4.7 6,000lb Uphill Towing Failure - TundraTalk.net - Toyota Tundra Discussion Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy 4.7 6,000lb Uphill Towing Failure

I have a 2004 4.7 double cab w/ ~170,000 miles. I was pulling a 5,000lb travel trailer with maybe 1,000 extra lbs (kids, bikes, etc.) up a hill, and the truck couldnít make it. I had to back down the mountain road until I could find a turn around. The truck was going about 3mph, at about 2,000RPM before I stopped trying. It was the 138 up to Big Bear CA, a steep curvy road. We had just come from Yosemite so the truck was running hard for about 7 hours. After I turned around everything was fine. The truck seems fine now. I checked the transmission fluid and it looks and smells fine. No check engine light.

I am having a hard time finding anyone that had a similar issue. I donít know if this year has a limp mode that it entered. I donít think the transmission was slipping at all. The elevation was about 5,000 feet and it was maybe 80 degrees outside.

Was this just too much for my truck (weight and grade) or do you think there is another issue?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 09:21 PM
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Was the traction control light flashing?

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 09:48 PM
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So, 6000 pounds, 5k elevation and your truck would not go beyond 2K RPM? I am not familiar with the 138 but for a gas engine to NOT go beyond 2K RPM sounds like a major issue to me. You may have taxed it a bit but I would not expect it to essentially refuse to downshift and then all of a sudden act like all was good.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 09:57 PM
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If he was only going 3 mph he was in first gear with nothing to shift down to

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:04 PM
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That's odd, even for the 4.6.

Was there any warning lights? Like trans temp?

At 2k rpm, should have been more that that for mph even. Would have had major slippage, or been in limp mode.


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:08 PM
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If this is the road, I don't think you should have had an issue.



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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:16 PM
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If he was only going 3 mph he was in first gear with nothing to shift down to

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Perhaps but I still say there is a major issue. I do not drive a Tundra anymore, however, I drive a Ram 2500 Diesel pulling 14+k pounds and literally just got back from a trip last night from Williams, AZ. There is a section between Flagstaff and Phoenix that taxes my truck like no other. I am talking a section where semis are literally going like 15-20 MPH, it is a complete and horrible beeotch. Anyway, My truck NEVER downshifts to 3rd gear on a hill but on this one it does. My turbo makes so much noise that it scares the living daylights out of me...but, I never fall below about 45-50 MPH and once things level out the truck quickly goes back to normal. Keep in mind, I am not trying to compare trucks, however, when a gas engine refuses to pull more than 2K that is a problem and I am just making a comparison for comparison sake.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:24 PM
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Your truck also has twice the torque at half the rpm. I agree the truck should pull the hill that's why I asked about the traction control light, because it sounds like the trucks torque management was active.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:32 PM
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Your truck also has twice the torque at half the rpm. I agree the truck should pull the hill that's why I asked about the traction control light, because it sounds like the trucks torque management was active.

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Agreed on the torque and RPM, however, we take this trip almost yearly, meaning I have taken it with my 2010 and 2016 Tundra. Yes, my campers were much smaller (probably around 5500 pounds loaded) and I had the 5.7 in each, but I still never experienced anything close to what the OP is describing. My buddy just did this trip with me. He pulls about a 5000 pound trailer with an absolute POS 2008 Ford Expedition (don't get me started on all of the issues we have had with that pile of junk) and he was fine as well, just much slower than me. All I am saying is I don't think what the OP describes is "normal" or good and he should get things checked out. His engine may not have the best specs, however, it should not exhibit the behavior he described.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:34 PM
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Your truck also has twice the torque at half the rpm. I agree the truck should pull the hill that's why I asked about the traction control light, because it sounds like the trucks torque management was active.

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Oh, and for the record, my truck has 3.63 times the torque of his truck, 220 vs. 800
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:50 PM
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Oh yea I forgot we were talking about a 4.7. I can total see the truck sitting on the torque converter stall and not being able to accelerate then. With that low of torque and 3.9 gear ratio it doesnt surprise me. He needed a little more momentum to get it in a happy rpm range and keep it there.

Pulling the Cuesta grade fully loaded (8000lb trailer with payload for 2 adults a baby and a dog) with my 5.7 I have to be at 65 at the bottom the maintain 55 over the summit. Truck screams at 4500 plus rpm

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Wow, you guys are amazing. No traction control lights, no lights at all. I have slipped in snow and gravel, I am not sure there is a traction control light. I don't know if the 2004 has a limp mode. At only 3-5mph i don't think the engine would have a higher RPM. I am pretty sure it was in 1st gear.

I have never been, or seen, a truck in a position where it just can't pull anymore. I couldn't even find anything online. Only videos that would have traction slippage as part of the issue.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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This looks like the lower part of the road. The average grade on the upper part is 9% with a few sections over 20%.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:34 PM
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Wow, you guys are amazing. No traction control lights, no lights at all. I have slipped in snow and gravel, I am not sure there is a traction control light. I don't know if the 2004 has a limp mode. At only 3-5mph i don't think the engine would have a higher RPM. I am pretty sure it was in 1st gear.

I have never been, or seen, a truck in a position where it just can't pull anymore. I couldn't even find anything online. Only videos that would have traction slippage as part of the issue.
Fully engage your parking brake, stand on the brake and slowly push on the accelerator. When you do this it will stall your truck around 2000 rpm (this is torque converter stall) at this point your torque converter has no slip left in it. If this feels/ sounds similar to what you experienced on the mountain you didnt have enough power to do what you wanted to do.

Disclaimer: dont do this for a long period of time it is very hard on your torque converter and will heat up your tranny very fast but is harmless for a second or 2

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent idea. I was thinking I would need to hook up my trailer and find a steep hill. Thanks Seth!!! I will try it tomorrow.
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