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Old 11-27-2021, 09:30 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Towing a car with a 5.9 and AT545

Can anyone give some real world advice on towing a car with a 35 foot bus with a 5.9 12v Cummins and am AT545? Bus weighs right about 21000 pounds as is. The trans is recently overhauled and the motor has been tuned up to ~240 HP. 4:78 rear gear.

It runs down the highway at 62 mph @ 2400 rpm. Acceleration is of course not spectacular.

Does anyone have any experience doing this? We are full time and would like to be able to explore our surroundings a little more.

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Old 11-27-2021, 09:45 PM   #2
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What size toad? And do you have an extra oil cooler for the transmission?
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Old 11-27-2021, 09:56 PM   #3
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I would keep the toad light. Honda Fit or similar. Yes, I have an extra transmission cooler about half the size as the radiator.
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Old 11-27-2021, 09:59 PM   #4
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A Honda misfit is so light you won't even feel it. Do you have a temp gauge for the tranny? If so where does it run now?
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:28 AM   #5
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Yes I have all the needed gauges. It currently runs about 170 on the highway and climbs to 190 if there is a long uptick. 190 in stop and go situations. When climbing real grades it may get up to 230 from time to time.

When climbing I drive by the EGT and trans temp gauges and down shift as needed. Speedometer is just to let me know when to turn on the hazards.
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:55 AM   #6
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I think you will be fine. Many here on the forum don't like the 545 but I do. I've had 2 over the years and still have 1 and if you cool them they are great.
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:07 AM   #7
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big cooler on the trans will do you well.. 230 is a bit warm but not horrible (for the trans.. 230 for the engine is way too hot)..



you already know how to drive this setup properly so i think you will do fine.. a cooler I would definitely add though.. if it were my setup id add a remote cooler with a fan so you can control when and how much it cools..
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
I think you will be fine. Many here on the forum don't like the 545 but I do. I've had 2 over the years and still have 1 and if you cool them they are great.



the AT545 is defimitely inferior but its not unworkable for someone that knows how to drive it.. Ive ruined 2 of them and chose to not ruin any more of them LOL
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:47 PM   #9
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I don't know if this will help you or not, but I have a 32' bus with a DT466, an MT643 transmission, and a 4.10 rear end. I tow my 2000 Tacoma pickup all the time. It's pretty slow going up steep (8%+) grades, but it will do it. On the flat it cruises along pretty good.
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:15 PM   #10
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i killed my 545 towing a trailer +atv up to the colorado rockies.

that was about a 3500lbs tow and a lot of hill.

my new locking trans pulls much more confidently, now i tow the same trailer, with a car on it. that puts the load about 7500 lbs, same hills.

last summer, i got a new toad that is only about 2500#

with a 545, i'd stay as light as possible. slippage is the death of the 545.

Good luck
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Old 12-04-2021, 05:22 PM   #11
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I have a 5.9 and At545 on a 40ft with a VW Jetta on a dolly behind. Just pulled it from the west coast to the Midwest, through the rockies without issue (except the slow speed). I have a large tranny cooler and make a point to downshift on inclines to keep the temp of the tranny under 200. It's really slow, but workable. Just plan on your trip taking longer than you think.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrkin View Post
I don't know if this will help you or not, but I have a 32' bus with a DT466, an MT643 transmission, and a 4.10 rear end. I tow my 2000 Tacoma pickup all the time. It's pretty slow going up steep (8%+) grades, but it will do it. On the flat it cruises along pretty good.
Do you flat tow your Tacoma, Gyrkin? If so what setup did you have? I have a 2010 Iím planning on flat towing eventually.
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:41 PM   #13
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I canít speak to the transmission but others have. You shouldnít have too much problem towing on the flat ground with that engine. Hills youíll really notice it if itís heavy. My old 3500 pound Honda Pilot was a big weight back there on the hills, it got written off from hail damage so last summer I towed my 2000 keep Cherokee and it was much nicer.

If youíre 2500 pounds or less youíll be a lot better off and itís well worth it to skip the tow dolly and itís 500 pounds and go for something you can tow all 4 wheels down. Just make sure itís something you can tow flat without ruining the transmission. Eg honda CRVís are good. Iím not sure about the Honda Fit but maybe youíve already looked into thatÖ a small car like that youíd probably not even feel it on the hillsÖ maybe the tranny would thoughÖ
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhaisten View Post
Can anyone give some real world advice on towing a car with a 35 foot bus with a 5.9 12v Cummins and am AT545? Bus weighs right about 21000 pounds as is. The trans is recently overhauled and the motor has been tuned up to ~240 HP. 4:78 rear gear.

