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Old 11-19-2009, 12:57 PM   #1
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Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

I am looking around for a small 4x4 pickup to tow with all four wheels on the ground. My budget for this has me in the 1990-2000 range. I would prefer an automatic transmission but I don't want to spend the extra $$$ on a drive shaft disconnect. So far the only automatic transmission small truck I have found that is rated towed "as is" is the Mazda 2001-2004 B series 4x4 truck.

A larger selection of 4x4 trucks towed "as is" from the factory can be found with a manual transmission and I may have to go this route but I would prefer an automatic.

Some full size trucks can be towed 4 down "as is" because of the neutral lockout available but I already own two full size trucks and don't really want a third one as a toad vehicle, although the Toyota T 100 is tempting as it weighs less then some small trucks but is only tow able without expensive drive train modifications as a stick shift. I may end up having to go with another full size truck if I stay with my preference of an automatic transmission.

What experience do some folks have towing a small 4x4 truck 4 wheels on the ground?
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:41 PM   #2
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

I'm of no help with truck info, but why not build a trailer specific to haul one of your existing trucks, easy load tiltbed, quick tiedown without crawling around underneath the truck, long tongue for good ride and handleing, electric brakes, no wear and tear on the toad truck, easy to back up, etc. If you shop for the proper axle you can have a single axle trailer that will pull like it's not even behind you
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

Hi Paul,

Yes I could go with a trailer and then drive whatever truck I wanted. I thought that over carefully and decided I did not want to be burdened with where to put the trailer when I was camping and using the truck. Most campgrounds I use are state parks with just enough room for a camper, bus or motorhome to park and a another vehicle. I also don't want to have to be backing my trailer and would prefer just to un-hook the Toad and move it. The Toad itself will act like a trailer for hauling gear but will be much more convenient to use under it's own power then dealing with hooking up, un-hooking and backing and loading/un-loading a trailer. I will also not have the weight of the trailer itself to pull.

Another consideration is the trucks I already own, while both are 4x4 (for winter use/snow), neither is suited for the narrow back woods roads. One is our daily driver and the other has fresh paint. The Toad would also double as a work truck when we were not out on the highway so it would be able to take a few dings and bumps from work and off road use.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

Hi Smitty,

Yes, I have an active thread there and on another RV forum at the moment. I have also found a Ford Ranger and a Ford F-150 both already equipped with drive line lockouts but they are both 2-wheel drive. The search for information and a truck continues.

Motorhomes Magazine publishes a list (s) for each years vehicles that can be towed with and without modification. Right now the online list is available that covers 2002-2009 which is newer stuff then I am looking for. The old lists are available to order for $3.95 per list/year 1990-1999 which is pretty reasonable except I haven't found the truck yet and I don't want to order all ten years worth of lists or purchase the truck and then order the correct years list and find out I made an error.

REMCO the manufacture of the driveline lock out systems and many other parts for towing also publishes an online list of vehicles that are towable and with what modifications. However setting a vehicle up to become a Toad is rather expensive so I am taking the path of finding something that only needs a tow bar, brake system and hook ups rather then the expensive lock out kits plus the fore mentioned equipment.

I can go with a manual transmission which gives me many more choices but I am going to try and find an truck with an automatic transmission first.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

After a few days of research I have narrowed my choices to three vehicles that interest me;

1. The Mazda B series of trucks. They are almost identical to the Ford Rangers but they are rated as 4 down towable with both an automatic and manual transmission *with a manual transfer case. I have found several with automatic transmissions that are for sale in my area and price range using Auto Trader online.

2. The Toyota T 100 truck. While a bit heavier then the small trucks and with the manual transmission as the only listed as towable without modification to the drive line, I like the availability of the single cab 8 foot bed model.

3. The Ford Rangers with a manual transmission. Light weight and plentiful they seem to me to be a good choice.

Dodge Dakotas are also listed as 4 down towable both automatic transmission and manual transmissions. They are a bit heavier then the Ford Rangers, Mazda B series and T 100 trucks but I think they would still be a good choice. I drove several of them a few years ago and found that they (V8 model) achieved about the same gas mileage as the full size pickups so I lost interest in them but they are pretty nice trucks.

