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Old 31st March 2010, 11:15   #1
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Default Towing a broken down 4x4

A lot has already been discussed about recovery and salvage techniques.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss how to tow a broken down 4x4 from the trail upto the mechanic's.

To start off this discussion, let me get in a few personal examples.

Last weekend, Ibrahim's gypsy's clutch was completely fried and he needed to be towed out from the OTR spot to Lonavla town to the mechanic's which was approx 15kms away. Out of this there was atleast 8kms of dirt road with steep climbs and then another 7kms of winding good tarmac road.

I have a nylon crane hoist rope had i think is better for such a situation than the wire rope. So we used that (5meters)

The ideal would be to use a tow bar. Anyone has ideas how to fabricate one?

While towing the gypsy, i first started in 4H and on steep climbs, i needed to shift to 4L 1st.

Now the first question: Can i keep driving in 4L 2nd or 3rd gear or keep changing back to 4H on dirt roads? I am always worried about transmission windups.

Everytime i change gears on the incline, the line goes slack and followed by a sharp tug. Anyway to avoid this?

Around the 6km mark, the front tiny tow loop of the gypsy snaps. And thankfully it did, cause i didn't realize my car was overheating as well. Only when i switched off the engine i could hear the coolant bubbling and saw the indicator light flashing. I immediately started the engine and left it running the keep the bonnet open. My mistake that i didn't keep an eye on the temp gauge from start.

So, what to do to keep your engine for overheating during towing?

What happens after that, you can read it in the OTR thread:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ex...-lonavala.html (Moonlighting In Lonavala)

Moving on, as we reach bombay, Alok's gypsy's timing belt comes loose and he needs to be towed another 5kms to his mechanic's in new bombay. I tow him easily in 2H since it's tarmac and flat road.

Am i using the right gear?

I could reach 40kmph and stayed in third. Only issue was that everytime i changed gears (however carefully), momentum was slightly lost and the sharp tug was felt. How bad is this for my car and how can it be avoided?

Also, let's say a vehicle needs to be towed for more than 30kms (if it breaks down on the expressway for example). Should the towed vehicle be keep running (if possible) to circulate oil? Should the towed vehicle shift the 4x4shifter to neutral? Ideally shouldn't we fix free wheeling hubs on the rear wheels also to so that they can be unlocked in such an eventuality?

Let's discuss exact modalities to tow 4x4s.

Anyways, also see below the rules for general towing in India:

1. No vehicle other than a mechanically disabled motor vehicle or incompletely assembled motor vehicle, a registered trailer or a side car, shall be drawn or towed by any motor vehicle, except for purposes of delivery and to the nearest filling station or garage. 


2. No motor vehicle shall be drawn or towed by any other motor vehicle unless there is in the driver's seat of the motor vehicle being drawn or towed a person holding a licence authorising him to drive the vehicle or unless the steering wheels of the motor vehicle being towed, are firmly and securely supported clear of the road surface by some crane or other device on the vehicle which is drawin or towing it.


3. When a motor vehicle is being towed by another motor vehicle the clear distance between the rear of the front vehicle and the front of the rear vehicle shall at no time exceed five metres. The tow ropes, or chains shall be of a type-easily distinuishable by other road users and there shall be clearly displayed on the rear of the vehicle being towed in black letters not less than seventy - five mllimetres high and on a white background the words 'ON TOW'.


4. No motor vehicle when towing another vehicle other than a trailer or a sidecar shall be driven at a speed exceeding twenty- four kilometres per hour. 


Last edited by Tejas@perioimpl : 31st March 2010 at 11:20. Reason: typos
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Old 31st March 2010, 11:40   #2
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Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Should the towed vehicle shift the 4x4shifter to neutral?

Tejas are you sure? Will the vehicle move if the transfer case gear lever is in Neutral?

Spike
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Old 31st March 2010, 11:52   #3
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Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Tejas are you sure? Will the vehicle move if the transfer case gear lever is in Neutral?

Spike
Spikey,

I'm talking about the vehicle that is getting towed (not the towing vehicle) that should go in neutral
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Old 31st March 2010, 12:27   #4
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Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Tejas are you sure? Will the vehicle move if the transfer case gear lever is in Neutral?

