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Old 03-08-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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Towing my Jeep

I've had this happen every time I've towed my Jeep - Anyone else? I follow all the instructions in the owner manual (transfer case in natural, trans in park, disconnect the battery, ignition in ACC) and when I drive it after towing I have a strong smell of burning rubber in the vehicle. Seems to go away after a few miles. Tires are not hot. Doesn’t seem to as strong a smell outside the vehicle…. Any thought on what to check? Thanks for any ideas!

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Old 03-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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Sounds like your towing on all four wheels. Tisk, tisk. Jeeps dont like to be towed on all four. Its emergency, short distances only if you half to. Could be any number of over heated components.

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Old 03-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pkmcd99 View Post
Sounds like your towing on all four wheels. Tisk, tisk. Jeeps dont like to be towed on all four. Its emergency, short distances only if you half to. Could be any number of over heated components.
This is incorrect. The Jeep Wrangler is one of the last vehicles to be manufactured for towing four wheels down directly from the manufacturer. This is one of the reasons we have had Jeeps for the past 18 years. Hook up to the motorhome, put the transfer case in neutral and go. Also one of the only vehicles that have the instructions for towing behind an RV in the owner's manual.

I did notice a slight rubber odor on our 1996 ZJ every once in a while but I could never with any certainty determine its origin. Nothing ever wrong and I check the tires with an infrared gun on stops occassionally just for comparisons sake.

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Old 03-08-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zmotorsports

This is incorrect. The Jeep Wrangler is one of the last vehicles to be manufactured for towing four wheels down directly from the manufacturer. This is one of the reasons we have had Jeeps for the past 18 years. Hook up to the motorhome, put the transfer case in neutral and go. Also one of the only vehicles that have the instructions for towing behind an RV in the owner's manual.

I did notice a slight rubber odor on our 1996 ZJ every once in a while but I could never with any certainty determine its origin. Nothing ever wrong and I check the tires with an infrared gun on stops occassionally just for comparisons sake.

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Tow away, but they dont like it. Just saying.
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
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FYI, as quoted in wrangler manual, Do not Tow on all four. Manufacturer requires extensive towing be performed with all 4 wheels off ground. Your Jeep, your warranty. Even though there is an RV tow procedure, the JKs seem to be sensitive to this type of tow, I would adhere to the general towing procedure rule, as quoted above. Get a trailer.
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #6
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What I failed to say is that it's a 2008 Rubi w/ 4wd. So you can tow 4 down per the owners manual.
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkmcd99 View Post
FYI, as quoted in wrangler manual, Do not Tow on all four. Manufacturer requires extensive towing be performed with all 4 wheels off ground. Your Jeep, your warranty. Even though there is an RV tow procedure, the JKs seem to be sensitive to this type of tow, I would adhere to the general towing procedure rule, as quoted above. Get a trailer.
Still have to disagree. I have towed our last two Jeeps over 100k miles combined without any issues. I think you are reading the manual incorrectly, where it states "wheels off the ground" it states NONE under that. Meaning with all wheels ON the ground put the trans. in Park, Tranfer case in NEUTRAL, Tow in forward direction. The limitations come in the next two parts with either the front or rear wheels off the ground.

We RV with many others that have only towed Jeeps still again without any issues. I would really like to know what issues you are referring to and rumors or actual experiences.

Quoted from 2011 Wrangler manual under "Starting and Operating" sub-section "Recreational Towing" page 479.

RECREATIONAL TOWING (BEHIND MOTORHOME, ETC.)
Towing This Vehicle Behind Another Vehicle
Towing Condition Wheels OFF the
Ground
Four-Wheel Drive Models
Flat Tow NONE (NO RESTRICTIONS)
See Instructions


Automatic transmission in PARK

Manual transmission in gear

(NOT in NEUTRAL (N)


Transfer case in NEUTRAL (N)

Tow in forward direction



Dolly Tow

Front
NOT ALLOWED

Rear
NOT ALLOWED


On Trailer ALL OK

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Old 03-08-2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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If your having good luck, great, clearly Doug isnt.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Now Doug, if you are adhereing to RV towing practices and still encountering issues, I might be inclined to speak with a dealer. Some JKs do not like to be towed, even in the RV manner. Every natch of Jeeps are not made equally unfortunatly. Mamy owners encounter lift issues on lifts that other owners are ok. Same goes with towing. That is why, Chrysler has cleverly contradicted thereselves and also have a disabled jeep tow rule. It covers the what if factors of RV towing. Get a trailer and stop racking up those undriven miles on your ruby.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #10
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A trailer adds weight to the tow and creates massive parking problems as many RV parks will not let you park more than one towed item or may charge extra. Same goes for National and State parks. You also now have an extra tag to purchase, more insurance and may have storage problems when at home.
OP Talk to your dealer. You may have hooked up the wireing wrong for your lights and your burning a wire in under the dash.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kenb1023
A trailer adds weight to the tow and creates massive parking problems as many RV parks will not let you park more than one towed item or may charge extra. Same goes for National and State parks. You also now have an extra tag to purchase, more insurance and may have storage problems when at home.
OP Talk to your dealer. You may have hooked up the wireing wrong for your lights and your burning a wire in under the dash.
Good points. Hopefully it is not electrical eeek. Maybe your transfer case is still engaged? Just a thought.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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Get a trailer and stop racking up those undriven miles on your ruby.
I don't want to get into a pissing contest but this is also incorrect. When the fuse is pulled on 2007/2008 JKs there is no current draw and the odometer does NOT accrue miles. In the owner manual under the "Recreational Towing " section is shows which fuse to pull.

