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Old 12-08-2011, 06:48 AM   #1
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flat towing auto with engine running

can you flat tow vehicle with auto transmission by running the engine and the transmission in nutral? has anybody done this?
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Why would you do that???????????????????
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:31 PM   #3
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Why would you do that???????????????????
I would assume it's because the particular vehicle in question isn't approved for towing four down and running the engine would/might keep the transmission lubricated?

It'll be interesting if anyone pops up who has done it successfully.

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Old 12-08-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
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If you do you will probably have a serious problem with toad brakes and I wonder what effect having the power steering active while towing would have. If this is a one time thing you might want to rent a tow dolly or leave the car home and rent from Enterprise.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:40 PM   #5
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I don't see any difference in doing that than coasting down a steep hill/grade with the transmission in neutral. Although coasting down a 300 mile hill/grade may be a different story. I'm sure the odometer would also rack up the miles.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:43 PM   #6
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I don't see any difference in doing that than coasting down a steep hill/grade with the transmission in neutral. I'm sure the odometer would rack up the miles.
Good point about the odometer registering the miles. George probably brings up an issue which could be a deal breaker though. If toad brakes mash on the pedal while the power brakes are active it might be pretty ugly.

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Old 12-08-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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What about fuel usage? How about airflow for cooling being that close behind a RV?
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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can you flat tow vehicle with auto transmission by running the engine and the transmission in nutral? has anybody done this?
I used to do this with an old 1988 Chevy S10 Blazer I owned. It had over 150k on the clock and was well out of warranty

Yes... The idea is if the engine is running, the transmission pump will circulate the trans fluid (trans pump is driven off the torque converter).

I towed this way for a total of about 14,000 miles and never had a problem. At first I would stop periodically just to be sure it was still running, but after a while I quit worrying about it. Never fouled plugs because it was fuel injected.

It would burn about 2 gallons of gas in 8 hours (your milage may vary).

Now... Would I recommend this for a new vehicle... Probably not, but my S10 was very old, I figured I had nothing to lose.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:03 PM   #9
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I actually did that for about 100 miles a couple of years ago. GS and I were on a fishing trip and on a schedule to get him back for his first football practice. Some dummy left the towd (CRV) in ACC overnight and the battery was dead. Since we were on a tight schedule, I jump started the car and then left it run until we stopped about 100 miles down the road. Battery had enough charge to start car, no issues with anything. Obviously it wasted fuel and the odometer recorded mileage but it did work.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:20 PM   #10
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Sure. I had a Remco pump go out once and had to drive about 100 miles to a place where I could get another. It pulled just fine, and I wasn't the least concerned about the miles on the odometer. Also, I've had a low battery on the toad due to a 7 pin plug charge wire coming loose. I towed the truck about 2 hours with it at idle to charge the battery. Again, without a problem. As far as the overheating issue, the engine is running at idle, not producing any power, so cooling needs are minimal. I'd be surprised if the fans were even running.

I wouldn't hesitate to tow with the engine running for whatever reason. Obviously not the most fuel efficient tow, but easily done.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:53 PM   #11
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What about brakes? I think my BB would lock up the toad brakes even at the lowest pressure.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:57 PM   #12
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What about brakes? I think my BB would lock up the toad brakes even at the lowest pressure.
We have the RoadMaster BrakeMaster and I know it'll lock up the brakes even with a dead peddle, let alone with vacuum assist. That would be a problem for us.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:59 AM   #13
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yea, thanks for the reply.
I have towed a 2 jeeps, nissan, ford focus and I want something beside the limited available vehicles that can be towed flat 4 down.
the smi brake system will work I have a plug and play that I can adjust.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:17 PM   #14
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As others here have suggested, letting the toad engine run to lubricate the trans will probably work unless the engine quits unexpectedly. With no lubrication the tranny could overheat or even fry itself in short order and that's a very big repair bill. A dolly or even full trailer would be a safer choice for your pocketbook.
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