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Old 02-17-2020, 09:41 PM   #1
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Dinghy or two wheel trailer towing an AWD vehicle

I've read through all the threads here and was hoping to find an answer to my question. I even looked at the 2019 Good Sam Guide to Dinghy Towing. for the past 5 years I two wheel dolly towed my 2015 Kia Forte with no real issues. I'm looking to purchase a 2020 small AWD SUV. I like the Kia Sportage. Unfortunately that is not on the list for 4 wheel towing. My question is: Can you two wheel dolly tow an AWD car? I overheard a sales person at the Buffalo Auto Show mention you can't. I would really like to go to 4 wheel towing as it is easier connect/disconnect. Thank you in advance for your help!
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:20 PM   #2
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In most cases you can not tow an AWD vehicle with 2 wheels off the ground as the transfer case is not made for such a high differential speed between the front wheels and rear wheels, BUT the bottom line is what the owners manual tells you you can do, not someone's towing guide or what you heard someone say.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:22 PM   #3
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Here's a link to the 2019 MotorHome magazine dinghy towing guide, the 2020 edition will be published in April. They have a lot of PDFs about towing.
https://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides

Tow dolly + awd = No.
You won't find many if any Asian car/truck/SUV that are 4 down towable, Subaru 0, Toyota 1, Nissan a few Kia Hyundai 0.

Ford and GM have several, most of their small awd suv are ok.
Jeeps 4x4 with ADII are ok, we tow a Cherokee.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:06 AM   #4
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Yep as those guys said the Bible on what you can tow and how to tow it is written by the mfgr of the vehicle. Some vehicles have restrictions on towing speed. Some require the vehicle be started and run X amount of miles of flat towing. You will find the dingy towing guide very helpful, but I would thoroughly research the vehicle chosen on the mfgrs. website before pulling the trigger on the purchase.
We did our research and flat tow a Cherokee Trailhawk.
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:52 PM   #5
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You mention AWD. There is a difference between AWD and 4WD. Most if not all full time AWD vehicles cannot be dolly towed and very few can be flat towed. 4WD vehicles can be flat towed if they have a transfer case that can be put in Neutral or have a Neutral Tow selection.

Unfortunately many of the flat tow favorites of the past can no longer be flat towed. The Honda CRV and all Subarus are examples of this.

After much research we decided on a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk for flat towing. It does weight in at a little over 5,000 pounds with the Hemi V8 but we have the towing capacity to handle it. The V6 versions are under 5K and the smaller Cherokee Trailhawk weights in at around 4K if I'm not mistaken.

My recommendation to you is to do the research because the sales people do not know what they are talking about when you mention recreational towing of a vehicle. When we were looking a major Jeep dealer around my house told me they had no Grand Cherokees with the required transfer case for flat towing. We went to another dealer and looked and found our Trailhawk. The original dealer called while we were at the second dealer and told me they had about 20 vehicles with the required transfer and my response was too late. I knew what they had but they didn't and I walked because of their desire to push something on me (a Wrangler) rather than listen to what I wanted and to see if they had it in inventory.

Happy hunting.
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:06 PM   #6
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I wouldn't vaguely begin to trust anyone about ANY vehicle that they themselves aren't towing and can't give you an idea based on 10,000 miles of real tow'd experience.
Be it that guide, which by its very name says it's a potential list not a definitive list, or someone who says:
'I tow a 2011, your 2021 should be just fine.'

Find someone presenting picture proof, or don't do it.
Simple.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:11 PM   #7
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If you feel that you really want an AWD Toad: why not just put it up on a trailer?
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
If you feel that you really want an AWD Toad: why not just put it up on a trailer?
Thanks. So I'm looking at upgrading to a Tiffin Wayfarer and the towing capacity is about 5,000 pounds, so buying a 4 wheel up trailer is out of the question. I see you have a Wayfarer too. How do you tow?
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
You mention AWD. There is a difference between AWD and 4WD. Most if not all full time AWD vehicles cannot be dolly towed and very few can be flat towed. 4WD vehicles can be flat towed if they have a transfer case that can be put in Neutral or have a Neutral Tow selection.

Unfortunately many of the flat tow favorites of the past can no longer be flat towed. The Honda CRV and all Subarus are examples of this.

After much research we decided on a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk for flat towing. It does weight in at a little over 5,000 pounds with the Hemi V8 but we have the towing capacity to handle it. The V6 versions are under 5K and the smaller Cherokee Trailhawk weights in at around 4K if I'm not mistaken.

My recommendation to you is to do the research because the sales people do not know what they are talking about when you mention recreational towing of a vehicle. When we were looking a major Jeep dealer around my house told me they had no Grand Cherokees with the required transfer case for flat towing. We went to another dealer and looked and found our Trailhawk. The original dealer called while we were at the second dealer and told me they had about 20 vehicles with the required transfer and my response was too late. I knew what they had but they didn't and I walked because of their desire to push something on me (a Wrangler) rather than listen to what I wanted and to see if they had it in inventory.