Spike
Spike, the vehicle being towed has to be neutral in order to move

Being a 4x4 we have the option of switching to neutral at both the gear-box and the transfer-case.

@ Tejas

1) I agree with you on using Nylon cable as opposed to steel for a tow. The little bit of stretch that it allows greatly reduces the 'sharp tug' that you felt. While using a steel cable it would have been much more pronounced.

2) 4L or 4h, transmission wind-up is bound to happen if you're going to be driving in 4WD mode on a high-traction surface (tarmac) and taking turns. Also, I don't think 4H was necessary unless if you're losing traction (I think in the Gypsy transfer case you get a minor torque multiplication, but I think it is pointless unless you're losing traction) The torque available at the wheel is very similar to 2H mode and you would just be risking wind-up.

3) On tarmac, a good way to avoid transmission wind-up even while using 4L is to dis-engage your FWH. you get the required torque for towing, without risking wind-up, only problem is you are loading your rear-axle a lot. Is this an issue and are their chances of it failing? In my opinion the torque made by the gypsy engine is not enough to snap your axles as long as you're towing/driving smoothly and not applying sudden, jerky loads.

4) The sharp-tug you feel can be minimized by coming onto the power very gently and smoothly and releasing the clutch gently as well. This is due to the difference in speed of the two vehicles.

5) FWH on the rear-axle is not required, you're going to have another part which can fail on your vehicle just for the remote chance of having a breakdown? IMHO just putting it onto neutral is enough, FWH on the fron is a good idea though as a lot of your driving is on tarmac and it makes sense to be able to disconnect the front wheels.

6) You don't need the engine of the towed vehicle to be on for oil-circulation or whatever, it can be switched off and towed. If you have power assisted brakes and steering, you need to have the engine on and transmission on neutral to have these 2 functions. It is also good to have all electrical systems working primarily blinkers, back-lights and horn.

Besides this, it's also important to have your emergency lights on (both vehicles) and to maintain a cautious speed. Both drivers need to be alert and since we now live in the ICE age, it would definitely be good to have contact through cellular phones between the 2 cars (talking on the phone and driving is a sin, so through second persons on both cars or blue-tooth headsets or with phones on speaker mode).

Hope all the information is correct and adequate. Gurus please comment. Besides this there are other safety tips like using 2 tow-ropes on 2 points of the chassis, no sudden braking by either party etc.

Best regards

Last edited by '72 Bullet : 31st March 2010 at 12:30. Reason: mistake
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Old 31st March 2010, 18:34   #5
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@Tejas
The last time I towed Ibrahim all the way to Lonavala I experienced an overheating problem too,although not as severe as yours. Once we passed through the steep climbs,I disengaged to 4H and once we reached the tarmac I was on 2WD and shifting between 2WD and 4H for inclines, on the move.
The problem with the jerks is a real one.
I feel we should have an attachable tow-bar which would minimise the jerks.
I am designing one now.It will be a set of iron pipes which could be threaded on each other with an additional screw from the exterior.
I will post the pics when they are ready.
Any suggestions?
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Old 31st March 2010, 21:52   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Spikey,

I'm talking about the vehicle that is getting towed (not the towing vehicle) that should go in neutral
There will be wind up even if you switch the 4x4 shifter to neutral. So towing wil be difficult.
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Old 31st March 2010, 22:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by star_aqua View Post
There will be wind up even if you switch the 4x4 shifter to neutral. So towing wil be difficult.
Why would there be transmission wind-up if front and rear prop-shafts are not connected any more? There will only be wind-up while 4x4 is engaged whether hi ratio or lo.

Also I think towing will be easiest while vehicle is in neutral at the tc.
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Old 1st April 2010, 10:44   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '72 Bullet View Post
Why would there be transmission wind-up if front and rear prop-shafts are not connected any more? There will only be wind-up while 4x4 is engaged whether hi ratio or lo.

