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 > What Should I Consider for a 4WD Tow Vehicle?

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Lake Havasu City AZ

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Posted: 04/06/19 09:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

Currently, I'm using a Tow Dolly to tow my 2017 FWD Ford Edge, but I'm inclined to want to flat tow a 4WD for ease and convenience. A Bump Shop friend suggests Jeep CJ4, and though I've never owned a Jeep of any type before, I'm now confronted with a multitude of options of which I know little about, never having had a 4WD vehicle before.

I don't need a 2nd vehicle, and so, would be exchanging my Edge for something I can use as my daily transportation, while also permitting me a easier means of towing a vehicle behind my Class A.

I'm open to suggestions, experiences, and any details you feel would help me in my choices for a new 4WD vehicle - thanks!


obiwan,
First of all, we've been Jeeping for well over 35 years and, we've owned, modified and towed, 9 different Jeeps in that period. We've had (3) CJs, a CJ5 and (2)CJ-7s, (2)YJs, (3)TJs and our present one, a '15 Jeep JKUR. And for the life of me, as long as I've been Jeeping and associated with Jeeps, I've never, ever heard of a CJ-4.

Second, ANY CJ, no matter if it's a CJ-5, 6, or 7, was not designed for flat towing, no matter which transfer case it was outfitted with and, in the warhelm of the CJs, there were quite a few different transfer cases. The most prevailant transfer case for the CJ era was the model 300, cast iron, gear drive. A stout, very strong, transfer case, to be sure. But, even it, was not designed for long distance flat towing.

We did it, all of us in the early years. But, we did it with precautions. And those were that we would stop for fuel and each time we did that, we'd start up the CJs and run them through some gears, just to splash some oil around in the transfer case, to get to the bearings. Then, we were moderately prepared for another short distance of towing.

So, with all that being said, your "shop friend" needs to be educated a bit. The first actual Jeep Wrangler that could be flat towed without issues is around '95, the YJ. I'm not real positive on that year but, it's close. The transfer case in those, and used up to even today, is the 231, aluminum, chain drive transfer case.
The reason those can be towed without issue is because, they have an oil pump, in the rear section, just in front of the tail cone. As the rear drive shaft turns, during towing, it turns that pump and lubes the T/C.

Now, with all that being said, a Jeep, at least a '95 and above, is what you need to search for. With all my experience with them, I'd search for nothing less than a '97, the first TJ model. The TJs ran from '97 through '06. They were a vast improvement in all kinds of aspects. Primarily ride. The CJs and YJs were leaf sprung Jeeps. The TJ models were fitted with coil springs and, are a major improvement in handling and ride.

Of course, the higher the year model you go, the higher the price is gonna be. It's a given. And even some really high mileage TJs are commanding some decent returns.

But, again, with all that being said, the Jeep, (at least the later TJs and JKs) are by far, one of the most sought after "toads" there are. They are incredibly easy to set up for towing. And, when it comes time for prep for towing, as in readying it behind your coach, a couple of moves with the T/C shifter and trans, and if needed, a steering un-lock, and you're ready to tow.

Hope this helps some. Good luck.
Scott


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obiwancanoli

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Posted: 04/07/19 08:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Scott, thank you for that contribution... It was a typo that had me hit the 4, and not the 5... I'd most probably be looking for a much newer model, since I'd be giving up my Edge for something else with a bit of comfort and features. Within this post, I've read that jeeps in general aren't as comfortable a ride, but your post seems to suggest a significant improvement in recent years. Remember that this would also be my only get around town vehicle, too...

I've confirmed also that my owners manual states that I CAN flat-tow my Edge, and further instructs that I simply need to shift to Neutral, disconnect the Neg battery cable, and keep speed under 65. Oh, and to start the vehicle every 6 hours for 5 minutes...

dkreuzen

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Posted: 04/07/19 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FYI, I never heard of a CJ-4 either so I looked it up.
Wikipedia states: "The Willys-Overland CJ-4 or "X-151" was only built as an experimental concept in 1950 or 1951..."

So basically they were never in production.


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Posted: 04/09/19 11:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

Scott, thank you for that contribution... It was a typo that had me hit the 4, and not the 5... I'd most probably be looking for a much newer model, since I'd be giving up my Edge for something else with a bit of comfort and features. Within this post, I've read that jeeps in general aren't as comfortable a ride, but your post seems to suggest a significant improvement in recent years. Remember that this would also be my only get around town vehicle, too...

