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Towed Vehicles - How Often to Start and Run the Engine While Traveling

start towed car towed vehicle guidelines idle towed engine

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#1 sgureasko

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

In the article about do's and don'ts on towing, it states that, on a average, maximum speed is 65 MPH, and to run the towed at every fill-up.

Now, I don't know when the average fill-up is, or is considered. But I think most diesel pushers can go several days on a fill-up, depending of course, on how far one travels in a day. In my particular instance, I can travel 3/4 day (1,500 to 1,800 miles) before filling up. Does that mean I don't have to run my towed vehicle until then? Should I start it once a day? If I travel more than 500 miles in a day, when should I run it?

I realize this depends on the model, but as a generalization, what should one follow?
 
sgureasko
90 Wanderlodge  with a 300 gallon fuel tank


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#2 kingfr

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:59 PM

I never start my toad while towing, and I have never had to with 4 different Jeep toads. I have towed up to 5 days at a time, with no starting.


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#3 desertdeals69

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:03 PM

I have a Silverado 6 cyl 5 speed that I have towed about 100,000 miles.  I have gone over a thousand miles without starting the truck.


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#4 api100

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:15 PM

I tow a Ford Explorer and I usually start the engine and shift gears when ever I stop for fuel or stop for lunch and then do so again when I stop for the night. Ford does not say I have to do this, I like to charge the battery and to circulate the transmission.

 

Twice in my travels when I have been driving for two or three days and not running the engine I had a dead battery when I got to my destination. It caused much aggravation to get the toad jumped off and everything reset on the computers.


So for me, starting the engine is peace of mind and I've never had a problem when I've done so. I have a 120 gal fuel tank and I usually fill up when I get below a half tank. I also need to get up and walk around by then.

Andy


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#5 parmm

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:20 PM

Actually, starting the toad after so many miles depends on the "recreational towing" instructions in your toads owners manual.  Some toads require starting every so many miles or hours, and some don't.


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#6 campcop

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:07 PM

I never start our Jeep. But as noted some vehicles require the engine to be run to lubricate the transmission. I fixed the dead battery problem by charging the toad battery off the MH when running, this prevents the toad braking system from discharging the toad battery.
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#7 Allegiance40x

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

Actually, starting the toad after so many miles depends on the "recreational towing" instructions in your toads owners manual.  Some toads require starting every so many miles or hours, and some don't.


Good advice, my CRV's manual says when to start it...300 miles.  Many disregard these instructions, I try to stick with them, but don't all the time.  For those that have toads that are not blessed by the factory to be toads...you're on your own. :D
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#8 RoryTug

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 03:35 PM

Stick to owner manual instructions. More is better. If you have modified your tow, IE driveline disconnect, transmission pump or Dolly, follow the modification equipment's guidelines. The main purpose of starting the toad regularly is to lubricate the automatic transmission. Start it and run through the gears.
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#9 FMCAHokie

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:09 AM

Stick to owner manual instructions. More is better. If you have modified your tow, IE driveline disconnect, transmission pump or Dolly, follow the modification equipment's guidelines. The main purpose of starting the toad regularly is to lubricate the automatic transmission. Start it and run through the gears.


Rule of thumb - If the transmission turns while towing, i,e. CRV and other automatics, start the engine and run it through the gears to lube the transmission.  Jeep, and others, have a transfer case that, when placed in Neutral, disconnects the transmission from the drive wheels.

The transmission doesn't turn.  I use a hot wire from the motorhome to the tow vehicle battery, fused on both ends, that keeps the tow vehicle battery charged.  Never a dead battery.
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