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Johnston

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  1. We have received word from GM that the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, which was included in Family RVing’s “2019 Towing Lineup,” is not flat towable. Initially, the 2019 Malibu’s owners manual specified that the vehicle, when equipped with a 2.0-liter engine, was flat towable. Unbeknown to Family RVing, GM later issued an owners manual supplement that said the vehicle should not be flat towed. As of this morning (August 21, 2019), the online owners manual for the 2019 Malibu still contains the incorrect information, but GM officials say it will be changed.
  2. The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan (equipped with manual transmission), which was included in Family RVing magazine’s “2019 Towing Lineup,” is NOT flat towable, according to Toyota. This contradicts information that Toyota’s corporate office provided to Family RVing late in 2018 as the towing guide was being prepared. At that time, the owners manual was not available, but it now specifies that the vehicle should not be towed four wheels down. That has been confirmed by a Toyota spokesman. The 2019 Yaris liftback (equipped with manual transmission) also is included in Family RVing's “2019 Towing Lineup.” According to Toyota officials, the company originally planned to sell the 2019 Yaris liftback in the United States, but those plans changed and the vehicle was never ordered for U.S. markets. However, a Toyota Canada spokesman said the vehicle (referred to in Canada as the Yaris hatchback) is available there, and he confirmed that it is flat towable when equipped with a manual transmission. Refer to the owners manual for instructions.
  3. Here's another update regarding flat towing the 2019 Hyundai Elantra. A spokesman for Hyundai Motor America told me by phone that the 2019 Elantra owners manual -- which says the vehicle is not designed to be towed four wheels down behind a motorhome -- is INCORRECT. He said that information was inadvertently included in the manual due to a "cut and paste" error. Therefore, the information Hyundai initially provided to FMCA should stand: the vehicle CAN be flat towed behind a motorhome. However, take note: As of today, Roadmaster, Blue Ox, and Demco do not make a baseplate for the 2019 Elantra. (Understandable, given what the owners manual says.) Nor do those companies make a baseplate for 2019 Veloster, which is also flat towable, according to Hyundai. Roadmaster does make a baseplate for 2019 Hyundai Accent. In 2011, Hyundai issued a technical service bulletin that states that a 2WD Hyundai, when equipped with manual transmission, can be flat towed behind an RV. Since then, Hyundai reps have said the TSB remains in effect. I have repeatedly asked Hyundai to update the bulletin, to provide assurance to buyers and potential buyers. We'll see if that happens. Hyundai TSB 2011.pdf
  4. New information has emerged regarding the flat towability of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra and 2019 Hyundai Veloster, so please take note. In September 2018, a Hyundai Motor America official confirmed to FMCA that the 2019 Hyundai Accent, 2019 Elantra, and 2019 Veloster models, when equipped with manual transmission, are flat towable behind a motorhome, and all three vehicles were included in the “2019 Towing Lineup” published in the January 2019 issue of Family RVing. Hyundai owners manuals typically include no information about recreational towing. However, we now know that the 2019 Elantra owners manual says the vehicle is not designed to be towed four wheels down behind a motorhome, which contradicts Hyundai’s earlier statement to FMCA. FMCA is seeking clarification from Hyundai, and when the company responds, I will post it on the Forums. Meanwhile, as of today (May 8, 2019), it appears that no company has created a base plate for the 2019 Elantra or the 2019 Veloster, according to checks of the websites of Blue Ox, Demco, and Roadmaster. (Roadmaster has created a base plate for 2019 Accent.) A Roadmaster official said that sometimes a customer is adamant that a vehicle is flat towable, and so Roadmaster designs a base plate for the customer’s vehicle, even without proper flat-towing documentation from the vehicle manufacturer. (The customer must agree not to hold Roadmaster responsible for transmission problems.) Roadmaster follows up with the customer, and if no problems occur after a reasonable amount of time/towing mileage, Roadmaster markets the baseplate/vehicle as towable.
  5. Lenp, the owners manual's flat-towing instructions say to follow the Manual Park Release procedure, which is in the Transmission section. The flat-towing instructions do NOT include putting the vehicle in Stay In Neutral mode (which is also in the Transmission section).
