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Old 01-03-2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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Burning rubber??

Just towed our 2010 JK from Seattle WA area to Idaho for the holidays. After unhooking from our coach and starting the Jeep, we could smell rubber burning (not melting plastic). Couldn't see any smoke under the hood, but it was for sure coming from the engine compartment. Washed motor and manifolds and smell continued for 3 or 4 days, getting less noticable each day. Towed the 575 miles back to WA yesterday, started the Jeep and the smell was back. What's up with that??? Dealer service has never heard of this.

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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Was your transfer case in neutral during the tow?

From your owners manual: "The transfer case must be shifted into N (Neutral), automatic transmission must be shifted into PARK, and manual transmission must be placed in gear (not in NEUTRAL) for recreational towing."

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoville Islander
Just towed our 2010 JK from Seattle WA area to Idaho for the holidays. After unhooking from our coach and starting the Jeep, we could smell rubber burning (not melting plastic). Couldn't see any smoke under the hood, but it was for sure coming from the engine compartment. Washed motor and manifolds and smell continued for 3 or 4 days, getting less noticable each day. Towed the 575 miles back to WA yesterday, started the Jeep and the smell was back. What's up with that??? Dealer service has never heard of this.
I would make sure the wheels are aligned and that the steering wheel lock was off. Were tires straight as you towed it? Any chirping noises from the tires?
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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This is, in spite of what a dealer might say, a common occurrence with a JK. I have had it on my 2007 every time I towed it and that was over 40,000 combined miles while I owned it. I have never been able to pinpoint the culprit and my dealer says the same thing, "never heard of it." I don't worry about it anymore. I had the same issue with my 2006 TJ!

I will be towing my new JK out to Arizona in mid-February and I fully expect for it to have the same issue. I wish I could tell you the cause and maybe someone will on this thread. I, too, would like to know. It can't be right but IIWII (it is what it is!).
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTH View Post
Was your transfer case in neutral during the tow?

From your owners manual: "The transfer case must be shifted into N (Neutral), automatic transmission must be shifted into PARK, and manual transmission must be placed in gear (not in NEUTRAL) for recreational towing."
that was my first guess too
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:44 PM   #6
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I towed the '06 and the '07 over 60,000 miles between the two and I can assure you the transfer case was always in neutral. However, someone else posted on another thread that they towed their automatic with the transmission in neutral and did not get the burning rubber smell. I have always towed with the manual transmission in gear or the automatic in park, transfer case in neutral so it could have something to do with the combination of following the owners manual and getting the burning smell or not following it and having a clean tow with no smell. I am just affraid to tow in neutral. I don't think that could be good for the transmission.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:51 PM   #7
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why would towing in neutral be bad for the transmission?
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:01 PM   #8
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According to the owners manual:

Automatic transmissions must be placed in the
PARK position for recreational towing.

(Continued)
CAUTION! (Continued)
• Manual transmissions must be placed in gear (not
in Neutral) for recreational towing.
• Before recreational towing, perform the procedure
outlined under “Shifting Into NEUTRAL” to be
certain that the transfer case is fully in NEUTRAL.
Otherwise, internal damage will result.
Towing this vehicle in violation of the above
requirements can cause severe transmission and/or
transfer case damage. Damage from improper towing
is not covered under the New Vehicle Limited
Warranty.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoville Islander
Just towed our 2010 JK from Seattle WA area to Idaho for the holidays. After unhooking from our coach and starting the Jeep, we could smell rubber burning (not melting plastic). Couldn't see any smoke under the hood, but it was for sure coming from the engine compartment. Washed motor and manifolds and smell continued for 3 or 4 days, getting less noticable each day. Towed the 575 miles back to WA yesterday, started the Jeep and the smell was back. What's up with that??? Dealer service has never heard of this.
If you're towing it with a diesel pusher, I'll bet it's this: you have an overflow tube coming from the engine on the coach. I'm not sure exactly what it's for, but every DP seems to have one. During a road trip, this pesky overflow tube drips oil (or perhaps hydraulic fluid) like it's supposed to. These drops of oil disperse out and under the tow vehicle, getting on the radiator, exhaust pipes, and engine parts, which cause a burning rubber smell when you start your tow vehicle. (Just guessing, but I've had the same issue on occasion, and that's what I attribute it too.)
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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I tow with a class C. It is, however, a diesel and the front of the Jeep is always covered with residue after towing a thousand miles or so before I unhook it. That could be the culprit on my coach/Jeep combination also. Thanks for the input. I had not thought of that.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #11
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Jeep was towed as per the owners manual. Smell was narrowed down to the drivers side exhaust manifold area. I used air to clean in and around all the heat shields down to the crossover pipe. Road spray and the chemicals used for de-icing could be the cause, seeing how the iner fender panel/ splash shield is about 2" above the frame on the drivers side and the passenger side is tight to the frame.??
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:29 PM   #12
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I tow with a class C. It is, however, a diesel and the front of the Jeep is always covered with residue after towing a thousand miles or so before I unhook it. That could be the culprit on my coach/Jeep combination also. Thanks for the input. I had not thought of that.
My coach is a Class A Gas. It has no fluid leaks. Winter driving is always dirty though.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #13
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The mystery continues!
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:52 PM   #14
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After 6, count em 6 calls to Jeep Customer Service, I finally got to talk to a Jeep engineer today.

