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Over the weekend we were doing some mountain traveling and were experiencing some problems with our 2008 GMC Acadia. We were towing our 4,000 lb. camper to the mountains, as we were ascending the Acadia started to overheat and eventually shut down. We pulled off to the side and let the car sit for a few minutes. We tried to start the car and it would immediately shut off. We waited a little longer and the car cooled down and we were able to make it to the top, however, the cars temperature was still above the norm of 210. On flat ground the car ran great, but as we started to ascend again on the way back the car started to overheat. Has any one had this problem or know what could help next time i go up the mountain?
 

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Do you have the factory tow package or after market? From what I read the after market max towing capacity is only around 2200 lbs and the factory installed is about 5000 ibs.
 

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supaman said:
I have the factory tow package.
Sounds like you have to take it in for inspection and possibly service. Sorry to hear about your problem, please let us know what they find. That one option I'm planning on getting when I order my Acadia.
 

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Were there no warnings from the DIC about stopping to let it cool down? I have noticed that it doesn't take much to raise the temp guage above its normal 9 o'clock position when slowly climbing a grade even with the tow package and without towing a load.
 

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It doesn't surprise me. My Acadia will run hot climbing long grades on hot summer days and this is without towing a heavy trailer. My impression of the Acadia is that it makes a poor vehicle to tow with unless the trailer is light. I don't think the drivetrain is very heavy duty.
 

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From looking at the parts diagram for these, they appear to have two electric fans. Back in the day, clutch mechanical fans were the ticket, and really still are for max airflow. When you were overheating, what was your road speed? There is a speed on most computer controlled vehicles to where the fans will cut off, but there is also a max temperature to where they cut back on. Modern engines run hotter by design for better emissions & efficiency. I would have the dealer check your fan programming & ensure both are working as they are supposed to.
 

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It sounds like you really just exceeded the towing capacity due to the temperature & grade. I'm also figuring the AC was on? High ambient temps with humidity are killers even on flat roads, I had a Mazda RX7 w/ a Chevy 383 and had tried all sorts of mechanical/electric fans as well as two different radiators and it would boil over @ idle within a few minutes. After analyzing all factors, I believe this was caused due to the motor (a former race motor) having the water jackets partially filled to strengthen the block, which in turn reduced cooling capacity.

Of course, that has not happened with your Acadia, but every system has its limits. If it had been 20 degrees cooler or a few degrees less steep you may have been OK. You should suggest this road to GM so their engineers can test new vehicles there with similar loads. I'm sure the engineers would like to know where their product failed so they can make sure the next one does not.
 

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Blue_2009_SLT2 said:
It sounds like you really just exceeded the towing capacity due to the temperature & grade. I'm also figuring the AC was on? Ambient temps with humidity are killers even on flat roads, I had a Mazda RX7 w/ a Chevy 383 and had tried all sorts of mechanical/electric fans as well as two different radiators and it would boil over @ idle within a few minutes. After analyzing all factors, I believe this was caused due to the motor (a former race motor) having the water jackets partially filled to strengthen the block, which in turn reduced cooling capacity.

Of course, that has not happened with your Acadia, but every system has its limits. If it had been 20 degrees cooler or a few degrees less steep you may have been OK. You should suggest this road to GM so their engineers can test new vehicles there with similar loads. I'm sure the engineers would like to know where their product failed so they can make sure the next one does not.
Supaman,

I've been towing a 22', 8' wide, 3500 lbs TT with our '07 Outlook since early April this year. I've put about 2500 tow miles so far, including a very recent trip from Toronto to Cape Cod and back. Not sure what mountains you were crossing but I did not have problems climbing some long grades over the Appalachians (MA Turnpike) and didn't not have any overheating issues. As a matter of fact the temp needle stayed put at 12 o'clock position all the time, moved only a bit to the right when I was sitting in traffic but went back as soon as the fan kicked. I had AC turned on most of the time.

I have to agree with Blue_2009_SLT2 that, most likely, you were overloaded. You say that your trailer was 4000 lbs...is this a dry weight or full weight on the road ? If 4000 lbs is the dry weight then with options/additional equipment and your stuff you should add at least 500-800 lbs (assuming no water in the tank). How many people did you have in the Acadia ? The 4500 lbs max tow rating allows only a driver; with every additional passenger you need to subtract the weight of the trailer. Just do the math and you will know for sure your numbers. I know that with my trailer and 3 extra people I am on the border line - and we travel very light.

