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Old 02-28-2015, 02:35 AM   #1
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Dinghy Towing of a Lexus 2001 Gs430 behind a motorhome

I have a 2001 Lexus gs430 that we would like to tow 4 wheels down. I have searched the net and have read it both ways. I have read on forums about someone towing there 2001 gs300 for years without issues. However that owner manual and other towing websites such as Remco say its a no no. It seems Lexus says NO on most all there cars out of precaution. I am hoping someone out there can share there opinion if its possible to dinghy tow and if so the procedure I would need to follow. We would never be towing far and not very often. Maybe 2-3 times a year for 200-300 miles max.

Thank you
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:23 AM   #2
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You haven't said if it's an automatic or a manual transmission. From where I am, (Australia) I can't access an owner's manual for your car. If Lexus says you can't tow it, it's a real gamble for your pocketbook. I wonder if it's worth the costs of installing a base plate, auxiliary braking, and a tail light set up on a car you will use so little. If you do decide to tow it, stop and check often to catch any heating of the transmission. It's not uncommon for cars to catch fire from overheated transmissions. I know it's a 14 year old car, be prepared for a rebuilt transmission or total loss of the car. There are many used cars out there that are suitable for towing and might serve you better as a toad.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:39 AM   #3
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I know that your GS430 is automatic, the question is does it have a manually selectable transfer case with a Neutral position. If so it could be towed 4 Down if you could find a base plate to fit.


The reason no Lexus/Toyota vehicle is certified to be towed four down is Toyota does not wish to expend the engineering dollars to test such an operation for the minuscule increase in sales and possible legal liability. I know because I worked for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #4
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Lexus won't approve no matter what you do, but the '01 is out of watranty anyway.

This is a question of risk, so there is no right answer. The transmission in your car is not designed to provide continual lubrication while towing. It's a given that it is going to get hotter than normal and parts are going to wear more than normal. The question is, how quickly will that lead to failure? That depends factors like time, distance, speed, ambient temperature, and frequency of stops (cool down periods). One person might tow and be ok because those factors stay within some unknown but acceptable range, while another might get a total breakdown. At the end of the day, you have to decide on how much risk to take.

You can reduce the risk by keeping speeds lower (55-60 mph), time & distance shorter, and stopping occasionally to run the Lexus' engine for a few minutes while shifting to both Drive and Reverse a few times. This gets the tranny fluid flowing where it needs to be and cools it down as well.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:21 PM   #5
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Towing of lexus

Thank you for the replies. I was looking for a base plate and cant find one anywhere probably for a reason. How about a 2002 dodge ram 1500 which is not 4X4? My husband was thinking that might be a better choice for us. I would imagine its the same risk of damage. He found a universal adjustable CURT tow bar kit with brackets rated to handle 5000lbs for just around $200 and a set of magnetic tow lights for around $50. Seems too good to be true when other tow bar kits are $500-$1200. Anyone here use these cheaper universal tow bar kits?
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
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All I can say is you get what you pay for. Your dodge truck probably weights over 5000 lbs.
I would look at BlueOx or Roadmaster for a base plate and tow bar. There are also several other quality tow bars and base plates available.

I would suggest having the truck weighted with a full tank of gas and then add several hundred more pounds for the things you may eventually carry.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhubbell2 View Post
Thank you for the replies. I was looking for a base plate and cant find one anywhere probably for a reason. How about a 2002 dodge ram 1500 which is not 4X4? My husband was thinking that might be a better choice for us. I would imagine its the same risk of damage. He found a universal adjustable CURT tow bar kit with brackets rated to handle 5000lbs for just around $200 and a set of magnetic tow lights for around $50. Seems too good to be true when other tow bar kits are $500-$1200. Anyone here use these cheaper universal tow bar kits?
If this is already covered than please forgive me. You will also need to budget supplementary braking and break away braking as well
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:44 AM   #8
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I tow a 2000 Lexus RX300. Front wheel drive automatic.

I have a letter from Lexus stating it is towable 4 down. I don't know if the transmission is the same as yours.

Just put it in neutral and leave the ignition switch in accessory position so the steering wheel unlocks.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:55 AM   #9
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That 2WD Ram isn't 4-down towable either - no transfer case.

You might make your task easier if you looked at the Motorhome Nagazine Dinghy Tow Guides and only looked at models listed there.
Downloadable Dinghy Guides | MotorHome Magazine

However, many vehicles that are not towable from the factory can be modified for towing with either a drive shaft disconnect (most rear drives) or a transmission lube pump (most front drives). That's an option, albeit and expensive one (figure upwards of $1000 installed).
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I tow a 2000 Lexus RX300. Front wheel drive automatic.

I have a letter from Lexus stating it is towable 4 down. I don't know if the transmission is the same as yours.

Just put it in neutral and leave the ignition switch in accessory position so the steering wheel unlocks.
I towed the same type of rx300 for 4 years and and 40,000k miles...never had a problem.....
I did stop every 200 miles and ran the engine for 5 minutes during a bathroom break...and when I stopped to unhook...I started the engine and ran it in place while I unhooked it.....I think that was the difference maker...Chuck
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