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Old 06-07-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
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flat towing with engine running in Toad

This thread:

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/flat-...ng-110023.html

started a conversation and I wanted to continue it.

It seems to me this is a very logical idea. For those who ask why, my answer is that it's easier than all of the modifications to a vehicle to make it a toad. For example I'm told that my Honda Ridgeline has many changes needed to even allow two wheels down, let alone four. To make those changes means I'd have to do driveshaft disconnects and other pretty major things. I can't see why towing with it running would be bad:

1. "uses gas"- well driving it uses gas. At the 2 gallon a day mentioned I could use it many years before it pays for the $2000 or more needed to mod the Ridgeline
2. "supplemental brake issues" - I cannot see where having power brakes would do anything but help the braking. You have to adjust the amount of braking either with or without the engine running.
3. "engine might stop while being towed" - well .... why would it stop if you keep gas in the car? How many times does your engine stop now when you are driving? Why would it stop if there's no one behind the steering wheel?
4. "puts miles on the odometer" - uh that's why I have it, to put miles on the odometer. The average RVer drives 3000 miles a year in his RV. I drive and average of 8000. Am I really going to care that I put miles on my toad when its not really getting that much real wear? Either 3000 or 8000 is less than the average expected for a car (12000 a year).
5. "idling that long is hard on the engine" - this is the only one that seems worrisome. That is a known problem with diesels and it's been worked on, discussed and even has some engine features that assist in preventing damage from doing it (Cummins). But truckers have idled their trucks for YEARS.


While maybe not elegant why wouldn't this work? Seems like the previous article and common sense say go ahead and do it.

Bill
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:32 PM   #2
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Yes, it's doable. Not something I would do on a ongoing basis, but doable.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:54 PM   #3
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I've heard of people doing it and one guy actually forgot to shut off his engine and towed it several hundred miles with no problem.

My question to you is:

If the transmission is in neutral does it still get the required lubrication?
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Old 06-08-2017, 12:09 AM   #4
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Good question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I've heard of people doing it and one guy actually forgot to shut off his engine and towed it several hundred miles with no problem.

My question to you is:

If the transmission is in neutral does it still get the required lubrication?
Arch, that's actually a very good question. Maybe the best one that has come up. It's worth checking out since that's why many of those that do allow 4WT tell you to put it in park.

Maybe some of those out there who have tried it with an automatic transmission can give us some thoughts or just cover how long they've done it safely.

When you think of how a car "normally" operates it only coasts downhill when it's in drive usually. (so does that mean I leave it in drive? LOL)
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Old 06-08-2017, 01:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwmaustin View Post
This thread:
started a conversation and I wanted to continue it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwmaustin View Post
This thread:
1. "uses gas"- well driving it uses gas. At the 2 gallon a day mentioned I could use it many years before it pays for the $2000 or more needed to mod the Ridgeline
Bill
Back in the trucking days we did idle the coal oil burners when #2 was $.85 a gallon. We always allowed a gallon an hr. but it was a larger motor, cheaper than a motel room.
3. "engine might stop while being towed" - well .... why would it stop if you keep gas in the car? How many times does your engine stop now when you are driving? Why would it stop if there's no one behind the steering wheel?
Bill
Some yrs. ago a co-worker purchased a new Econo-box with the remote start feature. Well his wife thought it was great on cold mornings she could start the car from inside and go do her hair, etc. come out and off to work in a nice warm car. What could go wrong?
Well the little $8 relay that energizes the electric cooling fan on the radiator failed causing the fan to not come on. She came out for work after a long unexpected phone call to a big billowing cloud of steam and an engine that had melted down. They had to use arbitration with Econo-corp as they would not supply a new crate motor. It took over 6 months to resolve, and a rebuilt motor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwmaustin View Post
This thread:
5. "idling that long is hard on the engine" - this is the only one that seems worrisome. That is a known problem with diesels and it's been worked on, discussed and even has some engine features that assist in preventing damage from doing it (Cummins). But truckers have idled their trucks for YEARS.
Bill
Not sure what any of this has to do with your Honda. The combustion chambers won't be pretty. The modern truck’s ECM can print out any info. including total idling time etc.
On fleet vehicles idling is considered severe duty, hoods may have aux. fans vents. Police/emergency units are urged to pop the hood.
I’d bet in the long game you’ll end up paying something either way. Might as well schedule it in your budget.
Interesting dilemma fortunately we don’t have a horse in the race.
Common sense / logic appears to be a relative thing.
Best of luck,
Keep the sun on your face and the wind at your rear.
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:12 AM   #6
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Certainly doable but there are a few items an owner will need to reconsider along with potential risks.

