Part XIV: Disengaging and engaging the drive shaft
a. Getting ready to tow the vehicle, start by attaching the vehicle to the motor home with the
tow bar. Once attached, go to the driver's seat and start the vehicle's engine. Place the
transmission in Neutral and turn the ignition key off as far as it will go. The dash lights
should now be turned off. Pull the shift knob out to disengage the drive shaft for towing.
Once it is disengaged, shift the transmission lever into Park. If the vehicle is 4WD see
NOTE paragraph c below. The vehicle is now ready to be towed.
b. Do not touch the ignition key. It is now in the correct position for towing. The vehicle
will track and follow behind the motor home. With the key in this position it will not run
the battery down on most vehicles. On some vehicles a fuse may have to be pulled to shut
any dash lights off, and to keep from running the battery down.
c. NOTE: 2WD--Tow the automatic transmission vehicles in Park. Manual
transmission vehicles are to be towed in Neutral. NO EXCEPTIONS!!
4WD"”Tow in 2WD when with automatic transmission. Tow in Neutral
when with manual transmission.
AWD GX470"”Tow with transfer case in Neutral and automatic
transmission in Park.
d. This step will teach you how to engage the drive shaft on an automatic transmission
when it is disengaged. With the control knob pulled out, start the engine with the
transmission in Neutral. Now shift the transmission into Drive. Since the drive shaft is
disengaged, you can look at the speedometer needle on the dash, which should be running
at 15-20 mph but you are sitting still. This speed is way to fast to engage the drive shaft
and it would make a lot of noise if you tried. Leave the transmission in Drive and shut the
ignition key off. Watch the speedometer needle slow down. Before it stops, about 4 or 5
mph, push the control knob in. When you shut the key off, be ready because the drive
shaft comes to a stop quickly. The splines on the drive shaft coupling will line up and the
collar will slide across the splines and lock in for driving.
e. For manual transmission vehicles start the vehicle up and place the transmission in first
gear. Let out on the clutch and watch the speedometer needle running about 15-20 mph.
With the vehicle still running, push in on the clutch and watch the needle slow down. As
the needle slows down to about 5mph. push in on the control knob. The splines will line
up and lock into gear for driving.
f. You can practice engaging the drive shaft by doing the above steps. The more practice
you have doing it, the easier it will be engaging the drive shaft when it is time to use it on
the trip or vacation.
g. Each vehicle is a little different. You can practice engaging the drive shaft at a faster
speed or a slower speed. Your vehicle may require pushing in on the control knob at 6 or
7 mph. Maybe you need to push on the control knob as soon as you turn the ignition key
off. Every vehicle is a little different. Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect.
h. Starting the vehicle up in neutral and placing the lever into drive will turn the transmission
and the drive shaft. Never try to place the transmission lever into Park until the
transmission has come to a complete stop. Let it stop or it will damage the transmission.
Always start the vehicle in Neutral and then go to Drive when engaging the drive shaft.
(If you start the vehicle in Park you would move the selector lever through Reverse,
which would turn the drive shaft in the wrong direction. Then, when you placed the
selector lever in Drive the transmission would turn the drive shaft quickly the other
direction possibly damaging the transmission.) Now you say, "what if I go from Park to
Reverse and try to engage the drive shaft"? It will not work because the drive shaft is
spinning the wrong direction for the splines on the coupling to engage.
NOTE: We never recommend that anyone get out of the vehicle and physically push
the vehicle back and forth to engage the drive shaft.
2004 Winnebago Adventurer 33V - Workhorse