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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2018 Colorado Diesel, bought used a year go with 50k miles, now up to 70k miles, have towed a 22ft 4000lb travel trailer (loaded weight) around 5000mi in the last year and I have two issues. Truck is rated at 7700lbs towing capacity (only one piece of the equation but keeping it simple).

1) rear end noise, known service bulletin on possible bad machining however the technician broke it apart and isn't sounding super confident but mentioned bad bearings, not machining issues.

2) coolant leak, now found to be from a "plug" near the head in a very precarious location and the entire head and more have to come off to fix the leak which means new head gasket as well

My questions are

1) could this towing have caused these issues or is there a higher likelihood it's not related? Loaded question, I know, just looking for peoples' experience..

2) is it safe to tow until the "plug" gets fixed assuming I closely monitor coolant levels?

Thank you in advance.
 

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The load you were towing should not affect your truck adversely. I have towed many miles pulling 5k lb travel trailer over large mountain passes, have yet to have an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The load you were towing should not affect your truck adversely. I have towed many miles pulling 5k lb travel trailer over large mountain passes, have yet to have an issue.
Thank you for sharing your experience with me. If you monitor trans temp, what typical temps are you seeing towing that rig? I am seeing 210°-220° when towing but 150-170° without the trailer in summer temps.
 

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I have a 2018 Colorado Diesel, bought used a year go with 50k miles, now up to 70k miles, have towed a 22ft 4000lb travel trailer (loaded weight) around 5000mi in the last year and I have two issues. Truck is rated at 7700lbs towing capacity (only one piece of the equation but keeping it simple).

1) rear end noise, known service bulletin on possible bad machining however the technician broke it apart and isn't sounding super confident but mentioned bad bearings, not machining issues.

2) coolant leak, now found to be from a "plug" near the head in a very precarious location and the entire head and more have to come off to fix the leak which means new head gasket as well

My questions are

1) could this towing have caused these issues or is there a higher likelihood it's not related? Loaded question, I know, just looking for peoples' experience..

2) is it safe to tow until the "plug" gets fixed assuming I closely monitor coolant levels?

Thank you in advance.
I'm towing about 6500lbs in Fl and have about 15K in towing miles without any heat issues on my 2018 2.8.
 

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Thank you for sharing your experience with me. If you monitor trans temp, what typical temps are you seeing towing that rig? I am seeing 210°-220° when towing but 150-170° without the trailer in summer temps.
I see upwards of 230° pulling long grades with switchbacks. Not concerned with those temps with the Dex VI synthetic fluid. I change fluid and filter every 50k kms. I don't think you can find a better mid size tow rig. The diesel chugs along up all the hills without a complaint, and more importantly, has a relaxed feeling going down grades with the exhaust brake helping you descend with very little brake input needed.
 

