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I thought it would be easy finding a trailer or a way to pull my new smartcar behind a sprinter van motorhome. I have been asked by a trailer company why I cant use a tow dolly and put the car rear wheels on it? I said I dont know! ...just going with what the owners manual states. Calling Smart USA just now, I was told the same. Pushing for more info I was finally! told that the reason the car needs all "4 wheels" off the ground for towing is because you can damage the steering rack if you don't. Can anyone help me with this? Trailers are available but are hard to find at a small affordable size and weight and I am getting many opinions on safety, size and prices. I would prefere to use a tow dolly or a tow bar if possible but Smart Car says not to for more than 30 miles at 30mph. Any experienced tow people with info would be greatly appreciated.:thanks_smile: Thank you.
 

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Most tow dollies don't recommend towing a car backwards with the drive wheels off the ground (in smart's case, and others) is because the steering could swerve back and forth due to the castor of the front wheels. They are designed to return to center when rolling forward. rolling backwards, they will try to turn the wheels around so the theoretical front of the wheel is on the front side of the travel. If you look at the castor wheels on a chair, you will notice the wheel spins around so it is always behind the pivot point when reversing directions. Tieing the steering wheel is one way to handle it, the key lock might not hold it in place. They all want to be on the safe side I'm sure.

The rear wheels/axle don't have that type of movement as they don't do any steering. with the drive shaft removed, (or a front wheel drive car) is similar to towing a trailer.

Towing a rear wheel drive car on a dolly, they say to remove the drive shaft. Front wheel drive cars, don't have that problem. Pulling a drive axle on the ground can cause problems in the transmission on automatic transmissions, especially if they have a rear pump (which most do not have) Since a smart is basically a manual transmission, there should be less of an issue with towing in neutral, but then there is that pesky traction control stuff... which means all 4 wheels should be going the same speed.

Best bet is to find a flat trailer capable of at least 2,000 lbs or more. There are some nice lightweight aluminum ones for ATV's or golf carts that could work.

This is just what I have learned from tow truck drivers and trailer rental experts that know what they are talking about.
 

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Update on this coming next week/week after for twinamic... maybe wait on buying a trailer... Official word is still not to flat-tow and to follow what is currently in the owner's manual.

The manual transmission however should never be flat-towed due to the lubrication of the transmission being restricted under tow, which could damage the unit.
 

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Update on this coming next week/week after for twinamic... maybe wait on buying a trailer... Official word is still not to flat-tow and to follow what is currently in the owner's manual.

The manual transmission however should never be flat-towed outside the given parameters due to the lubrication of the transmission being restricted under tow, which could damage the unit.
 

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I thought it would be easy finding a trailer or a way to pull my new smartcar behind a sprinter van motorhome. I have been asked by a trailer company why I cant use a tow dolly and put the car rear wheels on it? I said I dont know! ...just going with what the owners manual states. Calling Smart USA just now, I was told the same. Pushing for more info I was finally! told that the reason the car needs all "4 wheels" off the ground for towing is because you can damage the steering rack if you don't. Can anyone help me with this? Trailers are available but are hard to find at a small affordable size and weight and I am getting many opinions on safety, size and prices. I would prefere to use a tow dolly or a tow bar if possible but Smart Car says not to for more than 30 miles at 30mph. Any experienced tow people with info would be greatly appreciated.:thanks_smile: Thank you.
Transmission damage is the reason for no flat towing. If smart USA can backpeddle on this recommendation, and release a full set of instructions on how to pull off 4 wheel towing, that would be awesome.

But the problem is when people misunderstand or misinterpret those directions, and shred their transmissions, will they then turn around and blame smart USA (which is what smart USA wants to avoid)?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Due to site technical difficulties, most of the 451 towing posts are in the 450 towing section. we are working on it.
Check this post

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f77/tow-fortwo-car-dolly-12762/index2.html
Please tell me what 450 and 451 are? I think you are making reference to the type or year model of car? UPDATE: I just followed your link to old posts concerning trailers and pulling (tow dollies etc...) None of those posts are concerning a 2016 model. I wonder if there are now differences that previous owners experiences will be different? I just purchased this and I am unfamiliar with the numbers 450 and 451. I went through the whole purchase without ever seeing or hearing this. All I have know is names like PURE, Passion, etc....
 

