KenB
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Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:09 am

I am a new owner of a Leaf. Love the car!
The Nissan owners manual says that the Leaf can be towed 2 ways:
1) All 4 tires off the ground (on a trailer).
2) The front 2 tires off the ground on a Tow Dolly where only the rear tires are on the ground.

But the Nissan service department said DO NOT TOW with the 2 front wheels off the ground on a tow dolly. Only all 4 tires off the ground.

Who is right? The service department or the owners manual????

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garygid
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:22 am

If the rear "Parking Brake" is OFF, then it would seem that the front-wheel tow dolly should be good enough, right?

Ask the Service Department for a Reason for any of their statements that appear to contradict the Owner's Manual.
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Electric4Me
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:09 am

+1

With the vehicle in Park the front wheels are locked. With the parking brake OFF the rear wheels are free to move. The rear wheels are "towed" by the front wheels for the life of the car. I can't think of what the dealer could be concerned of...
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TonyWilliams
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:55 am

Honestly, there's no big secrets here. Car manufacturers spend plenty of time trying to limit their liabilities, so when they say to trailer all 4 wheels, I think we know why.

There won't be a problem with a dolly for the front wheels. If you're concerned that you might leave the electrically operated rear wheel parking brakes, well, ok.

The front wheels could probably also be turned, also, since I very seriously doubt that the very simple gear box will be a problem. Just me thinking out loud here. If the front half shafts are turning a gear that is in the lubrication (which at cursory look, appears to be the case) and neutral truly disengages the drive motor, there shouldn't be a problem.

I'd want to see the gearbox apart to confirm this.

Otherwise, don't let the scare mongers stop you from using your car to its full potential.

smkettner
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:08 am

I would follow the manual. I can understand the service person's advice as the new car may not be familiar to the towing industry so a mistake might be made. Flatbed will never cause an issue so that is what they recommend.

Anyway someday someone will tow the LEAF four down cross country and will either brag or cry depending on the result. It is not like an RVer has never left a jeep in gear and blew the motor when towing four down.
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TomT
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:10 am

Actually, it is a problem, but not for purely mechanical reasons. If the car is towed with the front wheels on the ground but turned off, the motor (which is also a generator, of course) could create very large undamped voltages which could damage the electronics in the motor controller. 'Neutral" is simply an electronic mode - the motor and transmission are never actually disconnected from the wheels.
TonyWilliams wrote: The front wheels could probably also be turned, also, since I very seriously doubt that the very simple gear box will be a problem. Just me thinking out loud here. If the front half shafts are turning a gear that is in the lubrication (which at cursory look, appears to be the case) and neutral truly disengages the drive motor, there shouldn't be a problem
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TonyWilliams
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:07 am

mogur wrote:Actually, it is a problem, but not for purely mechanical reasons. If the car is towed with the front wheels on the ground but turned off, the motor (which is also a generator, of course) could create very large undamped voltages which could damage the electronics in the motor controller. 'Neutral" is simply an electronic mode - the motor and transmission are never actually disconnected from the wheels.

And, hence, why I was thinking out loud. I'd want to see the actual inner workings of the gear box.

If what you're saying is true, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOW FOUR DOWN !!!

There is a solenoid of some type on top of the gear box, and I had thought it might be a mechanical disconnect. It's probably the "Park" locking lug.

So, that brings me back to an idea I suggested in another thread.... a front wheel disconnect "kit", to disengage the front half shafts from the gear box.

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Electric4Me
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:19 am

smkettner wrote:It is not like an RVer has never left a jeep in gear and blew the motor when towing four down.
Twice my parents have forgotten to put the key in the ignition of their Jeep and turn it to unlock the front wheels and steering column... The RV barely noticed but the front tires were shot a couple of hours later...
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DarkStar
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:40 am

TonyWilliams wrote:
mogur wrote:Actually, it is a problem, but not for purely mechanical reasons. If the car is towed with the front wheels on the ground but turned off, the motor (which is also a generator, of course) could create very large undamped voltages which could damage the electronics in the motor controller. 'Neutral" is simply an electronic mode - the motor and transmission are never actually disconnected from the wheels.

And, hence, why I was thinking out loud. I'd want to see the actual inner workings of the gear box.

If what you're saying is true, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOW FOUR DOWN !!!

There is a solenoid of some type on top of the gear box, and I had thought it might be a mechanical disconnect. It's probably the "Park" locking lug.

So, that brings me back to an idea I suggested in another thread.... a front wheel disconnect "kit", to disengage the front half shafts from the gear box.
Or you could just leave your LEAF on and in D mode... If that wasn't good for the car, then neither would be going down hills... ;)
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Re: Towing the LEAF behind the RV - Tow Master Dolly

Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:55 pm

I suspect that because Nissan has both front wheel drive and rear wheel drive models, it is just easier to say to tow it on a flat bed. This especially is because when the service person is asked, they might not be able to see the vehicle (i.e. phone call) to make sure that the owner is giving the model name exactly correct.
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