Jeep also removed the steering wheel lock on 2009-current JKs with the sole intent of "Recreational Towing" so there doesn't even need to be a key in the ignition, no current draw and no miles accruing on the odometer.

This is another reason why so many RV'ers like the 2009-current JKs.

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Old 03-08-2012, 08:19 PM   #13
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Also, if you watch the Jeep youtube video which is a sticky at the first of the JK section where it explains 4wd it also explains how to enable your Jeep for towing behind a motorhome. It is approx. 3 minutes into the video.

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Old 03-08-2012, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkmcd99 View Post
Sounds like your towing on all four wheels. Tisk, tisk. Jeeps dont like to be towed on all four. Its emergency, short distances only if you half to. Could be any number of over heated components.
Not to add fuel to the fire, but I'm curious where you found this information pk.

I have no direct experience rec. towing a jeep, but everything I've ever read says the opposite...

The posted section of the manual wasn't very clear, here's a screenshot. My interpretation of this is that you must either tow the jeep with all 4 on the ground or all 4 off the ground...

Ryan
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:58 PM   #15
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So clearly the Jeep is intended to be towed behind an RV for extended periods. If you follow the instructions, you should be ok. But even then, you might have an issue. Just like you have an issue with your Jeep not being towed. So there we have it... if you have any issues, go see the dealer. Otherwise, have fun towing!
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:06 PM   #16
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Everyone is assuming the smell is coming from the Jeep. What if the tires on the RV are scrubbing and the smell is getting caught in the Jeep?
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:46 PM   #17
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Just towed from Florence AZ to Houston Tx a 2012 JK 4down and no problems this was why we bought the jeep. It is without a doubt one of the most popular vehicles RV owners use because it is made to tow 4 down, you'd understand if you lived on the road.
Now we had no odors with the jeep but my last vehicle was a 2009 GMC Sierra and I got a burnt odor smell after towing but it went away after 2000 miles of being towed.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:17 AM   #18
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Toad Smell

I have towed various SUVs for over 35,000 mi and now my 2012 JKU automatic for 1000+ mi. I have occasionally noticed a "smell" towing, most times I notice smells it's from accumulations of diesel grime and road grime on the SUV headers and exhaust when running. The smell of burnt transmission oil is NOT normal, nor is it a good omen. I could believe a dragging brake or tires rubbing, but in general there aren't any smells from a well prepared towed Jeep.

By the way there has been some eroneous chat about towing Jeeps and I'll respond with answers based on my 2012.
1. Yes a Jeep is meant to be towed a four wheels down. I think whoever read the contrary was talking about tow truck towing should be done with a flatbed.
2. I tow an automatic. Once the T-case is in neutral, the transmission is put in Park and it is easily towed.
3. The 2009 and up do not require a key in the steering wheel or disconnecting the battery.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:21 PM   #19
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I noticed you said the key was in the "acc" position. If you have steering wheel lock, I believe it would be locked in this position. My 2000 does not unlock the steering wheel in the acc position.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:43 PM   #20
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I have towed mine from So. Cal to Bar Harbor Maine with absolutely no problems. Who ever says you can't tow, doesn't have a clue.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
I've had this happen every time I've towed my Jeep - Anyone else? I follow all the instructions in the owner manual (transfer case in natural, trans in park, disconnect the battery, ignition in ACC) and when I drive it after towing I have a strong smell of burning rubber in the vehicle. Seems to go away after a few miles. Tires are not hot. Doesn’t seem to as strong a smell outside the vehicle…. Any thought on what to check? Thanks for any ideas!
DougS this is actually common. Road grime and debris which contains rubber collects on your cold jk exhaust components while flat towing. You start your jeep and this accumulation burns off over the first bit of driving. Discussed in great detail on the rv toad forums.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:10 AM   #22
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DougS this is actually common. Road grime and debris which contains rubber collects on your cold jk exhaust components while flat towing. You start your jeep and this accumulation burns off over the first bit of driving. Discussed in great detail on the rv toad forums.
Exactly. All of those tens of thousands of tires running down our highways/interstates have small particles of rubber coming off of them. When you drive your vehicle the engine/exhaust is hot so they are either repelled from the heat or burn in small enough amounts at point of contact that it is not noticeable.