I've confirmed also that my owners manual states that I CAN flat-tow my Edge, and further instructs that I simply need to shift to Neutral, disconnect the Neg battery cable, and keep speed under 65. Oh, and to start the vehicle every 6 hours for 5 minutes...


Roger that Obiwan,
We have a '15 Jeep JKUR (four door version) and, we love it. Now, "ride" is subjective to every single humanoid on the planet. Some, will jump into a late model Jeep Wrangler, like say, oh, maybe a '17, '18 or '19 and think they ride like a tractor. While others, would jump into those same units and think, WOW, THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!

Much of it depends on where you come from, what you've been driving your whole life, what kind of cars/recreation/outlook and more you have on life. One thing is, it's still A JEEP!!! It's designed to be one of the best on the planet, ALL AROUND UTILITY VEHICLES, PERIOD!!! Does it ride as good as ANYTHING designed for comfort, as in ALL mid to full sized cars and trucks, nope, not at all. Will those units I mentioned ride better than say, an older Jeep Wrangler or, older 4WD Toyota Pickups (thar rode like a rock), yep, they sure do.

The best thing to do here is, just cruise by your local Jeep dealer and take a used one out for a ride then, take a new one out for a ride on the same path. The used one will have mileage (obviously) and therefore, will be a bit more relaxed in suspension. The new one will be a bit tighter but, will also be more firm in corner handling and things like that.

We know many, many people that have later model Jeep Wrangler 4-door models and if given the choice to buy again, even though ALL these folks we know are retired and there's only two of them, like us, they'd ALL BUY 4 DOOR UNITS AGAIN!! And, many of them go into some fairly tough off roading scenarios and as of yet, have not had any issues operating the 4 door units in the same trails and obstacles as the 2-door units ran in and over. Each has its benefits and pitfalls.
Scott

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Posted: 04/15/19 08:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would pick a Jeep, but a little newer. I would go with either the TJ series with the 4.0 six cylinder, or the nweer JK series with the pentastar engine. The TJ is tthe first series with the body nestled inside the rear wheels, making the overall height lower and minimizing roll over possibilities. The CJ's are narrower which may or may not come in handy depending on the type of off roading you intend to do.


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obiwancanoli

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Posted: 04/15/19 09:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Over the weekend, a friend recommended I get something a little older that I wouldn't mind getting beat up... he further noted that the debris thrown up behind the rig would do considerable damage to the finish, and I admit, it seemed reasonable... is there some type of guard that could be added to the front of the tow dolly, or the Edge, that would prevent or mitigate this? Further, while I hadn't considered some sort of stone guard hanging from beneath the RV's rear, does it make sense to consider this?

D.E.Bishop

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Posted: 04/15/19 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Something no one has mentioned is the Ford Rangers that are flat capable. I don't remember you saying you need a passenger hauling vehicle or if there are just two of you, if there are just two in the car, the Ranger is a very good tow vehicle IMO. The Rangers that are flat towable are about the same weight as your edge, the Extended Cab models are comfy.

My last towed was a 1995 Suzi, when I bought it, it had been towed a lot and has lots of chips in the paint, I repainted it and towed it 10s of thousands of miles without getting any more chips. I did not have a rock guard at all. All my rock damage came from vehicle going the opposite direction from me and throwing up rocks.


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catkins

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Posted: 04/15/19 10:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 2018 Edge we just purchased and hav towed four wheels down.. It IS towable four wheels down BUT in the newer Edge line, only certain combos of engine and tranny are towable. Very difficult to figure out. Be very certain to find out if your is towable four down. Maybe you will be lucky!!

CA Traveler

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Posted: 04/15/19 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rock guards: There is a vertical hard plastic that mounts on the toad base plate and a fabric shield that mounts under the tow bar. Pros and cons to both. You can purchase or make your own and I've seen a variety.

Except for Canada's chip sealed roads (they leave the rocks on the road) on the Alaskan highway I've never had any rock damage to the toads since 2004. Your rig may vary. Rocks thrown from another vehicle are a different matter and that nice MH or tow vehicle windshield is a target along with the frontal area of all RVs.


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Posted: 04/22/19 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

navigator2346 wrote:

If you like the ride of your Edge, you won't like the CJ. If you are looking at Jeeps, find a Liberty 4x4.

Any vehicle you consider, look at its owners manual and read to see if it is "recreational towable"


I would stay away from the Liberty and get a Cherokee Trailhawk or a 2 door Wrangler.

WW


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