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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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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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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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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

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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.

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I have just purchased a 2018 Equinox and find the discussion interesting. The "Owners Manual" certainly isn't real clear, but the GM bulletins and forums have been very helpful. 

The selling Dealer could only tell me only the 1.5L gas FWD is towable and that's what I have. My 2012 Chevy Silverado that I traded was a dream to tow. Instructions were easy to follow and it traveled many miles behind our Journey.

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I have a 2012 GMC Terrain and have experienced the "wobble" 5 times. I decided to change my procedure to new recommendation. Bought a RVI Towed battery charger and decided to have it installed in Bradenton, FL where we were staying for the winter. I also bought an adapter by Blue-ox that has a switch to tow or not tow. Basically it turns off the anti-skid. Also had to buy a new 7 to 6 umbilical cord to wire from MH to car. It all worked OK when I started out. Next day did not work and I had a dead battery. I switched back to old procedure of just removing fuse inside car. All together cost was about $450.

I called RVI and I did all of the things they recommended but no success. They sent a new charger. Same story. 

I finally figured out that the ground from the MH to the Car would work the turn signals and the brake lights so I knew that I had a ground to the car. So I bought a 14awp wire about 8 foot long and wired it directly from the receiver that is plugged into the umbilical cord to the negative pole of the battery.

At this time it is working and I think that I have solved the problem. 

Hope this helps someone else

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Same here just took a trip from Ft.Benning Fa to Savannah had the the same issue had to have my 2017 Terrain Denali.  Had to jump it twice going and used a jump box twice on return.  I have no wobble never pulled #16 fuse towed for a year did have a smell weather I was towing or not eventually it went away.  I guess if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.  I will definitely try the ground from RV plug side Terrain negative battery terminal.  

                              Thanks 

                        SFC(Ret) F.D. Mitchell    

                         Gulf War Vet 90-91

                          24ID TF 2-4Cav D-4Cav

                         

           

 

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F.D., Welcome to the Forum. 

Thank you for your service.

Isn't Uchee Creek Fam Camp one of the nicest campgrounds you have ever seen. We have stayed there 4 times and will go again when the chance arrives. I am not retired military but one of the fellows we travel with is, that is how we get into Fam Camps.

Herman

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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.

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NEITHER OF THESE PROCEDURES WORK ON MY 2016!!!!!!   I originally pulled fuse 32 and followed the procedure in the oper manual. After a 3 hour trip, the battery in the car was DEAD and I also noticed that when I made turns the front wheels were NOT turning..............they scuffed around the turn.  Someone then sent this new procedure to me so I started pulling fuse 16 with a trickle charger on battery and noticed that the mylink entertainment system would not turn off when key was in ACC.  Also the front wheels STILL SCUFFED AROUND CORNERS!!!!!!!           I dont want to have to replace my tires every 10,000 miles from scuffing so tell me WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE????

 

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Our experience is similar to hunter41. Towed our 2014 Equinox 6000 miles last summer. I had a charge line run through the umbilical cord to the positive lead on the battery and did not pull any fuses. I did notice that the front wheels would drag through tight turns. About halfway through the trip the battery started  going dead. I bought the RVi charger but that did no good (I know now that I need to run a separate ground - thnx hunter41). I switched the charge line feeding the RVi charger to the house batteries (kept up by the solar panels) and still the battery would die. However in this configuration, just a few minutes on the RVi charger with the key in the toad off would charge the battery enough to start the car.

Then I pulled a few hops with fuse 32 pulled but still the battery would die. A side effect of this was that it also disables the front 12v plug which I was using to run the RVi brake. So seeing that I was running without a brake anyway, I just left the brake off, pulled fuse 32 and bungie corded the steering wheel to the seat frame. In this configuration I always had a full battery when we got to the stop, the tires weren't scrubbing in turns and I experienced no wobble. 

Next season I will run a 14 ga ground from the coach to the negative in the Equinox and get the RVi brake working on another circuit. I really didn't notice a difference between brake and no brake, but I want to use the brake just to be safe and legal. I still haven't figured out why with fuse 32 pulled and the brake not working the battery was still dying. I thought it was the toad brake light running off the toad battery (RVi  brake was beating the coach brake light to the diode),  but  with no brake this should not have happened.  

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