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Update: Flat towing 2010-2018 Equinox and 2010-2017 Terrain

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FMCA was notified November 1 that GM engineers have developed a revised flat towing procedure for 2010 through 2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles equipped with 4-cylinder engines. GM developed the new procedure to eliminate the wobble that sometimes occurs when flat towing these vehicles behind a motorhome.

GM officials said a service bulletin has been distributed to GM dealerships advising them of the revised towing procedure. The service bulletin says this about the wobble, or instability: “This condition may be caused by fuse 32 being removed from the instrument panel fuse block as outlined in the owners manual.”

In the revised procedure, it is no longer necessary to remove fuse 32. However, fuse 16 must be removed. Engineers determined that these changes should keep the vehicle’s electric power steering activated during flat towing. Another important aspect of the revised procedure: An auxiliary battery charger must be installed to prevent the battery in the Equinox/Terrain from losing its charge while the vehicle is being towed.

Please read closely the attached service bulletin, which details the complete revised flat towing procedure for 2010 to 2017 Equinox/Terrain.

As for the 2018 Equinox: GM officials say that because its electrical architecture is different, it is not necessary to pull any fuses. However, just as with 2010-2017 models, a charger will be necessary to keep the towed vehicle’s battery charged. The current owners manual for the 2018 Equinox will be revised to reflect the need for a charger, GM officials said.

The 2018 GMC Terrain is not flat towable.

In July, Larry Milhalko, GM’s crossover vehicle performance manager, told FMCA that the first step in developing a fix was to replicate the wobble during testing. He said this week that although testing encompassed a variety of conditions and scenarios, engineers were unable to replicate the wobble. Nevertheless, he said, “we’re pretty confident” that the revised towing procedure will solve the wobble problem. “We think we have a good solution.” 

FMCA will continue to follow this issue. If Equinox/Terrain owners experience the wobble when using the revised flat towing procedure, contact John Johnston at jjohnston@fmca.com.

Equinox Terrain revised flat towing.docx

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Last week GM released its revised flat towing procedure for the 2010-2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. That brought questions from some of you. Below are GM’s responses. People who own a 2010 Equinox should pay particular attention to question #5.

 

  1. When using the new flat towing procedure, will the odometer accumulate mileage?

No, the odometer will not accumulate.

       2.    Why is it not possible to flat tow the 2018 Terrain? Isn’t it the same as the Equinox?

The electronic transmission shift control in the 2018 Terrain precludes dinghy towing at this time.  We are exploring methods that will potentially allow dinghy towing in the future.

        3. I wonder if removal of the ABS fuse (fuse 16) is a safety issue since many dinghy auxiliary braking systems will activate the ABS system on the dinghy when required in panic conditions.

The removal of the ABS fuse is to disable the active return feature of the electric power steering to allow the wheels to steer more freely during tight turns at low speed.  Auxiliary brake controllers should be set up to provide appropriate braking force for the given conditions and not rely on ABS, just like any other trailer.  Most trailers do not have ABS.

         4. Some of us have been towing the Equinox without pulling any fuses. What, if any, problems might this pose?

There will potentially be too much steering resistance or centering causing tires to scrub around low speed tight turns.  See question 3.

        5. Step 2 in the GM service bulletin says to remove fuse 16, the Antilock Brake System Module fuse from the engine compartment fuse block.  However, my 2010 Equinox owner’s manual shows fuse 15 as the Antilock Brake System Module fuse. – Steve Gaines.

We are correcting this error in the service bulletin.  Thank you for the feedback.  Fuse 15 is indeed the ABS module fuse, which is the one to remove for 2010 Equinox. This was changed to fuse 16 for the 2011-2017 Equinox.

Also, I have heard from one owner of a 2013 Equinox who said the wobble occurred while they were following the revised flat towing procedure. I have forwarded that information to GM.

As updates become available, I’ll keep you all informed. -- John Johnston, Associate Editor, Family Motor Coaching.

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The information discusses 2018 Equinox, but there are two different drives:  (1) a front wheel drive and (2) a switchable front wheel/all whell drive.  We were just informed by GM that the switchable equinox is not flat towable.

Further, there is no mention in the 2018 equinox owner's manual about unlocking the steering wheel.  From what I can tell sitting in a 2018 equinox there is no way to unlock the steering wheel when the vehicle is turned off.

Kindly address these issues.  Thank you.

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johnston   

According to GM,  the reason some 2018 Equinox models cannot be flat towed is NOT due to switchable all wheel drive, but because of the final drive ratios of the rear axle. 

It’s important to note that the owners manual specifies that only these three 2018 Equinox vehicles can be recreationally towed four wheels down:

Front-wheel-drive, 1.5-liter gas-powered.

Front-wheel-drive, 1.6-liter diesel-powered.

All-wheel-drive, 1.6-liter diesel-powered.

GM officials say that because the electrical architecture in the 2018 Equinox differs from 2010-2017 models, it is not necessary to pull any fuses in the 2018 Equinox. However, just as with 2010-2017 models, a charger will be necessary to keep the towed vehicle’s battery charged. The current owners manual for the 2018 Equinox will be revised to reflect the need for a charger.    

Also, I'm told there is no lockout on the steering wheel for 2018 Equinox models that can be flat towed. 

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johnston   

Folks,

I'm John Johnston, associate editor for Family Motor Coaching magazine. GM informed me this week that GM service bulletin #17-NA-348 has been released. It outlines the revised flat-towing procedure for the 4-cylinder 2010-2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. The link to this bulletin is at the bottom of this post. The service bulletin corrects something in GM's original bulletin (which I posted on the Forums on November 3 using the testcommercial account). That is, in the 2010 Equinox/Terrain, fuse 15 must be removed from the engine compartment fuse block. Everything else in the bulletin remains the same. For 2011-2017 Equinox/Terrain, fuse 16 must be removed, just as the original bulletin said.

If you encounter any difficulties while using the revised Equinox/Terrain flat-towing procedure, let me know so that I can forward that information to GM. My email is jjohnston@fmca.com. 

Equinox Terrain revised flat towing.pdf

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