Proper Jeep Procedure

Q: I’ve read a lot of articles about towing, thinking that I knew almost everything I needed to know. Well, recently I purchased a used 2010 Jeep Wrangler Sport automatic in great shape. I’ve traveled to Florida for the past three years to store my 2010 Sportscoach Cross Country, as we all know the price of storing my coach in Florida is a lot cheaper than storing it in Canada. This was the first year that I towed my Jeep to Florida. I have towed it short distances around Ontario and took a big trip south to attend the Good Sam Rally in Daytona Beach last November.

After my first night, I unhooked the Jeep to go out to pick up some things and found that I could not accelerate past 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour). It would not change into the next gear, being an automatic, and would just rev high. I brought my Jeep into the Chrysler dealership in Florida, and they told me that my transmission and transfer case were done and had to be replaced.

I talked to some experienced RV owners and Good Sam members at the Rally and was told different stories of how I should be towing the Jeep. What a shock that there were so many people towing their Jeeps differently. I was shown by my dealership in Canada to place the transfer case in neutral and my selector lever in neutral.

Some members at the Rally said they place their transfer case in neutral and their selector in park. They say they do this because if they don’t the transmission is still turning and the transmission oil will not pump into the transmission and may burn the transmission out. Also by placing the selector lever in park, they can take their keys out and lock the doors. What is the right scenario for towing a Jeep?

Also, I installed a BrakeBuddy towed vehicle braking system. Could this have something to do with the way I should tow?
— David Behun, Barrie, Ontario

A: First, I assume your Jeep Wrangler is four-wheel drive. Two-wheel-drive models are not towable without removing or disengaging the driveshaft. Your dealer in Canada gave you wrong information, which is surprising since the proper procedure is clearly presented in the owner’s manual. Once you go through the prescribed sequence for towing, the transfer case will be left in neutral and the transmission in park.

It’s very important that the transfer case is fully in neutral before towing. That’s why the step-by-step instructions in the owner’s manual are provided. Failure to leave the transfer case in neutral can lead to extensive—and expensive—damage.

It’s definitely more convenient to reach in and remove the keys while the transmission is in park, but it’s also easy to forget to put them back in before towing again. The ignition switch must be in the accessory position for towing. Also, the battery must be disconnected to prevent it from discharging. I suggest you add a charge line from the motorhome to prevent battery problems, especially since you’ll need power to operate the braking device.

The BrakeBuddy does not affect the towing procedure. It only applies the Jeep’s brakes when stopping, which is a good thing.

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