a higher gear for economy on the flats, I would just leave it in D unless it's really up/down shifting like on a up/down snake road.
As others have said service the trans. fluid via the severe schedule with a synth. fluid.
Most trailers tires are speed rated at 61 to 81 mph. FYI . Speed code is on the tire. So those guys cruising at 80+ are pushing the envelope.
 

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The whole towing thing with a Traverse is a cluster. Long story but I traded in an OLD Yukon and got it back because even the dealer was confused on tow capacity.
It’s hard to justify why a NON tow packaged Traverse is so underrated vs the tow pack. Same engine, same unibody, same drivetrain and the “HD radiator” has ONE TENTH OF ONE QUART more capacity, according to the owners manual. I think it boils down to a tranny cooler and shift characteristics that is the only real difference. When mine’s out of warranty, I’m going to put a hitch on it and manual shift on hills and pull my 4000lb pontoon boat. I doubt I’ll ever have any trouble.
 

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The whole towing thing with a Traverse is a cluster. Long story but I traded in an OLD Yukon and got it back because even the dealer was confused on tow capacity.
It’s hard to justify why a NON tow packaged Traverse is so underrated vs the tow pack. Same engine, same unibody, same drivetrain and the “HD radiator” has ONE TENTH OF ONE QUART more capacity, according to the owners manual. I think it boils down to a tranny cooler and shift characteristics that is the only real difference. When mine’s out of warranty, I’m going to put a hitch on it and manual shift on hills and pull my 4000lb pontoon boat. I doubt I’ll ever have any trouble.
Watch your trans temps, I'd at least put a cooler on before doing that.
 
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