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Old 04-15-2016, 09:04 AM   #1
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Question 4WD F-150 Question

I have a 2016 4WD F-150 and I know it can be towed 4 down as long as it's set up IAW the operator manual.
My question is about dolly towing. The brochures say "No" to dolly towing but none of the dealers have been able to give me a reason why not and tell me what damage may occur if the truck is set up for 4 down towing but the front wheels are on a dolly.
I ask because I already own a KarKaddy 3 dolly and the cost for a towbar, baseplate, and braking system runs about $3000 + labor to rig the truck for flat towing.
Eventually I will probably rig the truck for 4 down and sell the dolly but that's not an option right now.
Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:19 AM   #2
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I have no direct experience with the F-150, but it is my understanding that you risk damage to the transfer case.

I would absolutely not disregard the manufacturer's guidance on the matter.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:40 AM   #3
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For the time being you could just disconnect the driveshaft. Not the easiest thing to do, but it's an option.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
I have a 2016 4WD F-150 and I know it can be towed 4 down as long as it's set up IAW the operator manual.
My question is about dolly towing. The brochures say "No" to dolly towing but none of the dealers have been able to give me a reason why not and tell me what damage may occur if the truck is set up for 4 down towing but the front wheels are on a dolly.
I ask because I already own a KarKaddy 3 dolly and the cost for a towbar, baseplate, and braking system runs about $3000 + labor to rig the truck for flat towing.
Eventually I will probably rig the truck for 4 down and sell the dolly but that's not an option right now.
Thanks for any thoughts.
Well,
First off, flat towing is seriously easier than messing with a dolly. And, I don't know your thoughts on used stuff but, I've bought two used tow bars, a Blue Ox Aventa and an Aladdin for way less than half price on ebay and both were in flawless condition. And all the cables, pigtail, connection links etc. all came with them. The base plate(s) for our GMC Sierra were only about $380.00 or so brand new from etrailer.com.

So, the cost of setting up our truck was about $800 total. Of course, I did all the work which, was actually quite easy.

Second, there's REASONS for the brochures to stipulate NO DOLLY TOWING! The drivetrain has been configured for flat towing, if and when needed or desired, not 1/2 and 1/2, like would be on a dolly. And, just because 99.99% of the folks at dealerships cannot answer technical questions, doesn't mean that it's ok to do what the opposite of the brochures and the OWNERS MANUAL states to do is the correct procedure.

Now, this is up to you. It's your truck. You need to do what's right for you. You could probably sell the dolly for a reasonable price and, recoup some, if not most of the cost for the Tow bar, base plates and etc. Your choice. I know for dead sure that, I will NEVER DISCONNECT a drive shaft for towing, EVER!!!!!!!!!!! But, it's a choice you'll have to make.
Scott
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:09 AM   #5
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Well,
I know for dead sure that, I will NEVER DISCONNECT a drive shaft for towing, EVER!!!!!!!!!!! But, it's a choice you'll have to make.
Scott
Reason? People do it all the time. I'd like to know if there is a some legitimate reason why he shouldn't.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:58 AM   #6
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When a 4 wheel drive vehicle is flat towed, all of the wheels can turn, just like driving it.

If you tie the front wheels to the dolly, they can't turn, although they want to, being that they are connected to the rear wheels. That will damage your truck 4X4 system.

That leave few options.

Rig it for 4 down towing. As you stated, it can be expensive unless you buy used and can pull the front of your truck off and install it your self. Remember, the 4000 lb truck needs the tow stuff installed properly.

Disconnect the back end of the rear driveshaft, every time you tow. That can be a pain.

They also make a driveshaft disconnect kit. If you plan on going to 4 down, the expense ptobably isn't worth it.

Get a 2 wheel drive something to dolly tow around. Cheap car could be an easy fix.

Last thought is investigate front manual locking hubs, like back in the early days of 4 wheel drive. You could unlock the front wheels so the rest of the stuff can turn, while the front tires don't. Look on a hard core 4X4 web site for info.

Good luck in you decision.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:03 AM   #7
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Reason? People do it all the time. I'd like to know if there is a some legitimate reason why he shouldn't.
That's what I'm trying to get answered.
I know that 4 down is much easier but it's just not in the cards at this moment.

