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Old 07-09-2013, 09:31 AM
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Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

Hi all, first post here so please bear with me. I have a 2011 4x4 Overland, 5.7L HEMI, with the Trailer Tow Group IV package. I've been pulling a 23ft travel trailer weighing in at approximately 4,300lbs fully loaded, and I use a weight distribution hitch with sway control.

The GC pulls the trailer really well down the road, no lack of power on the climbs and sway is manageable. The only issue I'm having is high engine oil temps while monitoring the digital gauges. The rig has never overheated but the oil temp has reached between 250-260 degrees. In that instance the towing conditions were rather rough; 85+ degrees outside, highway speeds, and lots of hills. While the oil temp was high, the coolant temp seemed okay @ 220 and the transmission temp @ 210, both hot but not outside normal spec like the engine oil.

The Trailer Tow Group IV package includes "HD engine cooling" which from what I can tell adds; a larger cooling fan, high amp alternator, and engine oil cooler. Also I've physically confirmed the existence of the engine oil cooler. Lastly, I always use the tow/haul mode while towing.

Does anybody else with the 5.7L HEMI experience high engine oil temps while towing? Would an upgraded/larger engine oil cooler help curb this problem?




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Old 07-09-2013, 11:42 AM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

Update: A little more research on this very informative website; now it's not clear to me if the oil cooler currently in place as part of the "HD engine cooling" included with the Trailer Tow Group IV package is an engine oil cooler or a transmission oil cooler. It seems there's mixed comments here which imply one or the other. I have confirmed there's one physical cooler on the front side of the radiator/AC-condensor. It's got fluid lines heading off, but I've yet to drop the bottom covers to manually trace the lines.

Anybody know which fluid cooler is included with the Trailer Tow Group IV package?
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:16 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

I suspect your issue is more drag realted than weight. You may need both and auxiliary oil and transmission coolers. Personally do not care for any temp (coolant, oil, trans) over 200F. CJF seems to feel that higher temps are OK.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:53 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

I tow about 5000lbs with a car on an open trailer with my Hemi. That is less wind drag though. I see oil temps in the 205-220 range on the freeeways in 90-100 degree temps. A bit higher in stop and go. Synthetic oils should be able to handle close to 300 deg temps if needed, but conventional oils may break down faster at those temps. I'd suggest more frequent oil changes or a switch to synthetics.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:08 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

I suggest a high-quality synthetic oil. Turbocharged engines run at that temperature all day long and still do fine with extended service intervals, e.g. my friend's BMW 335i oil temperature stabilizes at 240-250F and the recommended service interval with synthetic oil is 15,000 miles.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:25 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

Engine oil temp is usually 20% higher than coolant temp from my experiences with my Corvettes. I know GM is different than MOPAR, but I think your temps are good.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:47 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

I strongly agree with the 2 prior recommendations for the use of synthetic engine oil. Synthetic oil does everything an oil should be doing...BETTER than dead-dino oil.

On pricing, Costco sell 6-packs of Mobil 1 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30 for $37 regularly, and at least annually sells it for $10 off, making it $27 per 6 or only $4.50/quart. That's less expensive than name-brand dead-dino stuff at Auto Zone!

In 2003 I bought an '04 Porsche Cayenne Turbo that came with a fill of Mobil 1 0W-40. After I drained that, broke the engine in (hard! see Break In Secrets--How To Break In New Motorcycle and Car Engines For More Power ), I began using Red Line syn-oil in 5W-40. It appears that RL uses a higher proportion of the best base stocks than other, more-affordable syn-oils, so it made sense to me. Since then, I've decided that being fussy about and spending lots more money on a 'better' syn-oil is really splitting hairs, so I used M1 in my '06 Ford Edge, '06 Porsche Cayman, '10 Ford Escape, and will use it in my '13 Grandokee after this current first refill.

Engines are expensive; the best engine oils aren't.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:49 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

That extra cooling radiator you see is a transmission fluid cooler. I think your oil temps are fine considering you are towing a trailer but if you tow often I would either change my engine oil more frequently (every 4K or 5K) or go to synthetic.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:35 AM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

This is what I'm talking about. The pic below was taken while cruising along in rush hour stop and go freeway traffic. Not towing anything and no heavy load either. Granted it's HOT outside, but these engine oil temps are simply way too hot. I can't believe that Jeep recommends 8k mile oil change intervals of conventional motor oil! Traditional motor oil breaks down at temperatures over 250 while synthetic pushes that protection out to temps above 300. Add a trailer to this mix and you'll easily see temps between 250- 300.


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Old 07-22-2013, 05:34 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

I live in the same area as you. Over the weekend (99* registered on the dash) I had the pleasure of sitting on I66 Saturday afternoon in stop-n-go while pulling a trailer. While it was an empty 6x14 cargo (1400 lbs), my oil temp was about 215-220 and my coolant was 212-218. I had the A/C on as well. The temps were pretty stable.
FWIW, motor oils are tested at 320*f for 100 hours at 3600 rpm to conform to ISLAC GF-5.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:18 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

^Hi neighbor

I haven't added an accessory oil cooler yet. I'm going to wait until my next big tow coming up and reassess with more accurate (and persistent) EVIC monitoring. Since my last outing and 260+ engine oil temp I have switched to synthetic and added a bottle of water wetter to the engine coolant. Can only help, even if it's a small bit.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:31 PM
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Re: Towing - High Engine Oil Temps

Synthetic should hold up better under stress, but doubt it will lower temps much. You might search around for some members here that tow and PM them to see what they run temp wise. The funny thing is, I never gave much thought to my oil temp until I had a vehicle that told me what it was
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