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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2001 dakota quad cab, 4.7, 4wd, tow package, sport.
I was wondering about keeping an eye on trans temps ?
At a overlanding show, I was told I could use a "programmer" like super chips or other to show trans temps.

Just towing a 1600lb cargo trailer but 8% grades are common.

464 Posts
Thats the kind of advice that's hard to do when the average Dakota doesn't specifically have a dedicated trans temp gauge. In this case, the next best advice I can offer, is that you watch the engine temp gauge. The transmission is cooled by engine's radiator via the heat exchanger built inside the bottom of the radiator, and while it may seem like a bad idea, the heat exchanger is very effective at maintaining the trans temp.

Automatic transmissions should never be run too cold or too hot, and running too cool is as bad as running too hot. The heat exchanger in the radiator is designed to bring up the trans temp when it's cold and reduce the temp when it's too warm. The normal engine coolant temp happens to be the same temp, the trans needs. Of course this arrangement may raise concerns, for example, what if the engine is overheating? Won't this also raise the trans temp? Yes, but you shouldn't be running an overheated engine anyway and if you blow the engine, your trans will be the least of your problems. What if the trans is running so hot as to overheat the engine? Usually this takes a very long time to occur, if it gets that far. The radiator is usually designed to handle a certain load on the system and the trans is always factored in. A tow option is likely to include a slightly bigger heat exchanger or larger capacity radiator. Sometimes a tow option might include a separate trans cooler that looks like a mini radiator, but it will still retain a heat exchanger inside the radiator.

Alright, so in the absence of a trans temp gauge, watch the engine temp gauge. If your engine temp is reading 200*, the trans is running about the same temp too.

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