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Old 08-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #1
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Jeep Toad

Last year we were towing our 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it developed a strange noise. I pulled over after several miles and noticed the steering was locked and the R/F tire was in shreds. To get the toad home I turned the key to the on position, unhooked the battery terminal and drove home. I called the Jeep Customer Service and was told they never had a problem. I called my local Jeep Dealer and was told I did not have the key in the proper position. On my last trip I stopped in a rest area only to find a M/H towing a Jeep Compass with a tire in shreds. The steering was locked. Has anyone had this problem with a Jeep?
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:33 PM   #2
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I'm thinking the it's a big mistake to tow any vehicle with the steering locked.
The steering has to be free to self adjust/alignment to direction changes as you are towing it.

With the steering wheel locked in one position locked, no self alignment can take place and the towed vehicle is in a constant battle with the towing vehicle trying to go it's own way,(not following the towing vehicle).

With this comes accelerated tire wear and rapid overheating of the steer tires. This in turn will result in tire failure on the towed vehicle.

Bottom line, you have to unlock the steering wheel on any towed vehicle when it's in tow.
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:08 AM   #3
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Jeep Toad

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Originally Posted by Dtwallace View Post
I'm thinking the it's a big mistake to tow any vehicle with the steering locked.
The steering has to be free to self adjust/alignment to direction changes as you are towing it.

With the steering wheel locked in one position locked, no self alignment can take place and the towed vehicle is in a constant battle with the towing vehicle trying to go it's own way,(not following the towing vehicle).

With this comes accelerated tire wear and rapid overheating of the steer tires. This in turn will result in tire failure on the towed vehicle.

Bottom line, you have to unlock the steering wheel on any towed vehicle when it's in tow.
Dtwallace. I think you didn't understand my problem. I was towing my Jeep in the Acc. unlock position. The steering locked going down the highway. That is when I had the problem. I did not tow with the steering locked.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:15 AM   #4
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About 5 years ago I had a 2002 Jeep Liberty. I had been towing it for about 90 miles when I came to a small town which required 3, 90 degree turns within 4 blocks to continue to the highway. Once at highway speed I noticed my MH handled differently. After driving some distance to find a safe place to pull over , I went back and found the Jeep's steering had locked.

During set up had the key not fully been in the unlock position or had the 3 quick turns caused the problem?

Don't know, but after that we used a small bungee to secure the key. Over the next 2 years, using the bungee, we towed more than 20K miles w/o a problem.
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:06 AM   #5
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I don't do much flat towing but when I do, the key switch on the towed vehicle is always in the on position. Am I missing something, why are we using the (ACC) position?

If it's because of the ignition circuit being on, and the fuel pump running on the towed, thats why the vehicle should have a battery disconnect switch. The lights are wired to connect with the coach through the 7 way plug in.

I'm not familiar with any other way of doing this so thats why I ask. I'm learning something new here every day.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:00 AM   #6
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I have a 2012 jeep liberty 4 wd shift the transfer case to neutral and shut the key off - no steering lock on this vehicle
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:06 AM   #7
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Dtwallace

All vehicles that can be flat towed have different procedures to be set up for towing, which are established by the manufacturer. I don't know the OP's setup procedure but on my Jeep the key was in the On position, and after 90 plus miles of varing driving conditions, the key rotated to the lock position.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:15 AM   #8
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On our Wrangler, the notches for ACC and 'steering wheel unlock' are very subtle. I can see where it would be very easy for the key to vibrate into the locked position through no fault of the operator, simply with the right combination of road vibration and steering wheel movement while being pulled down the road. It's prolly something that all of us with locking steering wheels on our Jeep toads should be watching for.

The reason that I don't drive with the key in the "On" position is to avoid the accumulation of towed miles on the odometer.

Don't have a locking steering wheel on the Cherokee, so no worries there.

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Old 08-10-2015, 04:56 PM   #9
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One thing not mentioned and could be an issue is if you are using a keyring with multiple keys and/or the keyfob hanging from the ignition key. Road vibrations combined with the weight of the extra keys and fob pulling down could be enough to rotate the ignition cylinder to the locked position. Always use just a single, bare ignition key in the cylinder lock.
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:19 PM   #10
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Dtwallace. I think you didn't understand my problem. I was towing my Jeep in the Acc. unlock position. The steering locked going down the highway. That is when I had the problem. I did not tow with the steering locked.
On both of my Jeeps the Acc. position is locked and the proper position is 1 click toward on position.
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