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Maximizing Your Tow Vehicle’s Performance  
By: Chad Morgenthaler

www.chadmorgenthaler.com

 

As a professional touring angler I really put my tow vehicle to the test.  Some days it seems I spend more time in my truck driving to and from tournaments than I do in my boat competing.  So, it’s extremely important that I have a dependable truck with the best towing capacity possible.  It’s also important that I keep my truck and boat motor running in top condition.  That’s why I teamed-up with the experts at Jasper Engines and Transmissions to provide you with suggestions and tips on how to keep your rig operating smoothly and trouble free. 

I’ve found that if you’re towing a good size rig it’s definitely worth the extra money and effort to follow the extreme performance schedule recommended by your automobile manufacturer.  The schedule calls for changing the fluids and filters in your vehicle’s engine and transmission more often than normal, but it’s a great preventative measure to help your tow vehicle run longer and smoother. In addition, always keep a close watch on your vehicle’s belts and hoses, and make sure they’re in good shape and replaced on time.  If you tow frequently at the maximum capacity range recommended for your vehicle I also suggest an engine oil cooler as a precaution.

In addition, the engineers at Jasper Engines and Transmissions in Jasper, Indiana also provided some great advice.  They informed me that the number one cause of transmission failure is overheating, and more often than not the cause of overheating is a direct result of towing.  So, when pulling a camper, favorite bass rig, or a horse trailer, it’s really important to take extra precautions in order to ensure long lasting performance not only out of your vehicle’s transmission, but the engine as well.

Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep your transmission from overheating.  The first tip is to install a transmission temperature gauge. This is a good way to keep an eye on your transmission’s internal temperature while towing.  It’s extremely helpful when towing heavy loads through mountains and hilly areas when your engine and transmission are really put to the test.  The second tip is to purchase a transmission cooler. A transmission cooler helps to reduce the internal temperature of the transmission during long trips.  Both of these items are great suggestions and the products can be purchased for your vehicle “after market”

Whether you own a ski boat, or a bass boat, take the prop off your motor’s lower unit. Look it over good to make sure there’s nothing wrapped around the prop shaft that could cause the seal to go bad. If you have a bad seal, the lower unit will leak fluid and cause it to overheat.  Ultimately if left unchecked the leak and overheating will destroy the lower unit resulting in a costly fix.

After making sure nothing is wrapped around the prop shaft, check to make sure the prop nut is adjusted properly.  Each unit has specific recommendations, so be sure you’re adjusting to the correct specifications.  Proper adjustment will also help guard against early prop shaft failure.

Next, change your outboard unit’s fluid twice a year.  As a rule of thumb, change fluids once in early spring and then right before storing your boat for winter. The oil should look a little darker than its original color, but shouldn’t contain a lot of metal filings.  For a quick test, take the drain pan full of old oil outside in the sun.  If the oil reflects an excessive glitter, there might be a problem and it’s worth the effort to take the lower unit to your dealer to have it checked.  

Periodically check the air pressure and condition of the tires on your trailer and tow vehicle. Under or over inflation on either can cause major problems. Also, take a look at your trailer’s wheel bearings. You can do this by jacking the trailer up, grabbing the top and bottom of the tire and giving it a small wiggle, and then give the tire a spin. If the bearings sound dry, or there’s extra play, they probably need some attention.  Remember, proper inflation also helps your tow vehicle get better gas mileage.

 

A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Penetrator Weights, Reaction Innovation, Nameoki Village Marine, Berkley – Abu Garcia, and Solar Bat. 

Make sure and log onto my web site www.chadmorgenthaler.com and signup for my fan club.  E-newsletters are forwarded monthly and one lucky winner each month receives a prize.  Tournament summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated every two weeks.  It’s a great source of bass fishing information.