When a cold vehicle is towed down the road these rubber particles collect on the undercarriage of the toad and then when started they emit a slight burning rubber smell.

I have towed Jeeps for over 100k miles for the past 18 years and this topic comes up quite a bit.

If you are smelling something other than a rubber smell then you may have another issue like oil (engine/trans) but the rubber smell is quite common.

On a side note, after discussing this in campgrounds with people I have also noticed that the vehicles with a little more lift are more succeptible than one at stock ride height.

My son's Jeep ZJ was towed since 1998 behind three different RVs and over 100k miles before giving it to him several years ago. Very seldom did we get the odor, once in a great while if we towed a very long distance. On my last Jeep (another ZJ) it was lifted 4" w/31" tires and I would get it a little more frequently. It would burn off after 20-30 miles or so.

I have only towed our current JKU once so far to Monument Valley/Moab last week and got the odor on the way down after arriving at the campground and firing it up to go to dinner. Burnt off after a few miles.

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Old 03-23-2012, 07:37 AM   #23
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Add me to the list of people that have towed a Wrangler for 50,000 + miles 4 down with no problems. I did get that "smell" once or twice but as another posted stated I was never able to track it down. Just follow the directions in the owner's manual and you should be fine.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:33 AM   #24
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HogDriver and zmotorsports got it right. The rest is just "folksy news".

We tow our 2007 Sahara behind our Winnie Journey everywhere we go with no issues except for the occasional "rubber smell" which comes from the rubber dust, oil particles, etc spread on our highways by all the traffic using them settling on the Jeep's engine and exhaust parts. The "smell" goes away after a few minutes or miles of normal driving.

BTW, we have previously towed a PT Cruiser and a Miata. Both these guys did the same "rubber smell" thing. The Miata was much, much worse than the Jeep or the PT Cruiser--lower to the ground and had a big grill opening close to the ground.

Just follow Jeep's directions and tow away--have fun.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:30 PM   #25
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Just curious if those experiencing an occasional rubber smell--do you use an additional brake system, like the Patriot? We don't have our jeep yet (ordering soon) and plan to tow our 2013 behind the motorhome. Our manual Subaru Outback tows great but when we used the Patriot brake system, we noticed excessive burning rubber smell. We disconnected it, since we don't do a lot of mountain driving, and no longer have the smell. It is possible we didn't have it connected properly. Cant' wait to tow our jeep!
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:31 AM   #26
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Just curious if those experiencing an occasional rubber smell--do you use an additional brake system, like the Patriot? We don't have our jeep yet (ordering soon) and plan to tow our 2013 behind the motorhome. Our manual Subaru Outback tows great but when we used the Patriot brake system, we noticed excessive burning rubber smell. We disconnected it, since we don't do a lot of mountain driving, and no longer have the smell. It is possible we didn't have it connected properly. Cant' wait to tow our jeep!
The burning smell is independent of any auxiliary braking system. We have gotten it when we ran our U.S. Gear Auxiliary braking system and we have gotten the smell when not running any aux. brakes. It is merely the road grime coming off of the road and attaching to the vehicles exhaust system. After starting and running it for a short time it will burn off and then be undectable.

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Old 10-14-2012, 04:57 PM   #27
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Flat Towing My 2012 Jeep Sahara

I just drove from Moab, Utah to Lovington, NM via Grand Junction CO.
I was towing my 4 door sahara according to the owners manual to NM.
Took the Blue ox off of the truck and put it on the back of the jeep just to keep it out of the way. Drove it back to Moab. All this weekend. No motel rooms. Jeep only. Left it running while I napped. Congrats Feerless Felix! Ballon festival at sunrise in Alburqurqe . NM Awesome! No problems. Lifetime warranty. No worries.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:19 PM   #28
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Dang... I shouldn't comment since my Wrangler towing hasn't been in a JK, but my TJ rolled over 75K behind our motorhome over the years. Biggest problem I had was if I got into a tight spot and had to disconnect to get out... you can't back up a towed 4 down vehicle more that a few feet and even then it must be in a straight line.

Suebabe - Does your towing vehicle have a brake activation light in it that comes on when the brakes in the toad are activated by the Patriot system? If not, I'd suspect dragging brakes, but you would have likely figured that out if you always checked your towed vehicle brake lights... just a thought.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:45 PM   #29
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towing my YJ

I am new to owning jeep. 1991 YJ when towing in on all four, should both the trans and transfer case be in neutral ??? also brand new to this forum. Bill
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:12 PM   #30
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We've towed a n 02 TJ, 03 TJ and 2012 JKUR and gotten a little bit of the burnt rubber type smell from every one of them. I've also read that it's due to road grime building up, and it has gone away after a short time of driving each one of them.

We have also had no problems flat towing any of the Jeeps I mentioned with our RV. We will now be towing the 03 on a flatbed trailer since it has the Atlas II transfer case

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