Flat towing Suzuki Grand Vitara

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 20:27
ThreadID: 101477 Views:10119 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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We have just had all the gear connected to both ends to tow a Suzuki Grand Vitara behind an Avida née Winnebago Esperance. I know the rule is NEVER reverse as the tow hitch will break. I just had a thought that if you needed to go backwards a metre or two on flat ground why couldn't you use the Suzuki to pull the Winny back. You certainly wouldn't consider it if there was any sort of incline but on flat ground???
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Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 21:06

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 21:06
Can't remotely see any reason why you shouldn't. Even slightly uphill. For a short straight run as you suggest, you could even select low range 4WD in the Zook.
AnswerID: 508110

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 02:09

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 02:09
I have found I can reverse with the Suzuki attached providing I keep the front wheel dead straight. By looking in reversing camera I can see the front wheels and turn accordingly. If you want to goes some where in particular, not an option. Just straight is where you go, no where else. I think my Suki would complain pulling 7tonne of Winnebago. Though I guess they don't state a towing capacity from the front of a Grand Vitara.

Neil
AnswerID: 508136

Reply By: Stu & "Bob" - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 10:37

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 10:37
I don't follow this...Why would the hitch break if one was to reverse??

To my way of thinking, if it were capable of breaking in reverse, it would be just as capable of breaking going forwards......
AnswerID: 508152

Follow Up By: MickMew - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 11:29

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 11:29
An analogy
Get a 300mm piece of wire eg from a coat hanger . Now pull the ends apart. Grab the ends again, this time push the ends together. That is what could happen to the hitch under compression. Even a minuscule bend would be disastrous as the A frame hitch has telescopic arms to ease connection.
I hope this clarifies my earlier thoughts in that pulling should be Ok from either end.

Mick
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:53

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:53
I too cannot understand why reversing would cause the hitch to break.
Surely the force applied while reversing would be way less the say going down a hill and/or braking?

Chris
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Reply By: Shaver - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 17:03

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 17:03
MickMew,

Don't know where you get your info or if a Vitara "A" Frame is a piece of junk, but I have used "A" Frames in past years in heavy vehicle towing. They are mainly used for a lift tow & have no restrictions both forward or reverse. "Holibones" are used for flat tows & would be more suited for the purpose.. I have also used a "A" Frame to help tow a combined towed weight of over a 100 tons where the shock load both ways is enormous !
AnswerID: 508171

Follow Up By: Shaver - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 17:10

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 17:10
MickMew,
In retrospect I think you are confusing a Holibone which has one long arm & one shorter adjustable arm to a full "A" frame which is a solid triangle when viewed.
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Follow Up By: MickMew - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:28

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:28
I have never heard of a Holibone, but there are 4 commonly used A frames available that I know of. They are the Australian HitchnGo, the Janer Roadmaster series, the Blue Ox series and the ReadyBrute that I have. As far as I know they recommend against reversing for the reasons already stated. Of the 4 only the HitchnGo does not have telescopic ajustable arms.

Ps Googled Holibone and it returned nothing in relation to towing.
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Follow Up By: Shaver - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 01:55

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 01:55
Try "Holebone Nato Recovery Bar".
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Follow Up By: Shaver - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 01:59

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 01:59
Sorry bad spelling day "Hollebone".
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Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:15

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:15
MickMew
If the Grande Vitara has it's rear tailshaft straight out of an extension housing as most do, then the rear section of the gearbox and it's main shaft will be rotated when towed but not lubricated.

In most circumstances this will destroy a manual gearbox in the Suzi because it's normal method of splash lubrication to many parts will not be happening.

It is probably and auto box and it definitely requires the gearbox shaft to be lubricated by the engine driven pump which is internal and driven by the engine.

Nearly all auto boxes do not have any provision to lube the bearings/bushes/needle rollers and clutches which will be rotating when the tailshaft is the driving source of the rotation.

This is why lots of people have trailers for their smaller 4wd.

Cheers

Ross M
AnswerID: 508204

Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 23:17

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 23:17
And the odometer will be climbing whilst it is under tow
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Follow Up By: MickMew - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:32

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:32
Unfortunately this thread is getting off topic but I need to clarify. The reason the Suzuki is the flat tow vehicle of choice is that it has a transfer switch that enables all four wheels to be switched to neutral so none of the transfer case, diff issues occur. This applies to both manual and auto boxes. Also the odometer does not register in this position.
Section 8.7 of the Suzi manual is devoted to what it calls Recreational towing.
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Reply By: Martin B - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 16:27

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 16:27
I have towed a Suzuki Vitara ( not the "Grand" version). Over 20,000km behind a motorhomes . And broken the Hitch-n-Go A frame welding twice. Both times the break was due to reversing when the situation seemed to demand same.
The structural failures were the result of the 2009 welds on the small square tube crossmember across the front of the Suzi between the Suzi side hitch connection points not having enough weld penetration AND not enough wall thickness in the square tube to butt weld adequately onto the heavier flat. End plates of the Suzi brackets.
Solved the problem by welding 6? mm thick gusset plates to the top of the square cross member and then welding the gusset plates to the top of the end plates.
The system was then strong enough to resist the considerable force exerted on the Suzi side of the system when reversing - the force when reversing is trying to force the Suzi ends of the A frame wider apart hence the weld failures with weld in tension. Th gussets have the welds in shear which if far better from the strength point of view.

No more failures on the Suzi mounting for the last 8,000 km of Suzi towing. Have now towed replacement Kia Sportage about 10,000km with the same A frame but obviously new, different vehicle hitch mountings.

If you can pull up in a dead straight line then you should be able to reverse VERY CAREFULLY for about 15 m or so unless your vehicle mountings have decent construction - mine did not but we overcame the problem with some small bits of steel and a better quality welder ( that's person welder not equipment).

Cheers from Martin B - currently in Kumbia, Qld.
AnswerID: 508339

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