  6. I compile Family RVing’s annual towing guide. The “2019 Towing Lineup,” published in the magazine’s January 2019 issue, did not include the 2019 Ford Edge, because when the magazine went to press, Ford had not approved the vehicle for flat towing behind a motorhome. However, Ford now says the 2019 2.7-liter Ford Edge is flat towable. FMCA was contacted by one owner who attempted to follow the instructions for flat towing the vehicle. He said the procedure is so onerous, in terms of the number of steps and the physical demands, that the vehicle should not be considered towable. I contacted Ford, and this was the response: “. . . most newer Ford vehicles are prioritizing Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) activation technology, so the multiple steps listed are to ensure the EPB doesn’t activate while the vehicle is being towed. Most Edge customers aren’t looking to flat tow, so the process is a bit lengthier in favor of the new tech.” Has anyone else attempted to flat tow the 2019 2.7-liter Ford Edge? If so, please share your experience with me, John Johnston, here or via email, jjohnston@fmca.com.
  7. FYI, Subaru no longer recommends flat towing any of its vehicles. 2016 was the last year Subarus were included in FMCA magazine's towing guide.
  8. The wobble issue applies only to 4-cylinder Equinox and Terrain.
  9. Lenny, the wiring harness was developed for the Jeep Cherokee, not the Grand Cherokee. I compiled a list of Grand Cherokee owners who have experienced the wobble, and sent it to Fiat Chrysler. If you'd like me to add you to the list, email me at jjohnston@fmca.com.
  10. From Fiat Chrysler: The 2019 Jeep Cherokee (4x4 models with two-speed power transfer unit) can be flat towed behind a motorhome. The vehicle does NOT require the Mopar flat tow wiring harness, which was developed for 2014-2018 models to prevent the wobble that sometimes occurred during flat towing. The owners manual can be found here: https://www.mopar.com/jeep/en-us/care/owners-manual.html Side note: A service bulletin issued on April 20, 2018, indicated that the Mopar flat tow wiring harness was needed for 2019 Cherokee. However, Fiat Chrysler has acknowledged that the service bulletin was in error.
  11. The Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Kit was designed specifically for 2014-2018 Jeep Cherokee only, NOT Grand Cherokee. Grand Cherokee Quadra-Trac II/Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive models can be flat towed, according to the owners manual. In 2017, FMCA heard from several Grand Cherokee owners who said they had experienced the wobble when flat towing the vehicle. That information was forwarded to Fiat Chrysler. In November 2017, a Fiat Chrysler spokesman told FMCA that the company had completed an internal assessment and found that Grand Cherokee could be flat towed without issue. Since then, FMCA has heard from other Grand Cherokee owners who say they have experienced the wobble. In all, we know of 22 owners of 2016-2018 Grand Cherokee models who have reported the wobble (and all but one own 2016 and 2017 models). It's important to note that this number is small in comparison to all Grand Cherokees being flat towed, but for those who are impacted, the situation is of great concern. If anyone experiences the wobble while flat towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee, please contact me at jjohnston@fmca.com and I will forward the information to Fiat Chrysler.
  12. Updated and more thorough flat-towing instructions for the 2018 Equinox with push-button start, from GM: To tow the vehicle from the front with all four wheels on the ground: 1. Position the vehicle to be towed and secure it to the towing vehicle. 2. Start the vehicle. 3. In vehicles equipped with AWD, engage the AWD system and confirm it is on. AWD switch and indicator light are on the center console. 4. Shift the transmission to N (Neutral). 5. Then put vehicle into ACCESSORY MODE by pressing the ignition button one time without the brake pedal applied. An amber light will appear in ignition button when in ACCESSORY MODE. Chime will ring continuously for 30 minutes. Leave transmission in neutral. 6. Turn all accessories off that are not needed. 7. It is recommended to charge the battery of the towed vehicle during recreational towing.
