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When my parents purchased a trailer in 1971, we wound up hanging around a diner for a couple hours while the RV dealer installed an auxiliary radiator on our Dodge sedan to prevent overheating while towing.

Fast forward to today. I recall seeing that some vehicles include a heavy-duty radiator as part of towing packages. In the case of the 2017 and newer Pathfinders, is the stock radiator and cooling system sufficient for towing? In looking at the Tow Package, it seems the only components are the hitch receiver and the wiring harness, which implies they consider the stock radiator and fan to be adequate. Would installing an auxiliary radiator help, especially with keeping the CVT cool? Given how tight a lot of engine compartments are, is there even any room to add one?
 

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2013 Pathfinder SL, Connecticut, USA
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From what I understand, all Pathfinders have the same radiator and tranny cooling system, regardless of whether the tow package is installed or not. I hear you on the aux radiator for Dodge vehicles. We had one installed when we pulled a 17' TT with our Caravan.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
From what I understand, all Pathfinders have the same radiator and tranny cooling system, regardless of whether the tow package is installed or not. I hear you on the aux radiator for Dodge vehicles. We had one installed when we pulled a 17' TT with our Caravan.
To be frank, I didn't look very closely at the engine compartment on that Pathfinder SV. It was raining hard, so I stuck with checking out the interior. The PDF sales brochure wasn't very helpful that way, either.
 

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2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4x4
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It would take some time and custom work to fit a larger radiator or any type of auxiliary cooler in a PF. There's just no room. You'd have to find space in front of the radiator or front right fender area. Even larger fans would have to be custom, including custom electronics and computer mods. . All PFs are equipped with a fairly large auxiliary CVT fluid cooler mounted in front of the front left wheel well. The plastic wheel well liner is louvered in that area for air flow across it.

Best you can do is take it as easy as possible on the vehicle when towing and take that "6000lb tow rating" with a grain of salt. Change the CVT fluid often and keep up on engine oil changes. Listen for changes in cooling fan sound too as the fan motors have proven to be junk.

Our pathfinders can still tow a good amount for this segment of vehicle, but the (marketing) numbers are misleading IMO.
 

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2017 Pathfinder Platinum
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When my parents purchased a trailer in 1971, we wound up hanging around a diner for a couple hours while the RV dealer installed an auxiliary radiator on our Dodge sedan to prevent overheating while towing.

Fast forward to today. I recall seeing that some vehicles include a heavy-duty radiator as part of towing packages. In the case of the 2017 and newer Pathfinders, is the stock radiator and cooling system sufficient for towing? In looking at the Tow Package, it seems the only components are the hitch receiver and the wiring harness, which implies they consider the stock radiator and fan to be adequate. Would installing an auxiliary radiator help, especially with keeping the CVT cool? Given how tight a lot of engine compartments are, is there even any room to add one?
Funny story (to me, at least) ~ I mentioned to the service guy at the local Nissan dealership that the we bought a travel trailer, so he suggested we get a transmission cooler installed in our new-to-us 2017 Pathfinder. So, I took it to a transmission shop so they could quote me on one. He took a look, said there's already one in there that's good quality. He was about to quote me $800 to install a very similar cooler.
There's no more room for anything else in there, but what is there seems to be pretty good. So far, so good at any rate...
 

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I would add, if there’s a large towing capacity difference between with factory tow package and without like on some vehicles (like 2011 Traverse tow rating: 2000 vs 5200 lbs) is typically due to with and without tranny cooler. Since all newer PF’s have the same tow rating, the tranny cooler Is already installed, even if the hitch isn’t from factory. Toyota Sienna used to have a difference in tow ratings and then switched to always including tranny cooler and same tow ratings (~3500 lbs).

It’s nice to know that modern cars will warn if high tranny temp noticed and go into some kind of limp mode forcing you to pull over and let it cool off and lets you know what too fast is for your load, speeds, and current air temp.

personal experience: driving a Mitsubishi Lancer with CVT on a road trip on hilly Missouri highways. Trying to set cruise on 80+ mph had the car really running high revs up the hills. The car gave us a weird temperature light (had to rtfm, tranny over temp) and warned us. It had an engine temp gauge that showed normal temps. Then the car went into limp mode until we pulled over and let it cool. 10-15 minutes later, we continued on and slowed down. Turning off A/C can also help ease the engine’s burden and temps, but really sucks in August.

Also had an F350 snow plow truck that had an overheating tranny when plowing hard with slow speeds. Increased tranny cooler size and never had another issue with tranny overheat. If needed, this might be an option to pursue, increasing tranny cooler size, but not very likely if using as designed. You can always go slower up big hills or mountains if overheating or change drive times.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info, Flyboy! That definitely accounts for the differences in tow ratings with and without the factory towing packages on other vehicles.
 
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