Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

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Thread: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

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    Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    The news just broke last week on the RV forums that Chevy has notified the owners of the Cruze that it cannot be towed 4 down as stated in the owner's manual - they sent a replacement page to update their owner's manual. It's caused quite a stir there.

    Many RVers purchased the Cruze specifically because up until last week, Chevy had claimed flat towing on all 4 tires was permissible. The new page and the letter that comes with it now state Chevy will not cover damage to the transmission caused by towing it this way. The revised page mandates a tow dolly to get the front tires off the ground if it is to be towed.

    I know in the past flat towing many GM automatics in the Cavalier, and Malibu sized cars was permissible. What I'm not sure of is if the Cruze and Malibu share transmissions. In the owner's manual for my old '98 Olds Cutlass only requires that I remove a couple of fuses and put the transmission in neutral to tow it any distance as long as I don't exceed 65 mph. I see the latest instructions are to run the engine for 5 minutes and shift through gears before pulling it and every so often while towing it. When did the requirement to run the engine begin and why?

    Some dealers have been trying to work with recent purchasers while others seem to be out in the cold.

    Anyone have the full story on what's changed and when they changed?

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    The basic issue is the transmission oil pumping, on the old Saturns it was driven by output so it would stay fine flat-towing, but vast majority of cars rely on the engine to keep lubed. There is enough oil in there to keep it fine for a while no matter what, but if you go too fast, or too far without running the engine to circulate the oil some, tranny won't like.

    I dunno why so many RV'ers look for automatics that have this rare and strange feature, just save the $1000 and buy the manual gearbox, no fuss no muss...

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    ...I smell a "Class Action Lawsuit" coming on.
    Last edited by 70AARCUDA; 08-28-2011 at 09:00 AM.
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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr View Post
    I dunno why so many RV'ers look for automatics that have this rare and strange feature, just save the $1000 and buy the manual gearbox, no fuss no muss...


    Maybe because they don't want the hassle of driving some stick. Automatics are the dominant choice, like it or not.
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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Yes the 4T65E used in most GM's Compact, used to be abale to be "Dinghy Towed"

    I am not sure, but curious, as to why the Cruze's Tranny cannot be.

    And how Chevy, plans to overcome saying it could initially?
    Last edited by doh; 08-26-2011 at 09:51 PM.

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...d/25329392.cfm

    http://community.fmca.com/topic/2957...-4-wheel-down/


    Here is text of Letter Chevy is sending out:

    "As the owner of a 2011 (2012) model year Chevrolet Cruze, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, your satisfaction with our product is very important to us.

    We are contacting you to make you aware that General Motors has received reports of transmissions overheating while towing 2011 model year Chevrolet Cruze vehicles, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, with all four wheels on the ground (dinghy towing). In a few cases, this had led to damage to internal transmission components, and required replacement of the transmission.

    General Motors requires that if you tow your vehicle, you tow it with the rear wheels on the ground and the front wheels up on a device know as a dolly, following the instructions provided by the dolly manufacturer.

    Enclosed is a revised page to update your Cruze Owner Manual which contains revised instructions regarding towing your Cruze. Please take a moment to insert this supplement into Section 10 of your Owner Manual for future reference.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-1020 (TTY 1-800-833-2438)

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Jim Moloney
    General Director-Customer & Relationship Services"

    "The back of the letter has a the insert for the manual that shows the Dingy Towing as being forbidden for Automatic Transmission, but allowable for manual transmission."

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Quote Originally Posted by rv4fun View Post
    http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...d/25329392.cfm

    http://community.fmca.com/topic/2957...-4-wheel-down/


    Here is text of Letter Chevy is sending out:

    "As the owner of a 2011 (2012) model year Chevrolet Cruze, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, your satisfaction with our product is very important to us.

    We are contacting you to make you aware that General Motors has received reports of transmissions overheating while towing 2011 model year Chevrolet Cruze vehicles, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, with all four wheels on the ground (dinghy towing). In a few cases, this had led to damage to internal transmission components, and required replacement of the transmission.

    General Motors requires that if you tow your vehicle, you tow it with the rear wheels on the ground and the front wheels up on a device know as a dolly, following the instructions provided by the dolly manufacturer.

    Enclosed is a revised page to update your Cruze Owner Manual which contains revised instructions regarding towing your Cruze. Please take a moment to insert this supplement into Section 10 of your Owner Manual for future reference.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-1020 (TTY 1-800-833-2438)

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Jim Moloney
    General Director-Customer & Relationship Services"

    "The back of the letter has a the insert for the manual that shows the Dingy Towing as being forbidden for Automatic Transmission, but allowable for manual transmission."



    The "new" GM...............

