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Old 10-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
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Flat towing questions

Apparently I just toasted the 5 speed manual tranny in my '02 TJ . I set out on vacation flat towing my tj behind the motorhome . I put the transfer case in neutral and the tranny in neutral and went around 300 miles to our first stop and unhooked and drove the tj around 200 miles or so . Hooked the tj back up to the m/h and went around 300 miles , slept the night , and towed another 300 miles the next day to our destination . I unhooked the tj to drive around and do some sight seeing and I couldn't get the transmission in gear . Wouldn't go in any gear . When I tried to let the clutch out it would make bad noises . Sounded like it was broke really bad . I just hooked it back up to the m/h and towed it back home . I took it to a friend of mine that has a small repair shop and he pulled the tranny and opened it up and it looked like every bearing in the tranny had come apart . A real mess ! I have been trying to find out what went wrong and why . I have flat towed (all 4 wheels on the ground) a lot of different 4 wheel drive vehicles and always put the transfer case in neutral and the transmission in neutral and never had a problem until now . Since then , I have gotten bits and pieces of info here and there , but not one complete explanation that makes sense to me . All agree that the transfer case should be in neutral . One scenario says that the damage comes from the tranny output shaft spinning without sufficient lubrication and that starts the whole destructive process . To avoid this , I was told you can place the tranny in 4th gear to keep the output shaft from spinning while it is being towed and thus eliminate the no lubrication problem and therefor no damage will occur . I guess the most burning question in my mind is why would the tranny output shaft be turning at all with the transfer case in neutral ? Hopefully there is someone here that can explain this whole mess to me and convince me that there is a safe way to flat tow this vehicle . I sure would appreciate it ! Thanks in advance .

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:23 PM   #2
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Yep, when flat towing the procedure is to put the xfer case in Neutral and the Tranny in Gear (I use 1st), and unlock the steering wheel.

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Old 10-16-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
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Would you happen to know why ? Just curious . Is that only on that particular tranny ? Thanks for the info .
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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We do it that way because those are the instructions Jeep put in the Owner's Manual.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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The only way the rear bearing gets lubed is from the input shaft turning, as in when the engine is running. Even though you put the t case in neutral, there is enough friction from the oil to spin the input of the t case, which turns the output on the trans, and being the trans input isn't turning, the un-lubed rear trans bearing seizes up, and eats up the others in front. Putting the trans in gear (and this also applies to automatics) stops he output of the trans and saves the bearings. Confused yet?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the intelligent explanation JP. Now it makes perfect sense .
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:39 AM   #7
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I am about to flat tow about 1,000 miles oneway.

Transfer case in neutral and tranmission in gear.

I have a six speed.

WHAT GEAR DO I USE?
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:35 AM   #8
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I am about to flat tow about 1,000 miles oneway.

Transfer case in neutral and tranmission in gear.

I have a six speed.

WHAT GEAR DO I USE?
Transfer case in neutral and transmission in 1st, make sure your steering wheel is unlocked (key in and one click forward for many TJ's).... unless your owners manual suggests something different.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:43 AM   #9
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Just joined the forum and was wondering why 1st gear? Is it because it will provide the most resistance? Have a 95 Wrangler and 83 CJ. Same rules apply to the CJ as well?
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:28 AM   #10
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Just joined the forum and was wondering why 1st gear? Is it because it will provide the most resistance? Have a 95 Wrangler and 83 CJ. Same rules apply to the CJ as well?
Actually which gear doesn't really matter. The owners manual just says "in gear" Since you are trying to stop the trans from turning from the output shaft (rather that from the engine side) a higher gear would make more sense logically. I just put mine in second or third.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:40 AM   #11
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Thanks WD...Never read an owner's manual for a Jeep. Never thought I'd be flat towing one either. Older, wiser...have no desire to ride a mule several hundred miles any more. The CJ-5 on the highway is like a pissed off mule at that! Never hesitated when I was a kid, now my back and brain stem can't take it.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:11 PM   #12
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I use 1st because if for any reason I forget to put the xfercase in N, I want to instantly feel the drag of 1st gear so I can stop and resolve.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #13
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Good point...also the question about the CJ, the only difference from the Wrangler is lock-out hubs. Do you unlock them when flat towing, no owner's manuals.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:53 PM   #14
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I leave my auto in park for the tow..
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:31 PM   #15
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Good point...also the question about the CJ, the only difference from the Wrangler is lock-out hubs. Do you unlock them when flat towing, no owner's manuals.
Anybody know about the lock-out hub question? Leaving in a couple days and want to decide which one to take.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #16
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If "our" Jeeps were to engage a gear while flat towing, would it be best to put it in 5th gear, so the RPM's wouldn't sky rocket immediately? I'm leaving next week, and thought if I put it in any other gear, while going 55mph down the highway, I might have big problems if there is a malfunction. With a V10 pulling my Jeep, I doubt I would feel anything failing behind me.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:30 PM   #17
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Doesn't the manual say 4th gear?....thought I heard that somewhere...

Getting ready to tow mine across country.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:33 PM   #18
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Doesn't the manual say 4th gear?....thought I heard that somewhere...

Getting ready to tow mine across country.
No, it just says "in gear"
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:11 PM   #19
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No, it just says "in gear"
Gotcha, thanks
my tow bar, lights, and hitch brake are all in this week.
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Old 11-28-2013, 08:14 PM   #20
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I travel full time pulling a 04 rubicon transfer case in neutral and tranny in 5th. I did forget to unlock the steering wheel and 15 miles later chewed all the lugs off my front tires. I have been towing mine for 23000 miles and only other thing I have noticed is my tires are wearing out unevenly.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:55 PM   #21
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speedometer

does the speedometer still calculate mileage when you flat tow with transfer case in neutral and transmission in gear
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:27 PM   #22
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does the speedometer still calculate mileage when you flat tow with transfer case in neutral and transmission in gear
Mine doesn't - 2004 Rubicon 5 spd.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:42 PM   #23
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Quote:
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does the speedometer still calculate mileage when you flat tow with transfer case in neutral and transmission in gear
No
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:38 PM   #24
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What setups are you guys using ? Brands ?
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:03 PM   #25
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What setups are you guys using ? Brands ?
I use Ready Brute Elite
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:47 PM   #26
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I use JPi brand connectors that bolt directly to my Blackhawk Allterrain (and most other brands) and pins directly to my D ring mounts on my Poison Spyder bumper (or any other aftermarket bumper with 3/4" D ring mounts)
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:19 PM   #27
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Would you happen to know why ?
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:55 AM   #28
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Purchased my jeep with the bar / bracket thingy for flat towing attached under the bumper already , have no use for it and it doesn't hurt it staying there . But does anyone know how many bucks I could squeeze out if I took it off and tried to sell it ?
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Old 12-25-2013, 10:01 AM   #29
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I also use the NSA Ready Brute Elite.

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Old 03-24-2014, 01:17 PM   #30
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just flat towed mine over 400 miles.. aired the tires up to 35 lbs to make rolling easier.. I was good up to about 65 mph, above that I got too much side to side motion too often.
left it in Park, no miles added to the odometer. worked pretty well overall, except for the gas mileage on my truck

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