Johnston

Members
  • Content count

    20
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Johnston

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Recent Profile Visitors

929 profile views
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 2018 Chevy Equinox Flat Tow

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Flat towing a 2018 KIA Soul

    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
  7. Richard, I'm sorry you're disappointed by the magazine's new name. The name Family Motor Coaching conveys that the magazine focuses only on motorized vehicles. After FMCA membership voted to welcome owners of all self-contained RVs, starting a new magazine that focused only on towable RVs would have been cost prohibitive. Therefore, we are incorporating additional content into the magazine. Along with that, a name change was necessary. The magazine staff felt comfortable with the name Family RVing because it retains a key element of the old name -- Family -- while also reflecting the broadened scope of coverage. Much of the information we’ve been publishing for years is pertinent to all RVers, no matter their RV type. RVs share the same systems – heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, waste management, etc. And RVers share many of the same interests – the fun, freedom, and flexibility of taking one’s home along while traveling. So, we will continue to provide great coverage about motorhomes and the motorhome industry while expanding our content to include information about other types of RVs. Many of the things you love about the magazine are still there. Thanks for sharing your concerns. And thanks for your membership.
  8. Family Motor Coaching magazine will become Family RVing in May. Among the new features will be “Meet the Family” — monthly mini-profiles of people who joined FMCA within the last year or so. Those who participate will be asked a number of fill-in-the-blank questions, such as favorite camping destination, most unusual place visited, etc., as well as some quirky and offbeat questions, such as the strangest thing you’ve eaten or a famous person you’ve met. Interested in participating? Send an email to me at jjohnston@fmca.com.
  9. 2018 Cherokee Trail hawk Flat tow

    This is John Johnston, associate editor for Family Motor Coaching magazine. In late February, my contact at Fiat Chrysler told me that a new Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Harness for Jeep Cherokee is being produced by a new supplier. He said: "At this point the parts are in transit to MOPAR and will be available for order by dealers shortly (I am guessing in the next week or two). Looks like the part number will stay the same." I've heard from at least one Cherokee owner who said his dealer will install the part this week (March 14).
  10. Update on the Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Harness, which is for 2014-2018 Jeep Cherokee (NOT Grand Cherokee): My contact at Fiat Chrysler told me this week (Feb. 22) that a new part is being produced by a new supplier. He said: "At this point the parts are in transit to MOPAR and will be available for order by dealers shortly (I am guessing in the next week or two). Looks like the part number will stay the same."
  11. This is John Johnston, associate editor at Family Motor Coaching magazine. The following information will be of interest to owners of Jeep Cherokee vehicles (model years 2014 to 2018) who need to obtain the Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Harness. The part is designed to prevent the Cherokee from wobbling when it is flat towed behind a motorhome. It must be installed by an authorized Jeep dealer. Three Cherokee owners in different parts of the country recently contacted me and said they have had trouble finding a Jeep dealer who can obtain the wiring harness. One owner said he was told by Jeep Customer Service that there is a nationwide back order of 275 units and that the part will not be available until late spring or early summer. Another owner said his dealer told him that the part might not be available until July. Fiat Chrysler has been vague, at best, about this issue. On Feb. 1, my Fiat Chrysler contact told me there is “adequate supply within the pipeline.” After I pointed out the problems the owners mentioned above were having, on Feb. 5 the same Fiat Chrysler spokesman told me: “Spoke with our folks at Mopar and there does seem to be some delay within the supply chain from the supplier itself.” I asked how long of a delay customers can expect. The response: “Long term, I can’t commit to any firm timeline.” If you are trying to obtain the Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Kit from a dealer, this information may be helpful: Part Number: 68321424AB Technical Service Bulletin: #08-029-16 Rev A
  12. 2018 Cherokee Trailhawk Wobble?

    This is John Johnston, associate editor at Family Motor Coaching magazine. The following information will be of interest to owners of Jeep Cherokee vehicles (model years 2014 to 2018) who need to obtain the Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Harness. The part is designed to prevent the Cherokee from wobbling when it is flat towed behind a motorhome. It must be installed by an authorized Jeep dealer. Three Cherokee owners in different parts of the country recently contacted me and said they have had trouble finding a Jeep dealer who can obtain the wiring harness. One owner said he was told by Jeep Customer Service that there is a nationwide back order of 275 units and that the part will not be available until late spring or early summer. Another owner said his dealer told him that the part might not be available until July. Fiat Chrysler has been vague, at best, about this issue. On Feb. 1, 2018, my Fiat Chrysler contact told me there is “adequate supply within the pipeline.” After I pointed out the problems the owners mentioned above were having, on Feb. 5, 2018, the same Fiat Chrysler spokesman told me: “Spoke with our folks at Mopar and there does seem to be some delay within the supply chain from the supplier itself.” I asked how long of a delay customers can expect. The response: “Long term, I can’t commit to any firm timeline.” If you are trying to obtain the Mopar Flat Tow Wiring Kit from a dealer, this information may be helpful: Part Number: 68321424AB Technical Service Bulletin: #08-029-16 Rev A
  13. This is an update regarding the revised flat-towing procedure for 2010-2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles with 4-cylinder engines. The revised procedure, outlined in GM service bulletin 17-NA-348, was developed to eliminate the wobble that sometimes occurs when the vehicle is flat towed. The owner of a 2016 Chevy Equinox has reported that after following the procedure in service bulletin 17-NA-348, he has noticed the smell of burning brake pads. This has happened a number of times. The owner checked his supplemental braking system, which is actuated by the hydraulics on the hitch, and it was loose and not operating the brakes. He said the smell does not occur when he follows the original flat-towing procedure, as outlined in the owners manual. I notified GM about this, and today (January 29) I received this response: “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.” I will of course pass along information as it becomes available.
  14. Apparently there has been some confusion related to the revised flat towing procedure for 2010-2017 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain: The revised procedure, which was developed to eliminate a sporadic wobble, is spelled out in GM service bulletin 17-NA-348 (see the link at the bottom of this post). The revised procedure REPLACES the procedure in the owners manual. You should not mix old and new procedures. Therefore, when flat towing, only one fuse should be removed. If you own a 2011-2017 model-year vehicle, the revised procedure says to remove fuse 16 from the engine compartment fuse block; if you own a 2010 model-year vehicle, remove fuse 15 from the engine compartment fuse block. Be sure to read the entire service bulletin carefully. Equinox Terrain revised flat towing.pdf
  15. This is John Johnston, associate editor for Family Motor Coaching magazine. I compile the magazine's towing guide. Regarding the flat towability of the 2018 Civic: Honda's national manager for technical public relations has told me that when equipped with a manual transmission, the 2018 Civic Coupe LX and EX-T; and 2018 Civic Sedan LX and EX-T can be towed four wheels down behind a motorhome. But please read on. The 2018 Civic Sedan's owners guide and owners manual (two separate publications) say it is not designed to be towed behind a motorhome. The 2018 Civic Coupe's owners guide says it can be towed behind a motorhome; the owners manual says it is not designed to be towed behind a motorhome. Confusing? You bet. I have pointed out these types of inconsistencies to Honda for several years. Because both the owners guide and owners manual of the 2018 Civic Sedan say it is not designed to be flat towed behind a motorhome, it will not appear in Family Motor Coaching's towing guide. The 2018 Coupe will be in the towing guide (given that both the owners guide and Honda corporate say it is towable).