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Old 04-08-2014, 08:26 PM   #1
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Dinghy Towing Basics

What are the basics of Dinghy towing?

We have a Mazda 3 with a manual transmission and an FR3 30DS. First time RV owner.

Is this a good thread for starters?

http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/wh...nd-an-rv.html/


Thanks...

Grotto
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:49 PM   #2
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The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to tow on a dolly or 4 wheels down (flat tow). Deciding that will help you decide on the vehicle. You then need to decide from the owners manual if it can be flat towed. Most manual shift vehicles can be flat towed but may have special requirements you need to perform prior towing. Your Mazda is light enough for your FR3 to tow.
Lastly, you need to buy the proper towing equipment (tow bar, baseplate, braking unit for tow vehicle).
I flat tow a 2001 Jeep Wrangler behind my FR3 with no problem.
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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Youre going to need a dolly.

I looked up a recent (2012) Mazda 3 owners manual (Thanks Mazda Motorsports Development!) and it says not to flat tow it.

The reason that Jeep and Honda (and select few others) are so popular as TOADs is because the auto trans lubrication pumps are driven from the output side of the transmission. Meaning, when flat towing, the transmission is lubricated.

My two cents worth is that I wouldnt. You can talk to Remco about it, and they will say its likely ok. I personally wouldnt trust them because theyre hocking their product at the same time.

That said, Ill give you two reasons why I wouldnt do it:

1. Manual transmissions rely on the cluster gears to provide lubrication by pulling what I like to call the 2-year-old-in-bathtub maneuver. The cluster gear turns with the output shaft when being driven by the motor. In neutral, without being driven from the input shaft, the output shaft turns, the cluster doesnt. What can happen is the bearings eventually run dry and burn up. I know this firsthand from opening a Miata donor transmission for the racecar, only to find the bearings were torched because it had been flat towed at some point in its life.

2. When flat towing, the ring turns the pinion in the diff, versus the other way around. Thats an important distinction to make because of how those teeth are meshed. Its probably ok, but not something I would chance. It would only take one diff at the tolerance of lash/tooth engagement to find out how bad that could really be.
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Old 04-13-2014, 08:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cucamelsmd15 View Post
Youre going to need a dolly.

I looked up a recent (2012) Mazda 3 owners manual (Thanks Mazda Motorsports Development!) and it says not to flat tow it.

The reason that Jeep and Honda (and select few others) are so popular as TOADs is because the auto trans lubrication pumps are driven from the output side of the transmission. Meaning, when flat towing, the transmission is lubricated.

My two cents worth is that I wouldnt. You can talk to Remco about it, and they will say its likely ok. I personally wouldnt trust them because theyre hocking their product at the same time.

That said, Ill give you two reasons why I wouldnt do it:

1. Manual transmissions rely on the cluster gears to provide lubrication by pulling what I like to call the 2-year-old-in-bathtub maneuver. The cluster gear turns with the output shaft when being driven by the motor. In neutral, without being driven from the input shaft, the output shaft turns, the cluster doesnt. What can happen is the bearings eventually run dry and burn up. I know this firsthand from opening a Miata donor transmission for the racecar, only to find the bearings were torched because it had been flat towed at some point in its life.

2. When flat towing, the ring turns the pinion in the diff, versus the other way around. Thats an important distinction to make because of how those teeth are meshed. Its probably ok, but not something I would chance. It would only take one diff at the tolerance of lash/tooth engagement to find out how bad that could really be.

Always looking for other points of view. What is your take on towing flat down Subaru outback, manual transmission?
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:29 PM   #5
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Same issue with the bearings most likely, its a similar setup. And, well, being bluntly honest, Subaru manual transmissions aren't known to be the most.... robust. I say that as a former WRX and Legacy owner for what its worth. It sucks with the Subaru because your ONLY option then is a trailer.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cucamelsmd15 View Post
I know this firsthand from opening a Miata donor transmission for the racecar, only to find the bearings were torched because it had been flat towed at some point in its life.
As you seem to know what you are talking about and have been into a Miata transmission, what do you think about 4-down towing a Miata 5-speed or 6-speed manual transmission?

Mazda says not to tow it, but many seem to have success doing it.

What is your take on it?
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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So, heres what Ill say to that. While many DO have success doing it, Im sure my donor car had success because it still ran and drove fine, right up until the passenger side was reduced to about 1ft width.

With that said, the bearings looked pretty similar to this:


Had the bearings failed? No, not yet. Would they have failed? Maybe, maybe not. It could have taken another 50-100k before they did (for the record, the car had 103k on it when it was totaled). But the blue bands tells me that they were entirely too hot at some point in their life, probably for quite a while. And the balls were significantly blued as well.

The 5 and 6 speeds are similar internally from what I understand. I cant say because Ive only opened (manually or, uh, otherwise ) the 5MT boxes. Id say the answer applies to both though, since manual transmissions, save for a few examples, are fundamentally the same.

Also, anecdotally I know, but every time I have been flat towed in the racecar, Ive had wheel bearing issues shortly thereafter. The fronts on the Miata are notoriously weak for road racing, and I understand that a normal road car is lucky to see 1/4 of the punishment I dish out in a weekend, but I feel like its worth throwing out there. I use blueprinted hubs (even though Mazda says theyre not rebuildable) and keep good notes.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:57 AM   #8
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I concluded I'm going to use the tow dolly with my Mazda 3, which only has 16K miles. Don't want to mess it up.

So I borrowed one a neighbor is selling to try it out. I don't have a break controller. BUT when I drove around the block the tow dolly brakes engaged for the whole test drive. When I stopped the brakes where smoking and nearly on fire. The grease heated up and shot out of the end of the axel.

I towed it with my truck with no issues. Is my FR3 wired wrong at the hitch receiver? Why would the brakes come on the tow dolly automatically?
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:02 AM   #9
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Could be, it wouldnt be the first time I've seen a hitch plug wired incorrectly. Although its worth mentioning, most dollies are surge brakes that don't require a controller. I bought one with electric brakes since I had a controller for the trailer, it was simpler.
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