How To Tow A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

jim-driving-2004-jeep-wrangler-unlimited.jpg
Ours is a 2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and we’re planning to tow it behind an RV someday soon.

Here’s what we’ve learned…

According to the Jeep manual:

When towing a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for recreational towing — such as behind a motorhome — you must tow with “four wheels down” (as opposed to using a tow dolly), because…

Internal damage to the transfer case will occur if a front or rear wheel lift is used when recreational towing!”

towing-jeep-wrangler-four-wheels-down.jpg
 

How To Tow A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Behind An RV

First, the transfer case must be shifted into NEUTRAL. Here’s how to do that:

1. Start with the key in the “accessory” position.
2. Depress the brake pedal.
3. Shift the automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N) or depress clutch pedal on manual transmission.
4. Shift the transfer case level into NEUTRAL (N).
5. Start the engine.
6. Shift the automatic transmission into DRIVE (D) or the manual transmission into gear.
7. Release the brake pedal and ensure that there is no vehicle movement.
8. IMPORTANT: Shut the engine off and place the ignition key into the unlocked OFF position.*
9. Shift the automatic transmission into PARK (P).
10. Apply the parking brake.
11. Attach the Jeep to the tow vehicle with a tow bar.**
12. Release the parking brake.

towing-a-jeep-wrangler-four-wheels-down.jpg *Damage to the transmission may occur if the transmission is shifted into PARK (P) with the transfer case in NEUTRAL (N) and the engine running!

**Do not use a bumper mounted clamp-on tow bar on the Jeep Wrangler Unlmited. The bumper face bar will be damaged.

 

How To Shift Out Of Neutral On A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Once you reach your destination, you will want to unhook the Jeep from the tow vehicle. Here’s how to do that:

1. Shift the automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N) or depress the clutch pedal on a manual transmission.
2. Shift the transfer case lever into desired position (usually 4-Hi)***
3. Shift the automatic transmission into DRIVE (D) or release the clutch on a manual transmission.

***We found that it’s easier to shift the transfer case into position if you start the engine on the Jeep first.

From the Jeep manual:

The transfer case NEUTRAL (N) position disengages both the front and rear driveshafts from the powertrain and will allow the vehicle to move despite the transmission position. The parking brake should always be applied with the driver is not in the vehicle.”

rv-motorhome-towing-jeep-wrangler-four-wheels-down.jpg
 

RELATED:

The Best Towing and Hauling Tips & Products

Adapting An Automatic Transmission Vehicle For Towing 4 Wheels Down

Towing Laws By State

How To Tow With Four Wheels Down

Annual Tow Ratings For 1999 To Present Model Vehicles

 Flat Towing A Jeep Wrangler: Tow Bars & Trailer Lights

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • George

    I have a 2004 jeep yj with an automatic and I want to tow it behind my motorhome. If I turn the steering wheel to the left or right it will lock. Can it be towed without locking the steering wheel

  • George

    I have a 2004 jeep yj with an automatic and I want to tow it behind my motorhome. If I turn the steering wheel to the left or right it will lock. Can it be towed without locking the steering wheel

  • Greg

    Can anyone tell me if you can tow a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4X4 (all the time) automatic behind a motor home on all four wheels without dropping the driveshaft? What are the steps if you do not have to drop the driveshaft? Do I need a transmission pump?

  • Greg

    Can anyone tell me if you can tow a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4X4 (all the time) automatic behind a motor home on all four wheels without dropping the driveshaft? What are the steps if you do not have to drop the driveshaft? Do I need a transmission pump?

  • Lgbman05

    How difficult is it to wire a 2010 Wrangler, Rubicon for towing behind a motorhome? I’m good with electrical. A friend said I need dioades to prevent feedback. Do I connect wires under the engine hood, or under the kick panel?
    Thanks
    Randy

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QVQ4XPWVESGLH2Q43OPXM4E5EY rogern

      go to parts store and get a comp;ete set of magnetic stop and turn signal kit and plug into  leading vechicle and yoour troubles are over with

  • guest

    who can I contact to find out if a 2001 VW Beetle is flat towable, with standard shift? I cannot find the answer to that anywhere including VW

  • DJACE

    Greetings…I’m looking to purchase a 2004 Jeep Wrangler SE w/5 speed trans…I would need to install a tow hitch & tow bar to this Jeep. How can I install a tow bar to this vehicle for our RV?

  • Offtrack

    the last statement is wrong. about parking brake,and is with out logic.
    it should say.
    the parking brake must be applied any time the Jeep is not coupled to the RV and
    you are not driving it.

    how is that.

  • http://www.autoanything.com Reginald

    Thanks for the tips…is this article wranglers specific?– what other vehicles does this apply to?

  • Sammytrail

    how do keep the steering wheel from locking on a 2005 jeep wrangler auto tran

  • Planki4702

    when towing a 1994 Jeep Wrangler behind Motor home, four wheels down, does the odometer keep turning?

