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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm trying to understand the trany gear selection as described in the owner's manual for a 1996 Geo Tracker. I will be towing it 4 down, behind my motorhome.
The owner's manual says to put trany in second gear, transfer case in neutral, key on. I put in a battery disconnect so I don't run that down.
Manual also says to stop every 200 miles and run the engine with trany in second gear, transfer case in neutral and "clutch engaged".

I'm wondering why not just keep the trany in neutral while towing.
I can see that running it periodically would help keep the drivetrain lubed, but a little confused on the "clutch engaged" wording. Does that mean clutch plate engaged, or the clutch pedal engaged/depressed.
Running with clutch plate engaged (pedal out) would turn the countershaft and lube the internals and would spin the transfer case and lube it also, so that's probably the right way, but why run it in second gear? So the output shaft turns also and spins the transfer case? But isn't the transfer case already turning from the driveshafts?

Thanks.
 

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Hi,
I'm trying to understand the trany gear selection as described in the owner's manual for a 1996 Geo Tracker. I will be towing it 4 down, behind my motorhome.
The owner's manual says to put trany in second gear, transfer case in neutral, key on. I put in a battery disconnect so I don't run that down.
Manual also says to stop every 200 miles and run the engine with trany in second gear, transfer case in neutral and "clutch engaged".

I'm wondering why not just keep the trany in neutral while towing.
I can see that running it periodically would help keep the drivetrain lubed, but a little confused on the "clutch engaged" wording. Does that mean clutch plate engaged, or the clutch pedal engaged/depressed.
Running with clutch plate engaged (pedal out) would turn the countershaft and lube the internals and would spin the transfer case and lube it also, so that's probably the right way, but why run it in second gear? So the output shaft turns also and spins the transfer case? But isn't the transfer case already turning from the driveshafts?

Thanks.
That is also confusing to me also. You could disconnect both drive shafts and just not worry about it.
Thats what I would do and have done in the past!
 

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Old(s) Fart
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"Clutch engaged" always means pedal out - the clutch is engaged in the driveline. I don't know why any of that matters - with the transfer case in neutral, there should be nothing going on in the transmission.
 

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Disconnecting the driveshafts is the way to go, depending on how far you will be traveling if less than 200 go ahead and do what the manual tells you. By the way, "clutch engaged" means the clutch is pushed down to the floor.
 

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Disconnecting the driveshafts is the way to go, depending on how far you will be traveling if less than 200 go ahead and do what the manual tells you. By the way, "clutch engaged" means the clutch is pushed down to the floor.
Pushing the clutch pedal down DISENGAGES the clutch, unless you have a Model T
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think it's a terminology difference. Everyone is right.
Most people don't know the difference between the clutch pedal and clutch plate. Each being "engaged" does the opposite thing. It just depends on which "clutch" you're referring to. Clutch pedal, or clutch plate.
While I agree that disconnecting the driveshafts is the best way to go, it's just not practical for RV'ing and having to mess with the shafts every time you use the towed vehicle.
Here's the excerpt from the owners manual:


If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle with manual freewheeling hubs, it can be towed from the front with all four wheels on the ground. Follow these steps:

Set the parking brake. Turn the ignition key to ACC to unlock the steering wheel. Shift your automatic transmission into PARK (P), or your manual transmission into SECOND

(2). Shift the transfer case to NEUTRAL (N). Set the hubs to FREE. See “Four-wheel Drive” in the Index. Release the parking brake. Stop towing every 200 miles (300 km) and start the engine. Leave the transfer case shift lever in NEUTRAL (N). Shift your automatic transmission to DRIVE (D); leave a manual transmission in SECOND (2) with the clutch engaged. Run the engine at medium speed for one minute to circulate the oil in the transfer case. Turn the ignition key to ACC. Now you can continue towing your Geo.
 

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Pull the driveshafts at the axles.

Ratchet strap them up to the frame rails.
This avoids you loosing oil out the transfer case.

Put the bolts into ziplocks marked front and rear in side the center council or glove bow with the ratchet/wrench.

Check your tire pressure before you go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bolting and unbolting shafts a couple times a day while I'm suppose to be on vacation is not the ideal solution.
This vehicle is suppose to be dingy towable. It's just the wording and logic of the owners manual that's not clear.