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450 is the first generation, 451 the second (sold in the US from 2008) and the 453 is the current generation of the smart fortwo. :)
 

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Update on this coming next week/week after for twinamic... maybe wait on buying a trailer...

Could you please tell me what you mean? and what do you infer about an Update coming? Thank you
"Twinamic" is smart's official moniker for the 453 transmission. My interpretation is that there is consideration at smart to officially list a set of recommendations for flat towing a smart 453 with all 4 wheels on the ground.

I believe an "update coming" means there is some internal discussion going about whether or not to release a set of flat-tow instructions.

Those in the camp of "NOT [releasing a set of instructions]" are aiming to prevent abuse, false-warranty-claims, owner error, etc,. Those in the camp of "DO" are aiming to please the crowd of flat-towers who may be competent enough to follow the instructions without error and/or blaming smart USA for owner error.

That's the issue. If an owner doesn't follow the instructions to a 'T' will they turn around and try to force smart USA to foot the bill for a new transmission, labor to install the transmission, and all the associated costs with loaner vehicles, arbitration and/or court costs, potential lemon law claims, etc,? This is why manufacturers often err on the side of caution and decide "NOT" to release flat-tow instructions.

At least, that's my opinion and interpretation until I'm told otherwise. My hope is that this twinamic transmission is easily flat-towable, and that a set of instructions will be made publicly available instead of keeping it internal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you with that information! I think that if they do release the info that it may very well help Smart with RVers looking for a tow car. It is the lightest and most fun and affordable tow car out there. The trailer issue has been a "project" to find. Not much to say good about that process with many bad advice's along the way and some good options but expensive ones! Hoping for good news!
 

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Most tow dollies don't recommend towing a car backwards with the drive wheels off the ground (in smart's case, and others) is because the steering could swerve back and forth due to the castor of the front wheels. They are designed to return to center when rolling forward. rolling backwards, they will try to turn the wheels around so the theoretical front of the wheel is on the front side of the travel. If you look at the castor wheels on a chair, you will notice the wheel spins around so it is always behind the pivot point when reversing directions. Tieing the steering wheel is one way to handle it, the key lock might not hold it in place. They all want to be on the safe side I'm sure.
I've towed probably 100 times azz backwards on a tow dolly, Smarts included. Two ratchet straps will tie down the steering wheel to the seat track perfectly.







 

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Put one of those warning symbols referenced in the front of the manual that warn that severe vehicle damage can occur or personal injury, even death, can result, then give the instructions, please. Seems like a simple legal disclaimer. Maybe they are making sure the procedure they come up with is actually safe.
 

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Any updates ??

Update on this coming next week/week after for twinamic... maybe wait on buying a trailer... Official word is still not to flat-tow and to follow what is currently in the owner's manual.

The manual transmission however should never be flat-towed outside the given parameters due to the lubrication of the transmission being restricted under tow, which could damage the unit.
Thanks SmartAPM VERY exciting news !!!!!... how did you acquire this info that there may be a User Manual Update ?

I have been doing extensive research to figure out on my own if it can be done without long term damage( but to no avail ). I spoke to a guy in the UK selling towing equipment for 453 and he told me " If the manual says it can be towed 30 miles and it is an auto it can be towed 300 miles" "Otherwise if it really cant be towed long distances the transmission would not even withstand the first 30 !"

My ONLY concern with flat towing the 453 is know FOR SURE that while towing, lubrication of bearings is not an issue. Yss the 6DCT-150 wet clutch transmission has a E-Motor pump and SMART USA told an owner that one of the reasons it cant be towed is because the trans has an oil pump. Well , while this is true, the oil pump is for the clutch mechanism! (who knows what person at Mercedes even knew what they we talking about.. ) . But the clutch in the DCT is completely disengaged with the proper towing procedure.

Any updates yet ???
 

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If the manual says it can be towed 30 miles and it is and auto it can be towed 300 miles" "Otherwise if it really can be towed long distances the transmission would not even withstand the first 30 !"
That is ludicrous. There is enough leftover oil on whatever parts need lubricating for 30 miles of towing without the engine running. After that it would wear off to dangerous level.
 

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Yes I understand what you are saying but, I am hoping oil still splashes around inside the gearbox.

The UK guy also stated that SMART also probably wants to cover there selves by putting 30 miles max tow distance in the Manual, because EU law states you may NOT flat tow ANY car over 30 Miles, or at speeds greater than 30 Mph (50 km/h)
 
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