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Effect on Engine & Transmission Temperature from Using Front Hitch and Hitch Cargo Carrier


I am interested in installing a front-mount Curt hitch on my 2017 Ford F350 diesel to carry a 24inch x 60inch cargo carrier. Id like to use the carrier to haul a 36inch wide x 24inch deep x 18inch tall tool box in the center with a small generator mounted on one end of the carrier and gas cans on the other end. Is there any way to predict if this will restrict the air flow to the radiator and/or transmission cooler enough to cause engine or transmission overheating? I will be hauling a 3500 lb. truck camper in the truck bed while towing a 3,000 lb. trailer. Some of my driving will be through mountainous areas.


Helpful Expert Reply:

Using a front hitch like Curt # C31078 along with a hitch carrier like # C18153 is a great way to add cargo capacity when your truck bed and rear hitch are already spoken for.

The cargo items you describe wanting to load in a front-hitch-mounted cargo carrier - a tool box, generator and gas cans - all could present a lot of flat surface area that could block air flow. Some generators like # 333-0005 have an open-frame design while others such as # 333-0002 have enclosures that would tend to block more air. Tool boxes and gas cans with mostly flat surfaces are going to deflect a lot of the air that would otherwise reach your cooling systems.

I think the 18-inch tall tool box is likely to be of most concern since it is apt to be the largest item. If you could find another place for that you'd be better off. If you can get the job done with a shorter one that would be good. If you want to send over a photo of the items that might help.

It sounds like all of these items might end up pretty tightly packed together in the cargo carrier. If they are loaded without much in the way of gaps between them then I would have more concerns about cooling than if there was a way for some air flow to still reach the transmission cooler and radiator.

Naturally the time of year matters too. In winter or in generally cooler weather I would not be too worried about cooling, but if you're talking about hauling your in-bed camper, towing your boat and hauling about 500-lbs of front-mounted cargo in the mountains during summer...then I would not be terribly surprised if your gauges read at least slightly elevated temperatures.

We don't have a way to actually calculate the effects of the front cargo carrier's contents on your cooling. That will have to be a trial and error process. On the plus side of things, having a diesel power plant rather than gas definitely works in your favor.

helpful expert reply by:
Adam R

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