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Old 08-14-2016, 12:13 PM   #1
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Tow Dolly and rear wheel drive pickup, load facing forward or back?

I have owned and or used a tow dolly many many time. However, each time, I had a front wheel drive vehicle. Drive it on the dolly and strap it down.

Tomorrow, I am planning on taking my rear wheel drive standard tranny Frontier to pick up my motorhome ( and tow dolly ) at a repair shop. This morning the light went off, that loading the pickup facing forward might be the wrong approach. The locked drive train wheels are in the rear, and the wheels on the dolly would be free. The only thing keeping the pick up on the dolly would be the straps. If I back the truck on the dolly then I have the locked drive train and the straps to keep the truck on the dolly.

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions, please.

PS. Any legal issues towing backwards?
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:30 PM   #2
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since it is a stick shift then I would say the option is up to you.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:41 PM   #3
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I would double check on Remco's website where you can put in your vehicle year, make/model and it will tell you how your vehicle can be towed. Of course, always double check in your owner's manual to be sure. I know rear wheel drives shouldn't be towed backwards on a dolly and that you may have to disconnect the drive shaft. Be safe.

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Old 08-14-2016, 12:55 PM   #4
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From U-Haul

Transmission damage to your vehicle-in-tow

When towing a rear axle driven front engine vehicle, the drive shaft must be disconnected to prevent transmission damage. Simply placing the transmission in neutral is not sufficient and will not prevent damage due to a lack of internal lubrication. You must disconnect the drive shaft at the rear axle and tie or wire it up. The universal joint bearing caps must be taped on to prevent loss of the bearings. If you choose to remove the drive shaft entirely, it may be necessary to cap the transmission tail shaft to prevent fluid loss and possible future damage. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual.

https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/...-Instructions/

Here is a 2011 discussion on the topic from this forum: Towing backwards with Car dolly
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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From U-Haul

Transmission damage to your vehicle-in-tow

When towing a rear axle driven front engine vehicle, the drive shaft must be disconnected to prevent transmission damage. Simply placing the transmission in neutral is not sufficient and will not prevent damage due to a lack of internal lubrication. You must disconnect the drive shaft at the rear axle and tie or wire it up. The universal joint bearing caps must be taped on to prevent loss of the bearings. If you choose to remove the drive shaft entirely, it may be necessary to cap the transmission tail shaft to prevent fluid loss and possible future damage. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual.

https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/...-Instructions/
https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/...-Instructions/
Here is a 2011 discussion on the topic from this forum: Towing backwards with Car dolly
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:57 PM   #6
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If your dolly has a swivel base that the wheels are attached to towing the truck backward is doable.
The steering on the truck needs to be locked so Wheels will not turn to tow backward, if the dolly does not swivel the truck would not follow the coach on corners.

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Old 08-14-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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Years ago, there was a company out of FL that sold a transmission kit for front wheel drive mini-vans etc. I had one on a 97 Chrysler Town & Country. I opened a valve that allowed an extra qt of oil to flow into the transmission. I would then tow to my destination, start the engine, open the valve and the extra qt of oil would pump back into the container. I shut the valve off when it was full. It worked great for many miles. I don't know if overfilling any transmission would work, but it was an easy way to tow a transaxle FWD.

As mentioned, the safest way is to disconnect the rear driveshaft or tow it backwards.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:39 PM   #8
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I've never done it, but have seen it on the road. funny looking but should be doable. Make sure the steering column is locked . I'm not sure I would trust the steering lock, maybe tie the steering wheel with the seat belt.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:58 PM   #9
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I've never done it, but have seen it on the road. funny looking but should be doable. Make sure the steering column is locked . I'm not sure I would trust the steering lock, maybe tie the steering wheel with the seat belt.
You would have to tie the steering wheel with a strap as the lock is seldom in the straight position for theft reasons.
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:48 PM   #10
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If it were me, I'd load the front wheels on the dolly and then disconnect the rear U-joint and tie the driveshaft up against the bottom of the trucks bed. If you do this, be sure to be careful in pulling the u-joint apart and then wrap a piece of tape around the cups on the driveshaft part of the u-joint to keep them from falling off.