Happy hunting.
Thank you Dave. So I'm looking at upgrading to a Tiffin Wayfarer. If you are not familiar, It's a Class C on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. Towing capacity is about 5,000 #'s. I see the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is popular, but weighs in too heavy. What about the Jeep Compass Trailhawk?
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dave5131 View Post
Thanks. So I'm looking at upgrading to a Tiffin Wayfarer and the towing capacity is about 5,000 pounds, so buying a 4 wheel up trailer is out of the question. I see you have a Wayfarer too. How do you tow?
We actually bought something that is more of a Tadpole: than it is a Toad...
Putting it on a 12' Aluma utility trailer makes for a 3,000 combination
But it's just the two of us, and we don't need AWD.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:27 PM   #11
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I've been happy with my 4wd Colorado pickup as a toad. We are using a dolly right now but I MAY switch to flat towing.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dave5131 View Post
Thank you Dave. So I'm looking at upgrading to a Tiffin Wayfarer. If you are not familiar, It's a Class C on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. Towing capacity is about 5,000 #'s. I see the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is popular, but weighs in too heavy. What about the Jeep Compass Trailhawk?
Check the Jeep website as of 2019 Compass WAS NOT towable 4 down. The smallest Jeeps (lightest) that are 4 down towable are 2 door Wranglers or certain models of Cherokee and not all models of Cherokee are towable.

Our 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk with 1/2 tank of gas, camp chairs and 2 bundles of firewood weighs 4500 lbs on the truck stop Cat Scales.
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:10 PM   #13
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So I was looking last night and see the Jeep Cherokee has a curb weight of 3,875 #'s. the Grand Cherokee weights quite a bit more. So I think the Cherokee would work. It appears the one with the Trailhawk is the only one in that class that has the required "two speed power transfer unit" enabling you to put the unit in N and transmission in park. I wonder if the Limited version of the Cherokee has this unit?
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:17 PM   #14
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..."two speed power transfer unit"?...
So that's what they're calling the transfer case now?
If you've got it: you'll notice that it has a "neutral" position. That's where things stop spinning, and the magic happens!
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:29 PM   #15
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That is correct. That is what it says in the 2019 Good Sam Motorhome Towing Guide
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:35 PM   #16
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So I was looking last night and see the Jeep Cherokee has a curb weight of 3,875 #'s. the Grand Cherokee weights quite a bit more. So I think the Cherokee would work. It appears the one with the Trailhawk is the only one in that class that has the required "two speed power transfer unit" enabling you to put the unit in N and transmission in park. I wonder if the Limited version of the Cherokee has this unit?
Our 2016 limited has the 2 speed and over 10k miles behind our mh.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:37 PM   #17
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So that's what they're calling the transfer case now?
If you've got it: you'll notice that it has a "neutral" position. That's where things stop spinning, and the magic happens!
Bob the Jeep Cherokee doesn't have a true transfer case as we know it. My understanding the magic actually happens at the front and rear differentials. Basically the Cherokee is a front wheel drive set up and the front differential transfers the power through the drive line to the rear differential. The front and rear differentials are two speed and are basically put into neutral to flat tow.

Active Drive 2 is the only Cherokee 4X4 system that can be flat towed. The Trailhawk models besides having low 4 have a differential low locker as well.

A far cry from the Jeep 4x4 systems I have had for the past 20 years with a true 2 speed transfer case, but knock wood it has worked flawlessly for us so far.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dave5131 View Post
So I was looking last night and see the Jeep Cherokee has a curb weight of 3,875 #'s. the Grand Cherokee weights quite a bit more. So I think the Cherokee would work. It appears the one with the Trailhawk is the only one in that class that has the required "two speed power transfer unit" enabling you to put the unit in N and transmission in park. I wonder if the Limited version of the Cherokee has this unit?
When we bought our Cherokee Trailhawk in 2019 the Active Drive 2 system was an option on the Limited. In our case we felt the added 4" of ground clearance and the addition of skid plates on the Trailhawk for basically the same $$ as the Limited made sense as we like to do a small bit of off road exploring on Forest Service and BLM roads.
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:07 PM   #19
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I wouldn't vaguely begin to trust anyone about ANY vehicle that they themselves aren't towing and can't give you an idea based on 10,000 miles of real tow'd experience.
Be it that guide, which by its very name says it's a potential list not a definitive list, or someone who says:
'I tow a 2011, your 2021 should be just fine.'

Find someone presenting picture proof, or don't do it.
Simple.
I would add this.

DO NOT trust the owners manual.

We bought our 16 jeep limited because of advertisement, at the time it was "the easiest vehicle to tow"...WRONG!
While no one was watching jeep published an addendum to the 2014 to 16... Cherokee owner manual.

A lot of 2016 owners are still mad, jeep upgraded ($550. and up wiring harness for 16, 17, 18s) pre 16's for free. Jeep has finally "fixed" the problem, no more modification for 4 down towing.
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:22 PM   #20
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I would add this.

DO NOT trust the owners manual.

We bought our 16 jeep limited because of advertisement, at the time it was "the easiest vehicle to tow"...WRONG!
While no one was watching jeep published an addendum to the 2014 to 16... Cherokee owner manual.

A lot of 2016 owners are still mad, jeep upgraded ($550. and up wiring harness for 16, 17, 18s) pre 16's for free. Jeep has finally "fixed" the problem, no more modification for 4 down towing.
So if you can't trust the Owner's Manual published by the vehicle manufacturer, who are you going to trust?

I assume the issue you encountered with the Cherokee was discovered after people starting towing them (like the death wobble) which caused Jeep to issue changes to the Owner's Manual and engineer a fix.

This can happen with any new Technology. GM just issued a change to the new Blazer's Owners Manual regarding towing 4 down, Does that mean you can't "trust" their Owners Manual? Or does it mean you need to make sure you are looking at the latest revision to the Owner's Manual?
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