Transmission cooler - Jeep Compass Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-18-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission cooler

Anyone put a transmission cooler on their 2G Compass? I towed a cargo trailer up to a campsite last weekend, with a long uphill grade, and watched my transmission temp shoot through the roof. I know that FCA didn't include a trans cooler on this model as part of the tow package, but has anyone gone the aftermarket route? Any pros or cons to adding an external cooler to a 2G?
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 02:48 PM
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Was it a lot of low-speed uphill crawling? Where you using manual mode to keep the RPMs up and avoid excess shifting? I've driven hundreds of miles with trailers at or over 2k lbs and certainly the transmission gets warmer than unloaded but its never maxed the little gauge out. The only time I've gotten a temp warning for the transmission was when I was spinning the wheels a lot stuck (no trailer).

If you happen to have some kind of OBDII module and software/app that will allow you to log the various temperatures that would probably be a good thing to do, so you can be really certain there is actually a problem before you waste time and money trying to fix it. AlfaOBD has pretty good logging, I just usually am in a hurry when I'm trailering but maybe sometime this summer I'll remember to hook it up and see what some baseline values are and some towing peaks with my brother's big heavy boat.

It would have to be a clearly demonstrated, repeatable issue for me to consider trying to have a cooler added.

This is a good and timely video on the subject:

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post #3 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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I was pulling about 1800lbs uphill at about 40MPH on a 9-mile grade, and the temp did max and give me a warning. Once the warning popped, I found myself a shady spot and had lunch on the side of the road for about 30 minutes while it cooled. No problems afterward.

I've been towing for over 20 years and know that temps can climb on grades, and I've actually pulled trailers up that same grade dozens of times in my old pickup and my previous wagon (an '06 Subaru Forester with a factory tow kit...and factory transmission cooler). This is the first time I've ever had a transmission overheat like that.

I didn't think about pulling it into manual to reduce shifting. I'll try that next time.

Video makes a good point, btw. Probably better off letting the transmission grenade under warranty than risk killing my warranty, when the cooler probably wouldn't save it anyway.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Recursive
I didn't think about pulling it into manual to reduce shifting. I'll try that next time.
The manual suggests using manual shifting when doing heavy trailering or on hilly terrain, it seems to work well for me. I had to pick up a box trailer weighing around 3600# in the mountains of virginia last summer and haul it all the way back to Minnesota over 1000 miles. The mountains were tricky, down one and then up another, I don't recall super well (its like a bad memory I have half-blocked out) but I am pretty sure I did not get higher than 3rd gear going 40 MPH uphill. Whatever gear it was, I kept it around 4000 RPMs in the power band and we climbed away. There is no usable power under 2500 RPMs on this 2.4 motor for towing, that trailer was so heavy even once we were on flat ground for hundreds of miles I was mostly keeping it at 3000 to 3500 RPMs on the highway doing 65 and it seemed perfectly happy at that pace. Sure, it drank a lot of fuel but so does any truck in that situation. I got about half my normal unloaded highway mileage and that made sense to me since I was literally pulling double the amount of mass (trailer weighed basically the same amount as the Compass itself). That was a brutal road trip, Minnesota to Virginia and back in one weekend (but didn't have the trailer until the drive home). The Compass took it way better than my body did but 4 cylinders have to be turning moderate RPMs when towing, they just don't have the grunt.

To boot, ours is a Limited trim with the 3.73 final drive. Your latitude should tow a hair easier with the 3.83 final drive, and the trailhawks should have the best towing gearing with their final drive of 4.33. If the Limited trim can pull 3600# on 3.73, they all should be able to do it (all the 4x4 9-speeds, anyways), but you definitely gotta shift it manually, keep the motor spinning in the powerband and stay out of the overdrives.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-20-2019, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, 3600#? That's way beyond the rated capacity of the Compass. How did it handle and brake with that kind of weight on the back? My old Forester towed pretty well if I stayed under the rated capacity, but the trailer quickly started pushing the car around if I went much over it. I haven't hit capacity with the Compass yet and had been wondering how it will handle in the same situation.

As to the rest of it, I definitely see the advantages of manual shifting when towing, especially as the Compass 9-speed has a tendency to hunt around a lot even when it's not towing. It didn't occur to me that the shifting could be the cause of the overheating, and I apparently missed that bit in the manual. I live in California and drive into the upper Sierra Nevada at least once a month, so I'll get the opportunity to test that out in the next few weeks. This was actually my first trip up since buying the Compass because it was a heavy snow year and CalTrans has just recently opened the passes.

Oh, and one other question: 4WD Auto on or off when towing? I've seen both opinions posted online but can't find anything definitive from FCA. They do state that only the 4WD versions are tow-capable, but I can't find any clarity on whether that's a weight thing, or whether it actually tows better with 4WD engaged. Mine was off.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-20-2019, 05:56 PM
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I tow with 4x4 lock off but it feels like in manual mode it always starts out with the rear axle at least partially engaged.