Another thing is the "tow technique" - I like the tow/haul button but prefer the manual option while towing. The reason is that with the "stick" I can shift gears better and let the engine cool off going downhill. If we go on flat my Outlook does great on 5th gear at about 2300 rpms (this gives my 65-70 mph range). Uphill or against strong head wind I have to switch to 4th...not enough torque and the tranny will override me anyway. So far I only had to downshift to 3rd once, and this was on the MA Turnpike yesterday - again still no overheating.

I use Mobile 1 Synt Changed the oil just before the trip. After putting 1400 miles, 90 % towing, the DIC still shows 86% oil life remaining.

I don't think Lambdas are poor tow vehicles but are not built for heavy duty towing for sure. Again, I would not tow a bigger/heavier trailer than the one we already have.

J33
'07 Outlook XR AWD with all options
 

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supaman said:
I was going about 45 mph. but it's a fairly steep climb.
In Colorado, with that speed, that weight, and a V6...

My Explorer (older model, V6) could barely do that by itself. I'd say the rate was too much for the engine.

And ah...Appalachians are not a good comparison...
 

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Jake_99 said:
supaman said:
I was going about 45 mph. but it's a fairly steep climb.
In Colorado, with that speed, that weight, and a V6...

My Explorer (older model, V6) could barely do that by itself. I'd say the rate was too much for the engine.

And ah...Appalachians are not a good comparison...
I don't mean to be a Jackass, but your exploder V6 is a little different than the Acadia's V6. I would bet money that the problem was the trailer was more like 5000 lbs and the steep hills don't help.
 

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supaman said:
Over the weekend we were doing some mountain traveling
4000 lbs trailer + we (more than one person) + cargo = over loaded.
 

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coloradoGM said:
Jake_99 said:
supaman said:
I was going about 45 mph. but it's a fairly steep climb.
In Colorado, with that speed, that weight, and a V6...

My Explorer (older model, V6) could barely do that by itself. I'd say the rate was too much for the engine.

And ah...Appalachians are not a good comparison...
I don't mean to be a Jackass, but your exploder V6 is a little different than the Acadia's V6. I would bet money that the problem was the trailer was more like 5000 lbs and the steep hills don't help.
The Acadia's weight is no slouch either. Based on your sig, you should know how a V6 is limited in the mountain passes of CO. I would not have settled for a V6 as my primary transpo for hauling a trailer through CO - even on I70.

Nor do I believe an unloaded 4L v6 is a bad example to compare to the acadia loaded with a 5K trailer...might work in Ohio or Kansas...and livable in the Appalachians...but CO...no way.
 

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Jake_99 said:
coloradoGM said:
Jake_99 said:
supaman said:
I was going about 45 mph. but it's a fairly steep climb.
In Colorado, with that speed, that weight, and a V6...

My Explorer (older model, V6) could barely do that by itself. I'd say the rate was too much for the engine.

And ah...Appalachians are not a good comparison...
I don't know about that I've been in a V6 Xtera in the mountains and it went up Vail Pass and Floyd Hill at 70 MPH so I disagree with you that V6's struggle in the mountains.

I don't mean to be a Jackass, but your exploder V6 is a little different than the Acadia's V6. I would bet money that the problem was the trailer was more like 5000 lbs and the steep hills don't help.
The Acadia's weight is no slouch either. Based on your sig, you should know how a V6 is limited in the mountain passes of CO. I would not have settled for a V6 as my primary transpo for hauling a trailer through CO - even on I70.

Nor do I believe an unloaded 4L v6 is a bad example to compare to the acadia loaded with a 5K trailer...might work in Ohio or Kansas...and livable in the Appalachians...but CO...no way.
 

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I can't say if his trailer was too heavy or not, but I do know that my Acadia will almost overheat on a very hot day climbing the grade to my mountain home at 7000'. I have the tow package, but I never tow. The cooling on system on this car is very marginal and if taxed much it will overheat or come very close.
 

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Sounds like a job for the venerable Lincoln MK8 electric fan! (Two links here) Seeing as how the core of the Acadia is wider than your average Japanese car, you could probably squeeze two in there!

These suckers ;) really pull a lot of air. I have one in my Supra, one in my Datsun, and one in my BMW I'm working on now. I can place a piece of cardboard in front of the AC condenser on my 280Z and the fan will pull enough air through the radiator and the condenser to hold the cardboard in place. I have often worried about it sucking in small animals and children playing by the road :D.

They make some noise, but they move a lot of air, which is what you need under those circumstances.
 
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