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Old 09-10-2021, 02:38 PM   #1
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Scalloped front tread wear after flat tow

I have a 2018 Jeep Wrangler that I just set up for flat tow. After my first 500 mile trip, I noticed severe scalloping on my front tires only. I monitored the Jeep in the rear camera the entire trip. It just looked like a fixture attached to the back of my motorhome. The tow bar is almost level (less than 1 inch difference between Jeep and MH)

Does anybody know what causes this and what I can do?

For reference,
Jeep Wrangler doesn't have a locking steering wheel.
The tires are factory.
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Old 09-10-2021, 09:12 PM   #2
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Wow, I towed a jeep for years and never saw anything like that. Only question I have, what draw bar are you using? Does it have independent arms that adjust automatically on corners?
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:13 PM   #3
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Odd that it's the front set only. Could the alignment be off on the front? I'd suspect the problem is with the Jeep and not the MH or tow bar. I'm assuming your tire pressures were spot on and your Jeep is too new to have suspension problems. I've had out of balance tires (4 ounces over) on a set of Coopers for an S10 that wore something like that.
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:36 AM   #4
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Just to throw a WAG out there, the one time I had scalloped wear on front tires it was caused by bad rear shocks. Not saying this is it but just making a point that sometimes symptoms may present themselves from seemingly unrelated causes.


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Old 09-11-2021, 08:44 AM   #5
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That does not look good for 500 miles. Hate to see what they look like after 3 - 4 K miles.

What year is the jeep? I know the newer jeeps that have electric assist steering some have had wobble issues being flat towed. If its has electric assisted steering, could it be related?
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:59 AM   #6
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My guess is you just did not notice the tire wear before the tow. My daughters jeep wears those aggressive tires the same way and its never been towed.



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Old 09-11-2021, 09:45 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the replies.

I have a ready brute (NSA) tow bar.
Im almost positive i didnt have any scalloping before the trip, but its possible that I didnt notice.
Maybe towing it exacerbated the problem?

The jeep has 24k miles, i bought used with 15k miles on it from a jeep dealer. Im not sure about electric assist steering. I will have to check the owners manual
When i get a chance.

I was most interrested if anybody else had unusual tire wear like this from flat tow besides me. Im new to jeep and flat towing, meaning i have no idea about the quirks of either.

I will swap the tires rear to front when i get home and see if it appears on the swapped tires after driving it for a while.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhammond1980 View Post
Only question I have, what draw bar are you using? Does it have independent arms that adjust automatically on corners?
What are you talking about. I've never heard of a tow bar with automatically adjusting arms for cornering! If you have one please let us know where we can learn more about it.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockbottom View Post
Thank you all for the replies.

I have a ready brute (NSA) tow bar.
Im almost positive i didnt have any scalloping before the trip, but its possible that I didnt notice.
Maybe towing it exacerbated the problem?

The jeep has 24k miles, i bought used with 15k miles on it from a jeep dealer. Im not sure about electric assist steering. I will have to check the owners manual
When i get a chance.

I was most interrested if anybody else had unusual tire wear like this from flat tow besides me. Im new to jeep and flat towing, meaning i have no idea about the quirks of either.

I will swap the tires rear to front when i get home and see if it appears on the swapped tires after driving it for a while.
I have the same tires on my Wrangler. My front tires were scalloped just like that, though not as bad, within 10,000 miles of just driving it, not towing. I rotate them every 3000-4000 miles now so the scalloping evens out. Depending on the ambient temp and the quality of the roads you're on those BFG Mud T/A's can wear very quickly. By rotating them frequently the scalloping is diminished significantly. I've had the alignment checked, ball joints checked, tie rods and track bar checked. All check out fine. I've balanced the tires twice and that helps too. I think it's just the soft rubber and the heat of the Arizona roads that are scrubbing rubber on my front tires.
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:05 PM   #10
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My first set of tires did the same thing but I only towed it a couple times before I swapped them for a set of take offs from a newer Jeep and haven't had the problem since. Probably have close to 10,000 miles towing it since I put them on.

No idea why they did that but I blamed it on the tires.
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Old 09-13-2021, 06:10 AM   #11
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Consider this;

My NSA 12K lbs tow bar came with most everything I needed including the safety cables.

I had to add a drop hitch to my tow setup because of the difference between the height of my motorhome hitch and the Jeep baseplate. This added about 6 additional inches to the gap between the motorhome and the jeep causing the safety cables to be too short.

I added a quick-link style 3200lbs capacity chain link on each side of the MH hitch receiver.

The link added 3 inches of slack to the cables so that they cleared from binding on the drop hitch. However, I think they were still pulling tight on turns. My theory is that in turns, exit loops, winding roads, etc., the turning jeep was fighting the safety cable while in turns. (I added 2 more links for the trip home which is real close to the slack I would have had without the added drop hitch).

Has anybody dealt with short safety chains or cables and what effect they have on towing? Could this be why the scalloping (which may have already been there to some extent) is so bad after the tow.
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
What are you talking about. I've never heard of a tow bar with automatically adjusting arms for cornering! If you have one please let us know where we can learn more about it.
Sorry, meant to say, make sure your tow bar is not binding on the corners. Depends on the type but mine has pivots that allow rotation in (2) axes.
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bhammond1980 View Post
Sorry, meant to say, make sure your tow bar is not binding on the corners. Depends on the type but mine has pivots that allow rotation in (2) axes.
I understand. My older model Ready Brute is that way as well. I has a U-Joint that allows lateral rotation at the front of the arms and allows up and down rotation at the same point.
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bhammond1980 View Post
Sorry, meant to say, make sure your tow bar is not binding on the corners. Depends on the type but mine has pivots that allow rotation in (2) axes.
This is what I thought might be happening because of the short safety cables. Otherwise the tow bar works fine.

Thanks everybody for the additional comments and suggestions. Knowing that there is an inherent problem with the knobby tire wear on a Jeep is an additional relief. Not that I like it, but it helps to investigate the cause.
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