Towing auto 4WD

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 11:56
ThreadID: 41423 Views:3819 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
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I have to tow an auto 4WD (Explorer - yeah I know!!) about 80 k's on the freeway. Some say I should pay and get a suspended tow (no way!), some say I should disconnect drive shaft, whilst others say - take it easy and it will be OK. Anyone got advice?
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Reply By: Member - John R (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 12:09

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 12:09
Andrew, I'd take a look in the owner's manual and see what it says. A couple of 2wd auto's I've owned required towing with the drive wheels off the ground due to no oil being pumped around the 'box without the engine running.

My current 4wd speciflies flat top (from memory).

Good luck whatever your choice...
AnswerID: 216622

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 12:33

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 12:33
MY old handbook from when we had the explorer says to flat top , untold damage to g/box otherwise.
AnswerID: 216624

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 13:15

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 13:15
Its now illegal (yep, that word again) to tow using a tow rope.

If I had to tow a 4wd auto out bush, I'd make sure the transfer case was in neutral.
AnswerID: 216636

Reply By: Member - Stephen M (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 16:46

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 16:46
Hi ya Andrew, not much help in the tow department except for what has been mentioned above, but as also said above about been legal. I don't know about Victoria but I know here in Sydney its a $3000.00 fine if caught. Yes I've helped a mate out and took the chance but not 80klm, just to let you know that's all. I have used my snatch strap in recent tows as I find it stops that jerking around of the rear end and also the vehicle being towed but as said I have only towed on short distances. I do have a proper (old days) strap when it was legal but haven't used it as of late. Not sure what other people think of using the snatch strap whether its a real good idea or not but I have never had any issues. Wether it will stuff the strap in the long run I don't know maybe some one else will be able to answer that one. Hope it goes alright and the person in the other vehicle is confident. If possible I would be running the engine in the explorer so they still have brakes and steering. Once again some one else will lead you in the wright direction as to whether this would be appropriate to run the engine or not. I have had the vehicle being towed to do this on occasion's. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 216671

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:07

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:07
Wow, is it still legal in WA, I never thought it'd be illegal. That's really quite dumb.

I know with VS commodores it say to tow less than 50kph or somthing like that and it won't cause damage, I'm pretty sure the Jackaroo book say the same. If it has a nutural position on the transfer case, surley that would be the way to go. If the transfer case is in nutural than surley the gearbox would be disengaged from the rear wheels and all should be fine...
AnswerID: 216689

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 21:01

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 21:01
I think the no-tow rule came out a couple of years ago when the national road rules came in.

Its not that dumb - the towed vehicle these days has bugger all brakes and steering - not like the days before these were power assisted. And a towed vehicle is definitely a pest on the road. I've had to hire a car trailer when my kids vehicles have had a breakdown - not a bad alternative.
FollowupID: 477127

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 21:09

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 21:09
Yeah I spose, as long as there is a trailor handy... I've towed a pajero some way when it's clutch let go in the sand dunes, towed in through the city back to his house, but it did still have the motor running for lights, stearing brakes etc.
FollowupID: 477131

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 14:52

Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 14:52
Bugger me !
When I was a kid, in the late 60's it was Illegal to tow with a frame.
Has It gone full circle, ,,??
And by the way towing with a frame feels the safest of all, although with the " plastic " front ends, on a lot of vehicles I wonder if they could handle it.

Are they still legal ??

FollowupID: 477295

Reply By: Stu050 - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:13

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:13
Flat towing here in Qld is illegal as well. The only way to get around it is to use an "A" frame on the front of the car being towed.

My .02
AnswerID: 216690

Follow Up By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 18:27

Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 18:27
What's Theo and crew going to do in Birdsville if he can't tow out of the Simpson in the traditional manner?

He's hardly likely to build a 4WD tow truck that can tow the sorts of trucks he often has to ...
FollowupID: 477331

Reply By: Darian (SA) - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:14

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 18:14
This need for technical caution even extends to trucks too - a rello drives a whizz bang Iveco semi with fancy "manual - automatic" transmission - when it blew a turbo recently (under warranty), the service agent had to take the tailshaft off, before towing the whole rig back to the depot. BTW - the drivetrain is covered for a million km, but only on synthetic oil !
AnswerID: 216691

Reply By: pjchris - Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 22:50

Saturday, Jan 20, 2007 at 22:50
It is still legal in Victoria...But you will probably damage the Automatic transmission as has been mentioned above due to lack of fluid circulation in the gearbox. You probably should disconnect the tailshaft.

From the Vicroads Website:

Tow behind a registered vehicle
You can tow the unregistered vehicle behind a registered vehicle. Road Rules Victoria 1999 (no. 295) apply when towing. They are:

* you must safely control the towed vehicle (you can be on a probationary licence)
* the brakes on the towed vehicle must be working when you are using rope, chain or wire
* the maximum space between the vehicles is 4 metres (if either vehicle is a motor cycle, the maximum is 2.5 metres)
* you must display a flag (minimum 30cm square) attached to the rope, chain or wire.

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AnswerID: 216759

Reply By: Redback - Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 08:50

Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 08:50
You cannot flat tow an auto Explorer unless you dissconnect both drive shafts, they have to be put on a tilt tray.


AnswerID: 216789

Reply By: Bilbo - Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 16:07

Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 16:07
I can't undertsnd why towing anything is illegal except to protect the tow truck industry. How many serious accidents have been caused by one vehicle towing another? I would suspect not many.

If the car being towed has reduced braking capacity due to loss of vacuum - so what? What's he gonna hit if he can't stop? The car that's towing him, that's what. That'll stop him real quick!

What a load ot twaddle!

It's the same argument about taxis not being available in Perth. Why not introduce the mini-cab idea as they do in the UK? Why not? - To protect the existing cab industry and plate owners and operators, that's why not!

What another load of twaddle!

AnswerID: 216850

Follow Up By: Member - John R (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 17:26

Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 at 17:26
Points taken Bilbo,

but some people shouldn't be behind the wheel of a fully functioning motor vehicle, let alone one under tow where they need a modicum of judgement and anticipation for brakes ;-)
FollowupID: 477326

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