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Old 03-11-2012, 10:17 PM   #1
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Engine alarm

I have a need to tow my Nitro 4 wheels down, but this will require the engine to idle in neutral while being towed. My fear is of the engine dying while being towed and damage resulting from this.
My question is that where should I tie a relay into the system to sound an alarm on my dash should this happen?

Dick & Judy Mott in the "Liberty Belle"
'99 Ultimate Freedom -FL Chassis - Subaru Outback
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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Go to remco towing's web site, They will have one of 3 products that may help you.

Option 1, Rear wheel drive vehicles, Drive shaft disconnect.

Option 2: Front wheel drive vehicles: Axle lock

Option 3: All vehicles Transmission lubrication pump (WITH OPTIONAL ALARM)

I had a front wheel drive and choose option 2 It is passive and well, the mean time between failure is greater than how long I expect to live (cradle to grave, not still left)

The drive shaft disconnect has a shorter mean time between failure rate.

The first two devices turn your car into a true trailer, NO POWER TO THE WHEELS, You tow with the transmission in park. The 3rd option you tow in neutral

Home is where I park it!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:34 PM   #3
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If you want to leave the engine running, you would likely want to tie into the oil pressure system, installing a switch and a device to let you know when oil pressure is lost - indicating (hopefully) that the engine quit.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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Hi free2wander,

I don't know the year of your Nitro. When I bought my 2008 Liberty, the dealer said that I shouldn't purchase the 4wd Nitro if I intended to tow it behind the motorhome.

I looked up the owner's manual for 2008, 2010, and 2011 Nitros. In every case, they said that 4wd Nitros should not be towed with 4 wheels down , because there isn't any neutral in the transfer case. The 2wd models can be towed if the drive shaft is disconnected. Therefore, the Remco driveshaft disconnect is one choice. The transmission pump with an alarm would be the other choice. I'd bow to wa8yxm regarding the choice of methods.

The 4wd models should be on a trailer - not a dolly. I don't know if the transfer case as well as the transmission would be adequately lubricated with the engine idling and the transmission in neutral. I'd also check the owner's manual about long time operation with the transmission in neutral - essentially coasting. If your wehicle is still in warranty, I'll bet that Jeep would deny any warranty claims on the drive train if they saw the baseplate on the 4wd vehicle.

W8RLM - Bob
2006 Winnebago Journey, Model 39K, 2013 Dodge Dart
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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If its just a one-time thing, towing with the engine running is probably ok. If it will be done occasionally, I would invest in the longer-term solution from Remco (mentioned above).

A tie in to the oil pressure sensor (or its associated idiot light) is probably the easiest way to detect that the engine is no longer running. Another thought is to rig a video camera, e.g. a simple security camera, that shows the dash display of the Nitro. Route its output back to a monitor in the coach.

Or you could simply stop once an hour and check. Wouldn't hurt to run the transmission a few minutes in drive anyway, to make sure the fluid is circulating well to all parts. Odds are there would be no tranny damage even if the engine quit right after you checked the last time. Especially if you keep the speed down to 55-60 mph. It's a gamble, of course, but only a small one. There is no likely reason for the engine to quit at idle.
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition; 2014 Buick LaCRosse
Homebase in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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If you have to leave the engine running, I'd just have someone drive it and follow you.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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Thanks for the concerned replies everyone. I have consullted with several respected transmission specialist, and the reply from each was that if I am limiting my over-the-road driving to two to three hours daily, there should be no problems. It's a gamble, but isn't selling everything and going full-time a gamble as well?

Dick & Judy Mott in the "Liberty Belle"
'99 Ultimate Freedom -FL Chassis - Subaru Outback
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