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I've logged probably 12k miles towing a 5,000LB travel trailer and about 7k miles (and counting) towing a ~3,000LB off-road teardrop trailer, bought my truck new and am at roughly 88k miles now. Not a single issue with the cooling system or rear-end. Some notes/observations...
  • I've towed both trailers over the Rockies, both over I-70 as well as 2-lane highways over 12,000ft elevation.
  • Before I added my aux trans cooler I would see trans temps get up to ~240F for 5-10 minutes at a time. My fluid would get trashed (brown in color) and I'd have to service the trans fluid every year. I never had any shifting issues/concerns, just the color of the fluid was not what I was comfortable leaving in long-term.
  • After installing the aux trans cooler (CXRacing stacked plate cooler installed in-line with the OEM cooler in the radiator. Trans -> OEM rad cooler -> aux cooler -> trans) my trans temps never exceed ~200F anymore. Not even when towing our teardrop trailer off-road in 4L up steep dirt roads to campsites at over 12,000ft elevation. I can now tow and drive off-road with no more worries about trans temp.
  • Sure, Dexron-VI and the trans are rated for higher temps than I saw and the trans temp warning isn't triggered until ~270F, but at that point the fluid would be completely trashed and needing to be replaced ASAP, IMO.
Below shows fresh fluid on the left and the fluid on the right had seen ~240F temps.
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I had my trans fluid serviced (dealer was only doing drain and fill for previous services) prior to installing the trans cooler not quite a year ago. This pic shows what came out of my trans (top), what the fluid looked like after I did a fluid exchange in my garage (bottom left), and brand new fluid (bottom right). I'll be checking the condition of the fluid annually, but with the cooler in place and finally having fluid in good shape I don't expect to have to service the fluid very often anymore. You can see the old fluid is still more red than brown (compared to brown above before installing the cooler) and the condition of the fluid hadn't changed from when I installed the cooler at the beginning of the year until I serviced it earlier this month and the old fluid below includes towing off-road in Colorado.
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Sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, I just wanted to provide some examples of fluid condition/color based on temp and let you know that even if you're seeing temps approaching 240F then you'll want to make sure you service the fluid often (I wouldn't go more than 15k miles). Don't assume the fluid is fine just because it hasn't gotten close to the 270F warning point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've logged probably 12k miles towing a 5,000LB travel trailer and about 7k miles (and counting) towing a ~3,000LB off-road teardrop trailer, bought my truck new and am at roughly 88k miles now. Not a single issue with the cooling system or rear-end. Some notes/observations...
  • I've towed both trailers over the Rockies, both over I-70 as well as 2-lane highways over 12,000ft elevation.
  • Before I added my aux trans cooler I would see trans temps get up to ~240F for 5-10 minutes at a time. My fluid would get trashed (brown in color) and I'd have to service the trans fluid every year. I never had any shifting issues/concerns, just the color of the fluid was not what I was comfortable leaving in long-term.
  • After installing the aux trans cooler (CXRacing stacked plate cooler installed in-line with the OEM cooler in the radiator. Trans -> OEM rad cooler -> aux cooler -> trans) my trans temps never exceed ~200F anymore. Not even when towing our teardrop trailer off-road in 4L up steep dirt roads to campsites at over 12,000ft elevation. I can now tow and drive off-road with no more worries about trans temp.
  • Sure, Dexron-VI and the trans are rated for higher temps than I saw and the trans temp warning isn't triggered until ~270F, but at that point the fluid would be completely trashed and needing to be replaced ASAP, IMO.
Below shows fresh fluid on the left and the fluid on the right had seen ~240F temps.
View attachment 9769

I had my trans fluid serviced (dealer was only doing drain and fill for previous services) prior to installing the trans cooler not quite a year ago. This pic shows what came out of my trans (top), what the fluid looked like after I did a fluid exchange in my garage (bottom left), and brand new fluid (bottom right). I'll be checking the condition of the fluid annually, but with the cooler in place and finally having fluid in good shape I don't expect to have to service the fluid very often anymore. You can see the old fluid is still more red than brown (compared to brown above before installing the cooler) and the condition of the fluid hadn't changed from when I installed the cooler at the beginning of the year until I serviced it earlier this month and the old fluid below includes towing off-road in Colorado.
View attachment 9770

Sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, I just wanted to provide some examples of fluid condition/color based on temp and let you know that even if you're seeing temps approaching 240F then you'll want to make sure you service the fluid often (I wouldn't go more than 15k miles). Don't assume the fluid is fine just because it hasn't gotten close to the 270F warning point.
Hijacking the thread? Heck no, this is bloody awesome info man!!! I have never seen trans temps over 222deg so far but no mountains yet. I do have an aux cooler to install in the shop but haven't done it because I was a bit scared away seeing what I think is the additional air cooler for the turbo?? I suppose I'll do some tracing to ensure I know the in/out from the trans and just do it. I added one to a previous gas vehicle and it made a big difference for sure.
 

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Hijacking the thread? Heck no, this is bloody awesome info man!!! I have never seen trans temps over 222deg so far but no mountains yet. I do have an aux cooler to install in the shop but haven't done it because I was a bit scared away seeing what I think is the additional air cooler for the turbo?? I suppose I'll do some tracing to ensure I know the in/out from the trans and just do it. I added one to a previous gas vehicle and it made a big difference for sure.
No problems with blocking the intercooler or noticeably higher intake temps, the CXRacing cooler still allows plenty of flow there. Originally I was working with the folks at CXRacing to try and get their full kit working with the 4WD trucks but there was just too much that didn't feel or fit right, so that's when I decided to just tap into the output from the OEM cooler. I used a pipe cutter (plumber kind for copper and other metal pipes that has a cutting wheel) to cut the factory hard line on the output from the rad, then I rotated the output from the rad to line up with the 3/8" oil cooler line I bought, which then connects to the AN-to-barb fittings, the lines are then secured with high-pressure 3/8" fuel injection clamps.