1. Maintenance Scheduling - review the owner's manual regarding any changes to scheduled routine maintenance and how long term idling changes the time lines.

2. Be extra proactive regarding the engine cooling system with respect to belts, hoses and such. Any type of failure of the cooling system will be catastrophic to both the engine and the transmission.

Vehicles break down every day with a driver behind the wheel for any number of a thousand reasons besides just running out of gas. The advantage is the driver pulls over to the side of the road while the towed vehicle keeps going. Failure of a $10 Crank Position Sensor will shut the engine down instantly, fuel pump failure, alternator failure and battery depletion, coolant thermostat stuck closed, cooling fan sensor failure, serpentine belt, and the list goes on. Problem is you will never know any of these potential failures has occurred until after the damage is done.

With risk comes rewards. Higher risk is usually associated with higher rewards but what is the individual owner's risk tolerance? I got lucky when I started this adventure with a daily driver that was four down towable and it's replacement was specifically chosen as four down towable.
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:13 AM   #7
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Yes, I see no problems. I've thought of doing something similar with my Camry, Two thoughts:

1) Remote monitor to make sure the toads engine is running

I bought a couple small remote 12 volt switches to use for another projects (key FOB remote and a small receiver relay). I would wire one of the remote transmitters to the Camry's "Oil Pressure Light", and mount the receiver in the Motorhome dash so it controls a LED that said "TOAD OIL". If the cars oil pressure light came on, I's see the warning in the motorhome.

Another thought - I wonder how far a blue tooth OBDII dongle will transmit. i.e. place a OBDII on the toad and run the "Torque" app on a smart phone to monitor the toads engine from the motorhome. This might be the better option as I could monitor oil pressure, temperature, rpm, everything. HUM - I might start looking at the price of a base plate for a Camry :-) Just checked $430..

2) the toads aux brake systems are designed to apply high pressure to a non-powered brake system (power brakes with the assist disabled). I think the pressure could be reduced, and/or perhaps installing a smaller diameter cylinder to reduce the amount of pressure applied to the brakes. Or mounting the cylinder higher on the pedal arm rather than on the pedal itself.

there are also several ways to disable the power brake booster, i.e. a valve in the vacuum assist line to remove vacuum from the booster

Anyway, this needs to be dealt with, but is certainly doable
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:30 AM   #8
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I have thought about this with my wife's Camry. Couple reasons I haven't: the car only has 30k miles on a 120k mile warranty. It's been too easy to use a rental car.

The rental car is maybe not the cheapest alternative. Then again, maybe it is...considering the cost of the toad.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:21 AM   #9
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If talking about a newer car I don't think it would be an issue. The one thing to verify is that if in neutral is the transmission pump circulating fluid..I know in older vehicles that was the case (fluid NOT circulated in park). I personally would not be concerned about long idle times, etc...
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:46 AM   #10
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Left the engine on by mistake once in My MDX - was fine and I got 175 miles per gallon while driving, for 4 hours, not bad.

So IMHO it will work - let us Know - have always wanted to tow a Ridgeline - might be the only way.

Best of Luck in the Quest,



...
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:49 AM   #11
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Going don thw road with the engine idling is alot diferant than standing still. Anything above forty MPH you don't need a fan on your radiator.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:48 AM   #12
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I recall seeing a device offered years ago that could control the towed vehicles accelerator from the cab of the MH. That would allow the toad to assist over large hills.

What was that thing called?

Anyway, I would guess that the toad had to be running and in Drive in order for that to work.....
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:53 AM   #13
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Re the braking system:

I use the brakemaster system that has an air cylinder that activates the brakes. If I do not pump my brakes until the vacuum assist is drained they will lock up when I apply the brakes the first time. So an adjustable aux braking system or a surge type would be needed as a running engine would always keep the vacuum booster active. I think the surge might be best as it would 'self adjust" as the car brakes are applied.

Not a show stopper just something to consider.


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Old 06-08-2017, 01:09 PM   #14
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I hate to be the cold water in this, but I suspect if you looked into it, it's illegal to have a running vehicle going down the road with nobody behind the wheel.

There's some quirky wording in various jurisdictions laws, for instance in my home Province of Ontario, a drunk asleep in the backseat with the keys in his pocket is still breaking the law. He is deemed to have "care and control of a motor vehicle". If he locked the keys in the trunk first he'd be fine.
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