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Old 08-01-2019, 08:24 AM   #1
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SIMPLE questions about towing 4-Down

Blue Ox and Ready Brake on the hitch. 5-speed BMW as the toad

Do you lock the steering wheel with wheels pointed forward, or do you unlock the wheel and let the car find it's way, or do you unlock the wheel and tie the steering wheel down?

Asking for a friend
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:32 AM   #2
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Check the owner's manual for detailed towing instructions; but that being said, leave the steering wheel unlocked.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:32 AM   #3
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Tell your "friend" to leave the wheel U-Locked. Steering needs to turn.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:33 AM   #4
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Pretty certain the steering needs to be unlocked
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:33 AM   #5
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You would really need to look in the manual for that specific BMW and see what it says about flat towing and whether it's capable.

Purely guessing here, but I would say car in neutral and steering wheel unlocked. You definitely need the wheels freely finding their own way to follow the coach.

If the wheels were locked in the straight position, you would be at times dragging the front end/tires sideways in hard turns.
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:00 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tnedator View Post
You would really need to look in the manual for that specific BMW and see what it says about flat towing and whether it's capable.

Purely guessing here, but I would say car in neutral and steering wheel unlocked. You definitely need the wheels freely finding their own way to follow the coach.

If the wheels were locked in the straight position, you would be at times dragging the front end/tires sideways in hard turns.
Thanks, there is nothing about towing in a BMW manual because nobody makes a baseplate for them. We've made a towing bar and are about to try it out, so steering unlocked and free-turning is the answer, right?
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:09 AM   #7
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Thanks, there is nothing about towing in a BMW manual because nobody makes a baseplate for them. We've made a towing bar and are about to try it out, so steering unlocked and free-turning is the answer, right?
Knowing nothing about if there is proper lubrication to run extended miles/speed with the transmission in neutral, when it comes to the steering, I would think it has to be unlocked.

The way four down towing works is to allow the front wheels to move freely and follow the coach when it turns.
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:11 AM   #8
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Unlocked for mine.
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:50 AM   #9
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The only time the steering is ever locked for towing is when using a dolly that has swivel wheel platforms. The dolly wheel platform does the turning, not the car wheels. When 4-down towing, the front wheels must be free to turn, which means the steering wheel must be unlocked. Note that not all vehicles have locks of the steering column, so it may not be necessary to do anything special when towing yours.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:00 AM   #10
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I was wondering the same thing when I started towing and since the owners manual didn’t address it, I decided to call BMW and ask. They are not towable. From there, l looked into the Remco and they also told me that the BMW is not towable and they do not have anything to help.

Decision is up to your friend.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lass View Post
I was wondering the same thing when I started towing and since the owners manual didn’t address it, I decided to call BMW and ask. They are not towable. From there, l looked into the Remco and they also told me that the BMW is not towable and they do not have anything to help.

Decision is up to your friend.
I had a shop fabricate a towing bar for our 528, with the attaching pieces coming through the openings in the front bumper, so it is barely visible.

Planning to tow it home today, hence my question to be sure to do it right.

If you have a BMW, I can tell you more if you care to know...but maybe better to wait until I've brought it home in one piece.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:30 PM   #12
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There is a reason the manufacturer says not to tow 4 down. Just because it's a manual transmission doesn't mean that it will tow without damage to drive train
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:46 PM   #13
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There is a reason the manufacturer says not to tow 4 down. Just because it's a manual transmission doesn't mean that it will tow without damage to drive train
Thanks for the warning, but I've towed the car on a dolly for lots of miles and it is a RWD car, so that bridge was crossed long ago.

I think that the bumpers won't support any towing gear and the car rides low enough without having beams riding even lower.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:07 PM   #14
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A nice 15 minute drive and all went well with the fabricated tow-bar. We didn't have to cut a bit into the bumper cover, which was great.
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