I wouldn't say the install was hard but it's definitely not a walk in the park. I'm definitely happy with the results, though.

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Thanks for sharing this. I have 100k on my 2018 and have towed about 25k of those miles. Sometimes to max or more. The most I see is about 240 at the peak of a grade. (This includes the great divide in summer at 8k lbs). The oil should hold up to about 270-300 deg. I change filter and trans. Fluid around 60k miles.
I like the clean & simple install of the cooler, but it looks like it is in front of your intercooler. If so does this reduce your HP?
On another note. I lost my rear en bearings at 64k miles. not sure if this was poor bearings from the factory, something not aligned or over heating from pulling a 4500lb RV trailer at 70 mph on a hot summer day for 8hrs. This was my lowest mpg ie hardest sustained pulling. The engine and transmission temperatures were fine. This problem I tried to fix myself because the dealerships had a wait of 4-6 weeks to get in for this problem. Who can do without their truck this long? This lasted 12k and ate the bearings again. I was forced to install a used rear end from a junkyard with 93k on it. Now it’s trouble free. Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for sharing this. I have 100k on my 2018 and have towed about 25k of those miles. Sometimes to max or more. The most I see is about 240 at the peak of a grade. (This includes the great divide in summer at 8k lbs). The oil should hold up to about 270-300 deg. I change filter and trans. Fluid around 60k miles.
I like the clean & simple install of the cooler, but it looks like it is in front of your intercooler. If so does this reduce your HP?
On another note. I lost my rear en bearings at 64k miles. not sure if this was poor bearings from the factory, something not aligned or over heating from pulling a 4500lb RV trailer at 70 mph on a hot summer day for 8hrs. This was my lowest mpg ie hardest sustained pulling. The engine and transmission temperatures were fine. This problem I tried to fix myself because the dealerships had a wait of 4-6 weeks to get in for this problem. Who can do without their truck this long? This lasted 12k and ate the bearings again. I was forced to install a used rear end from a junkyard with 93k on it. Now it’s trouble free. Paul
The rear end bearings (humming noise) is what started this for me and while I’ve see the TSB and heard it could be machining issues, the tech said bearings needed replaced. Not sure what caused the heat or whatever that caused the bearings to need replacing so early and that’s why I created the thread. As you can see above, others have no issues.
 

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On my truck the bearings were all pitted like the metal was a poor quality bearing or had sat in water sometime. I got This truck with 7 miles on it. No water crossing or other likely water causes. here’s the plug At 64k miles. By the way like all the major drivetrain issues with this truck, Chevy is quick to point out the warranty was up at 60k miles or that’s not a covered part of the drivetrain. FYI this is my first new truck, and the only truck to ever stop running on several a occasions. This issue was finally fixed after 5 dealer tries it turned out to be bad wiring. As noted here on the forum.
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The return line from the radiator cooler to the trans is the one on the left looking at the truck from the front, right from sitting in the truck. I put my cooler vertical on it's side, in the direct center, about 3 inches up from the crossmember with the inlet on the bottom and outlet at the top so it would force all of the cooler to be used. It's easy to mount there, 2 brackets go to the crossmember and 2 more one to each of those diagonal braces running up from the crossmember. There's a gap alongside the frame there that you can run the lines without them rubbing or being exposed, I also cut the cooler line in the same place as DeiselDrax, except I rotated the line coming out of the radiator so the new line could connect and then the return from the new cooler connected direct to the return line to the trans. All the mounting clips could be reused so the lines were secure. Also, an old fleet trick, always double clamp your hose clamps, with the clamps right next to each other, one facing one way and the other facing the other way so they tighten opposite each other that way you have real good gripping power without overtightening and causing damage to the hose. I've never had a failure doing that and that's with more than 10 million fleet miles.
 
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