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Old 04-09-2013, 04:29 PM   #1
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Flat-Tow with the engine running?

Sorry if this has been discussed before. I could not find much information.

I will probably be flamed for asking this, but I just want to know if anyone else tow's a "non approved" car with an automatic four down. I do it every time my motor home leaves the driveway. I tow a 2007 Mercury Mariner two wheel drive, V-6 Automatic transmission. I go fill the Mariner with gas, hook it to the MH put it in neutral and leave the motor running, It uses less than a gallon per hour rolling down the road and any whey I calculate it, it's way cheaper than buying a "approved" vehicle or buying one then having it modified to be able to tow it. I talked with two different mechanic's and both said it would not hurt the transmission and it would not hurt the car to idle for hours at the time behind the MH. I must say that most all our trips are 200 miles or less, but I would still do it on an extended trip also.
I just wanted to know if anyone else does this.

Thanks in advance for any input on this!
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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How can you be sure your engine does not shut off?Big problem?
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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I accidently towed my Geep Cherokee 60 miles withmotor running but it is a 4 wheel drive that is towed all the time.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I have moved your thread here to the "toad" forum. You posted it in a forum intended for trailers and the vehicles that tow them. You'll get far more views and input here.

Secondly, we don't allow "flaming" here. We take our rule about "being nice" very seriously so if you ever feel you, or anyone else is getting flamed please use the "Report Post" button to bring it to the attention of the staff.


Best of luck.

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Old 04-09-2013, 06:45 PM   #5
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Why leave the engine running?
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #6
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A couple of issues. You need to see that the transmission design actually pumps oil to the bearings while idling and in neutral. Some do not, so it would do no good to run the engine.

Next, is what will happen if your car overheats or the engine shuts down?

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milasman View Post
Why leave the engine running?
Because if there's not oil circulating through the tranni, it'll burn up. Idling the engine pushes oil through the tranni.

What most people do is buy a tranni circulation pump.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:13 PM   #8
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Got ya. It must be an automatic I guess.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #9
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If you are going to leave the car running, don't forget to add the tow miles to your scheduled engine maintenance, oil changes, timing belt, etc.
I personally believe you would be better off using a lube pump, drive shaft disconnect, or tow dolly.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpdaniels View Post
Sorry if this has been discussed before. I could not find much information.

I will probably be flamed for asking this, but I just want to know if anyone else tow's a "non approved" car with an automatic four down. I do it every time my motor home leaves the driveway. I tow a 2007 Mercury Mariner two wheel drive, V-6 Automatic transmission. I go fill the Mariner with gas, hook it to the MH put it in neutral and leave the motor running, It uses less than a gallon per hour rolling down the road and any whey I calculate it, it's way cheaper than buying a "approved" vehicle or buying one then having it modified to be able to tow it. I talked with two different mechanic's and both said it would not hurt the transmission and it would not hurt the car to idle for hours at the time behind the MH. I must say that most all our trips are 200 miles or less, but I would still do it on an extended trip also.
I just wanted to know if anyone else does this.

Thanks in advance for any input on this!
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:57 AM   #11
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Tpdaniels,

Years ago I did this with an old 1988 S-10 Blazer. I probably towed that thing a total of 14,000 miles with the engine just idling away. I never had a problem. It burned about 1/2 gallon per hour idling.

At first I worried about the engine shutting off, so I would stop and check it frequently. It never died, and my stops became less and less frequent. Eventually

DISCLAIMER: for those reading this...I took this risk as the S-10 Blazer was old and near the end of its life anyway. To me it was an experiment that worked. Other vehicles may have different results.

BTW... Today I tow a Saturn VUE that is approved to be towed 4 flat.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:13 AM   #12
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I don't see any substantive issue with doing this. There may be a few vehicles that won't pump enough fluid through the tranny when idling in neutral, but the risk seems very low. And worrying about the engine stalling seems like a long shot to me. There are no doubt a dozen things that could conceivably fail but probably won't, e.g. the tranny could drop into gear or a wheel bearing could seize up or... At some point it's just worrying to no purpose. Besides, a tranny lube pump or drive shaft disconnect can fail too.

I think leaving the engine running is a reasonable and cost effective solution for those who don't tow often or far.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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Just saw a coach at Cabelas that was towing a Toyota behind with the motor running.

I had some trouble with my Remco pump on my Town and Country and had to tow it for about 1000 miles with the motor running. Few key points:

1. As said previously, your odometer will record the miles.
2. You cannot use a supplemental braking system as your power brakes will cause the tires to lock when your supplemental braking system pushes down on the pedal.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:43 AM   #14
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Thanks for everyone's comments, at first I did worry about what would happen if the motor cut off, but you know most all newer cars have some type of fuel injection and run just fine at idle or 70 MPH. Look at it this way, how often do you see a late model car sitting on the side of the road broken down. The chances are so slim that I'm willing to take the risk. I think about all the people who drive around all day with their pets and never cut off the engine every time they stop somewhere so they can keep the A/C on for them. I'm 60 and in all those years I have only had a car cut off on me twice, both times was when I was 16 and the problem was no gas in the tank. I'll be the first to admit that anything can happen at any time...

Thank's again, remember I'm not saying that more people should do this, I was just wondering if anyone else did
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