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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please don't reference the owners manual. I have read what it says about flat towing an XTerra.

We are considering selling our V8 4runner, and have our eyes on a local 2011 XTerra X because we really don't want a Jeep. (We used to have a 2010 X, but sold it a year ago. Bad planning I guess.) And we want to flat tow it behind our motorhome.

The only detailed thread, which was started by 00wabbit , concerns his MT 4WD X, which per the manual can be flat towed so long as you stop and run the engine every 500 miles.

It is my understanding that with a rear driveshaft disconnect installed we can flat tow a 4x4 Xterra with an automatic if the transfer case is in neutral. When we are flat towing:
a. With both the rear driveshaft disconnected and the transfer case in 2WD the output of the transmission would not be rotating, which would protect the transmission, but
b. The front driveshaft would be rotating the front output of the transfer case.

I am not getting a definitive answer of how well the transfer case would be lubricated when flat towing. The driveshaft disconnect guys say they have been used on Xterras, Frontiers, and Pathfinders.

Any thoughts here? I really don't want to buy a Jeep or other American 4x4 truck if I can avoid it..

The long story: We had a 2010 Xterra X automatic, and sold it for a 2007 V8 4Runner as that better suited our needs for our yearly cross country trips. Now we have a motorhome so our cross country trips can be months longer, but we wish to flat tow a 4x4 behind us. The V8 4Runner cannot be flat towed as it is all wheel drive unless I install driveshaft disconnects on both driveshafts. (Only the V6 4Runners have a 2WD mode in the transfer case.) The rear driveshaft with a driveshaft disconnect is not a big problem. The biggish problem is that I would have to engineer and build a custom front driveshaft that I may have to get custom machined parts for. Long lead times and many $$$$. So we are considering selling the 4Runner and moving back to an XTerra if we can flat tow it without damage.
 

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Please don't reference the owners manual. I have read what it says about flat towing an XTerra.

We are considering selling our V8 4runner, and have our eyes on a local 2011 XTerra X because we really don't want a Jeep. (We used to have a 2010 X, but sold it a year ago. Bad planning I guess.) And we want to flat tow it behind our motorhome.

The only detailed thread, which was started by 00wabbit , concerns his MT 4WD X, which per the manual can be flat towed so long as you stop and run the engine every 500 miles.

It is my understanding that with a rear driveshaft disconnect installed we can flat tow a 4x4 Xterra with an automatic if the transfer case is in neutral. When we are flat towing:
a. With both the rear driveshaft disconnected and the transfer case in 2WD the output of the transmission would not be rotating, which would protect the transmission, but
b. The front driveshaft would be rotating the front output of the transfer case.

I am not getting a definitive answer of how well the transfer case would be lubricated when flat towing. The driveshaft disconnect guys say they have been used on Xterras, Frontiers, and Pathfinders.

Any thoughts here? I really don't want to buy a Jeep or other American 4x4 truck if I can avoid it..

The long story: We had a 2010 Xterra X automatic, and sold it for a 2007 V8 4Runner as that better suited our needs for our yearly cross country trips. Now we have a motorhome so our cross country trips can be months longer, but we wish to flat tow a 4x4 behind us. The V8 4Runner cannot be flat towed as it is all wheel drive unless I install driveshaft disconnects on both driveshafts. (Only the V6 4Runners have a 2WD mode in the transfer case.) The rear driveshaft with a driveshaft disconnect is not a big problem. The biggish problem is that I would have to engineer and build a custom front driveshaft that I may have to get custom machined parts for. Long lead times and many $$$$. So we are considering selling the 4Runner and moving back to an XTerra if we can flat tow it without damage.
Give this thread a read, 1st person experience flat towing an Xterra: Flat towing a Nissan Xterra 4 wheel drive - iRV2 Forums
 

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The transfer case does not have a neutral. Only 2wd or 4wd. unless you disconnect both the front and rear driveshafts, you'll burn up your transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The transfer case does not have a neutral. Only 2wd or 4wd. unless you disconnect both the front and rear driveshafts, you'll burn up your transmission.
This is not correct if you install a rear driveshaft disconnect. If you disconnect the rear driveshaft and leave the transfer case in 2WD there is no rotating connection between the transmission and either driveshaft. You would leave the automatic transmission in park and the transmission will not rotate.

The actual question is how well would the transfer case would handle this. Even in 2WD the front driveshaft would rotate and in turn some parts in the the transfer case specific to the front drive would rotate. However, the transfer case input shaft and output shaft to the rear driveshaft would be stationary because they would be locked to the transmission output shaft, and the transmission would be in park.

So, when flat towing there is some question as to how much oil would fling around and lubricate the transfer case parts connected to the front driveshaft. Other than that potential transfer case lubrication issue, if you install a rear driveshaft disconnect flat towing will work so long as you disengage the rear driveshaft and leave the transmission in park.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
why not just use a trailer? way less wear and tear on the vehicle being towed...
Don't think we haven't asked ourselves that same question. But, here are a few reasons...
1. Sometimes your destination won't have enough space for a motorhome, a trailer, and your towed vehicle.
2. Some campgrounds make you keep the trailer stowed somewhere other than your camp site. Those separate storage or parking areas may not be secure.
3. Some campgrounds charge extra for that third vehicle even if it's just a trailer.
4. Properly set up it's faster to hook up a vehicle with a tow bar than to load a trailer or even a tow dolly.
5. We may not have the space to store our motorhome and a trailer at home, so we add storage costs to our calculations.
 

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I recall RV places that sell pump kits that go on the transmission that lube the transmission for flat towing with everything connected. Transmission is lubed just like the engine is running, but done with an external pump.
 

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I recall RV places that sell pump kits that go on the transmission that lube the transmission for flat towing with everything connected. Transmission is lubed just like the engine is running, but done with an external pump.
I don't know anything about RVs and flat towing, but that sounds like a lot of work compared to just disconnecting the drive shafts. With no driveshafts turning, there's no need to mess with some odd external pump that if it fails you're screwed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I recall RV places that sell pump kits that go on the transmission that lube the transmission for flat towing with everything connected. Transmission is lubed just like the engine is running, but done with an external pump.
Those pump kits were sold by Remco, which was sold. The new company is Superior Driveline, and they no longer offer those pump systems. Per Bill at Superior Drive line the pumps did not last long, so rather than support a flawed design it was easier to discontinue the product line. Personally I would have looked for a more reliable pump, but the new company seems to be resource limited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Get a dolly for the front wheels and driveshaft disconnect for the rear on the ground.
We could, but we would prefer to flat tow.

Manual transmission Xterras can be flat towed, and I have read that some people successfully flat tow automatic Xterras with rear driveshaft disconnects. I was hoping someone here with personal experience would chime in.
 

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I guess I should have been more specific. I was hoping someone here with personal experience flat towing an Xterra with an automatic transmission would chime in. The link in post #2 was to someone who was flat towing a manual transmission Xterra.
Nope, they were discussing an automatic. But do whatever man...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nope, they were discussing an automatic. But do whatever man...
I am sorry, but you are right, they were discussing an automatic Xterra. I was thinking of another thread where a couple of full time rv'ers flat towed a manual Pro 4X.

Seeing as the 2011 X automatic sold to someone else. ( I guess a handshake means less than it used to.) Too bad... It was a deal. That being said, I may limit myself to looking for a manual trans Xterra, or maybe a Frontier. Avoiding an automatic avoids the $1200+ for the driveshaft disconnect even if we do the install ourselves.
 
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