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Flat towing a jeep

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Scott R View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scott R Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Flat towing a jeep
    Posted: 06 Feb. 2010 at 2:42pm

Got my jeep with a tow bar already attached and only used it one time the first couple years I owned it and that was to get it home on day one. That trip was short, less than 10 miles, and pretty uneventful considering I had never flat towed a vehicle before. However since I don’t own a large trailer and I wanted to use that tow bar again, knew I needed some words of wisdom before I ever did that again.

 

So I did a lot of searching on this and other vintage jeep sites to learn jeep flat towing do’s and don’ts. Following is that information gathered from the experience of others. Hopefully it will help you too.

 

******* 

  

- T-case and transmission in neutral.

 

- Put the windshield down to reduce stress on it.

 

- If towing beyond a hundred miles, remove the rear drive shaft.

 

- As for the steering wheel; about half say don’t tie down wheel while the other half say use bungee cords to hold the wheel straight. (Dr. Vern disconnects the draglink at the bell crank for flat towing his Jeep http://www.vernco.com/tips/id510.htm )

 

- Speed: General opinion is; don’t tow the jeep any faster than you would drive it. So that would be 45-50 mph.

 

- Never initiate a turn from a dead stop, roll straight ahead a little and then start turning.

 

- Tow bar must slope UPWARD to the towing vehicle.

 

- Backing up is very difficult, avoid it. (Learned this myself real quick.) So be thinking ahead when pulling into a gas station or parking lot.

 

- Unlock the front hubs. If the hubs don’t unlock (like mine) it is suggested to take the drive flanges off and cover the hub with plastic and duct tape.  Adding lockouts to a full floater rear is ideal too but that is a whole other discussion.  More info about that is available from Dr. Vern http://www.vernco.com/rearaxle3/index.htm

 

- Make sure all the fluids in the drive line are up and the wheel bearings are well lubed. Check the brakes and make sure they are not dragging. The steering should be fairly tight and aligned as well.


- If possible take mass off the Jeep, tailgate, spare wheel, seats, top and load it into the towing vehicle.

 

- For my own personal input. Obviously tow lights are a must, and I’ve found the Magnetic Towing Lights from Harbor Freight to be ideal. They can be mounted on rear fender wells or on the draw bar if you have a top. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=96933

 

One thing I found during my searching is there is no agreement on flat towing in general. There are guys that would never tow a jeep regardless. Then there are those that would but not much more than a hundred miles. Then there are some that have towed them to Timbuktu and back without a single problem.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TERRY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb. 2010 at 5:06pm
I flat towed with the tc and trans in neutral, and almost welded the front output shaft gear to the output shaft.I think this was due to lack of lubrication since the tc was in neutral and the gears were not splashing lube around. In the future I would engage the tc and keep the trans in neutral or drop the rear drive shaft.
Comments welcome.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WeeWilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb. 2010 at 5:22pm
 I towed a 48 CJ2A from Arkansas to Indiana with no problem,  I dropped both drive shafts at the differentials and tied them up out of the way.  I thought that would be the safest way to tow one that far. 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m38mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb. 2010 at 5:30pm
Jim's idea of dropping both driveshafts is  a good one, if you don't have locking hubs.  With them you can leave the front shaft connected.  That's useful if you need to move the jeep on it's own power, just spin the hubs and you have front wheel drive. 

Scott,
I think you did a great job of capturing the basics for flat towing a jeep.  Thanks!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MFeiden Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb. 2010 at 7:55pm
Mine came with a nice tow bar too and like you, I was thinking this would be the perfect way to get it from here to here. The more I read (I've found most of the same things you have) the less it sounds like a good idea...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 47goDevil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr. 2010 at 12:09am
just a response . tying the steering wheel tight enables me to reverse my towed jeep very easily and accurately although this must be putting an enormous amount of stress on my jeep I wouldn't suggest it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 180pilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 2:15pm
Man I'm confused now, this other forum says trans should be in gear, and Tc in neutral.  And what about the steering wear problem??
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MFeiden Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 2:39pm
Well... I guess I'd probably put both the transmission and the TC in neutral... and if I were going very far, I would disconnect the drive shaft. I read somewhere else recently about disconnecting the steering so that the wheels would be more free to follow but I've read other places to tie the steering down.

