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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I do not think I have seen any manufacturer's explanation in our forums on what the tow mode button does. I have used it half a dozen times towing my 3500lb Travel Trailer with my 2013, but never noticed any real difference with it off or on.
I did find this explanation on the F150 forum on how it works for them:
"Tow/haul delays upshifts to reduce frequency of transmission shifting. Tow/haul also provides engine braking in all forward gears when the transmission is in the Drive position; this engine braking will slow the vehicle and assist the driver in controlling the vehicle when descending a grade. Depending on driving conditions and load conditions, the transmission may downshift, slow the vehicle and control the vehicle speed when descending a hill, without the accelerator being pressed. The amount of downshift braking provided will vary based upon the amount the brake pedal is pressed."
Could this be how our system is intended to work even though we don't have any gears?
 

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I tow a 3800lb travel trailer w/ my 2015 and I don't see any difference either I am actually camping this weekend :)
 

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I do not think I have seen any manufacturer's explanation in our forums on what the tow mode button does.
You read it here first...

From the 2013 Pathfinder Service Manual - Transaxle and Transmission section:

Tow Mode
• In tow mode, sluggish acceleration and insufficient engine brake output resulting from towing are assisted and improved by CVT gear shifting.
• When all of the following conditions are satisfied, CVT goes into tow mode.
- Tow mode switch is ON
- When CVT judges a towing condition from vehicle behavior.

See the attached table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you; I had never seen this before and always wondered how it worked. I assume it must make a difference and now know where the MPG's went.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tow a 3800lb travel trailer w/ my 2015 and I don't see any difference either I am actually camping this weekend :)
Have a great time.
I'm waiting a bit longer (late Apr or May) before I de-winterize. The weather is still a bit unpredictable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I'm curious though since it still seems to run downhill like a bat-out-of-**** and my TT is well within GVWR limits.

It would seem that vehicles that also come with Hill Decent Control have a great option since the rest of us have to press the foot brake (or manually slide the brake controller lever) to engage the TT brakes, while HDC actually engages the brakes without any manual intervention (not just downshift the transmission on steep downhill runs).
This is something that has always freaked me out on steep, curvy, wet, downhill runs. I am paranoid that the TT brakes will lockup (someday they'll need to add anti lock :)
Which brings up another question; Is the brake controller electronically engaged when we press the brake pedal, or is it dependent on the action of braking that completes the circuit?
In other words, would HDC even see the controller since there is no action on the part of the driver, and also activate the brake controller? If so, my next tow vehicle will have to have HDC!
 

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Since the brake controller is wired into your braking circuit, I believe that you would have to physically step on the brake pedal in order to engage it. I don't know enough about HDC to say whether vehicles equipped with it would engage the trailer brakes automagically.
 

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I've used mine quite a bit towing about a 2600+lb popup. Where I see it's effectiveness is in engine braking. It works especially well in the mountains, even when I'm not towing.
 

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After towing last weekend about 130 miles each way I do see the difference w/ tow mode it keeps the revs at a lower rpm unless you really need to pass someone or are on a uphill grade. I am towing my 3800lb TT about 800 miles round trip in a few weeks and will report back when I get home, wish the gas tank was about 10 gal more capacity, stopping every 150-180 miles is not what I am used to but part of loving to camp :)
 

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wish the gas tank was about 10 gal more capacity, stopping every 150-180 miles is not what I am used to but part of loving to camp :)
WOW that's bad. I guess I should be happy I still get about 340 miles pulling the popup.
 

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Wow that is amazing that you are still getting 340 miles out of a tank pulling a pop-up!!!
Google maps says the trip was 330 miles to the gas station I found. And to be fair, the pump said I squeezed in 19.8 gallons. I was getting nervous trying to find gas in the middle of nowhere at night. My passengers were already panicking. LOL
 

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You read it here first...

From the 2013 Pathfinder Service Manual - Transaxle and Transmission section:

Tow Mode
• In tow mode, sluggish acceleration and insufficient engine brake output resulting from towing are assisted and improved by CVT gear shifting.
• When all of the following conditions are satisfied, CVT goes into tow mode.
- Tow mode switch is ON
- When CVT judges a towing condition from vehicle behavior.

See the attached table.
I asked at the dealership today, and the service manager said also that the torque converter is not allowed to stall. That is the biggest difference between Tow and Normal, and why it is harmless to run Tow when not required, as the manual states.
 

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I asked at the dealership today, and the service manager said also that the torque converter is not allowed to stall. That is the biggest difference between Tow and Normal, and why it is harmless to run Tow when not required, as the manual states.

You mean not allowed to lock? From experience I can tell you that isn't correct either. I would say the definition posted by JayArras is the most correct one.

If a torque converter isn't allowed to stall, the engine could spin to it's rev limit and there still wouldn't be enough torque transfer to move the vehicle forward. It would be essentially in neutral .
 
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