A-frame or trailer





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  1. #1
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    Default A-frame or trailer

    Hi All,
    Looking at towing my SJ410 behind the Jeep for 500+ km. What will be better, A-frame or a car trailer / dolly?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    We used to tow our willys with an a frame, all over including to Nam, didn't have any issues.
    Just took the rear prop shaft off as a precaution, as the transfer case still turns even when in neutral. Front had free wheel hubs so was okay.
    Plug for lights and we also ran over run brakes on it so the jeeps brakes worked too.
    Trailer might be less work to hire (assuming you don't have one), but once you have the a frame and lights working, it's always convenient.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    A frame, way better, towed one from PTA to CT, with a 70Kw Diesel and it was superb. Also unbolted rear prop and hubs unlocked.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    Samurai / SJ410 / SJ413 have old style Suzuki Transfer Case. That can be towed with transfer case in neutral and front hubs unlocked. Rear prop does not need to be disconnected. Only output shaft will rotate, and shifter rings provide sufficient oil fling to lubricate the three ball bearings and two needle rollers that are rotating with only component mass loading. Cannot be done with Jimny as it have different transfer case.
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    The problem is with the weight. It will exceed 750kg and must then have assisted brakes.
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Henris View Post
    The problem is with the weight. It will exceed 750kg and must then have assisted brakes.
    Using a trailer this is applicable.

    Using an A-frame not. Long discussion about using A-frame some time ago on this forum.

    Section 330 of the NRTA regulates the towing of vehicles and there are no load restrictions there, but I would not exceed the GVM of the towing vehicle, which will be somewhat moot with towing a SJ410
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  14. #8
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    I towed a Suzuki (never actually weighed it, but estimated about 600Kg) all over S.A. never had a problem. At one stage I thought it might be better to use a trailer. The trailer (double wheel, braked ) weight almost as much as the Suzuki. My speed dropped, my fuel consumption shot up, and now I had to consider this big, heavy trailer and worry about tie down straps. For me I go A frame.

    I now have a FJ40, also with a "A" Frame, however I would not consider towing far with this, simply due to the extra weight.

  15. #9
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    Watch out for new (not so new) towing regulations. There are a very few vehicles you can legally tow or be towed with an A frame.

    The biggest problem is the traffic department, even they get confused, so you could get sent or taken to a weight bridge for checking.

    What we can tow and what we are allowed to tow is massively different.
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  16. #10
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike N View Post
    Samurai / SJ410 / SJ413 have old style Suzuki Transfer Case. That can be towed with transfer case in neutral and front hubs unlocked. Rear prop does not need to be disconnected. Only output shaft will rotate, and shifter rings provide sufficient oil fling to lubricate the three ball bearings and two needle rollers that are rotating with only component mass loading. Cannot be done with Jimny as it have different transfer case.
    with regard to towing ,i can understand that a rear wheel driven vehicle been towed with front lifted ,will be at risk since oil in gearbox and or tc will be at back of boxes. Some gears will be spinning without lube. Lifting a front wheel drive and towing will not affect gearbox etc. Therefore i am confused why towing any rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive in neutral with a manual gearbox is a problem, if vehicle is been towed with all wheels on the ground. Surely lubrication will take place as normal. Experts please comment.

  17. #11
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    Some gearboxes rely on splash lubrication. So have an oil pump.

    Better to leave the transfer in neutral.

    If in doubt, take the propshaft off.
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  19. #12
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    As Henris says, lubrication is the problem. A normal RWD gearbox usually only have the output portion of the main shaft turning when in neutral and being towed (back driven). Normally splash lube is provided by the countershaft gears running in the oil, or alternatively by an oil pump usually also drive from the countershaft (also called lay shaft) to ensure sufficient oil flow when crawling and driven by engine. When back driven all gears and countershaft are stationary, and only the output shaft is turning in its bearings and in the gear needle roller bearings. Fresh oil is not supplied to these as they are above the normal oil level. So towing main gearbox back driven in neutral for any distance further than just a few km's can cause damage to the bearings, even causing them to seize and write off the whole box. See below for a section of the Jimny main gearbox with the output portion of the main shaft that will be turning when back driven in red.
    There is a workaround for my Landy for example. It has the old LT85 gearbox, and a filler plug right at the top next to the gear lever. In an emergency, if the other methods will for some mysterious reason not work, you can drain engine oil and overfill the gearbox to main shaft level, the output shaft bearing and gear needles will then be lubricated. But yes, I do not know of anybody having ever done it, as removing propshafts or towing with Transfer Case in neutral (only some vehicles like my Landy with LT230 and old SJ Suzuki though) is usually less trouble. Get to know you vehicle and its towing options are usually effort well spent.
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    Edit: Just a note, the synchro rings / shift collars (now blue stuff in pic) will also turn, but they also run above the normal oil level so wear / seizing of the shift collars are also a possibility.
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    Last edited by Mike N; 2020/05/07 at 08:43 AM.
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  21. #13
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    Default Re: A-frame or trailer

    some very nice explanations above, here is a video if you cannot visualise it.

    Nothing screams "Bad workmanship" like wrinkles in the duct tape

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