Also I think towing will be easiest while vehicle is in neutral at the tc.
The front shaft is connected once you switch from 2wd to 4wd. A neutral will only disconnect the main gearbox output and not the front and rear shaft. A 2wd to 4wd shifter assembly is literally outside the transfer case and 4H N 4L shifter assembly is inside the transfer case.
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Old 1st April 2010, 11:42   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by star_aqua View Post
The front shaft is connected once you switch from 2wd to 4wd. A neutral will only disconnect the main gearbox output and not the front and rear shaft. A 2wd to 4wd shifter assembly is literally outside the transfer case and 4H N 4L shifter assembly is inside the transfer case.
I am not really sure about the shift internal shift patterns as I have never seen a transfer case opened up. I still do think that while in neutral, the two shafts would not be connected.

It would interesting if someone could lay out the diagrams for the different transfer cases in use. For e.g. in a Dana-spicer 18 transfer case with 2 shift levers, Neutral on the 2WD-4WD lever would mean that the 2 prop-shafts are not connected anymore. What about in the Borg-warner transfer case and Gypsy transfer case?

If the 2 prop-shafts remain connected (during neutral at the T-case), then the next alternative would be to have the T-case in 2WD mode and neutral at the Gear-box.
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Old 1st April 2010, 16:33   #10
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Default Towing

Hi Guys,

A few suggestions

OTR Towing (Towing over Rough Ground)
The vehicle which is being towed
i) Remove Front & Rear Propeller Shaft if vehicle cannot move either of its axles under its own power.

ii) Connect the Tow Cable in
a) X Pattern to the Towing Vehicle
b) Inverted V (A) Pattern

This Prevents the Towed vehicle to roll over the Towing Cable and does not stress the Chassis of both vehicles.

If 2 or More Vehicles are used to Tow (In Tandem), then use the Rule II for All Vehicles.

iii) Safety
a) Keep Clear
b) Do not Jerk ISW Ropes (steel Cables)
c) Ensure all the towing vehicles are using similar reduction for speed, otherwise one vehicle will end up doing most of the work. i.e 2 Jeeps for One Gurkha, 2 Gypsies for One JEEP.
d) Use a predetermined route. (Least Obstacles)
e) Clear communication.
f) Keep minimum weight (passengers) in the Towed Vehicle.
g) Keep Hazard Light on.

On-Road Towing
i)Remove Front & Rear Propeller Shaft if vehicle cannot move either of its axles under its own power.

i) Use a Towing Bar in
a) Triangle 2 Bars to one Pintle Hook.
b) Straight - LHS Chassis Rail to Pintle Hook. (Keep the Towed vehicle on RHS)

ii) Connect the Tow Cable in
a) X Pattern to the Towing Vehicle
b) Inverted V (A) Pattern

This Prevents the Towed vehicle to roll over the Towing Cable and does not stress the Chassis of both vehicles.

If 2 or More Vehicles are used to Tow (In Tandem), then use the Rule II for All Vehicles.

How ever on road it is not necessary to use more than one vehicle to Tow another Vehicle.

iii) Safety
a) Keep Clear
b) Do not Jerk ISW Ropes (steel Cables)
c) Ensure all the towing vehicles are using similar reduction for speed, otherwise one vehicle will end up doing most of the work. i.e 2 Jeeps for One Gurkha, 2 Gypsies for One JEEP.
d) Use a predetermined route
e) Clear communication.
f) Keep minimum weight (passengers) in the Towed Vehicle.
g) Keep the Hazard Light On.
h) Drive slowly. (Not more than 40Kmph)
i) The Towing Vehicles can engage 4WD Hi on Tarmac Climbs with additional Load. Please DONOT engage 2WD-Lo on any surface.

Regards,

Arka
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Old 2nd April 2010, 11:57   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Guys,

A few suggestions

OTR Towing (Towing over Rough Ground)
The vehicle which is being towed
i) Remove Front & Rear Propeller Shaft if vehicle cannot move either of its axles under its own power.

ii) Connect the Tow Cable in
a) X Pattern to the Towing Vehicle
b) Inverted V (A) Pattern

This Prevents the Towed vehicle to roll over the Towing Cable and does not stress the Chassis of both vehicles.

