Towing- heat reduction from synthetic oil?

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Mar 2, 2003
Macomb, Michigan
I will be towing a small popup camper with a Dodge Grand Caravan Sport (3.3L- V6). Loaded, it will be almost up to it's towing capacity. Will I see a reduction in oil temperature if I use synthetic oil instead of conventional when I tow? Is it worth doing? Your input is appreciated. Thanks!
I'd highly recommend a good syn lube with a low Cf. My friend has had his 2003 Vette temps lowred by running Amsoil 0w-30. This is there best chemistry. You are a good canidate for a synthetic in your case. S2000 doesn't provide any more wear protection then there other oil, but the lower temps are a very nice bonus with that oil IMO.
I would worry far more about that automatic transaxle than the engine. Caravan transaxles do not have a good reputation for durability even without towing. Get an external cooler.
I got lucky that I decided to get the Sport model even before we decided to get a small trailer. It has an auxilliary transmission fluid cooler from the factory, as well as sway bars fr and rear, HD suspension and higher final axle ratio. I will give synthetic 10W-30 a try and pray for no leaks! Van has 40000 miles on it and no leaks so far on conventional oil. Thankyou for all your replies!
GM has test data demonstrateing a huge reduction in temp in desert test facility. THe test reports I saw only identified the fluid as ester based transmission fluid. I thinkit was custom blended just for the testing. They used a towing dyno on a real truck on real grades at varying speeds and loads. The transmission over heated the fluid everytime with the OEM fluid. The estrer based fluid never over heated at all. THe test were identical at the same facility is Mesa Arizonia. I only know of one fluid manufacture in the USA that produces a fluid that is mostly ester based and that is redline. If I am remember right the test used loads rangeing from 1500-7500, speeds were in 10 mph increments from 20-60 and grades were 2%-8%. Ambient temps were above 100 I belive it was 120F. Hope this helps!
Towing? From least you could do to best: 1. Increase grade 2. Synth 3. Tranny and/or engine oil cooler.
I tow a fifth wheel, I don't know if you will see a reduction in oil temp, but by using synthetic you will be using an oil that will withstand the higher operating temps you are going to experience. When I changed to synthetic the operating temps didn't change but oil comsumption ceased. Look into adding oil coolers for your engine and transmission.
Don't think it will change temps much if any, but synthetic will handle the heat better. If you are changing every 3k a good dino should work. Not like we have any major mountains in Michigan to get the oil hot. Would be more worried about the tranny and having a cooler on that. Where you going? Tahquamenon Falls, Munising, Copper Harbor or just up north like us Michiganians like to say. If its clear up north tonight should be some good northern lights to see with the solar flare today. [Cool]
I figured that little van will really be working hard , but if there will be no major increase in oil temperature, a good conventional oil will probably do the trick. Thanks for the responses...or maybe I'll split the difference and go semi-synthetic.... too many choices....
Matt, I'd put synthetic in the auto transmission - you see a very noticable temp drop in that case and the fluid will simply hold up better. It might be worthwhile going to a 0w-40 or 5w-40 synthetic in the engine as well. Tooslick
I'll second the synthetic ATF, and I'll add the Amsoil ATF is ester based as well. As far as the engine goes: Pick your poison and do an analysis. Synthetic 15W-40's are nice in warm situations - below 32°F here and I'm cranking my 15W-40 this AM.
I've harped on my aversion to universal ATFs before but I would consider putting RL C+ synthetic ATF in your Caravan. Of course, if it requires ATF+4 (2000 and newer I think) then use real ATF+4. My '95 Intrepid, renown for its unreliable tranny, ran perfectly on C+, never had a problem. (My 2¢, spend wisely!)
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