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How did they make the Toyota Tundra 'Killer Heat' commercial?


Heat Management
The tunnel was rigged with burning fuel, to create the worst-case towing scenario.
The tunnel was rigged with burning fuel, to create the worst-case towing scenario.
Courtesy Toyota

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­Before we get into commercials, let's talk heat and cooling. In the Tundra, that means understanding a series of components that all work closely to cool the truck down -- and to keep it going.

Simply put, cars and trucks need a system of gears to move them forward. You can have a manual version, which involves a clutch, or an automatic transmission, which shifts on its own. Like every other moving part on an automobile, the transmission depends on fluid to keep it lubricated and running smoothly. When a car or truck is operating, the transmission fluid (ATF) heats up to about 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79.4 degrees Celsius). This is the normal running temperature, and if it's able to be maintained, the transmission will behave just like it should. But anyone who's ever had to tow something heavy knows what kind of pressure that can put on the transmission. Pressure in this case means heat -- the number one killer of automatic transmissions.

Every time the ATF rises 20 degrees above 175 Fahrenheit, the life of the fluid is cut in half. Overheated ATF causes the buildup of two things that can kill a transmission -- a semi-solid material called sludge and carbon particles. These two things can easily clog up or block the small lines that circulate the fluid through the transmission. This means that it won't cool properly, causing it to overheat and potentially die. Besides being dangerous, a faulty transmission can be very expensive to repair. Toyota engineers reacted to this ever-present threat by including an oversized transmission cooler designed to keep the Tundra shifting smoothly -- even in an unforgiving desert environment.

But the transmission isn't the only component in the Toyota Tundra that's designed to combat heat. It's actually loaded with perfectly matched driveline parts that all work in concert to get the job done.

It begins with a powerful aluminum block V8 engine with aluminum heads and an oil cooler to keep it running at peak power. A lightweight, two-piece aluminum and steel driveshaft reduces some of the stress on the engine, yet retains the strength a truck in this class requires. A massive ring gear in the rear differential gets the power to the rear axle. And when it's time to bring it all to a halt, Tundra's vented, four-wheel disc brakes provide the stopping power.

To demonstrate the strength of the Toyota Tundra's transmission and to show how capable it can be -- even in a worst-case towing scenario like an oven-hot desert -- Saatchi LA knew it had to come up with something extreme. And so the ad spot "Killer Heat" was born.