Again, I stress the part about being careful pulling the u-joint apart.... you don't want to pull one of those cups off as needle bearings will probably fall out.

I use to tow my 2000 Tundra this way (4-down...not on a dolly) for a couple of years. It is a 4x4 so getting under it is a piece of cake.....don't know about your Frontier.

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Old 08-14-2016, 07:03 PM   #11
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Towing with the rear wheels on a dolly and the front wheels on the ground is generally not a good idea for any great distance. The front end geometry is designed and set up for the vehicle to go forward. think of a grocery cart. It move fine forward, but when you try pulling it backwards, it acts a bit squirrely.

Also, with the front wheels on the ground, you will need to tie the steering wheel in the straight ahead position. Do not use the ignition/steering wheel lock as it can put undue stress on it and cause damage.

Ken
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lanerd View Post
If it were me, I'd load the front wheels on the dolly and then disconnect the rear U-joint and tie the driveshaft up against the bottom of the trucks bed. If you do this, be sure to be careful in pulling the u-joint apart and then wrap a piece of tape around the cups on the driveshaft part of the u-joint to keep them from falling off.



Again, I stress the part about being careful pulling the u-joint apart.... you don't want to pull one of those cups off as needle bearings will probably fall out.



I use to tow my 2000 Tundra this way (4-down...not on a dolly) for a couple of years. It is a 4x4 so getting under it is a piece of cake.....don't know about your Frontier.



Ron

No problem with towing with the rear wheels down. I normally tow this truck 4 wheels down. Probably 40- 50 K miles on it that way. Hitch up the tow bar, but it in neutral, and go. Recommendation is to idle the engine every 400 miles.

I am just worried about the front wheels not stressing the straps on the dolly stoping and starting, sine the font wheels have no brakes or tranny holding them.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:53 PM   #13
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We use a Master Tow dolly with surge disk brakes for three different old vehicles. All three are Corvairs. The 1961 Rampside truck is a manual with a constant mesh 4-sp. That means all for the gears are turning even though the engine is not running. It tows fine even though the engine is rear of the rear axles. We recently towed our 1965 Corsa convert 4-sp 1,800 miles to the Corvair convention and to friends. No problems. The last car is a 1966 Corvair Monza coupe with an automatic (PowerGlide to be exact). The trans has two oil pumps because Chevy thought economy cars should be able to be push started. We have flat towed it some 2,500 miles and dolly towed it another 1,000 miles and it still runs great. By the way you can NOT tow a Corvair with the drive shafts disconnected as they are part of the suspension just like a Corvette.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:37 PM   #14
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Generally,


Towing a standard transmission vehicle rear wheels down in neutral is not an issue.


The tail shaft in the transmission will turn, and the input shaft will not.


There will be some churning of the oil since the tail shaft and main shaft are on the same row of gears, and fiction will move the whole row of gears at a very slow rate.


I have never had an issue towing a manual transmission vehicle with rear wheels down. Automatics, another issue.


The (OP) needs to talk to a specific make model dealership maintenance person who Knows if this can be done without disconnecting the drive shaft since some newer vehicle transmission are built a little different than the older ones I've worked with. U-Haul is not an expert on every vehicle.


As far as not having brakes on the wheels placed on the dolly, It's been done this way for years with just straps holding the vehicle in place.


The (OP) will need to check the straps at least at the first 50 miles to ensure the straps are holding properly, and then spread the inspection interval as his comfort zone expands.


Towing backwards is an option as long as the vehicle will fit this way on the dolly, how ever, sometimes long term backwards towing will ruin your front tires on the toad, and that's due to as mentioned the steering geometry.


DTW
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