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Old 12-30-2017, 09:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rallypanam View Post
I think itís more that tow truck divers donít know anything... they used to be garage owners and mechanics... now they are just drivers.
Very, very true as well! Most are just collecting a paycheck.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:21 PM   #12
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eddyturn, I thought your van looked familiar!

Last year I had a similar experience you describe of sudden loss of power. Driving full speed in morning rush hour traffic in the fast lane, had to make a sudden stop. Then I step on the accelerator, nothing. Motor's running but no forward movement. Go through all the gears, nothing. A certain level of consternation sets in. In the meantime, cars behind me are piling up, as traffic is zipping by at 60 mph on my left, in the carpool lane, as well as on my right, with those behind swerving to the right to pass the obstacle I had become. A call to AAA got the Freeway Service Patrol to move me to the shoulder after a tense 20 minutes, where another tow got the van to a dealer. Dealer noticed that the transfer shift lever was in neutral. Calls to both tow drivers verified that they had not moved the shift. Hmm. A few months later, same thing happened again, but this time I witnessed it: during a rapid deceleration, a small cooler I use for my lunch slid forward along the carpet and bumped the shift lever into neutral. Not much force needed.

There's an object lesson there somewhere. I lash everything down now. Funny thing is, I knew this could happen, from online videos and the SMB briefing when we picked up the van. Well, nothing like learning from direct experience.

Maybe these stories will help someone down the line.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:42 PM   #13
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As a supplement to this conversation, an owner of a vehicle with this type of transfer case SHALL always set the parking brake when parked. Your transmission may be in Park, but the transfer case shift levers can be kicked when climbing in and out of the front, bumped by cargo being moved around in the cabin, pushed by a child... and the vehicle will roll!
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:12 PM   #14
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True, that.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:43 PM   #15
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I think my problem was my hydration backpack going up and into the shift lever. Dumb. But I know what to do now and again, the tow was free so there's that.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:23 AM   #16
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Hmmm... always use the parking brake (so the t-case doesn't get bumped into neutral while camped), never count on a tow driver to do anything but tow.

Great advice!

On the T-case lever: It would seem the shift linkage would have a built in gate plate, so you have to push down first, before being able to move the lever from 2wd high. Like any automatic transmission lever.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:10 AM   #17
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I was traveling at highway speeds in my 04' SMB once when all of a sudden I had no acceleration. The rpm's would rev but nothing! I was sure i'd just blown the transmission.
Turns out my dog had bumped the T case lever into neutral when he laid down between the seats.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:15 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
Hmmm... always use the parking brake (so the t-case doesn't get bumped into neutral while camped), never count on a tow driver to do anything but tow.

Great advice!

On the T-case lever: It would seem the shift linkage would have a built in gate plate, so you have to push down first, before being able to move the lever from 2wd high. Like any automatic transmission lever.
That was my thought too---why not some sort of lock out device requiring a concerted effort to engage/disengage the t-case? I'm thinking of 70's center console-mounted auto trans shifting levers with detents and gates to prevent accidental movement.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:15 AM   #19
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And the tow truck guy didn't have sense enough to check the T-case on a 4x4 vehicle before he towed it?
Same for the owner. Sorry, but true.
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Old 01-05-2018, 01:22 PM   #20
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From a tow-operator's experience... I can say that in town, trying to get somebody fixed and going is always the preferred option. Towing is the last option.

Out of town, its the opposite, because you might get them going, but don't fully understand what happened, and that leaves the risk of them getting stalled again, so its safer just to bring them back, even if you get it running. On some occasions, I've simply followed them back in case the problem happened again, but if there was any risk of them stalling in a hazardous location, on the truck they went.

FWIW - AAA pays whether they get a tow or not. The rates are different, but by the time to factor in the loading/unload time, risk of damage, and extra fuel, it's more profitable to just take the call-out miles, at least for high-volume operators who always have a queue of more calls waiting.
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