The 3600# trailer pulled surprisingly well, it was a twin axle nice and straight that didn't wag or give me any issues. It had a surge brake that seemed to be in great working condition. A very simple but effective mechanism.

I tell you what, it was not by choice that I ended up pulling that heavy trailer with the Compass. Long story short a deal with a family member and their pickup truck fell through so I had to either make it happen or take a thousand dollar bath. I decided to make it happen and got lucky the trailer was in good condition and not a twisted piece of junk.

Basically just had to pretend I was driving a fully-loaded semi truck. Very slow gradual starts, gentle shifts off the throttle, extra following distance on the highway, keeping close eye on gauges and all that.

Like I said, there is enough gearing with the 9 speed to get a lot of weight rolling. The transmission is plenty tough, they use the same one on V6 engines with way more power. The chassis and suspension is designed well and handles towing better then I would have expected, the rear end didn't even squat too badly which surprised me because it took a jack to get the trailer tongue lifted onto the ball (the trailer was already loaded when I picked it up, and the guy had put the car in the trailer engine first in front of the axles ). I tried to lift the tongue with one other guy and we could barely budge it, that worried me the most but that OEM receiver held up good and the rear springs and shocks shouldered it well. The front end was tipped up a little but thankfully it still steered well, that was only a slight issue when we hit some heavy rain, slight front-end hydroplaning once or twice but the rig drove nice and straight and did not squiggle.

I would not willingly do it again on a long road trip like that, but I don't hesitate to grab a yard of topsoil in my utility trailer from the landscaping place up the road any more or run my brother's big boat to the lake 10 miles away. Its proven tough enough for all those kinds of jobs. I would never try to pull like a 6000 pound bobcat or anything stupid like that, but I don't worry too much when its something like 1 yard of dirt (around 2000 lbs by itself) plus the weight of the trailer, its fine. Slow and careful, low gears and plenty of RPMs and it all rolls right along.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-21-2019, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recursive View Post
Wow, 3600#? That's way beyond the rated capacity of the Compass. How did it handle and brake with that kind of weight on the back? My old Forester towed pretty well if I stayed under the rated capacity, but the trailer quickly started pushing the car around if I went much over it. I haven't hit capacity with the Compass yet and had been wondering how it will handle in the same situation.

As to the rest of it, I definitely see the advantages of manual shifting when towing, especially as the Compass 9-speed has a tendency to hunt around a lot even when it's not towing. It didn't occur to me that the shifting could be the cause of the overheating, and I apparently missed that bit in the manual. I live in California and drive into the upper Sierra Nevada at least once a month, so I'll get the opportunity to test that out in the next few weeks. This was actually my first trip up since buying the Compass because it was a heavy snow year and CalTrans has just recently opened the passes.

Oh, and one other question: 4WD Auto on or off when towing? I've seen both opinions posted online but can't find anything definitive from FCA. They do state that only the 4WD versions are tow-capable, but I can't find any clarity on whether that's a weight thing, or whether it actually tows better with 4WD engaged. Mine was off.
@arudlang, 3600# is more than the Compass is designed for, so no surprise that it overheated. This is really a tiny engine and the transmission is trying to make the best of it. I'm a bit surprised that @Recursive had problems, though. 1800# should be about the max, but 40MPH isn't fast. Agreed, manual mode might have cut down on a lot of the tranny's work.

It wasn't with a Compass but my Wrangler (4.0, 6-spd) that I towed a 2-axle livestock trailer full of furniture last year. I took it easy, avoided high speeds, and had to mount a few hills, but not mountains. I had no problems, but I realize a 4.0 is a lot bigger than 2.4. No stability problems or braking problems.

Towing a different but lighter trailer with the same Wrangler, I did have some stability problems. Its the only time I've ever seen the ESC engage, and it was on a dry road about 50MPH. That trailer really had a swing to it and while I wasn't in danger of losing control, the ESC sensed that the Wrangler was being yanked around and it responded. Nice to know its there.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-21-2019, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine
3600# is more than the Compass is designed for, so no surprise that it overheated.
You probably skimmed through my post too fast, half my fault because I always type too much. To be 100% clear, at no point during my 1200 mile journey with the 3600# trailer did my Compass overheat. All temps were within normal operating range, through mountains and traffic and everything in-between. Just the OP here had the overheating issues, and I've only seen my car overheat when unloaded but tremendously stuck spinning the wheels in a low traction situation.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-21-2019, 11:37 PM
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Sorry @arudlang I must have confused your post with the OP's.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-23-2019, 10:52 AM
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The 2nd gens come with a transmission oil cooler in both 6 and 9 speed regardless of tow package

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Originally Posted by Recursive View Post
Anyone put a transmission cooler on their 2G Compass? I towed a cargo trailer up to a campsite last weekend, with a long uphill grade, and watched my transmission temp shoot through the roof. I know that FCA didn't include a trans cooler on this model as part of the tow package, but has anyone gone the aftermarket route? Any pros or cons to adding an external cooler to a 2G?
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