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Can I tow like this with a motorhome?

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    Johan PretoriusParticipant

    First let me congratulate you on a very fine magazine. Can’t wait to get my hands on it monthly, and read it cover to back. Well done!

    I want to share some advice on a letter that I came upon in the SA4X4 magazine: it’s the January 2017 Edition on page 10, where Godfrey gave the advice that you can’t legally tow a Suzuki Jimny on an A-Frame.

    At the time, as a proud owner of a Mercedes Avalon motorhome, we towed a Jimny on an A-frame, so we started phoning around for a solution. We came upon a person by the name of Waldo, the owner of Atlantic Trailers in Klerksdorp, North West. (Waldo’s contact number: 071 863 9542, or 078 783 6784).

    He listened to my concerns, and built a “Piggy Back” trailer for me in a week’s time! It works fantastically and the quality is of a very high standard. My wife and I recently travelled down to Dolphin Caravan Park in Ballito with the Jimny on the new piggy-back trailer. Verdict: money well spent!

    I am also sending you pictures of a Kia Bakkie that we made into a motorhome of sorts. The canopy and top hard-shell tent were manufactured by Paul of Custom Leisure Tech, who also did a great job.

    It sports a 50L tank on top, has the luxuries of a mini bar, inside bed, stove, microwave and cupboards, and there is even a TV for the rugby!

    It has tents on each side and you can extend it to full size or half size depending on your needs, and everything zips closed for security and privacy.

    I also have a 2009 Sprite Swing, with extras, that I want to sell – it is in mint condition.

    Keep up the good work!


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    ADMIN on

    The first thing I need to tell you is that it’s not all bad news! We may have opened a can of worms for towing all cars long distance, because it may be something applicable to the Suzuki Jimny only.

    According to the Jimny handbook, page 7-6 specifically states: “Do not tow your vehicle with the rear wheels directly on the ground (and the transmission in neutral). If you do, the transmission will be damaged fatally.”

    After discussions with technical colleagues, I believe that this might have something to do with lubrication of the transmission: that the propshaft is turning in the gearbox but there is no lubrication to the bearings.

    The handbook then says: “If you tow your vehicle with the front wheels on the ground, shift the transmission into Neutral and make sure the 4WD indicator on the instrument cluster comes on when you use the ‘4WD’ switch on the 2WD/4WD switches to shift into 4-wheel drive high range position, and goes off when you use the ‘2WD’ switch on the 2WD/4wd switches to shift into 2-wheel drive position with the engine running.

    “If the 4WD indicator does not come on or goes off, (that is, the air-locking hubs cannot be locked or unlocked), the vehicle cannot be towed with the front wheels on the ground.”

    From this we deduce that you will have to tow the Jimny backwards on your piggyback trailer − that is, back wheels secured on the trailer and front wheels on the tar − after making sure that the steering is locked, the wheels are straight and the front wheel hubs are unlocked/ disengaged.

    We assume that the top deck on which the wheels of the Jimny are located swivels too, so that the trailer can turn sharply in tight corners?

    What really impresses me is the resourcefulness of South Africans. There is always someone who can think up a solution. And your Kia ‘motorhome’ is such a clever concept that we have decided to give it its own proper space in next month’s edition. Well done!

    – Godfrey Castle

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