  13. This is an update for owners of 2010-2017 4-cylinder Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain who flat tow the vehicles behind a motorhome.. BACKGROUND: In November 2017, GM issued a revised flat towing procedure, which was outlined in GM service bulletin 17-NA-348 (which is attached). The revised procedure was developed to eliminate the wobble that sometimes occurs when the vehicle is flat towed behind a motorhome. In late January 2018, after an owner reported the smell of burning brake pads when using the revised procedure, GM issued the following statement: “Unless owners have experienced a wobble with the original procedure – they do not need to switch to the revised bulletin. If they have already switched to the revised bulletin, they can either continue to follow that bulletin, or switch back to the original procedure if experiencing any brake pad smell issues. The revised bulletin is absolutely safe to follow, however if owners experience the brake pad smell, they should return to the original procedure. GM engineering is currently exploring reasons for why that may be happening.” UPDATE: According to GM’s engineering team, when the revised flat towing procedure is followed, the brake control modulator (the ABS modulator) is powered off. Therefore it is not possible for the brakes to be applied unless the service brake pedal is being pushed down. Bottom line: the revised towing procedure is not the cause of the brake pad smell. CURRENT TOWING RECOMMENDATION FROM GM: If you have never experienced the wobble, continue to follow the original flat towing procedure in the owners manual. If the wobble occurs, switch to the revised procedure in GM service bulletin 17-NA-348 (which requires the Equinox/Terrain battery to be charged during flat towing). Do not "mix" procedures; follow either one or the other. Whichever procedure you use, be sure to follow the proper sequence outlined in the instructions.
  14. General Motors has revised the procedure for flat towing 2017 and 2018 Chevrolet Spark behind an RV. According to GM, when the vehicle is being towed on a curved road or in a turn, electronic stability control (ESC) brake activation of one wheel may occur, resulting in an audible tire squeal. Document ID: 4998042 #17455 -- Dinghy Towing Causing Tire Squeal Reference Number: A172119210 Revised flat-towing procedure 1. Position the vehicle to tow and then secure it to the motorhome. 2. Apply the parking brake. 3. Shift the transmission to Neutral. 4. Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery. (See the “negative battery cable disconnection" procedure below.) 5. Cover the negative battery post with a non-conductive material to prevent any contact with the negative battery terminal. 6. Release the parking brake. Negative battery cable disconnection Warning: Before disconnecting the battery cable, turn off all features, turn the ignition off, and remove the key from the vehicle. If this is not done, you or others could be injured, and the vehicle could be damaged. Caution: If the battery is disconnected with the ignition on or the vehicle in Retained Accessory Power (RAP), the OnStar backup battery will be permanently discharged and will need to be replaced. 1. Make sure the lamps, features, and accessories are turned off. 2. Turn the ignition off and remove the key, if equipped. 3. Loosen the negative battery cable nut. 4. Remove the negative battery cable from the battery. To disconnect the towed vehicle 1. Park on a level surface. 2. Apply the parking brake. 3. Make sure the ignition is off. 4. Remove any tape, glue, or excess material from the negative battery post. 5. Connect the battery. (See the “negative battery cable reconnection” below). 6. Disconnect the vehicle from the RV. 7. Release the parking brake. Negative battery cable reconnection Caution: When reconnecting the battery, use the original nut from the vehicle to secure the negative battery cable. Tighten the nut by hand. 1. Install the negative battery cable to the battery. 2. Install the negative battery cable nut and tighten. 3. Turn the ignition on.
  15. In 2007, Kia issued Technical Service Bulletin 018, "Recreational Towing Requirements." The bulletin was updated on Jan. 14, 2015. The past few years, while compiling the towing guide for Family Motor Coaching magazine (now Family RVing), I have contacted Kia's national manager for product communications and asked whether the service bulletin has been updated.The answer has been no. The bulletin states that it is current through the 2015 model year. However, Kia's product communications manager has told me that he has confirmed with engineers that the bulletin remains accurate for 2016, 2017, and 2018 Kia vehicles. The bulletin, which is attached below, states that any Kia two-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with a manual transaxle may be towed with all four wheels on the ground behind another vehicle, such as an RV. The bulletin contains instructions for flat towing. 2015 Kia TSB towing.pdf
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