I finally (yesterday) took the tow bar off. I had left it on in case I got stranded somewhere but I'm not going far enough right now that I can't get a ride home and throw it in the back of the truck. I've got my eyes out for a short tandem axel trailer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocnroll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 3:36pm
SInce you're just signing on to the site, you may have not had a chance to read this one yet.....doesn't address your question but is worth a read.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 47goDevil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 4:08pm
stay off the highway when you're in a jeep , or keep it below forty  when flat towing . no need to tie the steering unless your trying to back it there. those wheels want to go straight in forward . and i just put everything in neutral .   under that weight anything with duel axles over forty should have duel brakes. check your highway patrol info.        
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ross Pursifull Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb. 2012 at 9:36pm
I have been flat towing CJ2As for 34 years.  It is simply no problem.  My rules are:
1) disengage lock out hubs (huge difference)
2) make sure the towing vehicle outweighs the Jeep significantly
3) windshield down
4) the longer the tow bar, the better.
5) don't even think of backing up (I learned the hard way)
6) watch out for braking on steep hills  (Jeep lifts the back end of the pickup)
7) watch out for sweeping turns at high speed (jack knife)
8) drive 70
9) put full pressure in tires (otherwise they heat up an fly apart, again, I learned  the hard way)
10) check the hubs for heat build up at rest area
11) I towed from MI to NC with no problem.
12) I towed from MD to MI no problem.
13) I towed between nothern and lower MI a hundred times at 70 mph
14) forget that driveshaft advice
15) If the jeep wobbles when you drive it, it will wobble when you tow it.  Don't tow a wobbler.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carlsjeep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb. 2012 at 4:47pm
When I bought my Jeep it had a tow bar on the bumper but I hauled it home on a trailer. The first thing I did when I got it home was to remove the tow bar and cut it up for salvage metal to use for projects. 

DON'T TOW A CJ 2A OR CJ3A OVER 50 MPH PERIOD. 

DON'T tow it at all over 50 mph even with the drive lines disconnected at the differentials. The axles are 5.38 ratio and when they are going 70+ the pinion gear is spinning way to fast and the oil may be slung out so fast the bearings won't get lubed.

Some have posted that the tranny and/or transfer case jumped into gear and burned the tranny/transfer case and/or engine up. Perhaps they left it in gear, who knows.

I don't suggest tying the steering wheel, the caster angle designed into the steering will keep the wheels straight and again, don't tow over 50 mph and only short distances.

My Jeep had been towed a lot and when I rebuilt the tranny/transfer cases the output shaft in the transfer case had been welded to the output gear and then broke loose and galled the shaft and gear. There is NO BUSHING in the gear. It is steel to steel and steel to steel does NOT a bearing make. Depending on oil splash to lube it is living in a dream world of fantasy. You may not know damage has been done until you try to rebuild the transfer case. It took extreme pressure to push the shaft out of the gear and a lot of careful setup to keep from breaking the case.

I am telling you DON'T FLAT TOW YOUR JEEP, PERIOD no matter what anyone tells you even with the drive lines unhooked. You may think your getting by doing it but your rear ends will suffer from the towing at Interstate speeds.

A trailer with dual axles and brakes on both axles is the safest way to go.   


Edited by Carlsjeep - 21 Feb. 2012 at 4:50pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote uncle steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb. 2012 at 5:44pm
Has anyone put lock out hubs on the back wheels for frequent towing   Question
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bkreutz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb. 2012 at 5:54pm
Originally posted by uncle steve uncle steve wrote:

Has anyone put lock out hubs on the back wheels for frequent towing   Question


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote uncle steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb. 2012 at 5:57pm
Did he post something somewhere ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samcj2a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb. 2012 at 6:16pm
Originally posted by uncle steve uncle steve wrote:

Did he post something somewhere ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote willys54wagon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb. 2012 at 12:01pm
Following in Dr Verns footsteps regarding lockouts on rear axles is a path that it appears no one has followed.......................................................
 
I explored this awhile back and the advice I got was it was not wise to be one of his deciples, but I like seeing his head swell so am in the slow process of doing this.  Mostly because I have some extra wagon axles to play with and brother has a good turning lathe and mill.  I have turned down the axles and the hubs so far.   Have not got to the point of creating the splines.   May be another year or two before I finish this, winter weather has been too nice for other projects and Dr Vern has such little feet it is hard to follow..............................................
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scott R Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb. 2012 at 9:02am
Originally posted by uncle steve uncle steve wrote:

Has anyone put lock out hubs on the back wheels for frequent towing   Question

See original post in this thread regarding adding lockouts to a full floater rear. Wink


I see too that recently a couple members have posted to confirm the last sentence of my original post. 

"One thing I found during my searching is there is no agreement on flat towing in general. There are guys that would never tow a jeep regardless. Then there are those that would but not much more than a hundred miles. Then there are some that have towed them to Timbuktu and back without a single problem".

LOL


Edited by Scott R - 23 Feb. 2012 at 9:15am
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