1. The reason you put the transmission in gear for manual or park for automatic transmissions is to be assured the transmission does not turn while towing with the transfer case in neutral. If it does inadvertently turn, there is no oiling feature and it could burn up your transmission.

2. The consensus on the burning smell issue is tire friction caused by turns on the front tires since they are being forced to turn following the RV without the benefit of power steering.

3. Since Jeep went to the Sentry Key program on all models beginning with the 2009 JK's, there is no locking steering column. All the procedures for towing behind a recreational vehicle in the owners manual have not been updated for the new models. There is no need to disconnect the negative battery cable and leave the key in the ignition since there is no locking steering column on these models of JK's. The key can be removed and battery left connected to tow these JK models.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:18 PM   #15
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Burning smell after towing...me too

I have experienced the same problem when towing my 2010 JK behind my diesel pusher. I follow the Jeep towing instructions to the letter and have had "no problem found" when I consult my dealer. I also do not have any residue on or around the vehicle which may have dripped from the coach.

I have been able to avoid the burning smell by cycling my transmission through each gear position for about 10 seconds after disconnecting the vehicle from the coach.

Let me know if this works for anyone else.

Thanks...D.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #16
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Texas TC, I'm not convinced about the tires being forced is causing the smell because after towing the Jeep for 300+ miles non-stop, I had not odor at all until I started the Jeep. Although rubber could be scrubbing off the tires and flipping up into the heat shields on the exhaust. I do only smell it on the drivers side where the inner splash panel is gapped 2" above the frame rail. I still get a faint smell once in a while over a week later. Weird.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:52 PM   #17
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The burning smell is from road grime that gets on the exhaust when towing and is then heated up when you run the engine. I had the the same issue with my Honda CRV.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:02 PM   #18
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Whoville Islander:

I have experienced this same issue for the last ten years towing a Miata, a PT Cruiser and now a 2007 JK behind my motorhome. The real explanation I learned from several RV forums is:

Your motorhome kicks up rubber dust left on the road from all the vehicles traveling on our highways. This rubber dust collects on the toad's engine and especially the exhaust components during a day's worth of towing. When you unhook and drive your toad after towing it all day, the rubber dust is burned off the exhaust and, phew, you smell it inside for several miles.

My Miata was pretty bad for several days. I learned to hose off the engine and exhaust system before driving the car after towing and the smell was much reduced.

My Jeep is not too bad, but the smell is still there after towing. Don't worry. Everything is normal. Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:12 PM   #19
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Battery Goes Dead when Towing

I also tow a 2007 JK and I stop every 3 hours or so to start the jeep to keep the battery charged (free wheel position happens to be the accessory position) and even this it will be dead at times.. I know the manual say to disconnect the (-) battery cable and tie it down but that is a pain.. do you guys have any better ideas?? As far as the smell goes mine does it also and I have 20,000 miles on the odometer plus 40,000 plus being towed without any issues or problems with the jeep..
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrammbler View Post
I also tow a 2007 JK and I stop every 3 hours or so to start the jeep to keep the battery charged (free wheel position happens to be the accessory position) and even this it will be dead at times.. I know the manual say to disconnect the (-) battery cable and tie it down but that is a pain.. do you guys have any better ideas?? As far as the smell goes mine does it also and I have 20,000 miles on the odometer plus 40,000 plus being towed without any issues or problems with the jeep..

I can't think of much that is easier than removing one nut

You could get a 2009 or newer though...
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Scrammbler View Post
I also tow a 2007 JK and I stop every 3 hours or so to start the jeep to keep the battery charged (free wheel position happens to be the accessory position) and even this it will be dead at times.. I know the manual say to disconnect the (-) battery cable and tie it down but that is a pain.. do you guys have any better ideas?? As far as the smell goes mine does it also and I have 20,000 miles on the odometer plus 40,000 plus being towed without any issues or problems with the jeep..
I have a Rubicon. It had been having battery discharge issues for quite some time. Recently, it got worse. It would discharge overnight. The first time when it got worse and battery was completely dead, the sway bar light came on and then the battery would not hold a charge for very long. My electronic disconnect was full of water. New disconnect and $2100.00 for replacing it ($100.00 co-pay on extended warranty) the problem is now completely gone. My advice would be to find out how much current draw there is on the battery with the jeep off. Start there. Then isolate what circuit is causing it. Then down to the item causing the draw.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:29 PM   #22
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I have seen very convenient battery disconnects that mount to the cable right at the battery. As I recall they have a knob that turns a half turn and the battery I'd disconnected. Pretty convenient.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:28 AM   #23
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I haven't had this issue while towing my Jeep (never towed it)
BUT! When I'm offroading, lets say climbing over something steep, or going up a hill or something of that nature, I get the same smell. (burning rubber, burnt/ hot rubber)
Either in 2WD, or 4WD....I do have a manual transmission, but the smell only occures when I'm trying to get over something, and it goes away after 10-15 minutes, and its not my tires, its coming from inside the engine compartment....
Also, I can assure you when I'm going over something I'm not over revving the motor or anything like that.

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