On our previous '98 Wrangler with a 5 speed manual tranny and manual transfer case I put the transfer case in neutral and the transmission in gear ( I always just used 1st). I was told by owners who had automatics the book said to put the tranny in park.
I can only assume that was to prevent a slow, residual turning of the tranny that "could" result in overheating.
With the F-150 I think everything is in neutral so if there is any backfeed to the tranny from the turning wheels it must be minimal.
With the tranny and transfer case both in neutral, what damage is possible with only the rear wheels turning instead of all 4 turning?????
I'm an old aircraft mechanic and very OCD about the "why" regarding procedures. It alway got under my skin to hear someone say we've always done it that way without the slightest idea of why!
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:07 AM   #8
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When a 4 wheel drive vehicle is flat towed, all of the wheels can turn, just like driving it.

If you tie the front wheels to the dolly, they can't turn, although they want to, being that they are connected to the rear wheels. That will damage your truck 4X4 system.

That leave few options.

Rig it for 4 down towing. As you stated, it can be expensive unless you buy used and can pull the front of your truck off and install it your self. Remember, the 4000 lb truck needs the tow stuff installed properly.

Disconnect the back end of the rear driveshaft, every time you tow. That can be a pain.

They also make a driveshaft disconnect kit. If you plan on going to 4 down, the expense ptobably isn't worth it.

Get a 2 wheel drive something to dolly tow around. Cheap car could be an easy fix.

Last thought is investigate front manual locking hubs, like back in the early days of 4 wheel drive. You could unlock the front wheels so the rest of the stuff can turn, while the front tires don't. Look on a hard core 4X4 web site for info.

Good luck in you decision.
They front and rear wheels are not tied together when the tranny and transfer case are both in neutral.
Neutral is neutral. Input does not result in output.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:21 AM   #9
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They front and rear wheels are not tied together when the tranny and transfer case are both in neutral.
Neutral is neutral. Input does not result in output.
No neutral position, No neutral.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:06 PM   #10
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Reason? People do it all the time. I'd like to know if there is a some legitimate reason why he shouldn't.
"People do it all the time". Well, if you say so. We've been many, many places, RV parks, campgrounds, Resorts, Boondocking, and more, thousands and thousands of miles of traveling and, in ANY of those campgrounds/RV Parks etc. we have YET to see one person, pull up in an RV, especially a nicer RV, and the owner has to get out, and climb under the toad, and hook up the drive shaft.

Not to mention, you've just driven maybe anywhere from 200 - 400 - 500 miles and, it's late, possibly raining, or it's HOT and the pavement is ULTRA HOT, or, DIRTY, or both, or, in many U.S. Forest Campgrounds with gravel and or, dirt roads and parking places, camp spots, and it just rained or is raining, again, we have yet to see even ONE, get out the wrenches, and re-connect any drive shaft.

"Legitimate" reason? Well, it all depends on your definition of LEGITIMATE. My definition is all of what I've stated above. If you or, anyone on this or, any other forum chooses to take one of the hardest routes in recreational vehicle towing, it is certainly up to you, it's your choice. There are hundreds and hundreds of factory authorized flat towable vehicles and trucks out there that all you have to do is, turn a knob on the dash, move a lever on the floor, (not speaking of drive shaft disconnects either), or flip a switch etc. and, you're ready to tow for ever.

And to use the excuse that, "the vehicle we have is paid for" but not flat towable, to me, is not an excuse. A vehicle is a piece of metal. It can be sold and, another one, (that does not have to be new) can than take its place and, is flat towable is, to me, far easier than laying under a dirty car/truck/Jeep/whatever at the end of the day, possibly with RVs lining up behind you while you register in the front office of an RV park, THEN have to out and lay under your toad, to re-connect a drive shaft.

The older I get, the easier I want to make it on ME when it comes to things like that. And squirming under a toad at the end of a days drive or, in the wee hours of the morning in prep for departure, is certainly NOT the easier way. Your choice. While certainly not all, but, many, many of the folks we watch pull into RV parks and campgrounds are seniors. Many of them can barely stand up straight after sitting for a few hours in the drivers seat. And they sure as he... are not going to get out the wrenches, and climb under their toad.

