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Old 09-24-2018, 12:10 AM   #1
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Smile Flat towing a Nissan Xterra 4 wheel drive

I have towed a Ford Bronco II back and forth from Canada to Phoenix, behind my Class "A" a few times with no issues. Ford Motor Co. said it would burn out the automatic trans. I towed it with the engine idling to keep the trans lubricated and all was just fine. I now have a Nissan Xterra 4 wheel drive with automatic transmission, that I want to flat tow. So far everyone I have asked (Nissan Dealer and Transmission shops) draw a blank. They just don't know if it can be done safely if the engine is idling to keep the transmission lubricated,while being towed. Does anyone have any knowledge if leaving the engine running in a Nissan Xterra, will sufficiently lubricate the automatic transmission and transfer case while being flat towed ? Thanks for your input.
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:32 AM   #2
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Old 09-26-2018, 04:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lowflying View Post
I have towed a Ford Bronco II back and forth from Canada to Phoenix, behind my Class "A" a few times with no issues. Ford Motor Co. said it would burn out the automatic trans. I towed it with the engine idling to keep the trans lubricated and all was just fine. I now have a Nissan Xterra 4 wheel drive with automatic transmission, that I want to flat tow. So far everyone I have asked (Nissan Dealer and Transmission shops) draw a blank. They just don't know if it can be done safely if the engine is idling to keep the transmission lubricated,while being towed. Does anyone have any knowledge if leaving the engine running in a Nissan Xterra, will sufficiently lubricate the automatic transmission and transfer case while being flat towed ? Thanks for your input.
First off I would not flat tow it without disconnecting the rear driveshaft. I flat tow a 2013 Xterra Pro-4X. It was a little tricky to get set up. David at Driveshaft King fabricated an adapter plate to convert the rear cv joint to a u-joint since a driveshaft disconnect will not work with a cv joint. Not sure why Nissan used a cv joint as the driveshaft angles are well within the capability of a u-joint. He also modified the driveshaft with a disconnect coupling. My buddy and I installed the pieces and the disconnect shifting mechanism. We had to modify the shifting mechanism to allow for the extra length of the u-joint adapter. All in all it’s not a project for the novice. If you’re near Dallas I think David can handle the whole thing from start to finish. There’s also a shop in Yuma, AZ that said they could do the job when I was looking. That was 3 years and 39,000 miles ago (probably about 8k of that was as a toad). So far no issues...
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:50 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I would not flat-tow it unless there are specific instructions in the owner's manual for that!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-27-2018, 05:58 PM   #5
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Just a follow up. Yes setting an Xterra 4wd up to tow is not a trivial project but it can be done. That said I have owned at least a half dozen serious 4wd’s and am an avid back country explorer - on motorcycle, size x side and 4wd. I went with the Xterra because at the time I was still working and it was my daily driver. I’ve owned jeeps in the past and while they are great off road I knew it was not the vehicle I wanted to drive every day. The Xterra has turned out to be an excellent off roader. Yes it’s not a Jeep Rubicon but with an on demand rear locker, good ground clearance and good approach and departure angles it’s been able to take me just about anywhere I want to go. My point is it’s worth the effort to set it up for towing.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:42 AM   #6
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Towing Bronco II automatic

I towed a 1984 Bronco II automatic from Victoria BC to Yuma and back for 8 years (25,000 miles) and did not idle the engine - not necessary! I replaced the auto-lock front hubs with Warn manual lock hubs (auto-lock hubs may lock when towing), then jacked up the driver side and over filled the transfer case by filling it to the high fill plug (with automatic transmission fluid). The over filled transfer case then gets sufficient splash lubrication. Transmission in PARK (yes in PARK) so tranny shaft does not spin, transfer case in NEUTRAL, key in ignition to unlock steering, front hubs unlocked. Any speed and any distance. I loved the bronco II, except for the engine, which was bad news.
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