Four Down Towed......First Time Jitters

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farmerjohnnyy

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OK Folks, I took your  advice and after a fair amount of deliberation decided to forgo the tow dolly and go with the tow bar towing system. A decade or so ago while raising the kids we had a RV and certainly know our way around a campground, but we never towed a car or anything behind our old 30 foot Winny, as we never left the state we lived in. Now, however, the kids are gone, and we want to go to Georgia and Florida to visit some old friends. Thus the need for a toad behind our new used diesel pusher.

We decided to go with our 4X4 Colorado as a toad, since both Remco and the owners manual both say it can be towed four down with no modification. However, I have a question about the steering set-up on the toad. The 2005 Colorado owners manual states "On automatic transmission vehicles (like mine) use an adequate clamping device to ensure that the front wheels are locked into the straight position". Then put transfer case into neutral. Then it says "Turn the ignition to LOCK".

However, in the General Information section of the instructions I received with my Blue Ox tow bar base-plate, it clearly states, "Make sure the steering wheel is not locked allowing the front wheels of the towed vehicle to 'track'".

So my question is....which one is the correct procedure? Having never towed a vehicle, it would seem to me that if the steering wheel was not locked in some fashion it may want to wander and put much stress on the tow bar, and what is to prevent the steering wheel from getting turned to one side and not coming back to center?  But then again, if it is locked that would put the tires in a bind when making sharp turns. For some reason I am somewhat apprehensive  ??? about this whole toad thing, perhaps you guys can help me out on this one.  :)
 

Ned

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The front wheels should be unlocked for towing.  We have a 2007 GMC Canyon, same truck as the Colorado, and the manual says to put the key in the lock position, but that still leaves the wheels free to turn.  I would believe the Blue Ox instructions.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The usual set up when towing 4-down is to have the front wheels unlocked, i.e. able to turn.  Typically the steering would be  locked only when towing the the vehicle backwards, e.g. a a tow truck that lifted the rear wheels off the ground and towed the car on its front facing backwards.  Check the owner manual instructions to be sure it is referring to 4-down towing.

Normally I would say go with the owner manual, but in this case I would follow the Blue Ox instructions if there is a conflict.
 

Ron

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Could it be that the Colorado or Canyon doesnt lock the steering wheel when the key is in the locked position?  I know the 2005 and 2006 Grand Cherokees do not have a steering wheel lock.
 

Ned

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As I said, our Canyon doesn't lock the steering wheel when the key is in the lock position.  I don't think it's possible to lock the front wheels on the Canyon/Colorado, at least not on our 2007.
 

John From Detroit

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Easy enough to check,  Jack up the front end using a pair of jacks so that the front wheels are off the ground, Regular tire changing jacks are ok, I use floor jacks myself when I can.

Put the ignittion in LOCK an try to turn the wheel, (Steering wheel) if it turns, you are good to tow

If not, then put the ignition in the "off, but not locked, position and try again.

On my towed, I use the latter position, key on my GM product is removable in the Off, but not locked, position
 

farmerjohnnyy

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Ahhhh, Ya learn something new every day. You are right, Ned, there is no steering lock on the Colorado. I thought all cars locked the steering when you put it in the LOCK position, but....I was wrong. I took some of John's advise, and instead of jacking the car up, I backed up my driveway which is a slight hill, put the transfer case in neutral, the tranny in park, and took out the key. Sure enough, I coasted forward, SLOWLY, and steered the Colorado back into its parking spot. This is the correct way to tow the Colorado/Canyon toad, right Ned, with the transfer case in Neutral, tranny in Park, and no key in the column?

I still don't know why the manual on page 4-51, Dinghy Towing, Four Wheel Drive Vehicles, says to put a clamping device on the steering wheel. Perhaps the author got it confused with the Dolly section.

Thanks for the responses, guys.
 

Ned

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This is the correct way to tow the Colorado/Canyon toad, right Ned, with the transfer case in Neutral, tranny in Park, and no key in the column?

That's what my manual says.

Perhaps the author got it confused with the Dolly section.

That's as good an excuse as any :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Federal law requires that an anti-theft device be activated when the ignition key in the lock position. For many years that meant locking the steering on most cars, but a few had ignition cut-outs (couldn't be hot wired) or other devices that would prevent a drive-off. Now the manufacturers are coming out with a whole new generation of anti-thefts and locking the steering column is no longer the standard action.
 

Ned

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The Canyon has the Passlock theft deterrent system, if the vehicle is opened using anything but the keyless remote, it won't start.  Thus, there is no need to lock the steering wheel when the key is out of the ignition switch.
 

John From Detroit

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I'm glad my advice helped.  Another trick they use on cars these days is the electronic key,,  If the electronics in the key don't match the original key, NO START 

By the way, the Theft deterrent I'd like to see is the Blue Boy system,  A chemical spray which turns skin bright blue till it wears off, Spray should have an active air life measured in seconds (and not very many of them) and affect only human skin

You'd not catch a theif "Red Handed" But it's for sure he'd be "Feeling Blue"
 

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