Why put the manual transmission in 2nd and not neutral if the transfer case is in neutral anyway.

And here's how I understand the periodic stops to lube the trany and T-case procedure.
After a couple hundred miles, stop and the if the Tracker is still hooked up, put/keep trany in 2nd, T-case in neutral, clutch pedal out, (clutch plate engaged) and start and run engine for a minute at about 2500 RPM.
Reasoning for this, as I see it is running the engine while having trany in second and clutch pedal out will turn all the shafts in the trany and lube it, while also turning the T-case to lube it. Manual specifically says that this will lube the transfer case, I'm thinking the output shafts in the transfer case are already turning with the vehicle rolling to provide that lubrication.

Does that make sense?
 

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Choices, choices!
seems simple.
do as the manual says or ignore it.
don’t over analyze what the manual says. Written by bean counters anyway.
if you’re feeling flush you could try a pair of these.
I had one on a 2wd I bought. Worked slick. Gave it to a hot rod buddy.



 

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I'd have to look at some of the exploded diagrams; but my guess is that the transmission has tapered bearings and an oilpump; and/or that some of the gears have a bearing on a journal. Engaging a specific gear will ensure the pump is running and lubricating things as its freewheeling. It also could be ensuring a specific RPM for the pump.
Trust me; for GM to specify 2nd, theres an absolute reason. Conventional wisdom is Neutral, and they're advising against it.
Are their Geo Tracker-specific forums? You might want to see if there are changes to later trucks' literature or if theres an experienced group of RV applications there.

George E Sollish
Chief Engineer
Auto Gear
 

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I'd have to look at some of the exploded diagrams; but my guess is that the transmission has tapered bearings and an oilpump; and/or that some of the gears have a bearing on a journal. Engaging a specific gear will ensure the pump is running and lubricating things as its freewheeling. It also could be ensuring a specific RPM for the pump.
Trust me; for GM to specify 2nd, theres an absolute reason. Conventional wisdom is Neutral, and they're advising against it.
Are their Geo Tracker-specific forums? You might want to see if there are changes to later trucks' literature or if theres an experienced group of RV applications there.

George E Sollish
Chief Engineer
Auto Gear
Sorry, but that doesn't make sense. The t-case is between the trans and the drive wheels. If the t-case is in neutral, nothing in the trans is turning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I agree that with t-case in neutral nothing in the transmission should be turning, so maybe leaving the trany in 2nd is just a saved step when you stop and run the engine to lube the trany and transfer case.
Having trany in 2nd while towing can do no harm or good. But when you stop and run the engine having trany in 2nd will spin all the shafts and provide lubrication while having t-case in neutral will keep the vehicle stationary, if it's still hooked to the RV.

Owner's manual does say to not tow a 2wd Tracker, or trany damage can occur.
 

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I believe you are supposed to put it in gear to stop the transmission from freewheeling. Why 2nd I don't know... My grandpas 2002 auto trans Tracker said TC neutral trans in park, and start up every 200 mi as well.
 

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I've been following this and I'm curious as well.

My only thoughts are this:

1- It's possible that the spinning transfer case guts are parasitically spinning the output shaft of the transmission, so they tell you to leave it in gear so that can't happen.
2- Possible that the trans has a pump on the input side for additional lube? Without the engine running, that pump can't pump... but that should be solved by leaving it in second.

My guess is that it's redundancy. They don't want the trans spinning parasitically so they say to leave it in second... but then why the periodic stop to run the engine? The transmission in 2nd with the t case in neutral means that the transmission can't spin. It's locked in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
It's amazing how many interpretations there are of these instruction on the internet. I read through the above link and the advice there was to put trany in neutral and to stop every 200 miles to run the engine, but no mention of putting trany in second gear, which I think is critical for lubing the trany.

I've watched some videos of this trany being rebuilt, there's no pump.
Also, my Tracker was already a TOAD and came with the base plate I will need in order to tow it. The trany does have a whirling sound with the clutch pedal out which I thing are the bearings. I don't think it could be the TOB, since the noise goes away with clutch pedal depressed. I think the lube intervals were not followed in the past. I'll need to rebuild and don't want to make the same mistake again.
 
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