Originally Posted by ssgwsmith
Looking at purchasing a 88 YJ to tow... Can this vehicle be flat towed?
First off, get someone that either lives near you or, you know personally that is a "Jeep" expert. Without going through all of Jeeps history here, which would take half a novel, suffice to say that, the first couple of years of the "YJ" utilized many of the drive train components of the "CJ". The main reason was, AMC owned Jeep for many years, if I recall, from around '65 or so, up to around '87 when Chrysler took possession of Jeep. And, that's when the "YJ" or, the SQUARE HEADLIGHT version appeared.
Many, many Jeep gurus almost committed suicide after seeing those square headlights. Anyway, the CJ model used what's called the model 300, cast iron, gear driven transfer case for quite a few years, along with a few others but, that was the main transfer case 'till the end of the AMC era.
Once Chrysler took over, they apparently purchased some remaining parts caches and, utilized them 'till they and, Borg Warner revamped some of the drive train.
That means that, there were many '87 and, '88s that utilized some left over model 300 transfer cases. Now those were good transfer cases only, they were NOT DESIGNED for flat towing. Yes, they do have a dedicated neutral. Yes, they are gear driven. But, and this is the important part, in their design, the gear mechanisms in them, primarily lubed themselves, when BEING DRIVEN, not BEING TOWED.
The main difference is, there are shafts and gears in those model 300s that are not being turned while in the neutral and being turned, as they would be if the Jeep was being driven. Now, in '91 Jeep/Chrysler was still producing the YJ but, they had done some serious restyling of the transfer case and, they also ceased to use the older, 4.2L 242 Cu. In. carbureted AMC engine.
They started using the fuel injected 4.0L that was a Chrysler engine. AS for the transfer case, it is the model 231 and, is an Aluminum, CHAIN driven one. But, the main improvement that is of real value to RVers that tow Jeeps is the fact that, those model 231 transfer cases, were developed with their own OIL PUMP, just inside the tail cone of that T/Case. IT's a rotary vein, thin, (about 1/2" thick), oil pump that's about the size of a DVD.
Now, what's important about that is, when that model transfer case is put into neutral, the out put shaft of it is still being turned by the fact that the rear wheels are still turning it, but, the output shaft is TURNING THAT OIL PUMP and, therefore is pumping oil all throughout the gearing and bearings/shafts etc.
So, the point is, if you're pursuing this '88 Jeep, do what it takes to find out, just what transfer case that's in there. The model 300 Cast Iron one can be towed but, precautions must be taken to preserve the longevity of it while it's being towed. There's a list of things that can be done but, many of us towed Jeeps with that model transfer case back and forth to Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari and, all we did was, when stopping for fuel, we'd start up the Jeeps, run them through some gears and, shut them down. That was just barely enough lube to hold them over 'till the next fuel stop.
Hope this helps some.