It runs down the highway at 62 mph @ 2400 rpm. Acceleration is of course not spectacular.

Does anyone have any experience doing this? We are full time and would like to be able to explore our surroundings a little more.

Https://mzdazy.net/adventures
The AT-545 is a strong transmission with a great track record when used for the purpose it was designed for. It is a tyranny designed for a vehicle the is primarily used for stop and start situations like delivery vehicles, trash trucks and city school buses. They are primarily paired with non locking torque converters.
If you keep the toad very light and keep the granny cool you should be fine. Travel slow coming down steep grades. The non locking converter reduces your ability to engine brake.
If you will be running grades often, consider employing Brake Buddy on the toad.
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Old 12-07-2021, 11:30 AM   #15
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As others have stated- get a good cooler for the trans. with a fan. And run Transynd or equivalent. It stands up to the heat a lot better.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:05 PM   #16
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Do you flat tow your Tacoma, Gyrkin? If so what setup did you have? I have a 2010 Iím planning on flat towing eventually.
Yes I flat tow. I have a 2000 Tacoma, v6, 4x4 with a manual transmission. I just put the transmission in neutral, the transfer case in 2H and unlock the steering wheel. Toyota says you can't flat tow it, but I have for close to 10,000 miles total and haven't had any problems.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:29 PM   #17
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There’s lots of vehicles you CAN tow 4 flat out there but the manufacturer says you can’t. Honda Pilot is one that Honda says no to but lots of people, such as I, do it trouble free. Honda CRV is one that Honda says is ok. Lots of Jeeps are ok.

If the vehicle has a manual transfer case you’re basically good to tow, but still I’d look into a prospect vehicle for specifics. If it’s an automatic transmission with manual transfer case put tranny in park and the transfer case in neutral, that way you know you’re not spinning the transmission. If it’s manual transmission without transfer case in most cases it’ll be ok but check into the specific vehicle.

There used to be a great website called Remco Towing where you could look up almost any vehicle to get good info on it but they’ve shut down since covid. I’m not sure what other resources there are now other than manufacturer info.
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Old 12-13-2021, 08:01 AM   #18
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the electromic or "auto" transfer cases are the ones to watch for, however if you look at how most of them are built they have an internal oil pump that spins when the main shaft spins, the pump still spins and pumps fluid even if the T-case is in 'N' which means that the transmission does not spin but the T-case is still fully lubricated..


im speaking mainly from a GM persoective since those are the ones ive taken apart and rebuilt a couple times.. but im guessing others are similar.



if you leave the transfer case in gear you will always be spinning the output shaft of the transmission.. and I dont know of any modern automatics which have a rear pump.. they all require the engine to be spinning to lubricate the rear bearing of the transmission.
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Old 12-13-2021, 08:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrkin View Post
Yes I flat tow. I have a 2000 Tacoma, v6, 4x4 with a manual transmission. I just put the transmission in neutral, the transfer case in 2H and unlock the steering wheel. Toyota says you can't flat tow it, but I have for close to 10,000 miles total and haven't had any problems.
Doing it the way you are doesn't lube the main-input shaft needle bearing, as it's not being lubed spinning like that with the input/countershaft fixed. If you put the t-case in neutral and the trans in gear, it won't lube the t-case properly as it's oil pump is turned by the input shaft. With the t-case in neutral, the input shaft and oil pump won't be turning and the output shaft bearing won't be lubed.

That's why toyota says it can't be done. How you've done it for 10k miles is beyond me, but it's not ideal, and if that bearing would seize you'll know it pretty quickly.

Best thing to do for you to flat tow your toyota is to remove the rear driveshaft.

Vehicles that can be flat towed with the shaft installed, must have an output shaft driven oil pump in the t-case, or an output shaft driven oil pump in the trans. In that case, whichever one has the pump, is the one you'd put in neutral.
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Old 12-13-2021, 08:55 AM   #20
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if you leave the transfer case in gear you will always be spinning the output shaft of the transmission.. and I dont know of any modern automatics which have a rear pump.. they all require the engine to be spinning to lubricate the rear bearing of the transmission.
This.

The only ones that I've seen personally with a output driven pump was on some of the old 2 speed powerglides used in the 60's.

AFAIK, there aren't any rear pump manual transmissions. Their lubrication is provided by splash from the countershaft turning. The countershaft only turns when the input shaft is turning. So if you're driving along with the engine off, trans in neutral, and clutch pedal up, there is little to no lubrication occurring. You're relying solely upon the little bit of lube present at the bearing.

Now I'm not saying I haven't flat towed vehicles in without removing the driveshaft. But it's typically only a few miles at most, and even then damage can still occur.
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