We've had 12 toads in 35 years of RVing. Not one of them has ever had to have the drive shaft disconnected. Again, it's your choice.

Scott
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:31 PM   #11
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Twinboat: I realize there is no neutral position showing on the control knob but that's what you're doing when you go through all the button pushing listed in the manual to set the truck up for flat tow. My understanding is that the electronics take care of what we used to do manually.
FWIW: I think the old manual way was much better.

To all: I have absolutely no intention of crawling under the truck to disconnect a drive shaft. My old bones just don't do those things these days.

We have a Front Wheel Drive Toyota Highlander that tows just fine on the dolly we currently own. I just want to have the option of taking the truck if I want to.
This is probably an exercise in futilty but my anal-retentive, OCD mind won't let me stop until someone, preferably Ford, gives me a realistic, mechanically sound "why not" answer!
Thanks to all who took the time to reply. I prefer to let this die on the vine unless someone has info from a Ford driveline tech that makes sense.
Take care and stay as safe as possible.
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Old 04-16-2016, 04:19 PM   #12
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Our '11 GMC Sierra 4x4 Extended Cab that we tow also, does not show any "N" on the transfer case shift knob on the dash. That is, unless we're prepping it for towing. Once we start following the procedure for prep for tow, an "N" appears on that knob that you normally don't see.
Scott
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Old 04-16-2016, 04:53 PM   #13
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A little research on the Borg Warner TOD, Torque On Demand, transfer case shows a electronic controlled clutch inside it. It works with 12 sensors to apply torque to the wheels that need It.

A reason for no dolly towing, may be, that the multi disc clutch pack will not be lubricated properly with the front wheels not turning.

That's the same issue with towing some automatic transmissions. The clutch packs, drive and driven, discs dry out, build heat and burn.

You may have a 2 speed TOD transfer case in your F150.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
"People do it all the time". Well, if you say so. We've been many, many places, RV parks, campgrounds, Resorts, Boondocking, and more, thousands and thousands of miles of traveling and, in ANY of those campgrounds/RV Parks etc. we have YET to see one person, pull up in an RV, especially a nicer RV, and the owner has to get out, and climb under the toad, and hook up the drive shaft.

Not to mention, you've just driven maybe anywhere from 200 - 400 - 500 miles and, it's late, possibly raining, or it's HOT and the pavement is ULTRA HOT, or, DIRTY, or both, or, in many U.S. Forest Campgrounds with gravel and or, dirt roads and parking places, camp spots, and it just rained or is raining, again, we have yet to see even ONE, get out the wrenches, and re-connect any drive shaft.

"Legitimate" reason? Well, it all depends on your definition of LEGITIMATE. My definition is all of what I've stated above. If you or, anyone on this or, any other forum chooses to take one of the hardest routes in recreational vehicle towing, it is certainly up to you, it's your choice. There are hundreds and hundreds of factory authorized flat towable vehicles and trucks out there that all you have to do is, turn a knob on the dash, move a lever on the floor, (not speaking of drive shaft disconnects either), or flip a switch etc. and, you're ready to tow for ever.

And to use the excuse that, "the vehicle we have is paid for" but not flat towable, to me, is not an excuse. A vehicle is a piece of metal. It can be sold and, another one, (that does not have to be new) can than take its place and, is flat towable is, to me, far easier than laying under a dirty car/truck/Jeep/whatever at the end of the day, possibly with RVs lining up behind you while you register in the front office of an RV park, THEN have to out and lay under your toad, to re-connect a drive shaft.

The older I get, the easier I want to make it on ME when it comes to things like that. And squirming under a toad at the end of a days drive or, in the wee hours of the morning in prep for departure, is certainly NOT the easier way. Your choice. While certainly not all, but, many, many of the folks we watch pull into RV parks and campgrounds are seniors. Many of them can barely stand up straight after sitting for a few hours in the drivers seat. And they sure as he... are not going to get out the wrenches, and climb under their toad.

We've had 12 toads in 35 years of RVing. Not one of them has ever had to have the drive shaft disconnected. Again, it's your choice.

Scott
So no other reason than it will be a little extra work. Got it!

His choice. We provide ideas and people get to choose their option. I thought I was going to learn something new.
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