Ford, Chevy and Dodge all offer full size models with automatic transmissions that are or can be made 4 down towable if the added size and weight is not a factor.
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

I believe the Ford Ranger is available with a TOW switch on the automatics, I know for a fact you can get the Explorer with this option. Generally speaking, most any 4x4 with a MANUAL TRANSFER case can be towed 4 down, transmission can be automatic as long as the xfer case has a manual lever instead of push button.

Next you have to find the equipment, that stuff is NOT cheap. Base plate to mount on the front frame of the truck, a tow bar... there are generic cheapies out there, but a self aligning tow bar is far easier to hook-up and use. And most states REQUIRE an axillary brake system and those things generally cost over a grand.

As it is, I'm going to sell my 94 Grand Cherokee on a local level. It is Automatic with manual xfer case, and it will include an already installed Blue Ox base plate, a Blue Ox Range Finder II self aligning tow bar, a Blue Ox "Apollo" Aux brake system, 2 5000# rated safety cables, break-a-way switch, and 7-pin wire coiled wire connector... all this for $2500...

I'm going to let this go because I sold the bus and today I bought a Travel Trailer, so I don't need the TOWED stuff, and need a bigger truck to pull the trailer with...
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:24 PM   #7
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

Hello Cliff,

I was thinking the same thing about the Ranger/Explorer. Same drive train as the Ranger but I haven't come across any of the Rangers with a neutral lock out yet. The Mazda B series trucks I bet are the exact same truck as the Ranger with the lock out.

My first thought was to use a Jeep product as many of them are top notch choices for a Toad, I really like the Wrangler and CJ models and wanted to go with one. However my dogs accompany us when we are out and about and having the bed of a pickup for them is just to convenient for me to give up.

Quote:
As it is, I'm going to sell my 94 Grand Cherokee on a local level. It is Automatic with manual xfer case, and it will include an already installed Blue Ox base plate, a Blue Ox Range Finder II self aligning tow bar, a Blue Ox "Apollo" Aux brake system, 2 5000# rated safety cables, break-a-way switch, and 7-pin wire coiled wire connector... all this for $2500...
That is one heck of a good buy! Someone is going to be real lucky to find all of that all ready to go for $2500.00.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:39 AM   #8
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

A 3rd generation (89-95) Toyota pickup is going to be towable as long as it has a 4 cylinder and manual hubs. The 4 cylinder has a gear driven t-case that you leave in 2wd (NOT neutral...neutral keeps the front and rear drivelines connected) and you put the hubs in freewheel. It is a rare option, but earlier Tacomas were available with manual locking hubs. I just don't know how well the chain driven t-cases take to flat towing. I can't imagine it bugs them much though.
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #9
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
A 3rd generation (89-95) Toyota pickup is going to be towable as long as it has a 4 cylinder and manual hubs. The 4 cylinder has a gear driven t-case that you leave in 2wd (NOT neutral...neutral keeps the front and rear drivelines connected) and you put the hubs in freewheel. It is a rare option, but earlier Tacomas were available with manual locking hubs. I just don't know how well the chain driven t-cases take to flat towing. I can't imagine it bugs them much though.
Good information, thanks.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:29 PM   #10
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Re: Towing a 4x4 truck (small truck) 4 down

I have moved on to looking at 4x4 Dodge Dakotas, they are towable four down with the transfer case set to neutral. I am also looking at some full size half-ton trucks, all 4x4's. The Ford F-150 4x4 is towable four-down with a front differential vacuum hose modification done at the Ford dealer. The Dodge Ram pickups have the neutral switch on the transfer case controls the same as the Dakotas. The Chevy Silvarado and GMC Sierras 4x4s are also towable four-down, depending on year (1988-1997) and if they have the right transfer case NP-231 or NP241 . Once the truck is found it is advisable to go ahead and find it's owners manual online and look through it for four-down towing instructions. Some require a fuse to be removed while towing, some require a short stop after so many miles towed and so on.

I am still looking for a truck that I really like. I test drove a 1999 Ford F 150 XLT yesterday that I made an offer on but the guy and I just couldn't come to an agreement on the price.
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