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Old 05-09-2015, 11:37 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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'97 Suzuki Sidekick 4WD-towing and tire wear

I tow a '97 Suzuki Sidekick, automatic with 4WD. We tow it using a Roadmaster towbar
behind our Class A MH. I have questions regarding proper towing setup and excessive/uneven tire wear on the front tires.
The Suzuki owner's manual for tow setup states to put the front wheels in "free wheeling position". Put the transmission from two-wheel High into Neutral position. I've been doing both these steps. Put the shifting lever into PARK - per the manual. Been doing this too.
Then insert the ignition key and turn to ACC position on the column. Now I'm ready to tow.
I've been experiencing significant uneven wear on my fairly new front tires. Both tires are almost bald on 2/3ds of the outside of each tire. Only the inside 1/3 (or even less) of the tires have "like almost new" tread remaining. These tires have approx.10,000 miles on them.
I wonder if I should be putting the car in Neutral, instead of PARK as the owner's manual states, and if this is what is causing the excessive and uneven front tire wear?
I'm having to replace one of the front tires now due to hitting a rock in the road and blowing the tire on our latest RV trip.
I will be getting a front end alignment too, BTW.
Also, is there any additional towing aid/equipment that I should purchase to assist/enhance the TOAD towing and turning; or will the alignment and putting the car in NEUTRAL vs PARK solve the tire wear issue?

Thanks
Jim, Merlin OR, '06 Pace Arrow 37C
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:25 AM   #2
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Winnebago Owners Club
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I don't have a Sidekick but have a 03 XL-7. I have towed it over 150,000 miles and the last set of tires lasted 75,000 miles.

It seems you are doing exactly what I do. You stated you put the Transmission in neutral and I assume you mean the transfer case.

1. Put transfer case in neutral
2. Put automatic transmission in park.
3. Put key in accessory position to unlock steering wheel.
4. Release parking brake.

If you are experiencing tire wear I would have the front end aligned.

Good luck
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles tuit View Post
I don't have a Sidekick but have a 03 XL-7. I have towed it over 150,000 miles and the last set of tires lasted 75,000 miles.

It seems you are doing exactly what I do. You stated you put the Transmission in neutral and I assume you mean the transfer case.

1. Put transfer case in neutral
2. Put automatic transmission in park.
3. Put key in accessory position to unlock steering wheel.
4. Release parking brake.

If you are experiencing tire wear I would have the front end aligned.

Good luck

I am on my 3rd Suzuki/Tracker. I now use a 2000 Grand Vitara.. No issues with any of them.. No unusual tire wear.. Unless you count the time I set the park brake and drug it about 2 miles!!! Not only took out the tires but the wheels too!!!
They make terrific tow cars.. You obviously have some front end issues.. Be sure all joints and links are tight.. That could cause Wild toe in toe out problems..
Good luck..
Ron
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Old 05-10-2015, 12:32 PM   #4
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My first thought is that the front tires aren't steering, (or trailing) around the corners and you are just scuffing the tires sideways and dragging the vehicle around the corners. Can you turn the steering wheel after you put the ignition in the ACC position?
I tow a Honda CR-V and it doesn't trail real well, I know I do some dragging it around the corners.
If you could find a neighborhood like mine (very little traffic) you could have someone walk along and watch what happens while you turn an corner.
Putting more caster (go to the max) would help it trail better if you get an alignment.
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Old 05-10-2015, 02:22 PM   #5
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If you have a rear view camera in your motor home tie a white scarf on your tow's steering wheel at the 12 o clock position. As you go around a corner you should be able to see the tow's wheel turn.
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:23 AM   #6
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Is you tow bar centered on the vehicle? Not sure if that would make a big difference, but might be something to check.
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