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    I hope GM does something about this. They don't need to lose another market.
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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    I recall a lot of HHR owners were confused about whether or not they were able to flat tow.

    I have a general flat tow question: why do it? Doesn't it up unnecessary strain on wheel hub and suspension components? Doesn't it also wear out the tires? Wouldn't it just be better to get a vehicle trailer? The nice thing about a trailer is that it can be used for hauling vehicles any time and it could be lent to buddies if they need to haul. The only downside I can see is that you would have to find a place to store the trailer at the RV parks.
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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Quote Originally Posted by calgaryhhr View Post
    I recall a lot of HHR owners were confused about whether or not they were able to flat tow.

    I have a general flat tow question: why do it? Doesn't it up unnecessary strain on wheel hub and suspension components? Doesn't it also wear out the tires? Wouldn't it just be better to get a vehicle trailer? The nice thing about a trailer is that it can be used for hauling vehicles any time and it could be lent to buddies if they need to haul. The only downside I can see is that you would have to find a place to store the trailer at the RV parks.


    The other "downside" is that you would have to buy a trailer - after the manufacturer stated the car could be flat-towed. When not using the RV, and not at the RV park - you would also have to have a place to store the trailer. You would also have to buy a license plate for the trailer.

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Now, the question is whether or not GM specifically told people that they COULD flat tow. Did they? Who did? Does it say that in the owners manual, or did your dealer tell you that? Because if General Motors never said it, and this is only updating to the fact that you CAN'T do it from a non-statement before, it's not really GM's fault. If the dealer told you it could be without them really knowing, that's the person you should be mad at.
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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Quote Originally Posted by Suziebob View Post
    Now, the question is whether or not GM specifically told people that they COULD flat tow. Did they? Who did? Does it say that in the owners manual, or did your dealer tell you that? Because if General Motors never said it, and this is only updating to the fact that you CAN'T do it from a non-statement before, it's not really GM's fault. If the dealer told you it could be without them really knowing, that's the person you should be mad at.
    No, the original owner's manual said you could Dinghy Tow your new Cruze.

    Now GM is saying that you cannot Dinghy Tow your New Cruze.

    It is a GM screw up, plan and simple. Not the dealer, or sales man.

    GM had to reword the Owner's Manual. Not the sales man.

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    Flat towing is the easiest, quickest and lightest way to tow. All those features are why I chose to tow my '98 Olds Cutlass (Malibu clone) and '09 HHR 4 down. Both owner's manuals tell me all I need to do is pull a couple of fuses (to keep the battery from draining), turn the key to ACC (to unlock it the steering wheel), put the transmission in neutral and keep the speed under 65mph.

    I tried a tow dolly, it weighed an extra 500lbs, was hard to drag around and store, took longer to prepare to tow and generally a pain to deal with. I liked only having a 3300lb vehicle in tow instead of 3800lbs. A trailer would weigh even more, would be bigger and even harder to drag around - the only advantage would be being able to back it up which isn't possible with flat towing or a dolly.

    I was hoping someone would be able to tell us exactly when the changes were made to the transmissions that prevents them from being towed and what those changes are. Did the model of transmission change? I see they're putting 6 speed transmissions in the latest models - was the change away from old 4 speed models where the change occurred? If so, when did they start using the 6 speed transmissions.

    GM is offering to pay for a tow dolly in compensation for not being able to flat tow the Cruze but that's not why RVers bought the Cruze. I'm afraid they're going to need to buy back many vehicles or offer sweet deals on something that can be towed. I haven't heard if the same letter is going out to the Malibu owners with 6 speed automatics - has anyone else heard anything from them? Does the Cruze and the Malibu share 6 speed transmissions?
    Last edited by rv4fun; 08-28-2011 at 07:52 PM.

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    I dunno why so many RV'ers look for automatics that have this rare and strange feature, just save the $1000 and buy the manual gearbox, no fuss no muss...

    Also, many of them are old farts...ahem, folks......that like the automatic.

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    Re: Flat (Dinghy) RV Towing

    And now the plot thickens... The latest word is that the 6 speed automatic used in the 2011 and 2012 Malibu has the same problems. Owner's of the Cruze have tried to trade for the Malibu because it has been listed in all the RV publications as being towable. Now Chevy is updating that information also and advising owners they are not towable.

    In motorhoming circles, this is a major setback for many people. Some who already have purchased and equipped their vehicles for towing and others who were planning on buying.

    The 6 speed automatic may be the best thing ever but it's a step back for the RVing crowd.

    I've heard GM and Ford were jointly developing a transmission. I've also read where many Escort owners have been experiencing multiple transmission failures (4 or more) and Ford still claiming it's towable. I wonder if the Cruze/Malibu transmission is a product of this joint development project.

    Are there any transmission experts following this topic?

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