If 2 or More Vehicles are used to Tow (In Tandem), then use the Rule II for All Vehicles.

iii) Safety
a) Keep Clear
b) Do not Jerk ISW Ropes (steel Cables)
c) Ensure all the towing vehicles are using similar reduction for speed, otherwise one vehicle will end up doing most of the work. i.e 2 Jeeps for One Gurkha, 2 Gypsies for One JEEP.
d) Use a predetermined route. (Least Obstacles)
e) Clear communication.
f) Keep minimum weight (passengers) in the Towed Vehicle.
g) Keep Hazard Light on.

On-Road Towing
i)Remove Front & Rear Propeller Shaft if vehicle cannot move either of its axles under its own power.

i) Use a Towing Bar in
a) Triangle 2 Bars to one Pintle Hook.
b) Straight - LHS Chassis Rail to Pintle Hook. (Keep the Towed vehicle on RHS)

ii) Connect the Tow Cable in
a) X Pattern to the Towing Vehicle
b) Inverted V (A) Pattern

This Prevents the Towed vehicle to roll over the Towing Cable and does not stress the Chassis of both vehicles.

If 2 or More Vehicles are used to Tow (In Tandem), then use the Rule II for All Vehicles.

How ever on road it is not necessary to use more than one vehicle to Tow another Vehicle.

iii) Safety
a) Keep Clear
b) Do not Jerk ISW Ropes (steel Cables)
c) Ensure all the towing vehicles are using similar reduction for speed, otherwise one vehicle will end up doing most of the work. i.e 2 Jeeps for One Gurkha, 2 Gypsies for One JEEP.
d) Use a predetermined route
e) Clear communication.
f) Keep minimum weight (passengers) in the Towed Vehicle.
g) Keep the Hazard Light On.
h) Drive slowly. (Not more than 40Kmph)
i) The Towing Vehicles can engage 4WD Hi on Tarmac Climbs with additional Load. Please DONOT engage 2WD-Lo on any surface.

Regards,

Arka
Hey Arka,

Thanks for the detailed procedure.

As you know, sometimes it is not practical/possible to disconnect the prop-shafts, what do you do in such a case?

In the case of a broken axle (FFRA) how would you go about the towing?
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Old 2nd April 2010, 17:32   #12
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Ideally any vehicle and especially a 4x4 should not be towed but ramped up on a flat bed truck and carried to wherever it is to be taken. I believe the Kent car people have launched this flat bed service in Bombay.
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Old 2nd April 2010, 19:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Should the towed vehicle shift the 4x4shifter to neutral? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Spikey,

I'm talking about the vehicle that is getting towed (not the towing vehicle) that should go in neutral
Tejas, i know you are talking about the vehicle being towed (vehicle which is behind), but in your earlier post you have asked whether 4x4 shifter of the towed vehicle (vehicle which is behind) should be in neutral. How can that happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by '72 Bullet View Post
Spike, the vehicle being towed has to be neutral in order to move
72 Bullet, please check which Neutral Tejas is talking about, he has mentioned about the Transfer case neutral. Transmission and Transfer case both have neutral and your vehicle will not move if the Transfer case is in Neutral.

Spike

P.S. I hope I am not confusing anyone.
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Old 2nd April 2010, 20:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Tejas, i know you are talking about the vehicle being towed (vehicle which is behind), but in your earlier post you have asked whether 4x4 shifter of the towed vehicle (vehicle which is behind) should be in neutral. How can that happen?



72 Bullet, please check which Neutral Tejas is talking about, he has mentioned about the Transfer case neutral. Transmission and Transfer case both have neutral and your vehicle will not move if the Transfer case is in Neutral.

Spike

P.S. I hope I am not confusing anyone.

Spike, why not? I know for a fact that you will roll while on neutral (transfer case) in a Gypsy. Is it different for jeeps?
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Old 3rd April 2010, 03:27   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '72 Bullet View Post
Spike, why not? I know for a fact that you will roll while on neutral (transfer case) in a Gypsy. Is it different for jeeps?
In 4WDs, Neutral in anything is Neutral only na? I mean if you are in gear & if you put T-Case lever in Neutral, will your vehicle move? It wont as rear propellar shaft also recieves power from T-Case only. right?
(I mean Engine->G-Box->T-Case->Differentials)

Last edited by offroad_maniac : 3rd April 2010 at 03:28.
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