    • Curtis

      Planki4702 Assuming you are towing with the transmission in park or in gear and the transfer case in neutral, no the odometer does not keep turning. It is attached to the transmission which also will not be turning.

      • Alaninarkansas

        some models like my 2002 has the spedo sensor attached to the rear differential. What all year models have this set-up?

  • Alaninarkansas

    2001- 2003 models have the spedo sensor on the rear differential so it will keep adding miles when towing, because it is turning when being towed. May be other models that have this setup. You need to check with your local Jeep shop and ask where your particular models speedometer sensor is located.

  • Gaston Perrier

    Please let me know where I can find the full process before and after towing behind a RV for Grand Vitara 2010? I know it is in the Suzuki book but not clear before and after destination.

    Thank You!
    Gaston – email: perrieg@sympatico.ca

    • Curtis

      Gaston, according to this article, http://www.edmunds.com/suzuki/grand-vitara/
      your Grand Vitara can be towed by placing the transfer case in the neutral position. You need to hook up the tow bar, then place the transfer case in neutral and leave the steering wheel unlocked so the wheels can track. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing best you take it to a dealer and have them explain the steps.

      • Gaston Perrier

        Thank you, Curtis, well appreciated.

        Best Regards,
        Gaston

  • Bdmoerenhout

    With a manual gear box, the transmission must be left in the highest gear when towing. ie: 5th or 6th gear

  • Plees51

    what is the best tow bar to use for a jeep wrangler to be towed behind a rv? 

    • Curtis

      Plees51, There are a number of quality towbars out there that will do the job.  Two popular brands are Blue Ox http://www.blue-ox-towbars.com/?gclid=CImYxKqcp6kCFcW5Kgodlh8cwQ
      and Stow Master http://www.roadmaster-tow-bars.com/search?q=stowmaster&gclid=CLvVnL-cp6kCFRFoKgodxRksxg   As to which is best, I won’t pick sides.

  • Lillian

    When towing a Jeep wrangler with an A frame or V type towbar should the steering wheel be tied off?

  • Lillian

    When towing a Jeep wrangler with an A frame or V type towbar should the steering wheel be tied off?

    • Curtis

      Lillian, No the steering wheel needs to be free so the front wheels will track when you turn corners. The steering wheel also needs to be unlocked so in most instances the key must be left in the ignition.

  • Donny

    What has to be done to tow a Chryer Pactfica all wheels down.

    • Curtis

      Donny, I found a forum that states you need to install a Remco lube pump for the transmission.  Better talk to a Chrysler dealer to make sure.

  • Baja Ross

    We are considering towing a Jeep Wrangler, manual transmission, to Baja, MX.  We are towing behind a 2500 HD truck.  Can we maintain highway speeds while towing?  And our owners manual says to put vehicle in neutral, transfer case and transmission.  Any problems with that?  Thanks for you help.

    • Curtis

      Baja Ross, Highway speeds should be ok.  If the manual says both transfer case and transmission in neutral that will work too.  Most important is the transfer case in neutral because when it is in neutral both front and rear axles spin freely.

  • Rrapp01

    When I try to tow my jeep Wrangler (94) when I turn my dodge truck to the left my jeep turns to the right jamming the tires to the right. I have a locker front end and a posi rear end. Any ideas would be help me try to find the problem.

  • Dcsaco

    I am new with RV’s. I have a 2011 Ford Escape and a 2008 Ford Explorer “sport Trac”. I have been trying to find out if either can be towed behind our RV and instructions on what needs to be done to tow either of them without much luck. Can either be towed and what needs to be done?

  • Curtis

    Dcsaco, It all depends on how your vehicles are set up.  Stick vs Automatic, or do they have a transfer case with a neutral position?  Do you have manual locking hubs, or automatic hubs?  I’d recommend you go talk to your Ford dealer as it appears you aren’t completely up to speed on what you have.

  • Cathyjim55

    Can my vw convertible be towed behind a 27ft. 5th wheel? Pulled by Seirra GMC.

    • Curtis

      Cathyjim55, I don’t know.  It depends what state you’re in and how long the total combination is I guess.  Personally I wouldn’t do it.  You’re asking for very poor handling characteristics.

  • Dennis W Cauley Jr.

    Hello,
    I’m shopping for an older Unlimited Jeep and a few dealers are telling me that mileage will accumulate as a result of being towed. So, some forums say yes/no and dealers say yes. What’s the correct answer?
    Thank you..

    • Curtis

      Dennis, Generally the speedometer mechanism on older vehicles is cable driven from the rear of the transmission. by placing the transfer case in neutral for flat towing the transmission is taken out of the picture so no miles will accumulate. I tend to believe the same would occur with todays computerized vehicles because if the transmission isn’t turning there should be no input telling it to accumulate miles. That is an assumption though so I would believe what the dealer tells you.

  • Dave

    My 2004 Jeep Wrangler is ready for towing behind our Motor Home. Now I need to find a way to cut power after I turn my ignition on to unlock my steering. Any suggestions?