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Discussion Starter #22
Your welcome thadd! :)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who wasn't aware you could damage the drive train on a 4WD E, from towing it on a standard tow truck. Funny thing is I never read manuals to anything. I just figured since I'm spending time reading stuff that people write about the E on this site, then I shoud least read what Honda has to say about their own vehicle! :-o
 

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Re: Help!???

i had my element towed (long story) a few weeks ago. It was put on a flatbed truck and driven across the city. All this seems fine....but here's what i am woried about. I wasnt there to see the towing happen but the tow guy had my key and i am guessing he just threw it into neutral to pull it onto the truck. Wouldn't pulling the car up the ramp to get it on the flatbed cause the same problems as towing it with wheels spinning? If so, would i know if they had damaged my AWD system? How can i find out if it is working properly/ It's hard for me to tell when the AWD is actually kicking in when i try to spin the tires. Anyone know if there could be any damage?
 

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uncebanyo If the AWD is damaged it will very likely chatter or make ugly noises.

Pulling your car up on a flatbed truck involves the front and rear wheels moving at slightly different rates for a short distance (as long as the wheel base) so there should be no damage to your AWD. I have the impression that the required difference in rates before the AWD engages takes care of any problem.
 

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Short distance, low speed, rolling on the ground or up a ramp isn't a problem. It is the traditional towing arrangement that can be a problem - one set of wheels up in the air, fixed in the tow trucks lift, while the other set are rolling down the highway at 50 mph. So one input to the RT4WD unit is fixed, while the other is spinning at full speed.

paulj
 

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phew! thanks a lot guys, i was getting worried.....
 

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1 question.....with slippage of the front wheels the rear kick in, but isn't it an electronic sensor that engages the AWD ? if the vehicle isn't running or in gear the rear wheels shouldn't engage am I wrong...please correct me if so. I work at a parts depot and am aware of the long term effects of having 4x4 mode engaged at higher speeds so towing between say 40 to 60 mph would be BAD ! But at lower speeds for a short period might that be ok? any info would be great from our all knowing and all seeing E masters on these boards !!
 

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Looks like the AWD uses two pumps, a front and a back. If there is a difference in pump speeds a clutch is engaged to drive the rear wheels. It has no electronics. Kind of unique in a car that has electronics running everything else. paulj posted a very good tech manual for the system and the service manual also has a good description. The PDF download is at:

http://www.quebeccrv.com/other/rtawd.pdf

Don't let the french title page scare you off. Either the inside is in english or I can read french really well.

FWIW the AWD must work the oil because it has to be changed periodically.
Something like 40k but I didn't RTFM...
 

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Thanks for the link... very helpful ...didn't know about the way it operated!
 

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Several things to say here...
- you can get the "official" Honda Real-Time 4WD sticker from your dealer...just tell them you want the one from the CR-V.
- having driven multiple AWD vehicles (mainly Subaru until the E) towing was always a big issue. It seemed at the time that no tow truck drivers in this area knew what do to with 'em. what makes that ironic is two things, first Seattle is the 2nd largest market for Subarus and second ALL of these trucks were equiped with dollies. What did the drivers think they were for?!?!

I hope all AWD newbies read this and know what to tell tow truck drivers in the future...

jesse
 

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Good observation,

I don't think I would have batted an eye at towing with the fronts up until I read this post (first AWD car I have owned).

Maybe a warning sticker (rather than just an AWD sticker) would be the way to go.
 

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This is direct from the Honda Owners Link:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your Element can be towed behind a motorhome at legal highway speeds up to 65 mph (100 km/h). Do not exceed 65 mph (100 km/h). Otherwise, severe transmission damage will occur. To avoid damage to the 4WD system, it must be "flat towed" with all four wheels on the ground.

When purchasing a tow bar, make sure you select a reputable manufacturer and installer. Follow the manufacturer's attachment instructions carefully. After attaching the tow bar to your motorhome, do the following Shift Procedure to prepare your Element for "flat towing".

Shift Procedure - 5-speed Manual Transmission
When preparing to tow your Element, make sure the transmission is full of fluid. Do not overfill. Release the parking brake. Shift the transmission to Neutral. Leave the key in the ignition switch and the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (I) so the steering wheel does not lock. Make sure the radio and any items plugged into the accessory power sockets are turned off so you do not run down the battery.

Shift Procedure - Automatic Transmission
Do the following every day immediately before you begin towing. Follow the procedure exactly. Otherwise, severe automatic transmission damage will occur.When preparing to tow your Element, make sure the transmission is full of fluid. Do not overfill. Start the engine. Shift to D, then to N. Let the engine run for at least three minutes, then turn off the engine. Release the parking brake. Leave the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (I) so the steering wheel does not lock. Make sure the radio and any items plugged into the accessory power sockets are turned off so you do not run down the battery.

Extended Towing - Automatic Transmission
If you tow more than 8 hours in one day (including stopping time), you must stop and repeat the Shift Procedure above. You should repeat the procedure at least every 8 hours. (When you stop for fuel, etc.)

NOTICE:
The steering system can become damaged if the steering wheel is locked. Leave the ignition switch in Accessory (I), and make sure the steering wheel turns freely before you begin towing.

WARNING:
Failure to follow the above procedure exactly will result in severe automatic transmission damage. If you cannot shift the transmission or start the engine, your vehicle must be transported on a flatbed truck or trailer.

CAUTION:
SEVERE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION DAMAGE WILL OCCUR IF THE CAR IS SHIFTED FROM REVERSE TO NEUTRAL AND THEN TOWED WITH THE DRIVE WHEELS ON THE GROUND.


If you tow an Element with automatic transmission, the transmission fluid must be changed every two years or 30,000 miles (48,000 km), whichever comes first.
 

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Hey guys, I see a few "E" being towed behind motorhomes, is that any different? All four wheels are on the ground.
 

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daroy said:
Hey guys, I see a few "E" being towed behind motorhomes, is that any different? All four wheels are on the ground.
No, it's not any different. The key statement is "flat towed," i.e. all four wheels on the ground and therefore turning at the same speed.

I tow my E with a motor home and I do the prep exactly as the owners manual instructs. I actually looked at a Scion Xb but Toyota says no towing allowed. I'm glad because the E has turned out to be first rate towed or driven. I love the thing.
 

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Glad to help! Now if gas prices would go down maybe we could afford to go camping somewhere. Sounds like a topic for another thread.
 

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Bet we get beat up for talking about this.

We towed a Durango just long enough to find that: 1) It danced all over the place. 2) We were getting about 7 mpg. 3) Replacing it with a Jeep GC raised it to 7.5 mpg. 4) Replacing the Jeep with the Element raised it back to 8 mpg. I swore that E was helping to push. It sure didn't feel like it was back there.
 
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