What a picture! But I think if you look very carefully you will see the shadow of the real trailer the MO is towing on the other side of the motor home, perhaps a much smaller (and lighter) tent trailer?
Actually, here is the real tow load. The trailer and cargo (1 full size Harley) weighed about 2200 lbs with a 235 lb. tonque weight. I drove from Milw. Wi. to Greenville SC. via the Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains at 65 MPH most of the way. The CVT and engine performed beautifully. During moderate grades the rpm would climb to 3000-3500, and never more than 4000 on a steep climb. It never lost speed. Amazingly, the car held it's speed on downgrades also and I barely had to use the brakes. Their were 2 adults in the car and we had the A/C on most of the time. Mileage was 13-16 with 87 gas and 93 in the mountains. (I normally get 22-24 during the same conditions without the trailer).
I took a long trip through Wis. last month with 2 Harleys inside (about 3000 lbs trailer and cargo, 410 lb. tongue weight, 4 adults in the car). It felt noticeably heavier and the rear end sagged slightly, but it performed well. However fuel economy dropped to about 12 mpg. The Hidden Hitch is holding up well also.
ha ha! Good one. I had to look closely and figured out the illusion. Just got back from an MC trip towing the bike on a 5' x 9' open trailer. Personally, I think the Mo is rated just right for its capacity. Trailer was about 1200 pounds, bike was probably 400. No surge or electric brakes. Going through the hills of Northern MD and West Virginia, the vehicle RPMS got into the 4k range. Handled well, but the engine was working. On accelerating up the hills, I hit 5k plus easy. Engine did the job and CVT held, but I did notice a whine at 5K+ that I interpreted as a complaint from the CVT. Went away at lower RPMs, but still, I think 3500 is just right for the limit. I was also carrying the wife and son with a weekend's worth of gear in the vehicle as well.
Urbanias/ Jim C - the CVT sure does a sweet job towing....pulled my boat home last weekend (2900 lbs) against a good headwind...made the mistake of having 87 octane in tank...engine seemed to labor under acceleration...afraid to check mileage... assume you guys use premium when towing?
In conventional transmissions, towing or other heavy loads can increase trans fluid temp rapidly... not good results. Most folks that tow much have an aux cooler installed. Any thoughts on the CVT? Anyone know the typical unloaded normal operating temp for the CVT?
I normally use regular gas but I did use premium through the mountains. I can't say that I noticed a difference in performance but there may have been a slight improvement in fuel economy (1-2 mpg). I did watch the fuel economy gauge and reset it frequently to compare various driving conditions. I think the premium gas had more of a psychological benefit than anything else.
As far as a transmission cooler, I believe that I read on this forum that the MO has 3 coolers built into the CVT, so I didn't think an extra one was necessary.
I am at 30,000 miles and will be pursuing a DIY CVT fluid change soon.
I admit, I'm pretty hard on the Mo. Not a tank goes by that I'm not towing my motorcycle (<2,000) or bassboat (~2,000) or driving wtih the 16 foot Coleman canoe on top. What can I say? I bought the Mo to help with the toys!! As a result, I usually put in premium. I'll likely switch to regular (87 octane) as the warm weather season dies down.
On a side note, lately, I've noticed that I'm not getting the mileage I used to. Although the average is about the same (15mpg to 18 mpg around town), the range is nowhere near what it used to be. I used to get 400 plus miles a tank on the fuel economy gauge. Now I'm lucky to get over 300. I think there's some program in the ECU that stores overall fuel economy for the vehicle despite the reset button and I'm seeing the results of all the towing and hauling I've been doing. Can't complain though, the Mo has handled all of it well with the only downside being poorer than expected gas mileage. CVT has held up well.
As for temps, my understanding is that the CVT does not generate heat like a conventional automatic transmission. Although heat clearly is generated, towing does not add enough to warrant a separate tranny cooler - at least that's my understanding!